The Arizona Replublic has an article about Phoenix kids learning to create comics. I’ve heard some small press creators talk about hooking up with libraries to do something like this, but it’s good to see a retailer (Samurai Comics) getting involved. Why?

Instructors, local comic writers and artists will help guide students through the session and offer advice about the professional world of comics.

There also will be a comic trivia games and giveaways, including graphic novels and gift certificates. Refreshments will be provided.

The summer series is a free event, but registration is required. All art supplies are provided, and students are encouraged to bring their own tools, too.

Look at that marketing. Comic trivia plus a combination of different local writers and artists to get them discussing comics. Giving away graphic novels to get kids and teens (the class is for ages 12-18) reading comics. Giving away gift certificates to get attendees to stop by the store. That’s one way to help get more kids interested in comics. I wonder if there are other retailers that do this kind of thing during the summer. I’ll have to keep an eye out and see. But for now, if you’re in the Phoenix area and know some kids interested in doing something creative with their summer vacation, be sure to let them know.

Well, my good friend Marty (aka ravendarke from the previous Dark Ramblings blog) started up a team blog called Stupidity Reigns, which will point out examples of stupidity in the media and real life. It’s one thing to point out stupidity, but it’s another to take action and do something about it. Each night, I’m gonna gather up bits of educational material as a counter-point to their daily onslaught of stupidity coverage…to educate the masses. Of course if you’re reading this, you’re probably already too smart to fall under their ever-vigilante eye, so enjoy the educational tidbits anyways.

Stupidity Reign’s first post! … DarkOra’s first post!
Stupidity Reign’s Igorance kills. … DarkOra’s IgorANCe.
Stupidity Reign’s hamburgers. … DarkOra’s hamburgers.

Over at Underground Online, John Byrne discusses “What Went Wrong?” with the comics industry. He breaks down comic history into a series of mistakes that impact the image and direction of comic books over the years. Here’s a little of what he has to say:

One could argue that the first and perhaps biggest mistake was to allow these things to be called “comic books” in the first place. The name was born out of the earliest versions of this half-tab (for half tabloid) package being reprints of the “Sunday Funnies,” the “Comics.” Because of this, they came to be called comic books, and people came to think of them as containing “comic” material — i.e., funny stuff. This is odd, given that the Comics were choc-a-bloc with adventure strips that made no attempt to be humorous, but somehow this label and impression stuck. I have often suggested we might seek another term to describe the package, but so far nothing as “user-friendly” as “comic book” has been suggested.

User-friendly, eh? I say we go techie with a new name…Wireless Entertainment Modules. They work anywhere (well, I think they’re still working out the design specs for the underwater variety of comics) and can be used for decades without needing to be recharged. They’re portable, they promote literacy, and they come in a variety of colors and genres. Get yours today!

“Spamalot,” the Broadway version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail looks like it’s gonna be fun. Tim Curry will lead the motley band of knights as King Arthur. By his side will be Hank Azaria as Sir Lancelot and David Hyde Pierce as brave Sir Robin. Might have to plan a trip out to New York next year to see this.

You can find some more details at CNN in this article.

There must be a reason why I’m linking to this press release over here about a video game getting the comic treatment. Maybe it’s because Steven O’Connell did the lettering on my very first published comic story (plus his indy film Rock Bottom is pretty fun stuff).

More info on BloodRayne here and news on the upcoming BloodRayne 2 can be found here.

Saturday, April 24th is the international 24-Hour Comics Day with 57 sites around the world playing host to comic creators attempting to create a 24-page comic (penciled, inked, and lettered) in just 24 hours. Austin has two locations hosting the event: Austin Books and Funny Papers. I’ll be participating at the Austin Books location with a lot of other people (over 60 people signed up and a definite 20 people confirmed). If you’re in the Austin area, and you’re curious about how comics get made, this is a good opportunity to see it all take place firsthand. Or come on by and enjoy the 20% discount on graphic novels/trade paperbacks from 11:59pm on Saturday until 7am on Sunday. Heck, come see how a room full of comic creators act after 24 hours with little sleep, lots of caffeine, and brains choked out by Sharpee fumes.

