On Saturday, November 19, AudioComics Pulp history was made on Mission Street in San Francisco at Broken Radio Studios, site of the legendary Coast Recorders Studio. Ably engineered by Piper Payne, Craig Neibaur, Karen Stilwell, and the members of the Pulp Adventures Acting Company (Bill Chessman, Suzan Lorraine, Kevin Donnelly, Mandy Brown, Peter Carini, Peter Papadopoulos, and Perry Aliado) recorded the first of many Green Lama and Domino Lady audio movies (or in this case audio shorts).
Pete Carini said it best when it was all over: “about twenty minutes from now I’m going to have an adrenaline crash.”
By now you know, unless you’re a fan who really reads nothing but comics and sees/hears nothing that’s not comics related: we had us a storm, we north easterners, and it was a humdinger. Lots of snow – lots! – before Halloween which royally screwed things up hereabouts and drove Mari and me onto the wet and gleaming roads looking for a motel with a vacancy because our house had neither heat nor light. Main problem seemed to be that the trees still bore leaves and their weight, added to the weight of the snow, caused the timber to fall, much of it across power lines. Cue music:
Away in a manger
No crib for a bed,
Poor little Denny
Lay down his bald head…
Okay, wrong holiday and we did a bit better than Joe the Carpenter and his family. We found a Holiday Inn near the Jersey border that had suffered a cancellation and so we didn’t have to spend the dark hours in a cold house, a car, or a manger.
And you know, I’m not complaining! I choose to live here, partly because I like the seasons and, as Diana Ross admonished, “take the bitter with the sweet.” Mari and I can consider the whole thing an unexpected little adventure, though if the power hadn’t returned this morning, I’d probably be calling it something else.
Of course, if I lived in Peter Parker’s New York I wouldn’t be bothered by meteorological matters. Same would be true if I lived in Metropolis, Star City, Gotham City…anywhere in comicbookland. There’s seldom snow there, or much rain, not a lot of wind or heat or humidity, and that’s a minor league shame. Not that I’d want Pete’s Spidey suit sticking to his armpits, or Batman have to put on galoshes over his boots. But in a story, weather can be a tool. It can add texture and realism to the fictional settings, complications to the hero’s various quests (and without complications, those quests aren’t terribly involving). It can even be a major plot point, one that drives the action of the narrative. Or a source of humor. Or a reflection of the protagonist’s psyche. It can establish mood and it can help to establish locale. It could give a city character, as fog does for London and San Francisco or rain does for Seattle.
What is the weather like in Star City? Does the local television weather guy begin every report with, “It looks like another bland day here in our area…”
The exception, as is so often the case, is Central City, the New York doppelganger where Will Eisner’s Spirit fought whatever Eisner thought up to give him problems. It rains there. And snows. And gets warm. And the stuff is a joy to read, and if you’re looking for some recommended reading, well…most, if not all, of the Spirit stories have been reprinted. What I’m saying is, no excuses.
But for now…Hey look! A tree has fallen across my front yard. That hasn’t happened since…the damn hurricane a few months ago.
Continuing a great and long-standing tradition, about 90 of our top newspaper comic strips will be commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on and in Boston MA, New York City NY, Newark NJ, Shanksville PA and Washington DC by producing special strips, with each cartoonist making his or her individual comment on the event.
Strips that will be participating include Agnes, Apt. 3-G, Archie, Arctic Circle, Ask Shagg, B.C., Baby Blues, Barney & Clyde, Beakman And Jax, Beetle Bailey, Between Friends, Big Nate, Bleeker The Rechargeable Dog, Blondie, Brewster Rockit: Spaceguy!, Buckets, Buckles, Candorville, Chuckle Bros, Crankshaft, Curtis, Daddy’s Home, Deflocked, Dennis The Menace, Dick Tracy, Dog Eat Doug, Dogs Of C-Kennel, Doonesbury, Dustin, Edge City, Elderberries, Fastrack, Fort Knox, Freshly Squeezed, Funky Winkerbean, Gasoline Alley, Grand Avenue, Hagar The Horrible, Heart Of The City, Heathcliff, Heaven’s Love Thrift Shop, Herb And Jamaal, Hi And Lois, Home And Away, Ink Pen, Lacucaracha, Lio, Little Dog Lost, and Luann.
