webcomics
print
inventions
presentations
consulting

Archive for ‘Film’


Friday Odds and Ends

A couple of new angles on navigation this week. On the Web side, a nicely-rendered side-scroller by Cody Coltharp, and on the mobile side, a tilting viewer by Karrie Fransman & Jonathan Plackett.

[Via comments: The javascript for the side-scroller viewer was written by Jean-Nicolas Jolivet, originally as a panoramic photo viewer.]

From Mexico, a well-told silent comic by Edgar Delgado, using some extended page sizes and storytelling tricks practically designed to make me happy (and maybe you too).

Finally, a moving good bye from Satoshi Kon, a creative giant of Japanese animation whose work I was still in the process of exploring when I heard the news of his death from cancer. I look forward to finishing my journey through his stories. I regret there won’t be any more.

Tokyo Godfathers arrived in the mail yesterday.


Midnight Movies and Meteor Showers…

…lead to very late mornings.

Gotta get to work, but yes we loved it and can’t wait to see it again.

I’m at Microsoft on Monday (I know, not on the schedule; it all came together kind of quickly) so I might not post for a few days, but will try to offer thoughts on the movie next week.

Meanwhile check out this shot of some adorable cosplayers who were at the Regal in Simi Valley last night. Didn’t get names, but if anyone knows these guys, let us know and I’ll be happy to identify them.

UPDATE!: See comments for full cosplayer I.D.s. Thanks for checking in, Everybody. ^^


Are there Any Comics Left that Haven’t Become Movies?

Well, okay, there are lots left I suppose (including Zot!, for that matter, though that’s just ’cause I’ve been picky).

Funny thing is, Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds, while it may seem like it came out of left field, is actually a perfect choice for the screen.

Simmonds’ graphic novel (originally serialized in the Guardian) is a sheer delight, and with a terrific cast and crew on board, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie is just as much fun.

If you haven’t read the book, get it now. Then you can pretend that you read it long before you even heard about the movie, and brag about it at cocktail parties.

Though, you may have to insist more than once that “Yes. Yes it really was a comic first!


The House that Patience Built

Back home from Comic-Con!

It felt like a very forward-looking Con to me, despite all the worries about impending doom in various markets.

Both Sky and Winter were among the thousand or so led by Edgar Wright out of Hall H on Thursday to see one of the first public screenings of you-know-what. Have yet to meet anyone who didn’t love it.

The four panels I was on went off without a hitch. After the fourth on Saturday, I talked for a long time to two teams of iPad comics creators about the challenges of that new platform, and was reminded of how young the mobile space still is.

Speaking of young, Ivy and I got to meet Juni Kibuishi for the first time (above—and yes, Ivy’s hair is purple again!). I watched his eyes watching everything and was reminded how unpredictable each generation of creative minds can be.

Raina Telgemeier’s terrific all-ages Smile sold out at the show. We talked at the First Second dinner about the dozen other subjects that deserved the comics treatment and what a difference Raina’s personal touch and wise storytelling choices made.

Of the hundred thousand plus who descended on San Diego last week, maybe a few hundred were aspiring young artists or writers making the journey for the first time.

It’s easy for a dedicated young artist to believe that if their work is good enough, it’ll rise and rise until they’re the ones at the Hall H microphones (or at least Ballroom 20) and it’s their characters being painted on the side of the Bayfront Hilton.

It’s also easy, after a few years of frustration, for even the best young cartoonists to believe that the system is rigged, and no matter how hard they work, there’ll be enormous obstacles put in their way that have nothing to do with the quality of their stories and art.

Both are true, of course. Good work will rise to its level AND the system is rigged. Which is why, if you want to find a common denominator among the success stories at San Diego, it’s patience.

For example, bookstore buyers don’t always understand Telgemeier’s Smile. The children’s comics market in bookstores is still immature and the obstacles for new authors are numerous and frustrating. But as soon as kids actually got their hands on the book (often through book fairs), it became a big hit. The book itself made all the difference.

One of the iPad hopefuls I talked to was Robert Berry whose Ulysses adaptation was originally rejected by Apple for nudity. It’s a smart, well-designed work that was nearly killed in the cradle, but its future actually looks pretty bright now that Apple was embarrassed into reversing their decision. Joyce’s legacy may deserve part credit for the reversal, but the quality of the work will carry it from here on.

And Scott Pilgrim for YEARS couldn’t get shelved in one of the biggest book chains in America. The “system” was truly rigged against it. Yet here we are.

Will Eisner insisted again and again that CONTENT would always drive the industry and the art form. No matter what happened at the retail, publishing, or distribution levels; it was what happened on the page and in the panels that would make all the difference.

I believe it more every year.


Things I Never Said

Roger Ebert tweeted what he thought was a quote of mine yesterday. It’s been retweeted “100+ times” — which could mean many more — and many are reacting to it.

Nice of Mr. E. to name check me, but there’s one little problem:

I never said it.

During the neverending video-games-are-or-aren’t-art debate on Ebert’s blog, several people brought me up, citing my definition of art from Understanding Comics, and one of them paraphrased the definition which Ebert then put quotes around and tweeted.*

Here’s what I actually said way back in 1993:

“Art, as I see it, is any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction.”

