Archive for January, 2006

Wallace and Gromit could get Oscar!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Oscar nominations were announced today and there was a stunning upset in the animation category:

And for the first time since the animated feature film category was added in 2001 that no nominees were made using computer-generated imagery. The nominees: the hand-drawn “Howl’s Moving Castle,” and the stop-motion films “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” and “Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”

“Wallace & Gromit” creator Nick Park said he was thrilled by the nomination.

“It’s fantastic,” Park said, toasting the nomination with champagne at Heathrow Airport as he waited for a flight to Los Angeles. “You never know with these things. It’s so unpredictable.

“You make the film for its own sake really. You don’t make the film for this reason. It’s just a great bonus.”

I recently discovered that Nick Park’s Oscar-winning short film “Creature Comforts” was expanded into a full TV series in the UK. I recently bought the DVD box set and found it to be a lot of fun, though it doesn’t have the same spark of the original film.

“Curse of the Were-Rabbit” was wonderful, though the shorts (available on DVD) seemed to pack just as much story into 1/3rd the running time.

Hmm…I was going to link you guys to the DVD set, but I really don’t know which one to recommend.
** THIS ONE is out of print (available from resellers) but it features creator commentaries and other goodies.
** THIS ONE that is currently available does not feature commentaries but it is much cheaper.
** You can also get it as a box set packaged with the new Curse of the Were-Rabbit movie. However, this is the FULL-SCREEN version of the movie, not widescreen! YE BE WARNED.
**As for this other out of print one…HEY! I own this one…and now it’s going for $90? Time to sell it, I think.

Any coffee drinkers here?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

I don’t want to get all “activist agitator” with you folks, but here’s the problem: I want to support a coffee company but I don’t actually drink coffee, nor does my wife. Our parents drink coffee at our house once in a blue moon, which means the one bag we own has lasted for some time. So if I’m going to help, it won’t just be by buying a bag myself.

Texas Roast just announced that they are withdrawing their Google ads, even though those ads make a big difference for their company, as their protest against Google caving in to China’s demands for censorship.

Good for them! It’s not often a company chooses to do something that will hurt their bottom line because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe Google can give Texas Roast the “Don’t Be Evil” slogan since they’re no longer using it.

So, if you’re a gourmet coffee drinker, please add these guys to your bookmarks. www.texasroast.com

UPDATE: Chuck Dixon’s already signed on! How about you?

Busted Knuckles gets Freakie Friday’d

Monday, January 30th, 2006

I never mentioned Buzzscope before, and now twice in one day. Weird.

Seems they wanted to have “Busted Knuckles” to be written by a woman, but when Beau Smith went to the sex change operation they broke the saw. Until they can find something that cuts through brass, they opted instead to switch Beau with Buzzscope Columnist Ronée Garcia Bourgeois.

(Ronée Bourgeois. Didn’t he play Odo?)

Oy. Beware the manly comic book cover this week!

Here’s Beau’s press release:

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An internet oldie but a goodie

Monday, January 30th, 2006

What your car says about you

Chewbacca has a blog!

Monday, January 30th, 2006

UUUHHHGGG-rrrrRRR!

Zoo Crew

Monday, January 30th, 2006

I haven’t commented on the “Whatever Happened to Captain Carrot?” storyline in the recent Teen Titans because I was too disappointed in it. I’m not a basher of Geoff Johns, as you all know; I think he’s been the best thing since Mark Waid in turning the comic industry back towards “fun” from the dark times of the mid-1990s. He writes modern comics but with an all-out love for continuity and classic comics.

In fact, until Identity Crisis I thought we’d turned away from the depressing angst of yesteryear. Unfortunately, Johns used a “return of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew” story as a commentary on modern comics and instead just ruined a childhood fave. Appearing as only glimpses of the kind of comic book they must read within the DCU, we get a page here and there showing a Zoo Crew which is dispersed and depressed following the death of Roger Rodney Rabbit’s fiancee Carrie (she’s fed to Frogzilla), and it ends revealing that one of the team members was a bigot and murderer. Of course, all of this is wildly out of character if you read the books.

