Archive for March, 2010

From- and Into- the Land of Comics and Campe.

Posted in Uncategorized on 29 March, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

I’ve been asked more than once in the last week to recommend graphic novels outside of the usual suspects (The Sandman, etc.), and there are a couple of things that have come to mind as eclipsing most everything else on bookstore shelves- this is by no means a complete list of my favorite books, but there is no question that these are three of the very best ever created:

Laika

Laika by Nick Abadzis

(1) LAIKA by Nick Abadzis

actually made me cry, it was so beautiful.  This is one of those stories that wouldn’t work converted into a movie, as a novel, or as anything else than what Nick has created: with his marriage of words and images, this story about the animals and people involved in the launch of the Soviet space program is the very definition of a Graphic Novel.

I don’t really want to say much, except that it is hands-down one of the best things I have ever read in any medium.  And while I allow myself more than my fair share of questionable taste, this is something that appeals to all of the best in me.  I am begging you, buy this book.  You will thank me.

Laika, dreaming of flying

Laika, dreaming of flying

 

Afrodisiac by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg

Afrodisiac by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg

 

(2) AFRODISIAC by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg

is another one I don’t want to say too much about, BUT- if you loved Black Dynamite, or Blaxpolitation as a genre, or 1970s comics, this is the best send-up EVER.  It follows Afrodisiac, through a series of stories a few pages each, from through every major era in comics history: we see Afrodisiac as a hot, sexy, brother… then on the cover of Romance Comics, Sci-Fi themed stories, fighting Gods and Robots as a series of pretend comic companies attempt to reboot the character for a new generation.  This book has everything: the re-using “number one” time and time again, weird crossovers, varying coloring techniques for each period, peculiar special guests (Richard Nixon was his tag-team wresting partner in one referenced shark-jumping storyline)… and through these story fragments, we get a glimpse of a character who is more real than many who actually existed through all these times.

This book is SO good that I actually bought two dozen copies to give as gifts, that’s how much I want people to see how amazing this is.  (Not to mention a fantastic design job by AdHouse books.)

Hollywood, please take note of these two gentlemen; Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg, please get ready for your close up.  Brilliant.

Afrodisiac in Shock-a-Con

Afrodisiac in Shock-a-Con

 

The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens

The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens

(3) The Rocketeer, by Dave Stevens

is the very definition of Classic.  FINALLY out in a complete edition after decades of collectors having to hunt down expensive early editions, this series was responsible in the early 1980s for refocusing the eyes of the world on a woman who had lapsed into obscurity: the notorious Bettie Page.  Unquestionably some of the best art ever seen in comics: this is pin-up art come to life, with a story that is pure Art Deco era passion: rocket packs, headstrong heroes, lumpy-faced thugs, and of course… Bettie!

Dave Stevens was one of the first people to extend a firm hand of friendship when we showed up eight years ago at San Diego Comic Con.  (Charles Vess and Michael Kaluta are two other faces that stand out strongly in my mind from that first year.)  He must have made ten trips back and forth fro his booth to ours, and half of those times he’d dragged someone new along with him.  The other times, he was just coming back to say hello and stand and any times I was busy, I would catch him out of the corner of my eye, carefully studying the Art Nouveau objects.

The second year we were at San Diego, I made a point to wander over on opening night to say hello- I mean, this was the guy who made one of my favorite books, THE ROCKETEER- but his lovely girlfriend said he’d be there later.  Then the next day, the same; and the day after… By the end of the weekend, William Stout had hinted that Dave wasn’t feeling well, and this scenario repeated for the years to follow, at both San Diego and Wondercon in San Francisco.  It was becoming clear that something wasn’t right, and sadly on March 11, 2008 we all learned that Dave had lost a battle with Leukemia.  If the definition of immortality is in one’s art surviving the crushing weight of time, then Dave Stevens is without question an immortal, because I without exaggeration have never met one person who read this book that didn’t become not a fan, but a FANATIC about this work.

Last note on this, the foreword by actor Thomas Jane really sums up the cool factor of this character, and it was a huge pleasure to read it.  It sets the stage perfectly for the story that follows.  A wonderful presentation of a legendary body of work.

Bettie Page, re-revealed in the pages of The Rocketeer...

Bettie Page, re-revealed in the pages of The Rocketeer...

 

It’s now 7:14, I’m supposed to be packing for Wondercon (yes, it’s on Easter weekend) in San Francisco.  Come by our booth (#1332) and help us celebrate the launch of our new website Haute Campe by picking up a copy of our Freaks magazine, you wont regret it! Jeremy Bastian will be signing copies of Cursed Pirate Girl all weekend, and issue #1 is SOLD OUT at the distributor but we are bringing a handful of copies to the show…

Freaks magazine: Gail Potocki, Jim Rose, Jeremy Bastian...

