Boing Boing 

WATCHPONIES: Watchmen/My Little Pony mashup

[Video Link]
(via Rick Marshall)

RELATED: Did you know that "My Little Pony" has older, male fans that refer to themselves as "bronies"?

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 "Then we can't believe our friends haven't seen it yet, then we can't believe they're becoming bronies too."

Now you do.
(Wired News)

Think Fast Mr. Spock!

Screen Shot 2011-06-08 At 6.01.24 Pm

Comixology is selling digital copies (for iOS and Android) of the old Gold Key Star Trek comic book for 99 cents. How cool is this logo design?

Gold Key Star Trek comic books

Dan Clowes' "Death-Ray" dolls


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.

Clowes' book, The Death-Ray, comes out in September.

The Death-Ray 12" action doll

Gweek podcast 005: Cursed Pirate Girl

In Gweek 005 Rob and I are joined by Tony Moore, the Eisner-award nominated co-creator of The Walking Dead, as well as the co-creator of Vertigo's The Exterminators and Dark Horse's Fear Agent. gweek-005-600-wide.jpg

In Gweek 005 Rob and I are joined by Tony Moore, the Eisner-award nominated co-creator of The Walking Dead, as well as the co-creator of Vertigo's The Exterminators and Dark Horse's Fear Agent.

Walking Dead TV Series

Standing Desks

The Exterminators (Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4, Vol 5)

Leica V-Lux 30

Fear Agent (Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4, Vol 5)

Sony Vaio S Laptop

Wacom tablets

Locke & Key

Dan Clowes' Wilson

The Modern Scholar: From Here to Infinity: An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature (on Amazon, study guide)

Nonplayer (Electronic version at Comixology)

Stranger in a Strange Land

Starship Troopers

Cursed Pirate Girl


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Poison Elves

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.

poisonelves.jpgHis life cut short, dying in 2007 at only 37 years of age, Hayes left his saga of lovable gangster Lusiphur Malache unfinished.

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.

Alas, it was not to be.

Hayes also worked on Overstreet price guide, Strange Attractors, Necromancer, Elfquest and others. Collections are available at Amazon, and his publisher also produced a collection of Hayes' columns and personal notes, Deathreats: The Life and Times of a Comic Book Rock Star in 2009. Harder to find is original artwork by Hayes; sketches seem to go for hundreds of dollars, and a a few are in circulation on eBay. Also: toys.

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Locke & Key: creepy and excellent graphic novel

locke_01_cvr.jpg Locke & Key is a dark supernatural comic book series available in anthology format by writer Joe Hill and cartoonist Gabriel Rodriguez. I won't be spoiling it to say it's about a family (the Lockes) whose father (a high school counselor) is murdered by a couple of his deranged students who have been directed by an otherworldly creature to retrieve two powerful artifacts (as you might guess from the title, they're keys). Locke's grieving widow and three children move from Northern California to the murdered father's childhood home in New England to get away from the bad vibes. The only problem is, the home is a dark Victorian mansion, and it's in a town called Lovecraft.

The gore and violence is over the top, and the mature subject matter prevented me from sharing the book with my 13-year-old daughter. Violence and darkness aside, Joe Hill's story is tight and well told, skillfully weaving flashbacks and present-day scenes, and inserting elements of foreshadowing to add just the right amount of complexity to the plot. Hill is the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Heart-Shaped Box (and his dad is Stephen King, which I just found out about 15 seconds ago).

I'm not familiar with Gabriel Rodriguez, the Chilean artist who drew Locke & Key, but his work is terrific. I have seen too many comics lately where the characters physical features vary from panel to panel so much that they are unrecognizable. Rodriguez's characters are extremely well-designed and consistent throughout the book, making it easy to figure out who is who. That might not seem like a big deal, but to someone like me, who isn't that great at recognizing faces, it's a big help. His depictions of architecture is stunning.

Most supposedly-scary novels and movies don't affect me, even though I enjoy them. But Locke & Key was both enjoyable and spooky. I highly recommend it.

I also found out that Fox is shooting a pilot based on the series. Locke & Key

TR!CKSTER: cool comic book event taking place near Comicon


Scott Morse (one of the contributors to the terrific art book, The Ancient Book of Sex and Science) says:

Are you planning your San Diego comics excursion this summer? There's something new and unique being planned by a host of comics, film, and illustration artists including Mike Mignola, Mike Allred, Craig Thompson, Paul Pope, Brian McDonald, and more.

