Liz Ohanesian covers counterculture, cosplay, and cool music for the Los Angeles Weekly. She hit Comic-Con with photographer Shannon Cottrell, and came back with some great photo-essays. "I thought you might be interested in seeing our favorite cosplay of the con," she writes, "they're The Gender Bent Justice League." Above, Kit Quinn as Superma'am and Tallest Silver as Batma'am.
Gender Bent Justice League is a group of cosplayers who have taken characters associated with DC's Justice League and transformed them into something that is more Rule 63 than it is crossplay.
"A couple of us like to do female versions of preexisting male characters. One of our friends, Psykitten Pow, she had a female Flash," says Tallest Silver, who organized the group and who dresses as Batma'am. "One night, we were all hanging out and I said how funny it would be if we had a whole Justice League with swapped sexes."
First published in 1968, Zap Comix is considered to be the freaky forefather of the underground comix movement that still thrives today. Created by R. Crumb, the Zap #1 solely featured his work with subsequent issues introducing such groundbreaking artists as S. Clay Wilson, Robert Williams, Gilbert Shelton, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Paul Mavrides, and "Spain" Rodriguez. Today, Fantagraphics Books keeps the Zap spirit alive and so I was thrilled to learn that they've just announced the forthcoming publication of The Complete Zap Comix. The 800 page, two-volume, slipcased, hardcover set will hit stores in Fall 2012. From Fantagraphics:
“Fantagraphics’ The Complete ZAP Comix, as designed by Victor Moscoso, will be a classy item for the bookshelves of underground comics fans — those who can afford it, that is,” said ZAP artist Gilbert Shelton. “I imagine most of the original readers wish they still had their copy of the first edition of ZAP # 1, which sells for over ten thousand dollars now, if in perfect condition. But part of the secret of the success of underground comix was that they werecheaply produced and turned yellow and fell apart quickly, and also that they were borrowed and never returned by one’s friends, thereby forcing you to buy another copy. This will not happen with the new collected edition, which will be produced under the most rigorous of quality control.”
“Much as the effect EC’s MAD had on the mid-20th Century, ZAP was equally influential and disruptive to cultural mores at the end of the 20th Century, but without the hindrance of the old comic book code that cramped graphic novel expression for 40 years,” said ZAP artist Robert Williams. “I’m very pleased that Fantagraphics will release this long-awaited compendium of ZAP Comix.”
“When Robert Crumb started ZAP in 1968, no one had any idea that it would still be alive 45 years later,” Shelton added. “This exercise in anarchy — there were never any rules, restrictions, or editorial policy — is still the flagship of the underground comics movement. I tried, and failed, to get my fellow ZAPsters to correct their spelling errors, but they would not be subjected to such editorial tyranny.
Rob and Mark interview Nate Simpson, creator of the stunning new comic book Nonplayer. We also discuss digital cameras, video editing software,Â SpotifyÂ music service, and Mark’s visit to the Trivia Championships of North America held this year in Las Vegas (congrats to Boing Boing reader Adam Villani for kicking butt in the competition!).
Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction & fantasy, video games and board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.
In episode 009, Rob and Mark interview Nate Simpson, creator of the stunning new comic book Nonplayer. We also discuss digital cameras, video editing software, Spotify music service, and Mark's visit to the Trivia Championships of North America held this year in Las Vegas (congrats to Boing Boing reader Adam Villani for kicking butt in the competition!).
[Video Link] I'm a huge fan of Tonoharu, Lars Martinson's graphic novel series about an American English teacher who lives in rural Japan (See my reviews: Book 1, Book 2). Here's a funny video he made about it.
"I was at Katsucon, a Washington, D.C. convention that caters to fans of Japanese animation. The restaurant I was working at was inspired by the “maid cafes” of Tokyo, where people can have a meal served to them by a cute young girl in a costume. The cafe organizers were worried that having a student journalist trailing the maids would be distracting. But if that journalist was also a maid, they had no problem."
There is no one remotely like Jim Woodring. I admire dozens of living cartoonists, but Jim's wordless comic book stories -- about a happy go lucky cat named Frank who inhabits a phantasmagorical universe of polymorphic creatures and psychedelic architecture -- are some of the most mindbending books I've ever read. (No wonder Jim was awarded the 2001 Seattle Stranger Genius Award.)
Jim's latest work is Congress of the Animals, his second graphic novel, and the first to feature Frank. Woodring describes it as a "dense, rich fable of torture, exaltation and amnesia." The universe that Frank inhabits is called The Unifactor (something I didn't know until I read the dust jacket of the book). Woodring describes The Unifactor as a "closed system of moral algebra," that is "in control of everything that happens to the characters that abide there, and that however extreme the experiences they undergo may be, in the end nothing really changes. That goes treble for Frank himself, who is kept in a state of total ineducability by the unseen forces which control that haunted realm. And so the question arises: what would happen if Frank were to leave The Unifactor?"
What we learn is that the world beyond The Unifactor is, if you can believe it, even more bizarre. The atrocious humanoids that Frank encounters in a sculpture garden of distended viscera are the stuff of nightmares. But not everything in the world is as horrific as these creatures who appear to have nefarious plans for Frank. In this new world, Frank encounters and befriends a funhouse mirror doppelgänger of himself proves to be a valuable ally in Frank's attempts to return home to his faithful pets, Pupshaw and Pushpaw, who helplessly wait for his return.
Is there a lesson to be learned from Congress of the Animals? What is the meaning behind it, and Woodring's other books? That's the question I'm unable to answer. His comics affect the part of my brain that can think and feel, but cannot verbalize. His comics change me, but I can't say why or how.
Each day, out-of-work computer programmer Luke Allen self-medicates by watching animated ponies have magical adventures. The 32-year-old, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, loves his daily fix of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, and he's not alone. He's part of a growing group of "bronies" ("bro ponies") -- men who are fans of a TV show largely intended for a much younger audience.
"First we can't believe this show is so good, then we can't believe we've become fans for life, then we can't believe we're walking down the pink aisle at Toys R Us or asking for the girl's toy in our Happy Meal," Allen said in an e-mail to Wired.com. "Then we can't believe our friends haven't seen it yet, then we can't believe they're becoming bronies too."
Alvin of Buenaventura Press says: "A limited edition of 200 mego style Death-Ray dolls are going on sale this week and being sold online through our friends in Japan at Presspop." It's $105 and is limited to 200.
We've blogged a lot about Cerebus and Elfquest, two series that did much to kickstart indie comics in the late 1970s. One an SF epic with pretty leads and high drama, the other a black-humored and misanthropic sprawl, they couldn't be more different. And yet Drew Hayes blended elements of the two perfectly to create I, Lusiphur/Poison Elves, a spirited classic in its own right that never quite got the attention it deserved.
The art was a black-and-white gothic scratchboard, and Poison Elves' mix of choppy dream sequences, drug issues, serial killers, strippers and supernatural weirdness looks rough and adolescent at first blush. But here was an energy and humor that was only just getting started: Hayes self-published his way to success (just like the Pinis and Dave Sim before him) in the early 1990s and should have had all the time in the world to refine his work and provide more comfortable attire for his characters.