Interview: James Kochalka Pt. 3 (of 3)

Categories:  Interviews

James KochalkaHere’s it is, part three in the infamous James Kochalka interview trilogy, the Return of the Jedi of the comic book creator Q&A set. Like Empire, part two ended on a bit a downer—instead of finding out that his dad was a sled named ‘Rosebud’ (oops, um, spoiler alert), however, Kochalka simply revealed how much he hates clowns, thereby causing the members of the Barnum & Bailey chapter of the JKS Fan Club to reconsider their direction in life.

This time out, instead of big Ewok celebration, we discuss how the Incredible Hulk’s life’s work might be affected, were he cursed with a high voice—still a pretty good way to go out, if you ask me. The only real downside to the ordeal is all of the pod racing that you have to look forward to, twenty years from now.

Part three of three, post-jump.

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Elephant Larry: Truth, Justice, and a Bunch of High Fives

Categories:  News

Elephant LarryWe like New York City sketch comedy group, Elephant Larry. They are funny. It’s like, they totally say what we’re all thinking, you know?

Exhibit A from the NYCC 2007.

Exhibit B can be viewed Tuesday nights at 9:30 from their fortress of improvisational solitude, Manhattan’s The Pit Theatre. The troupe’s Comic Book Club promises a weekly dose of comic news, comedy, and above all, free crap from Midtown Comics.

Blessed Thistle by Steve Morris

Categories:  Reviews

Blessed Thistle
By Steve Morris
Darkhorse

Steve MorrisGrim, yet bleak, Steve Morris’s graphic novel
Blessed Thistle is a chilling little piece of nastiness that’s likely to unsettle you the way watching one of David Lynch’s more cryptic movies might. It’s also just as likely to leave you asking yourself “what just happened there?”

The story is made up of three linked tales that start innocuously enough: a boy breaks into the home of a retired pastor, who confronts him with an unexpected offer of chicken and cake; the boy’s sister bullies another student at her school; the sister’s alcoholic teacher recounts the story of a trip to Cancun, where, on a dare, she swallows an agave worm she finds in her drink. Commonplace stuff, but Morris’s compelling storytelling and exquisite art—which is hard to describe, but makes me think of a cross between Charles Burns and Tanino Liberatore (of RanXerox fame)—keep the reader involved—and worried. There’s also enough foreshadowing that the reader can be pretty sure it’s all going to end in tears, if not gore.

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Interview: Peter Bagge Pt. 2 (of 2)

Categories:  Interviews

Peter BaggeHaven’t had enough Peter Bagge? Of course you haven’t. This second and final installment of our recent interview with Buddy Bradley creator, and sometimes Spider-Man mangler will teach you love again, or will, at the very least make you dislike the mainstream comic book industry even more than you did before. Really, it’s a win-win situation.

The first part of the interview, for all of your backstory needs is available here. The second, you guessed it, is available after the jump.

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Wonderlost by C.B. Cebulski

Categories:  Reviews

Wonderlost
by C.B. Cebulski
Image Comics

C.B. CebulskiImagine, for a second, a book built around the most sexually awkward moments of Adrian Tomine’s work, and you’re beginning to approach the idea on which Wonderlost seems to have been built. There’s little, if any of the raucous, uninhibited sexual comedy that the book’s misguided rear blurb hints at, with its questionable description of the story as a cross between Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Mean Girls. The half-dozen stories contained herein lie more at the crossroads between charmingly embarrassing innocence and seemingly unintentional braggadocio.

Wonderlost #1 is comprised of six short stories–autobiographical vignettes about the author’s high school and college sexual conquests and frustrations, each handled by a different artist, whose styles range from sketchbook fodder to what could pass for still-lifes from a softcore anime film. Cebulski’s character veers between likable loser, overconfident braggart, and oversexed frat boy (more annoyingly true to life than the amusing douchebags of the American Pie/Porky’s vein), the latter two making it difficult to sympathize during the former.

Cebulski has certainly assembled a cast of diverse and talented collaborators, whose artwork is often times the highpoint of the book. The stories themselves will certainly have appeal among the teenage autobio crowd, especially in those moments in which the intended sweetness of shared moments truly resonates, but unfortunately, those glimmers of humanity are a bit too few and far between. If issue two finds Cebulski’s character spending less time chugging Miller cans, there may be hope for him yet.

–Brian Heater

Korean Americans Defend the Image of Jews in Comics

Categories:  News

wall-of-the-jews.jpgKorean Americans make an unusual source for bringing awareness about an anti-semitic cartoon, but there it is:

Anti-Jewish cartoon angers L.A. Koreans
Another strip shows a newspaper, magazine, TV and radio with the description: “In a word, American public debate belongs to the Jews, and it’s no exaggeration to say that U.S. media are the voice of the Jews.”

The book, written by South Korean university professor Lee Won-bok, is part of a series called “Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries,” which is intended to teach youngsters about other countries. The series has sold more than 10 million copies.