TR!CKSTER is a huge, free-to-enter pop-up store event that's equal parts retail shop/fine art gallery/and symposium space. Spearheaded by Scott Morse and Ted Mathot, TR!CKSTER just might be the world's first creator-owned venue of its kind, spotlighting an armada of artists and writers that are the heart and soul of popular storytelling, daring enough to retain the rights to their own work. Featuring limited run small press books and wares, original art in a gallery setting, a full bar, live music and more, TR!CKSTER seeks to be a haven for creators and audiences to gather in a classy, comfortable atmosphere. With no booths, creators will be free to relax and interact more casually with their audience, have a cocktail, and share their creative processes more readily. A series of Symposia will we featured, focusing on honing craft, technique, method, and theory concerning writing and art making. As a crash-course in creative sharing and collaboration, the Symposia will be limited seating with tickets on sale soon.

Open Tuesday, July 19th, through Sunday, July 24th, and located DIRECTLY across from the San Diego Convention Center, TR!CKSTER just might be the most talked-about event this summer for art makers and storytellers!


The Sixth Gun - fun supernatural western comic book

[Video Link] sixth-gun.jpg Here's a comic book we reviewed in Gweek 003.

Last week I ended up at Oni Press's website and found a comic book series called The Sixth Gun. It's a supernatural western that takes place shortly after the Civil War. The idea is that there are six revolvers, each of which has a special power, and once you touch one of these guns you are bound to it for life. (It'll burn the hand of anyone else who tries to use it.)

In the first issue we learn that a young woman accidentally gets bound to one of the guns (the most powerful gun) when her father dies. A posse of monstrous creeps, led by an undead Confederate Army general, comes after her to retrieve the pistol. This gang already has the other five cursed weapons, and the general wants the sixth one to complete the set.

Cullen Bunn's script for The Sixth Gun is fast moving, without too much dialogue or narration (which has bogged down many an otherwise good comic book series). The art by Brian Hurtt is excellent. You can download the first issue as a PDF for free to see if you like it. I'm on the fourth issue and really digging it. So far there are 14 issues in print, and they've been anthologized so you can pick up all the issues at once.

The Sixth Gun Volume 1 | The Sixth Gun Volume 2 (pre-order)

Gweek podcast 003: Toys in space, a supernatural Western comic book, and 250 indie games you must play

Rob Beschizza, Joel Johnson, and I recorded a new episode of Gweek, a podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy novels, video games and board games, tools, gadgets, apps and other neat stuff. gweek-003-300x250.jpgRob Beschizza, Joel Johnson, and I recorded a new episode of Gweek, a podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy novels, video games and board games, tools, gadgets, apps and other neat stuff. Here are the show notes for episode 3:

NASA's Fermi Telescope Finds Giant Structure in our Galaxy

Facebook hired public relations firm Burson-Marstellar to conduct anti-Google PR smear campaign

Lodsys patent troll shakes down mobile devices

rpgKIDS: a role playing game for kids and parents

Castle RavenloftThank You for Removing Story from the Role-Playing Game, Dungeon Raid

Sword and Sworcery

250 Indie Games You Must Play, by Mike Rose

Dirty Jobs creator on the need for skilled tradespeople in America

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Educational Sloyd

At a Distance: The Best Weird Video Game I Played Yesterday -- and Hope You Play Next

AT&T HP Veer 4G

Stitcher podcast player

The Sixth Gun

Download Gweek 003 as an MP3 | Subscribe to Gweek via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS | Download single episodes of Gweek as MP3s

Every WB Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon ever made, from 1930-1969 (video)

Video Link. Fleeting images, one frame each, of every Warner Brothers cartoon made between 1930 and 1969, set to the tune of "the cartoon's most famous closing theme performed by various artists including The Three Stooges." (via David Silverman)

Paying For It: a Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John, by Chester Brown


(I interviewed Chester Brown about Paying for It. You can listen to the interview on the Gweek bonus podcast 002. Subscribe to the Gweek podcast here: iTunes | RSS.)

I've been reading Chester Brown's comic books since the early 1980s when he self published a mini comic called Yummy Fur (eventually published by Vortex Comics). He's from Montréal and is good friends with cartoonists Joe Matt and Seth.

Brown's latest work is a fascinating 280-page memoir called Paying For It: a Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John (Drawn & Quarterly). It's about his experiences being a customer of prostitutes since 1999. Brown started paying for sex a few years after his girlfriend broke up with him (he stayed celibate for three years after the break-up) and he decided the emotional toll of romantic relationships was too much to bear and swore off ever having a girlfriend again. With some trepidation, he began seeing prostitutes in Toronto.

