We learn a lot from Dan Stafford’s documentary on cartoonist John Porcellino. “Root Hog or Die” provides us with some basic truths that resonate as we explore the life of someone both unique and, by his own account, just an average guy trying to make a life. The whole point here is to embrace the average. As Porcellino states at one point, he’s concerned to see an erosion of “the middle ground, when a person can live without an elaborate ambition and yet not be sleeping by some dumpster.”
Category Archives: Indie
Let the word go out, loud and clear, that the graphic novel, “A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories” has officially launched! There was an intimate gathering at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle, this Saturday, November 8, to celebrate the launch of Henry Chamberlain’s new book, a collection of some of his best work in comics. Do you like scary stories? Apparently many of you out there do. Well, this book has got you covered. Perhaps you like humor? Or a tour de force coming-of-age tale. Again, you’re covered. Covered. Covered. Covered. This book is your best bet as a gift for the holidays! Get it here.
The Sorrento Hotel is truly a unique destination. If you’re staying the night, you are in for a treat. But, you can also stop by for an exceptional cocktail, fine dining, and some excellent pastimes, such as live music in the legendary Fireside Room. It was my pleasure to act as host as some friends gathered to help me launch my new book.
It is only fitting to have a book launch at the Sorrento Hotel as this is the setting for the title story in the book. I created this story when I stayed at the Sorrento Hotel to conduct one of my 24-hour comics experiments. The story that resulted is a spooky little gem involving a couple with supernatural abilities and a lot of issues to resolve. Since then, I have come to rely upon the Sorrento as an old friend that you can always trust to serve you well.
Truth be told, creating a work is only half the battle. The other half is promoting the work. Often, the biggest hurdle to jump is competing with all the distractions of life. And the most important thing to always remember is that the book’s creator must always remain that book’s most steadfast and loyal fan. People will come around. If the book is worth it, well, its creator will have never left its side.
Find out more here.
Missy Suicide, the co-founder of SuicideGirls, has seen her venture grow by leaps and bounds to become a part of the pop culture. It all began as what seemed like a lark in 2001 to become a new generation’s answer to Playboy Magazine. If you are into alternative beauty, then SuicideGirls answers that call. In my interview, Missy speaks to what SuicideGirls is all about. For anyone who wonders if SG has its comics cred in order, I would direct you to the SG website and check out the online community discussions. Everything from vegan cooking to manga is up for grabs. You will also want to check out the latest SG book, “Geekology,” which you can find here.
It is a pleasure to chat about comics, especially with someone as well-versed on the subject as Bill Kartalopoulos. For this interview, the occasion is the 2014 volume of “The Best American Comics,” which Bill takes over as the new series editor. I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him about his thoughts on the term, “alternative comics,” since he led an interesting panel discussion on that topic at SPX back in 2012 entitled, “Life After Alternative Comics.” This was a way to frame the conversation.
Bill Kartalopoulos is a great observer of, and participant in, today’s comics scene. Part of his impressive resume includes being the program coordinator for the Small Press Expo as well as the program director for the MoCCA Arts Festival. Both of these events are essential barometers of prevailing trends. So, if Bill suggests that alternative comics are dead, I listen. Of course, he doesn’t really suggest that, at least not as you might think. But, let me continue…
“Boobage,” is a mini-comic by Monica Gallager that covers, or unveils, a very personal preoccupation with a lot of wit and humor. So, what do you instantly think of when you put such greats together as Kate Hudson, Clare Danes, Gwen Stefani, and Bridget Fonda? The one thing that Gallager used to have trouble with was their (and her own) relatively small breasts, or “tits.” It’s okay, she says “tits” a lot. Gallagher isn’t afraid to tackle the tit issue, large or small. This won’t really be of interest to those who objectify and sexualize but it may give them some pause. Hey Jimmy, or whoever, those hooters you salivate over belong to a real human being.
“Short Run” is a gathering of small press in Seattle with some added attractions this year. There’s the main event, the Short Run Small Press Festival at Washington Hall on Saturday, November 30, 2013. But, for those who want more, there’s plenty more starting with an event on November 1. Check out the Short Run website for details here.
