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Sonia Harris, Author at Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

Committed: Fun at WonderCon

P1110989bLast weekend I attended WonderCon in Anaheim and took a few photos. Nothing like previous years (regular readers know I can get a little nuts taking photos), but I wanted to take my time experiencing the convention and documenting that as simply as possible. Here are some key things which stood out for me (and as always, you can enlarge each photo by clicking on it):

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Committed: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

041614_beanoGrowing up I was lucky, unlike most British children I had a lot of access to a broad variety of comic books. My mum and dad (practically still kid themselves at the time) left all kinds around the house; There were the comic books specifically for me, like Dandy and The Beano (which my dad would read too), then there were American superhero comic books my parents bought because of their interest in Pop Art (which I would read too), there were Peanuts paperbacks (which my mum brought over from America and I read them insatiably), and  later there were all sorts of weird, so-called “head comix” (which I wasn’t supposed to read, but I still did… Robert Crumb might draw some crazy stuff, but he draws it well). Like Obelix from the French Asterix books (which I discovered in my parents’ friends’ houses when we drove all over Europe), I fell into a proverbial cauldron as a baby and so I grew up with comic books as part of me.

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Committed: Interviewing Jason McNamara about The Rattler

040814_therattler2Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle have produced a strange comic book about a man on a mission. One dark night on a lost highway, a man loses everything. Decades later he finds it, and loses himself in the process.

In many ways the story and mood of The Rattler is one of a classic ’70’s horror movie feel, strongly tempered by McNamara’s characteristically bleak sense of humor. In mood I think it’s something like the movie “Cabin in the Woods”, but with more explicit sex and meaner jokes (if you can imagine such a thing).

Jason McNamara offered to answer a few impolite questions for me and so I took the opportunity to try and find out why on earth he’s doing this.

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Committed: My Top 10 Weird Biographical Comics

032614_tezuka1. Buddha
By Osamu Tezuka
Published by Vertical Inc.
In this adorably affectionate biography, Tezuka turns his talent for story telling to the tale of the Buddha. While he may not be a Buddhist, Tezuka own body of literature has proven him to be a great explorer of the interior world and an aficionado of human transformation and growth. Over the course of eight beautiful volumes, Tezuka takes us on the fantastical journey of Buddha’s life, lending it his characteristic almost Disney-esque flair, complete with enchanted animals and gorgeous scenery. Using every elegant permutation of panel layout and his mutable style, the transformative adventures of Buddha are dramatized with flair and joy. Absolutely enthralling, this has to be one of the most entertaining depictions of an enlightened being the world has ever seen. Continue Reading »

Committed: Pullist, with Vincent Iadevaia

031914_P1110459MyPullist.com is a monthly curated comic book service where people can subscribe to receive a mystery graphic novel each month. I first heard about this when one of the four founders of Pullist, developer and designer Vincent Iadevaia, contacted me to be the curator for April. So we ate lunch together and Vincent told me more about this clever new service.

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Committed: Gilbert Hernandez’ Maria M.

maria_m1Maria M. is a movie about a character as acted by her daughter Fritz, the movie is told in the form of a comic book, (and remember, in the world of these comic books Maria M is a real person). Once you’ve got your head around that, you can dive in and fall in love with Gilbert Hernandez’ wonderfully sleazy, exciting film noir about a good girl in a bad world. (And if you can’t get your head around it, it won’t matter in the least because it’s still a marvelous story, beautifully drawn and lovingly told.)

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Committed: Making Comic Books

sex_ad_previewThis week I have no desire (or time) to write about comic books because I’m too busy making them. If you’re a regular reader then you probably already know that I work in graphic design and a few of my clients are comic books. With some of them I’m deep in it right now; compiling the trade paperback books, researching imagery, sketching people, and all manner of other time-consuming activities (I know it sounds weird, it’ll all make sense when they come out).

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Committed: 10 Ways to Introduce Wonder Woman to Your Child

This week my friend Leah asked for suggestions on how to introduce her 5 year old to Wonder Woman and so my friends and I put together this list of ways to gradually bring Wonder Woman into children’s lives.

1. Dress your baby like Wonder Woman.

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It might just be a onesie, but it’s a star-spangled onesie! Okay, realistically if your child can fit in a onesie then they probably won’t remember wearing it or care what it looks like. At the very least it’ll be fun for you, and it might make for some good photos to send to the amazing tumblr, Girls Love Superheroes.

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Committed: Numbercruncher and A Matter of Life & Death

021214_numbercruncherFrom the moment I first saw it as a child, the 1946 Powell and Pressburger film A Matter of Life and Death (or Stairway to Heaven as it was called in America) instilled in me a strange fascination with death. Not in the morbid sense, but with the logistics that would inevitably be a part of any agency burdened with the organization of life after death. In A Matter of Life and Death, a WWII pilot whose plane goes down is lost in the fog and the agents of heaven miss picking him up when he should have died, so he goes on living for a little while. In that time he meets an American woman and they fall in love, when the heavenly agents come to claim him he argues that now two lives will be ruined which would otherwise never have intersected. The issue is deemed complex enough to warrant a trial, one adjudicated and witnessed by the massed ranks of the dead residing in heaven. The sheer enormity of the bureaucracy involved in this one lost death is only hinted at, but the scope of it is quite fascinating.