There is nothing erotic about Paying For It, even though there is some nudity and depictions of sex. Instead, Brown focuses on his inner dialogue while visiting prostitutes ("Why did I care if I hurt her feelings? She lied -- she's not in any way like the description in her ad." "The last few times I've seen Anne I've felt empty afterwards.") and the frank conversations with Seth and Matt, who are at turns bemused and concerned for their friend's practice of hiring prostitutes and his decision to abandon romantic relationships.


As you can see in the sample above, the comic is drawn in small, sedate, panels, and Brown's expression never changes from panel to panel. He appears to be emotionally flat. Robert Crumb writes in the introduction to Paying For It:

Chester Brown is not of this planet. He is probably the result of one of those alien abductions where they stick a needle in a human woman's abdomen and impregnate her. He is a very advanced human. You can tell by looking at the photo of him. Notice how, throughout the book, his facial expression is always the same. His mouth is a slit. He never shows his teeth, never grins, never grimaces. The opposite of my portrayals of myself. Chester Brown's neutrality in the world is, in my estimation, quite admirable. As Jesus said, "Be as passers-by."

In the "Notes" section of Paying For It, Seth writes:

I often jokingly refer to Chet as "the robot." In posing a question to him I might quip, "Perhaps I should ask a person who has actual human emotions instead." The truth is, Chester seems to have a very limited emotional range compared to most people. There does seem to be something wrong with him. He's definitely an oddball. That said, he is also the kindest, gentlest and most deeply thoughtful oddball I know. Perhaps he is missing something in his emotional makeup, perhaps not. Who can say what is natural and what is learned behavior? I'll say this -- he really doesn't appear to be suffering. You can't argue with that.

A 30-page afterword is devoted to Brown's arguments in favor of the legalization of prostitution. To me, this is not nearly as interesting as the comic that precedes it.

Paying For It: a Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John

Gweek podcast 002: Fantasy novels for people who don't read fantasy novels

In the second episode of Boing Boing's new podcast, Gweek, Mark and Rob of are joined by our pal Joel Johnson of to discuss a new comic book mini-series about multiple universes called The Infinite Vacation, the second book in Patrick Rothfuss's outstanding fantasy novel series, The Kingkiller Chronicles, a multi-media article about the making of Portal 2, the poor design of Osama bin Laden's compound, and much more. gweek-logo-002.jpgIn the second episode of Boing Boing's new podcast, Gweek, Mark and Rob of are joined by our pal Joel Johnson of to discuss a new comic book mini-series about multiple universes called The Infinite Vacation, the second book in Patrick Rothfuss's outstanding fantasy novel series, The Kingkiller Chronicles, a multi-media article about the making of Portal 2, the poor design of Osama bin Laden's compound, and much more.

Show Notes for Gweek 002

1. The Final Hours of Portal 2

2. Korg Kaosilator Pro

3. Life, by Keith Richards

3. Korg iElectribe for iPad

4. Tascam Portastudio for iPad

5. The Infinite Vacation

6. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

7. The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

8. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

9. The Great Sony Hack

10. 4G Networks Aren't

11. Poor Design of Osama bin Laden's Compound

12. Anomaly Warzone Earth

13. Minecraft add-on called Finite Liquid

14. Dungeon Raid

Download Gweek 002 as an MP3 | Subscribe to Gweek via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS | Download single episodes of Gweek as MP3s

Batman drawing sells for $448,125


On March 30, I wrote about Heritage Auctions' announcement that they would be auctioning the original art for page 10 from issue #3 of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's The Dark Knight Returns (1986). They figured it would sell for at least $100,000. Well, the auction was yesterday, and it sold for $448,125, making it "the single most valuable piece of American comic art to ever sell." The buyer is anonymous.

The image is the single most memorable image from the entire comic book series and the greatest image from the decade of the 1980s ever to come to market, as well as now standing as one of, if not the most desirable pieces of original comic art from any era to come to market. It is a perfect stand-alone image of Batman and Robin (Carrie Kelley, the first female, full-time Robin) soaring high above Gotham City, emblematic of the entire storyline.

"I've always loved that drawing," commented Miller, when asked before the auction what his thoughts on its imminent sale were. "Danced around my studio like a fool when I drew it. I hope it finds a good home."

The previous record price for a piece of original American comic book art was set last year when the cover of EC comics Weird Fantasy #29, by legendary artist Frank Frazetta, sold at Heritage via a private treaty sale for $380,000.

Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Batman: The Dark Knight #3 Batman and Robin Iconic Splash Page 10 Original Art

Dan Clowes' Mister Wonderful graphic novel


Daniel Clowes' comic books are often about misfits. Ghost World was about a couple of teenage girl outcasts. Pussey was about an arrogant, self-deceiving cartoonist. The more recent Wilson (reviewed here) was about a lonely, unemployed, self-loathing, passive-aggressive sad-sack who goes through life making himself and the people around him miserable.

