Archive for January, 2015

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOG BOY Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


Thursday Weekly Update | Bughouse

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

New page of BUGHOUSE by Steve Lafler now available.

BUGHOUSE Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


Secret Wars: The Disneyfication of Marvel

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

In case you have not heard, the Marvel Universe as the world has known it since 1961 is ending. Why not? Death sells. So knock off the whole thing and reboot from scratch. The idea is so original they are calling the event “Secret Wars,” like that was never used before.

The scary thing is that, as much as this smacks of the usual mockery of fan’s intelligence perpetrated by DC Comics, this all makes perfect sense if you have stock in Disney, Marvel’s parent company.

Amazingly it has taken six years for this to happen but Marvel is finally on the verge of being Disneyfied.

What could be more Disney than uniformity? The House of the Mouse is the master of the style guide. Homogeny is the backbone of their marketing genius. Marvel however, though it has a particular identity recognized only by a specific subculture who understand the nuances of the superhero genre, is a mish-mash of styles and continuity that requires a doctorate in nerdgasm to fully grasp.

The development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done a wonderful job of solidifying the continuity of a core group of characters for the masses. Now is the time to pull in the rest of the properties and neatly align them so they all make sense to the common folk. Enter Secret Wars where all realities collide and are rearranged into one neat package.

Secret Wars comes complete with a color coded map of the new world that all the Marvel characters will exist in and is named “Battleworld.” It is eerily reminiscent of early maps of the Magic Kingdom in “Disney World.” Could it possibly be the foretelling of a Super theme park west of the Mississippi? Check those land acquisitions in the Navada Desert. More likely is it just mind soap to guide us subliminally into their marketing mouse hole.

And what about that re-use of the Secret Wars name? Does it play into giant marketing scheme to tie in all of Disney’s major properties together under one neat umbrella?

Secret Wars,  Star Wars VII , Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars VIII , Avengers: Infinity War 1,  Avengers: Infinity War 2, and Star Wars IX are all released consecutively over the next five years.

That is a lot of “War” titles all being calcified by a Disney owned video game called “Infinity” (imagine that) that allows players to interact with figurines from all of Disney’s properties  including Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. An entire generation will unwittingly galvanize the new Disney Empire of properties into a single mega universe.

By 2020 all things Marvel and Star Wars will be “infinitely” as Disney as Donald Duck and Goofy!

A reimagining of the Marvel Universe does one more important thing. It redefines characters that are more than half way to a date with public domain. By 2020 a significant number of major Marvel character’s origin copyrights will be due to expire in less than forty years. New origins will update the characters with current audiences and extend the copyright of the new origin 95 years!

Oh, and if you think Marvel an Disney won’t be putting the screws to Fox during all of this, think again. Expect to see familiar mutants suddenly becoming transcended Inhumans and the Fantastic Four innocuously bottled up till Fox finally caves in on their deal.  New continuity can take all of those Fox held characters right out of the timeline with no argument and completely derail their profitability as film franchises.

The Emperor rules the Universe and the Emperor is a mouse.

Gerry Giovinco

Monday Weekly Update | ROMA

Monday, January 26th, 2015

New page of The Adventures of ROMA
by John Workman, now available.

ROMA Update

Click here to read this comic NOW!

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOG BOY Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


Thursday Weekly Update | Bughouse

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

New page of BUGHOUSE by Steve Lafler now available.

BUGHOUSE Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


Cartooning with the Magic Pencil

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

A while back I wrote a four-part blog series called The Process of Penciling for Comics.

Here are the links to them in case you missed them: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

In Part 4 I covered the mythic Magic Pencil and how my college anatomy teacher, Martha Erlebacher espoused the virtues of the good ol’ #2 Ticonderoga.

The truth is any pencil that a cartoonist can wrap their fingers around can suddenly become magical when applied to a piece of paper.

This was recently, profoundly demonstrated by cartoonist Elana Pritchard, who under advisement of her mentor, animator-director Ralph Bakshi, documented her two-month long detention in the women’s division of the Los Angeles County jail system.

The result was an amazing series of cartoons that vividly depicts her first-hand encounter of life behind bars that she drew with just a golf pencil and any scrap of paper she could find!

Those exploits were shared by her in LA Weekly.


The piece is wonderful evidence that Neil Gaiman’s words from his famous 2012 University of the Arts commencement speech:

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.”

Elaina Pritchard, in a tough situation, became the MacGyver of cartoonists. She found a way to make her art with a stubby golf pencil that became magical in her hands. She is an inspiration not to let our tools stop us and for us to empower the tools that we have, especially when it comes to making good art.

What will your magic pencil be?