Press release follows:
“Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends: A Collection of Unsolved Mysteries,” is a comics anthology, edited by Emi Gennis. As comics anthologies go, this one knocks it out of the park. It is consistently good, full of satisfying surprises, and it’s as if all the contributors gathered together, held hands, and zoned into something awesome. This is not always the case but it sure is here. The theme is true to its title in every way.
Organized into two subcategories of the strange and spooky, one group of cartoonists take on the subject of “Unknown Origins” while the other takes on the subject of “Untimely Ends.” What sets this book up there with the best anthologies is how dedicated everyone is to all the details. So, how did this man come to die without any ID and an eerie connection to the book of poetry, “The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám”? That’s the opener, “The Unknown Man of Somerton Beach,” by Nikki DeSautelle, that lets us know right away that we’re in good hands. Drawn in a strikingly spare style, it leads you into the next story, an environmental mystery, “Goo,” by Jason Bradshaw, and then an urban myth, “The Monster with 21 Faces,” by Aaron Whitaker. And so on, one style of cartooning blending into the next, all held together by a unified vision.
This is first comics anthology for Hic & Hoc Publications and we certainly look forward to many more.
The anthology showcases 34 cartoonists, all working at their full potential.
Good work, Emi Gennis, on editing this remarkable anthology. Visit Emi’s website here.
“Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends: A Collection of Unsolved Mysteries” released on April 23 at Floating World Comics. The party continues at Stumptown Comics Fest this weekend, April 27-28. It’s a wonderful example of what you’ll find at this gem of a gathering of comics talent. If you’re in PDX, you will want to go. I’ll see you there. Visit the Stumptown Comics Fest website here.
I watch a lot of movies and I sometimes take it for granted that you do too, that you’ve already seen this or that cool movie. Or maybe I’m stacked to the gills with pop culture and it’s hard sometimes to know which direction to point my noggin in and start writing. Case in point, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED Wow, I think there’s a lot of folks out there that are still playing around with the meme that inspired this fine indie flick. It has, for starters, the hero of indieland, Mark Duplass. That man was born to command the indie screen. Catch him in YOUR SISTER’S SISTER with the ever lovely Emily Blunt.
Anyhow, this was one story and then it became quite another more intricate one. As for where the meme came from, the early age of the internet, 1997. A popular magazine about rural living entitled, “Backwoods Home Magazine” had some extra space to fill on one of its pages. So, senior editor John Silveira filled it with a poetic fake ad. Pretty decent, a decade before Twitter: Someone to go back in time with me…Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” Jay Leno picked it up for his stupid ad routine on “The Tonight Show,” even though it doesn’t reveal someone for being stupid and so a meme was eventually born.
Next up for that delightful little meme, director Colin Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly turn it into a fanciful, quirky movie. We begin with a meeting at a slick Seattle magazine. Everyone is throwing out ideas. An editor decides he’d love to do something with this oddball ad so a team is created: one cynical reporter and two very green interns. They all jump into an SUV and, if they’re not careful, this will just be another hack job by Jeff (Jake Johnson). The two interns appear to be useless. Arnau (Karan Soni) seems to be an uptight killjoy. Darius (Aubrey Plaza) seems to be an apathetic slacker. But, given a little time, magic occurs in more ways than one. It turns out, that Darius isn’t really a slacker. Given the opportunity, she invests in turning their questionable quest into a worthwhile story.
But there’s more. Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the guy who wrote the oddball ad about time traveling isn’t an obvious nut job. He’s kind, intelligent, and somebody that Darius can’t easily dismiss. And, you guessed it, Jeff and Arnau also grow as characters but in unexpected ways. It’s the evolution of Darius and Kenneth that really captivates. With a delicate touch, this movie will make you believe anything is possible.
So, yeah man, this the prefect time to support this movie. As you probably know, there is a more to the life cycle of any movie that its initial theatrical release. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Visit the movie’s website here.