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January 18, 2004
[comics] Chronicling The Revolutionary — interview with Chester Brown about Louis Riel – includes update about Joe Matt …

‘NRAMA: Did Joe Matt move back to Canada?

CB: Nope he’s in Los Angeles right now. He’s in negotiations with HBO to make Peepshow into a television series and it looks like it might happen. I’m not sure if a deal has actually been signed but if it hasn’t then its close. At least they’ll make a pilot.

NRAMA: Who will play you?

CB: I don’t know. Maybe I’m not even in the pilot.’

January 15, 2004
[comics] Jim Lee interviews Howard Chaykin‘Writing episodic TV is a constant series of negotiations between the writing staff and the line producer’s crew. When I’m doing comics, the old cliché is true – I’m the whole show-writing, acting, directing-and it’s a perfect place for a control freak like me.’
January 10, 2004
[comics] Morphing into New Forms. Devouring Young Adults! — article about Graphic Novels in book stores. Mark Farce (comic shop owner): ‘I believe I will outlive the comic book medium. My die-hard customers will just keep getting older and older. I don’t see young kids coming into stores to buy comics. I think the trades have re-tapped into the 25 to 30 year olds who were into comics, got married, sold their comics and are now wandering back in. But when we get young customers in with say a gift certificate they won at a Yu-Gi-Oh tournament, the last thing they’re interested in is comic books.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
January 9, 2004
[comics] Waiting for Tommy Interview with Warren Ellis‘Right now, it feels like 2004 will be my last very active year in American comics. This isn’t a big splashy f*ckyouall I’m-retiring I-won’t-play-Bond-again you-won’t-have-Dick-Nixon-to-kick-around-any-more kind of thing. I’m not flopping on the ground in weeping martyrdom or anything. I just think maybe I’ve taken this gig as far as I can go.’
January 6, 2004
[comics] Alan Moore vs. Grant T. Morrison‘An Epic Bare-Knuckle Brawl Between Two Mega-Legends’ [via plasticbag.org]
December 27, 2003
[comics] The 10 Best Comic Book Footballers — My #1 would be Billy’s Boots‘Billy Dane was the sort of 12-year-old always picked last at break time. Essentially, he was crap at football. Then he found a pair of boots that had belonged to 1920s striker Dead Shot Keen in his gran’s attic and everything changed. The boots miraculously transformed Billy, who first appeared in Scorcher, into a goalscoring automaton. “Is this me or Dead Shot Keen?” he would muse before blasting the ball into the net.’
December 20, 2003
[film] Doom With A View — interview with Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner. ‘…despite being here (or not) to promote a movie devoted to his life, Pekar is hardly your average breathless self-publicist. Neither, although his comics have brought him a certain degree of wide-eyed adulation, is he any kind of superhero. What he is is a famously crabby retired hospital file clerk, a 64-year-old underground icon whose ongoing autobiography in the pages of his (until recently) self-published comic has now been transformed into a movie, also called American Splendor’ [Related: American Splendor Official Site]
December 17, 2003
[comics] Eddie Campbell & The Dark Knight — preview of Campbell’s Batman comic. ‘…what’s the story about? Well, as mentioned earlier, it is an Elseworlds, so expect something…different. “Batman is visiting London on business in 1939,” Campbell began. “So World War 2 is just a few months away and people are getting jumpy. A Nazi plot seems to be revealed but it’s very much more complicated than that. There is a secret society of men who wear animal masks, a murder that connects with a series of old churches, and a lunatic abroad in the streets. It’s got some of the ingredients of From Hell, as you can see, and at the same time it’s all within the normal jurisdiction of the Batman.” The book is currently scheduled for an early July release…’te>
December 16, 2003
[comics] Undertow — Warren Ellis’ take on letting fiction escape into reality … ‘Everything we know about Jack The Ripper outside of the forensic documentation of those five murders is fiction. Even the name is a fabrication. The Jack The Ripper letters, in the most optimistic reading, constitute the actual killer creating a fictional framework for himself. And Jack operated in a landscape already primed for his presence by dramatisation. Robert Louis Stevenson’s THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE presented a monster whose identity was unknown to the public, turning the streets of 1880s London into a killing zone. A monster, it transpires in the story, from the educated classes — as Jack, with his apparently trained eye for vivisection, almost certainly was. For all we know of Jack The Ripper, he could have been Mr Hyde, released from fiction into Whitechapel.’ [via Barbelith]
December 12, 2003
[comics] We Read Comics Blogs So You Don’t Have To! — a summary of what is happening in the Comics Blogosphere … ‘Does anyone really buy those stupid “sexy vampire” comics?’ [via Neilalien]
December 8, 2003
[comics] Little things we like: American Splendor — mini review of Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor … ‘Now is the time to check out Harvey Pekar’s brilliant autobiographical comic, just before the film version makes a national hero out of him. Pekar is a downbeat hospital file clerk from Cleveland who writes about the mundanities of his daily routine, from spending empty weekends in front of the television to the dangers of getting stuck behind old Jewish ladies at supermarket checkouts, and it makes for compelling reading.’ [Related: American Splendor Movie Trailer]
December 5, 2003
[comics] The Golden Age: Uncensored‘Scientologists are fucking weird…’ [via Pete’s Link Farm]

