Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Bone To Pick

Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond
Sat, May 10 - Sun, Aug 3, 2008
Wexner Center Galleries
(Admission is free & open from 11 AM until 8 PM)

Jeff Smith is one of the great success stories of independent comics. In July of 1991, he launched Cartoon Books in Columbus, Ohio, to publish his black-and-white comic strip Bone. A tale of three marshmallowy creatures named Bone, adrift in a world of humans, monsters and fantasy creatures, Bone has since been translated into 15 languages and won Smith countless awards.

In 2005, Time magazine called Bone one of the 10 greatest graphic novels of all-time. This exhibition—a partnership between the Wexner Center and Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library—encompasses approximately 80 original drawings: primarily original black-and-white pages from Bone, with a smaller selection of full-color Bone covers and post-Bone work, including original drawings from Smith's recent Shazam series for DC Comics and from Rasl, his current project about a time-traveling thief.

The exhibition also includes a selection of original comics whose artists Smith cites as direct influences, among them examples from Walt Kelly's Pogo, Will Eisner's The Spirit, George Herriman's Krazy Kat, Charles Schulz's Peanuts, Carl Barks's Uncle Scrooge, Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury, and E. C. Segar's Thimble Theatre. The exhibition is organized by Lucy Shelton Caswell, professor and curator of Ohio State's Cartoon Research Library, and David Filipi, the Wexner Center's curator of film and video.

Here is the calendar of events being held in conjunction with the gallery show:

Artists Talk: Jeff Smith and Scott McCloud in Conversation

Sat, May 10, 2008 | 2:00PM
Mershon Auditorium

Join Bone-creator Jeff Smith and comic book artist and theorist Scott McCloud for a lively conversation about Smith’s career and each artist’s view of the practice and future of comic book art. McCloud is the author of Understanding Comics, Making Comics, and Reinventing Comics and the creator of the comic Zot!

Gallery Talks: Lucy Shelton Caswell and Dave Filipi on Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond
Wed, May 14, 2008 | 12:30PM
Wexner Center Galleries

In these hour-long gallery conversations, you'll discuss the current exhibitions with artists, curators, and members of the Ohio State community.

Artist's Talk: Terry Moore

Thu, May 15, 2008 | 7:00PM
Film/Video Theater

Best known for his epic and unpredictable comic Strangers in Paradise and a key figure in the self-publishing of comics, Terry Moore is one of the most influential artist/writers working today.

Artist's Talk: Paul Pope
Tue, May 20, 2008 | 7:00PM
Film/Video Theater

One of the most eclectic talents in comics, Ohio State alumnus Paul Pope works in such diverse genres and styles as superheros, erotica, and manga.

He’ll offer insightful comments about his own practice and an overview of his remarkable career, which includes the sci-fi book THB, Heavy Liquid, and Batman: Year 100. The collection Pulphope: The Art of Paul Pope was published in 2007.

A Looney Tunes Evening with Jeff Smith
Thu, Jun 5, 2008 | 7:00PM
Film/Video Theater

Jeff Smith has described Bone as “a Bugs Bunny cartoon meets Lord of the Rings.” Join him this evening as he introduces some of his favorite Warner Bros.’ cartoons and discusses the influence their characteristic zaniness had on his own work.

The program features Chuck Jones’s celebrated “hunting trilogy”—Rabbit Fire (1951), Rabbit Seasoning (1952), and Duck! Rabbit, Duck! (1953)—all three starring Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Daffy Duck. (app. 90 mins., 35mm).

Bring your family and young friends. This program is designed for all ages.

A related show, titled Jeff Smith: Before Bone, is on view nearby in Ohio State's Cartoon Research Library from May 1 until September 5. (The library entrance is just north of the Wexner Center's main entrance, along the sidewalk under the "grid.") That exhibition is open 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, and on Saturday, May 10, from 1 to 5 PM. Admission is free.

Free Comic Book Day

If you don't know already, then call your local comic shop today to find out if they are one of the thousands of shops around the country participating in Free Comic Book Day-- this Saturday, May 3rd!

If you don't the history of FCBD, let me fill you in: Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book stores. Brainstormed by retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics in Concord CA in his "Big Picture" column in the August 2001 issue of Comics & Games Retailer magazine (which no longer being published), it was started in 2002 and is coordinated by the industry's single large distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors.

On Free Comic Book Day, participating comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books, and some offer cheaper back issues and other items to anyone who visits their establishments. Just to let you know, retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12-50 cents per copy for the comics they will give away for free. So get there early to get what freebies you can and show your gratitude by buying a graphic novel for your mother (it's Mother's Day in just two weeks, y'know!).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Choose Your Own Creator Contest

This just in from Spacedog Entertainment:

Take part in a chance to launch your career as a comic writer or artist by working with us to create our next big success. Not only will your work be published by one of the top comic book publishers, Top Cow Productions (Witchblade, The Darkness), but you'll get paid for it, too!

