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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Christmas greetings!

I didn't get out a mailed Christmas card this year. Frankly, I've screwed up my colorist's Thanksgiving with late pages, so I don't want to spend multiple days drawing, printing, assembling, and signing all the cards I usually send out.

Still, I wanted to get out something to signify the holiday season. Hoping all of you are having wonderful midwinter celebrations. Festivus, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Christmas, New Year's, and Chanukah, in reverse historical order.

Friday, December 19, 2008

First annotations

I'd been hoping someone would annotate the new Top 10 series. Glory be, Xteve put up the first annotations for the new series on the comments thread.

Putting in the "Easter Eggs" is a lot like drawing up a crossword puzzle. You'd like to think that someone, somewhere, is working to solve it. It's really a group activity, as some of the references are so obscure or foreign that no single person could find them all.

As the puzzle maker and a DC contractor, I can't really play this game. I will mention that I'm a MySpace fan of Jane Jensen, and I later learned that she's a college pal of Alex Ross.

Put anything else you discover in comments, or feel free to re-post onto other forums:

K ... it's a snowy day and what to do but ... read comics! Here's a brief list of Top 10 annotations for the new series.

VOLUME ONE

page 1, panel 1:I'll swear that's a Joust guy from the classic video game on the lower right. The kid in the upper right panel looks like a Dragon Ball Z character, but I'm not really a manga reader ...

page 2-3: the kid looks like Black Lightning Jr, if there is such a character ... the other guy reminds me of "Letter Man" from the old Electric Company TV show, even though I know it's not him ...

Page 11, panel 1: upper right, It's the Flying Pope!

Not sure who the two medics are in panel two.

Page 13, panel 1 in the crowd I think I spot Captain Britain, what seems to be a rather portly Johnny Future, and the huge 7ft tall guy from the Muppet Show...

Page 15 panel 5, the newsboy closest to Dwayne seems to have an X-Man t-shirt on and may be one of the characters; I don't read Marvel, so I couldn't say which one ...

Page 16 panel 4 is one of my favorite panels in Season Two. from left to right we see a kid wearing a 3rd Bass T-shirt and possibly sporting the MC Serch white boy Afro standing underneath "Alvy Singer's ______" nice nod to Woody Allen there, what -may- be Avenger the eagle from the "Harvey Birdman" TV show, moving on there's the Dr. Doom Charlie Brown and Snoopy from the original Top 10 series, what appears to be the home of ubiquitous Kirby-era ad staple GRIT magazine (hey, you can make 4 cents an issue!) and on the far right what appears to be the child of New God Mokkari pimping a "Harper's Bizarre" newspaper with the headline "SUCKA MCs _____ NEOPOLIS." Sheer genius. And as I type this I notice the Disneyland castle in the far background. Niiice.

Page 17, apart from a hilarious hint to Shock Headed Peter's origins also features nerdrap hero MC Frontalot as Buzz, who like Billy Batson apparently has his own magic word that transforms him into ... Captain Aztec?? Love it.

On Page 21 I'm going to speculate that's Gograh from the original Top 10 series in the cell next to Mickey Millions, why he's wearing boxing gloves is anyone's guess.

Page 23 Panel 1 features another John Belushi cameo as his samurai character, just to the right of Slipstream Phoenix. The guy on the candy bar machine looks very Matt Groening-ish, maybe Radioactive Man?

Page 23 Panel 5: I'm not sure who the elderly gentleman with the sun outfit is, but that's clearly the Great Gazoo floating next to him. The floating dinosaur looks a bit like the flying dragon character from Neverending Story; can't recall his name at the moment.
5:10 PM
Blogger Xteve said...

VOLUME TWO

Page 4, Panel 4: My second favorite panel in Season Two (so far). Looks like the ladies room at TOP 10 has quite the collection of bathroom graffiti. From left to right: "Banner - I like him when he's angry!" a sketch of Snoopy as Joe Cool, "Don't let Diana tie you up" "SINISTER DUCKS"-which for those who don't know is an avant garde music project Alan Moore did with fellow Northhamptonites David J from Bauhaus and Max Acropolis. I used to have the single back in high school ... I think Kevin O'Neill did the sleeve. "Galactis [sic] will eat ur world!" and what I can only imagine is a message for the reader who actually read all this "comic book whore" hee hee hee ...

