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Pixels of You by Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota, and J.R. Doyle
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Pixels of You by Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota, and J.R. Doyle

It’s not usual for a creative team to accrete members over time. OK, sure, you can think of bands that got bigger as they got successful enough to add, for instance, a horn section, but those accretions tend to be semi-separate: The Fantastic Desperadoes with the Horns of Doom! People get replaced, of course. But it’s not common for new people to come in, set up, and just be added.

So I’m wondering what will be next for the team behind Pixels of You , a 2021 graphic novel from Amulet, Abrams’ teen-comics imprint. Co-writers (and partners in life, too, I think) Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Oda did the book Lucky Penny together before this – there, Hirsh was billed as the writer and Oda as the artist, but we all know artists in comics do at least half the storytelling (which means “writing”) anyway.

This time out, they have a new artist – maybe to have a particular look, maybe for other artistic reasons – J.R. Doyle, who also does a webcomic called Knights Errant and seems to do storyboard work as well.

Pixels looks nothing like Penny, and the tone is completely different, so that’s my assumption: Hirsh and Oda knew they wanted this new project to go in a different direction  If so, it worked: I had to look them up to remember what it was I read by them, and didn’t bring any expectations to Pixels.

Pixels of You is a personal drama, enemies-to-friends division (maybe more than friends, as is often the case), set in a near-future SF world. AI is ubiquitous and well-integrated – the SFnal kind of AI that quite likely will never actually exist, humaniform persons who are just part of human society. They don’t seem to be an underclass, though there are hints of prejudice and most AI persons may be vaguely considered lesser than meat-people. There are also hints that AI personhood, or possibly citizenship, are contingent in some way, with regular tests AI persons need to pass to stay in their current status.

Indira is a young woman working as an intern in an art gallery: she’s a wannabe photographer, and her boss is influential in that world. The internship is a strong way into the world she wants to be part of, and she’s trying to make the most of it. She also has a cybernetic eye – totally realistic-looking; no one knows unless she tells them – from a tragic accident in her past, and either that accident or the eye or both are the source of health issues, pain and bad dreams and sometimes worse.

Fawn is the next intern in line at the gallery: she’s on her way in as Indira is finishing her time. Fawn is a human-presenting AI, the “daughter” of two traditional-looking AI persons who seem to be quite successful – maybe managerial-class jobs, something like that.

They meet at a show, and immediately get on each other’s worst sides: Fawn insults Indira’s work, without know it’s hers. Indira is prickly and standoffish to begin with, so gives as well as she gets.

But the gallery owner needs them to work together, and forces them to do so: the next show, which was originally planned to be a combined look at their separate work, now will be of work they make together.

Both Indira and Fawn are well-meaning, mostly nice people, so they don’t stay enemies all that long. (Coming from Penny, I might have expected a longer, funnier sequence of squabbling, physical or verbal, but Pixels is a quieter, much more serious book.) They do learn to work together, they do learn each other’s secrets, they do become friends.

That sounds trite, I suppose, but any story is trite when stripped to the barest plot. The team here tells this one well – there’s a lot of single-panel pages to show what Fawn and Indira’s work looks like, and a lot of semi-wordless sequences, since photography is more about seeing than talking. It’s a sweet story, even if I do have some quibbles with the SFnal background.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Quite a Mountain by Jim Benton
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Quite a Mountain by Jim Benton

This book was shorter than I expected, so today’s post should be quick.

Last time around with Jim Benton, I read and enjoyed his all-ages graphic novel Attack of the Stuff  but noted that I might be getting to the end of the all-ages bits, leaving only the definitely-for-middle-graders books. (And, don’t get me wrong: middle graders are fine people who deserve awesome books, but I’m not one of them and haven’t been for some time.)

And that seems to be true: from here, Benton’s work is a vast sea of Frannie K. Stein and My Dumb Diary, plus a clutch of board books for even younger people. There are some other things in graphic format that I might be tempted to look at eventually – the Catwad  series, maybe Batman Squad  – but they are very clearly middle-grade-y, and, again, I am at a different point in my life right now.

Quite a Mountain  calls itself “a fable for all ages.” I pretty much knew what that meant going in, and I bet you do, too: short, accessible, with some kind of a message, a book designed to sit by the cash register and sell itself to the random passers-by. It’s hard to tell, since I read it digitally, but I would bet serious money that it’s in a small, gift-y format as well. I read it within maybe fifteen minutes, and I was trying to stretch it out.

I tagged it as “comics,” but it’s an illustrated book – one big drawing to a page, with typeset text to accompany it.

