Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Upcoming Event: Fluke!

Wow, this year is flying! It's a month until an awesome one day show in Athens, Georgia: FLUKE! There's so much to love about this show, from the 40 Watt Club to the show's organizers, Robert Newsome and Patrick Dean, to Athens itself.  It's a great day for mini-comics and indie artists as well as their fans.  If you're in the area (and the area, I mean the South), you owe it to your mini-comic loving self to stop by and treat yourself to all the goodness of FLUKE.  

In addition to the show, I'll looking forward to a lunch trip to The Grit, which is one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants.  I'm convinced that the small Golden Bowl I got last time was an entire block of tofu!  The Grit's tofu is amazingly good and I was sad I couldn't eat the whole thing.  

Sketch Charlotte will be out in force bringing a piece of home to Athens starting with Henry Eudy.  Henry is debuting a new mini called Death Pinata about a deadly paper pony filled with skeletons. He's also planning on using his great Animal Alphabet and AlphaBeasts drawings in some form and I can't wait to see what he brings to the table. 

Sharing a table with the famous Mr. Eudy, will be Heroes' own creative director and colorful fellow, Rico Renzi. Rico is being rather elusive about the wares traveling to Athens with him, but I'm sure we see something pretty and pink on his table.

Last, but anything but last, Bridgit Scheide will have her brand new Brother Nash Mega Issue#1, Sketch Charlotte anthologies, prints, and stuff! :) I don't know about you, but I do so love stuff! She may also have a lovely table-mate in the shape of Herc Petmezas.  

Also representing Charlotte will be our very own local celebrity, Dustin Harbin. Dusty is sure to have his Diary Comics and lots of awesome prints in his wooden con box.  Stop by and ask him about the children's book he's currently working on. 

Moving outside of Charlotte, but still firmly in North Carolina, Ssalefish's own Adam Casey, will be making the trek from Winston-Salem this year and he has some big plans to stock his table: DRAC-DRAC-DRAC-DRAC-DRACULA: a mini containing Dracula stories, REAL LIVE BLEEDING FOREHEADS AND BROKEN WRESTLING RINGS: Portraits of professional wrestlers and HAHA: a collection of gag cartoons.  Just look for the beard and it will lead you to Adam.

Moving to NC adjacent artists, J. Chris Campbell, of lovely Greenville, SC will be in attendance with lots of neat comics and comic related items, including a new Neatobot featuring Orson Spinwell who has appeared in the Indie Spinner Rack Anthologies, his "Across the Universe" poster FLUKE version and some Neatobot buttons.

FLUKE takes place on April 21 in Athens, Georgia at the 40 Watt Club (located at 285 West Washington Street  Athens, GA 30601) from 11am to 6pm.  Only $2 gets you into a world of pure comic imagination. 

We hope to see you there!

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Comics Relaunches and the Inevitability of Backlash;" or "Everything Old is New Again, But Why?"

     The recent announcements of DC's Before Watchmen series and a new Rocketeer miniseries from IDW have yielded mixed results from fans and creators.  Whether or not you agree with the idea of these beloved comics finding new life with new creators, the idea of completely disregarding the upcoming works before they even see print isn't warranted, in my humble opinion.  For me, like so many others, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen series was a turning point in how I viewed comics' potential.  Suddenly there were deeper things that could be included in this medium, even when capes and cowls were involved.  I'm one of those readers who still think of Moore as one of my favorite writers.  Between Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell and even more recent works like Tom Strong, Top Ten, The Birth Caul and Snakes and Ladders, he's produced some of the industry's greatest hallmarks.  Yet, unlike so many others, I'm not all that surprised or offended by DC's decision to allow newer creators an opportunity to delve further into the histories of these characters.  
     If you can look past the idea that DC is largely approaching these new stories from a strictly business standpoint, we can at the very least take solace in the fact that they didn't allow some of the lesser DC 52 creators to be a part of this venture.  Can you imagine Jim Lee or Rob Liefeld being a part of Before Watchmen?  If you're a fan of these two creators, I don't mean any disrespect.  They're certainly smart businessmen who have left an indelible mark on the industry.  That said, these new books would've suffered if they would've been involved.  Can't we at least be a little happy that they let creators like Darwyn Cooke and Adam Hughes be a part of Before Watchmen?  Cooke and Hughes both display a great deal of respect for comics' history, and both are proficient at their craft.  Can we really be upset when creators of their caliber are working hard to add further levels to an existing masterpiece?
     It's probably better that these books were left alone, and I can understand that on some level.  However, I don't think that Cooke or Hughes or any of the other creators attached to Before Watchmen really think their contributions are going to add to the impact of Moore and Gibbons' timeless work.  Let's turn to IDW's recent announcement of a new Rocketeer miniseries.  This week they're releasing their second volume of Rocketeer Adventures, their anthology series that features some of the industry's best telling short stories featuring the highly regarded creation of the late, great Dave Stevens.  The announcement of the miniseries in particular has riled up some creators.  Rocketeer is my all time favorite character and design.  I regard it higher than I do most any other comic property.  I also don't think anyone could come close to achieving half of what Stevens did with his work on the character.  Yet, as with Before Watchmen, I'm not upset or offended by the idea of other creators adding their own stories to the Rocketeer mythology.  
     If these books give new, younger readers an opportunity to go back and discover Stevens' Rocketeer, can we really get upset?  Imagine being in a store and seeing a high school or college student and buying an issue of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's Rocketeer miniseries.  Imagine them buying subsequent issues and then realizing these aren't even being done by the guy who created the character.  Then they go back and find Stevens' work and discover a whole new part of comics that will inevitably change the way they see the entire medium.  
     At the end of the day, these new books draw a line in the sand for comics fans.  Older readers who revere the originals might bristle at the thought of new stories by creators who had no part in the original books.  Newer readers might only have a tangential understanding of the originals, and might buy the new books regardless of any desire to go back and pick up the original books.  We can hope, at the very least, that the new works will shepherd new readers to the originals.  And even if that doesn't happen, it's worth taking a little solace in the idea that many of the creators involved in these new projects are operating out of a great sense of reverence, and probably aren't looking to cash in on these timeless properties.  If anything, they're probably all too familiar with the reality that they're walking on hallowed ground.  
     Sometimes, though that yields great results.  Just look at Ryan Sook's contribution to Rocketeer Adventures.  In an effort which he wrote and illustrated (and maybe even colored and lettered), you see a younger creator paying homage and operating out of a great sense of respect for the genius of Dave Stevens.  It's homage, yet it's also a young artist reminding us of the persevering relevance of a character whose stories take place over sixty years ago.  This is a continuing reality of comics.  Had Spider-man ended with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, would we be any better off for having not seen John Romita's work on the character?  Had Batman ended before the 1980's, would comics be any better for having not witnessed David Mazzucchelli's Year One?  Comics can't always capture the kernel of their original genius, but does that mean we should stunt the possibility of new creators adding their own mark to history?  Nothing beats the originals, nothing captures the greatness that initially captured our imaginations.  Nothing is supposed to really do that.  Let's just give earnest creators a chance.  The wheat will separate from the chaff in the long run, and if the new work really stands up over time, it will do so on its own terms.  And even if Before Watchmen or the new Rocketeer stories are still being talked about a decade from now, will anyone ever really put them on a pedestal over the likes of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons or Dave Stevens?  Absolutely not. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Heather's Top Five in Guilty PleasureTelevision

