The following was submitted for publication by a reader who asked to remain anonymous — Rob
I just finished Pirate Cinema and felt the need to write something about it, because it concerns a cause that's near to my heart. I saw myself in protagonist Trent McCauley, who makes new movies by chopping up footage from popular films, despite the consequences of getting his Internet taken away or being fined or imprisoned in the book's near-future scenario.
This is because I do the same thing. I'm one of those people who remixes different media and posts the finished pieces online. I combine Japanese television dramas, films, PVs, and clips from variety shows with mostly American songs, however, because I like the contrast of Japanese visual media with American music.
Yesterday I posted an illustration by the famed pulp illustrator Norm Saunders. Coincidentally, Abrams ComicArts just released a book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Mars Attacks trading cards, which the Topps Company issued in 1962. Saunders' lurid paintings for the series depicted a horrific invasion of Earth by hideous looking Martians with giant exposed brains and rictus leers. When parents discovered the gruesome, violent, and sexually explicit images on the cards, Topps was forced to pull them off the shelves, making them instant collectors' items.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mars Attacks, this comprehensive book is the first-ever compilation of the infamous science-fiction trading card series produced by Topps in 1962. Edgy, subversive, and darkly comedic, this over-the-top series depicting a Martian invasion of Earth has a loyal following and continues to win new generations of fans. For the first time, this book brings together high-quality reproductions of the entire original series, as well as the hard-to-find sequel from 1994, rare and never-before-seen sketches, concept art, and test market materials. Also included are an introduction by series co-creator Len Brown and an afterword by Zina Saunders, daughter of the original artist, providing an insider's behind-the-scenes view of the bizarre and compelling world of Mars Attacks.
We're doing a few Judge John Hodgman shows in New York. We just sold out our show Monday night and added one on Sunday night. We'll have special guests (very special guests), and I will be wearing a real bailiff outfit based on Bull from Night Court.
Also, importantly, we are looking for litigants, so if anyone has a personal dispute to be judged by The Judge, they should send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and include their phone number(s) and a note that they're local to NYC.
Ruben Bolling alerted me to this cool website. You enter a month and year, and it will return a page of thumbnail images of all the comic books that were available on newsstands for that month. Above, a few of the comic books available in February 1973, the month that I first became seriously interested in comic books, mainly because I discovered Jack Kirby's Kamandi.
Photographer and porn performer Kimberly Kane interviews friends and fellow adult film travelers Zak Sabbath and Mandy Morbid in Vice. "Last year, Mandy was diagnosed with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes loose joints, damage to blood vessels, and skin that stretches and bruises easily. Her diagnosis was a relief in some ways. For years, doctors had no idea what was causing her debilitating pain, and her health deteriorated until she was often unable to get out of bed, let alone work. Some days are better than others, but if Mandy leaves the house she must do so in a wheelchair or with a cane."
Among my favorite parts of New York Comic Con was getting to interview Rod Maxwell, special effects makeup artist and a (sadly, former) contestant on Syfy's competition show, Face Off. He's been working with the anti-smoking campaign The Truth to create the Flavor Monster, a freaky embodiment of how cigarette manufacturers target teenagers and young adults by adding appealing flavors to tobacco products. Maxwell's involvement isn't just artistic, it's personal. But we also talk about his awesome makeup skills and his time on the show. For instance: Is everyone really that bad at managing their time? (By the way, in case you've been watching Face Off, his arm is doing great!)
You can purchase the sheet music for John Cage's 4' 33" from Sheet Music Plus. It's $5.95 and that will be money well spent. (For those not hip to this challenging 1952 composition, it is a classic of avant-garde music in which the performer plays nothing for the duration of the piece.) "4' 33" sheet music(Thanks, Syd Garon!)
With just a day to go, my favorite San Francisco singer/songwriter Diana Gameros is approaching her Kickstarter goal to fund the recording of her first full-length album. As I've posted before, Diana "creates soulful, passionate, and enchanting music infused with her Latin heritage… She was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, (and) writes songs that reflect the 21st century experiences of a young indie artist at the borderlands between cultures, languages, and genres." The pledge rewards range from digital downloads to a house concert to an opportunity to busk with Diana. ¡Buena suerte, Diana! Diana Gameros Kickstarter
(Full disclosure: My 6-year-old son is one of Diana's many backing vocalists.)
Graphic designer Peter Saville tells the fascinating story of the iconic cover art he created for the 1979 Joy Division album Unknown Pleasures. The intriguing graphic, which has turned up on everything from T-shirts to tattoos, is a data visualization of the signal emanating from the first pulsar to be observed by scientists. The video was directed by Eric Klotz & Volkert Besseling for the Visualized Conference, which takes place November 8 & 9 in New York City.
The subject was particularly challenging: because the hare's fur lay in different directions and the animal was mottled with lighter and darker patches all over, Dürer had to adapt the standard conventions of shading to indicate the outline of the subject by the fall of light across the figure. Despite the technical challenges presented in rendering the appearance of light with a multi-coloured, multi-textured subject, Dürer not only managed to create a detailed, almost scientific, study of the animal but also infuses the picture with a warm golden light that hits the hare from the left, highlighting the ears and the run of hair along the body, giving a spark of life to the eye, and casting a strange shadow to the right.
We've hit the halfway mark on the Humble Ebook Bundle, a name-your-price, support-for-charity, DRM-free ebook promotion. With one week to go, we've added in FIVE more books: XKCD Volume 0; Zach Weiner's Save Yourself, Mammal and The Most Dangerous Game; Penny Arcade: Attack of the Bacon Robots; and Penny Arcade: Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings.
If you've already bought the bundle and paid more than the average, these are unlocked and ready for you to download. If you're new to the bundle, you have seven days to buy these ones. Don't miss out!
Update: Derp -- misunderstood who got the new titles! If you've paid, they're yours.
(Video link) Right before New York Comic Con's Evil Dead panel (which I could not resist writing about first, because it's what I like to call "my jam") was the panel for the remake of Carrie, directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Julianne Moore and Chloë Grace Moretz, all of whom were in attendance along with producer Kevin Bishop. I'd have to say that the audience was a little more resigned to a remake of Carrie than they were to Evil Dead (maybe because Carrie has been remade a couple of times already), but it didn't make the discussion any less entertaining.
Ransom Riggs, author of the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, is a collector of vernacular photography. Maggie posted about his collection several years ago. And his Miss Peregrine's novel featured a number of those great old snapshots in the book. (The beautiful and weird photo on the cover recently sold on eBay for $600!) Since then, Riggs has compiled his favorite snaps into a new book just published today: Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past." Importantly, the book also reproduces the curious notes and captions scrawled on the backs of the prints.