Gerry Giovinco

Saturday Weekly Update | Dog Boy

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

New page of DOG BOY by Steve Lafler now available.

DOG BOY Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


Thursday Weekly Update | Bughouse

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

New page of BUGHOUSE by Steve Lafler now available.

BUGHOUSE Update

Click Here to read this comic NOW!

Read the 3 Part STEVE LAFLER INTERVIEW
posted on The Comics Journal


NOW AVAILABLE,

Purchase a copy of the EL VOCHO

graphic novel, now on sale

At LULU Here.


Weaponizing Free Speech

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

The response immediately following the attacks on the office of the French satire publication Charlie Hebdo where twelve people were killed by two Islamic terrorists was an overwhelming rally in support of free speech.

Unified cartoonists world-wide who had seen several of their own gunned down, dashed to their drawing boards and fired back with a salvo of cartoons that characterized the tools of their profession as weapons. Pencils, pens and paintbrushes became guns, swords and bombs, all aimed in a retaliatory stance at the terrorists who would dare to challenge their freedom of expression. All made emphasis of the romantically popular notion that “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Many rediscovered what had originally attracted them to the medium and what slain editor/cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier fully appreciated since his office was firebombed in 2011 after his publication featured a caricature of the profit Mohammad on the cover; cartoons are powerful weapons in the arsenal of free speech. Charbonnier and his staff were relentless in their use of them in retaliation since.

Many cried that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an attack on the right to freedom of speech. In reality it was a violently vulgar and barbarically murderous response to Charlie Hebdo’s unfettered exercise of their freedom of speech. The terrorist’s retaliation with lethal force only emphasized the true power of expression executed by the publication.

Free speech, as characterized by the cartoonists of the world, can be a weapon! It can be used in many dangerous ways to harm others and in most cultures, including our own, it is limited in some way to prevent things like, libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, hate speech, public order and security. Free speech, like any right, requires that we accept responsibility and accountability for our use of it.

Charbonnier understood this and was willing to die for his right to be provocative.

“I don’t have kids, no wife, no car, no credit,” he said two years after the 2011 attack. “Maybe it’s a little pompous to say, but I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”

He died with journalists and cartoonists that shared his conviction but also endangered others that may not have, including his police bodyguard that was Muslim and the students held hostage by his assailants days later substantiating the fears of the French government that implored them to tone down their provocation.

Many of us who also value the responsibilities our freedom of speech would have a hard time being as provocative as those at Charlie Hebdo. Few in the world are, either out of fear of reprisal by extremists or out of an unwillingness to offend or degrade another’s race, religion or culture. We may not be able to respect Charlie Hebdo’s message or point of view,  but it is hard to not be impressed by their conviction and accountability.

Art Spiegelman intelligently described the mission of Charlie Hebdo this way in a recent interview:

“It’s a magazine that’s just trying to afflict. It’s trying to take full advantage of the ability to stir things up. And that’s—in a world where everything is stirred up, I’ve heard all of these discussions about, “No, no, no, we mustn’t stir things up, because it’s such a fraught situation.” But what are we supposedly—in our culture clash of civilizations, we’re not trying to find a culture that’s so repressed it can’t function; it’s one where we have to look at various issues from various points of view.”

This is the true value of free speech, the opportunity to compare points of view, no matter how extreme, in an effort to understand our own. Just as good cannot be measured without evil to compare it too, neither can opinion without an extreme right or left. Eliminating the extreme only narrows the range of the opposition until there is none. Imagine a world where we can have no opinion.

In the last month we have seen two significant challenges to free speech: the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the threats against Sony’s film, The Interview. Both instances show that it is possible to instigate violent and heinous responses to an expression of an idea especially when it is interpreted as an assault with a weapon as potentially dangerous as free speech operating from an extreme position.

Free speech for all intentions should initiate an open discussion that represents all sides even if no agreement even if no agreement can be reached. Nobody should ever be made to die or be threatened for their expression of ideas. Words and pictures do not kill! It is an unfortunate reality, however, that for some, the discussion inevitably and sometimes predictably concludes in violence.

Political cartoonist/journalist Ted Rall recently stated in a brief editorial,

Political cartoonists receive threats. After 9/11, especially, people promised to blow me up with a bomb, slit the throats of every member of my family, rape me and deprive me of a livelihood by organizing sketchy boycott campaigns. (That last one almost worked.)”

This is a hard lesson that has been learned throughout the ages and as Charlie Hebdo and Sony experienced –  free speech is not speech without consequences.

Maybe before we continue to weaponize free speech we should re-embrace its ability to invoke peace and use its tremendous power to make art  not war.

Gerry Giovinco


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