Clearly sensing a need to cash in on the potential market opened up by the 99%’s embracing of the V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask at Occupy events, some genius involved with the licensing of Watchmen-related products has brought this crass piece of shit Banksy rip-off into the world. The $49.99 list price has quickly fallen away and you can now pick these babies up for a mere ten bucks at your local Big Lots (as shown above). Makes a great play environment for your Toys R Us exclusive Prisoner Rorschach action figure. Kid friendly. Highly Collectible.
The grandparents were in town to spoil the Wow Cool kids. They got off easy on the tab when we found a ton of Jay Steven’s Secret Saturdays action figures on clearance. The show is currently in reruns on the Cartoon Network’s Boomerang cable channel and is some enjoyable stuff in a Tom Strong adventure vein. While the grands were being dragged around by the kids I decided to explore the rest of the store to see what other delights might be found.
Forgot to post on Wednesday that the first issue of the new Godzilla series illustrated by Simon Gane – now known everywhere as “Godzilla Ongoing” – had hit the stands. I’m sorta glad I waited until today. Variant cover madness has reached new heights (or lows) with the news that in addition to the three and a half covers to the print edition there are also two slightly different covers to the digital version. And, not one of them is by Simon. Yup. Can’t make this stuff up folks. That said. It’s a pretty great world in comics where there are Godzilla books coming out and they are illustrated by Simon Gane and James Stokoe.
Our fine friends at Sparkplug Books are getting set to publish three new titles – the first big batch since founder Dylan Williams’ passing last year – and they need your help to make it happen. There is an excellent array of reward items, including original art and t-shirts. Get yourself over to Indiegogo and help them out.
Yes, it is I. The irregular Wow Cool link dump. Usually posted on a Monday or Tuesday, often in two parts, often skipping many weeks. We are well back from the holidays, and therefore it is time to obliterate every open tab and share the good bits that emerge.
We open with the fight song from of the original St. Trinnian’s films. As you may have heard, St. Trinnian’s creator Ronald Searle passed away a few days ago. He has been remembered far and wide. I tried and failed to find what I thought would be the perfect image to present, so I went with the video instead. If you are going to read only one obituary of the late British cartoonist, you should read the one by Steven Heller in the New York Times. And, hey, I actually liked the newer St. Trinnian’s films.
If you have a couple days to spare you really should take the time to read this interview with amigo Steve Bissette – part of the Comics Reporter holiday interview series. I could list about half of the rest as must reads too, but I’ll let you pick your own favorites.
Our late friend and inspiration Dylan Williams, of Sparkplug Comics, is being chronicled in bloggy fashion at the DYLAN WILLIAMS ARCHIVES – The life and work of Dylan F. Williams 1970 – 2011. “We are attempting to archive the life and work of Dylan Williams: Collected writings, comics, artwork, sketches, letters, stories, photos and tributes. This is an ongoing project compiled by Dylan’s friends and family. If you have something you would like to contribute, please write to tom (at) iwilldestroyyou (dot) com” If you knew Dylan, then the Amazon reviews will make you chuckle and miss him all the more. I lied a couple paragraphs ago, you also must read this Comics Reporter holiday interview with the current proprietors of Sparkplug.
I would be amiss to not give a shout-out to Sean T. Collins for giving us a Shout-out in this post-holiday roundup of amazing comics stuff. It’s part three of… how many? Does this guy ever sleep? So much goodness out there.
In related news, CBR’s Robot 6 has gone into overdrive the last few days (while most of us were relaxing) with great news, bits, previews and more. Seriously, too much to mention, just start digging.
Kid Kameleon at SF MusicTech 2009 - photo by Marc Arsenault
It’s always really nice when a thing leads to another thing and you discover a whole other world of awesome music and art that you did not previously know existed. The art and science of discovery is something that drives the marketers wild and makes us passionate ones crazy. Today saw a series of intriguing finds spurred by the usual Friday afternoon listen at Wow Cool HQ of the excellent Tom Ravenscroft show on BBC 6Music. The guest mix on the show was by local favorite Kid Kameleon (Site, Twitter), who I’d photographed and seen perform at SF MusicTech a couple years ago.
At Wow Cool central in Cupertino, CA, we will be celebrating All Hallow’s Read next week, by giving scary books to family and friends and offering it as an option to trick-or-treaters that come to the door on Monday, October 31. A big thanks to TopShelf publishing for providing many copies of their latest Free Comic Book Day tome for kids. We’re getting the jump on the plan for 2012 to offer FCBD twice a year.
I’ve been watching Lis Sladen play Sarah Jane Smith on TV since Doctor Who first debuted on PBS in the US, beginning with Tom Baker’s first story ‘Robot’ some 30 or more years ago. I didn’t even know she was sick. She will be much missed. The image above is a screen shot I took 20 years ago for possible use in a Brown Cuts Neighbors project. It is from the Doctor Who story Pyramids of Mars. BBC news story. BBC YouTube Sarah Jane playlist.
And then it all went to hell. A week ago we were locked inside here on the west coast of America dreading the radioactive plume that had drifted our way from Japan. It was a cold rainy day that did, truly feel odd. Like the radiation made your bones ache and your thyroid twitch a little. I have no idea how much the exposure was then, or now; nor do I have any clue as to what effects, if any there have been or will be. I do know I am most worried for my friends in Japan; and, I do know quite a bit about the types of reactors at Fukishima and their history with their designers and suppliers of three of them. I know this because I grew up in Schenectady, New York. Schenectady was once a major American industrial city, and they did something special there. They refined plutonium… right outside of downtown on Peek Street. And on a couple of occasions it exploded. A decade ago, the building where they did this went down in flames. That same week I was working on a documentary on the history of GE and early atomic development in Schenectady: The city that lights and hauls the world.
