Friday, May 30, 2008

Online comics!

This ruggedly lifelike fellow is Warren Ellis, scourge of the Internet, and author of numerous "comics," including the brilliant Planetary.

Mr. Ellis has deigned to share his greatness with the lumpen proletariat by making his latest effort, "FreakAngels" available for viewing through a browser on your very own computer. Or someone else's. You can even subscribe to it as an RSS feed. Will wonders cease?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


J. Michael Straczynski is hot. His original script, "The Changeling," directed by some guy named Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Joli, was a big hit at Cannes. His screenplay for "World War Z," based on the hit novel by Max Brooks (Mel's son) is in preproduction; he just did a quickie polish on a Wachowski Brothers script; has another film set to be directed by Bourne director Paul Greenglass; and will be working on a series of films based on the classic "Lensmen" science fiction tales with Ron Howard. And there's more.

JMS was best known for creating, writing and producing the epic TV series, "Babylon 5," and has just signed to write comics for DC, having concluded his previous deal with Marvel.

A few years back, I wrote a piece on writers who traverse the worlds of TV, film and comics, now a pretty common occurrence. Then... not so much. I interviewed Joe and Neil Gaiman, Howard Chaykin, Mark Verheiden and Gerry Conway, as well as Marv Wolfman, who wasn't included due to space, but I'll have to dig out the Q&A and run it here some time.

The article, as published, is posted here (along with this intro, which you can skip.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who Watches

The movie version of "Watchmen," the Citizen Kane of comics, is coming out next March, directed by Zack Snyder, whose last film was Frank Miller's "300." (Miller, of course, is directing the big screen version of Will Eisner's strip, "The Spirit").

A story in The New York Times revealed that in addition to "Watchmen's" main tale, an animated version of the sort-of subtextural narrative that was part of the original graphic series, "Tales of the Black Freighter," will come out on DVD about a week after the main film's theatrical release. Another feature to be included on the DVD, "Under The Hood" (which was the title of yet another fictional subcomponent of the original series — a tell-all memoir by one of the characters — will be a "making of" documentary on the DVD, according to the Times piece.

A few months later, the theatrical version of "Watchmen" will be released on DVD, then an "ultimate" version of the film, with "Tales of the Black Freighter" integrated into the story, as in the comic series and graphic novel compilation. There will also be online webisodes that will offer side-by-side frame-by-frame comparisons of the original story and the film(s), also according to the Times.

"Cloverfield" created a larger framework of a game with multiple online components that added to the anticipation of the film (and functioned as a powerful marketing tool) but was optional insofar as enjoyment of the movie was concerned.

The "Watchmen" producers, if the Times story is accurate, are using different media to tell a fuller and richer story, and the marketing and commercial aspects of the project — though a bit of a gamble — are also being served. In fact, they're making the telling of "Tales of the Black Freighter" commercially viable and, as a result, ensuring that the adaptation of "Watchmen" is even closer to the original than was thought possible.

"Watchmen" writer Alan Moore has pointedly disavowed the project, and given the artistic failures of the film versions of his other graphic stories, notably "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," who could blame him? He's declared on numerous occasions that he writes comics, not movies. But artist Dave Gibbons has been publicly supportive of the "Watchmen" film, and his imprimatur may be justified by the final result. Or results.
(text cross-posted at Review RAP)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gene Colan is not well

Gene Colan, artist extraordinaire, is in bad shape right now, suffering from liver disease, with mounting medical bills. Make a donation via Paypal or send best wishes via this e-mail address. The family is also selling original art on eBay here.

A good interview with Gene from 2001 by Tom Field in Comic Book Artist is here.

(The above cover has enormous sentimental value to me, as I used to own the original art. The inker, btw, is the incredible Tom Palmer.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Merry Gerry!

Gerry Conway, former DC and Marvel editor and writer, has a blog and promises to post regularly. If so, I promise to read it regularly. Deal?

Monday, May 5, 2008


With the success of Iron Man, what other secondary Marvel or DC characters might serve as material for films?

Green Lantern? Sub-Mariner?

Too late for Daredevil, Howard The Duck and probably The Hulk.

How about Planetary?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Help David Pirkola

David Pirkola, owner and operator of Apparitions Comics and Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan was robbed at his store and then shot by the robber. He is currently in stable, but critical condition at a local hospital. He has no health insurance. Hit the link for more info and to make a contribution.

I don't know the guy from Adam, but I've been going to comic stores even before there were any (My Friends Bookstore in Brooklyn) so throw this poor guy a few bucks and gain that smug, self-satisfied feeling that you can only get from doing something nice for someone who needs it.