Continuing our alphabetical list: Mallard Fillmore, Mark Trail, Marvin, Mary Worth, Momma, Mother Goose & Grimm, Mutts, Nancy, Ollie & Quentin, On A Claire Day, One Big Happy, Over The Hedge, Pardon My Planet, Pluggers, Pooch Caf’e, Prickly City, Pros & Cons, Real Life Adventures, Red Rover, Reply All, Retail, Rhymes With Orange, Rubes, Safe Havens, Sally Forth, Sherman’s Lagoon, Shoe, Six Chix, Snuffy Smith, Speed Bump, Stone Soup, Strange Brew, Tank Mcnamara, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Brilliant Mind Of Edison Lee, The Duplex, The Family Circus, The Meaning Of Lila, The Other Coast, The Pajama Diaries, Tina’s Groove, Todd The Dinosaur, Wizard Of Id, Zack Hill, Zippy, and Zits.
Further, special exhibits and presentations will be made at The Newseum in Washington, D.C., The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, The Toonseum in Pittsburgh, and The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) andThe Society of Illustrators, both in New York City. Contact the individual museums or go to http://cartoonistsremember911.com/ for more information.
With everyone buzzing about the revamped DC Universe or the surprisingly sweet Super 8, there’s another super-hero movie coming out this summer that you might not be aware of. A few weeks after Captain America opens, you can try the quirky romantic comedy Griff the Invisible, on August 19. Starring Ryan Kwanten and Maeve Dermody.
The official synopsis tells us:
The world can make us invisible. Courage can make us incredible. Love can make us invincible.
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) stars in this totally unpredictable romantic comedy about the superhero in all of us. Griff (Kwanten), a shy and awkward office worker by day, finds escape from his ordinary life by assuming the identity of a fantastic superhero each night. Griff’s secret is jeopardized when he meets Melody (Maeve Dermody), a cute but unconventional daydreamer. She quickly becomes fascinated by his idiosyncrasies, which are equal only to her own. In the face of mounting pressure to live in the “real world,” it’s up to Melody to rescue GRIFF THE INVISIBLE for the sake of herself, Griff and their newfound love for each other.
The 93 minute PG-13 film was written and directed by Leon Ford, an actor perhaps best known for his work on HBO’s The Pacific. It currently has a limited release schedule so if you’re in the vicinity, you might want to check it out.
August 19, 2011 – Los Angeles, Berkley, San Francisco, New York
August 26, 2011 – Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Denver
Pixar has announced details about the short, “La Luna” that will run prior to Cars 2 later this month. The story’s synopsis, according to a studio release:
La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?
The story comes from director Enrico Casarosa, who is also Pixar’s Head of Story. (more…)
Dean R. Koontz is the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers.He lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.
Horror fantasist, Dean Koontz continues his best selling series about the never ending war between Mary Shelly’s mad scientist Victor Frankenstein and his immortal creation, the Monster; now known in these books as Deucalion.This is the fourth book in the saga and the beginning of a brand new story arc.In the opening trilogy, which took place in New Orleans, the four hundred year old obsessed genius set about creating an army of super clones who would ultimately replace imperfect humans as the new dominant species on Earth.
He was foiled by Deucalion and two brave police detectives, Carson O’Connor and Michael Maddison.By the third book’s climax, they believed he had been killed and the world saved.What they were not aware of was Frankenstein had cloned himself and this doppelganger came to life upon the death of the original.
“Lost Souls” opens two years later after the first conflict to find Carson and Michael have married, moved to San Francisco, opened a private detective agency and had a child, a beautiful baby girl named Scout.For the most part their lives couldn’t be any happier.This is why Deucalion’s reappearance bodes ill tides.He has learned that his creator is still alive and hiding in the small town of Rainbow Falls, Montana.What the patchworkwarrior does not know is that his cloned nemesis is completely insane and unlike his predecessor, has but one goal, the total annihilation of all mankind, both originals and replicants.He dreams of Armageddon.
“Frankenstein – Lost Souls” is Koontz’ most audacious pulp novel to date.It is a bold, raucous narrative that moves at lightning pacing.Horror upon horror is visited on the small, peaceful town of Rainbow Falls and Koontz never once spares his readers with his lean and brutal prose.His fans are going to devour this latest chapter in what has become a truly classic pulp series.New readers need not have read the first trilogy, although it would add much to their enjoyment of this entry.And be aware, this is book is only the first part of the story and ends with a suspense laden cliffhanger. Wherein the only real sour note is we now have to wait for several months for part two.Now that’s torture at its most sophisticated.
