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PERSIFLAGE AND FURBELOWS

William Stout artworkWilliam Stout, as everyone knows, is celebrated for his drawings of prehistoric critters. And some of those dinosaur drawings, according to Jared Earickson at examiner.com, inspired such movies as “The Land Before Time” and, even, the novel Jurassic Park. Said Stout, in response to a question about which art/project he was proudest of:

William Stout photo

 

 

 

“I am very proud of the first dinosaur book I put out. That kind of put me on the map with the public. It got me a 12-page spread in Life magazine. I met young paleontologists. I have been a member of the society of vertebrate paleontologists since the 1970s, and I go to their meetings every year. Young guys come up to me and tell me that they became paleontologists because when they were young, someone gave them a copy of that book.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

TICS & TROPES: PARODY

Tom Richmond, Grady Hendrix tells us at filmcomment.com, “started at Mad in 2000, following some commercial illustration freelancing and a brief stint at Mad knockoff Cracked. He was one of the first of the magazine’s parody artists to work extensively in color, and to-date, he’s drawn 23 parodies along with a truckload of other stuff for Mad. ... I asked him what parody was the hardest to crack.”

Richmond: “The ones that are hard for me to do are movies that I have zero emotional investment in, or ones that I’m bored with. If I really love or hate a movie, it makes it easier because I’ve got some interest in it, and I can really go after the details. For example, I really enjoyed ‘The Avengers,’ and one of the things I noticed was that in the couple of scenes that featured Gwyneth Paltrow — which are clearly just throwaway cameos to get her into the movie — she’s walking around barefoot, in a pair of shorts and this bizarre blowsy white thing, and she’s in the same outfit weeks later when they’re supposedly rebuilding the headquarters at the end. And she’s still barefoot. So I thought, ‘What the hell is that all about?’ I decided that in the one panel she’s in, I’d have her with big stinky feet with flies flying off them. If I’d been bored with the movie, I’d probably never have noticed something like that.”

Scavengers

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

MANGA EDITORS ARRESTED

Comic Mega Store cover

 

In Japan, three staffers at Core Magazine were arrested and accused of selling magazines and manga that had sexual content which was insufficiently censored, a violation of the Japanese Penal Code, which forbids obscene content. Anime News Network reported the story: “The three suspects are accused of selling about 24,500 copies of the manga magazine Comic Mega Store with sex scenes between males and females this past March. They are also accused of selling about 36,000 copies of Nyan 2 Club, a magazine for reader-submitted adult photographs. Both magazines were marked with the 18+ label.” “Earlier this year,” reported Betsy Gomez, “the production of Comic Mega Store was indefinitely suspended, and Nyan 2 Club has been under investigation. Both magazines have employed mosaic censoring, a Photoshop technique that pixelates sections of an image, to obscure content, but ANN reports that staff at Core had been warned that the amount of censoring was insufficient.”

 

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

ORIGINS OF THE TOUCAN

As you (the older of you anyhow) may remember, the earliest logo for the Sandy Eggo Comic-Con was a happily grinning toucan designed by Rick Geary. When the On-High Moguls changed the name of the Con to “International Comic-Con San Diego,” they sidelined the toucan and adopted an eyeball framed in a square. (Why an eyeball? Probably because of the “I” in International. Just guessin’.) That was a grievous mistake: it removed any tinge of personality from the Con.

ToucanBut Geary’s toucan still shows up from time to time — lately, decorating Comic-Con org’s blog, “Toucan.” And this year, it showed up in steampunk regalia. A beauty of a drawing, as you can see here. It was reproduced on a t-shirt, but the t-shirt was sold only in the Merch Room, which was in the adjacent Marriott hotel, only a short walk away from the Convention Center — but perhaps a fruitless walk: since the hours of the Merch Room were not posted anywhere except at the Merch Room, you’d gamble on finding it open whenever you chose to find your way there. I went over late on Thursday and discovered a line waiting just to enter the room; the wait was estimated at one hour. So I was going to stand there for an hour? Not me, kimo sabe.