There's not a lot of action in a Clowes comic. His characters spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the poor decisions they've made that have caused them to have such miserable lives. You'd think these comics would be depressing to read. And truth be told, you'd be right. But it would be a mistake to pass them up, because they're also funny, poignant, and powerfully evocative.

Mister Wonderful, Clowes' latest graphic novel doesn't veer from familiar territory. It's about an out-of-work, out-of-money, divorced middle aged man named Marshall. The story starts in a café. Marshall sits at a table by himself, waiting for a blind date to meet him. He reflects on his failed romantic and social life, becoming increasingly agitated that his date isn't showing up. He starts drinking beer. By the time she shows up (her name is Natalie; she was late because she went to the wrong cafe; he thinks she's beautiful) Marshall is plastered. He has to urinate but is afraid to leave her because he "Musn't give her the chance to escape."

During the date, Marshall mentally torments himself about what to say, what he should and shouldn't disclose to Natalie, and how much he should stick to the truth. He immediately regrets almost everything he blurts out. His anxiety boils over when a homeless man enters the restaurant and walks up to their table and asks for a dollar. Mister Wonderful explodes at the homeless man, which alarms his date.

Soon after this incident, Clowes interrupts the main story with a two-page scene of the conversation taking place between the married couple who set Marshall and Natalie up on the date. We learn that they think that Marshall and Natalie are psychologically damaged, loose cannons.

The date ends with Marshall realizing the date was a flop, and he begins walking home filled with regret. But the story takes an unexpected turn, and the rest of the evening feels like a slightly less surreal version of the movie After Hours.

As a storyteller and artist Clowes is at his masterful best here. He makes judicious and creative use of comic book devices: three dimensional words to symbolize emotional distress; a little floating man to represent Marshall's superego; text in word balloons running off the side of a panel or obscured by inner-thought boxes; vignettes drawn in cartoony style to depict imagined consequences; flashbacks tinted a rusty orange. It's a pleasure to closely study Clowes technical chops. He's been at this game for a long time, and keeps getting better at what he does. There may be a few living graphic novelists as talented as Clowes, but in my opinion no one tops him.

Mister Wonderful

Read the rest

Will Eisner's cool 3D titles for his Spirit comic


Mirko Ilic of Imprint presents a gallery of hand-drawn 3-D comic book titles, with emphasis on Will Eisner's amazing Spirit titles.

But everything changed with the appearance of Will Eisner's "The Spirit" (1940). "The Spirit" was published as a seven-page supplement to the comics section of American Sunday newspapers. As a supplement tucked inside newspapers, "The Spirit" did not depend on being visible on the newsstands. It was not limited by the need for recognizable branding like "Superman". Mr. Eisner used that extremely cleverly by going in exactly the opposite direction. Not only did he change the masthead of "The Spirit" for every issue, but very soon, the masthead became an integral part of the scene/set. Eisner continued to play with the masthead even when "The Spirit" started to be sold on newsstands as an independent booklet.
The Spirit of the Stone Type

Ghost World envisioned as a Charlton comic book adaptation of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon


Mr. Ed created this terrific "mush-up" cover of a fake comic book that combines Hanna-Barbera's execrable yet iconic Scooby Doo with Dan Clowe's sublime and almost iconic Ghost World.

Hanna-Barbera's Ghost World

Dark '70s animation of Japanese fairy tale on tsunamis and death: "The Guiding Jizo"

Matt Alt points ot to a beautiful clip from the 1970s animated show Manga Nippon Mukashibanashi (Animated Japanese Fairy Tales). The legend upon which this particular clip is based is hundreds of years old. Matt writes:

In it, a young mother and child from the island of Kessenuma Oshima happen across a statue called the michibiki jizo -- the guiding bodhisattva. According to local legend, the soul of a person that is about to die appears before this particular jizo the day before they pass away. The mother and child are shocked to see a whole parade of spirits appear before the statue -- male and female, old and young. 

When they return home, the father laughs it off as a figment of their imaginations. But the very next day, when the family is fishing at the seashore, the tide pulls out and doesn't come back in. Minutes later, a massive tsunami wipes out the entire town as the mother, son, and father watch escape to a hilltop. They are the only survivors. 

Given the fact that Kessenuma is in the headlines today for the very same reason, there is no doubt that this "fairy tale" is based on a true story. It's particularly haunting in light of the ancient stone markers that dot the Japanese coastline warning of tsunami from times of old, a literal message to future generations from ancestors long since shuffled off this mortal coil.

[Video Link, 10:42] and Matt Alt's blog.