Monday, January 31, 2011
Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Julian Lytle
by Mike Rhode on Jan. 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Action is fast and funny in Willis' 'Red'
By Joseph Szadkowski
The Washington Times January 23, 2011
Reports are appearing on Facebook that Jeff Alexander, past Small Press Expo organizer, has died overnight, apparently of a heart attack. The information has been confirmed by Warren Bernard, this year's Executive Director (and SPX now has an online memorial). I didn't know Jeff very well, but we were friendly when we ran into each other, and I'm very sorry to hear this news. Jeff spoke to me last year about SPX before show, and I found another interview with him on Readers Voice as well. Like many comic cons, SPX is reliant on volunteers to make everything happen, and Jeff made much of the success of recent years happen.
I had planned to do a followup article at the City Paper after 2010's SPX, but time got away from me and it would have been stale. Here's the questions that Jeff answered about the con, in memory of Jeff and for history's sake.
Mike Rhode: How successful was your convention this year (2010)?
Jeff Alexander: I would say it was very successful.
Our attendance was up 10% for the third year in a row despite the sluggish economy.
Also, the inaugural year of the Animation Showcase exceeded our expectations and regularly had to turn people away when the room was full.
Mike Rhode: What will be changing for next year? Staying the same?
Jeff Alexander: I can't say for sure. I am stepping down as the Executive Director to have time to pursue other interests.
I am sure there will be some tweaking of the Animation Showcase based on what we learned this year, but fundamentally the show will remain the same.
Warren Bernard will be taking over next year and I'm sure he has a few plans up his sleeve for the future of SPX.
Mike Rhode: Do you have a favorite moment? Least favorite?
Jeff Alexander: My favorite moment came shortly after the show when local filmmaker Steven Greenstreet uploaded a two minute video from footage he shot at SPX.
It's hard to believe that SPX has the power to inspire such creativity.
The least favorite moment was not having a sign language interpreter available for two attendees.
This was their first SPX and were very excited about coming to the show. Having an interpreter there would have made their experience just that much more enjoyable.
Mike Rhode: What could have been done better? What did you 'hit out of the park'?
Jeff Alexander: If we had the time and resources to dedicate to it, I would have preferred to have done some cross-over events with Intervention.
We are competing conventions, but we share similar goals for promoting comics.
What we "hit out of the park" was in asking Paul Nadjmabadi and Angela Ottinger to head the Animation Showcase.
They assembled a first class committee and put on a phenomenal show.
Mike Rhode: Did you buy anything or meet anyone that's special for you personally?
Jeff Alexander: It was great to finally meet Kate Beaton and to see James Sturm, Keith Knight, and John & Sandra from Metaphrog again. Unfortunately, the job of Executive Director didn't leave me as much time to chat with them as I'd have liked.
I did find the time to pick up a copy of "Tigerbuttah" by Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson. It's an all ages book done in the style of the Golden Books from the 1950s and 1960s, but it's Becky's illustrations that make "Tigerbuttah" a must have book!
With webcam and Dell laptop, Koford brings old toys to life in stop-action animation
by Angie Cochrun
[Maryland] Gazette Jan. 29, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Steve Artley - Cartoonist Survey #207
David-Wasting-Paper blog January 29, 2011
I have new graphic novel that just arrived in comic shops and some bookstores. Very quickly, it's an all-ages fantasy story focusing on a young girl named Marni who is dealing with the recent death of her grandmother. As Marni struggles to place this loss, her life takes an abrupt and strange turn. Her grandmother bequeathed her a mysterious "Artifact" and, while on a backyard camping trip, the object suddenly takes on a life of its own. Marni and her two best friends are transported to a strange and distant world. After summoning their courage, Marni, Sophie and Elora venture out to explore their alien surroundings, where they find a surreal world containing a robot, a mysterious far-off tower, and an illusive yet terrifying monster. Scared, yet buoyed by the stories and songs that they've heard while growing up, the three girls gather their meagre supplies and head out into the wilderness, determined to find a way home. A magical tale with the most unlikeliest of heroes, "Stargazer" is an exploration of friendship, loss, and hope. By turns terrifying, poignant, and humorous, "Stargazer" is part fairytale, part science fiction, and part adventure story. The main website for my graphic novel is at http://stargazer.vonallan.com
Why is this story special? Well, I think there are a number of reasons. First, it's an all-ages story that features three girls as protagonists, which is still fairly rare in comics. Marni, Sophie and Elora are strong and independent characters. While they are young, they are not weak and I think that's very important and something that both girls and boys can identify with. Secondly, I'm both the writer and the artist of "Stargazer" and that, too, is uncommon in comics, which are generally created by teams of writers and artists sharing the work. Thirdly, "Stargazer" is self-published, but I've managed to secure world-wide distribution through a number of distributors, including Diamond Comic Distributors, Follett Library Resources, Brodart Company and Ingram Book Company. Publishing is certainly challenging in this day and age, but distribution and accessibility are critically important aspects that absolutely cannot be overlooked.