Freaks magazine: Gail Potocki, Jim Rose, Jeremy Bastian...

ARKHAM ASYLUM’S GRANT MORRISON and DAVE McKEAN REUNITED!!! Plus, Gail Potocki’s Freaks: a sneak peek

Posted in Cursed Pirate Girl Radio Drama, Dave McKean, Gail Potocki, Grant Morrison, Jeremy Bastian, Jim Rose Circus, Michael Zulli, Olympian Publishing, Stephanie Leonidas, Uncategorized, Wondercon on 18 March, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

Yes, Grant and Dave were kind enough to lend their voices to the Swordfish Brothers- Sir Haftu the Magnificent and Sir Halek the Significant- on the audio recording of Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl! It’s wildly funny that the brothers now have one very very Scottish and one very very British accent.

The Swordfish Brothers.

The Swordfish Brothers.


Grant Morrison and Dave McKean reading Cursed Pirate Girl

Grant Morrison and Dave McKean reading Cursed Pirate Girl

There is a great article just posted on BrokenFrontier.com that beautifully recaps everything on the Cursed Pirate Girl recording, to date HERE.

Plus……

FREAKS magazine!

FREAKS magazine!

This 9″ x 12″ magazine (16pp) will be released at Wondercon in San Francisco the first weekend in April, or available soon on the Olympian Publishing website.

Includes never-before-seen artwork by Gail Potocki and Jeremy Bastian, interviews with Stephanie Leonidas, Gail Potocki, Jeremy Bastian, Jim Rose (of the Jim Rose Circus), plus an interview with Sioux Sinner on the launch of Haute Campe, and an interview and artwork with the elusive and charming Michael Zulli (The Sandman, Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation) on the forthcoming Fracture of the Universal Boy!

Dave McKean, Grant Morrison, and Thomas Negovan read Cursed Pirate Girl

Dave McKean, Grant Morrison, and Thomas Negovan read Cursed Pirate Girl

THE SIMPSONS, NINE INCH NAILS, THE X-FILES, MARILYN MANSON… AND CURSED PIRATE GIRL

Posted in Cursed Pirate Girl Radio Drama, Jeremy Bastian, Jim Rose Circus, Olympian Publishing, Uncategorized on 18 March, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

PRESS RELEASE: THE SIMPSONS, NINE INCH NAILS, THE X-FILES, MARILYN MANSON… AND CURSED PIRATE GIRL

Jim Rose (of the Jim Rose Circus, named “One of the Twenty Most Outrageous Acts of the 20th Century” by SPIN magazine) has been called on to press his unique fingerprint onto a great number of pop culture happenings that could only be called historical and iconic: The Simpsons and X-Files TV shows, tours with Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson… the list goes on, and in 2010 includes the role of Grandpa Alice on the cast recording of Jeremy Bastian’s comic Cursed Pirate Girl, which is not-for-sale and will only be played at select bookstore and library events this Fall.

Jim Rose as Grandpa Alice in Cursed Pirate Girl

Jim Rose as Grandpa Alice in Cursed Pirate Girl

“There are many things in my career that I’m proud of. I was hand-picked by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell for his very first Lollapalooza tour. Homer Simpson ran away and joined my circus as The Human Cannonball. I was investigated, poked, and prodded by Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. I went the full Downward Spiral tour with Trent Reznor and came out alive on the other side. I can call the finest artistic minds on the planet my friends, from the late William Burroughs to Bowie, Bono and Bob Dylan. But for pure emotional joy, nothing matches what I felt when I read Cursed Pirate Girl for the first time. Gail Potocki nailed it when she called it ‘Our generation’s Alice in Wonderland’. This isn’t pop culture, this is something timeless. When I heard about the cast recording I made the calls to get myself involved.”

Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3), third printing, available online from Olympian Publishing.

Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3), third printing, available online from Olympian Publishing.

Cursed Pirate Girl is one of the most talked-about books in the comic industry: Mike Mignola (Hellboy) exclaimed the book to be “truly original… Jeremy Bastian is a genius!”; David Petersen (Mouse Guard) calls it “classic storytelling that any age can enjoy… (it) makes other artists jealous- and comic readers drool!” Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy, and singer for the rock band My Chemical Romance) says “Cursed Pirate Girl is totally ahead of its time. I wish I’d thought of it!”
Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl is available online at http://www.olympianpublishing.com and ask your local retailer to contact Haven Distribution at http://www.havendistro.com
For more information contact media@centuryguild.net .