So there’s a bear and his friend, a frog, at the bottom of a mountain. The frog is mildly disgusted at the idea of a mountain at all, but the bear decides to climb it. He does. He comes to various things on the mountain, finds a place to live for a while, but…you know the metaphor, you know the lesson.

To Benton’s benefit, he never leaves the metaphor or says the lesson clearly. He’s telling a story about a bear. Any lessons are up to the reader. And he’s got a lovely stark illustrative line in the drawings and his usual casual quick writing: this is a book that feels light and fun and amusing on every page. It’s not setting itself up seriously in any way.

But this is inherently a “you can do it!” book, to be given to new graduates or bought by people to cheer themselves up. It’s a fine mini-genre, and it will always be with us. I’m not complaining, just defining. Benton has the attitude I share towards the matter and the genre: not entirely believing in it in its purest form, but clear that nothing comes without effort. And clear that “effort” is annoying and not what you want to do most of the time.

So this is a solid fable, with no detectable saccharine – unlike most of its cohort – by a fine creator.

I’ll just end by giving the last word to the frog:

I’m not going to tell you that you can’t do this, because that would be discouraging. But I am thinking it. I am thinking it pretty hard. 

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Crisis on Infinite Earths- Part One Coming in January
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Crisis on Infinite Earths- Part One Coming in January

BURBANK, CA (December 5, 2023) – Based on DC’s iconic comic book limited series ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, join DC Super Heroes from across the multiverse in the first of three parts of DC’s new animated film Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One, which marks the beginning of the end to the Tomorrowverse story arc.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the all-new, action-packed DC animated film features some of DC’s most famous Super Heroes from multiple universes including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, who come together to stop an impending threat of doom and destruction. The film will be available to purchase exclusively on digital on January 9 and on 4K UHD in limited edition steelbook packaging and Blu-ray on January 23.

Fans of this superhero adventure will also be able to indulge in a range of bonus features including interviews with the filmmakers on how they created a comprehensive universe across seven films.

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Two and Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three will be available later in 2024.

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One features returning popular voice cast members: Emmy winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee) as Superman & Earth-2 Superman, Stana Katic (Castle, Absentia) as Wonder Woman & Superwoman and Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys, The Winchesters) as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Aside from the returning voice cast, a star-studded ensemble takes shape including Matt Bomer (White Collar, American Horror Story: Hotel) as The Flash/Barry Allen, Meg Donnelly (Legion of Super-Heroes, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,) as Supergirl & Harbinger, Jimmi Simpson (Star Trek: Prodigy, Westworld) as Green Arrow and Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek) as Lex Luthor.

Additional cast includes: Jonathan Adams as Monitor, Ike Amadi as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter, Amazing Man & Ivo, Geoffrey Arend as Psycho Pirate & Hawkman, Zack Callison as Dick Grayson/Robin, Alexandra Daddario as Lois Lane, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Matt Lanter as Blue Beetle & Ultraman, Ato Essandoh as Mr Terrific, Cynthia Hamidi as Dawnstar, Aldis Hodge as John Stewart/Green Lantern & Power Ring, Erika Ishii as Doctor Light/Dr. Hoshi & Huntress, David Kaye as The Question, Ashleigh LaThrop as Iris West, Liam Mcintyre as Aquaman & Johnny Quick, Nolan North as Hal Jordan, Amazo & Homeless Man, Lou Diamond Phillips as The Spectre & Owlman, Keesha Sharp as Vixen and Harry Shum Jr. as Brainiac 5.

Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One is produced by Jim Krieg and Kimberly S. Moreau and executive produced by Butch Lukic, Sam Register, and Michael Uslan and directed by Jeff Wamester from a script by Jim Krieg. Casting and voice direction is by Wes Gleason.

Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One will be available on January 9 to purchase digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. On January 23 the film will be available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD in limited edition steelbook packaging and Blu-Ray Discs online and in-store at major retailers. Pre-order your copy now.

SYNOPSIS:

Death is coming. Worse than death: oblivion. Not just for our Earth, but for everyone, everywhere, in every universe! Against this ultimate destruction, the mysterious Monitor has gathered the greatest team of Super Heroes ever assembled. But what can the combined might of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and hundreds of Super Heroes from multiple Earths even do to save all of reality from an unstoppable antimatter Armageddon?!

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

Physical and Digital

  • Crisis Prime(r): The filmmakers reveal in detail their intricate plan to create a comprehensive animated universe across seven films, concluding with the events of the three-part adaptation Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • The Selfless Speedster: Explore The Flash’s legendary role in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic series, the creative process that brought him to life in the animated adaptation, and the vocal performance behind his heroic and romantic story.