The next time I went over — earlier in the day, shortly after it opened — no line, but the t-shirt I wanted was sold out. So I content myself with the photo you’ve just seen.

The insouciant bird, incidently, wasn’t designed as a toucan: Geary lately revealed that he’d set out simply to draw a bird with a big beak. It was subsequently decided that his big beaked bird was a toucan.

More lore and legend about Comic-Con adventures can be found at the Usual Place, RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Opus 314.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

EISNERS HALL OF FAME

Thomas Nast Santa ]Inducted into the Hall of Fame during the Eisners ceremony at the San Diego Comic-Con were an assortment of the living and the dead, the latter mostly long overdue for this sort of formal recognition: Mort Meskin, Spain Rodriguez, Marjorie Henderson Buell, Howard Cruse, Lee Falk, Bud Fisher, Bill Griffith, Al Jaffee, Jesse Marsh, Tarpe Mills, Gary Panter, Trina Robbins, Joe Sinnott, Jacques Tardi, and (gracious — about time!) Thomas Nast; his absence from the list until now is almost as inexplicable as Panter’s inclusion.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

THE EISNERS: OSCARS FOR COMICS

Don Rosa Bill Finger AwardAt the Eisner award ceremonies at the San Diego Comic-Con on Friday night, July 19, Don Rosa got the Bill Finger Award for excellence in writing with his books chronicling the new adventures of Donald Duck and his filthy rich Uncle Scrooge. Rose took the opportunity the podium afforded him to recognize the pioneering work of the late Bruce Hamilton, whose Another Rainbow collected the work of Duckman Carl Barks in durable hardcovers and also helped bring about new work on the ducks.

Many more words about the Eisner evening and the scandalous behavior of a pair of its presenters are expended at the Usual Place, RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Opus 314.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

KANE WAS SMARTER THAN SIEGEL AND SHUSTER

On Sunday morning at the San Diego Comic-Con, I attended “Superman on Trial: The Secret History of the Siegel and Shuster Lawsuits,” which, moderated by Heidi MacDonald of PublishersWeekly.com, featured Brad Ricca, author of Super Boys, a recent biography of the creators of Superman, and the Siegel and Shuster Lawsuit Historylegal commentary of Jeff Trexler. The most provocative part of the session took place in the last minutes. Trexler noted that the legal counsel for the Warner Bros side of the still-ongoing wrangle over possession of Superman was seated in the front row, and he (whose name I didn’t get) observed that if writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster had not sued DC in 1948, they would doubtless have enjoyed the same sort of benevolent treatment that Bob Kane enjoyed from the publisher — and Kane died a wealthy and happy man.

Someone in the audience contended that Kane had negotiated a much more favorable contract with DC than Siegel and Shuster had (because, according to legend, Kane’s father entered  into the negotiation), but the Warner lawyer said that if that happened, there is no documentation of it. In fact, the only documentation is the contract Kane had, which was exactly the same as the one Siegel and Shuster signed at the beginning: it stipulated page rate pay, percentages and a 10-year term, subject, as usual, to renewal at the expiration of the term.

But Seigel got greedy. While in the army during World War II, he’d been advised by a would-be lawyer that he and Shuster should be getting more, and so he decided to go for DC’s fiscal throat. And lost.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

AND ALL THOSE SMART PHONES?

Holbrook

 

 

Cartoonist Bill Hollbrook (On the Fastrack, Safe Havens, and Kevin and Kell) came by the National Cartoonists Society booth while I was idling away my time. He introduced me to his sister-in-law, Erin Piesto, who once worked in AT&T advertising. She said that 98% of the cellphones at the Comic-Con are smart phones. And the cellphone traffic is so intense during the Comic-Con that portable towers (at least two, maybe more: my notes stagger off into the distance) are installed to handle the load.