image from the golden age: uncensored
[link to image]

December 1, 2003
[comics] Totally Grant Morrison — another long interview with GM‘Most people are secretly fond of the idea of comics, given half a chance. They just need an excuse to admit it. As for mainstream attention, Kristan and I went to the League premiere in Leicester Square and couldn’t help but notice that every page three boy band big brother celebrity in London was suddenly proclaiming a lifelong, undying love of comics …. Strangely enough, they couldn’t actually remember anything other than the Beano and Spider-Man when faced with questions. Progress?’
November 28, 2003
[comics] ‘Hello, I’m Grant Morrison and I write the X-Men.’ [link]

image from the simpsons comic with grant morrison and mark millar

November 25, 2003
[comics] Deadlock — amusing online comic from Other People’s Stories. ‘…My solution was brilliant in its passive agressive deviousness! I was asking Lisa out on a date without actually going through the humiliation of asking her out on a date!’ [via IllNation]
November 24, 2003
[comics] The Graphic Novel Silver Anniversary — Time Magazine on 25 years of Graphic Novels. ‘…Eisner had to come up with his own, spontaneous sleight-of-hand marketing. “[The phrase] ‘graphic novel’ was kind of accidental,” Eisner said. While pitching the book to an important trade-book editor in New York, says Eisner, “a little voice inside me said, ‘Hey stupid, don’t tell him it’s a comic or he’ll hang up on you.’ So I said, ‘It’s a graphic novel.'” Though that particular editor wasn’t swayed by the semantics, dismissing the book as “comics,” a small publisher eventually took the project and put the phrase “A Graphic Novel” prominently on the jacket, thereby cementing the term permanently into the lexicon.’ [thanks Kabir]
November 18, 2003
[comics] Alan Moore is 50. Happy Birthday… and enjoy your retirement!

‘Sat in a sandwich bar in Westminster I meet the sharp south-London wideboy occultist that I’d created some years previously for a U.S. comic book. He looks at me. He nods, and smiles, and walks away. Years later, in another place, he steps out from the dark and speaks to me. He whispers: I’ll tell you the ultimate secret of Magic. Any cunt can do it.’ [link]

‘The basic thing to remember is that, eventually, I am always right’ [link]

‘Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it’s true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper, “No.” They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father, or President Truman. Decent men who believed in a days work for a days pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn’t realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don’t tell me they didn’t have a choice. Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers… and all of a sudden, nobody can think of anything to say.’ [link]

