Movie industry quote of the day: Celina Jade

Comic Book Resources has an interview with Celina Jade, the actress portraying Shado on the CW’s Arrow series. I found this bit where she compares the US film industry to China’s action film industry interesting:

It’s been an incredible learning experience because there’s huge differences between working here and there. We joke in Asia that if you’ve done Asian films in China, coming to America is a walk in the park. We don’t have unions, and the safety stuff is very much, “Take the risk and hope for the best!” But here, you have an incredible team around you to protect you and make sure you get the best out of you. It’s different, but I’m enjoying it a lot.

Unfinished Business

Those pesky unions, trying to protect actors!

Persia Blues debuts digitally on comiXology

My publisher NBM, is doing something they’ve never done before: they’re serializing my graphic novel Persia Blues as 4 digital “issues” before the print edition comes out. And right now, you can pick up the first part (28 pages of story) for a mere 99 cents through the comiXology app for your tablet or smart phone.


Here’s the official announce ment, from the NBM blog:

Persia Blues, the upcoming graphic novel from NBM publishing and New York Times best-selling writer Dara Naraghi and artist Brent Bowman will debut as a four part series of single issues with issue #1 premiering today for just 99 cents, exclusively on comiXology, — the world’s largest digital comics platform with over 100 million downloads to date. Subsequent issues will be released every two weeks and will retail for $1.99.

The first volume in a three volume series coming from NBM, Persia Blues was both the first title from the publisher that utilized a Kickstarter campaign and the first time they’ve serialized a pending title digitally before it reaches print. The e-comic books will be taken down upon publication of the book when a simultaneous e-book version of the GN will appear.

Needless to say, I’m very excited about this, and very curious to see what the response will be. Everyone knows that digital is where comics are heading, but even as a creator with a vested interest in the medium, I’m having a hard time making the transition from print to digital. I’m hoping that this new venue will expose my work to a whole new (global) audience.

If you do decide to give the first issue a try for just 99 cents, I’d love to get your feedback on it here. Not just the story, but the whole digital experience. What did you like/dislike about the viewer? Would you see yourself purchasing more comics digitally?

New digs for Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

C-Bus’ own Alexandra Kelley Fox writes briefly about the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at OSU, and their plan to move their facility this summerfrom the basement of the Wexner Center to a new 30,000-square-foot space at Sullivant Hall.

With more than 300,000 original cartoons, 50,000 books, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings, it’s the world’s largest academic research facility dedicated to printed cartoon art. In addition to editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons, it has one of the world’s largest collections of Japanese manga.

Here’s an artist’s rendering of what the new exhibit space will look like:


For the latest news on the museum and their exhibits, visit the official site here.

Marjane Satrapi gallery show

If you happen to live in Paris, then you should definitely check out Iranian-born cartoonist Marjane Satrapi’s first solo art exhibit at Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont.


Satrapi is of course well known for her autobiographical graphic novel Persepolis, which she also co-directed the Oscar-nominated animated film of. These days, she’s spending more of her time working on books and movies, but she started wanting to be a painter before falling into cartooning.

Electronic contact lenses, Terminator style

So a few years ago, I wrote a comic book based on the popular Terminator movies. One Iranian playing with a work of science fiction, if you will.

But here’s another Iranian tangentially related to Terminator, this time working in the field of actual science: Professor Babak Parviz of the University of Washington has developed a proof-of-concept contact lens that displays visual feedback right in front of the wearer’s eye.


For a brief overview of his work, check out this short article on PopSci. But if you’d like to get a lot more in-depth and technical, read this rather lengthy article written by Mr. Parviz himself, over at the IEEE Spectrum website.

In the Terminator movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character sees the world with data superimposed on his visual field—virtual captions that enhance the cyborg’s scan of a scene. In stories by the science fiction author Vernor Vinge, characters rely on electronic contact lenses, rather than smartphones or brain implants, for seamless access to information that appears right before their eyes.

These visions (if I may) might seem far-fetched, but a contact lens with simple built-in electronics is already within reach; in fact, my students and I are already producing such devices in small numbers in my laboratory at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

I love how the best and brightest scientists and engineers all seem to be inspired by works of science fiction.

Sandy Plunkett show at the Kennedy Museum of Art

Veteran comic book artist and Ohio native Sandy Plunkett is having 50 pieces of his illustration work featured in an exhibition titled Fantastic! The Comic Art of Sandy Plunkett, on display at the Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio. The show runs from January 25 through June 2.


There will be a Guest Curator Walk & Talk on Friday, Jan. 25 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. , followed by a free reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

By the time I was getting into Marvel Comics, I think Plunkett was mostly on his way out, but I do remember a few striking covers he did (I want to say for Solo Avengers, and maybe Marvel Comics Presents? Not sure). I always thought he had a very classic drafstman style, rich and textured. I also remember some great pinups, from Marvel Fanfare, which I believe this piece is from:


Actually, I found the Solo Avengers cover I remembered:


And here’s a cool poster he did for the Nelsonville Music Festival, which we’ll be attending again (headlined by Wilco this year):


I’m planning on catching the show at some point.

GraphicAudio: comics without the art

So, but I came across this a while back and still don’t know what to make of it: GraphicAudio.

What is it? Well, their tagline is “A movie in your mind” and they describe themselves like this:

“GraphicAudio is a unique audio entertainment experience that features a full cast of actors, sound effects and cinematic music.”

So basically they’re audio books, except…well, they have a whole series of DC Comics.

In MP3 format.

