Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just a mention or two

I'm on a road trip this weekend, so no real post, but...

I caught a glimpse of the rough Spirit trailer. I have been not terribly interested (and even less optimistic) about this movie from the get-go, and this hasn't changed my mind. I have a feeling the film will fall into the great bin that holds Billy Zane's Phantom and Alex Baldwin's Shadow movies.

This poster doesn't seem to be creating too much of a kerfuffle, certainly compared to the dread MJ statuette and some covers; there's a graduate paper in image analysis for someone there.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A beautiful Saturday!

Today was the best day of the year here in Seattle, sunny all day with temperatures that must have hit seventy. The lakes were filled with boaters, parks were crowded with ballplayers and runners, the Dalai Lama was making an appearance this afternoon at a program at the football stadium, and there was a green technology fair at the convention center.

So, of course, I spent the shank of the afternoon in a dark room at class on writing comics.

Class Act

Shary Flenniken, whom you may remember from her strip "Trots and Bonnie" in the old National Lampoon, was teaching a class called Scripting the Graphic Novel for Writers and Artists at the Richard Hugo House, a local center for the literary arts. The class was scheduled to coincide with Marjane Satrapi's appearance in town on Monday.

I had been expecting a class focusing on the details of full-script versus "Marvel" methods and similar technical issues. I guess this betrays my formalist bent; Shary's presentation, well-received by the eleven attendees, ranged from creativity exercises and brainstorming methods to scriptwriting practices and publishing concerns.

Most of the students were writers first and foremost; some of them had had little or no exposure to comics. More than one was looking for the appropriate vehicle for her story, or another way of telling it, after having tried prose and screenplay. There was a strong creative energy in the class and a great deal of respect for the promise of the "graphic novel" form.

Shary provided guidance in visual- and action-based writing that was on-target for the audience and the context. And she told funny stories, too!

check out Shary's website

A is A
There's a huge announcement bouncing around the internets right now:

It looks like at long last Steve Ditko is going to have a new book coming out. I'm sure I'm going to get it, and I'm sure I will be thrilled to see new art from one of the greats, but I'm not as sure that I'm going to enjoy reading it. We'll see. Check out the details on Ditko Looked Up.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Interim linkage

Here are a few pieces from my recent bookmarks file:

The First Second feature Mentor's Corner has had some great essays on the structure and function of comics: Steven Seagle on Beginning-Middle-End and Calistra Brill on Time caught my attention in particular. These approaches provide a contrast to Neil Cohn's psycholinguistic investigations, which drive me crazy (but which I always read).

And speaking of alternate perspectives, it was interesting to find a fairly comprehensive overview of comics history on a marketing job search website.

A new journal, Graphoscope, should soon be joining the ongoing conversation, although I am always made a bit chary by the overuse of the word "criticism."

Just for fun, The Daily Batman is self-explanatory. I wonder how long it can go before it gets dull.

This weekend, I am passing up the Dalai Lama for Shary Flenniken - I'll tell you all about it.