Digital Only

  • Silent Treatment – Film Clip from Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Two

PRICING AND FILM INFORMATION

PRODUCT                                                                             SRP

Digital purchase                                                                      $19.99

4K Ultra HD Steelbook + Digital Version*                           $47.99 USA

4K Ultra HD Steelbook                                                          $54.99 Canada

Blu-ray + Digital Version*                                                     $29.98 USA    

Blu-ray                                                                                    $39.99 Canada

4K/Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French

Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, Dutch, French

Running Time: 92:39

Rated PG for action/violence throughout and brief language

*Digital version not available in Canada

Lunarbaboon: The Daily Life of Parenthood by Christopher Grady
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Lunarbaboon: The Daily Life of Parenthood by Christopher Grady

I fight with my tags, here on the blog. They tend to proliferate, with a core that I use a lot and a loose penumbra of things that I thought I’d use more often (Circles of Hell! Class War Follies! High Finance! Kids Today! Pedantry!) but just have a few random posts.

And there are areas where I keep thinking my one tag is too big and not entirely useful, but going back to re-tag would be insane. Such as Comics, a tag used on a full quarter of all the posts here. Clearly, that’s not doing its job. Breaking it into Webcomics and Masked Punching and The Smell of Newsprint and who knows what else would be more useful, but I know I will never, ever find the tens of hours that would take.

So, today, I have yet another comic. This one is a webcomic , and, as I seem to be saying a lot lately, I’m not sure if it’s still active. (That site throws the scary “not secure” warning in modern browsers, and the last comic was posted about a year and a half ago.) But there was at least one book, in 2017, which I just read, so it will live for the ages in at least that form.

The book is Lunarbaboon: The Daily Life of Parenthood , and, as is pretty typical for a general strip collected, it’s a somewhat thematic collection of the first two years or so of the strip. Now, I’m pretty sure Lunarbaboon – from what I’ve seen of it, here and there, over the last roughly a decade – was mostly about the main character’s relationship with his kids, but not entirely. This collection, as I think is the standard for a major-company series-launching comics collection (this is an Andrews McMeel book), wants to be easily categorized and grabbable, so it’s pitched as a companion to Fowl Language and Baby Blues and so forth.

Cartoonist Christopher Grady is more webcomicy than that, though: this isn’t a gag-a-day strip, but closer to a work of therapy. I get the sense Grady cartoons to make sense of existence, to understand his life and the world. So he has humor, but it’s not about getting to a joke – his strips are more ruminative, even mildly depressive, about fighting with sadness and feelings of unworthiness.

It can get a bit pop-psych for me sometimes, but it’s always honest, and I get the sense that it’s been useful for Grady – not just professionally, since he did it online for a decade and got a book out of it, but personally, as a way to contextualize the world and find an audience that sympathizes with his concerns and thoughts.

I guess I’m saying that Lunarbaboon is fun, and often humorous, but don’t go into it looking for Big Laffs. Go into it looking for the story of a guy who often feels overwhelmed by life – like so many of us, so much of the time – and how he copes with that, with the help of his family. And, of course, some of the crazy things his kids do, to either kick him out of depression or send him chasing after them to stop that crazy thing before something worse happens.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

The Second Fake Death of Eddie Campbell & The Fate of the Artist
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The Second Fake Death of Eddie Campbell & The Fate of the Artist

First of all: this volume contains two things, which it does say pretty clearly: the title is The Second Fake Death of Eddie Campbell & The Fate of the Artist , after all. There’s one new book – Campbell dislikes the term “graphic novel,” so I’m going to see if I can consistently avoid it here – and one old book, with somewhat convergent concerns.

The old one is The Fate of the Artist, originally published in 2006, in which “Eddie Campbell” disappears, or maybe is replaced by the actor playing him in this comic. I’m shocked to realize that came out more than a decade and a half ago; time refuses to stand still until I can catch up with it.

The new one is The Second Fake Death of Eddie Campbell, and that comes first here.

Well, let me back up: I read this digitally, so the two books were run together, with Second Fake first and Fate second, each with their own covers and titles and other accoutrements. As I understand it, the physical book is in flip-book format, with the two titles bound back-to-back. (Should I drag out a random half-remembered bit of publishing slang and call that a dos-á-dos? Sounds super-pretentious when I do so.)

I read Fate when it came out, but that was so long ago that it was just before the Days of This Blog, so I have no record of my opinions to which to link you. (How did we live in the Before Times, when opinions disappeared like puffs of smoke and we had to try to reconstruct them in memory, instead of keeping them perfectly still and fixed forevermore?)