Page 8, panel 1: from left to right looks as though Gandalf has gone into the dry cleaning biz as the robe says "Mithrandir Cleaners" ... not sure who the cat with the bag and the old hippy are, though given that this is supposed to be the magic users neighborhood that would mean that the large plant growing outside the apartment is probably Jack's beanstalk.

Page 11, panel 1: far in the upper left hand corner we find the other Kirby-era ad staple "X-RAY Specs"... now to complete the set we just need "Potato Gun" and maybe "Learn Guitar By Ear!" I can't make out all of the graffiti on the house other than a sneaky "Didio Rules!" So looks like Dan has been busy when he's not out dominating the Multiverse (for you Ambush Bug readers)...For some evil reason I always thought the guy in panel 4 was Bee Guy from the Simpsons.

Page 15 panel 1 the old guy with the German helmet on seems to be enjoying a copy of "Class Action Comics" while John Belushi's samurai makes his second appearance next to his lunch room pal Capt. Bar-B-Q.

Page 17 panel 4: I love this. A Green Lantern themed-restaurant "Jordan's" complete with Jawa and Guardian waiters. I know I've seen the female character on the left hand side of panel 8 before but I can't remember her name; the character just to the right of Capt. Peregrine somewhat remembles Kilowog in a funny helmet...

Page 20: Not sure who the two cuties and the fat guy with the gun are on the left, butthey appear to be up to no good.

Page 21: Pixie the babysitter reminds me of Cyclone of the JSA.

Page 23 panel 4: Dr. Sivana working for Mickey Millions? I think so ...

That's everything I've been able to spot so far... I'll try to post the rest as issues 3 and 4 come out. Keep up the great work Gene and Zander!

Steve

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Too Cool To Be Forgotten

I got two notices by email earlier this month that I took up. First, Jackie in my hometown of South Bend, IN, invited me to a house party. It's the same weekend I planned to make my holiday trip to visit my dad in the Bend, so I RSVPed. And Top Shelf comics had an online sale, so I ordered wads of new cheap comics from them. I'll read just about anything Top Shelf and Oni put out.

As my editors know, I've moved all over the Midwest since graduating from college. This means I don't often hang out with folks I knew in high school. Really, that's just Eric and Scott, who aren't in this photo, but I still like the same kind of folks that Eric and Scott do.

Shortly after I got back, I received my order from Top Shelf. It's all great stuff, but my favorite item is Alex Robinson's Too Cool To Be Forgotten. The basic premise is simple: a fortyish man undergoes hypno-therapy for his smoking, and finds himself trapped back in his high school days. There are lots of stories like Too Cool, but few really catch the awkward hopefulness of that age. I'm not done yet, but this kind of honesty and skillfull storytelling can be appreciated by anyone. Find a copy.


It also visualizes a feeling I've often had throughout my thirties: I feel like I finally have the resources I'd needed to get through high school and college. It's just that I've got better things to do now than re-learning calculus and going to prom. Ah well. Hopefully on my 40th this year I'll actually be ready to be a 40 year old!

P.S. Another good Top Shelf book, by Minnesota's Tim Sievert.

Everything FOX News warned us about is true...

Obama's our President Elect, and he's turned our cats against us!

Click the image to see the video. And thanks to RatherGood.com for another very entertaining diversion.

Looking forward to a wonderful holiday season and better new year for everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Annotations

I enjoy the Alan Moore's game of placing "Easter egg" cameos and seeing if anyone catches them. At least those that get through editorial. For instance, I once drew Alan in slave chains getting ready to strangle a man with a DC logo on his tunic. I wasn't so brash as to include the letter D and C on the logo, but it was removed regardless.


Jess Nevins used to be the authority on Alan Moore and Top 10 annotations, but it's hard work and he's had to drop out of the game.

Does anyone know if there are annotations of Zander and my new Top 10 series anywhere? I'd love to know what folks have and have not noticed.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Congratulations, Republicans!

Specifically, to two Republicans. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Congressman Elect Anh Cao.

First of all, one of my personal heroes US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, for finally arresting Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. I've been embarassed to have the "Boy Governor" rule my state ever since I moved to the Chicago area. Beyond the rank incompetence and standard issue bipartisan Illinois corruption:
Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.
Wow. Just wow.

It's shameful that the Republicans in this state couldn't get their act together to take out Blagojevich in a re-election campaign.

Patrick Fitzgerald has also gone after Republicans, so God bless him for helping rake muck out of the Democratic Party too! I hope Obama keeps him on and increases his staff. He's got a LOT more work around here.

