Moebius and Beyond: An Introduction to European Comics


Shea Hennum (Paste Monthly)

The State of European Comics in the United States

Generally speaking, three geographic markets rule comics: the United States, France/Belgium and Japan. Though each of these markets features a diverse spectrum of style and stories, each also has its own unique dominant modes of distribution and dissemination, and follows and reflects a unique aesthetic tradition. America usually publishes comics in 8-by-11-inch pamphlets while Japan uses huge manga magazines sometimes collected into 5-by-7-inch books. In the Franco-Belgian territory, though, comics are typically released in albums—8.4-by-11.6-inch bound books that tend to run approximately 50 pages. Each of these formats helps to shape certain visual traditions and expectations of the media. The fact that Eiichiro Oda’s best-selling manga One Piece comes out in cheap magazines on a weekly basis means it can occupy 250 pages with a single fight; the glacial pace at which American comics are sometimes released may preclude that indulgence. In France, however, it’s not uncommon for only one album to be released every year; sometimes, series would only see one album every several years, as its author or authors became busy with another character, series or story.

Moebius, the subject of Dark Horse Comics’ most recent Library series of career-encapsulating hardcovers, represents the apotheosis of Franco-Belgian comics. When he died in 2012, Moebius (born Jean Giraud) left behind a body of work that spans nearly 60 years. He produced humor comics, autobiographical comics and, most famously, was responsible for some of the most influential science fiction and western comics of all time. His thin, complex lines, imaginative vision, and versatility as an artist and storyteller have been praised by the likes of George Lucas and Federico Fellini, and he exerted an incredible influence on comics, cartoons and film around the world, including pop culture touchstones like Akira and Blade Runner.

Other European cartoonists have proven similarly influential, including Italians like eroticists Guido Crepax and Milo Manara and serial adventurist Hugo Pratt, as well as Spanish artists including Jordi Bernet. But while these European titans have inspired American cartoonists for years, the availability of their work has proven spotty (at best).

Beginning in the late ‘70s and continuing into ‘80s, outlets like Heavy Metal (an American version of Moebius’ French magazine, Metal Hurlant) translated the work of Philippe Druillet, Philippe Caza, Tanino Liberatore and others. Raw magazine, edited by Art Spiegelman and Fran├žoise Mouly, made similar attempts, translating the more avant-garde works of creators like Joost Swarte, Jacques Tardi and Lorenzo Mattotti. Marvel, through its ‘80s creator-owned Epic line, even began The Collected Fantasies of Jean Giraud, an 11-volume set attempting to collect Moebius’ oeuvre.

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Frank Miller Describes His Ideal Batman Movie – And It’s Nothing Like What We’ve Seen So Far


Nick Cavicchio (Science Fiction)

Frank Miller is a man whose creative legacy looms large over Batman. Though he still revisits the character from time to time (most recently with ‘Dark Knight III: The Master Race’), much of that clout is owed to his seminal works ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ and ‘Batman: Year One’ in the mid-80s. In a recent conversation with Variety, Miller described the form his ideal Batman movie might take, providing what some might consider a welcome contrast to the often bombastic superhero movies audiences have become accustomed to:

"My dream would be to make it much smaller. To lose the toys and to focus more on the mission, and to use the city a great deal more. Because he’s got a loving relationship with the city he’s protecting. And unlike Superman, his connection to crime is intimate; it has been ever since his parents were murdered. And he defeats criminals with his hands. So it would be a different take. But it will never be in my hands, because it would not be a good place to make toys from. There wouldn’t be a line of toys.”

Miller was, however, involved with at least one Batman project, though the film was never produced. In the wake of the legendary failure of ‘Batman & Robin’, Warner Bros was exploring several possibilities for the future of the franchise, including an adaptation of Miller’s ‘Batman: Year One’ that was to have been directed by Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky and Miller were set to co-write the screenplay before the project was shelved in favor of a path that would ultimately lead to ‘Batman Begins’. Of that project, Miller offered the following:

“That screenplay was based on my book ‘Batman: Year One’, and yeah it was much more down to earth. In it a fair amount of time is spent before he became Batman, and when he went out and fought crime he really screwed it up a bunch of times before he got it right. So it was a 90-minute origin story.”

Though the broad arc that Miller describes does have some similarities to ‘Batman Begins’, the finished film would undoubtedly have been a wildly different affair. What do you think of Miller’s conception of the Dark Knight on film? Is it a direction you’d like to see Warner take? Let us know in the comments!

