Friday, October 10, 2008

Three quick links:

—Longtime readers with photographic memories will recall the January post I wrote about the art I have hanging on my apartment walls. One of those pieces was one of Columbus-based fine artist Paul Volker's crazy-ass beast paintings, each of which feature an animal in some strange circumstance. Mine is Octopus With Hindenberg, a painting of a giant octopus holding a burning zeppelin in one of its tentacles, regarding the disaster thoughtfully.

Volker has made a thousand paintings like this. And recently he's started working on his next thousand. You can follow his progress (and buy a piece for yourself) here.

I've always dug Volker's work, which is sometimes funny, always strange and extremely cheap (for original paintings). I particularly like these beast paintings, as they each include a caption that somehow makes a strange scene even stranger.

For example, an alligator standing on it's hind legs, holding a small white bottle in one foreleg and a small white cup in the other while facing a floorlamp is a rather odd subject for a painting, but when its captioned with the words "Gator Offering Sake To A Floor Lamp," well, that's just genius.

—Hey Columbusites, don't forget that Brian Wood of Local fame will be in town tomorrow, doing an in-store signing thing at The Laughing Ogre. Give the Ogre a call for details. I understand that Wood has designed a Laughing Ogre coat of arms thing to be put on a t shirt and sold, and it looks like this. If you go, you should bring an Ashley Wood comic with you and ask him to sign it for you; I bet he'll find that super-funny.

—If you haven't visited The Factual Opinion since yesterday—and really, you should stop by there once a day—then make sure you check out the latest installment of their Stunt Casting column, on ongoing feature in which the Factualistas give a "civilian" a comic book to read and then interview them about the experience. The results are usually hilarious, insightful and a little bit sad...for the industry.

This installment was apparently inspired by my call for readers to pray that Tucker and/or Nina Stone continue to cover DCU Decisions, a book I just can't bring myself to give DC $12 for, but am nevertheless fascinated to hear about. The poor reader is one Nancy Stone, who read Archies and super-comics off the drugstore spinner racks when she was a kid, but hasn't since.

It's kind of remarkable how she immediately reaches the exact same, apparently completely natural, conclusions about how to make the mainstream superhero comics industry less self-defeating that the blogosphere is always talking about. You know, like wouldn't it be great if comics were for kids like they were when they were really popular, or if you could buy them somewhere other than a kind of creepy out of the way hobby shop you're afraid to go into, or if they were at all new reader-friendly.


Tucker Stone said...

I don't know if you'll find this interesting, but you're the only person I can imagine would--yes, Nancy (or "mom") came up with all that stuff on her own. It was an odd experience--I just sat in, expecting her and Nina to come up with something interesting about the comic. They pretty much did, I think, although I was really hoping for more about the terrible, terrible art--the scans that I post along with the interview don't even begin to touch on how terrible the layout and cartooning is for this thing. Then, after shutting off the recorder, thinking we were done, she just started going off on how stupid she thought it was for comics to be sequestered in the direct market--i missed a good portion before it dawned on me "i should be recording this." It surprised the hell out of me--she doesn't read the Factual stuff, and she's never expressed any interest in comics whatsoever. But here she is independently addressing the entire "why doesn't anybody care" argument about comics. Although her estimation of 10,000 is too low, I have to say that she's got a point--there's no potential mass audience for the current product. I'd be really interested to find out how much something like Archie sells--when I was down South on the visit, I noticed that, yes, grocery stores and gas stations are still hawking them. But old Secret Invasion was nowhere in sight.

And, as always, thanks for the link.

brandon said...

Is there more than one 'Laughing Ogre'? At the Baltimore Comic-Con a few weeks ago, probably the BEST table for comics was a Virginia-based store called 'Laughing Ogre' comics-

Wild Goose said...

I've been thinking about this, too. Just that if comics are to be popular with kids again, they need to be "disposable" entertainment. I find it unconscionable that Marvel Adventures comics cost $2.99. When I was collecting GI Joe in the 80's, it cost me $0.75 an issue. Adjusted for inflation, that same comic should cost about $1.30 today. Comics for kids should be printed on cheap newsprint and should cost less than a 20 oz. Pepsi. And kids should never EVER feel guilty about bending the pages back while they read or leaving their comics in the backyard while they go play.