Thursday, October 30, 2003
Spot the continuity error in today's FANS and look for a correction sometime next week.
Hal Clement is dead, and the world of hard science fiction is the poorer. Mission of Gravity should be in classrooms.
I'm sorry, but I can't even watch commercials for Scare Tactics without grimacing uncontrollably.
Though I have my reservations about any review that claims a book blends "the fun of Harry Potter with the style of J.R.R. Tolkien," anybody who's a published author in high school deserves respect.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Singapore premieres The Rocky Horror Picture Show this Halloween, 28 years after its original release. They also finally gave Santa Claus his passport.
If you like The Matrix, is there any reason you haven't read the Matrix webcomics? They're going to print them soon, and they may not keep them Web-available after the movie's release, so I'd browse now.
Speaking of The Matrix, the producer confirmed they won't be "DouglasAdamsing" this trilogy. Revolutions is it.
Personally, I'd pay just to get two minutes of Agent Smith, who may be my favorite movie villain of all time. I can repeat ALL his lines from the last movie, word-for-word, on command.
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Look who's reading Harry Potter. Hogwarts. Connecting people.
Thanks to Krenn for finding some of the comics of Michael Poulin, the webcartoonist accused of sabotage. I won't say whether he's guilty, but I will say I can see why the comics were taken down. Granted, this one was written and drawn in 2000 (pre-September 11), but still, the portrayal of a human bomb as a frightened-looking victim of a big bad government agent is a little much, even for me.
Fans who think "hard" science fiction limits the imagination may want to check out The Elegant Universe, which shows just how wonky hard-science speculations are getting. It's on PBS tonight and will soon be available online. Carl Sagan would be proud.
I can just see C-3PO and R2-D2 arguing over who should be included in this year's Robot Hall of Fame. Only two slots are open this year to science-fiction robots. I'm placing my bet on R2-D2 (the more "robotic" robot) and the Terminator.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Laser guns are in development. They could be ready in two years. Guess this IS the 21st century.
Amazon presents the first book-text search engine. There are not words for how important a research tool this could be. I've been wanting this since the Web was first woven.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
A federal arrest warrant has been issued for a Spokane man suspected of sabotaging two giant electrical transmission towers by pulling bolts out of the towers' legs, the FBI said Thursday.
Michael Devlyn Poulin, 62, is believed to have been the man spotted by witnesses near towers in the Sacramento Valley city of Anderson on Monday and in Klamath Falls, Ore., on Sunday, according the FBI...
An FBI alert sent to law enforcement officials in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Nevada on Thursday said Poulin has a criminal history including attempted murder and use of destructive devices causing mayhem...
That description, and the suggestion by some law enforcement officials that Poulin was possibly involved in an act of domestic terrorism, surprised some of those who know Poulin as a dedicated progressive activist in Washington and, before that, in the Bay Area.
Steelee Faltis, an Oakland artist, worked with Poulin for several years, creating anti-corporate online comics and bumper stickers.
Faltis described Poulin as a dedicated activist who was a regular at Bay Area protests in support of radio station KPFA and elsewhere, but who he had not known to be involved in vandalism.
"If he was trying to do anything, it was just to send a message," he said...
It should be obvious to anyone who's read an F.I.B. story that I don't take everything the FBI says at face value, but that doesn't mean they always lie, either. The community is rallying around him and claiming variously that he's innocent or that the sentence is too harsh. Unfortunately, the site that used to host Poulin and Faltis' comics no longer does. I would like to have gotten a bigger clue to how Poulin thinks.
Changed FANS's promo image yesterday, and I'll probably change it again, before it's all said and done.
And finally, Paul Allen apparently wants to build a science ficiton museum. (Source.) With the Ackermansion probably out of commission for good, it's about time somebody stepped up.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
...LIGHTNING. Mel, pay attention. LIGHTNING.
Key words from Donald Rumsfeld's memo keep showing up in the blogosphere. The word "madrassas" is promising, as it shows Rummy actually considering the CAUSES of terrorism. This IS a war of ideology; both sides envision a future, and it is in the classroom that futures are ultimately built. There, and in science fiction. Hmmmm.
All the jet set are sporting the new Jules Verne pen. It's so haute couture, dahling.