And you can pick up an official Brat-halla t-shirt while you’re there. ^_^

“Practice is the best of all instructors.”

Ahh, very wise words indeed, but there’s more on the back:

“01 05 12 17 28 – 11
02 35 27 35 38. 1 6 8”

I’m currently working on a decoder for this cryptic message because I haven’t been able to find one on eBay. My first crack at decoding it resulted in the phrase, “I have your nose.” I think I need to double-check my notes.

After taking a leap back to the Hyborian Age of Conan, Mongoose Publishing looks like they’re leaping back to the future to capture the totalitarian world of Starship Troopers. With other adaptations like Babylon 5 and Judge Dredd to bolster their reputation in the field of licensed RPGs, it seems they should be able to handle this sci-fi property. But there’s a bit of a difference from those other licensed properties…this one also includes graphic novels.

Now, this UK publisher’s no stranger to the graphic novel game, but they’re also not a major player in that field. This could be a good opportunity for them though…Heinlein has a big following, which is probably hungry for more stuff even after the Starship Troopers movie. Heck, Hollywood still thinks there’s potential in this particular Heinlein property with Starship Troopers 2 in post-production and sporting a possible 2004 release date. All that press and sci-fi fandom sets things up nicely for Mongoose…all they really need to do is get a high quality product out there to take full advantage of it. Should be interesting to see how it turns out.

From Da H’wood Report-thang:

Marvel Enterprises has met with Pixar and nearly every producer about translating more of its comic book characters into filmed entertainment, said Marvel vice chairman Peter Cuneo on Tuesday. Cuneo, speaking at Emerald Asset Management’s 11th annual Groundhog Day Investment Forum in Philadelphia, said Marvel and Pixar have something in common in terms of their track records in film. “Pixar has an incredible record”, said Cuneo, referring to the company’s five blockbusters in five tries in partnership with The Walt Disney Co. “We’re seven for seven right now,” Cuneo said, referring to movies including “Hulk” and “Spider-Man” made in partnership with various studios. “As long as we continue to make good films, we’ll be successful. It has nothing to do with the genre wearing out.”

I can picture it now…(Fantastic) Four Story…Finding Namor…A Hulk’s Life…Mutants, Inc

I do like Cuneo’s little comment there, “It has nothing to do with the genre wearing out.” It almost feels like a comment handed out from some corporate investor relations committee to throw into statements here-and-there to curb any investor worries. “Hurry! They’re milking the genre dry. We need to jump ship before the stock goes sub-30s!” Sorry, the genre’s been milked, curdled, and made into a lovely cottage cheese to serve to the middle-aged crowd looking to fit into those jeans they wore in high school. But why worry about it…a genre is as strong as its characters and its storytellers. A good character will draw a crowd no matter what. And a good story is a good story–people will generally buy into a good story regardless of genre. They know this…they have the characters, and they have the money to hire the storytellers. So, why toss in a theorized confidence-building comment that could easily backfire and introduce a thought into a nervous investor’s mind that the genre actually could wear out?

One of the forces behind the upcoming Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow–production designer, Kevin Conran–was interviewed as part of CHUD‘s visit to the movie’s set. As the one-man team responsible for all of the artwork for the design of the movie…from robots to costumes to environment. He’s also a big comic book fan, and if there’s a studio/publisher out there interested in putting together a proposal to option the comic book adaptation rights, I think it might meet with some interest (as long as Kevin doesn’t have to draw it).

Q: Are you going to do a book like The Art of Sky Captain? Or how about a comic adaptation?

Kevin: Like I said, I love comics and I think it would be a lot of fun, but I personally have no desire whatsoever to draw a comic book of this thing.

You can check out the two-part set visit here and here.