It’s hard to explain why the story doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s partly due to the nature in which it is told, in that we only see moments here and there from the story, with a rushed ending and no real action scenes. And quite frankly, it has nothing to do with the Teen Titans story in which it takes place. Then again, I’m sure that a full story as a stand-alone comic would be just as depressing and unsatisfying if this is the story it’s telling.

So, what other way can DC poop on everything I love? I got into comics reading “Captain Carrot” and they’ve ruined that. I’ve had a lifelong fondness for the carefree fun of Elongated Man and Sue Dibny, and they’ve ruined that. I mean, I love DC. I’ve loved DC comics all my life, and even in this dark era they’re putting out some stuff that is top-notch. But it’s gotten to the point where if I were offered the chance to work there tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to find any of my favorite characters that are still in working order!

OK, I’ve thought of a couple. I’m not going to mention them for fear of instigating something. After all, on my Ralph Dibny site I mentioned that no one would ever kill Sue Dibny because it would wreck Elongated Man’s viability as a character and Brad Meltzer apparently took that as a challenge.

There is one hope: this Zoo Crew tale was a story being told by a comic company WITHIN the DCU, which is in a dark trend right now. Perhaps it is not at all representative of what’s actually happening on Earth-C.

Few things in comics are permanently wrecked. Hal Jordan, Oa and the Green Lantern Corps (including a half-dozen GLs who were killed off) have all come back. Adam Strange’s horrible mini-series that killed off Alanna was undone by Mark Waid. Firestorm came back. Dove returned. The JSA book has spent six years revitalizing old characters and undoing damage from the dark days of comic books. Guy Gardner got his bowl cut back. Okay, Tora Olafsdottir is still dead and the Metal Men need work, but on the whole it seems like bad decisions don’t last forever even if it causes people to fret about deaths not being permanent.

I know it would undo the whole pivotal plotpoint of Identity Crisis, but you have to think they’ll do Sue justice someday.

As for Captain Carrot…sorry, Geoff, to be picking on you. I love all your other stuff.

Read more:
Howling Curmudgeons Review.
Anthony’s Annotations to Part One and Part Two, plus a follow-up.
Comics Worth Reading says to ignore it.
Four Color Media Monitor has a review, too.

Comic industry sexual harrassment

Monday, January 30th, 2006

I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard anything about this story in the last month, but many of you may already know of it. I guess I’m late to the game on this one. The story started the day after Christmas, when I wasn’t even near the Internet much, so I can see how I missed it. The Four Color Media Monitor has a good summary of what has gone on, but I’ll do a quick recap:

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“Trapped in the Closet” trapped in the vault

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Tom Cruise kills South Park episode

People in the UK will not be able to see the notorious South Park episode in which Tom Cruise is hiding in a closet because Stan, who Tom believes to be the reincarnation of Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard, says that Tom’s acting is only OK, though he’s no Gene Hackman or the guy from Napoleon Dynamite. Tom Cruise raised a stink with Paramount and the episode will not be shown again.

Now…the real question is, will the episode be suppressed when it’s time to put the Season on a box set? I mean, if Tom Cruise doesn’t want people seeing it, he’ll be just as litigious about keeping it from being seen again via DVD.

Of course, the wonderful thing about Internet Piracy is that there is no such thing as suppressing a cartoon anymore. Anyone with a connection to the WWW, a copy of Limewire and a high speed connection can find the episode.

Return of the Zinc Saucier

Friday, January 27th, 2006

I’m just so jazzed to hear that Futurama is coming back (as earlier reported by Chaim Keller). I’ve missed Bender so much. There’s nobody else like him. Who else could, upon winning a cooking contest, declare: “I decline the title of Iron Cook and accept only the lesser title of Zinc Saucier, which I just made up. Also, it comes with double prize money.”

Who else can enter a room singing an original song to their own greatness?

I wish it wasn’t animated, just because I hate the wait.

Meh. I suppose it’s manly.

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Beau Smith has been having a “Manly Cover Competition” with Chuck Dixon where each week they offer a comic from their collection and compare which one is mas macho. Chuck has a pic of Tarzan with a machine gun, then Beau fires back with a WWII superhero and his sidekick mowing down an entire platoon of Japanese soldiers with machine guns before rolling over them with a steamroller. Of course, there’s never a winner. Each guy disses the other’s offering and brags about their own…which is, of course, manly.