NASA opens Kecksberg documents. On the concept of alien life in space, I'm open-minded, on reports of individual visits, I'm more guarded. But Kecksberg may be second only to Roswell.
Michael Moorcock does round-robin fic. No, seriously.
You know something cool? If you word-search the news for "science fiction," you find all kinds of neat real-life tech.
And finally, Ed Kramer, founder of DragonCon, is going down in flames. I don't know the man personally, so I won't comment on the likelihood of the charges, but this is a nightmare for convention organizers everywhere.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
The death of all animation's John Henrys. This is big, folks. We've voted with our wallets, and hand-drawn animation is on the way out in American theater. If Glen Keane and Jeffrey Katzenberg couldn't make it work, I can't think who can. Hand-drawn comics still seem considerably more entrenched than their computerized counterparts... fffffffor now.
I think I need to be gayer.
(Comic-Book) Fanboy Rampage!!
I'm kinda proud of the monologue in the last panel of today's Guardians. The ideas are Graveyard Greg's, but I've been pitching in with snatches of dialogue here and there, and it's been a lot of fun. Check it out.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
And you all know what this means-- I'm casting my net, again. Both Tyler Page and Thor Thorvaldson, Jr. will be providing short stories, and Bill Maus will be doing some pinch-hitting for Jason... but we'll need somebody else for another top-secret storyline I've got scheduled for mid-2004. Somebody kindly disposed to the ways of infinite canvas...
If you're looking to get into comics, this ain't a bad place to start.
Man. It sure is a great time to be Doctor Octopus. And I bet you no one has ever uttered that sentence before in human history.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Drew Barrymore is getting ready to make Barbarella, based not on the Jane Fonda movie but on two of the original French comic books. I'm torn. Barbarella is a camp classic, but I'm not sure Hollywood still has the knack for charmingly bad movies...
It's not the best time on Earth to call yourself "a fan." This Steve Bartman thing is humiliating, and you get Schwarzenegger protesters comparing fandom to fascism. The Star-Telegram obligingly collects some of sports fandom's most ignonimous moments.
Monday, October 20, 2003
No writing today. Too many errands to run and the usual driving need to find more paying assignments and jobs. I'm planning an insane burst of productivity in the middle of the week, though. We'll see-ee...
Lately, I've been reading old Harlan Ellison stories, Sheba, and Wapsi Square, the first comic I've read that acknowledges that yes, they CAN be too big.
Hope all is well with you and yours.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
You'll notice some more links on the homepage today.
The reunion wasn't bad. Met a couple of nice people I'll probably stay in touch with, and I seemed to have the most interesting career of anybody there-- and either they cared less about comparing salaries than I expected, or they were really, really polite. Most of the really interesting people from my high school weren't there, though-- the actors, the literary magazine staff-- I'd love to hear what they're doing now. I'd give you links to the people who showed up, but they seem to be Internet-invisible.
Writing today: A speech on developing the webcomics form, to be given in front of Mensa. You know, that genius organization. No pressure.
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Writing today: New features for the FANS website.
Friday, October 17, 2003
My favorite quote on this whole "crucify the Cubs fan" mess? Governor Rod Blagojevich: "Nobody can justify any kind of threat to someone who does something stupid like reach for that ball." Gee, thanks, Governor. Nobody can justify any kind of threat to a governor who does something stupid like defend a voter while calling him a drooling moron. Keee-RIPES.
Word of the week is taikonaut. "I saw our planet. It's so beautiful." Perhaps I'm being optimistic, but I feel like this new perspective, this view from space, might lead, in the years to come, to a better China, a more humane China. We'll see...
Writing today: More Marvel pitches, including Octopus Ink and a couple others. Did you know you need a witness to submit to Marvel these days?
Thursday, October 16, 2003
TV SPOILER PARAGRAPH: Don't look now, but Enterprise may have turned into a decent show now that no one's watching. I mean, I saw the "twist" with the false Captain Archer coming a mile away... my friend Jeneen and I turned to each other and said, "You know, everything is going MUCH too well for it to be 8:49..." but it still had some really fun moments, and remarkably for Enterprise, nobody acted stupid. Smallville floated the interesting concepts of Kryptonite bullets and Lex Luthor the mutant, which almost made me overlook that after ONE EPISODE of breakup, they've gone back to the will-they-won't-they with Lana and Clark, which at this point feels like an alkie going back to the bottle.