Jim Rose as Grandpa Alice in Cursed Pirate Girl

Jim Rose as Grandpa Alice in Cursed Pirate Girl

UFC LEGEND RANDY COUTURE CAST IN COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION!

Posted in Century Guild Contemporary, Cursed Pirate Girl Radio Drama, Jeremy Bastian, Olympian Publishing on 9 March, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

UFC LEGEND RANDY COUTURE CAST IN COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION!

Randy Couture conjures up the image of flexing muscles, the smell of blood, and the taste of… salt water?  Because this time, in addition to “fighter”, “champion” and “actor”, Randy Couture adds “pirate” to his resumé.

Thomas Negovan coaches Randy Couture on the art of piracy for Cursed Pirate Girl.

Thomas Negovan coaches Randy Couture on the art of piracy for Cursed Pirate Girl.

 

Reading the role of the vicious henchman “Sharky” in the cast recording of Jeremy Bastian’s comic Cursed Pirate Girl wasn’t that far of a stretch for the three-time heavyweight champion.  In the story, his character is the pirate muscle who causes serious trouble for Cursed Pirate Girl, played by Stephanie Leonidas (Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s cult film MirrorMask, BBC’s Dracula).  Couture is the second voice actor to be named in the audio drama.

This Cast Recording of the book will not be for sale, but will be played at select library and bookstore events this Fall.

Adapting a book to a cast recording isn’t a new idea, but it is something unseen in comics in America since the Superman serials in the Golden Age of Radio, and is the first time it’s being developed specifically with the intention to inspire new comic readers.  “This really is the first time something like this has been done,” says Olympian Publishing’s Thomas Negovan.  “Cursed Pirate Girl is a rare book that appeals equally to children and adults, and we’re thrilled that this cast recording will be an opportunity for long-time comic readers to experience a book alongside newer ones, and help to get a new generation excited about comics!”

Randy Couture laughs during the recording of Cursed Pirate Girl

Randy Couture laughs during the recording of Cursed Pirate Girl

 

Cursed Pirate Girl is one of the most talked-about books in the comic industry:  Mike Mignola (Hellboy) exclaimed the book to be “truly original… Jeremy Bastian is a genius!”; David Petersen (Mouse Guard) calls it “classic storytelling that any age can enjoy… (it) makes other artists jealous- and comic readers drool!”  Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy, and singer for the rock band My Chemical Romance) says “Cursed Pirate Girl is totally ahead of its time.  I wish I’d thought of it!” 

And most succinctly, summed up by award-winning Symbolist painter Gail Potocki: “Cursed Pirate Girl is our generation’s Alice in Wonderland.”

The complete three issue storyline of Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl is available online at http://www.olympianpublishing.com or ask your local retailer to contact Haven Distribution at http://www.havendistro.com

For more information contact media@centuryguild.net .

Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3), third printing, available online from Olympian Publishing.

Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3), third printing, available online from Olympian Publishing.

STEPHANIE LEONIDAS (MIRRORMASK, DRACULA) IS CURSED PIRATE GIRL!

Posted in Century Guild Contemporary, Cursed Pirate Girl Radio Drama, Jeremy Bastian, Olympian Publishing, Stephanie Leonidas on 2 March, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

STEPHANIE LEONIDAS (MIRRORMASK, DRACULA) IS CURSED PIRATE GIRL! (Press Release 2 March 2010)

Stephanie Leonidas, star of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s film for the Jim Henson Company MirrorMask and the BBC’s award-winning production of Dracula, adds a new role to her resumé this fall: the title character in a cast recording of Jeremy Bastian’s comic book Cursed Pirate Girl.  This cast recording is not for sale, but will be played at select library and bookstore events this Fall.

Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3), third printing

Cursed Pirate Girl #1 (of 3), third printing

 

Adapting a comic book to a cast recording isn’t a new idea, but it is something unseen in comics since the Superman serials in the Golden Age of Radio, and is the first time it’s being developed specifically with the intention to inspire new comic readers.  “This really is the first time something like this has been done,” says Olympian Publishing’s Thomas Negovan.  “Cursed Pirate Girl is a rare book that appeals equally to children and adults, and we’re thrilled that this cast recording will be an opportunity for long-time comic readers to experience a book alongside newer ones, and help to get that next generation excited about reading comics!”