(OK, the steamroller cover wins. Steamroller always wins.)

I hear there’s an archive of these covers on the way, but for now all you can do is join in the fun by checking the Busted Knuckles column and the Dixonverse message board.

Beau tends to favor the “fighting and loving” covers where wholesale slaughter is going on whilst a leggy blonde is fixing her hair.

Anyway, Beau has a new book coming out soon with artist Eduardo Barreto called “Cobb: Off the Leash.” (Note: this is the only permissable way to use “coming out” in a sentence that includes Beau Smith.) Today, he posted the cover and I’m going to evaluate whether it qualifies as manly. The story concerns an ex-Secret Service agent and the Russian mafia.

Let’s see:
Smoking bullets: check!
Smoking guns, two of ’em, in the man’s hands: check!
Big bruiser wielding a knife: check!
Mustache: check!
Commie: check!
Naked chick: chick! I mean, check!
Badge: check!
Bullet holes: check!
Babe with a bat: check!
Speeding car: check!
Steely-eyed bad guy in a suit: check!
Holsters: check!
Boots: check!

I dunno. It could use a steamroller. Maybe that’s for issue 2.

I thought about hosting the image here, but nah…go give it a look at full size!

Plus, here’s an interview Beau did with Sequential Tart.

Preview of “Justin”

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

8 pages of previews for the upcoming “Truth, Justin and the American Way” from Scott Kurtz and Aaron Williams are now up on Newsarama.

Pet Pro looking for artist

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

The Pet Professional online comic is looking for a new artist. It details the adventures of a hired gun who accepts contracts on animals.

DC First Look at Ion #1

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Comics Continuum has the First Look of Ion #1. Ron Marz, creator of Kyle Rayner, retuns to writing Kyle as, One Year Later, he once again has more power than any Green Lantern.

Way to go, Brad!

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Brad finally gets a kiss from Toni Daytona!

I’ve been a reader of the comic strip “Luann” for years, but I think Brad is infinitely more interesting than the main character, the boys-and-clothes-obsessed Luann.

In a case of Life Imitates The Onion, the November 14th issue of The Onion poked fun at cartoonist Greg Evans (who was known for having his strip address serious issues)… not knowing that Evans WOULD address 9-11 by having it permanently affect Brad.

After the destruction of the World Trade Center, layabout brother Brad decided to become a firefighter, and the strip occasionally shows his efforts to get his EMT training and then qualify as a fireman. Then it spends a few weeks on Luann complaining about boys or adopting a kitten, and then it’s back to Brad.

I’d be happy if the strip was all about him.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED Returning Early

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

The last we heard Cartoon Network said new episodes of Justice League Unlimited wouldn’t be airing until late Spring/Summer. But Comics Continuum has revealed that, apparently, Cartoon Network has changed its mind and new episodes will start airing February 11 at 10:30 Eastern. 9 episodes will be in this block.

How Spinal Tap are these bands?

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

A COMPARISON BETWEEN ‘SPINAL TAP’ AND OTHER HEAVY METAL BANDS is pretty funny…though I must disagree with the guy’s analysis since I like Def Leppard.

Superman And Aquaman Find New Home

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

The WB and UPN will merge into a new network called The CW (“C” for CBS and “W” for Warner Brothers). Plans are for The CW to debut this Fall. The new network will air the most popular shows from both networks, including Smallville and, presumably, the new Aquaman show.

Syndrome shows symptoms

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Chicken Pox Shuts Down ‘My Name Is Earl’

Cox and Forkum interviewed

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Cox & Forkum are two of my favorite cartoonists, and now part two of a two-part SNN interview has been posted as a podcast.
Part One.
Part Two.

I’ve only listened to part one. Frankly, these SNN podcasts aren’t really to my tastes, especially their correspondent in America (Warning: contains rated R language and general hickery), but I liked the Cox and Forkum interview. In part two, they refer to their personal favorites of their own cartoons, which are here and here.

The Autobot Leader gets his name

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Wikipedia reveals that Optimus Prime was named by Denny O’Neil.

Thanks to Scott “Condiment” King.