I’ll let that sink in a bit.


See, I get the appeal of “books on tape” or whatever you want to call them. But what I don’t get is giving the same treatment to a comic book. You know, a storytelling medium in which the visual aspect is half the package.


So it’s like a comic book, except there’s no cool artwork. Or it’s like a movie, except there’s no…um, movie. Sort of like listening only to the audio track of one the DC Universe animated movies.


I’m completely baffled by this whole concept. I’m not even sure how exactly they adapt a comic book story into an audio-only format. I mean, with a prose book, the voice actor simply reads the book. But with a comic, you have so much of the story that’s communicated without words, through the sequential art. Does the narrator describe the action? “And then Superman punches Darkseid in the face,” or something like that? It seems…awkward, at best.

Anyway, go have a look for yourself if you’re curious. The DC ones are around 6-7 hours in length each, and will cost you $13 for a downloadable MP3, or $20 for 6 CDs.

Batman Family

Check out this impressive panoramic illustration of the many, many different characters who have played the roles of Batman, Robin, and Batwoman in the comics:

It’s a commission piece by artist Nate Snareser, whose other works can be found on DeviantArt.

(via Bleeding Cool, which also has a key to all the characters)

Dark Horse to collect the underrated “Bloodhound”

Some unexpected and cool news: Dark Horse Comics is collecting writer Dan Jolley’s excellent (and criminally ignored and underrated) 2004 series from DC, Bloodhound. Although creator-owned (kinda, sorta…read the interview for more details) the book was set in the DC Universe, but was fairly self-contained and didn’t really interact much with the superhero crowd. Jolley still had to remove a whole issue that guest starred Firestorm, and make some other cosmetic changes, but it’s cool that DC decided not to be a dick about it and worked with him on this.


“Bloodhound is about Travis “Clev” Clevenger, a huge, brutal, ex-Atlanta police detective who specializes in tracking down superhuman criminals. Clev had the city’s best record for finding and dealing with superhumans, thanks to a knack for understanding their thought processes. Unfortunately, he had also been having an on-again-off-again affair with his partner Vince’s wife, Trish, for a number of years, and when Vince found out, he attacked Clev with a crowbar. Clev killed Vince and got sentenced to prison.”

The series only lasted 10 issues, and featured interior art by Leonard Kirk and covers by Dave Johnson. It felt to me like the latter was phoning some of the covers in, especially compared to his rock solid covers for other books, but this one in particular has a nice vibe to it:


The story, pacing, and characterization were top notch. I remember thinking that Jolley was exercising the perfect balance between teasing mysteries, and answering questions. It’s really a shame that DC had no clue what to do with the book, and it boggles the mind to wonder what their though process was when it came to this whole series. Here’s Jolley, being somewhat diplomatic about it:

“As far as challenges, well, DC’s upper brass provided plenty of those themselves. There were quite a few baffling decisions made during the book’s development, and some truly profound lapses in communication, but probably the biggest hurdle was the timing. Bloodhound was approved, straight to series, at the last pitch meeting of 2002, but for some reason I never learned, DC chose not to let it hit shelves until the middle of 2004. In the intervening 18 months, the company engaged in a little event called Identity Crisis. You may remember that. Identity Crisis put every single bit of DC’s focus on the capes-and-tights crowd, and if a book didn’t involve a lot of people with names that ended in “-man,” it got left out in the proverbial cold. And that was the whole point of Bloodhound, clearly stated, from the very beginning: to explore some of the parts of the DC Universe that the capes-and-tights crowd never got to. So not only was there no marketing behind the book, it got hidden so well that even a lot of comic shop owners weren’t aware of it. It was frustrating to be at a con, with Bloodhound issues displayed on my table, and have a retailer walk up and say, “Bloodhound? What’s that?”

Anyway, keep your eye out for the book, it’s a good one.

OSU library: small press and self published comix

Some cool news from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at OSU: they are establishing a collection of small press and self published comix. The collection is being named after Dylan Williams, the publisher of Sparkplug Comics, as well as a cartoonist himself, who passed away last September.

The purpose of the Dylan Williams Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is to strengthen and modernize our representation of the contemporary small press comics community. Although our collection currently features a diverse selection of historical self-published works, the Dylan Williams Collection will continually target and support emerging artists in the alternative comics field. We are proud to honor small press publisher, comics historian and cartoonist Dylan Williams with the namesake of this collection.

The library is accepting gifts-in-kind, so if you’re an indie cartoonist, please consider donating some of your self published comix to the library. For more information please contact Caitlin McGurk, – 614-292-0538.

Victor Santos’ POLAR

I’ve loved collaborating with artist Victor Santos. He’s talented, creative, fast, and easy to get along with. What more could a writer ask for? So far, we’ve worked on 2 volumes of the Witch & Wizard graphic novels, plus 2 short stories for Dark Horse Presents. And I hope to continue doing projects with him.

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you in on a little secret: Victor’s been doing a pretty snazzy webcomic called Polar. It’s a grizzly little crime tale, set in a frozen wasteland, and told without words but with plenty of style.

You should definitely click on over and give it a read.

Comics. T-Shirts. Combine.

So here’s a cool idea: invite comic book artists to provide a comic strip on a daily basis, and then feature the entire strip (or one of its images) on a t-shirt, available for sale.

Behold Comic Strip Tees.

Some of the bigger-name featured artists so far have included Roger Langridge, Mike Allred, and Evan Dorkin, who contributed this funny piece:

I also dig this weird illustration by Farley Katz: