Comics in 2015: Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1

From "Wonder Woman: Earth One," art by Yanick Paquette

From “Wonder Woman: Earth One,” art by Yanick Paquette

It was this time last year that I posted about looking forward to Grant Morrison’s “Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince.” Well, now it would seem to be an even better deal as that story will join forces with Earth One, an ongoing series of graphic novels published by DC Comics which retells the earliest adventures of various DC Comics characters. These stories give each character a freshening up on their origin story and on an alternate Earth so that it is free from, as they say in the comics biz, “continuity restraints.” That means that these stories don’t have to answer to what has already been sort of set in stone in the official DC universe. So, it’s like maybe a dream and it never happened, or maybe it did, but probably not. In the end, a good story should result.

Earth One titles slated for 2015:

Superman: Earth One, Volume 1-2 and Volume 3 will be released February 10, 2015.
Batman: Earth One, Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be released May 12, 2015.
Teen Titans: Earth One, Volume 1 to be released in 2015.
Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1, originally slated for a Summer 2014 release, now slated for 2015.

The Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novel will be well worth the wait, with Grant Morrison finally tackling his first full-length Wonder Woman story and with art by the wonderful Yanick Paquette, who has worked with Morrison on “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” and “Seven Soldiers of Victory.” For more details, visit our friends at DC Comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Grant Morrison, Wonder Woman

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie-Hebdo

Those slain in the Charlie Hebdo attack are in our thoughts and prayers.

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Le Cagibi and L.B. Cole at Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, January 10, 2015

"Black Light: The World of L.B. Cole," published by Fantagraphics Books

“Black Light: The World of L.B. Cole,” published by Fantagraphics Books

If you are in Seattle this weekend, get yourself over to Georgetown and the monthly Art Attack. Then go right over to the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. This Saturday, you have two special treats at Fantagraphics. You can enjoy a slide show lecture on L.B. Cole, the all-time great artist of proto-psychedelic comic book covers. And, there will be a workshop conducted by visiting artists from Le Cagibi, an engraving studio in Lilli, France. This all takes place on January 10, from 6 to 9 pm. Visit our friends at Fantagraphics right here. More details follow:

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Filed under Comics, Fantagraphics Books, Georgetown Art Attack, Seattle

Star Wars and The Power of Costume Exhibit at EMP Museum in Seattle

Photo credit: Lucasfilm

Queen Amidala Photo credit: Lucasfilm

Opening January 31, 2015, EMP Museum in Seattle presents “Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume,” a lavish and spectacular collection of iconic costumes from the first six Star Wars films, a total of 60 costumes on display. There are nine parts to the exhibit, ranging from Jedi and Sith costumes to Senate regalia to Darth Vader’s “iconic” suit. The displays will be supplemented by “digital flipbooks” with multimedia features and two short films about costume design, one focusing on Padmé Amidala. The exhibit marks a 12-city national tour that begins at EMP, where it will be on view January 31 through October 4, 2015. Special exhibition price applies. More details follow, including a grand opening event on January 30, 2014. Visit our friends at EMP right here.

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Review: ‘Here’ by Richard McGuire

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What if that snarky comment that you thought was so clever was preserved forever, and not on some server, but in the very room that you first gave thought to it? What if every thought, every act, everything, in that room, were saved forever, beyond deletion? That is what this graphic novel is about. “Here,” by Richard McGuire, invites you to observe one particular spot through hundreds of thousands of years. Often, we see that spot as a room, a living room, in a house. But, at other times, it’s wide open to the forces of nature, both in the past and in the future.

Considering that all of time is fair game for this story, with all the vast possibilities, we do spend a considerable amount of time, a relatively brief speck of time, in a room. It’s that space, when it once was a room, that would seem to be significant. We relate to a room best, especially one in or around our own time. The ability to dwell, just dwell, in a room is the cornerstone of civilization. And the last one hundred years or so have been a golden age for room dwellers. That’s the lifespan of our main character, a living room. It helps to anchor us, being in a relatively familiar room. In this narrative, we observe a cast of characters also anchored, biding their time, wasting their time, anchored by conformity, domesticity, and convenience. What is anyone really doing? They’re dwelling.

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It’s the little things that count, we are told. But it’s the big things that really get our attention, once a myriad of little things have taken place. Little. Big. Lives are made up of both. As McGuire observes, there sure are a lot of little moments. Even the big moments aren’t so big. We see a lot of accidents take place among the characters. Accidental moments that go off with a bang. A man slips from his chair. Another man falls from a ladder. The biggest incident seems to be a man struggling to breathe, perhaps having a stroke. In all that time, that space has one noteworthy moment, a visit from Benjamin Franklin. And that, my friend, is life, in a random little space, and is par for the course.

McGuire finds the compelling within what seems quite the opposite. A random little space, what does it really matter? Ah, well, humans have loved and lost and lived over many generations upon this stage. And, if you observe the flickering images long enough, you find patterns and you find something of a story, a universal struggle. McGuire’s style is wonderfully lean, low-key, and pared down. It has as much to do with comics and it does with painting, easily evoking the world of Alex Katz, peopled with lost souls floating along in the suburbs. In the end, though, it’s all about comics as the interplay among panels heats up and we learn all sorts of things all from the vantage point of one spot somewhere in New England.