Source



2001: A Spacey Odyssey’ 50th Anniversary Trailer


From The Playlist

Director Stanley Kubrick proved himself as a master at tapping into human nature. He showcased some of our worst fears with the horror classic “The Shining,” while depicting the monster within all of us with the futuristic satire “A Clockwork Orange.” But with the sci-fi epic “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Kubrick managed to focus on the past and future of mankind and despite ‘2001’ being way ahead of its time when it was first released, the film still has become a cultural touchstone and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. And in preparation of an “unrestored” 70mm print of the classic epic, we have a trailer showcasing a new release of the film.

A film like ‘2001’ might not have played well in today’s film landscape, and especially wouldn’t play well with modern genre fans since we live in an era of tentpole filmmaking and bombastic blockbuster fare. Much like how ‘2001’ depicts the evolution of man, the state of science fiction films has evolved since its release. However, ‘2001’ has been a key factor in the evolution of science fiction, acting as an ongoing connection much like the black monoliths that bind the different time periods that the film is set in.

If it weren’t for ‘2001,’ who knows whether we would have gotten other science fiction films that try to explore the wonders of space like “Interstellar” or “Gravity.” Also, ‘2001’ attempted to explore the likely perils of artificial intelligence with the famous storyline set in space involving astronauts being ambushed by the spaceship computer called HAL 9000.

A portrait of the evolution of man, space travel, and technology all rolled into one, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is a journey into the wonders of life itself that even today, still has people trying to decipher its symbolic storytelling. Even though it might not work for everyone because a good chunk of it is wordless and it requires a lot of patience thanks to its two and a half hour running time, it is still laudable because it served as a backbone for the science fiction genre and deserves a watch.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” is set for re-release in 70mm on May 18th. - Source



A Puppet, Big Boobs, Killer Plants, The Cast Of Star Trek And Snoop Dogg


This looks so weird ... it just has to be good.

What do you get when you mash up a puppet, big boobs, killer plants, the cast of Star Trek and Snoop Dogg?

The answer ... a really strange looking Star Trek parody called "Unbelievable!!!!!"

Here is the press:

Three astronauts along with their Fearless Leader Puppet Companion Captain Kirk Stillwood, travel to the Moon on a rescue mission to determine the fate of two Aeronautical Space Systems (A.S.S.) comrades who have not been heard from in several days. The individuals they find at the Lunar Base are not whom they appear to be and, through acts of trickery and deception, nearly succeed in killing them. The four return to find that everyone on the planet has been transformed into a exotic plant-life. These KILLER plant-aliens have conquered Earth and now seek to destroy the last remnants of humanity! The astronauts fight back and soon discover how to rid themselves of the killer alien threat.

We have cast the Iconic & Magical Snoop Dogg along with 42 previous iconic “Star Trek” actors in this film. We have also hired Gerald Fried, an Emmy-Award winning composer, to score our film. Gerald was a composer for the original “Star Trek” and has written some of its most iconic musical themes including “Amok Time’s” Fight Music. Fried won his Emmy for his Composition work on the 1970’s TV Series “Roots”. Additionally we hired Tommy Morgan as our Lead Bass Harmonia player who also worked on the Original Star Trek Series, “Spectre of the Gun”. Also within our orchestra is multi Grammy and Academy Award winner Dave Grusin as our Pianist. Dave is known for his work on “The Graduate”, “On Golden Pond” and “Tootsie”. We produced this film to include many of our favorite Star Trek stars from the past, along with one of our favorite and greatly admired musical Icons in a light-hearted parody-adventure, look forward to the fun with many of your favorite actors, and a few plants and animals.

Check out the cast:

Snoop Dogg, Garrett Wang, Chase Masterson, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, Robert Picardo, Michael Madsen, Robert Davi, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Nana Visitor, Walter Koenig, Linda Park, Connor Trinneer, Manu Intiraymi, Angelique Fawcette, Katarina Van Derham, Dina Meyer, Olivia d’Abo, Julie Warner, Armin Shimerman, Jeffrey Combs, John Billingsley, Dominic Keating, Max Grodenchik, Casey Biggs, Brenda Bakke, Patti Yasutake, McKenzie Westmore, Anthony Montgomery, Vaughn Armstrong, Gary Graham, Steve Rankin, Christopher Doohan, Sam Asghari, Casper Smart, Michael Dante, Jack Donner, Michael Forest, Sean Kenney, Gary Lockwood, BarBara Luna, Beverly Washburn, Celeste Yarnall, Bobby Clark, Jasmine Anthony, Crystal Allen, Menina Fortunato, Deprise Brescia, Kevin Carlson, Kaley Victoria Rose, Anne McDaniels, Brooke Newton, Nadia Lanfranconi, Guy Nardulli, Emily L. Stanton, Brit Navarro, Bert Rotundo, Steven Scot Bono, Peter Tedeschi, Corey Allen Kotler, John Hafner, and Seth Austin.

It would have been easier just to list who isn't in it.