"Stargazer" is also getting some very positive reviews and I'd like to quickly share two brief ones with you. The first is from the Midwest Book Review (http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ibw/jul_10.htm#Comix/GraphicNovel):
"Stargazer Volume One is a black-and-white graphic novel following three girls stranded on a faraway alien world. Young Marni has recently lost her grandmother, with whom she was very close. Her grandmother had also bequeathed a mysterious "Artifact" upon her - and it is this object that transports Marni and her friends, Sophie and Elora, far away from any home they have ever known. The three girls must pool their courage and resources to learn more about this unreal new world, and the strange things within it - a robot, a faraway tower, and an unknown monster hidden in shadows. Stargazer is a story of wonder, exploration, determination, and inward as well as outward challenge, and is highly recommended for readers of all ages."
Ms. Kat Kan, a librarian working in Florida, passed a copy of "Stargazer" to her elementary school book club; I received perhaps one of the best reviews I've ever gotten for my work from one of her students, a young third-grade girl. With Ms. Kan's permission, I wanted to share it with you (I've left all of her grammar intact):
"Your book Stargazer. I'm reading it...I like adventure books, and this book so far has a lot of adventure already. It was pretty cool that Marni and her friends travelled into this other world. It was weird when they heard this roaring sound and I would be pretty freaked out if I was running for my life then I tripped like Marni did. I just absolutely love the book! I hope your happy about that. It was funny when she said "STUPID LACES, OH COME ON!" It was weird when that robot showed Marni all the different things in the fire. It was also funny when Sophie said "I had to go pee and I realized you weren't in bed." It was said with her having all those flashbacks with her and her grandmother. Because if you just imagine your grandma die you will cry just as Marni did when she figured out her grandma died. It was funny when Marni had that sword and said "en garde." I liked the extras. You told me how you write, concept art, brainstorming...I liked the pictures at the end, this book was amazing. I wish I could keep it and read it again, again and again, but I have to return it in five days so I probably can't but I just love Stargazer."
As you know, it's always a challenge to try to build awareness for a new book from a relatively unknown creator. If you don't mind spreading the word, please do! And, of course, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you very much!
Quote: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." (Beckett)
Stargazer, my all-ages graphic novel, is now available in all channels. It has a Diamond Item Code of NOV101057 and an ISBN of 978-0-9781237-2-7. More information about Stargazer can be found at http://stargazer.vonallan.com
the road to god knows... (ISBN: 978-0-9781237-0-3) is also available through book trade channels. Information about road can be found at http://trtgk.vonallan.com
Patton Oswalt's memoir 'Zombie Spaceship Wasteland'
Reviewed by Mike Sacks
Special to The Washington Post January 28, 2011.
He's in Seattle today, Portland tomorrow and California the next day.
In Washington, he'll be at Politics and Prose on Friday, February 11th - and his book is a perfect Valentine's gift.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
by Glen Weldon
National Public Radio's Monkey See blog January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Cartoon of former Google CEO Schmidt's 'creepy' lines hits D.C. streets
-- David Sarno
Los Angeles Times Technology blog January 26, 2011