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What is impressive about this book is that McGuire took a clever concept and fully followed through. As you open up the first pages, you know what may follow. Will he pull it off? I mean, look, he’s set up a premise, a room with a year in the caption box above. Is he going to really take us for a ride and have the years change in interesting ways and have us see that space in interesting ways? Yes! That is what McGuire accomplishes. And, if that’s not enough for you, then you’re one cold snarky so-and-so. The premise is ambitious and the vision is sincere. These are not things to take lightly.

The idea is that McGuire has taken us on a new kind of ride. That was the goal when this graphic novel was first just a six-page work of comics in 1989, in “Raw” magazine, volume 2, number 1. That was certainly a postmodernist shot in the arm for comics. “Here” articulated an intriguing storytelling tool with how it arranged a number of panels on a page all taking place at different times. Of course, it’s not completely new. Comics, after all, by its very nature, involves panels playing with the notion of time. Still, McGuire was introducing something new into the comics landscape. He was offering up some original ideas on points of view. He was also playing with tempo. And, he was most certainly fascinated with the quotidian, an almost morbid fascination with the minutiae of life. It was something new and in step with a rising sensibility to celebrate the mundane and everyday. His particular take on things would be taken into other directions by Chris Ware.

“Here” is a beautiful realization of an intriguing concept. It is a pleasure to read.

“Here” is a 304-page full-color hardcover, published by Pantheon Books, an imprint of Random House. You can purchase it at Amazon right here.

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Filed under Chris Ware, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Pantheon Books, Random House, Richard McGuire, Time Travel

Review: STAR TREK: NEW ADVENTURES VOL. 1

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IDW Publishing has got the comics industry in quite a buzz regarding its acquisition of Top Shelf Productions, a relatively smaller comics publisher. So, what makes IDW special? Well, they do seem to have a geeky love for comics. And that leads to stuff like this collection of Star Trek stories. This is an IDW speciality so let that tell you something about IDW.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, IDW Publishing, Star Trek, Top Shelf Productions

You Can Video Chat with Pee-wee Herman for Free! Next Video Chat is January 21, 2015

Pee-wee Herman

Pee-wee Herman

Who knew, Pee-wee Herman is a man of many talents, including blogger. “My Log by Pee-wee Herman,” has got it all. It is zesty, peppy, and consistently run. What more could you ask for, right? For example, Pee-wee Herman recently shared this story with his readers about giant birdnest loungers. That’s a perfect blend of wit, pop culture news, and birdy fun! And now you can video chat with him and it’s free!

Pee-wee-Herman-on-Skype

Pee-wee Herman. I think we all love him. I do. And I think it’s pretty awesome to see that he’s more than happy to interact with his fans. He’s gearing up to Skype with you! The next video chat is on January 21, 2015! For now, get ready, get set, and join the Pee-wee Herman VIP Premium Diamond Platinum Club. It’s only one million dollars to join. No, just kidding! It’s free, totally free!! Check out the details right here.

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Review: ‘Area 51: The Graphic History of America’s Most Secret Military Installation’

Area-51-Zenith-Press

What this book does is make a case for what happens at Area 51 is as compelling, even more so, than the lore of what is supposed to have happened at Area 51. You know, the infamous crash landing at Roswell of what many believe to have been a spaceship full of extraterrestrials. Well, that issue gets addressed right from the start since that’s when Area 51 began its uneasy relationship with the general public.

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Filed under Area 51, Comics, graphic novels, History, Zenith Press

Book Review: ‘More Than Human’ by Theodore Sturgeon

More-Than-Human-Theodore-Sturgeon

Perhaps when we think about science fiction, in general, we may still get lost. Even today, there are well-regarded writers in that genre, of great literary stature, who are due for a wider audience. In the case of Theodore Sturgeon, I am certain that, once a follower of his work, there is no turning back. What “More Than Human” achieves is nothing less than to inspire the reader. Its very purpose is to do just that.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Hive Mind, science fiction, Theodore Sturgeon

Seattle Focus: Dockside Cannabis and Marijuana in the Marketplace

dockside-cannabis-recreational-marijuana-seattle.jpg

A really interesting thing is going on right under many folks’ noses. Whatever your views on marijuana, it is undeniable that history is being made as a huge shift is gaining momentum. The notion that someday marijuana will be on par with alcohol in the marketplace is working its way into reality. Just consider Dockside Cannabis, a very attractive and professional new retail store for recreational marijuana. Located in Shoreline, a suburban area north of Seattle, the store had its grand opening on December 6, 2014, with a whole new way of doing business and bringing about a whole new way of seeing marijuana as something as familiar and relaxing as a glass of wine at the end of the day.

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Filed under Dockside Cannabis, Marijuana, pop culture, Seattle, Travel, Trends