And now, from a less unusual source: Wiesenthal Center denounces Nazi-like depiction of Jews by one of Korea’s most prolific and popular authors.

-Elizabeth Chou

Interview: Nicholas Gurewitch Pt. 1 (of 2)

Categories:  Interviews

Nicholas Gurewitch[Check out Pt 2 here].

Few if any webcomics have managed to maintain the nearly consistent hilarity of Nicholas Gurewitch’s Perry Bible Fellowship—hell, few strips in any form can claim such a feat, which goes a long way to explain why the title managed to wrangle up Ignatz awards, the last two years running.

Gurewitch has been producing PBF since 2001, when the author, now 24, launched the strip in Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange. Since then, the title has been picked up by papers like The New York Press, The Guardian, the UK and Czech versions of that bastion of absurdely over-the-top masculinity, Maxim, and will be available in an anthologized version from Darkhorse, this summer.

We spoke with Gurewitch about Teddy Roosevelt, Italian candle makers, and why The Perry Bible Fellowship is a mere pit stop on the road to infamy.

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See, I Told You I Had NYCC2007 Pics

Categories:  News

I never claimed to be much of a photographer, or if I did, there’s a fairly good chance that I was drunk at the time. That said, I did manage to wrangle up a digital camera for last weekend’s New York Comic Con, and snapped a few photos from the belly of the great beast, Javits. They’re blurry, grainy, and gadget-centric, being that they were snapped for my day job. Still, I think it’s a good approximation of what it might have been like to stumble across the showroom floor, behind a pair of inoperable cataracts. See (poorly) for yourself over here.

Fortunately, our old friend, Shayna Marchese, she of Voids fame, was kind enough to share with us some of her own shots from the show on Sunday. Marchese has the dual benefit of both owning a DSLR, and knowing what the hell she is doing. Her shots are available, thumbnail-style, after the jump, and we figure that if mention Voids one more time, we might actually get that guest strip soon, after all.
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Usagi Yojimbo Issue #100

Categories:  Reviews

Usagi Yojimbo Issue #100
By Stan Sakai
Darkhorse

Stan Sakai‘Usagi means rabbit or hare in Japanese,’ explains author Stan Sakai, on the inside cover of the 100th Darkhorse issue of Usagi Yojimbo (the key word being ‘Darkhorse,’ as the comic is quick to point out multiple times for comedic effect; including Sakai’s Fantagraphics and Mirage issues, the number is somewhere closer to 160). Let us preface this preface by saying that, despite Sakai’s crash course letter, issue 100 is quite possibly the worse place to leap into the adventures of the samurai rabbit. This is one strictly for the fans, Usagi only occasionally popping his ears in for an appearance in the book.

Issue 100 is a high-profile, slightly inside-joke tribute to the rabbit, featuring a number of high profile guest artists—including Frank Miller, Sergio Argones, and Bone’s Jeff Smith—formatted as an industry roast to Sakai, the book’s infamously hardworking creator. The bulk of the works maintains this fairly loose roast structure. Miller’s two-panel single page manages to deviate entirely, devoting itself to a bad pun, involving Sin City’s Marv crashing in through a skylight, booting the rabbit off of a grill (get it?). Sandman Mystery Theater’s Guy Davis utilizes half of a panel in which a sleeping Sakai dreams of Usagi, in order to justify the inclusion of a goofy little Usagi adventure strip.

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Comics’ Comics: Patton Oswalt Interviewed

Categories:  The Daily Rock Hatch

Patton OswaltI had grand plans for our Patton Oswalt interview, I really did. I’d known that Oswalt was a fan of comic bookery (as well as a handful of other socially unacceptable hobbies likely to land one’s head in a flushing toilet) for some time. However, it wasn’t until a few months back that I realized how far the comedian was willing to ride his fandom. It was through the magic of YouTube, searching late one night for Oswalt’s justifiably infamous Robert Evans standup routine (thank God someone finally took Brian Dennehy down a few pegs) that I stumbled upon Super Nerds*.

The half-hour episode costars Mr. Show’s Brian Posehn, who, along with Oswalt, form the titular geeks. Set entirely in a comic shop, the failed Comedy Central pilot essentially involves Oswalt and Posehn (as Leslie and Gayle, respectively) sitting around the store, making sarcastic quips about the lives of outsiders. Sarah Silverman pops up as well, as a hot, comic-obsessed former geek. When she name-checks Eightball, I get tingles in places that I didn’t know were tingleable.

The plan was to do a big piece on Super Nerds, and like, you know, totally blow everybody’s minds and stuff. We asked Oswalt if he might be able to shed some light on the storied history of the legendary lost nerd relic. His response?

Well, we shot the pilot and Comedy Central passed. I wish there was more intrigue than that, but that’s what happens 90% of the time.

So um, yeah. We just cut our losses, and sent him a tailor-made version of The Daily Rock Hatch question set. Enjoy.

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