The fifth installment of Tristan Newcomb’s video series In-Box of a Studio Executive finds said exec pondering how to improve upon classic Charles M. Schulz Peanuts strips. It’s funny because it’s sadly, sadly true.
The Mix : What are people talking about today?
I’m a pretty simple guy. I see clear distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil, love and hate and Republican and Democrat. In this age of political correctness and doing the right thing I don’t make decisions because they’re popular. I make decisions because I think something is right.
Remember the days when someone punched you in the face and you could punch him (or her) right back without having much to worry about — well, besides getting your ass kicked. After the fight (or, in my case, ass whipping) you and the other party would decide to be friends or continue to hate each other. Either way you knew where you stood with that person. NOW if someone punches you in the face — YOU may get sued — and worst, with the current state of our world you don’t know where you stand. I don’t know about you but I would like to know where I stand after I’m punched in the face.
I grew up in the projects in New York City during the days when a threat sounded like this: "I’m going to kick your ass, Davis." Back then my response was "You will have to find me first, lady." Now I simply call my lawyers.
Fantagraphics has announced it will be relaunching a Complete Pogo series with cartoonist (and Walt Kelly admirer) Jeff Smith as series and book-by-book designer. Tom Spurgeon reports the series "will be released on a roughly annual basis" with the first volume appearing this coming October.
IESB reports that the movie adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300 received a standing ovation at its world premiere last night at the Berlin Film Festival. "The screening was interrupted again and again by spontaneous applause and cheers from the 1700 strong audience," adds the movie site. This would seem to jibe with earlier mostly positive reviews by folks who have seen sneak previews, including Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, and fly in the face of the chorus of boos reported at the earlier press screening.
Smallville viewers should note that the April 12 episode will feature yet another inspired bit of stunt-casting, as Lynda Carter will appear as the mother of Daily Planet reporter Chloe Sullivan. I’m begging for Clark not to fall for Moira Sullivan; that would be all ooky.
Three Arizona schools went into brief lockdown mode after a student at one of them, Desert Arroyo Middle School, reported seeing a person dressed as Batman run across campus, jump a fence and disappear into the desert. No such impostor was located, and officials concluded the student has filed a false report and disciplinary actions were being considered against him or her. And just when the world needs more heroes, too.
Meanwhile, Fremont’s own Jimmy Olson appeared in Nebraska’s Dodge County Court Tuesday and pleaded no contest to DUI. It was his third offense. And Fremont resident Christopher Reeves, is currently on probation for his third DUI offense. It can’t be easy having the same name as a Superman-related icon; maybe these guys should just get outta Dodge.
At my age (insert obligatory "hey you kids, get out of my store!, what do you think this is, a reading room?" here) the blasts from the past seem to blow with ever increasing frequency and velocity. I’m used to various elements of my past circling back on me, as my forays into pop culture hobbies always seem to result in intersecting circles of friends and acquaintances. A number of the same people who used to write for a zine I self-published twenty years ago probably (like me) have their own weblogs now, in an era where self-expression means you no longer have to spend a single cent to get your writing out to potentially millions of readers every day.
And yet, the more things around us seem to update and lurch into fast-forward, the more familiar they seem to me. No substantial difference, really, between passing around handwritten story pages to classmates or cranking out apazines or posting on message boards or blogging. It’s all one-to-many conversation, it’s all storytelling and essay-writing, it just comes down to a matter of scale and audience. The big difference is that nowadays, thanks to online archives and search engines, our stories are no longer so easily lost.
Back in a previous life I was a very struggling actor in Chicago. One summer I was working with a small troupe that, among other things, did children’s plays outdoors and in various venues. This particular show we were doing was called Wiley and the Hairy Man, based upon a children’s book. I played the Hairy Man – a swamp-man/boogeyman – and, while I kept getting chased offstage by the Wiley in the title, my character kept sneaking back in. It was not a part of particular subtlety but it did require some finesse. I was the monster in a children’s play which meant I couldn’t be too scary; just enough to produce the tinglies and a lot of laughs.
To be honest, I loved the role. In every venue, after Wiley would chase me away I would look for different places to come back at the required time through the audience. Even my fellow cast members were never quite sure where I would be coming from which kept it fresh for all of us. Sometimes I would pick up a child from where they were sitting in one part of the audience and deposit them somewhere else in the audience. My make-up was absurd, my costume had tatty fur glued on a work shirt, and it was a "Brian Blessed" roaring over the top performance – all in all, it may have been my finest role.
Short plot description from NBC’s site: Ryan invites Michael to be a guest speaker at his business school. Meanwhile, Dwight battles a bat that gets loose in the office while Pam (Jenna Fischer) invites co-workers to her first art show. In her nigh-indispensable blog, Office star Jenna Fischer writes, "I loved having Joss around on set. He is a huge fan of the show and knew every little detail and nuance about our characters. As a result, he was very focused on how to direct us to get the very best performances. I remember one day I was doing background work for a couple of hours and out the blue he came up to me and said, ‘Jenna, I love the reaction you are doing back here. It’s perfectly Pam!’ He was watching our background performances…so awesome." Jenna insists it’s pure coincidence that the episode happens to feature a bat – which the cast named Gary and which she describes as "super-cute." That’s so perfectly Pam!
Our second Podcast is now available for your downloading pleasure.
Mike Raub covers the massive Toy Fair trade show where all kinds of interesting stuff was announced (you’ve already seen some pictures here and here at ComicMix.com), we’ve got another Timeline feature, and some important comments from Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief Joe Quesada!
Plus — we debut our regular Thursday review segment with some comics opinion from Boston’s own Gwen David. You can grab our second Podcast simply by pushing this button: