Archive for April, 2009

Dave McKean demolishes Dante Gabriel Rossetti in fair fight.

Posted in Antique Fairs, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Silent Cinema with tags , , on 28 April, 2009 by Thomas Negovan
Der mude Tod (Fritz Lang, 1921) by Dave McKean, 2008

Der müde Tod (Fritz Lang, 1921) by Dave McKean, 2008

What could inspire me to take down an 1880s Pre-Raphaelite pastel from the wall of my boudoir? Yes, the inheritance of a castle in Tuscany might be reason to pack everything up and head to the docks; but I mean, assuming that I am continuing to sleep in said room and want to wake up to something beautiful and inspirational…?

I met Dave McKean in passing at the 2004 San Diego Comic Con. We spoke briefly about Egon Schiele and- a mutual favorite- the visionary Jean Cocteau.

Our second contact was this last summer, again at the San Diego Comic Con. I was happy to see Dave walking up toward our booth and reintroduced myself. In the course of the afternoon, talks went from the Vienna Secession to German Expressionism, and rested on…

Silent Cinema.

Dave McKean, Kristan and Grant Morrison, Thomas Negovan, and Gail Potocki after San Diego Comic Con 2008

Dave McKean, Kristan and Grant Morrison, Thomas Negovan, and Gail Potocki in front of the Century Guild booth after San Diego Comic Con 2008

The visuals of the silent film period are something that I am very passionate about, and with our other mutual interests it made sense that this would be an area of interest to Dave. What I could never have imagined was that silent films are what inspired him to become an artist in the first place, and that he had just recently begun honoring that inspiration with a series of new works titled “Nitrate”.

The Student of Prague (Henrik Galeen, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

The Student of Prague (Henrik Galeen, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

I acquired three of the works before you could walk from one end of the convention center to the other (which takes a pretty long time, actually, but you know what I mean) and after storing them for a few months had them delivered to Chicago just this past weekend. As good as I knew they would be, having seen Dave McKean artworks in person before, these FAR and away exceeded my expectations, and I will say without hesitation that they are his finest work. Textural and sculptural, symbolist and expressionist, haunting and romantic, I have lost sleep admiring them late, late at night. And for the last two days? I can’t wake up soon enough to see them.

Der Mude Tod (The Tired Death)... Better known to us Americans as the film Destiny.

Der müde Tod (The Tired Death)... Better known to us Americans as the film Destiny. And, yes, that is a velvet Wizard's cloak (from the Lyric Opera, circa 1918) on the back of my door.

Untitled (Méliès) by Dave McKean, 2008

Untitled (Méliès) by Dave McKean, 2008

We (Century Guild) are hosting an exhibition of Dave McKean’s Nitrate paintings July 17th and 18th at the Portage Theater in Chicago. Six of these masterpieces will be on display, along with a collection of rare silent cinema posters for historically important titles such as the seminal horror serial Homunkulus, the decadent 1919 story Opium, the early Fritz Lang- scripted film Totentanz (The Dance of Death)- with many of these posters, the examples on display are believed to be the only copies to have survived the wars and turbulence of the last century, especially in Germany in the time during and following the second World War.

Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition postcard- July 17-18 in Chicago

Nitrate and Kinogeists exhibition postcard- July 17-18 in Chicago

I cannot recommend this exhibition highly enough.  We have some special surprises planned, are screening some of the films that inspired the films, and will show Dave’s magical film collaboration with Neil Gaiman, the fantastic MirrorMask…

We’re still working out the schedule; there will be a cocktail party for the CBLDF on Friday as a prelude to the opening, and we know the main show times, but we want to add some other silent films that inspired the Dave McKean paintings on the big screen during the weekend. Check http://www.centuryguild.net for updates.

Perhaps most importantly, for information on acquiring original and limited edition prints from the show, contact the gallery at “inquiries at centuryguild.net”

(In the meantime, my dog claims she is having strange dreams from “The Tired Death” silently watching her as she sleeps…)

xO
T

Century Guild exhibition Nitrate and Kinogeists: July 17th features a screening of the gothic silent masterpiece.  Image on poster: Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

Century Guild exhibition Nitrate and Kinogeists; July 17th features a screening of the gothic silent masterpiece Faust. Image on poster: Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) by Dave McKean, 2008

Recently evicted Pre-Raphaelite girl, having a conversation with her new neighbour, a Parisian Métropolitain shield by Hector Guimard.

Recently evicted Pre-Raphaelite maiden, having a light conversation with her new neighbour, a Parisian Métropolitain shield by Hector Guimard (1900).

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Jeremy Bastian and Cursed Pirate Girl, first book signing ever!

Posted in Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Olympian Publishing with tags , , on 27 April, 2009 by Thomas Negovan

After four years of ups, downs, crashing waves and random squalls, Cursed Pirate Girl was grabbed by her little cursed pirate collar by Olympian Publishing and pulled back onto dry land.  Fast forward past a few bowls of warm soup and new clothes, and we are getting ready for the very first Cursed Pirate Girl book signing ever, ever, ever!!!