Fate is mildly mixed-media, with photos standing in for comics panels and pages of type sitting alongside conventional comics pages – and, as you might guess from the title and subject, pretty post-modern and self-referential. This is a book about itself, about being a book by Eddie Campbell about Eddie Campbell in which Eddie Campbell is missing and so, logically, it is not actually by Eddie Campbell after all. It’s also the kind of book that comments on itself – Campbell also includes throughout a pseudo-gag-a-day comic called “The Empty Nesters,” looking like it’s from the early 1900s, which is not exactly about his and his wife’s life, but clearly was at least a jokey version of that life.

One reason I enjoy Fate – and this is pretty idiosyncratic – is that it’s clearly the last of the Campbell autobiographical comics of the Australia period. He’d been telling stories about himself, both as comics and in the text features and interstices of his monthly Bacchus comics throughout the ’90s and the beginning of the Aughts, showcasing his life as a Scottish guy living Down Under, giving glimpses of his three children growing up, and presenting his life as a guy who drank wine and “ran a business (the Bacchus comics) out of the front room.” The kids are nearly grown in Fate, and I don’t think we see them again in Campbell’s work: they moved out, got their own lives. (And, as Second Life mentions in passing, that wife divorced Campbell somewhere in the meantime, so Second Life sees Campbell and his now-wife, the novelist Audrey Niffenegger, living in the USA, which feels like the wrong milieu after so long elsewhere.)

Second Fake is just as post-modern, but slightly less collage-y – it has lots of pieces, but the pieces are all more centrally comics. There’s the autobio narrative, with a be-masked Campbell and Niffenegger navigating the weird world of late lockdown – that odd era when we all thought we couldn’t get haircuts and maybe would never interact with other people ever again. Interspersed are single panels of “Life in Lockdown,” repurposed hundred-year-old gag comics that Campbell is mostly retextualizing rather than reworking. There’s also a private detective, Royler Boom, who is hired by Niffenegger to find the missing Campbell, in a plotline that deliberately fizzes, as the “real” Niffenegger complains that she wouldn’t do any of that.

There are also “strips” titled “Life’s Too Complicated” and “Dreams of the Fiend,” to tease out other themes of the story, and some ideas for books (the supervillain group/heist caper Covid’s Nineteen! the screaming adventures of Karen!) that Campbell abandoned either before or while working on this. Second Fake is partially a record of a time of uncertainty and confusion – both societal and personal, as Campbell started and gave up on multiple ideas before pulling together…well, the book we have now.

Both pieces of this book are kaleidoscopic, both try to center Campbell as a creator and manipulator while (inconsistently) shoving him as a person away from the center of the story. Fate is cleaner and better organized; Second Fake is one of those pandemic creations where just the act of making something new out of chaos was a big win. They work well together, but I’d recommend reading them in chronological order, which isn’t what I did.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Success Is 90% Spite by Jane Zei
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Success Is 90% Spite by Jane Zei

I admit this is a weird thing I do: I read full books from webcomics that I don’t follow. But I want to argue that it isn’t weird.

First, why would I want to read a book of a comic where I’ve read all of the comics already? Well, OK, yes: if you like a thing, you like it, and often want to do it again. And I used to do this a lot in the years when print comics were powerful and dominant over the land: Doonesbury and Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side and plenty of others. All right, maybe that’s not the convincing side of the argument. But, still: you can see not wanting to do the same thing again, right?

So, then: why not read a whole book of something that you think you’ll like? Sure, you could find wherever it lives on-line, navigate back to the beginning of time (assuming you can figure out how to do that) and then one-day forward through it. But isn’t the whole point of a book that it’s just easier?

I always thought so. And that’s why I read the first (and maybe only) collection of Jane Zei’s “The Pigeon Gazette” (which seems to live in multiple places equally: Tumblr , Instagram , and Webtoon ), Success Is 90% Spite .

Now, I do have to complain about the book format, too. At least in my library app, it’s a reflowable “book” (I’m going to guess ePub; the system hides that) rather than a “comic” (in PDF, so each page displays as a page and can be pinched to expand/shrink). So each strip is a specific size, and if I want to view them slightly larger on my tablet, I have to turn the thing sideways, which has the knock-on affect of adding a blank page after each cartoon.

(The part of me that works with UX people is hanging his head, muttering darkly, and cursing the world.)

But enough blather about formatting!

Zei has a funny, cartoony style, which was solid right from the beginning of this strip, and a strong central character in the version of herself that she presents. You’ve probably seen her strips somewhere; they’re the kind of thing that gets shared socially, usually with no attribution. Luckily, most of Zei’s strips feature her avatar centrally, so random readers have a decent chance of realizing all these separate funny things are part of the same big funny thing, and finding it. (That’s more or less how I did it.)