‘…with the world political situation as it is at the moment the political radical is put in a difficult position because, hum, how do you rebel against chaos? You know, much as political conspiracy theorists would like to think otherwise, the brutal truth of the thing is nobody’s in control, this is a runaway train. Nobody’s in control, there’s not some big conspiracy in control, whether it’s Jewish bankers or nazis or CIA spooks, the simple truth is that the world is a complex storm of mathematics, basically… Very complicated mathematics that is beyond human comprehension.’ [link]

‘I made it all up, and it all came true anyway. That’s the funny part.’ [link]

November 17, 2003
[comics] Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex — Larry Niven wonders about Superman’s Sex Life … ‘Ejaculation of semen is entirely involuntary in the human male, and in all other forms of terrestrial life. It would be unreasonable to assume otherwise for a kryptonian. But with kryptonian muscles behind it, Kal-El’s semen would emerge with the muzzle velocity of a machine gun bullet. (*One can imagine that the Kent home in Smallville was riddled with holes during Superboy’s puberty. And why did Lana Lang never notice that?*)’ [via Many Comic Blogs]
November 16, 2003
[comics] After the 30-year Struggle, a Heroic Victory — interview with Paul Levitz, president of DC Comics … ‘It is easy to imagine the small-framed Levitz feeling like an outsider when editing a comic fanzine while he was growing up in Brooklyn. Not any more. “Popular culture has shifted,” he says. “It’s not just the function of the comic book movie per se. Look at everything from Men in Black to Lord of the Rings. This is the kind of material that as young men my friends and I loved, and we were rather at the edge of things. That material is now squarely in the centre.” DC sits in the shadow of the sleek, modern towers that will serve as the new head office of parent company Time Warner, an appropriate position for a business described by investment bank Thomas Weisel as a “hidden asset” buried within the Warner Brothers division…’
November 13, 2003
[comics] “Captain America! I Command You To — “ WANK! [via me(ish)]
November 12, 2003
[comics] Brought To Book — interview with Posy Simmonds … ‘Not only is she the author and illustrator of five successful children’s books, but this feeling of being treated as a sub-species is also the lot of the cartoonist. ‘People often ask, “Who thinks of your ideas for you?” When you reply that you think of your own, they sometimes say, “Do you do the drawings as well?”‘ She relates this in a deadpan tone, but behind it you can see amusement rather than irritation.’
November 11, 2003
[comics] Howard Chaykin on American Flagg: ‘Twenty years ago I did a comic book about a twenty-first century America with endless reality shows based on public humiliation; a federal government secretly selling off pieces of the United States; and a citizenry so drugged out on media they colluded in their own betrayal. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.’
November 7, 2003
[comics] The Saga of the Earth Pig — summary of Dave Sim’s Cerebus … [via ¡Journalista!]

‘Cerebus is unique among other comics for its length of story, depth of character, breadth of detail, and evolution over time. It exists in 4 dimensions. The series focuses on Cerebus, a 3-foot tall aardvark man, who lives in a pre-industrial medieval fantasy world. As the story progresses, Cerebus finds himself involved with people and events that change history. He becomes a politician, pope, houseguest, bartender, and prophet, in that order. He finds and loses love. He speaks with beings of great power and knowledge, including his creator, Dave Sim. And yet, he still cannot find happiness in day-to-day life. Cerebus has done it all, been everywhere, and seen everybody. And he still fucks up.’

November 5, 2003
[comics] The Books of Heaven, the Comics of Hell: The Graphic Novel in America — Stuart Moore on Graphic Novels … ‘It’s easy to see why writers champion the graphic novel. It’s very liberating to be able to craft a lengthy narrative and let the tension points fall where they may, instead of having to break the flow every 22 pages. But there are two reasons why the graphic novel format hasn’t taken over, despite some pretty zealous proponents. The first drawback is visibility. This is more of a problem for the artist than for the writer, because generally speaking, comics take a lot longer to draw than they take to write. That means that, for some artists, doing a stand-alone graphic novel can take them out of the marketplace entirely for six months to a year. […] The other problem is stickier: economics…’
November 3, 2003
[comics] The Superhero as House Guest — a profile of Alex Ross who is living the fanboy dream [thanks Kabir] …

