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Monthly Archives: May 2003

Comic Artist Website of the Day

Bernard Krigstein didn't work in comics as much as some other influential artists. Still, on many (not all) of his jobs, he managed to bring a brilliant graphic approach to often-mundane material. Like an actor who's so special that he can rise above the script, Krigstein was never not interesting. You can see some example of his ground-breaking work at The Krigstein Archives.

47 Days From Today…

…a mess of us will convene in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con International. Last year, they had more than 63,000 lovers of comics, science fiction, fantasy, animation and other allied fields in attendance. I hazard to guesstimate the total this year but it'll probably be even more crowded, especially when I'm waiting in line to eat. And of course, the ever-expanding exhibit hall (now over 400,000 square feet) will be too big to tour. So instead, come upstairs where I'll be hosting my usual array of panels and events relating to comics (mostly old ones) and animation. At the moment, we're still juggling schedules and time slots so everything I'm about to mention is tentative and subject to change. But I thought a little preview was more or less in order…

  • I'll be moderating spotlights (one-on-one interviews) with Larry Lieber, Stan Goldberg and Sal Buscema. Sal's career is probably well-known to anyone who cracked a Marvel comic between about '68 and '88. He drew almost every book in the place at one time or another — and of course we'll also be discussing his brother, the late John Buscema. Larry Lieber was there at the beginning of the Marvel era. He wrote most of those great monster stories that preceded Marvel's entry into super-hero comics — classics like "Fin Fang Foom" and "Grottu." Then he scripted the first stories of several super-hero strips, including Thor and Iron Man before segueing primarily into artwork. He drew westerns for most of the sixties and has been the artist of the syndicated Spider-Man strip for a few decades, making him the most prolific and widely-read illustrator of that character, by far. And I may even ask him about his brother, the legendary Stan Lee. Stan Goldberg's name may not be as familiar to Marvel fans but he was also there at the beginning, drawing comics like Millie the Model and coloring the super-hero books. This is the man who decided what color most of the key Marvel characters' costumes should be, and he's a charming gent with a good memory for that era. I'll also be asking him about his many years of work drawing Archie.
  • As per usual, I'll be hosting The Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel, including (I expect) Larry Lieber, Stan Goldberg, Mike Royer, several members of the Kirby family and a couple of contemporary writers and artists who'll discuss the lasting influence of Mr. Kirby's work.
  • Another tradition is the annual Sergio and Mark Panel, with Sergio Aragonés, myself, Stan Sakai and Tom Luth — i.e., the people who bring you Groo the Wanderer and other silliness.
  • And yet another is the Annual Golden Age Comics Panel, which I believe will be on Saturday. This year, the emphasis will be on DC Comics and I'm hoping the dais will include Paul Norris, Howie Post, Julius Schwartz, Irwin Donenfeld, Harry Lampert and one or two others.
  • 2003 is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Seduction of the Innocent, the book by Dr. Fredric Wertham that denounced comic books and helped trigger a wave of repression/responsibility (pick one) in the medium. We're assembling a program of film clips and folks with interesting perspectives on Wertham, his book and what it all meant.
  • It's about time we did a program item on Gold Key and Dell Comics, and we're going to have one this year. We're still putting this together but I'm expecting to include Frank Bolle, Paul Norris, Mike Royer, Len Wein and other folks who worked for what was once the best-selling comic book company in the business, Western Publishing.
  • Last year, we had a terrific time getting together a bunch of cartoonists — including Scott Shaw! and Sergio — and having me try to stump them with challenges of rapid-fire cartooning. So we're going to do another Quick Draw Panel this year, and if you attend no other program item on this list, this is the one to catch.
  • And I think we're going to have a slightly different kind of Cartoon Voice Panel than the one I traditionally host — in a bigger room with a bigger cast. We're going to gather together about a dozen of the best voice actors in the business and demonstrate how they read scripts, inventing the sounds and personalities of your favorite animated superstars. I'll be posting the roster here as folks confirm their participation.