A few days ago, documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis posted to his blog for the BBC part 6 of his series Pandora’s Box: A is For Atom (embedded above). You absolutely must watch this film.
The film shows that from very early on – as early as 1964 – US government officials knew that there were serious potential dangers with the design of the type of reactor that was used to build the Fukushima Daiichi plant. But that their warnings were repeatedly ignored.
The film tells the story of the rise of nuclear power in America, Britain and the Soviet Union. It shows how the way the technologies were developed was shaped by the political and business forces of the time. And how that led directly to inherent dangers in the design of the containment of many of the early plants.
Those early plants in America were the Boiling Water Reactors. And that is the very model that was used to build the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Three of them were supplied directly by General Electric.
In 1966 the US government Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards tried to force the industry to redesign their containment structures to make them safer. But the chairman of the committee claims in the film that General Electric in effect refused.
When it comes to mischief-making with a porpoise, the Yes Men have no equal! Mike Bonanno is bringing never-before-seen footage and behind-the-scenes insights from the latest Yes Men hijinks to launch the Spring 2011 season at Troy, New York’s Sanctuary for Independent Media… and he’s ready to share some secrets, too!
How did the Yes Men derail Chevron’s latest multi-million dollar greenwashing campaign? Are they worried about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lawsuit against them?
Go to 3361 6th Avenue in North Troy, New York at 7 PM on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 for this and more! Admission by donation ($10 suggested, $5 student/low income).
Fantagraphics Books’ long running magazine of comics news, criticism and whatnot, The Comics Journal, officially handed over the curation of it’s interwebs iteration TCJ.com to the motley band at Comics Comics. Re-launched on Sunday, March 6th, 2011, with a brand new look and an opening editorial from Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler, TCJ.com is the nicest and freshest it has looked in years. We will see in the coming weeks what kind and frequency of content we can expect from the new stable of columnists, which includes the whole Comics Comics team and a host of others. I expect great things from Sean T. Collins in his new interview series Say Hello and am curious what novelist Tom DeHaven will be bringing to the show. No word on if Brian Chippendale has been enticed to bring his Marvelous Coma blog over to the site. Granted he hasn’t had a new post in over half a year, but I remain optimistic. In related news, Lightning Bolt starts it’s Spring tour in just a few weeks. Go check that.
In the meanwhile, it was also announced on Sunday by Jay Babcock that “Arthur, such as it is, is set to close March 15, 2011.” In the weeks before the announcement, the Arthur site had been posting a great deal of content from its mid-decade print version including a number of comics that hadn’t been seen since. The Arthur comics pages were edited by Jordan Crane and Sammy Harkham, then Tom Devlin, then Alvin Buenaventura. In the last two years as online-only, Jason Leivian of Floating World Comics has been the comics editor. Among the artists presented are David Lasky, Megan Kelso and Souther Salazar. Some kind of an incomplete history is on the Wikipedia. Arthur was a very influential magazine during it’s few years run in the mid-00s. It was sort of a bold fusion of 80s fanzine* and new journalism sensibilities fused to whatever was going on in the middle of the century’s first decade. Good stuff. We can now officially miss it.
UPDATE: For further reading, I direct you to Tom Spurgeon’s The Comics Reporter for his interview with Dan and Tim about the TCJ.com take over. Tom also covers Arthur closing and notes in this post that the Comics Journal’s notorious message board has been shuttered. I salute his professionalism and restraint regarding any mention of a certain cartoon figure who also is known for having a portrait of him by Sam Henderson.
*For the curious, I’m thinking of 80s fanzines like Forced Exposure, No Mag and Chemical Imbalance. Thanks to Jay Babcock for checking in here and correcting some of my Arthur facts (you know, like placing it in the wrong decade)
There used to be a great feature in the magazine The Comics Journal called the swipe file, where a classic piece of comic art was held up next to a more recent piece that usually resembled it a bit too much to be mere coincidence. The best know modern version is, of course, the You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice, But We Did… blog. Here’s a classic I stumbled across today while digging through a library sale trying to complete my collections of John Le Carre novels and Speedball Pen calligraphy manuals:
Dear Jesus was a hardcore punk fanzine I produced between 1989 and 1992. There were four full issues, and a mini-issue I made 50 copies of and sold at one show in 1990. Everything is included in this collection. The anthology totals 140 pages, with a new intro, color cover, and sturdy velo binding. More work by Sam is available on BuyOlympia.com.
These five issues include interviews with Jello Biafra, Richie Birkenhead (of Underdog & Youth Of Today), Doc Dart (this is the piece that led, 17 years later, to my Vice Magazine profile “The Troublemaker”), Econochrist, Lifesblood, CBGB owner Hilly Kristal, Ian MacKaye, Maximumrocknroll, Mike BS (of ABC No Rio), Mykel Board (of MRR), Nation Of Ulysses (pictorial), Nausea, Neanderthal, No For An Answer, Revelation Records, Rorschach, Soulside, Supertouch, artist Seth Tobocman, Swiz, and Tit Wrench. This collection also includes articles on the first Gulf War, punk in Latin America, an extensive Born Against tour diary, and many, many painfully opinionated reviews. Dear Jesus was one of the most consistent hardcore punk zines to document the early 1990′s ABC No Rio scene in New York. If this is a historical period that interests you, then this is perhaps something you will want to own.
I’ve been accumulating these for about a year. Various books that were picked up at garage sales and library sales because the cover art was just so great. On all but a couple of them I have to admit that the initial thrill faded over time… Here’s some hoping that the initial response was valid and these are great (and maybe, more significantly, different) cover designs. Enjoy.