We printed on all recycled materials, used soy inks, and stamped the title and price onto each individual copy by hand- all around making this a heavy, substantial book that looks like something you would have found on the streets of London two hundred years ago.  The hand stamping process is incredibly time consuming, and it took us days to get even the one hundred advance copies ready in time for the very special event at Challengers Comics!  We also hand-stamped a mark that read, “Cursed Pirate Girl.  First. Signing. Ever.  April 24, 2009 – Challengers Comics, Chicago.  Advance Copy  /100”.  So these 100 are out there in the world, and the rest of the copies should be in bookstores in about two weeks.  I think.  (Hope?)

First thing we had to do was load in the boxes, and Jack showed Jeremy how to stamp… (it’s not as easy as it looks, seriously.)

Jeremy Bastian and Jack Absinthe in the library

Jeremy Bastian and Jack Absinthe in the library

Jeremy stamps his first copy of Cursed Pirate Girl #1

Jeremy stamps his first copy of Cursed Pirate Girl #1

Advance copy of Cursed Pirate Girl #1, numbered edition of 100 for Challengers Comics in Chicago

Advance copy of Cursed Pirate Girl #1, numbered edition of 100 for Challengers Comics in Chicago

We went to eat unreasonably wonderful Palestinian food at Chickpea, then showed up at Challengers at 7:05… Patrick and Dal were all ready and waiting, as you can see in the photos.

The party was PACKED, and ran well past the 9pm predicted ending. There was a tasty limited edition Monkey Fish Ale- complete with Jeremy Bastian labels- and copies of Cursed Pirate Girl #0, which contains a four page Jeremy Bastian Cursed Pirate Girl story plus wonderful interviews with Dave McKean and Gail Potocki (who was also at the signing) about their upcoming Century Guild events.

Thanks to the comic industry people who came out to support Jeremy: Chris Burnham, Jenny Frison, Doug Klauba, Mike Norton, Tim Seeley, John Siuntres, and anyone else I might have missed.

A truly wonderful time was had by all… THANK YOU to Challengers Comics for hosting this spectacular event!!!

For more photos of the evening, click here.

Patrick Brower is a Pirate who is not afraid to wield both cheesy fish and a cell phone if it serves his evil needs.

Patrick Brower is a Pirate who is not afraid to wield both cheesy fish and a cell phone if it serves his evil needs.

Dal is a friendly Pirate, not unlike a Dr. Doolittle.  Except that Dal can only commune with inflatable parrots and comic distributors.

Dal is a friendly Pirate, not unlike a Dr. Doolittle. Except that Dal can only commune with inflatable parrots and comic distributors.

Oh... and BEER.

Oh... and BEER

Custom brewed Monkey Fish Ale, with Jeremy Bastian label!  Limited to 250... most of which were drunk by the end of the signing

Custom brewed Monkey Fish Ale, with Jeremy Bastian label! Limited to 250... most of which were drunk this evening

The rare promotional book Cursed Pirate Girl #0, and advance copies of Cursed Pirate Girl #1

The rare promotional book Cursed Pirate Girl #0 (featuring Jeremy Bastian, Dave McKean, and Gail Potocki), and advance copies of Cursed Pirate Girl #1

Jeremy and Emily unpack for the signing

Jeremy and Emily unpack for the signing

Jeremy "spoke in... class today..."

Jeremy "spoke in... class today..."

The Cursed Pirate Girl fans begin lining up...

The Cursed Pirate Girl fans begin lining up...

Jeremy signs a book for a little Cursed Pirate Girl in training

Jeremy signs a book for a little Cursed Pirate Girl in training

Thomas Negovan hoists a shy fan to show off her Cursed Pirate treasure.

Thomas Negovan hoists a shy fan to show off her Cursed Pirate treasure.

By 7:30, the party begins to warm up!

By 7:30, the party begins to warm up!

Painter Amy Lloyd pores over the impossible detail in Jeremy's original artwork

Painter Amy Lloyd pores over the impossible detail in Jeremy's original artwork

Jeremy Bastian at the signing table

Jeremy Bastian at the signing table

Bob and Chuck show off their Pirate booty

Bob and Chuck show off their Pirate booty

A room full of fans and friends including Phantom cover artist Doug Klauba

A room full of fans and friends including Phantom cover artist Doug Klauba and Sioux Sinner.

A room full of fans and friends including Phantom cover artist Doug Klauba

More fans and friends, including (left to right) artist Jenny Frison, painters Monica Rezman, Gail Potocki, and Amy Lloyd, writer/ artist Tim Seeley, and artist Doug Klauba

At the end of the night, Century Guild founders Stuart Tomc and Thomas Negovan with Jeremy Bastian, Emily Jenkins, and Doug Klauba

At the end of the night, Century Guild founders Stuart Tomc and Thomas Negovan with Jeremy Bastian, Emily Jenkins, and Doug Klauba