Tag Archives: New York City

Review: ‘Moomins on the Riviera’

Moomins-on-the-Riviera

So, what is a Moomin, exactly? Well, they’re hippos. And their large faces act like masks that hide facial expression. They’re terribly enigmatic when you think about it. They’re also very isolated as they don’t normally wander far from Moominvalley. But they’re not meant to be spooky although they do have their weird habits. For instance, they save all their dirty dishes under the sofa until there’s a good rain to wash them clean.

Moomin is an odd and wonderful world of comics. Truly, one of the best. Do kids pick up on the enigmatic quality? Oh, sure. That’s part of the magic and charm. If you are new to the antics of the Moomins, just think of them as some of the most fanciful creatures to grace a comic strip. This animated feature honors the original work by Tove Jansson. With “Moomins on the Riviera,” directors Xavier Picard and Hanna Hemilä bring to life all the magic and charm from the page to the screen.

Most of the major Moomins, from left to right: the Snork maiden, Moomintroll, Moominpappa (in hammock with top hat), Moominmamma, Little My and Snufkin.

Most of the major Moomins, from left to right: the Snork maiden, Moomintroll, Moominpappa (in hammock with top hat), Moominmamma, Little My and Snufkin.

So, knowing that the Moomins are a strange lot, a change of scenery is not such a bad idea. And they may as well live large and end up on the Riviera. Of course, with Moomins being a bit out of touch, this is strictly a hippo out of water kind of story.

Moomins-on-the-Riviera-2015

The Moomins will win you over. This is a fun and whimsical tale of how these hippos stumble into high society. In the end, both hippos and all who meet them are the better for it. If you’re looking for a feature perfect for the whole family, this is it. And its sense of style and odd humor will keep adults entertained right along with the youngest of viewers.

“Moomins on the Riviera” was released in Finland and France in 2014 and makes its North American premiere on March 22, 2015 at the New York International Children’s Festival. For more details, visit the official website for the film right here.

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Filed under animation, Comics, European Comics, Finland, France, Tove Jansson

Short Film Review: THE SHAMAN and exclusive manga

The-Shaman-Marco-Kalantari

There’s a touch of the poet, the adventurer, and the dreamer in Marco Kalantari’s short film, “The Shaman.” There’s a quirky intensity here like you might find in your favorite story or game. And I consider myself most fortunate to know about it now.

It’s bursting with originality and fierce energy that grabs you from the start. It is 2204. We fight our wars with intelligent machines. The only way to subvert their power is to engage with their souls. And it is only the shamans who can access these machine souls that exist in the Netherworld.

The world war has been raging for 73 years on. It’s some really strange and dark holy war or something quite bad. A scorched Earth is nothing new to anyone. But there’s the Netherworld and, perhaps, it is there that all souls will some day know eternal peace.

“The Shaman” packs quite a punch. It’s a dark and gothic mashup of “Star Wars” and “District 9.” The special effects are first-rate. And there’s plenty of new ground upon which to trod and take leaps of faith from. You’ll love the ritual involved in transporting a Shaman to the Netherworld. This short film provides a whole new set of terms and signs to behold.

And the scene between The Shaman (played by Danny Shayler) and the Soul of the Colossus (played by Susanne Wuest) is brilliant. This is a great battle of wits between shaman and machine. It’s wonderful to see and let’s hope that perhaps all this leads to a major full-length motion picture. I really think that’s possible. Whatever lies ahead, this is an excellent short film.

What follows is a prequel to The Shaman. This is a manga story setting the stage for what lies ahead in the main story:

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Filed under Movie Reviews, movies, Short Film, Tribeca Film Festival

Review: THIS IS WARHOL, published by Laurence King Publishing

Andy-Warhol-Laurence-King

This week we will consider Laurence King Publishing’s exciting new artist series in a graphic novel format. We begin with “This is Warhol.” We will continue with Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, and end the week with Paul Gauguin. How often have you started the week with Andy Warhol and ended the week with Paul Gauguin? Well, you lucky duck, this is your week. These are all iconoclasts and each of their work continues to reverberate. Among this group, we feel closest to Warhol, despite the fact he was personally quite distant. We think we know him. But, as this book clearly demonstrates, there is much more than meets the casual observer.

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Catherine Ingram writes with great enthusiasm and confidence in her subject. She weaves a compelling narrative in such a concise manner, never wasting a word. As she’s describing Warhol’s childhood, she is deftly planting seeds that link us to the vision of the leading figure of Pop Art. Andy, the child, is gazing upon his neighborhood church’s icons. As a Catholic, the icons are powerful figures for Warhol. As an adult, he will take that same level of emotional attachment to his depictions of Campbell’s soup cans and Hollywood stars. But weren’t these repeated images from pop culture simply statements about an empty and shallow society? No, Ingram makes a case for much more being said.

