Thursday, September 30, 2010

Crawling Back

You've thrilled to Paolo Leandri's art in pood! You've wondered in suspense if that page is the only time I can keep it brief! Have that and many other mysteries answered on DECEMBER 22 when Paolo, I and color-magician Dom Regan make our six-page Image Comics debut with a story of the obscure Green Arrow wannabe (and frustrated sentence-fragment) Alias the Spider in the latest edition of THE NEXT ISSUE PROJECT, the anthology that explores what-would-ever-have-happened-to a pile of comics titles that went out of business and into public domain 50-60 years ago! Ours is a.k.a. CRACK COMICS #63; look for the great period-lurid Alan Weiss cover or the great period-innocent variant by Mike Allred, and ask your local dealer to order Diamond code OCT100451 (Weiss) or OCT100452 (Allred)! At 48 pages and "golden age size" it'll be the biggest, most timewarping comic not in newsprint!

The Italian Jobs

Elegiac parchments of a lost American promised-land will always have their place. But this artform and this nation also owe an incalculable debt to prostitutes and barbarian warriors! (Not to slight friendly zombies and out-of-body second-person shooters -- they’re practically holding up the whole entertainment industry on their own!)

It may take European eyes to remind us of what’s at stake, which is why I’m happy to be writing the American adaptations of the Italian (and French!) hits from Italy’s GG Studio, several in stores since summer (though Diamond shipping dates may vary, very) and many available at New York Comic Con, Oct. 8-10!

From a literal-conversion guideline by Will Eisner’s main Italian translator Andrea Plazzi, I’m re-engineering the right shades of purple poetry for the somber sword-and-sorcery saga The One and seasoning the best balance of street-snark for Route des Maisons Rouges, a farcical epic of militant legal brothels in an urban war with corrupt politicians.

I’m also bringing the gallows-whimsy for A Skeleton Story (a quaint tale of mischief and redemption in a muppet-like land of the dead), squalid sarcasm for Ethan? (question-mark included, the Matrix-y pulp-boiler about a thug who keeps dying in other people’s bodies), and sense of enchantment and intrigue to Mediterranea (an unusual thriller about a young prophet-babe in a neo-ancient Greece that anchored a very thoughtful GG review by these podcast guys here).

GG will be at booth 2165 for all three days of the Northeast’s most sprawling con; stop by, buy comics, and maybe see me if I can find it myself!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A new fandancer review

" should get this book and stare at it until the reds scald your eyes. ..."
Craig Fischer;
Craig Fischer has written a terrific review of "fandancer" over at ""-the must-read blog he shares with Charles Hatfield. "Terrific" not just because it's positive(although that helps!)--but because Craig is one of the most thoughtful, insightful critics around, and this review is no exception.  Check it out! and then head on over to and buy yourself a copy of FD!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Drawbridge Sketchblog

I'd like you all to visit a new sketchblog I'm lucky to be a part of called Drawbridge. Every day, members of Deep6 and Hypothetical Island studios in Brooklyn post warmup sketches based on a theme. Recently we've drawn sketches based on the following phrases, "The Life Aquatic", "A Farewell to Wildstorm" and "Ta-da!" . Each day is a different so visit often!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Second Childhood (in a series of 5)

A grade-school girl gets recruited into a secret global juvenile security agency while her under-tranquilized sister is inducted into the insurrectionist bad-kid school that gives “Killer High” its title. Got all that? Then you’re ready to plunge forehead-cam-first into the amped reality of playwright and friend of pood Crystal Skillman’s latest parceled play, delivered in five unmarked packages to a barren warehouse as part of Vampire Cowboys’ yearly Brooklyn-based “Saturday Night Saloon” fest of live serials in its industrial rehearsal space.

“Killer High” is Theatre of the Broken Filter, in which Skillman sends out a typically impulsive cast to navigate the wrongest way things can go at the sharpest angle. It’s also the latest best example of the Peanuts principle of precocious toddlers taken to its unstoppable extreme, with playground paranoia standing in well for the 21st century’s state of permanent alert.

Director Hope Cartelli’s precision hyperbole is the natural element for Skillman’s energy-ridden dramaturgy, and the bad sister’s hula-hoop pigtails alone are worth the price of admission, or would be -- the Saloon is free, if you can make it to Brooklyn every third Saturday between now and January.

For a mere five bucks more it’s all-you-can-drink, but either way the show will look just as good with other highlights like Temar Underwood’s drawing-room burlesque “The Ghost of Henderson Manor,” Mac Rogers’ “Control Room” (in which the rogue-Superman theme of Mark Waid’s “Irredeemable” meets the bunker-pulp of Michael Crichton), and Brent Cox’s “Jack O’Hanrahan & the One-Sided Window,” a sequel once again stolen by Kelly Rae O'Donnell as a goth Jackie O.-lookin’ sexual sorceress whose prop-less gestural innuendos will make you reconsider your position on mime. And in the best-for-last spot, “Killer High” plays you out mindful that immaturity keeps anyone young.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Out of Line

Cuba: My Revolution is the first book by activist and artist Inverna Lockpez and the best yet by her lifetime family friend, pioneering neo-pop cartoonist Dean Haspiel.

My Revolution is the story of Lockpez’ novelistic stand-in, Sonya, whose creative passions lead her to become both an art student and a med student in the early days of Castro’s Cuba. Hungry for a change of power like most of her compatriots during the Batista regime, she finds her expression restricted and oaths betrayed in short order, but clings to the revolution’s mythology longer than the usual exile memoir, feeling her way to America and to the personal independence and categorical compassion of the title.

Sonya’s original mind and genuine ethics run afoul of the approved public attitude, and though her capture and torture stem from a principled act, the circumstances of her imprisonment and survival alike are essentially random, so her continued allegiance to the cause can be just as arbitrary.

Even if we didn’t know what we do about revolutionary optimism and what becomes of it, in Cuba and most places, Lockpez is a master of building a sense of foreboding amidst hope and plenty; like all survivors of trauma and only true novelists, she relates the book’s events as if they were happening for the first time, with a keen ear for utopian naiveté and eye for the gray areas beyond its limits, and we can feel the half-century chasm opening up beneath Sonya’s momentary height of ideological euphoria.

Haspiel is unsurpassed at employing comics’ capacity for a storytelling simultaneity which, while static, transcends cinema, as in one page where clubgoers are enclosed in panels surrounded by a border of Fidel’s troops advancing through the countryside, followed by one in which the club expands to the edges of the page with a solitary mambo drummer superimposed in the center; an ingenious counterpoint of contracted worlds and unstable margins.

Lockpez is also adept -- and for a medium that favors forward motion, brave -- at depicting the long grinding normalcy that follows rushes of historical crisis; the worst thing that happens to her fictional counterpart happens very early on, followed by years of numb acceptance on her part and agitated dreams of escape by some around her which are equally self-deceptive and just as emotionally necessary.

In a quintessentially physical but not often beautiful medium, Haspiel has become a leading poet of the body, as one of nature’s masterpieces and the soul’s sacred territory; sometimes glorified, sometimes abject, but never prurient or profane. It makes him the most understanding interpreter of both the illuminated everyday, each moment of heady revolution and commonplace conversation charged with
human energy, and of a story that spirals into horror and stabs back in tragic flashbacks, told unsparingly but utterly unsensationally.

Body parts play a significant role in the narrative and its psychic texture too; Sonya’s account returns to her shaking or rubbery legs at moments of trial, as a wartime doctor she imagines troops’ legs filling her mind’s eye (the view of humanity from a child’s height, or from the position of someone felled), and in a single signature image Haspiel’s frame focuses on Sonya’s combat-booted foot opposite a wealthy world-be lover’s fine leather saddle-shoe, two personalities marching at irreconcilably cross purposes. The body as battlefield of conflicted feelings and constituent of epic change for better and worse is an unspoken, anonymous protagonist, from delivery rooms to torture chambers, and Lockpez’ artist’s eye for biology’s design, from strange earth-mother dream sequences to looming anatomical charts like the visual dissent to monumental personality-cult propaganda, remains sharp and generous.

As much as Lockpez the long-time painter recalls moments and feelings with crystalline insight, Lockpez the first-time novelist threads telling details throughout the book, including the theme of bad fathers, broken families and the need to believe and cling to them which is undiminished by the authorities’ and institutions’ unfitness. The women protagonists are often moved through life by absent or marginal men (a departed flame that Sonya keeps imagining; a demanding stepfather who influences her mom’s actions), and Sonya’s birth dad shows worthy parenthood by urging her to go while Fidel, abusive father of his country, demands absolute devotion. We know that Sonya gets out since Lockpez is here so that’s no spoiler, but the fragments of family she is either left by or leaves behind at each turn carefully qualify any easy sentiment to be found in the phases of her life.

The things Lockpez lived through, and the legions ready to inflict them or look away, make it easy to believe that we are nature’s only mistake. But societies can learn; humans, alone among creation it seems, can question; and God, if there is one, is the capacity to care, without condition. The world is learning, or at least listening, to stories like Lockpez’, thinkers like her know how to question, and artists like Haspiel know how to care. Those are powers that can make anyone feel able to go on.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pood #2--son of Pood-- in November!

Hey Poodpeople! Pood #2 will be out this November--and you can order it TODAY in September's "Previews"--out now--- from Diamond. So don't delay! Rush right over to your nearest comic shop and order your pood!
"Previews" Order Code:

 Do it! Do it now!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pood Rules the Air -- Come See Us Sept. 14!

On Tuesday, September 14, the brains of the pood operation -- publishers Geoff Grogan, Kevin Much and Alex Rader -- and some other part of pood’s anatomy, contributor Adam McGovern, will be the guests on the popular Comic Book Club: Live podcast! It’s also an in-person talkshow so you can pay a mere 5 bucks and be part of the studio audience. Hosts/comedians/in-some-cases-comicbook-writers Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler and Pete LePage put the funny in funnybooks and we’ll bring the paper! Details, details:

The Peoples Improv Theater
154 West 29th Street, 2nd Fl.
(Between 6th and 7th Aves.)
New York, NY


...the best blog (they say it’s moved, but this is the

more up-to-date site):

…and the best schedule for CBC shows:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

pood Review on PopMatters

Shawn O'Rourke has kind words for pood over at PopMatters:

"The pure joy of Pood is the physical act of turning its pages, it is the perfect anti-digital device." Read the whole review here.