‘To see the really cool stuff, you have to sneak into the room above the garage, which Mr. Ross calls “my fortress of solitude of collectibles.” Two lifelike figures — a 6-foot-3 Superman and a 6-foot-2 Batman sculptured in wax, resin and fiberglass by a British artist, Mike Hill — dominate the room. Action figures including one-of-a-kind pieces bought on eBay and cheap mass-produced fast-food favors are arranged museum-style in vitrines on every wall. A small jointed wooden Superman from 1939, bought for a song at a toy show, has its own shelf.’

‘Mr. Ross went to his own party as the Phantom, an often overlooked superhero also known as “the ghost who walks.” At 6 feet 3, Mr. Ross can actually be rather unghostlike — especially in a hooded Danskin bodysuit the color of grape Kool-Aid.’

October 27, 2003
[comics] Operation: Get Your War On — interview with David Rees (creator of GYWO) … ‘At that time my web host said I owed them tons of money, and I was considering abandoning my site. I had to go out of town and, hoping not to think about that situation or the strip, my girlfriend called me and said, “I know you don’t want to hear about this, but the Village Voice is trying to get a hold of you; they want to run your strip.” Then my friend, who was monitoring the website hits, told me that the site was getting five million a week. It got really crazy.’ [thanks Stuart]
October 24, 2003
[comics] Philip Pullman interviews Art Spiegelman at the ICA on the 4th. November …. ‘Best known for the Holocaust narrative, Maus, Spiegelman is also co-founder and editor of the avant-garde comics magazine, RAW, and edits Little Lit, a series of comics anthologies for children. He is currently working on an opera, Drawn to Death about the history of comics, and has recently published a series In the Shadow of No Towers in several papers and magazines.’
October 23, 2003
[comics] ‘I Do Comics, Not Graphic Novels’ — interview / profile of Joe Sacco‘Sacco uses cartooning to report on some of the big issues of our time but his particular gift is that he is never pompous or polemical. He can illustrate the hooded interrogation of a Palestinian from East Jerusalem or a throat-slitting slaughter in Bosnia, both events recounted to him in detail, but can also add his own wry thoughts about the loveliness of young Israeli women or the consistency of Palestinian tea. In reality, he is both more dashing and more relaxed than the often anguished character in the strips, and it is not difficult to see how he manages to persuade people to open up to him.’
October 22, 2003
[comics] Behind The Masks — Philip Pullman on Art Spiegelman’s Maus [Buy: UK | US]…

‘Maus does have a profound and unfailing “strangeness”, to use Bloom’s term. Part of this is due to the depiction of Jews as mice, Germans as cats, Poles as pigs, and so forth. This is what jolts most people who come to it for the first time, and still jolts me after several readings. It is such a risky artistic strategy, because it implies a form of essentialism that many readers will find suspect. Cats kill mice because they are cats, and that’s what cats do. But is it in the nature of Germans, as Germans, to kill Jews?

The question hangs over the whole work, and is never answered directly. Instead we are reminded by the plot itself that this classification into different species was precisely how the human race was then regarded by those who had the power to order things; and the question is finally dispelled by the gradual gentle insistence that these characters might look like mice, or cats, or pigs, but what they are is people. They have the complexity and the surprisingness of human beings, and human beings are capable of anything.’

