Archive for May, 2010

The Ruined Cast


Saturday, May 29, 2010

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“The Ruined Cast” / Dash Shaw – demo teaser from Howard Gertler on Vimeo.

Hey everybody, Frank Santoro here to update you the “not comics” project I’m working on: Dash Shaw’s new animated feature, The Ruined Cast.

We’ve made a three minute teaser and are presenting it here for your viewing pleasure. Check it out! And yes, I hand painted those waves rolling in from the ocean!

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Sunday: Art in Time in L.A.


Friday, May 28, 2010

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It'll be Like This

L.A. denizens:

This Sunday I’m having an afternoon book launch for Art in Time, featuring conversations with both contributing and like-minded cartoonists. We will be covering everything from Real Deal to Illuminations to Love and Rockets. Come on down — I promise a very unusual event.

Sunday, May 30
5 pm – 9 pm


611 N Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, 90036

Adventurous Cartoonists & Far-Out Comics

In celebration of his new comic anthology Art in Time: Unknown Comic Books Adventures, 1940-1980, art director/editor Dan Nadel will present an afternoon of book signings and conversations with notable cartoonists about the impact of adventure comics on popular culture. First, Dan will begin with an overview of adventure comics — from crime to cavemen, and back again! Next up, “Angry Youth”/”Prison Pit” author (and Cinefamily cover artist) Johnny Ryan interviews Lawrence Hubbard, co-creator of the raw ‘n riotous comic series “Real Deal”, set against the backdrop of a crime-ridden South Central. Later, join underground greats Sharon Rudahl, John Thompson and Barbara (Willy) Mendes in a panel discussion on their work, and on the milieu of 1960s subversive comics! Wrapping up the show is “Love And Rockets” co-creator Jaime Hernandez presenting a screening of the 1949 Joseph L. Mankiewicz classic A Letter To Three Wives, followed by a discussion with Jaime on the film, moderated by cartoonist Sammy Harkham.

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Bruce Timm color guides


Friday, May 28, 2010

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hand colored marker guide for the colorist

This one is for all you color nerds out there. I was leafing through the Batman Animated book and found a few color guides by Bruce Timm from his Mad Love comic. There are some notes for the colorist from Timm and I think they’re worth sharing. Remember this was 1994. Timm’s notes read:

“Basically, I wanted to keep the color as simple as possible. I feel a lot of the new, computer-separated books are way over-rendered, the “Image” books being the worst offenders. In particular I really hate that “hard-edged” gradation that Oliff & Chiodo use so often. Please try to keep gradations as smooth as possible & “air-brush”-y as possible.”

Hunh. Pretty interesting to think that Timm in ’94 was reacting against Image Comics coloring. Also interesting to think that his way of thinking, that his reaction has had its own influence on comics and on animation.

And beyond that the Batman Animated book by Chip Kidd seems to me to be a big influence itself. Dash never stops talking about it. Jim Rugg too. Something about identity or something. Bodyworld, Afrodisiac… seeing around a character, a setting, a story. Hunh. I feel like Joe Pesci in JFK, “It’s a mystery wrapped up in a riddle…!” What does it all mean? It means, the pledge drive is over, dear readers, thank you for your support.

Welcome back to regular programming.

Bruce Timm's color guide for Mad Love

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Don’t Forget!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

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Today is the last official day of the Comics Comics pledge drive. Act fast if you want to grab hold of any of the amazing stuff we have for sale. Everything from Bushmiller and Frank King originals to Paper Rad and Jim Rugg prints. Dash Shaw. Matthew Thurber. PictureBox multi-book packs. Mini-comics curated by Jason T. Miles and back issues selected by Frank Santoro. And Johnny Ryan is still taking commissions. Don’t let these opportunities slip away…

Look here and here and here for more details.

And thank you so much to all of you who have already given to us. You can’t know how much we appreciate it.

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Harold Gray Unbuttoned


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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Before you go any further, please take a look at the ongoing auction in support of this blog….

As Jog noted, there is a new Little Orphan Annie volume out this week: the fifth in the “Library of American Comics” series edited by Dean Mullaney. The volume covers the years 1933 to early 1935. As usual, I’ve foisted one of my longish introductions on the book. In writing my introduction I was immeasurably helped by Jeff Kersten, a scholar who is doing research on Chester Gould. Jeff provided me with a series of letter that Harold Gray wrote to Chester Gould in 1933. In these letters Gray complains at length about the policies of the Tribune-News Syndicate, especially that of publisher Joseph Patterson and Vice-President Arthur Crawford, who Gray thought were “chiselling” their staff cartoonists out of royalties from spin-offs. Gray also gossips a bit about their other cartoonists in the Tribune-News Syndicate such as Sydney Smith.  These letters give us an unprecedented look into the business side of the comic book industry, and both Jeff and I will be mining them for future research.

I strongly encourage anyone interested in the history of comics to pick up the books in the Annie and Dick Tracy series. As an appetizer, I’ve decided to share an excerpt from the first letter Gray wrote to Gould with some annotations:

Harold Gray to Chester Gould, May 23, 1933:

Dear Chester; —

Your letter written Sunday arrived just now and I am delighted to hear from you. Also I am considerably embarrassed, for I have meant to write you long before this and now you’ve beaten me to it. Time and time again in following your strip I have sworn to drop you a line to tell you how sincerely much I like it and how dam glad I am to see you going over with such a solid success. It’s a whale of a strip in every way, and it has tickled me a lot watch you avoid many of the pitfalls many wise guys predicted for you in the handling of the strip and in the handling of yourself.


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Recent Read: The Anime Machine


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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In The Anime Machine, Thomas Lamarre has a smart, cute way of describing the difference between full and limited animation: “Drawing the movement (full) vs. moving the drawing (limited.)” Limited animation is sliding planes of drawings, done by moving a drawing a little bit, taking a picture, and then again. This has created so many interesting, inventive ways of communicating depth on a two-dimensional playing field- as opposed to moving through space like in Pixar animation or Tekkon Kinkreet environments where the drawings are somehow (I have no idea how) mapped onto three-dimensional spaces for the camera to move around in.

The most common example is when a camera zooms out from a drawing and objects in the foreground slide from the sides to the center of the frame. Obviously, this doesn’t happen in real life; nothing is flat. We’d see the side of the objects as we move past them. But our brain fills in the gaps and it creates the illusion of moving backward in space. This is aided by our acceptance of live-action camera zooms, which flatten the picture plane (like in Barry Lyndon.) (more…)


Wilson Blah Blah


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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They aren't very likable.

Since everyone else is really digging in and delivering the goods this fund-raising week, I should probably pitch in with a post or two of my own. Unfortunately, I just moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey, and ten years’ hoarding worth of books and comics have spent the last three weeks packed away in cardboard boxes (as is our scanner, so no images). All comics except for Wilson, that is—left out for my wife to have something to read during the move—so that’s the topic I will write about, half-assed though the resulting piece might be.

Please feel free to poke holes in the following:

Numero UNO: Since when did everyone decide that “likable” characters were important? Because nine-tenths of all Wilson reviews (from comic-book enthusiasts, that is—interestingly enough, “mainstream” critics largely seemed able to take this aspect much more easily in stride) make a big deal of how the book’s flawed because the protagonist is an asshole. At first I just chalked that up to ignorant posturing, but now even the estimable and usually astute R. Fiore is getting into the act, and taking the philistine position. Something is happening here, but I don’t know what it is. (more…)

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