I think the trailer speaks for itself:





Mad Magazine Reloaded


From DC Comics

In celebration of the relaunch of MAD Magazine and today’s debut of a new issue no. 1, America’s #1 humor magazine is revealing a new kind of MAD-ness with its first-ever digital channel debuting April 20 on Twitch at twitch.tv/madmagazine. The iconic brand will also extend its digital presence with The MAD Podcast!, an all-new bi-monthly series launching this summer on iTunes, Stitcher and the newly improved MAD blog. Available on newsstands and via digital download today, the June 2018 issue of MAD Magazine marks a fresh look for the fan-favorite brand.

Broadcasting live from MAD’s new Burbank headquarters, initial programming for the new Twitch channel, lead by Senior Editor Dan Telfer, will comprise a collection of comedy guests including Steve Agee, Jordan Morris, Thea Lux, Candy Lawrence, Erin Tracy, Sean Ellis, Gerry Duggan, Joe Kwaczala, among others, alongside narrated video game runs, live art sketches and must-see tabletop game challenges. From wild gaming antics to absurd discussions with a premiere guest lineup, viewers will get a hysterical glimpse into the creative minds behind MAD, while engaging with other fans across the country. The official MAD Magazine Twitch channel will launch on Friday, April 20 at 4 p.m. PST. Fans can tune-in to MAD’s bi-weekly broadcasts on Fridays from 4-6 p.m. PST at twitch.tv/madmagazine.

Combining new perspectives with classic MAD wit, The MAD Podcast! is an upcoming bi-monthly podcast series hosted by Editor Allie Goertz. The podcast slate will include a variety of scripted and conversational content featuring interviews with notable contributors, as well as celebrity fans. The MAD Podcast! will also feature scripted comedy bits, call-ins and original music, written and produced by Allie Goertz and Assistant Editor Casey Boyd. Listeners can tune in to The MAD Podcast! on iTunes, Stitcher and the MAD blog later this summer.

Available today on newsstands and via digital download, the June 2018 issue (issue no. 1) features cover art by acclaimed artist, Jason Edmiston and hilarious original content from new contributors including Brian Posehn, Luke McGarry, Megan Koester, as well as classic fan-favorite features from legendary contributors Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Peter Kuper, and more. To subscribe to MAD, please visit here.

Action Comics #1000 Hits Stores Today!


From DC Comics

For 80 years, people all across the world have been thrilled by the adventures of Superman and it all started in the pages of 1938’s ACTION COMICS #1. DC is marking this amazing milestone throughout 2018 with features, events and two publications celebrating ACTION COMICS’ 1000th issue.

In 1938, two kids from Cleveland, Ohio— Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel— created a character they thought would represent the best of humanity in a troubled time with few beacons of hope for the future. That character went on to become one of the brightest and most well-known creations in all of pop culture: Superman. And it all began in ACTION COMICS. DC is proud to celebrate the 1000th issue of this seminal title that created the entire superhero genre, bringing joy, hope and inspiration to Superman fans around the world for 80 years.

Golden, Silver, Bronze and Modern Superman Comic Books

ACTION COMICS #1000: 80 YEARS OF SUPERMAN

Join us for the 80th anniversary celebration of the most important comic book in American history: ACTION COMICS #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman! It’s an extraordinary party as we revisit stories from across the decades, featuring the debuts of not just the Man of Tomorrow, but also Supergirl, Brainiac, the Fortress of Solitude and more! See the work of generations of top writers and artists on the original superhero! Enjoy sparkling essays from literary wizards who have won Pulitzer Prizes and hit the bestseller lists, including Jules Feiffer, who relives his memories of when ACTION COMICS #1 first hit newsstands. Plus, a historical essay by guest editor Paul Levitz! And as a bonus, don’t miss a previously unpublished 1940s Superman tale believed to be written by Jerry Siegel with art by the Joe Shuster studio, salvaged fifty years ago and hidden away until now!

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ACTION COMICS #1000

Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today’s explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow’s future—this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories!

ACTION COMICS #1000 Variant Covers By Legendary Comic Book Artists

Some of comics’ most prolific artists will be lending their considerable talents to celebrate Superman’s incredible impact on comics, literature and popular culture through these ACTION COMICS #1000 variant covers.








All About ACTION

Visit the DC vault with Benjamin LeClear for a lesson in ACTION COMICS history, get an ACTION COMICS #1000 first-look from SXSW and more!


And The Comic Book Cover Of The Week Goes To ...

Simpsons Comics #243

By Ian Boothby, Rex Lindsey, Derek Fridolfs

Hank Scorpio returns, and as a newly civic-minded man, he sets his sights on becoming Mayor of Springfield. Once in office, the city thrives, but does the former megalomaniac have community reform on his mind or are his municipal machinations a bit more…global?