Many more scraps of lore and legend are collected about Comic-Con adventures at the Usual Place, RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Opus 314.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

NAME-DROPPING AND TALE-BEARING AT COMIC-CON

Inside San Diego's cavernous convention center, you can wander the carnival midway and see all manner of wares on display for purchase, And you run into people you see only once a year.

I came upon Sergio Aragones watching a gaggle of steampunk cosplayers being photographed. He feels tiptop, he said, having had hip replacement surgery since the last Con, which he attended propped up by a cane. It was a bad year, he said: he missed deadlines, and he dearly hates to do that.

“I did seven issues of Sergio’s Funnies, he said, “and then, because I had this operation, I had to rest for a while. I was a year late with No.8..”

No.8 begins with Sergio in self-caricature, as usual introducing the issue, and he’s walking with a cane. By No.9, I’ll bet he will have discarded the cane in Sergio’s Funnies just as he has in actual life. Sergio

At the Eisner Awards ceremony, he introduced new members of the Hall of Fame and remarked, at the onset, how glad he was to be there, alluding to his surgical adventures.

As we admired the steampunkers, I suggested that he do a Groo adventure in steampunk. He laughed. Maybe too much detail drawing on the gear wheels and other glittery gizmos.

Many more words are expended on Comic-Con adventures at the Usual Place, RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Opus 314.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

MOVIE STARS AT COMIC-CON

Tom Hiddleston at Comic-Con 2013Among the 130,000 crowd in San Diego were stars of the comic book movies who, now, regularly invade the precincts of the Comic-Con.

Tom Hiddleston, playing Loki, the Norse trickster god in “Thor: The Dark World,” crashed a panel on Saturday morning to surprise fans. “It was one of the most exciting buzzes of my life,” Hiddleston confessed to Truitt at USA Today. “As someone who’s trained in the theater, 6,500 people is about the biggest gig I’ve ever played.”

Yup — 6,500 is the seating capacity of the Convention Center’s gigantic Hall H.

■ Physicist Stephen Hawking appeared in an introductory video at the start of “The Big Bang Theory” panel, explaining, “When I’m not playing Words With Friends, I like to think about the universe” and then began reciting the lyrics to the show’s theme song.

■ The “Ender’s Game” panel was remarkably free of the controversy that has stalked Orson Scott Card, whose novel inspired the movie. Card’s opposition to gay marriage resulted in his leaving a DC Comics Superman project some months ago, and during the panel, when a woman asked about it, she was shouted down with cries like “Let it go!” and “Leave it alone!” But writer/producer Roberto Orel addressed the issue anyway, saying:

Harrison Ford at Comic-Con 2013“You never want to invite controversy, and we were concerned with anyone who might have been hurt. But rather than shy away from the controversy, we’re happy to embrace it and use the spotlight to say we support LGBT and human rights.”

■ Comic-Con hero Harrison Ford, asked why he signed on to do the movie about aliens set to destroy humanity, said: “I was drawn to the complexity of the moral issue. And the complex moral issues that are involved in the military. The book was written 28 years ago, and it imagined a world with the ability to wage war removed from the battlefield. That is one of the realities of our life now, with drone warfare, but this was unknown 28 years ago.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

MOVIES AT THE COMIC-CON

Among the tinseltown excitements at the San Diego Con—:

            ■ Director Bryan Singer assembled Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, and Jennifer Lawrence for a panel on 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” due out next spring.

            ■ Tom Cruise made his Comic-Con debut at Warner Bros’ panel to promote his 2014 sf venture, “Edge of Tomorrow.”

            ■ Director Josh Whedon unveiled the title of next summer’s sequel to “The Avengers”—“The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

            ■ Warner Bros announced that its 2015 sequel to “Man of Steel” will co-star Batman, thereby “uniting DC’s two most iconic heroes for one megamovie” gasped Entertainment Weekly in its post-Con report (August 2) on this year’s “nerdfest.” (“Geekfest” I can buy into, but “nerdfest”? A little too much sneer for me.)