Today: Pounding the pavement looking for fresh writing opportunities, continuing to catch up, and lettering upcoming FANS pages. Take care, all. Have a safe and productive day.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Failed utterly to get to the towing piece and several other important chores for the last couple of days, so today I play catch-up. Writing today: Mostly catch-up stuff, but some sets of interview questions for Comixpedia's History of Online Comics.
I'm impressed at the sheer diversity of reactions to yesterday's Fans, especially since I rewrote that scene like five times because I didn't want it to get misinterpreted. We'll see how people handle today's ambiguous one...
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
If you readers feel I'M being too harsh, just let me know. I have liked what they've done with Smallville lately...
Aaaaand that's probably enough whining out of me for the next two weeks. Don't want to turn this blog into "T Campbell Tells The Universe What's Wrong With It."
Busy today. Got to get some info about Reverend John A. Capellaro (see below) to The Virginian-Pilot. Then it's off to meet a couple of local film producers to discuss our options for the coming year. Trying to squeeze some Towing & Recovery Footnotes interviews in there. And sometime this evening, I've gotta catch up with the Waltrip brothers...
Writing today: Pitch for Avengers. Maybe some towing stuff and WDMC, depending on how the day goes...
Sunday, October 12, 2003
Badgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgersbadgers mushroom MUSHROOM.
Writing today: The last of Tyler's Pages (yaaay!) and some more What Dreams May Come.
Thanks to Sun Tzu, Manticoraus, April Jones, Whitman Taylor and Fred Krohn for their messages of support, and to Lars A. Doucet and Kevin Watte for intelligent commentary on the issue. On to lighter matters...
I'm famous! Chris Daily of Striptease has done a write-up on the San Diego Comic-Con that features me prominently, and a caricaturist's smorgasbord of cartoonist heads with me in there. Chris was my first artistic collaborator way, way back when, and it was good to see him again.
Reorganizing my comic book boxes today. I don't know why I have so many "C" comics. CAPTAIN CARROT, CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED, THE CROSSOVERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA, CHASING DOGMA (dumb, but charming), CATWOMAN (Ed Brubaker or Devin Grayson), CAPTAIN MARVEL... do I just gravitate naturally toward superheroes with "Captain" in their names? Come to think of it, I snapped up all the MAJOR BUMMERs I could find, too (still missing #1-2 and #11-12... need to hunt for those). Maybe it comes from growing up in a military town. But I've still missed picking up MARSHALL LAW and SERGEANT ROCK.
Anybody else think the title "1602" is at least partly a ploy to get in the very front of the comic book bins? Sorry, Neil, but Rich Koslowski and Brian Azzarello have you beat with "THE 3 GEEKS" and "100 BULLETS."
And where does THE KILLING JOKE go? Everyone calls it THE KILLING JOKE, but the actual title on the cover is BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. As if that's not confusing enough, JLA/AVENGERS changes its title to AVENGERS/JLA with every other issue, as did DC/MARVEL before it, just so, you know, nobody's feelings get hurt. Way to confuse the stockers of back issue bins everywhere, guys.
Not like FA[A]NS is any better.
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Today, T Campbell is furious.
Got a letter last night from my rector, the Reverend John J. Capellaro. John is a progressive and confident man who married two of my best friends. He has nearly doubled church attendance in the five years he's been with us, bringing in large numbers of young people. He has a father's gift for making you feel special and valued no matter what your age or background. Rikk Oberf's character owes something to him, especially in an upcoming scene.
Message reads: "The realization of [our] dreams has frequently been accompanied by stress, disagreement, and very real pain... For some, that weariness has been aggravated by the recent decision of our General Convention to consent to the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, as Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, and by this rector's personal understandings and beliefs about human sexuality."
The best rector I have ever heard, anywhere, is being pressured out of the service of God in my area, because he will not follow the prevailing sentiment down here and condemn acts of love in the name of Christ. I have never been more ashamed to be a Virginian, and I'm not all that thrilled to be an Episcopalian right now, either.
This may mean the end of my association with St. Paul's, despite several friendships I've made there. I will not listen for long to homophobes who claim to speak for God.
So how's YOUR weekend going so far?
Writing Today: More Tyler Pages, plus the FANS FAQ page...