021214_amatteroflifeanddeath1When I read Si Spurrier and PJ Holden’s Numbercruncher I knew that I’d finally found someone just as enthralled by the administration and inhuman efficiency set forth in A Matter of Life and Death. Numbercruncher presents a story about a man so in love that he is willing to sell his soul in order to get another chance at life with his beloved. As is so often the case in these situations it doesn’t quite work out that simply. However, in a radical and refreshing departure from the norm this story is not presented from the point of view of our lovestruck young man, but instead from the perspective of the beleaguered administrative “angel” who is assigned to his case. This miserably reluctant employee of the afterlife is descriptively named “Bastard Zane” (which tells you nearly everything you need to know about this frustrated thug). Continue Reading »

Committed: Inspiration at the LA Art Book Fair

020414_henryandglen

Henry & Glen Forever & Ever #4, signed by Jaime Hernandez

This weekend I attended Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair. While I was curious to see what it would offer, I didn’t have very clear (or high) expectations. A few comic book creators and stores had tweeted that they would be there so I hoped that there might be something interesting to me. As it turned out the show was packed with fascinating works and people who love books and comic books as much as me.

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Committed: The Wrong Kind of Nerd (?)

012214_thewarriorsIf you took your lessons from TV, (where people are depicted in broad generalizations), then all nerds (or geeks, whatever you want to call the people who like the type of things we like) are part of one giant group. Apparently we all go to Comic-Con, we all dress up in costumes, we all read comic books, we all love science fiction, we all play endless games, we all play D&D, we all love Lord of the Rings movies, etc… But it isn’t true. Some of us like some of those things and some of us definitely do not like some of them.

In contrast to this strange media depiction of one giant, inclusive community of nerds, in many circles there is a pretty exclusionary attitude towards the other circles of fandom. While it isn’t very extreme (there aren’t Warriors or West Side Story style confrontation going on at conventions between Doctor Who fans and Game of Thrones fans… even though that would be very entertaining) there is a fair amount of animosity. One group will often have little or no understanding of what the other groups are into, and we can find it quite insulting to be lumped into one amorphous “nerd” banner. This kind of division can seem random from the outside, but it is nothing new, and certainly isn’t isolated to our culture of fandom. It has always existed within politics, religion, sexuality, etc. People like to be acknowledged for their unique features, not randomly labeled in ways they do not identify.

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Committed: Drew Struzan – Movie Poster Maestro

011514_struzman_actionThe name Drew Struzan might not be a household one, but if you saw an American movie in the last few decades then you’re probably very familiar with the work of Drew Struzan. Star Wars, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing… the list goes on an on.

011514_struzman_thingAs a film poster artist in the ’70’s and ’80’s, Struzan’s work subliminally informed everything many of us would grow to associate with adventure and excitement in movies. Without even realizing that we were seeing the world through his eyes, his ubiquitous movie posters embodied the most exhilarating films we grew up with. His style is intrinsically associated to a specific type and quality of movie. Today Struzan’s skills continue to be utilized by savvy film makers like George Lucas and Guillermo Del Toro to brand and market their films, lending them a language of fun and daring which is synonymous with Struzan’s work. Continue Reading »

Committed: Survey Results – Comic Gifts

Here are the results of the survey I posted last week. Thank you for all of your help and input, the next survey will be coming soon…

(Click the image below to view a larger version.)

gift_infographic010914

Committed: Survey – Comic Gifts

Happy new year! It’s time for the first survey of 2014 and this time I want to know if you gave or got any comic book gifts. There are only 8 questions, (and then for each “yes” there are a couple of questions about whether the gift worked or not). You’ll see, it’s pretty basic and should only take about a minute to fill out.

The survey closes at the end of the day on Tuesday the 7th of January (in 6 days) so that there is time to collect the results and design an infographic based on them. (Check out previous infographics based on reader surveys here and here.)

It’d be great to find out how many of us are spreading and getting the comic book love, so please share this with as many people as you can.

Here is a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FB2BR37

 

Committed: Make Your Own Superhero Snowflakes

snowflakes_window2Since it’s Christmas (whether celebrating it or not) I thought I’d forego my usual Wednesday column for something to do instead. So here are five snowflake templates to print and cut out, each based on a different superhero; Batman, Storm (I used her old headdress, who knows if she’s still wearing that), Iron Man (both the old circular chest reactor and the triangular one incorporated), Wonder Woman, and the Punisher (I wanted to make the knives serrated, but my paper was too thick and it was too fiddly).

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