Of course, in the way of all good things, The Pigeon Gazette seems to have quietly ended last summer – like so many webcomics, it seems to have been tooling along at a comfortable pace and then just stopped. We may be at the point where we get a random “sorry it’s been so long! I promise to get back to a regular pace!” strip every three months, or a flurry of things before another final silence, or that all the web presences just quietly disappear one fateful day.

But the book exists, which loops back to my original main point (and I do have one). It was published in 2020, by Andrews McMeel, a big name in the funny book biz, and Success will survive and be findable for a long time, no matter what happens online. And that’s why I prefer books. This one is funny and zippy and – that horrible webcomics word – relatable, and I suspect a lot of you would like it roughly as much as I did.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Buni:  Happiness Is a State of Mind by Ryan Pagelow

Buni: Happiness Is a State of Mind by Ryan Pagelow

This strip isn’t exactly new to me – I’ve seen a bunch of Buni  cartoons over the years, all over the place – but it’s not one I ever made an effort to read regularly. So I’m coming at it as a mostly-uninformed reader: I know it’s wordless, that the title character is happy and positive in a world that very much tends to the opposite direction, and a vague bit about the other characters.

But if there’s a serious Buni discourse going on, I’m unfamiliar with it. So, as I often do, I need to signpost here that I could be wrong, and that I know it.

Buni has been running – I think consistently three days a week – since 2010, written and drawn by Ryan Pagelow. Buni: Happiness Is a State of Mind  is the first, and I think only, collection of the strip so far: it came out in 2018. 

Buni is the main character – that happy-go-lucky guy on the cover. He’s a bunny – hence the name – in a world mostly of teddy bears. He’s also a happy, positive person in a world where pretty much everyone else hates and attacks and eats each other. (This is not the kind of world where sentients avoid predating on each other – rather the opposite, actually.) His main character notes are that he is almost always sunny, and that he has a unreciprocated (and never will be) crush on BuniGirl, who has a boyfriend.

(Here I might note that all names, besides Buni himself, need to be discovered outside of the comic itself, because of the whole “wordless” thing.)

This seems to collect the strip from the beginning, so we start with Buni himself, see him crushing on BuniGirl (and her instead spending time with the hulking fellow I guess we should call BuniBoyfriend or BuniRival?), see his father (BuniDad) arrive by breaking out of prison and immediately become a ray of gloom and nastiness in Buni’s world, and the two bunnies adopt a crippled dog, whom I understand is called either Dogi or BuniDog.

Most of the strips are one-offs, though, in which Buni finds happiness in an unusual way (imagining he’s riding a unicorn in a fantasyland while actually on a kiddie ride in a horrible alley), Buni finds his world is sadder and creepier than expected (the sushi restaurant serves body parts of the staff), or – and, as I noted before, this is more common than I expected – someone tries (and often succeeds) to eat another clearly-sentient person in the strip.

There’s a fun one, about halfway in, where BuniDad and the next-door neighbor (a bull) hate-eat members of each other’s species at each other, which is a pretty emblematic Buni strip. It’s about spite, and performative nastiness, on that level, with the title character himself floating above that like a visitor from some happier, sunnier, massively-licensed strip.

It’s an interesting combination, and making Buni central is really important: the world would be too much of a one-joke premise for a long-running strip otherwise. It sets up a gigantic, very central conflict that gives Pagelow a lot of room to work with, while also allowing strips that are just quirky odd bits about either Buni or other characters – this world is dark, but it’s cartoony dark, and not dark all the time everywhere.

So this is fun, and there’s more depth than you might expect for a wordless strip – or that you might realize, seeing one random strip once in a while float across your social feed. (That’s how I previously saw Buni: I’m not saying you are me, but I’m assuming it’s typical.) And if you’re looking for a comic strip way more centrally about cannibalism than you suspected was possible, it’s really your only choice.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Funny Things by Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi

Funny Things by Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi

There aren’t all that many books where the format is an inspired choice – most books are what they are, arranged in the same way as a thousand others much like them. Every so often, you see a novel in epic verse, or a non-fiction book of advocacy that’s basically one big infographic, but those are rare.

Funny Things  is part of that rare company: it may take a couple of pages to realize it, but this biography of Charles M. “Peanuts” Schulz is laid out like a book of Peanuts strips. Generally six dailies – though it starts with a short week of five – and then a Sunday, over and over again, just like Schulz’s own working life for fifty years.