Friday, October 10, 2003
Looks like the Graphic Smash syndication program is already taking off.
Volvo, 760 Turbo 1990, needs oil every 3wks, runs great, AM/FM Stereo, accent stripes, bucket seats, body side molding, clock, console, cruise control, intermittent wipers, fold-down back seat, power locks, power windows, rear wiper, coat hanger hooks, trip odometer. $2500. Call 757-630-0579 or e-mail email@example.com.
Writing today: Article on "abandoneds" (towing shorthand for "abandoned vehicles") for Towing and Recovery Footnotes. Seems law enforcement doesn't always handle them to everyone's satisfaction-- what a shock, huh?
Plus, reworking the short Tyler Page story from top to bottom. It's official: Jackie has replaced Shanna as our most troublesome character-- she doesn't do ANYTHING I expect her to, any more.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
So Ahnuld has been elected President, I mean Governor. It does FEEL like a Presidential victory, and there's even talk about reworking the Constitution to allow foreign-born folks like Arnie to run for the White House. I'm all for that on principle, but I fear his beginning 100 days as guv will be more humbling for Schwarzenegger than End of Days. We shall see.
Writing today: Article on Tim Tierney, towman, for Towing & Recovery Footnotes.
Editorials on crossovers for the Graphic Smash editorial section.
Description of my Volvo, which has an oil leak and needs selling, for Auto Trader and anyplace else I can get it sold. Any suggestions, folks?
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
People have started calling Ahnuld "the Gropinator." Now THERE'S an image. "Your clowes-- gib dem to me."
Writing today: More FANS: WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (one of the characters is really not cooperating with me right now), and gathering images for the HAMPTON ROADS 2004 CALENDAR and the HAMPTON ROADS 2004 WEB GUIDE.
Reading today: Roger Langridge's FRED THE CLOWN, a delightful bundle of meta-language and heir apparent to George Herriman's KRAZY KAT.
Monday, October 06, 2003
It's kind of amusing, the way people NOW think that FANS is all about current events. After the shock of 9-11 faded, I spent a lot of late 2001 worrying that the whole "FIB" concept was hopelessly OUTDATED, since the outburst of patriotism clearly meant a new and lasting trust was being built between the people and the government. What goes around comes around, fortunately for FANS but unfortunately for our society as a whole.
And did anyone else catch the new comic-book superheroine on 60 Minutes last night? Nisha, Defier of Dowry Demands? Yeah, she is a heroine, but still... interesting times we live in.
Friday, October 03, 2003
New Graphic Smash editorial this week which mouths off about the most financially successful new comic book launched this year (hint: it ain't the official movie adaptation of HULK). This, while I contemplate another push at the corporate doorways of DC and Marvel. Biting the hand that you want to feed you AFTERWARD. Brilliant, I know.
The government has recalled all Segway "Ginger" scooters because-- get this--when the batteries get low, you fall off. You'd think this would be the kind of thing that comes out in testing. But according to the AP, its inventor, Dean Kamen, "holds some 100 patents, including a wheelchair that climbs stairs and the first portable kidney dialysis machine," so he'll probably rebound (sorry). Hopefully the stair-climbing wheelchair doesn't topple when IT'S low on power. Maybe Shaenon K. Garrity should do a story about this guy.
Boy, the forums sure are jumpin'. I think they've actually gotten MORE active since the move to Graphic Smash.
Somebody asked me if we were going to bring back the policy of titling each page. Graphic Smash has the tech to do this, but the titles wouldn't be in the title bar any more-- they'd be listed above the page image. To my eyes, this looks awkward, but if enough people write in and say otherwise...
Ads for Matrix :Revolutions are out. MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD-- IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE ADS ARE SAYING, STOP READING *NOW.*
Apparently Neo's forging an unholy alliance with the Matrix ITSELF in order to stop Agent Smith, who no longer obeys it. This has the virtue of being unexpected, but I thought VOYAGER taught us that once you seat the evil uber-computer at the negotiating table, you've liposuctioned the menace right out of them.
On the other hand, I think it was Salon that said Neo needs to make some kind of peace with the machines, since they own the only world that's worth living in. And it does mean more Hugo Weaving, and the last film definitely established that you can NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH HUGO WEAVING. So I'm torn.
Dissent, as always, is welcomed.