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Filed under Andy Warhol, Art, Art books, Laurence King Publishing, Pop Art, pop culture

Review: ‘Truth is Fragmentary: Travelogues & Diaries’ by Gabrielle Bell

Truth-Fragmentary-Gabrielle-Bell-comics

“Truth is Fragmentary” is the name of Gabrielle Bell’s latest comics memoir collection and it says it all. Think about it. Truth is indeed fragmentary. You can point out honest, even blunt, bits of truth all you want. People will process it however they choose. Some will deny what you said. Some will misunderstand. Some will have never even come close to getting it. Maybe a few will completely see it your way. It’s a carnival we live in. Thankfully, we have astute and witty observers like Gabrielle Bell. If you’re new to her work, or if you happen to enjoy sly humor, then this is the book for you.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Journalism, Gabrielle Bell, Travel, Travelogue, Uncivilized Books

Interview: MAD Magazine’s John Ficarra and Nick Meglin on ‘Don Martin: Three Decades of His Greatest Works’

MAD Magazine, Don Martin cover art, March 1974

MAD Magazine, Don Martin cover art, March 1974

Don Martin. We know his uniquely surreal and eccentric cartoons from MAD Magazine. Who better to shed light on Don Martin, and the world of MAD, than longtime MAD editors Nick Meglin and John Ficarra. Mr. Meglin goes back to the early years of MAD. He retired in 2004 but remains a contributing editor. Mr. Ficarra was brought on board by Mr. Meglin and the two worked together for many years. Both men are quick with a joke and just a pleasure to talk to. The subject for this interview is the uproariously funny work of Don Martin and “MAD’s Greatest Artists: Don Martin: Three Decades of His Greatest Works,” a 272-page hardcover published by Running Press and available as of November 11.

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Filed under Comics, Don Martin, Interviews, John Ficarra, MAD magazine, Nick Meglin, pop culture

NYCC 2014: Darkrose Studios and The Benefits of Transmedia for Comic Book Publishers

TRDWTR, a 30-part graphic novel series, Darkrose Studios, written and created by Morgan Rosenblum, art by Ray Dillon

TRDWTR, a 30-part graphic novel series, Darkrose Studios, written and created by Morgan Rosenblum, art by Ray Dillon

Darkrose Studios is an indie comic book publisher, known for TRDWTR. Darkrose Studios is based in Manhattan, New York, and actively engages with transmedia. This coming Thursday, October 9, the founder of Darkrose Studios, Morgan Rosenblum, will be chairing a panel about self-publishing at New York Comic Con. In this discussion, Mr. Rosenblum will explain how comic book publishers can use transmedia storytelling as a source of revenues, and avoid any potential pitfalls.

Mr. Rosenblum will be joined on his panel by Adam McGovern, Anthony Del Col, Matt Kadish and Molly Knox Ostertag. The panel will take place from 7:15 PM to 8:00 PM in conference hall 1A01.

Press release follows:

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Filed under Comics, Darkrose Studios, New York Comic Con, New York Comic Con 2014, Transmedia

New York Comic Con 2014: George R. R. Martin in 1964

George-R-R-Martin-Comics-1964-2014

What if you were an eager comic book-reading teenager in 2014 and you were teleported back to the first New York Comic Con in 1964? It was fifty years ago that New York Comic Con first set up shop, arguably the prototype for all major comic cons to come. I was pleasantly surprised to learn today in The New York Times coverage of the upcoming NYCC (Oct 9-12), that the records show something quite special. If you look at the 1964 program for New York Comic Con, on the list of registered participants, George R.R. Martin, just 15 years-old at the time, is the first on the list!

Well, that inspired me to draw the above comic. If two teens were let loose in NYCC ’64, they would have a shot at buying a bunch of copies of Action Comics #1 for a mere $40 each. Today, those same copies (depending upon the condition, blah, blah, blah) would fetch in the neighborhood of $3 million each. Of course, if one of the teens caught sight of Mr. Martin, that distraction could prove catastrophic for their plans. He could squander their chances at millions just to alert the author of “Game of Thrones” to pick up the pace!

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Filed under Comics, Game Of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, New York Comic Con, New York Comic Con 2014, pop culture

Interview: Bill Kartalopoulos and THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2014

Bill-Kartalopoulos-Best-American-Comics

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…

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Art Spiegelman, Bill Kartalopoulos, Comics, Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Independent Comics, Indie, MoCCA Arts Festival, New York City, SPX, The Best American Comics

Review: WORDS FOR PICTURES: THE ART AND BUSINESS OF WRITING COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Art by Walter Simonson

Art by Walter Simonson

Have you ever thought that you could write a comic book script if you had the opportunity? Well, here’s a book that not only demystifies the world of comic book writers but provides great food for thought for any writer or any creative person, for that matter. It’s by Brian Michael Bendis. You will know the name if you’re into comics.

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Filed under Art books, Brian Michael Bendis, Comics, Education, Marvel Comics

Interview: Peter Kuper and ‘The System’ and ‘World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014’

Page 70 from "The System" by Peter Kuper

Page 70 from “The System” by Peter Kuper

Peter Kuper is passionate about comics, New York City, and activism. He has established himself as a leading authority on all three subjects in a remarkable career that continues to explore and to grow. Where to begin? Well, many readers will know Mr. Kuper for his continuous work on “Spy vs. Spy” in MAD Magazine, since 1997. In that same year, his landmark graphic novel, “The System” was published. And it all begins with a love for underground comics and pushing the limits. This would lead to “World War 3 Illustrated,” started by Kuper and his childhood friend, Seth Tobocman. All sorts of subversive ideas were percolating between these two cartoonists while growing up in Cleveland. We discuss a key moment that brought things to a boil.

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Filed under Comics, Graffiti, graphic novels, Illustration, Interviews, Peter Kuper, World War 3 Illustrated