Tagged: San Francisco

Colan: Visions of a Man without Fear Opens in San Francisco

Colan: Visions of a Man without Fear Opens in San Francisco

Gene Colan’s artistic career will receive the retrospective treatment as San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum presents Colan: Visions of a Man without Fear, opening November 15 and running through March 15, 2009.

On December 4, there will be a special opening reception with Gene and Adrienne Colan in attendance.

The exhibition will include over 40 examples from Colan’s long creative career, from his one and only story illustrated for legendary publisher EC Comics in 1952, through his career-defining work for Marvel Comics from the 1960s and 1970s on titles as diverse as Iron Man, Tomb of Dracula and Howard The Duck, to his notable run on DC Comics’ Batman in the 1980s, to his more recent efforts, including illustrations commissioned by his fans and his beautiful pencil artwork on titles such as Michael Chabon’s The Escapist, published by Dark Horse Comics.

Guest Curator Glen David Gold, author of the novel, Carter Beats the Devil, put the museum show together.  An exhibition catalog featuring high-quality reproductions of Colan’s artwork and essays from many of his most notable collaborators, including writers Stan Lee, Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart, will be available at the Cartoon Art Museum prior to the exhibition’s opening reception on December 4.

For those unfamiliar with Gene “The Dean”, he was born in New York in 1926 and studied at the Art Students League of New York under illustrator Frank Riley and surrealistic Japanese painter Kuniashi. After a stint in the army, Colan’s official career in comics began in 1944 at Fiction House and Timely.



S. Clay Wilson Hospitalized

S. Clay Wilson Hospitalized

The Oregonian is reporting that S. Clay Wilson, “one of the seminal figures in the underground comix movement, suffered a "severe brain injury." Wilson’s partner, Lorraine Chamberlain, stated on Sunday, "I just talked to the neurologist a few minutes ago. He’s in a decline because of the pneumonia. They can’t seem to stabilize him."

The 67-year-old Wilson was originally thought to be the victim of a mugging when he was found but doctors now theorize that he may have repeatedly fallen given his medical condition. He’s been at San Francisco General since Saturday.

"That’s what we think now, that he fell several times and hit his head," Chamberlain said. "He has a fractured orbital bone in his eye and he fractured his neck. He looks like he’s been kicked in the face and beaten up. But if he’d been beaten up, he would have been robbed. There’s no way to know. But he had way too much to drink.

"It was very bad news today," Chamberlain said. "The most important thing is that he gets over the pneumonia, but he’s had a very severe head injury." Chamberlain and Wilson have known each other for four decades but have been together for only the last eight years.

As a youth, Wilson relocated from Kansas to San Francisco in 1968, just as the Underground Comix movement was gaining traction.  He found R. Crumb, who produced Zap Comix and showed his artwork off.

"I was just completely blitzkrieged by the guy," Crumb said. "I’d never seen anything like those drawings of his before." The founder of the movement credits Wilson for pushing him to cease self-censorship and let everything flow on the page including sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

"I get a lot of flak from feminists, but we all do," Wilson said previously. "But within that group of feminists, there’s all kinds of mentalities. Some don’t understand what we’re dong — making fun of everything. Spain (Rodriguez) gets a lot of shit about it, we all do. I like the idea of keeping the boat rocking."

Review: ‘Gus and His Gang’ by Chris Blain

Review: ‘Gus and His Gang’ by Chris Blain

Gus and His Gang
By Chris Blain
First Second, October 2008, $16.95

There must be some reason why the good Western comics – hell, pretty much all of the Western comics – of the past three decades have all come from France, but I don’t know it myself. France never had a West of its own; never had a frontier on its border to expand into. (Rather the opposite, actually – their big neighbor is Germany, which spent several hundred years trying to expand into them.) But there’s a streak of Western comics – about the American West, of course – from France going back through the “Blueberry” stories by Charlier and Moebius up to this book.

Well, whatever the reason, the French like stories about our Old West at least as much as we do, and now here’s another one: [[[Gus and His Gang]]], a collection of stories originally published between 2004 and 2007 about three outlaws and the women they pursue (and are pursued by). Gus, Clem and Gratt do rob banks and hijack trains – that’s how they make their living – but those things are mostly incidentals in these stories. These guys are much more concerned with getting a leg over – money never seems to be a problem (there’s always another bank to knock over), but sex always is.

Gus is the title character, the guy on the cover, and the ostensible leader of the three-man gang, but he has the worst luck with women of the three. The first story, “Natalie,” sets the tone – a woman from his past (he knew her five years before, in Cincinnati, when he was working in a wild west show) comes back into his life, and he chases around after her – as she leads him on by his exceptionally long nose – but doesn’t get anything out of it.