October 18, 2003
[comics] The Ten Geekiest Hobbies — from Seanbaby. Thankfully, blogging is not in the Top 10 but – OMG! – consider the Perfect Storm combination of comics and blogging! … Comics: ‘Damage to Sex Life: 68.7%. When you’re finished showing someone your chart of all the ways Magneto’s hat in X-Men 2 was incorrect, it’s going to be a long, uphill battle to then have sex with them. And to make matters worse, the faulty shape of the dong port in the movie’s version of Magneto’s hat will make having sex with it even harder.’ [via MemeMachineGo]
October 17, 2003
[comics] Heroes of the Blues — a set of trading cards from R. Crumb … ‘Here are his portraits of the many extraordinary country blues artists whose work can be heard primarily on the Yazoo label. Based on photographs, they originally appeared in 1980 as a set of trading cards.’
October 15, 2003
[comics] Captain America Wins Superhero Networking Crown — Spanish scientists have looked at the interconnection and social networks of the fictional Marvel Universe … ‘The researchers used the shape of the network to deduce the best connected character of the Marvel Universe – the Kevin Bacon of superheroes, if you will. Aptly enough, it is Captain America, a veteran of the 1940s Timely Comics era.’ [via overstated.net]
October 14, 2003
[comics] It Came From The Quarter Bin: The Question #1 — Newsarama looks back at Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan’s late-80’s revamp of The Question … ‘I found this first issue with a few dozen of the Question’s comics for a quarter a piece. Yes, I bought nearly the whole Question run for a mere bag of quarters. Sacrilege? Quite possibly, but as its always fun to take advantage of those who know not what is in their quarter bins, buying this issue (along with any other Question comics) you come across is nothing short of a phenomenal buy.’ [via Neilalien]
October 13, 2003
[POW! ZAP!] Car Owners’ Hero Dresses for the Job — a real-life UK Super-Hero – Angle-Grinder Man – makes the the New York Times … ‘After the interview was over, Angle-Grinder Man strode into the street in full regalia, wheeling the suitcase full of civilian clothes he planned to wear on the train home later. Watching his gold cape glitter and swirl heroically in the afternoon light, Judith Smith, a sales clerk who said she had been following Angle-Grinder Man’s exploits on his Web site, pronounced herself a big fan. “I think he’s extraordinarily attractive,” Ms. Smith said. “Especially the golden knickers.”‘ [thanks Kabir]
[comics] Brian Bolland cover for the latest Animal Man Reprint Graphic Novel … [via plasticbag.org]

Cover to Deus Ex Machina (Animal Man Book 3)

‘I’ve seen more death and pain than you could ever dream of. Fifty thousand years of it. Dying on sharpened stakes, on torture racks and fires. Cut to bits by English bullets and American bullets and Nazi bullets. Life goes on! “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” It’ll only happen when people stop being afraid. Your family’s gone. You can’t help them by dying inside. Life needs you to go on fighting and not sit back while they build more bombs and bulldoze more trees. Either you’re on the side of Life or you’re on the side of Death. Which is it going to be?’
October 8, 2003
[film] Tarantino on Comic Fans‘The reason I’ll never do a comic-book movie with, like, The Flash or something like that is fuck those comic-book geeks, man. You can’t please them. I might do a comic-book movie, but I’d come up with my own characters where I’m God and I’m the expert and not you guys’ [via Neilalien]
October 7, 2003
[comics] Grant Morrison’s Favourite Superheroes [published in The Face | via Barbelith]

1. The Flash
2. Superman
3. Paradax (Strange Days)
4. Diabolik
5. New Gods (by Jack Kirby)
6. Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery
7. Emma Frost, The White Queen (X-Men)
8. Cyclops (X-Men)
9. Billy the Cat (and Katie) (DC Thompson)
10. Marvelman (by Alan Moore)

