Archive for ‘Writers’

Happy 50th, Kurt Busiek!

The Syracuse years! Circa 1980. (Photo by ?)

Ha! Beat him to it by three months. (Wait, is that a good thing?)

As most of you know, Kurt, in addition to be being a great friend since before the time of Moses, is also the kid who insisted I try reading just a few of his comic books in 8th grade, thus changing the course of my life forever.

He’s also one of the smartest and best writers in comics, and has been giving me good advice for 27 years.

Many happy returns of the day!

You old geezer.


Tonight (Friday) at 7:30 pm Pacific Time, KCRW will be reprising the original 1991 radio play of American Splendor with Dan (so-much-more-than-Homer-Simpson) Castellaneta in the role of Harvey.

Castellaneta’s Harvey actually precedes the movie, but it’s equally delightful in its own way. We got to see a live performance with Harvey and Joyce in the audience (at San Diego, I think it was) and we all just loved it.

It’ll be live on air and streaming only, so set a timer if you want to hear this terrific production. Thanks to Heidi for the alert.

And, of course, if you appreciate great radio and want to support it, here’s your annual reminder that KCRW is probably the best station on the planet right now and can always use a little help.

Harvey Pekar 1939-2010

“Harvey Pekar looked fully-drawn and inked when everyone else was sketched.”

Tom Spurgeon.

Tom’s Full Obit here.

Photo by Seth Kushner.

Comic-Con Panels!

San Diego’s famous Comic-Con International begins in only ten days and they’ve just posted their complete 2010 programming schedule.

ThursFri SatSun

I don’t have anything of my own to promote until The Sculptor is a little further along, so I’ll be joining some great friends on stage on Thursday and Friday (and remembering a great friend of comics on Saturday).

From the convention listings:

Thursday 11:30-12:30
Spotlight on Kurt Busiek— The Eisner Award–winning writer and Comic-Con special guest discusses his career — past, present, and future — in comics. With a résumé that includes Superman, Justice League/Avengers, Conan, and his own creator-owned projects Astro City and Arrowsmith, Kurt Busiek is one of comics most popular writers! Joining Kurt will be long-time friend and fellow comics creator Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics). Room 8

Thursday 1:30-2:30
Beanworld and the Leguminous Life of Larry Marder!— What is Beanworld? Where does it come from? How did it all begin? Comic-Con special guest Larry Marder and moderator Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics) celebrate the 25th anniversary of Marder’s most peculiar comic book experience with a visual presentation and a lively dialogue about his many influences. This is your opportunity to discover why Beanworld has captivated readers from grade school to grad school over several generations. Be the first to get a glimpse into Marder’s next Dark Horse Books original Beanworld graphic novel, Something More! Room 4

Friday 4:00-5:00
James Sturm and Scott McCloud, A Center for Cartoon Studies Conversation: Understanding, Making, and Teaching Comics— Join CCS co-founder James Sturm (Market Day) and Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics) in a freewheeling discussion about transforming the unruly creative process into practical instruction. Plus catch a sneak peak of Cartoon College, the upcoming documentary about The Center for Cartoon Studies! Room 7AB

Saturday 11:30-12:30
Will Eisner, The Dreamer— Will Eisner played a central role in the first seven decades of comics history. Many times during his career, he reinvented sequential art and himself to overcome new challenges. He was a true dreamer, and these panelists hope to show you that side of him: Denis Kitchen (artist, author, publisher, and Will Eisner’s agent and longtime friend), Scott McCloud (artist, author, and theoretician about comics and sequential art), Dennis O’Neil (comic book writer and editor for Marvel Comics and DC Comics), Paul Levitz (writer, former president/publisher, DC Comics), and Michael Schumacher (bestselling author and Biographer with a new biography of Will Eisner due out this fall). This is your chance to learn more about the “Father of the Graphic Novel.” Room 4

Understanding Parties!