Wolverine May Lose Heart in San Francisco

Wolverine May Lose Heart in San Francisco

The X-Men have been going through a lot of changes recently. With the X-Mansion recently destroyed (for what I think is the third time now), and with Xavier no longer trusted by the majority of the team, the mutant heroes have picked up stakes and moved to San Francisco, a community which welcomes mutants. Certain characters have had interesting experiences trying to adjust to the west coast and Marvel is putting out a few mini-series under the banner of Manifest Destiny that tackles this subject.

Wolverine: Manifest Destiny will feature the Canadian "Canuckle-head" making his way into California only to discover that a bounty has been placed on his head. Honesty, as if it weren’t hard enough being a mutant who’s often targeted by Mafia and Yakuza and somehow divides his time between solo missions and being both an illegal Avenger and an X-Man and leader of X-Force. It turns out that Wolverine’s ex, now leader of the Triads, has summoned a quartet of mystical warriors who each are fully capable of killing the nearly-immortal hero and they’re not going to stop until the contract has been fulfilled.

This story is brought to you by artist Stephen Segovia and writer Jason Aaron. Fans will recognize Segovia’s excellent work from the ongoing series Wolverine: Origins. Jason Aaron has gotten a lot of praise not only as the writer of Verrtigo’s Scalped, but also for his hard-edged Wolverine: Origins story arc "Get Mystique" and his accomplishment in taking the Ghost Rider series and re-energizing it with interesting drama, a high-level of humor and enjoyably insane violence. With credits like that, Wolverine: Manifest Destiny is sure to be a hard-hitting, violent ride. Just perfect for Wolverine fans.

Don’t believe me? Then you obviously need to read the new Ghost RIder series and see for yourself how Aaron has made the demonic anti-hero more fun than he’s been in years. And here’s what some folks said following "Get Mystique."

James Hunt of ComicBookResources.com said, "Jason Aaron has himself an appropriate niche, telling a solo Wolverine action story that showcases the character’s brains as much as his brawn."

And Daniel Crown of IGN.com remarked, "To put it simply, Wolverine is an extremely torn character, and it just so happens that Jason Aaron is outstanding when it comes to writing irresolute characters."

The X-Men books have really risen in quality in the past few months so this story comes with high hopes.

Review: ‘The Fart Party’ by Julia Wertz

Review: ‘The Fart Party’ by Julia Wertz

The Fart Party
By Julia Wertz
Atomic Book Company, May 2008, $13.95

Julia Wertz’s comics would be terribly juvenile if they weren’t wonderfully juvenile – little snippets of life from a young woman in San Francisco, obsessed with beer, cheese, bicycles and comics. (Not to mention the occasional outburst of cartoony violence.)

Wertz has been posting her autobiographical comics at www.fartparty.org for nearly three years now, with occasional published-on-actual-paper minicomics as well, but this is the first collection that sits comfortably on a shelf. It seems to collect roughly the first year of the online strips, when Wertz was living in San Francisco with her boyfriend, Oliver, though the book itself doesn’t say that, or have dates on any of the strips. (Wertz’s life has changed a bit since the time of these strips; she’s currently ensconced in Darkest Brooklyn.) The strips here do form something of an arc, and have a natural ending, which is rare for any collection of regularly published comics, from the web or anywhere else.

Wertz’s style is simple and cartoony, but springs out full-formed from the beginning of the book with all its rubber-armed, pointy-eyed, casually-violent energy. Wertz does include a couple of strips she created earlier, in a more conventionally “realistic” style. But she buries those strips in the middle of the book, and they’re definitely less distinctive than her current style. I’m sure the fine-art brigade will hate her work – as will the good-taste brigade, which is similar but not identical to the first brigade – but she’s a real cartoonist, and that’s something to be celebrated. There’s still room for improvement in her style; her faces are only intermittently expressive at this point, and the figures’ body language tends to huge, stagy gestures even when those aren’t appropriate.


San Francisco Media Examines the New X-Men HQ

San Francisco Media Examines the New X-Men HQ

SFGate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle, has put together a pretty interesting analysis of the recent relocation of the X-Men from Westchester County, NY, all the way out to the West Coast in X-Men #500.

According to X-Men Editor (and Bay Area native) Axel Alonso, San Francisco’s often controversial status as a "sanctuary city" made the move long overdue for Marvel’s most persecuted superteam.

"Anyone who looks at the X-Men, the analogy is right there: If you’re different in any way due to race or sexual orientation or just being nerdy, there’s an X-Men character for you. They’re about being different and finding strength in that weakened position."