That's ten panels. There are a couple more under discussion, including one that may make me amend the above statement about how the Quick Draw Panel is the one not to miss. But I'll tell you about it — and more about these — as the date draws nearer and plans shake down.

Slight Update

CSPAN2 is now advertising Bill O'Reilly, Al Franken and Molly Ivins at 12:15 AM Eastern time, followed by Franken and Ivins at 1:30 AM. The network is broadcasting a number of panel discussions and interviews from the BookExpo now taking place down at the L.A. Convention Center, where I would have been today if my computer hadn't gone kablooey.

I Didn't See It…

…but several folks e-mailed me to say that Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken got into a real yelling match this afternoon at a discussion that aired this afternoon on C-SPAN2. It apparently replays tonight at 9PM Pacific and Midnight in the East. I don't guarantee those times, or even that it's worth watching.

The Weapons Game

So what's up with those Weapons of Mass Destruction? Here's Fred Kaplan with a progress report.

How I Spent Friday

Mostly reinstalling software. I had a system crash thanks to (apparently) a usually-reliable program that issued a buggy upgrade. It wiped out my registry and various backups thereof. This is so much fun. Anyway, when you see items begin appearing here on a regular basis, you'll know I have most of my software reinstalled and configured anew.

Another Question Answered

A few days ago, I posted a question from Rick Phillips about a movie he remembered seeing. I'm not sure if he was the first one in with this but Jeffery Sellers has what seems to be the right answer. The movie was Sky Bandits, directed by Zoran Perisic. I think.

Iraq Facts

Spinsanity sets the record straight on a number of contradictory press reports. Go here to read.

Scott Ritter

No, he's not the guy who fell down a lot on Three's Company. He's the former weapons inspector who was all over the newstalk shows a few months ago, arguing that we should not attack Iraq until we had a lot more solid proof of Weapons of Mass Destruction than the Bush administration seemed to be demanding. He also predicted — and it's starting to look like he was right — that none would be found. Most shows did not give Mr. Ritter much time to state his case but our pal Paul Harris — who's heard on KTRS radio in St. Louis — did in an interview you can hear on his website. You'll need to have the obnoxious software known as RealPlayer installed on your computer.

Comic Art Website of the Day

The late John Buscema was one of those people who are/were just born to draw. He was a wonderful talent — often a lot better than what you saw in the printed comic, where he'd be drawing some strip he hated, working on a tight deadline and being inked by Vince Colletta. (Mr. Colletta was kind of like the 99-Cent-Only Store of comic book inkers.) We are happy then that some of John's fans and friends continue to maintain The Official John Buscema Website.

Turning to More Important Topics…

Here, from The Comics Journal's ¡Journalista! weblog, is a more detailed explanation of the problems that Fantagraphics has encountered, and why this would be a good time to direct your patronage their way. It says the same stuff I said earlier but longer and in more complete sentences.

"You're Getting to be a Hobbit With Me…"

Are we ready for The Lord of the Rings: The Musical? I'm seeing Nathan Lane and Elaine Stritch…

And on the Same Topic…

This, as they say, just in…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Baghdad bunker which the United States said it bombed on the opening night of the Iraq war in a bid to kill Saddam Hussein never existed, CBS Evening News reported Wednesday.

Here's the link to the whole piece. You know, when the Clinton Administration did stuff like this, it was not only called a lie but it was sold as proof of the low moral fibre of those in the White House.

About Those Weapons…

Here's a handy list of quotes from officials in the Bush Administration stating how certain they are that Saddam Hussein has or had Weapons of Mass Destruction by the truckload. Has anyone asked any of these people, "If he had them — and if he was a barbaric madman as you say — why didn't he use any of them?" Someone at the very least owes Hans Blix an apology for all those jokes about how he couldn't find an elephant in a Mazda.

Hope Springs Eternal

And Neal Pollack offers a very funny history of the life of a very funny man.