I'll note that in Bush's US Attorney scandal, Dubya's administration tried to figure out how to fire Fitzgerald for doing his job. They didn't fire him, but they did force out multiple other attorneys for either indicting Republicans or not indicting enough Democrats. They didn't ask for convictions, just flashy indictments shortly before elections: notice how no one from ACORN has gone to jail for the supposed 'vote fraud' during this election?

More kudos to Anh "Joseph" Cao, for taking the Congressional seat of the nation's most comically corrupt Democrat, William Jefferson of Louisiana. Representative Jefferson is famous for getting caught with $90,000 hidden in his freezer and was under multiple federal indictments. And he still wasn't kicked out by his colleagues on ethics charges. That's some shameful shtuff. He was stripped of all committe assignments.

Mr Cao is considered to be a moderate Republican:
A former Jesuit seminarian, he is a member of the National Advisory Council to the U.S. Conference of Bishops. He also served on the board and as legal counsel to Boat People S.O.S., an advocacy group for Vietnamese refugees. He opened a private law practice in 2002 and specializes in immigration issues. Post-Katrina he led the fight against a landfill that residents in eastern New Orleans feared would harm their neighborhood and has been an effective and passionate advocate for the area's recovery.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Heroes cover auction

It's the holiday season and I've just posted a new eBay auction! It's the original art from the Heroes Volume 2 graphic novel collection. As I write, there are no bids and it stands it 1 cent (minus shipping and insurance....).

It's india ink on archival Bristol paper, with a correction over Elle's face. Also an un-creased dust jacket I received as a color proof. It'd make a nice Christmas gift for the TV geek in your life (and we're all geeks here, no?). Click the images for a larger image:



On the news front, tonight I know a lot less about my plans for next year than I thought I did. For a while I was sure I was going to go with Dynamite, and then Vertigo. I swear this isn't just a negotiating position, but the offers are both good and there are a few quantum unknowns that I'll just have to wait to settle down before I can make an informed opinion. Looks like I'll be looking for short projects for a few months after I get done with Top 10!

More on Bilbao. I got to hang out with two legends of the comics industry, Michael Golden and Arthur Suydam. I pretty much just exchanged pleasantries with Arthur while we signed and sketched. I never even got a photo of him, as he never came to lunch or dinner with the group. That's too bad, as I'm a huge fan of his work.

Click the link, is that not the best picture of Red Sonja ever? He's got the painting chops of Golden Age of American Illustration artists (and I don't mean comics' golden age) like N.C. Wyeth.

I did get to spend time with another artist I admire, Michael Golden and his rep, the sweet little Renée Witterstaetter. It being Spain, he did lots of free sketches for everyone he could during our signing. I traded sketches with him after hours, and it was sweet, but honestly he worked just as hard on the free ones.


This is actually one of the sketches I collect for friends who can't make it to conventions. The concept is that I'll get a one page "script sketch" from a writer of one story beat. Then I'll get an artist to interpret the script, or draw the whole thing if he's ambitious! Anyhow, there were no native anglophone writers about, so Mike decided to draw an image with a blank page before and a blank word balloon, and let a future comics writer 'fumetti' the page.

I've got to draw more Top 10 now. If you're on Facebook go to my page to find more images from Bilbao, Spain, and if you've got some cash bid on that Heroes cover!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Zander Cannon, moonlighting

If you want to see some of what Zander Cannon is doing when he's not writing and layouting Top 10, here goes:


"Check out our latest graphic novel "The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA" http://www.thestuffoflifebook.com In stores December 23rd or pre-order from your favorite bookseller."

I haven't seen a copy yet, but if it's anything like his previous scientific comic work, it'll be a gripping read. Also, I'm always surprised that scientists say his work is mostly accurate too! His other grand scientific opus is Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, about the Old West and early paleontology. I have read that and it's dark funny true history.

I need to finish unpacking from my Spanish trip and draw more Top 10!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bilbao, first comment

I just got back from Bilbao, Spain, which has a fun comics festival there. Hopefully I'll have time to write more later after I get caught up. I'll definitely post photos on my Facebook page.

But for now, I'll just note that the security guards in the Bilbao airport don't let you take photos of them. Which is sad, because if you're a 50 year old cosplayer you should expect to be photographed!


Those two guys in redshirts warned me off when I tried to take a photo, so I took a blurry one from a distance behind their backs. It's a pity, because they put so much time into the costumes. Here's a picture of the movie characters they based it on: