Archive for odds & ends

odds & ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

I don’t think I mentioned it, but I’m currently in Northeast Ohio with my family; we’re visiting Ellen’s parents for a few days. I’m normally able to “appropriate” a wireless Internet connection from one of the neighbors around her, but nothin’ doing this go-around. As such, I’m on Alice & Ken’s big old computer. I apologize in advance for any typos.

———————————–

While I’m here in NE Ohio, I took an afternoon to walk around downtown Kent. I’ve driven through Kent a few times, but never had the opportunity to check the place out. It’s a fairly standard college town, replete with dilapidated concert space, several bars, and to my happiness, a nice sized used book store, Last Exit Books. I always enjoy used book stores in college towns, because often college students get a bit silly with their book collections and decide, in a fit of desperation, to sell their prized books for beer money. I did something similar with my record collection when I was a soon-to-be college Freshman.

Anyhow, I wasn’t looking for any big purchases (truth be told, I’m kind of light in the wallet until payday) but Last Exit did have a fair selection of used comic books, and I bought a couple.

Now, I picked these three books for three different reasons. Lethargic Comics is a superhero spoof book I enjoyed quite a bit when I was heavily invested in superhero comic books. Prez is (I guess) a spin-off of the first issue of The Sandman I ever bought. Father & Son just looked like the type of alternative humor book that doesn’t get made very often these days. Three random picks, three random dollars.

I was a little surprised to find out, after getting back to my in-laws, that the three books also share another thing in common: All three books came out in 1995. I don’t know what this says about me, or the comics, or my taste, but I thought the randomness was pretty fun.

__________________________________

Movies. I saw some movies this past week.

Super 8 was a fun flick; I liked the way it paid homage to the “days gone by” of Spielbergian kids movies. It hit all the notes well: ragtag bunch of kids, single parent woes, military involvement; I could go on but I won’t. I wish it had done a little less benedition toward those old Amblin flicks and struck out on its’ own a bit more… but like I said, I liked the movie.

Green Lantern was a mixed bag. I should say right off, I enjoyed the movie. I thought it was fine. It didn’t blow my socks off, but not many of these superhero movies do. I didn’t like Iron Man the same amount as everyone else, nor was I completely wowed by Spider-Man when it first came out. GL was OK. That being said, this devistatingly brutal piece on Topless Robot zeroes on exactly EVERY flaw the movie has (and there are many). Well worth reading if you’ve seen the flick.

Advertisements

odds and ends

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

As is likely clear from my weekly trolling of all our local thrift stores, one big vice that I have is books. I love books. Love to own ’em, love to have ’em, and I really love ¬†fancy-pants special editions of my favorites books, comics, and stories.

Behold one fancy collection that I will have to somehow live my life without owning:

The Bone 20th Anniversary Full Color One Volume Collector’s Box Set. It comes with an art print signed by Bone creator Jeff Smith. It comes with three pewter figures of the Bone cousins. It comes with a 22k gold-plated recreation of Phoney Bone’s gold coins. It comes with a facsimile of Bone #1 in black and white. It comes with a DVD documentary.

Oh, it also comes with one of my favorite comic stories ever, in hardcover with a beautiful new coloring job… presented in a handsome red case.

Cost: $350 dollars… although Cartoon Books is offering a version for $1,000 dollars wherein Smith will draw and Hammaker will watercolor a sketch for you. I honestly prefer Bone in B&W as that is how I originally encountered the story, but you cannot argue with how beautiful Steve Hammaker’s work is. Plus, I LOVE that Phoney Bone coin.

Alas and alack… I think I’ll probably use that money to feed and clothe my children. I will content myself with the original One Volume edition, which proudly sits on the shelves of both my classroom and my own private collection.

……………………………………

I was excited to read Horribly Heartbroken at Hogwarts this week, a sort-of travelogue by cartoonist Lucy Knisley and her studio mate Laura Renick-Reinhart.

I’ve become a fan of Knisley’s work in the past year, especially her contribution to Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign. It inspired me to write my own comic in response!

HHH found its’ beginnings in a rather unique fashion- Knisley and Renick-Reinhart opened a Kickstarter project to fund a trip to Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, with the goal of visiting the new Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida. The deal was this: if the readers would fund their trip, they’d get to read the comic about the trip. The ladies’ project was a resounding success- they asked for $2,500 dollars… they got over $7,000. Had I been in a position to donate at the time, I certainly would have… but I’ve contented myself with resting on other’s laurels and buying a PDF of the comic after the fact.

As far as the comic pertains to the more lofty stated goal of the strip (connecting their recent break-up woes with significant others to their love of Harry Potter), I thought HHH missed the mark. There are some interesting swipes at the thesis; in particular, I liked the observation Lucy makes about dealing with her logical-thinking ex-boyfriend versus her more emotional travel companion. Still, by and large the “heartbroken” stuff felt shoehorned into the comic and wasn’t my favorite part of the 25 page book.

From the perspective of a travelogue, I enjoyed Horribly Heartbroken at Hogwarts immensely. Part of the goal of this project seemed to be glorying in all things Potter and the authors carry that off with style. I, for one would jump at the chance to pay for Knisley and Renick-Reinhart to take another trip in the future, if it means more comics like this. Ladies, if you’re ever interested in a sequel, I will gladly fund your trip to visit the places in England and Scotland where the Harry Potter movies were filmed.

Download the comic for $3 dollars!

…………………………

Finally, I wanted to share this with all of you. A few months ago, I told you all about my son Elliot’s love of Ralph Consentino’s Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight, to the point where he has the book memorized and will quote it for you in odd places. I got in touch with Ralph and he generously sent Elliot a lovely drawing of the Dark Knight himself.

Ellen is the manager of an art gallery/framing studio and she decided to have both Ralph’s drawing and my own sketch framed… and here’s the result:

A beautiful job, if I do say so myself. I wanted to thank Ralph again here on the blog- it was a genuine thrill for Elliot… and myself!

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.

………………………

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.

………………………

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…

………………………

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.