Ivy throws me surprise parties once in a while. She’s brilliant at engineering surprises, but it’s almost wasted, because I’m pathetically easy to fool. (Imagine Ricky Jay doing card tricks for a cocker spaniel, seriously.)

Anyway, she pulled off another wonderful party Saturday, two days after my actual birthday, which was all it took to eliminate any suspicions on my part, because, well… see above. I’m dense. We had a fantastic time all the way into the wee hours.

Along with our great local pals, longtime friends Kurt Busiek, Larry Marder, and Barry Deutsch flew/drove/rode in for the occasion, and Larry and local legend Paul Smith even gave me some gorgeous original art! (Check it out!: Paul’s | Larry’s)

And then there was the cake! Yet another piece of great original art; quickly demolished, but no less appreciated.

Friends, Life, Wife: I love you.

Thanks. ^__^

Oh, Somebody PLEASE Write these Stories

You just know that the comics underneath these covers will be the same old Iron Man stories.

But can you come up with stories that would actually deserve such adorable covers? (Short summaries of course, not a whole script.)

C’mon, The Internet. I know you can do it!

The Mystery Quote

“Write as if everyone you ever loved was dead.”

It’s great advice for writers. Right up there with “Murder your Darlings” (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, apparently) and “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water” (Kurt Vonnegut).

But who said it?

I must have the phrasing off, since Googling yielded nothing, but I’m sure that was the essential meaning of the advice. McEwan said something similar regarding parents, and there’s a jumbled similarity to something by Lynn Freed (both via Twitter), but otherwise I’m drawing a blank, so I’m turning to you.

Does anyone recognize this advice?

Friday Odds and Ends: BBC does Comics, True Swamp Online, and Serendipity via Twitter

Reader Jacob Stevens Corvidae emailed me with a link to “another Kick-Ass debate”; Kevin Smith on the BBC’s Newsnight Review, discussing both the film and the comic with author Jeanette Winterson (whose novels Jacob strongly recommends) and comedian Natalie Haynes (Part 3 above being especially lively).

A few quotes taken out of context might be depressing to comics enthusiasts, but I was actually delighted to see comics’ new rules of engagement in play. The medium’s potential for great work seemed a settled question (Winterson even name-checked City of Glass), so the debate centered instead on whether they were living up to that potential and that’s a question I’d love to see raised as often as possible.

Also, I just liked everybody on the show.

In other news, our old pal Jon Lewis has brought his ’90s classic True Swamp back to life via the Web. Gotta bookmark that.

And finally, Kazu tweeted a recommendation for this little gem by Luke Pearson so I’m passing it along. An odd but stimulating read.

Talk, Rock, Kick, Ass

Catching up a bit:

Liked the visual essay Less Talk More Rock on BoingBoing last month. Good approach to tackling a problem in games that assails every medium; how to reconnect with core principles and the unique potential of an art form in the face of commercial dilution and the imported sensibilities of other media.

Getting “back to basics” can be much more than just turning back the clock. Taken in its more profound sense, it’s also the key to moving forward.

Saw Kick-Ass last night. Not bad, though our crowd might have been happier if the movie had just been called Hit-Girl (Yeah, yeah… balanced round-up of that little controversy here).

I confess to not having read many of Mark Millar’s comics yet, although I’ve noticed that every time he comes up, someone always seems to be angry at him. What’s that all about?

For me, the coolest part was seeing THE preview in a theater for the first time, and hearing SP name-checked in the movie.

Oh, and the Sparks song!!

Mr. Bissette Remembers

Battle-scarred freelance veteran and CCS teacher Steve Bissette has been posting his remembrances of some “Forgotten Comics Wars” over at his blog. It’s a fascinating series covering debates that were raging during the years I was just entering the business.

Since the series took the form of scattered blog posts, Mark Evanier has done us all the favor of collecting the links for all 12 parts and offers his own commentary here.

Get ready to start a few tabs:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

…and enjoy a blast from the past.

A lot has changed at “The Big Two” over the years and a lot remains the same, but with recent developments like Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m cautiously optimistic.