The AudioComics Company is proud to present the second characters in their original pulp audio project will be THE pulp vixen of the 1930′s, the scourge of LA herself, The Domino Lady!
First introduced by Lars Anderson in Saucy Romantic Adventures and Mystery Adventures, The Domino Lady is the alter-ego of Ellen Patrick, a wealthy UC Berkeley graduate out to avenge the murder of her father, District Attorney Owen Patrick, in the Raymond Chandler-esque Southern California of 1935. While she brandished a .45 and syringe of knockout serum, her greatest weapon was her sexuality, which she would use to disarm her unsuspecting opponents. Routinely stealing from her targets, she donates most of the profits to charity after deducting her cut, leaving a calling card with the words “Compliments of the Domino Lady” behind.
DL appeared specifically in “spicy pulp” magazines, pulps that typically featured semi-pornographic short stories. Such magazines had smaller print runs (and were as a result a few cents higher in price) and were usually sold “under the counter” upon request. Only a handful of Domino Lady were published, all of which were collected in Bold Venture Press’ Compliments of the Domino Lady, featuring a cover from the one and only Jim Steranko. In addition, Moonstone Books has published a new series of Domino Lady comics and prose stories. The AudioComics Company’s world-premiere productions will mark the first time that the alter-ego of Ellen Patrick has ever appeared in an audio format. Portraying the Domino Lady will be San Francisco Bay Area actress and filmmaker Karen Stilwell, who has a unique tie to AudioComics; take a read of her bio… Karen Stilwell began acting in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco as a teen. After winning a National Theater award for best ensemble work in regional theater (playing a maid in one of Tennessee Williams last plays called This is (an Entertainment)), she was propelled to continue acting after meeting Williams and Michael York and choosing, with the help of “A Chorus Line” summer touring cast members, to go to the Big Apple just after High School at age 17. Within a year she had joined both the Screen Actors Guild and The American Federation ofTelevision and Radio Artists recording voice overs, commercials, under five roles on soap operas like All My Children and The Guiding Light with some small parts in the films Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession and C.O D.
She became a core member of a theater company called Wild Hair Productions consisting of mainly fellow actors who had met in class and enjoyed writing and acting together in their own plays. The biggest hit to come from the troupe was Starstruck with Karen playing the original Erotica Ann 333, an android built for sex but re programmed to be the maintenance officer on the GOOD ship Harpy.
After several more years of off B’way work, more under five roles on soaps, and a few more national commercials, Karen did some stand in work for the lead ladies in Love Sick (staring Dudley Moore), was taken by the ensemble feeling the film crew had, and decided to get behind the camera herself taking off to film school in San Francisco. Soon Karen was making documentaries and shorts while raising her daughter Jenna. Two of her documentaries made it into the Library of Congress: The Real Jean Roe and Tear Gas Filled the Sky staring longshoreman, activist, writer & actor Bill Bailey. Acting picked up in San Francisco again in the 1990s with parts on television shows shooting in SF, not to mention many industrial films and commercials.
During the 2000’s Karen mainly worked in video post production with some corporate producing jobs and only acted when friends called upon her to jump in on low budget films and such. It wasn’t until reconnecting with Elaine Lee, her old acting troupe buddy, at the revived staged reading of Starstruck in Big Sur (which of course became The AudioComics Company’s debut audio play) that she finds herself ready to get in the nightgown and mask…behind the microphone that is…and play The Domino Lady. The first Domino Lady project will be a three-part serial authored by one of the country’s leading DL historians, Rich Harvey, with the first part, “All’s Fair in War,” recording this fall in San Francisco, alongside AudioComics’ first two Green Lama audio adventures. The name Rich Harvey is synonymous with pulp stories and pulp history in the United States; a New Jersey-based graphic designer, writer, and publisher, his Bold Venture Press imprint specializes in reprints of classic pulp fiction, among them Pulp Adventures magazine and Compliments of the Domino Lady, the reprint collection that thrust the Domino Lady back into the pulp limelight. He also sponsors an annual gathering of pulp enthusiasts, the Pulp Adventurecon, in New Jersey. Rich cites Dashiell Hammett as his favorite author and biggest influence, and next on the list is Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s The Destroyer series. www.boldventurepress.com is the handle!
“A warm west coast evening — a glamorous city bathed in silvery moonlight — a criminal element walking arm-in-arm with high society — and a masked woman who challenges their power the DOMINO LADY.”