Stephanie Leonidas is the Cursed Pirate Girl

Stephanie Leonidas is the Cursed Pirate Girl

 

Cursed Pirate Girl is one of the most talked-about books in the comic industry:  Mike Mignola (Hellboy) exclaimed the book to be “truly original… Jeremy Bastian is a genius!”; David Petersen (Mouse Guard) calls it “classic storytelling that any age can enjoy… (it) makes other artists jealous- and comic readers drool!”  Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy, and singer for the rock band My Chemical Romance) says “Cursed Pirate Girl is totally ahead of its time.  I wish I’d thought of it!” 

And most succinctly, summed up by award-winning Symbolist painter Gail Potocki: “Cursed Pirate Girl is our generation’s Alice in Wonderland.”

Stephanie Leonidas reading Cursed Pirate Girl

Stephanie Leonidas reading Cursed Pirate Girl

 

The entire three-issue story arc of Jeremy Bastian’s Cursed Pirate Girl is now available online at http://www.olympianpublishing.com or ask your local retailer to contact Haven Distribution at http://www.havendistro.com

For more information contact media@centuryguild.net .

Stephanie Leonidas

Stephanie Leonidas

CENTURY GUILD Featured On Newest Doctor Who DVD!!!

Posted in A Day in the Life, Antique Fairs, Century Guild Contemporary, Century Guild Events, Comic Conventions, Dave McKean, Doctor Who, Gail Potocki, Jeremy Bastian on 2 March, 2010 by Thomas Negovan

All right, not really, but I finally watched “The End of Time” last night, and was thrilled that our booth of 19th Century and Symbolist Art showed up in the bonus features on the Complete Specials DVD!
You can clearly see the Dave McKean and Gail Potocki paintings, and Stuart for a few seconds (easily recognized as the only man to attend San Diego Comic Con every year since 1979 in a Gordon Gekko costume- he’s quite excited about Wall Street 2!) and as shown in my highly pixellated screencaps (sorry, best I could do), a couple of choice seconds of Jeremy Bastian (1st), and Jack and Sioux Sinner (2nd):
We meet the most talented people in the world at San Diego Comic Con- last year’s highlights were, for Gail Potocki, Billy Mumy (she always wanted to be a member of his family on Lost in Space!), for Sioux, Colin Baker (“He was MY Doctor!”), and- for me- John Barrowman, who might just be the most charming man I’ve ever met.  (And I’ve met a lot…)  Check out the photos where he and Gail Potocki talk about their mutual appreciation of mesocephalic sideshow Freaks here.  This is clearly shaping into a full-on Doctor Who fan post.  

When John said that Gail should paint his portrait, she joked that she should portray him with two heads- a personification of his high energy- for her Circus Freaks series.

 

A funny story about Sioux’s Dalek tattoo… when she took her coat off at Dave McKean‘s signing at Soap Plant in Los Angeles, Dave leaned forward, grabbed her arm and asked incredulously, “Please tell me that washes off…?” The next day, I offered to pay for all of us get Doctor Who tattoos as we drove past a parlor (to needle Dave’s comment the night before), and Dave commented, “I shudder to think what I would have chosen as a permanent artwork when I was in MY twenties… I think I’d have a giant YES logo across my chest today.” (But Jack and I aren’t sure that that’s a bad thing…)
Sioux SInner, back when she was still sporting short hair; and Jack, back when he was...ummm...

Sioux Sinner and her Dalek tattoo, back when she was still sporting short hair; and her pet Jack-a-lope

 

 

Tractator

Tractator

 

Then, last weekend, I was interviewed by androzani.net about my unhealthy addiction to clutter. Well, that’s not exactly how THEY phrased it, but that’s how Gail Potocki is going to describe it when she reads this: http://androzani.net/archives/732. (I really wanted to wait until she showed up in Chicago and saw that drippy snail guy hanging out next to my bed, but the news must go on. BOB- don’t tell her!!! There is still a chance for surprise!)

“I bought one of the Tractators from the Peter Davison episode Frontios, and a Plasmaton costume. God knows what I’m going to do with THAT.”

Plasmaton

Plasmaton, or Thomas answering the door to collect the post.

 

The only thing I’ll add is that I obviously DO know what I’ll do with a Plasmatron costume… (my mail lady doesn’t know what she’s in for).  Plus, I think it’s funny that the way that I said it was as though the Tractator costume was not ridiculous at all- in my sentence there is a very clear delineation between that and the of-course-it’s-useful-to-have Tractator, haha!  I did think about using the costumes to scare the neighborhood children, but I’d probably get beaten unconscious, what with kids today and their rap music and video games.  My generation?  We knew how to be scared by a snail-man and a rock-guy!

Tractator

"My" Tractator in its previous home in the travelling museum exhibition, "Doctor Who Up Close"

 

Davison and Tractator

Peter Davison and a Tractator

 

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