Friday, 12 September 2008

andrew Linstrom shows 'fifty incredible film posters from Poland.' Most interesting are the differences from their American counterparts. I'll pick a movie everyone is familiar with: The Empire Strikes Back:

Leif Peng shows the Film poster art of Mitchell Hooks.

The artist is now retired and his mid '80s. In his late career, when all the outlets for illustration were drying up and the whole trade was arriving in the doldrums, he apparently found a steady market with Harlequin romances. When I'm waiting for a bus outside Boswell Books I often peruse the covers of the romance books and wonder who painted them, what sort of artist and at what stage of his or her career.

Silent gig 'rocks' London
The Fun Lovin' Criminals have played their first ever 'silent' gig. Fans listened to the band through headphones at a club in Camden, London. (video)
(thanks to wee hayley campbell)

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

my old pal Pete Mullins called yesterday and surprised me by mentioning as an afterthought that he has started a blog. He's using it to showcase his work both old and new and make passing comments as he goes along. It was great to see some of the stuff he's been up to of late. Long time readers here will recall that Pete and I worked closely together for a few years in the 1990s. You can see his work in Bacchus volumes 7-10 and From Hell. You'll probably have trouble separating his from mine back then, as we often do ourselves, and as Lambiek does, surprising given that he does work as flash as these character designs for an animated series where the characters are all constructed from old socks.

This is a a clear example of Pete's style on Bacchus. Only the lettering here is mine:

He would always go to town if I asked for something crazy. Everything this side of Bacchus is Pete's work:

And finally, a panel from one of the oddest things we pulled off. A little humorous five pager titled The Devil's Footprints (co-scripted with Marcus Moore) for a Heavy Metal special number that Kevin Eastman published back in 1997. In this panel I see my own lettering and I guess that hand in the forground; the rest is Pete's:


You may be able to link to this. It's up then it's down. It's the short radio interview I mentioned a couple of days back. I know many of my readers want to pull their hair out when this subject comes up, and a couple have told me that frankly it bores them to tears. But they do not have to make a living out of all this comic book baloney, so they can shut up. In spite of us not mentioning any of the words 'graphic novel' or 'comic' either on the book or in person, that is made to be the subject of the piece:

When the matter comes up, It is important to not question the use of terms or get bogged down, otherwise the headline will read, as it did last year, 'Graphic novellists can't agree on what their thing is called.' The simple fact is that they have always already written their piece before you arrive and they just need the sound of your voice to fill up the space. So the trick is to pleasantly blather on about the thing you came to promote, as Dan does when he starts enthusing about my lovely watercolours. then the interviewer brings it back: 'but that doesn't answer my question'...


Monday, 8 September 2008

a Yankee in London' blog takes the From Hell chapter four tour of London. That's the episode where William Gull explained, while moving through the Victorian capital by horse and coach, all the mythical and mystical points on the map that are relevant to his wicked masterplan. I was enjoying it until the blogger, Jason, photographed his big greasy English breakfast. The horror, ugh, the horror!

Smoky man has a great Alan Moore story, and a great photo courtesy of Norman Adams to go with it.

'Alan Moore defends rational thought' in a piece of street oratory outside Abington park Museum. "The protest, organised by Northampton Socialist Forum, came after an information sign about Darwinism at the museum was partially covered following a complaint by what appears to be a Christian fundamentalist."
The Northampton Chronicle has the museum story:
Museum in censorship row over Darwin sign
"Censorship of an exhibition on evolution at a Northampton museum has led to claims organisers are pandering to Christian fundamentalist sensibilities..."

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Sunday, 7 September 2008

i just finished taping a radio spot with Dan Best, my co-writer on Monsieur Leotard. It'll only be five minutes and it's on tomorrow at five o'clock in the morning, so it can't possibly do any damage. The interviewer had never read a 'graphic novel' before (not even this one as his place holder was at page 10), as he insisted on calling it even though I took great care to avoid the use of the term anywhere on the book. The interviewer asked me to explain what one is. He didn't like my version and asked for Dan's instead. I grinned and watched Dan squirm around on that one. When an interviewer asks me why he should read graphic novels, my standard response now is to say 'good lord, not you, you're far too stuffy.' But I've been in a good mood this morning as Anne got back from a week away last night. This interviewer hadn't done any reading up for this brief breakfast spot and I'm thinking he thought we were a couple of cheery characters who had just produced this novelty thing for a laff. I'm hoping he went into a slight panic when I mentioned From Hell and Johnny Depp, because attention swiftly switched to Dan.

The above is a panel from Al Capp's Li'l Abner. Capp was once a very funny cartoonist, famous for the Li'l Abner strip cartoon that ran from 1934 to 1977. I have just found the following video clip via Tom Spurgeon's link, which takes place some time after Capp lost his ability to be funny (humour requires a degree of humility), and in which he takes on John Lennon. It's a famous moment in, not just the history of the baloney that interests me, but the history of people.

This commentary on the Wikipedia page for Capp amuses me: "The cartoonist visited John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their Bed-In for Peace, and their testy exchange later appeared in the documentary film Imagine. Introducing himself with the words "I'm a dreadful Neanderthal fascist. How do you do?", Capp sardonically congratulated Lennon and Ono on their Two Virgins nude album cover: "I think that everybody owes it to the world to prove they have pubic hair. You've done it, and I tell you that I applaud you for it." Lennon sang an impromptu version of his The Ballad of John and Yoko song with a slightly revised, but nonetheless prophetic lyric: "Christ, you know it ain't easy / You know how hard it can be / The way things are going / They're gonna crucify Capp! "
According to an apocryphal tale from this era, in a televised face-off, either Capp (on the Dick Cavett Show) or (more commonly) conservative talk show host Joe Pyne (on his own show) is supposed to have taunted iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa about his long hair, asking Zappa if he thought he was a girl. Zappa is said to have replied, "You have a wooden leg; does that make you a table?" (Both Capp and Pyne had wooden legs). The story is considered an urban legend."