It's good to see Hank Scorpio again and we all remember this ...

Scorpio, despite being an evil genius, proved to be an ideal boss, welcoming the Simpson family with a beautiful home and a friendly, relaxed, non-authoritative employer attitude. However, being an evil genius is still his priority, and over the episode he delivers a video threat to the United Nations, in which he destroys the Queensboro Bridge with a giant satellite laser device, but is annoyed that some of them seemed to think the bridge collapsed on its own. Unlike many supervillains, Scorpio does care for the employees who live in his company town, Cypress Creek, even going so far offering his employees health and free dental care (including to life partners) along with regularly scheduled fun runs. Later, he tries to kill Mr. Bont, a secret agent, who cleverly escapes but is tackled by Homer before being rapidly executed in turn by Scorpio's guards. When Homer comes to Scorpio and tells him that he wants to take his family back to Springfield, a battle between Globex and the U.S government is taking place, and Homer sympathizes with him having problems with the government. Though Scorpio says he would like to have Homer stay, he advises Homer to do what he feels is best for his family. He also tells Homer he would do him a favor if he were to kill some people before grabbing a flamethrower and killing several soldiers while laughing sadistically.



Scorpio later succeeds in taking over the East Coast of the United States, seen firstly as a newspaper headline "Supervillain Seizes East Coast" which lands on the Simpsons' doorstep. He sends Homer a letter saying that Project Arcturus could not have succeeded without him, and gives him the Denver Broncos as a gift, though he knew Homer wanted the Dallas Cowboys, he said it was a start. He later invites Homer if he finds himself in the East Coast. Homer and his family never knew that Hank Scorpio is an international criminal. - Simpson's Wiki

“Scorpio! He'll sting you with his dreams of power and wealth. Beware of Scorpio! His twisted twin obsessions are his plot to rule the world, and his employees' health. He'll welcome you into his lair, like the nobleman welcomes his guest. With free dental care and a stock plan that helps you invest! But beware of his generous pensions, plus three weeks paid vacation each year. And on Fridays the lunchroom serves hot dogs and burgers and beer! He loves German beer!”
―Hank Scorpio's theme song

Monster Or Marmaduke? ... You Make The Call!


This looks like a cross between a Chupacabra and Marmaduke.

From the New York Post

A mysterious “half human, half animal” creature has been caught on camera after it was said to have savaged two dogs.

The beast is reported to have been spotted prowling through the streets of Santa Fe, Argentina.

The photo was taken after it was said to have butchered a German shepherd and a pit bull.

Some locals likened the creature to a camel because of its long neck and small head.

It was uploaded to the YouTube channel UFOmania, and has now been viewed more than 30,000 times.

One person commented: “I saw one of these things in 2005, it was crossing a bridge and we came upon it.

“It blew my mind because it looked at us and turned and began moving just like a kangaroo would and cleared the concrete bridge wall easily and dropped at least 15 to 20 feet.”

Another added: “Here in the Philippines it is called ASWANG — a man transforms into a monster dog.”

“It is a demon, it can even shift into a cat or a big bird.”

But one user insists it is a Chupacabra, a vampire-like creature with strong roots in Latin folklore.



Solo: Check Out The Cool Samurai-esque Mandalorian Armor!


I'm being very cautious with my excitement about "Solo: A Star Wars Story" (After seeing 'The Last Jedi', which was beyond terrible) but I have to say that the more and more I see from it makes me very optimistic.

From io9

Empire has some new pictures, including an interesting one of Paul Bettany as Dryden Vos, “a facially-scarred ‘big-shot’ criminal overlord who recruits a crew of reprobates for a heist.” Note the samurai-esque Mandalorian armor in the background, previously seen in the blurry background of a set photo from Ron Howard, which had some believing Boba Fett could make an appearance in the movie. He still could, of course, but now we know that this set of armor is specifically is not Fett’s.



The magazine also has an image of Han, perilously hanging off the side of the Conveyex train (start your “Han Dies in Solo: A Star Wars Story” rumors now!) on the snowy world that’s been a huge part of the two trailers, and which finally has a name: Vandor.



Superman Turns 80

by Armand Vaquer


Above, a photograph of George Reeves as Superman   
from Reeves's estate. Armand Vaquer collection.

It was 80 years ago this month the Superman character debuted with Action Comics #1 back on April 18, 1938.

Creators Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster tried to get the character published for several years before National Comics (now DC Comics) decided to take a chance and featured Superman in a new anthology comic book, Action Comics. The comic and Superman became an immediate hit.

NBC News ran a story last Saturday on the anniversary. To view it, go here.




The top photo of George Reeves as Superman came from Reeves's estate. It was distributed during his personal appearances.