…followed by pages of explanations of how I don’t see art as an either/or proposition, but a component of human behavior that exists to varying degrees in nearly everything we do.

Got it?

Now here’s the paraphrased (i.e., wrong) version that was rampaging across the Twittersphere yesterday:

“Art is is something people do that doesn’t get them money or sex.” (Scott McCloud)

Not quite the same.

So… Knowing how these things work, I just thought I’d make special mention of it here so that maybe the correction will follow the meme, at least enough to keep it off my tombstone.

For much more than a sound bite on my ideas on art, check out Understanding Comics pages 162-169 and Reinventing Comics pages 42-51.

This all goes with the territory of course, and there are worse problems than being misquoted by Roger Ebert, but I am thinking of starting a list of “Things I Never Said.”

Maybe I’ll start with “McCloud thinks Egyptian hieroglyphics are comics.” [Um... No. UC page 12.]

***

[Edit to Add #1: No I don't blame Ebert, it was an honest mistake.]

[Edit to Add #2: Where I come down on the videogames = art question.]

*[Edit to Add #3!Neil Figuracion originally took the blame, until we both realized it was someone else.]


Randomy Randomness

Okay, lost time in LA yesterday so I wanna get right back to the drawing board, but in the meantime, here’s the new international trailer for Scott Pilgrim (via Mal), a new OK GoVideo (via our friend Lori), and one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while.

One other important item: Comic-Con has identified some fake hotel scams. If you’ve been contacted by anyone claiming to have hotel rooms available for Comic-Con, do your homework and make sure they’re legit. One outfit, “Elite Locations,” is apparently not.


Rivers and Brooks



First of all, you knew I would link to the new Scott Pilgrim Trailer, so here it is (link via everyone on Earth).

Also in the news [via The Beat in my case] is a teaser trailer by Dash Shaw and Frank Santoro for an animated feature-to-be called The Ruined Cast (co-produced by John Cameron Mitchell who, I discovered a few years back, looks a bit like Ron Regé when not in Hedwig make-up, but that’s neither here nor there).

Funny thing is, when looking at the two trailers rubbing shoulders in their separate browser tabs, and considering how different they were, I realized there was a big part of my old ’80s-era lizard brain that wanted to label them “mainstream” and “alternative”—even though those terms have mutated beyond recognition in the last ten years.

After all, O’Malley’s comic, for all its rabid fans, is hardly the X-Men (and Edgar Wright is hardly James Cameron). The Scott Pilgrim movie is more geared to “mainstream audiences” than Shaw and Santoro’s project, but both have their roots in what my generation would have unhesitatingly championed as independent sensibilities.

Maybe, the best way for me to get a handle on what “mainstream” means is to just go to what I assume is the root of the term and look to see where the money flows like a big river; and know that rivers split all the time.


The Last Airbender Boycott Explained

Gene Luen Yang sums it up in a short comic.

I signed the original petition and will skip the movie. Sadly. Because, like Gene, I deeply loved the animated series.

[link via Dirk]


I Love my Wife

By the time this blog post goes up, Ivy and I will be sitting down to the midnight showing. By the time most of you read this, we will have already seen it, gone to bed and woken up again.

It’s not because I’m the comic book guy dragging his long-suffering spouse along. No, no. It was Ivy’s idea. She just really, really wanted to do it. She was literally hopping up and down, I kid you not.

Neither of us expects it to be a *great* movie exactly. We figure it’ll be slightly better or slightly worse than the first one (which, for what it was, was pretty good) but we know we’ll love every minute of him because he really is a joy to watch, and we’ll enjoy doing something fun and slightly stupid in each others’ company.

And yeah, yeah, whatever, whatever… I passed caring years ago. I am Mr. Fusion. I can take the popcorn with the caviar and sort it all out on the back end.

When it comes to comics, I’ll never be satisfied. I’ll always search out the true gems and shovel aside the crap. I’ll see every flaw in everything I read and everything I draw. It’s why I sometimes lose touch with what it is to be a reader only. It’s why I haven’t read an Iron Man comic in years—which is kind of sad when you think about it.

But for a big dumb superhero movie, I can sit back, enjoy the show, hold hands with the squeeing fangirl I married, and give thanks that I pretty much got exactly the life I dreamed of when I was 15 years-old.


Talk, Rock, Kick, Ass

Catching up a bit:

Liked the visual essay Less Talk More Rock on BoingBoing last month. Good approach to tackling a problem in games that assails every medium; how to reconnect with core principles and the unique potential of an art form in the face of commercial dilution and the imported sensibilities of other media.

Getting ”back to basics” can be much more than just turning back the clock. Taken in its more profound sense, it’s also the key to moving forward.

Saw Kick-Ass last night. Not bad, though our crowd might have been happier if the movie had just been called Hit-Girl (Yeah, yeah… balanced round-up of that little controversy here).

I confess to not having read many of Mark Millar’s comics yet, although I’ve noticed that every time he comes up, someone always seems to be angry at him. What’s that all about?

For me, the coolest part was seeing THE preview in a theater for the first time, and hearing SP name-checked in the movie.

Oh, and the Sparks song!!