As my part of list week on Exile, I decided to do my top five current guilty pleasure shows. 

1.  Revenge: Hello Nighttime Soap Goodness! The title is rather self-explanatory in that the lead character is seeking revenge on the people who sent her father to prison for a crime he didn't commit. Emily (or rather Amanda) is a pretty blonde who is not afraid to take down her enemies or anyone who gets in the way of her plan. This plot unfolds in some quite ridiculous ways like her burning down the home of the only author in America crazy enough to only write his book on a typewriter and keep zero copies (or even the original in safe, fireproof location). 

2.  RuPaul's Drag Race: Drag queens are so very pretty and so very, very bitchy.  This makes for a wonderful combination in a reality competition show.  This show does for drag queens what America's Next Top Model claims to do for aspiring models and is much more entertaining. The challenges each week are ridiculous and awesome.  Instead of a dramatic photo reveal, the bottom two queens get a chance to lip sync for their life to help determine who stays.  Rupaul also has some of the best competition catchphrases like "Condragulations" and "Good luck and don't f**k it up".   

3.  Dance Moms: I know, I know, what kind of person watches a gigantic grown woman scream at little girls while their drunk moms look on complaining to the camera, but never to the teacher? Before watching, I though someone who dressed up little girls as show girls and taught them how to act like strippers would only be found on To Catch a Predator.  Apparently if this is for a dance competition, no one tries to put you in jail and not a single mother will even threaten to pull their daughter from your class.  The future of America is looking bright!

4.  America's Worst Cooks: There's just something so funny about watching people who struggle to cook from cans learn complicated kitchen tasks.  How many people really pull their own noodles or make their own sausage? I would like to see Bobby Flay's team win this season if only see someone other than Anne Burrell teach next season.  So come on, Team Blue and send that spiky blonde back to her rock star kitchen.

5.  Wipeout: This is like Field Day that we used to have once a year in elementary school, but on crack.  For a cash prize, grown people agree to physically humiliate themselves running an insane obstacle course that involves walls that punch them, big red balls and all manner of ways to launch them into what looks like dirty water.  While it seems slightly mean, this is just an hour of t.v. that involves only laughing at people as they wipe out in the most spectacular ways.  Perfect way to turn off your brain after a long day.  

What are your guilty pleasure shows?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another unexpected blog leave of absence

Hi everybody! Long time no blog...again.  Unfortunately sometimes life gets in the way of sharing what we're excited about.  This time the interruption took the form of pneumonia in Seth's lung.  It wasn't a fun two weeks and he's still recovering.  The other interruption was a planned one and much more fun.  Seth and I celebrated our honeymoon in Orlando, Florida with stops in Athens and St. Augustine.  Not much rest, exploring the worlds of Disney, but I think the warm weather was helpful to Seth's recovery. 

In between sickness and work, we've been reading comics, watching tv and looking forward to Spring.  Starting in April, there's a lot of comic goodness to look forward to this year.  Fluke is April 21 in Athens, Georgia and it is my favorite indie one day show.  Free Comic Book Day is May 5 and Heroes is lining up some awesome artists.  HeroesCon is June 22-24 and the 30th Anniversary is shaping up to be one of the best.

We're already working on our upcoming event posts and more!