Archive for colleen venable

odds & ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Anyone who ordered a drawing last week, I start doodling this weekend. If you’d still like one, it’s and envelope-sized sketch for $5 dollars, American.

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I have a ridiculously awesome recommendation for anyone who fits the following criteria:

(a) likes vintage comics

(b) owns an iPad

If you fall into these two categories, I received an awesome birthday gift I want to share with you. A few years ago, a whole bunch of comic companies flirted with the idea of releasing huge chunks of their publishing library on inexpensive DVDs. For $20 bucks, you’d get about ten years’ worth of old comics in PDF files. Although there was a nice selection of material, the format was awkward on a laptop and I don’t believe they were a big hit. Many of these comic DVDs are marked down on Amazon and if you have an iPad, technology has finally caught up with the convenience of these collections.

My friends Melissa and Brad got me Jughead: Bronze Age on DVD; it collects all of the Jughead comics released in the 1970’s and it’s crazy how many comics I have for so little money. You do have to download a PDF reader to enjoy the comics, but it’s still an impressive amount of comics for pennies on the dollar. These are direct scans from the original comics, which means you’re not only getting the stories, you’re also getting all those great vintage comic book ads- the last couple of years’ worth of Jughead books are chockablock with Star Wars ads.

Amazon has TONS of these comic DVDs available for rock bottom prices. Check ’em out, if you’re so inclined.

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I found it at Robot 6, but I’m just going to link to the article directly: A very nice profile on your friend and mine, Colleen Venable. I mentioned Colleen and her Guinea PI series of comics a few weeks ago… but she’s also a top-flight designer of covers. Anyone who prefers the original cover dress to A Wrinkle in Time

to this abomination

is aces in my book, and Colleen falls soundly into the first camp.

Seriously, that “flower-rainbow-horse” cover to A Wrinkle in Time never fails to angry up my blood whenever I look at it. I completely avoided Madeleine L’Engle’s entire body of work as a kid. I knew never to judge a book by its’ cover… but damn, that is one awful cover. You can’t really blame me for not wanting to read The Flying Horse Rainbow Story. If I had only known how kick-ass her books are then…

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Finally, a must mention for an English teacher with a fondness for vintage gaming: Someone has created an 8-bit adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The gameplay is a lot like Castlevania with flappers and hobos standing in for vampires and mummies. I was surprised with the smooth gameplay and how funny some of the end bosses are (ESPECIALLY the first boss. Hilarious!).

The adaptation of the novel is liberal at best, but it’s a fun way to spend a couple of minutes.

elliot’s favorite comics

Posted in commentary, sketchbook with tags , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I love comics and although I am perfectly fine with Elliot and Henry having no interest in the medium whatsoever, I’ve been trying to build a healthy interest in them. Well, more with Elliot than Henry at this point, I suppose, but the fact remains: I would love for them to also love the things I love.

To that end, in the past few months, Elliot and I have been reading lots of comics together. Although I’m never sure exactly how much he’s following the panels and pictures, he enjoys the stories and it’s been fun introducing him to some of my favorites, both new and old. I’ve been well pleased with the sheer amount of children’s comics that we have to choose from at our library- when I was a young’un, comics were all but absent from libraries. Now they’re some of the biggest sections of the children’s areas.

We read some standards: Elliot really seems to enjoy Archie comics. He’s interested in Batman. Of late, his main interest lie in two comics, and I’ve drew them for him in my sketchbook the other day:

From L to R: Sasspants, Johnny Boo, Squiggle.

Full disclosure: The first character comes from the children’s comic Guinea Pig: Private Eye, which is written by my friend Colleen Venable. Colleen and I went to high school together and she was super-nice to me when I moved to Brooklyn in 2006. If you know Colleen, you will not be surprised to see her name appear in the same sentence as the adjective “super-nice”. She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the good pleasure to meet in my life… which makes it all the easier to say that Guinea Pig: PI is awesome and Elliot loves it. It has a really clever premise, (Sasspants is a “P.I.” because the “g” fell off her cage’s sign), a lot of good humor, and some wonderfully cute art from Stephanie Yue, who also colored the heck out of my favorite graphic novel from 2010, Smile.

Also awesome: Colleen was doing a signing back home in New York a few weeks ago and I sent my mom to pick up both Guinea Pig: PI books (Hamster and Cheese and And Then There Were Gnomes, with others to soon follow for those playing at home) and she was nice enough to sign the books. This in and of itself would be awesome, but I have to publicly thank Colleen for signing one of the books “To Elliot and Henry” and the other “To Henry and Elliot.” That kind of attention to possible future sibling rivalry is most appreciated, Colleen!

Johnny Boo is the main character in a series of children’s comic books by cartoonist James Kochalka. I’m a tremendous fan of his and it’s impossible to argue that he’s the epicenter for “one a day, everyday” journal comics. We picked up Johnny Boo and the Happy Apples, the third book in the series, at our library. Elliot’s very into monsters and ghosts and Happy features both- besides Johnny and his pet ghost Squiggle, there’s an Ice Cream Monster. Elliot digs reading these and repeating many of the “catchphrases” that the characters use like when Squggle yells “Squiggle power, ACTIVATE!” That’s become a resounding cry in our house as of late.

Anyhow, I highly recommend both of these books. Tomorrow I’ll give a second recommendation to a great children’s/comic book with some cool art.