Choose Your Own Creator begins on May 1, 2008 and runs through March 15, 2009. Spacedog Entertainment is providing a concept for a five-issue comic book series, for which contestants will be able to submit a single treatment, single set of character designs, and for each and every issue: a script, cover art, and three-pages of sequentials. There will be twenty two (22) winners in total over seven rounds: One (1) for the series’ treatment, one (1) for the series’ character designs, five (5) for each individual issue-length script, five (5) for interior black and white sequential art, five (5) for interior colored sequential art, and five (5) for cover art per issue. The winning submissions will be chosen by Spacedog Entertainment.

A new winner will be selected at the end of every round of the contest. Meaning, the person who submits the winning treatment may or may not submit a winning cover design, and the person who submits the winning character designs may or may not submit a winning issue script (etc.). The results and winners for each round will be posted for the use of aspiring creators to win the next round.

The contest is divided into seven rounds – submission deadlines and details are all in the timeline and submission guidelines. All winners will be paid according to submission. The winners for each round will be paid the following:

Treatment: $100 flat rate
Character Designs: $200 flat rate
Script per Issue: $1,100 flat rate
Sequentials: $1,650 for black and white submissions (for the entire issue won for), $1,100 for color submissions (for the entire issue won for)
Cover per Issue: $100 if submitted in pencils and/or inks, $150 if submitted in color

All winning submissions will be used in the comic book, to be published in 2009 by Top Cow Productions.

Contestants must be 18 years or older, as of May 1, 2008, to enter. By submitting, contestant has agreed to the Submissions Release and Official Rules, and any Creative Material must be submitted as indicated within those documents.

More information here:

Good luck if you choose to enter!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Animation Festival at Studio 35

On April 25th, Columbus, Ohio's very own Studio 35 will be one of two hosts (the other locale will be in Austin, Texas) to kick off of the 4th Annual Animation Show Tour. The Animation Show, a "showcase for the world's greatest independent animated short films" was started as an annual feature-length theatrical compilation of short films from around the world, exclusively curated by Mike Judge (Office Space, "Beavis and Butt-Head," "King of the Hill") and Academy Award nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt (Billy's Balloon, Rejected, The Meaning of Life). Launched in 2003, it is the first festival of animation created and produced with actual animators at the helm. A sister series of high quality Animation Show DVDs now supplement the theatrical tour with additional insights and brand new lineups of films - while the main Show remains a unique and unforgettable annual program that is usually gone forever once it is out of theaters. Every year the Show works diligently to put animated shorts into more theaters than any festival in American history: giving these filmmakers the wide exposure their work deserves and sharing their short masterpieces on the big screen, where they belong.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Chris Brandt’s documentary about indie comics, THE INDEPENDENTS,has a screening at NYCC and you can buy the finished DVD at the Top Shelf booth. So for those of you headed out to New York in April, be sure to check it out.

Here is a clip from THE INDEPENDENTS website:

More information can be found here.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Friends of Lulu is moving the organization's Lulu Awards event from the San Diego Comic-Con to the popular MoCCA Art Festival (aka Artfest) this year!

The annual Lulu Awards, which recognize the efforts women make in comics, will be held at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in Manhattan on Saturday, June 7 at 8:30 p.m.. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be a suggested donation of $7.00 at the door.

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, along with IDW, DC Comics and Archie Comics, is sponsoring this major event.

"We are excited to bring an award event to MoCCA Artfest, and just as excited not to be competing with the multitude of great events at San Diego Comic-Con this July. We are able to reach a larger group of people eager to see wonderful creators recognized for their hard work in this field," Treasurer Marion Vitus notes.

On the schedule to present awards are the previous years' award winners, including Rachel Nabors and Abby Denson, and on the roster to emcee the event is Lulu Eightball creator Emily Flake.

The new Lulu Awards date, in June instead of July, means the nominations are right around the corner; nominations will be open to non-members this year and begin at the joint MoCCA/Friends of Lulu table at the New York Comic-Con starting Friday, April 18.

Look for more details on the Friends of Lulu blog:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Promoting Indie Comics through Video

Max Ink has made some videos promoting his comic Blink. Here are a few Blink videos for your enjoyment:

Following suit, but playing at a more aggressive/humorous spin, I've made some promotional videos for Symphony of the Universe.

Large companies like MARVEL and DC have been taking full advantage of cross marketing their comics with movies, TV shows, and toys. I see no reason that indie creators shouldn't promote with youtube, podcasts, and all that the internet has to offer. It's just one more way of getting comics out of the back stockroom or comic con and out into the public eye.

Enjoy the videos!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thumbs Up: Laughing Ogre Thumbs Down: Mall-i-vision

Comic book lovin' West Virginian writer/journalist David Welsh, notes in his blog that he visited Columbus this past weekend and "had a delightful shopping experience at The Laughing Ogre – good selection, friendly staff, etc. " He also came across two other comic shops but was disappointed to find they weren't open (during their posted "open" hours, too!).

Also of note:
There once was a funky, interesting neighborhood called The Short North in Columbus (think Dupont Circle in Washington) that seems to be kind of a victim of its own success (as is Dupont Circle, which has too many pricey shoe stores to be funky and interesting any more). It’s kind of gone mall, if you know what I mean.
Yes... I know what you mean and it is very sad for those of us who think character is more than just a pretty face.