The subtitle gives that away, if you catch the reference: it’s called “A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz.” But that’s easy to miss; it’s not like “a comic strip biography” is an established thing. Maybe it should be – I don’t know if other creators could do something as interesting as Luca Debus (co-writer and artist) and Francesco Matteuzzi (co-writer) do here, but it’s a great concept, and great concepts deserve to be used more than once.

(Is this the first big biography of Schulz since the Michaelis Schulz and Peanuts prose book back in 2007? I just checked my old ComicMix review of that from back in the day to remind myself of how someone else showed the contours of Schulz’s life, and was reminded of the kerfuffle over how Michaelis portrayed Schulz’s divorce. Luca and Matteuzzi are more allusive here – much less specific – but they seem to be telling the same story Michaelis did.)

As usual for a biography, Funny Things spends the bulk of its space covering Schulz’s pre-fame life; the early years of toil and struggle are always more interesting than the fat years of fame and relentless work at a drawing board. Otherwise, it’s a biography: it covers Schulz’s life from childhood up to a few days before his death, in about as much detail as you’d expect from a biography in comics form. It all seemed reasonable, vaguely similar to the Michaelis and other things I’ve read about Schulz’s life – Luca and Matteuzzi don’t turn Schulz into an avatar of Snoopy or anything weird like that.

Luca draws this in a style reminiscent of Schulz without trying to mimic Schulz’s character designs or linework, which is a good choice. It looks the most like Peanuts in the early going, of course, when Schulz and a lot of the people he interacts with are kids. Luca and Matteuzzi also signpost a lot of interesting moments or references – people named Van Pelt, Schroeder, and “Charlie Brown,” for example – without making a big deal out of them. They’re cartoonists; they’re used to needing to keep words few and precise.

I didn’t find the need for a “punchline” in every “strip” was a problem, but it might seem artificial to some readers – this is a book with a very particular rhythm and feeling, deeply baked into that idiosyncratic format. But that format is so appropriate for Schulz that I thought it strengthened the book: Schulz was a man who struggled with being happy, and one of the ways he found happiness was to make it, crafting a funny or thoughtful moment for every day of fifty years. So having that same rhythm, that same drive, built into the structure of the book itself underlined that core of Schulz’s persona, giving a strong through-line to his story.

So this is a fine biography in a quirky, very successful format, about a creator worth celebrating who lived an interesting life. It’s one of the more interesting drawn books this year, and I hope a lot of people find and enjoy it.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

A Disturbance in the Force Documentary Arrives Dec. 5

A Disturbance in the Force Documentary Arrives Dec. 5

Los Angeles — November 17, 2023 (Life Day) September Club and Giant Pictures bring home A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE on December 5 from a galaxy far far away to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the most infamous story in the history of Star Wars. The acclaimed documentary made its debut at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival and chronicles the making of the bizarre (and buried) Star Wars Holiday Special as well as a specific bygone era of 1970s event television. Discover the “hilarious secrets behind Star Wars’ iconically awful Holiday Special” (The Daily Beast) when A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE arrives on digital platforms, DVD, and Blu-ray on December 5 via Giant Pictures.

From the filmmakers behind NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE, comes A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE, the documentary about the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. In 1977, “Star Wars” became a cultural phenomenon that single-handedly revitalized a stagnant film industry, forever changing how films were sold, made, and marketed. In 1978, filmmaker George Lucas was talked into cashing in on the Star Wars craze by producing a holiday variety TV special. What could possibly go wrong? ANSWER: Everything… 

CBS aired the two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special during the week of Thanksgiving, and 13 million people watched it. It never re-aired. While some fans of the franchise are aware of this dark secret, this bizarre two hours of television still remains relatively unknown among the general public. Simply put, the documentary will answer how and why the Holiday Special got made.

Produced by September Club with Giant Pictures handling digital and home entertainment distribution, A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE can also be experienced in select screenings across the US, UK, and Australia ahead of its digital and home entertainment launch on December 5 on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu. 

The film is available for pre-order now on Apple TV.

A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE

Directed by: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak

Producers: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak, Kyle Newman

Executive Producer: Adam F. Goldberg Featuring: Seth Green, Weird Al Yankovic, Paul Scheer, Taran Killam, Patton Oswalt, Donny Osmond, Gilbert Gottfried, Bonnie Burton, Bruce Vilanch, Steve Binder

Starman Highlights Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 4, Coming in Feb.

Starman Highlights Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 4, Coming in Feb.