In order to get accustomed to basing the team’s adventures in the new city, Marvel staffers will be brushing up on their West Coast savvy in the coming months.

Marvel Comics artists will be visiting San Francisco frequently to get a feel for the fashion, architecture and even the way residents walk and talk. There are no cable cars in the first issue, but the artists did include a KRON TV news truck and a panel where the iconic mutant Wolverine walks through Noe Valley. The heroes make their base in the concrete bunkers beneath the Marin Headlands and join the protest of a controversial art installation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

While Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada hesitated to comment on the permanency of the X-Men’s new home, the article goes on to provide a nice roundup of parallels between the mutant superteam and the real-life groups that have found sanctuary in San Francisco over the years.

SDCC: ‘Agents of Atlas’ Returns

For those who gave Jeff Parker’s Agents of Atlas miniseries a shot a couple years ago, it comes as great news out of San Diego that a new ongoing A of A series is on the way.

Parker and editor Mark Pannicia shared some dirt with CBR on the new series which will show up early in 2009.

Paniccia added. "’Weird turn of events’ is something readers should get used to with this book. Jeff’s got quite a few ‘Oh &%$@#!’ moments planned."

The "Agents of Atlas" may control a global empire, but their main base of operations is currently under a California city that’s quickly becoming a Mecca for Marvel heroes. "At the moment the Agents still work from the underground city below San Francisco. But the surface there just became the home to a lot of nosy mutants!" Parker explained. "So they may find it necessary to relocate soon to function without interference."

New ‘Iron Man’ Poster Revealed

New ‘Iron Man’ Poster Revealed

Over at ScreenRant, they’ve got a post up that gives us a look at the brand new Iron Man movie poster being handed out at this years WonderCon in San Francisco. This time around, the poster features all three versions of Iron Man’sarmor from the film: the original Mark I, the prototype Mark II and the final red and gold Mark III that we all know.

Its interesting to see the progression in the design of these three armors and to be able to see them up-close with this kind of detail. They all look pretty cool to me, but is it wrong that I like the silver Mark II best? Blasphemy, right?

Iron Man, in full armor-clad glory, opens May 2nd.


A Plethora of WonderCon Coverage

A Plethora of WonderCon Coverage

WonderCon is in full swing in San Francisco, with plenty of of guests and events on the schedule. Here’s a quick look at the convention news that’s popping up around the ‘Net.

Over at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald has kindly done all the hard work for me, and the rest of you, and put together a list showcasing WonderCon events and coverage — all in one, easy-to-use place.

She’s got quite a bit of info there already, including links to Wired Magazine’s preview of all the hot comic shop action in San Francisco during the con, a guide to programming from Prism Comics at the show and a breakdown of some of the parties being thrown during the event. 

As if The Beat’s info wasn’t enough already, Tom Spurgeon over at The Comics Reporter has also chimed in with his list of "Ten Things to do at WonderCon this year." Tom, whose knowledge of comics and comics-culture knows no equal, has always provided some great insight into the convention scene. His lists of must-see-and-do’s are always one of the first things I check out before heading to a show.

Ellison / Fantagraphics mediation delayed

Ellison / Fantagraphics mediation delayed

As previously reported, the scheduled mediation in the civil case between Harlan Ellison and Fantagraphics Press, originally scheduled for May 29 in the 9th Circuit Court in Santa Monica California, has been delayed until June 28.  "As to the postponement of the court-mandated mediation hearing that was scheduled for the 29 of May, which did not transpire, I am disappointed. Very disappointed.  Very, very disappointed."

John Carmichael, Harlan’s lawyer, explained that he received a call from Fantagraphics lawyer,, A. J. Thomas, saying that  Gary had a prior commitment that he either didn’t know about or tell his lawyer about at the time.  Carmichael had hoped the mediator would have time in the first week of June, but she only had June 23-28. She explained that it is her policy to only re-schedule once.  The reason Gary could not be in California on May 29 was his commitment to be at Book Expo in New York City, which begins June 1.  "I’m focused on getting the case settled, and if not, winning the case," he said.

Does he expect this to be resolved in one session?

"I don’t know," Carmichael replied.  "The Ninth Circuit has a very detailed sophisticated mediation program where they have court-appointed mediation lawyers.  This woman is flying down from San Francisco.  The parties are in separate rooms, they’re together at the beginning and make a statement, so each side feels heard, and then she separates them and they go into separate rooms and she shuttles between them.  It’s a great process.  It’s a great way to solve the problem."

Let us hope.