September 28, 2003
[comics] Studio sued over superhero movie — 20th Century Fox sued for stealing the idea for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from two Hollywood insiders. ‘…the lawsuit alleges that Mr Cohen and Mr Poll pitched the idea to Fox several times between 1993 and 1996, under the name the Cast of Characters. It goes on to allege that Fox commissioned Mr Moore to create the comic book as “smokescreen” for poaching the idea, and cutting the pair out of the production.’
September 26, 2003
[comics] The End Of An X-Era — Yet another link to a Grant Morrison interview — on the conclusion of the New X-Men, Sex and DC Comics … New Projects: ‘I have three new ‘creator’ projects already underway and due for release early 2004 – ‘creator’ meaning that the artist and writer own the damn thing and it’s a totally new story, not some old superhero reheat of what your dad was reading while the thought of you boiled in his testes – “Vimanarama!” with Philip Bond. “We3” with Frank Quitely and “Seaguy” with Cameron Stewart will all be out next year. These books all written and I’m already prepping loads more new stuff for next year. I’m deep into a massive DC universe project (something completely new, and not the defunct ‘hypercrisis’ notion) which involves at least seven new series so far. I’ve written 28 plots in a week of activity and it’s been the biggest damburst of creativity I’ve ever known.’ [Preview: New X-Men #147 | via Barbelith]
[comics] Web comics via RSS — a short lesson from Bugpowder.
September 24, 2003
[comics] Tapestry — RSS Feeds for Popular Online Comics.
September 21, 2003
[comics] Japan’s Madness for Manga — BBC News on Manga and Spirited Away … ‘Modern manga burgeoned in Japan’s post-war years, when television was still not affordable. When TV did become more common, anime provided a cheap alternative to live drama. Both genres hooked the 1960s baby boom generation and have since become well-established Japanese media. Relatively low production costs are still part of their attraction. “One person with a pen and piece of paper can do something on the scale of Star Wars,” said Matt Thorn, from Kyoto Seika University’s Department of Comic Art. ‘
September 18, 2003
[comics] Bagge Make Hulk Smash! — brief interview with Peter Bagge about The Incorrigable Hulk. Bagge on working with the Hulk and Spider-man: ‘I like being able to take advantage of the publics near-universal familiarity with characters like Spider-Man and The Hulk. It saves me from having to do a lot of ‘splainin!’
September 15, 2003
[comics] Magneto was Right T-Shirts — as modeled by the late Quentin Quire … [via Barbelith]
[comics] Not Quite As Unhappy — another interview with Harvey Pekar‘I think there are a lot of very common events that take place in people’s lives that are paradoxically not written about very often. The so-called mundane quotidian experience. I try to write about these things because an accumulation of those experiences can have a terrific effect on your life. Most writers, especially in movies which cost a lot of money, try to go for more sensational stuff like bank robberies and single life changing events.’
September 12, 2003
[comics] Voice in the Wilderness — profile of Art Spiegelman‘In the decade since the publication of the two Maus books – graphic novels about the Holocaust in which Jewish mice are persecuted by Nazi cats – Spiegelman had drifted away from cartoons in favour of illustration and design. Some feared that his genius had become blocked; or that, in one rival’s dismissive words, he was just “a guy with one great book in him”. Now, finally, the proximity of death refired his enthusiasm for the calling that made his name. He realised, he says, that “there is something I can do in comics that I cannot do in other ways.” He began to make notes for a post-September 11 cartoon strip…’
September 10, 2003
[comics] Warren Ellis on Cerebus: ‘Over the course of many thousands of pages, it’s also been a detailed political novel, a comedy of the court, a drama of the church, a vision quest, a biography of the last days of Oscar Wilde, several deeply strange attacks on feminism and women in general, and an exegesis of Sim’s own bizarre personal take on religion. It fascinates because Sim is an absolutely brilliant maker of pages, a sublime cartoonist with total control of the form… and because, during the progression of the work, you can clearly see his mind crumbling under the pressure of his immense undertaking and twenty-five years of increasing solitude in which he can only express himself to the world through the agency of a talking anteater.’ [via ¡Journalista!]
September 9, 2003
[web] Latest Episode of Get Your War on

Panel from Get You War On

September 4, 2003
[comics] DC Confirms Lapham & Sienkiewicz Working On Batman‘Bill Sienkiewicz stated at this past weekend’s Dragon*Con in Atlanta that he and David (Stray Bullets) would follow the creative team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso on Batman following the former’s arc, which begins with issue #620 in October.’ [via Barbelith]
September 3, 2003
[comics] The New Comic Book Releases List Web Site — very useful on New Comics Day. Morrison’s New X-Men #145 is out this week…[Related: Barbelith discussion on #145]