CULVER CITY, Calif. (November 17, 2023) – Continuing the fan-favorite and award-winning series—and as part of the upcoming 100th anniversary of Columbia Pictures—Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is proud to debut six more beloved films from its library on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever, exclusively within the COLUMBIA CLASSICS 4K ULTRA HD COLLECTION VOLUME 4, available February 13. This must-own set includes films with which audiences around the world have fallen in love: HIS GIRL FRIDAY, Guess Who’s COMING TO DINNER, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, STARMAN, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. Each film is presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range, and five of the films have all-new Dolby Atmos mixes.
 
The six films in the COLUMBIA CLASSICS 4K ULTRA HD COLLECTION VOLUME 4 are only available on 4K Ultra HD disc within this special limited edition collector’s set. The collection includes a gorgeous hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film within the set via six all-new incisive essays from renowned writers and journalists, plus rare photos from deep within the Columbia Pictures archives. The set also includes hours of special features across the films, including newly created behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentaries, and never-before-seen archival materials, plus the entirety of the 1986 Starman TV series, exclusively debuting in high definition!
 
All six films will also be available for purchase at digital retailers in 4K with HDR, and the physical set includes Movies Anywhere redemption codes for each film. With redemption of the Movies Anywhere codes, the movies are available in your digital collection across your linked and participating digital accounts to enjoy at home or on the go.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY
Synopsis:
A classic screwball comedy in which Rosalind Russell plays reporter Hildy Johnson, who, on the eve of her remarriage, is talked into one more assignment by her editor and ex-husband, played by Cary Grant. While interviewing a condemned man, Hildy realizes that his hanging is planned as a vote-getting measure.
 
HIS GIRL FRIDAY Disc Breakdown

  • 4K Ultra HD Includes:
    • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, restored from the original camera negative
    • Mono DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
    • Mono DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • Audio Commentary Featuring Film Critic and Author Todd McCarthy
  • NEW: Screwball Style: The Iconic Costumes of Robert Kalloch Featurette
  • NEW: Breaking the Speed Barrier: The Dialogue of His Girl Friday Featurette
  • Lighting Up with Hildy Johnson Featurette
  • Ben Hecht Featurette
  • On Assignment: His Girl Friday Featurette
  • Cary Grant: Making Headlines Featurette
  • Rosalind Russell: The Inside Scoop Featurette
  • Howard Hawks: Reporter’s Notebook Featurette
  • The Funny Pages Featurette
  • Vintage Advertising
  • Theatrical Trailers

 
HIS GIRL FRIDAY has a run time of approximately 92 minutes and is not rated.
 
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER
Synopsis:
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (who won the Academy Award® for Best Actress for her performance) are unforgettable as perplexed parents in this landmark 1967 movie about mixed marriage. Joanna (Katharine Houghton), the beautiful daughter of crusading publisher Matthew Drayton (Tracy) and his patrician wife Christina (Hepburn), returns home with her new fiancé John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), a distinguished Black doctor. Christina accepts her daughter’s decision to marry John, but Matthew is shocked by this interracial union; the doctor’s parents are equally dismayed. Both families must sit down face to face and examine each other’s level of intolerance. In GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, director Stanley Kramer has created a masterful study of society’s prejudices. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
 
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER Disc Breakdown

  • 4K Ultra HD Includes:
    • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, restored from the original camera negative
    • Dolby Atmos English audio
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Mono DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • Audio Commentary Featuring Eddy Friedfeld, Lee Pfeiffer and Paul Scrabo
  • Theatrical Teaser
  • Feature Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high-definition
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • 3.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • Introductions
    • Karen Kramer
    • Steven Spielberg
    • Tom Brokaw
    • Quincy Jones
  • A Love Story for Today Featurette
  • A Special Kind of Love Featurette
  • Stanley Kramer: A Man’s Search for Truth Featurette
  • Stanley Kramer Accepts the Irving Thalberg Award
  • 2007 Producers Guild Stanley Kramer Award Presentation to An Inconvenient Truth
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

 
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER has a run time of approximately 108 minutes and is not rated.
 
KRAMER VS. KRAMER
Synopsis:
Winner of 5 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, KRAMER VS. KRAMER is a groundbreaking drama about the heartbreak of divorce and the struggle between work and family. Young husband and father Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) loves his family – and his job, which is where he spends most of his time. When he returns home late one evening from work, his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) confronts him and then leaves him, forcing Ted to become the sole caregiver to their six-year-old son. Now, Ted must learn to be a father while balancing the demands of his high-pressure career. But just as Ted adapts to his new role and begins to feel like a fulfilled parent, Joanna returns. And now she wants her son back. Celebrating its 45th anniversary.
 