            ■ And Marvel flew in from London the cast of its space opera, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and showed snippets of the film-in-the-making that introduced the largely unknown characters whose deeds of derring-do the film records.

X-Men at Comic-Con 2013 2“Marvel movies have become almost sure things at the box office,” said Brian Truitt at USA Today, “—last year’s ‘The Avengers’ and this summer’s ‘Iron Man 3' both eclipsed $1.2 billion worldwide, yet ‘Guardians,’ based on the comic book series, is a different sort of animal since the characters aren’t as familiar to mainstream audiences” as, say, Captain America, Spider-Man, or Wolverine.

Marvel president Kevin Feige seems unfazed by the daunting prospect. Marvel’s slate of future films shows the movies the company wants to make every summer through 2021.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

JOHN LEWIS AT COMIC-CON

John Lewis at Comic-ConCivil rights icon Congressman John Lewis was at the San Diego Comic-Con (July 18-21) and found it rather mystifying. "It's so different!" he told Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger at the Washington Post. "I have never witnessed anything like it. Hundreds of thousands of people dressed in so many different ways. They looked like people from another planet or from outer space."

The 73-year-old Georgia Democrat and veteran of 26 years in the House of Representatives was at the Con to promote March, a graphic novel account of his early years in the civil-rights movement — as one of the original Freedom Riders, a speaker at the 1963 March on Washington and a chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis, who collaborated with staffer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, called the format "a way to reach another generation through new means."

His panel session and book signing was packed, a standing-room only crowd. Lewis said he was astounded by the diversity at the convention, old and young, of all ethnicities. He encountered longtime fans of his work who wept when they met him, as well as costumed newcomers who stumbled into his panel out of sheer curiosity. "A lot of younger people buying [the book] for their teacher or for their parents, and older people buying it for their children."

So, what does a congressman wear into a room filled with wannabe Batmans and Katniss Everdeens? "I just dressed in a regular suit and tie."
For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

THE SANDY EGGO REPORT

International Comic-Con San Diego, July 18-21, 2013

“THE WHOLE IDEA of B movies,” saith The New Yorker on July 22, “is to strip out the boring stuff—plot, character development, etc.—so they’re all pin-wheeling stuntmen, morphing mutants, exploding big rigs, and heaving bosoms. For sixty years, the producer Roger Corman set the rules in this twitchy domain. ... Artistic vision, Corman cheerfully acknowledged, was a luxury. ‘Whenever we had a dull trailer, Joe Dante’—his trailer editor during the seventies—‘would say, CUT TO THE EXPLODING HELICOPTER!! Who says trailers must contain only shots from the film?’ Corman finished.”

The Sandy Eggo Con long ago began ignoring the artistic vision that could be found in funnybooks and surged onward in worship of Hollywood’s exploding helicopters. For at least the last ten years, movies have dominated the four-day extravaganza. Movies are the focus of the largest displays in the exhibit hall—towering configurations of fantastic monsters and scrapiron machinery. And movies are the focus of the major comic book publishers: you can’t find a comic book in the exhibits of Marvel or DC Comics.

For at least the last ten years, it has been virtually impossible to describe in words alone the phenomena that founder Shel Dorf unwittingly let loose 44 years ago to celebrate comic books, old movies, and sf. But the editors at the Union-Tribune (the local newspaper that persists in calling itself only “U-T”) tried:

“As it does every year, our city has been transformed into a distant galaxy of sorts—in and around the Convention Center, throughout downtown and beyond. Buildings have been turned into creative billboards, and cool interactive exhibits will be busy promoting upcoming motion pictures, television series, the latest video games and more. There will be legions of costumed characters—from superheroes and cyborgs to trekkies and zombies—parading through downtown. And, of course, plenty of A-list celebrities will pop in, adding to the excitement of it all.”    

Being at a loss for words myself, I resorted to having a friend take my photo with Alfred E. Neuman’s ancestors. They were all in attendance at the Con, I assure you.

HarvNeuman

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com