Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Saw Don Draper at Burger King

I'm loving the Mad Men-inspired decor in the remodeled Burger King in Gahanna.

Pin It

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recently Read: The Superman Chronicles, Vol. 6

DC's nearly complete chronological reprinting of every Superman story chugs along in Vol. 6.

These stories are still written by co-creator Jerry Siegel, with an anger and vitality lost in later decade's renditions of Superman (in comics and film). I appreciate the wide range of antagonists and social issues dealt with here, from a spoiled heiress to a hypnotist, Lex Luther and two fascist organizations doubling as Nazis. The stories are formulaic and, frankly, can get tedious when read in bunches. On the other hand, Siegel had to write them at a prodigious rate: the book reprints fourteen stories written within the space of about five months, from May through Fall, 1941.

As mentioned in earlier reviews of the series, the art content of each volume has progressively less charm than the earliest stories drawn by Joe Shuster. The stories in Superman Chronicles Vol. 6 are largely drawn by Leo Nowak (who later also drew the Superman newspaper strip). One of Nowak's limitations as a cartoonist was a reliance on stock poses. His favorite shot is a figure shot from above, with one shoulder above the other. So, we get dozens of panels looking like this:

The Shuster Shop (Joe Shuster and assistants, I assume) do ink some of the stories (and reportedly, the Superman heads), keeping the look consistent. One artists' work very much stands out over the others in the book: John Sikela. In comparison to Nowak's tired, repetitious and formulaic art, Sikela used subtle body language and posture that rings truer than most superhero art of the period:

Several times in Chronicles Vol. 6, Superman is shown jumping or flying underneath cars. Nowak drew it this way:

Sikela not only portrays the scene more realistically, he goes a step further and shows Superman underneath the car, from two different angles, yet.

I have two criticisms of DC's packaging of the book. First, and most importantly, the art restoration in many places is horrendous.Over and over one can see the hand of someone going over the art with hand held (or digital) white-out, resulting in art that looks nothing like the original publication:

I guarantee even Leo Nowak never drew a tree that looked like this:

I'd prefer it if DC just shot from the original comics, or hired a restorer who has a good track record of being faithful to the original material - like Harry Mendryk, who's been doing a superlative job on recent Jack Kirby reprints from the '40s and '50s for Fantagraphics.

My second criticism is that, literally as I was writing this review, the book's pages began separating from the cover! DC needs to use a stronger glue for their binding.

Lastly, does anyone know if this series has been cancelled? The last Superman Chronicles (Vol. 10) was released in 2012.
Pin It

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pizzeria Uno, Pickerington

One of my favorite pizza joints, even though it's a chain. The only drawback is the only diet soda they offer is Pepsi (also known, via Elvis Costello, as sewer water), They got rid of the diet Mountain Dew they used to sell. Only offering Diet Pepsi is getting to be a deciding factor as to whether I frequent a restaurant or not.
Pin It

Monday, May 26, 2014


Preview art from Chapter 4 of This Eternal Flaw.
Pin It

Three Graces of Fashion

Pin It

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Recently Read: The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, Norton Critical Edition

For the reader who wants the complete Time Machine, including earlier versions, alternate versions, contemporary criticism, later criticism, scientific texts which influenced H.G. Wells and much more, the Norton Critical Edition is the one to get.

No less than Jules Verne, and perhaps more so, it was Wells who put into motion the kind of science fiction which is still very relevant today to writer and readers; as you're reading this review, there are quite probably hundreds of authors writing novels, films or shows about time travel and less, but some, writing speculative treatises on how it could be possible. (The fact that it has already, to a certain extent, been proven possible by science since Wells wrote his novel, only verifies the validity of his art).

Having not read the novel before (only having seen two unfaithful film versions), I knew to expect some Swiftian class satire. I was unprepared, though, for the extent to which evolutionary theory weaves through the work. Although the book is largely known for its extrapolation on the possibility of time travel, it also draws its strength from another important sci-fi extrapolation, that of the antithesis of evolution: degradation or degeneration. (Reading both the novel and Wells' non-fiction theories on "de-evolution", it's easy to see the influence Wells' work had on the punk group Devo, who use the premise in their music; they also used similar ideas and phrases from Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau.)

Wells' extrapolations on evolutionary degeneration are especially effective in scenes taking place at the far flung end of Earth's capacity to nurture life, when disturbing creatures (some of which might have devolved from humans) are barely alive under a close, sweltering sun. Neither of the film adaptations dared to go there.

The Norton Edition includes extra and alternate scenes, some of which are so potently memorable, it's a shame they weren't included in the novel. This "remix" version of the novel should be read by all Wells fans.

The criticism included in the book ranges from stupefyingly jargonistic to enlightening. The gender politics of Kathryn Hume result in farfetched sentences like these: "The Morlocks, by virtue of living in the dark and underground, seem first of all sinister, but secondarily are marked with symbolism of the unconscious and hence the feminine. Their access to the innards of the Sphinx reinforces the latter." Paul A. Cantor and Peter Hufnagel, on the other hand, successfully explain how The Time Machine draws upon and has a place in the imperialistic British fiction of the time.

For extracurricular reading, I suggest a theory of film critic Glenn Erickson. He has some insights into the book which may be on target and which I haven't seen addressed elsewhere:
Pin It

S.W. Sweet Watches and Rings

Pin It

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hardee's of Beckley, West Virginia

Part gas station, part Hardee's, part convenience store.
Pin It

Thursday, May 15, 2014

El Rancho Grande in Fairborn, OH

I recommend El Rancho Grande for excellent Mexican food and service. It's across the street from the Nutter Center. We ate at El Rancho Grande after the last Gem City Con and the Chorizo Pollo was very, very good!

Pin It

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Calling Ohio Cartoonists - Sunday Comix Meets This Week...

...from 3-5 at Wild Goose Creative, on Sunday, May 18th.

In the words of Max Ink (or maybe Canada Keck): If you're a comics-creating type of person, or simply a lover of graphic novels, comic books & comic strips, please join us for our monthly meeting at WILD GOOSE CREATIVE!

If you're an artsy-drawer type, go ahead and bring your doodles, comics-in-progress or your finished works of art and story to share and get feedback on! And if you don't have anything to share, no worries-- your opinion counts. Everyone's encouraged to share their ideas and viewpoints here.

And bring some pencils (and erasers) and pens so you can contribute to a Sunday Comix Jam Comic!
Pin It

Gerardo Aguirre Interview on NenoWorld!

I'm pleased to announce that cartoonist Gerardo Aguirre agreed to let me interview him! I've posted the interview, along with some beautiful examples of his art, here:
Pin It

Medic Sketch

Medic sketch for The Hunter, the next chapter in The Outbreak saga by Jennifer Smither and myself. Will be getting a ton of work done on this series this coming week.
Pin It

I Wouldn't Want to Be In His Shoes!

Pin It

Welcome to Frankie's Pizza!

Michael Molloy, Kyle Reinard, Alison Hunter and Frank Hunter in front of the wall sign I painted for Frankie's Pizza! They are open for business and their food is delicious.

Pin It

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Magazines I've Read Recently, May 10th, 2014

Pin It