KRAMER VS. KRAMER Disc Breakdown

  • 4K Ultra HD Includes:
    • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, restored from the original camera negative
    • Dolby Atmos English audio
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Mono DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • NEW: Audio Commentary with Film Professor Jennine Lanouette
  • NEW: 5 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Robert Benton on Directing
  • Justin Henry on Acting
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • Points of Pride
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high-definition
    • 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
    • Special Feature:
      • Finding the Truth – The Making of Kramer vs. Kramer

 
KRAMER VS. KRAMER has a run time of approximately 105 minutes and is rated PG.
 
STARMAN
Synopsis:
Director John Carpenter presents a romantic science fiction odyssey starring Jeff Bridges in his Oscar®-nominated role as an innocent alien from a distant planet who learns what it means to be a man in love. When his spacecraft is shot down over Wisconsin, Starman (Bridges) arrives at the remote cabin of a distraught young widow, Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen), and clones the form of her dead husband. The alien convinces Jenny to drive him to Arizona, explaining that if his mothership doesn’t pick him up in three days, he’ll die. Hot on their trail are government agents, intent on capturing the alien, dead or alive. En route, Starman demonstrates the power of universal love while Jenny rediscovers her human feelings for passion. Celebrating its 40th anniversary.
 
STARMAN Disc Breakdown

  • 4K Ultra HD Includes:
    • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, restored from the original camera negative
    • Dolby Atmos English audio
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • 2-Channel Surround DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high definition, from the 4K master
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • 2-Channel Surround DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Actor Jeff Bridges
  • NEW: Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
  • NEW: Behind-the-Scenes Time Lapses
  • They Came from Hollywood: Revisiting Starman Featurette
  • Making-Of Featurette
  • Music Video
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

 
STARMAN has a run time of approximately 115 minutes and is rated PG.
 
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
Synopsis:
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in Nora Ephron’s wonderfully romantic comedy about two people drawn together by destiny. Hanks stars as Sam Baldwin, a widowed father who, thanks to the wiles of his worried son, becomes a reluctant guest on a radio call-in show. He’s an instant hit with thousands of female listeners who deluge his Seattle home with letters of comfort. Meanwhile, inspired in equal parts by Sam’s story and by classic Hollywood romance, writer Annie Reed (Ryan) becomes convinced that it’s her destiny to meet Sam. There are just two problems: Annie’s engaged to someone else and Sam doesn’t know yet that they’re made for each other. Co-starring Rosie O’Donnell, Rita Wilson and Rob Reiner.
 
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE Disc Breakdown

  • 4K Ultra HD Includes:
    • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, restored from the original camera negative
    • Dolby Atmos English audio
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • 2-Channel Surround DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Feature Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • 2-Channel Surround DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • NEW: 30th Anniversary Critic Commentary with Karen Han & David Sims
  • NEW: A Conversation on Sleepless in Seattle with Gary Foster and Meg Ryan
  • Audio Commentary Featuring Nora and Delia Ephron
  • 4 Deleted Scenes
  • Love in the Movies Featurette
  • “When I Fall in Love” Music Video
  • Theatrical Trailer

 
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE has a run time of approximately 105 minutes and is rated PG for some language.
 
PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE
Synopsis:
Winner of the Best Director Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, this misfit love story of disconnected people trying to find one another in an antagonistic world is a comedy of discomfort and rage that turns unexpectedly sweet and pure. Adam Sandler gives an amazing and unusual performance as Barry Egan, a socially impaired owner of a small novelty business who is dominated by seven sisters and is unlikely to find love unless it finds him. When a mysterious woman comes into his life, his emotions go haywire, fluctuating between uncontrollable rage, lust, and self-doubt. From the writer/director of Boogie Nights and Magnolia, PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE is a dark, lovely, and unique film experience.
 
PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE Disc Breakdown

  • 4K Ultra HD Includes:
    • Feature presented in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, approved by director Paul Thomas Anderson
    • Dolby Atmos English audio, approved by director Paul Thomas Anderson
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Feature Blu-ray Includes:
    • Feature presented in high definition, sourced from the 4K master
    • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
    • Special Features:
  • 2 Deleted Scenes
  • Mattress Man Commercial
  • Blossoms and Blood
  • 12 Scopitones
  • Jon Brion Featurette
  • Recording Session
  • Theatrical Trailers

    PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE has a run time of approximately 95 minutes and is rated R for strong language, including a scene of sexual dialogue.
  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISCS INCLUDE:
  • STARMAN the complete 1986-1987 22-episode follow-up series based on the feature film—exclusively presented in high definition! HD episodes are included on 4K UHD discs for maximum space.

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