Judd Winick has returned to Gotham City with a vengeance. The award-winning cartoonist has transitioned one of his benchmark storylines from comic book pages to animated film with the upcoming release of Batman: Under the Red Hood, the latest entry in the popular series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, the University of Michigan graduate gained national fame as a cast member of MTV’s The Real World, San Francisco in 1994. In the wake of the death of his Real World roommate and friend, AIDS activist Pedro Zamora, Winick embarked on a national AIDS education lecture tour. Later, the lecture and his friendship with Zamora was documented in his award-winning graphic novel Pedro And Me.
Winick next created his original comic book series, Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, and then began a long running stint as one of the top writers on mainstream super hero comics. Winick has scripted such titles as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Trials Shazam, Green Arrow and Outsiders (for DC Comics), Exiles (for Marvel) and Star Wars (for Dark Horse). He also was the creator and executive producer of Cartoon Network’s animated series, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
He is currently developing live action television and animation, writing the new bi-weekly comic title for DC Comics Justice League: Generation Lost, as well as the monthly Power Girl.
In 2005, Winick presented his Red Hood storyline in the Batman comics and it was met with tremendous sales alongside powerful waves of controversy. He has evolved that story into the script for the all-new DC Universe film, Batman: Under the Red Hood. In celebration of the film’s July 27 street date, DC Comics will distribute a six-issue mini-series, Red Hood: The Lost Days. Written by Winick and drawn by Pablo Raimondi, the mini-series offers greater insight into the back story of the title character.
Batman: Under the Red Hood will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2-disc DVD, as well as being available on single disc DVD, On Demand and for Download.
Today’s installment of comic-related news items that wouldn’t generate a post of their own, but may be of interest…
* Heidi MacDonald checks in with comics pros for her annual year end survey: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The big themes: recession, online comics, comic book movies– and how gangbuster movie sales don’t translate into gangbuster comic sales. (Disclaimer: I’m one of those people included.)
* Asylum Press, having offered free comics for anyone signing up for their online newsletter within the first twelve days of December, has extended their offer. Anyone who signs up at firstname.lastname@example.org before Jan. 31 will receive three free comics.
* Brian Cronin says "Comic book writers appear to have more of a presence on the internet than comic book artists." As the webmaster for Peter David’s weblog and all the work I’ve done over here… no kidding.
* Uclick has revealed an all-new mobile Web application for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch at the Macworld Conference & Expo event in San Francisco. By navigating to www.uclick.com on the iPhone and iPod touch, the Safari browser now displays the Uclick archive of 400,000 comic strips, single-panel comics and editorial cartoons. Currently the iPhone-optimized site features comic strips and single-panel cartoons, including Doonesbury, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes, Close to Home, and many more. Hat tip: Macworld UK.
* Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton and Comic Foundry’s Laura Hudson launched Cereblog, a dual critical analysis of every issue of Cerebus. In the same vein, Tom the Dog has been running weekly retrospectives of every appearance of GrimJack.
* And sadly, Cheryl Holdridge, one of the original "Mickey Mouse Club" Mouseketeers, died January 6th after a two-year battle with cancer. She was 64.
He’s up and about, as well as lucid but is having short-term memory issues. "His vocabulary is returning. His sarcasm. His humor. His personality is maddeningly Wilson," Lorraine Chamberlain, his partner, said. "But sometimes it sounds like he’s hallucinating. It’s just the aphasia. ‘Lorraine! I’m at the gas station! Getting the car fixed!’ He’s choosing incorrect words to tell me he’s waiting for me. He still can’t grasp that he’s in a hospital. Every time I tell him that he fell down and he’s been hospitalized, he’s very surprised."
Wilson has been moved to the rehabilitation unit at the California Pacific Medical Center. "The doctors told me Thursday that he wouldn’t be coming home any time soon," Lorraine told the paper on Sunday night.
His most recent accomplishment was his recognized signature and Anderson is hopeful he will be able to return to his artwork. “Now that I’ve watched him do his signature, it’s really exciting, but it may be many months.
"He can’t be unsupervised for a minute for months to come. Medi-Cal will [only] pay for a health-care worker to come in a few days a week. It will be like taking care of a really humorous toddler." Anyone wishing to send get well cards or cash donations to help his bills can send them to P.O. Box 14854, San Francisco, CA 94114.