Archive for the ‘graphic novels’ Category

Thoughts about the Watchmen movie

March 7, 2009

watchmenI enjoyed “Watchmen” and had a fun opening night experience with my wife, my friends, and the crowd. I give the movie a good solid “B” grade. I wish I had seen it in IMAX (I have severe IMAX-envy).

I was not surprised, but still found the “Co-Created by Dave Gibbons” caption on the screen to be rather ridiculous. I plan to spend a few days spelunking on-line to read both Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ comments about the movie and Moore’s decision to distance himself from the resulting film.

I loved the Bob Dylan ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ sequence.

My favorite facet of the movie was, by far, Jackie Earle Haley. Haley was absolutely fantastic as Rorschach and he was even more stellar when the mask came off and he portrayed Rorschach’s “real” identity, Walter Kovacs. I don’t know that I’ve seen Haley in anything since the “Bad News Bears” movies and “Breaking Away” in the 1970s. He was brilliant. I have not seen Haley’s Oscar Nominated performance in “Little Children” – but after seeing him in “Watchmen” I will definitely be renting it soon.

Patrick Wilson was well cast as Night Owl II/Dan Dreiberg. Matthew Goode as Ozymandias/Adrian Veidt did absolutely nothing for me. It was nice to see Matt Frewer again.

The gratuitous violence was exquisitely and wonderfully rendered – Certainly earning the movie a well-deserved R rating for violence. In my opinion, the recent “The Dark Knight” should have also received an R rating for violence, and “Watchmen” certainly raised the ante. Director Zack Snyder’s preceding “300” movie was a palette of violence and mayhem, here in “Watchmen” Snyder did a very good job of using over-the-top violence for actual story narrative.

I really love a lot of the songs in the movie, but most felt a bit too much/out of place. Also – how many times in my life will I have to hear ‘All Along the Watchtower’ while also seeing helicopters? STOP already!

The makeup to make people look old was poorly done and rather distracting.

The only thing more embarrassing than male audience members in the theater making comments EVERY time Dr. Manhattan’s penis appeared on-screen was Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and the accompanying “sex scene”

The movie dragged quite often and had too many epilogues.

Where was the squid?!

I enjoyed “Watchmen” and will certainly watch it again with the DVD release – the movie has plenty of meat to chew over a second time.


Eisner Award to Alternative Comics cartoonist Rich Tommaso

August 2, 2008
Striking Out Jim Crow, by James Sturm and Rich Tommaso (Center for Cartoon Studies/Hyperion)

2008 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work

Alternative Comics cartoonist Rich Tommaso (Miriam, Perverso!, 8-1/2 Ghosts) and James Sturm, Director of The Center for Cartoon Studies, have won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work for their Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, published by The Center for Cartoon Studies in conjunction with Hyperion Books.  James Sturm is the writer and Rich Tommaso the Illustrator.
The duo have been receiving rave reviews and have won and have been nominated for numerous other awards including Booklist‘s Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth: 2008, and the Glyph Award, among many.
Striking Out Jim Crow

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow

Sam Henderson book signing in New York

August 1, 2008

Sam Henderson book signing of Magic Whistle #11 at Desert Island on Friday, August 15

WHO: Sam Henderson

WHAT: Book signing

WHERE: Desert Island

540 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn NY 11211 • 718-388-5087

WHEN: Friday, August 15, 6PM

Admission is free to the public


New York, August 1, 2008: At what promises to be the most happening event since the premiere party for ‘Stroker Ace’, cartoonist Sam Henderson is doing a signing at Desert Island in Brooklyn on Friday, August 15, 2008 from 6-9 PM, signing copies of his newest Magic Whistle book, which is popular among people who know it exists.


“Even if you have my new book already/ just saw me/ were just there/ don’t like me/ don’t like the owner/ have other plans/ it’s raining, come anyway.” said cartoonist Sam Henderson, “There will be beer, and I know most of you like that.”


Magic Whistle #11: Body Armor For Your Dignity is the latest collection of works by Sam Henderson. Praised for finding new ways of being funny while simultaneously panned for lacking the draftsmanship skills of his peers, Henderson continues what he’s been doing all along for nearly twenty years. This 96-page tome contains stories ranging from 1 to 16 pages.


Magic Whistle #11: Body Armor For Your Dignity features the return of Monroe Simmons, a re-coloring of a story previously published in the children’s’ anthology MEASLES, tons of previously unpublished strips, and the high-low-brow humor audiences have come to expect from this cartoonist who has been nominated multiple times for a Harvey award and once for an Emmy. Despite work for publications such as NICKELODEON and VICE; storyboards for TV’s SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS; and animation for a video by THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS; Magic Whistle remains Sam Henderson’s proudest achievement. 


From Booklist, August 1, 2008:


More of Henderson’s crude but maximally energetic comics—hurray! They’re like no other artist’s, even if they do stand squarely in the traditions of big-nose gag cartooning (see Mark Newgarden’s We All Die Alone, 2005, to grok that) and bare-bones animation (Mister Magoo, Tom Terrific, Rocky and Bullwinkle). Their humor is sometimes innocently naughty, sometimes almost smart, always easy to identify with and oddly nostalgic. They look and “sound” like what you once drew and laughed at, even if, really, you never could draw or say anything funny; it helps that Henderson often recurs to childhood and adolescence for characters and situations. His single-panel cartoons and one-page strips are surefire joy-inducers (see “Patience Pays Off,” which may be hackneyed but still hits where you live), and his long stories are brilliant stuck-record routines that, like many a Monty Python sketch, trace the struggles of genial monomaniacs in a world that just won’t humor them. Come to think of it, if the Pythons had been Americans, they would have to have been Sam Henderson.


Magic Whistle #11: Body Armor For Your Dignity
By Sam Henderson, $11.95 US; Perfect bound paperback graphic novel; 96 pages; partial color; 6” x 9”; ISBN-13: 978-1-934460-04-7; ISBN-10: 1-934460-04-4; for Mature Readers.

MoCCA – New York – June 7-8

June 2, 2008

The annual MoCCA Art Festival is being held this weekend in New York at the historic Puck Building in lower Manhattan.

Alternative Comics has a number of exciting new books debuting at the show – We should be at table B43 – right across from Drawn & Quarterly.

Don’t miss these guys:

Sam Henderson will be debuting Magic Whistle #11: Body Armor For Your Dignity
Body Armor For Your Dignity

Karl Stevens will be promoting Whatever

Scott Campbell will be selling art prints, mini-comics, t-shirts, and promoting the latest issue of Hickee
Hickee #4

Thunderhead Underground Falls – New Reviews

July 1, 2007

Thunderhead Underground Falls

Joel Orff’s Thunderhead Underground Falls graphic novel just hit stores, and is now starting to get reviewed:

Joel Orff’s latest graphic novel packs an emotional wallop that hits like a thunderbolt, a fact belied by the delicately rendered, highly abstracted art and the light touch with which Orff tells his sharply observed story…
[full review]
Las Vegas Weekly, June 28, 2007

…Thunderhead Underground Falls is an extraordinary graphic novel that brilliantly shows the spirit of young love that a couple feels in the face of impending life events…
[full review]
—Silver Bullet Comics, June 27, 2007

Joel Orff’s work has a rich, lovely quality that makes it difficult for me to make a rigorous appraisal of its overall worth…
[full review]
—The Comics Reporter, June 26, 2007

What a thoroughly beautiful book…
[full review]
—Optical Sloth, June 20, 2007