Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

Don't forget: This Saturday, May 3rd, is Free Comic Book Day. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: Go to your local comics shop and pick up one (or more) of dozens of free comic books. Your retailers had to pay for the books beforehand, though; so thank them by purchasing some other books or merchandise, too.

There's practically any kind of comic book you could imagine: all-ages humor, superheroes, manga, adventure, media tie-ins, alternative comics, and more. This is a great way to discover comics for the first time, to try a title you've never read before, or to introduce comics to someone who's never read them before - take a child!

More information at the Free Comic Book Day website.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cartoonists Cover the Classics

An advertisement in today's New York Times Book Review alerted me to this series of "Deluxe Edition" Penguin Classics, featuring covers by a stellar line-up of cartoonists:
I'd already heard about the Candide, but the others were news to me. These are books which should grace everyone's shelves anyway; and these covers add gorgeous, graphic icing on some top-choice literary cakes. Time to update those wish lists!

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fantagraphics Eye for the "IT" Guys

The IT Crowd, currently available on the UK's Channel Four, is the latest sitcom from Graham Linehan, one of the writers behind two of the funniest sitcoms the UK has produced: Father Ted and Black Books. Quick-n-dirty description from the official website:
The high-rise towers of Reynholm Industries are full of go-getters, success stories, and winners... apart from [the IT department] in the basement.
While their beautiful colleagues work in fantastic surroundings, Jen, Roy and Moss lurk below ground, scorned and mocked by their co-workers as geeky losers, doomed never to make it back into normal society.
So far The IT Crowd doesn't quite live up to its predecessors, but it certainly has a similarly good toe-hold on "zany, madcap kooky-funster" humor, this time upping the "geek" factor to the Nth degree. I'll give it time, though, considering its pedigree.

So why mention it here? Take a look at the pic above (apologies for the too-tiny image; I hope to have a better one soon): The basement office, where much of the series takes place, is stuffed to the gills with swag based on characters from comics published by the fine folks at Fantagraphics and mostly produced by painstaking Presspop. Get out your magnifying glass, and you can make out [1] Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan vital animus; [2] Jim Woodring's Frank lithograph; [3] Peter Bagge's Buddy Bradley doll; [4] Dan Clowes' Pogeybait doll; [5] Kaz's Smoking Cat (I think); and possibly more.

Also check the other items of geek-cred, like the Fair Use Has a Posse sticker on Roy's desk, and (not pictured) an icon of His Holiness, the most holy Flying Spaghetti Monster (Blessed be His Noodly Appendage, Ramen).

I can just imagine Gary Groth, Kim Thompson, and Eric Reynolds pulling up outside the office building, running down the stairs, and getting to work....

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Holiday Gift Suggestion...

Given that...

I have had a long interest in Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland," and

I grew up in Milwaukee, WI and read the Milwaukee Journal daily newspaper (nowadays the Journal Sentinel), and

The item pictured below is currently on offer at eBay

... I believe that my family and friends now know what to get me for Xmas.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Manga Head: Hair Product, Manga History (Dessert Topping, Floorwax Still to Come?)

New from Garnier UK: Manga Head, a hair product lets you "create your own superhero hair," as BoingBoing noted today.

The web site for the product contains not only information on seven types of "manga hairstyles" for you to try but also a section called "Manga Story" (subtitled either "What's Manga All About?" or "Why Is Japan So Coooool?" [sic], depending on where you are in the site), done up as a kind of six-page mini-manga. The whole web site's presented in flash, unfortunately, so I hope they keep this curiosity up here.

For maximum fashion potential, of course, you'll want to use Manga Head in conjunction with Nadesicco Black, "inky black [contact] lenses that make [eyes] look like they have gigantic monochromatic pupils" (Wired 13.5).

NB: Manga Head's "Win a Trip to Tokyo" contest is only good for residents of the UK, dangit...

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Ad that Made an Icon out of MAC!

Pow![Horn-Tootin' Dep't] In 1996 I attended the Popular Culture Association's national conference, where I presented a paper on Charles Atlas ads and some of their many parodies. (A sample panel from one of the ads is displayed at left.) I later turned that essay into an article for the Winter 2000 issue of Hogan's Alley (for you bibliography buffs, that's issue 7, pages 80-87, according to my horribly out-of-date c.v.). The HA website recently posted my article, along with a few small illustrations.

I had heard they were planning to do so a couple of years ago, but I think they just got around to it recently - not surprising, given how much work goes into each issue. The website has also archived features like their interview with Bizarro's Dan Piraro and an essay on Johnstone and Cushing, the advertising company behind classics like Postum's pesky nemesis, Mr. Coffee Nerves.

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