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Seattle Weekly Covers Fantagraphics - 4/11/2004
The Seattle Weekly recently ran a long cover feature on alternative comics publisher Fantagraphics in its September 15-21 issue, complete with David LaChappelle-esque photographs of several staff members. Written by Michaelangelo Matos with photographs by Kevin P. Casey, "Saved By the Beagle" never made a man in a "Doofus" t-shirt look sexier, we assure you.

The feature focused on the twin histories of Fantagraphics and alternative comics, eventually spinning a story of the little-publisher-that-could by exposing how the company shot from near-bankruptcy to relative prosperity with the help of its fans, the comics community, benefit concerts and Peanuts. It also includes a Fantagraphics "Top Ten" list by critic Douglas Wolk. The piece even ends on a guardedly inspirational note from noted cynic Kim Thompson.

For the full article, see
http://www.seattleweekly.com/features/0437/040915_arts_fantagraphics.php

Dan Clowes Chews on Apple - 4/11/2004
Dan Clowes' unorthodox trajectory to stardom (at least insofar as cartooning is an unorthodox route to fame under any circumstances) takes a surprising twist in a new ad spot for Apple computers. Errol Morris, best known for the excellent documentary Fog of War, directs the series of ads, which feature Clowes and fellow celebs Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater and DJ Qbert chatting about how they have "switched" to Apples for professional reasons. Clowes describes his Apple as a "perfect robot pal". Aw!

Meanwhile, it was also recently announced that Clowes will write the film Backyard Resistance for producer Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures. The film will center on a trio of youngsters who made a shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark called Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. Earlier this year, Rudin secured the life rights to the Mississippi trio behind the film -- Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lamb -- after Vanity Fair published an article about them. The three began the project while on summer vacation in 1982, finishing it seven years later, shooting on a VHS camcorder and using backwoods Mississippi locales.

To see Dan Clowes expound on how he uses his computer, go to
http://www.errolmorris.com/commercials/apple_clowes.html

Watson Tackles Diapers, Dads and Drama in New Oni Mini - 3/11/2004
Oni Press is pleased to announce the February debut of LITTLE STAR, a rollicking six-issue drama comic from the creator of Oni's critically acclaimed LOVE FIGHTS and BREAKFAST AFTER NOON. This all-new series returns Watson to familiar ground--the interpersonal relationships that drive us and define our lives. But while BREAKFAST AFTER NOON examined the ups and downs of a romantically involved couple and their changing world, LITTLE STAR looks at a different type of bond--one between father and child.

"I really wanted to tell a story from the father's perspective," Watson commented. "Simon Adams experiences the dirty diapers and sleepless nights along with the joy, panic, and the occasional cute moment. It seems like whenever fathers are characterized in fiction they're either incompetent or absent. I wanted to present a more accurate picture."

"LITTLE STAR is another fine example of Oni's 'real mainstream' sensibility," said Oni Press editor in chief James Lucas Jones. "You won't find anything else like it in comics, but parenthood is a subject constantly tackled by books and movies and television. Andi is mining classic yet fertile territory and the results are both touching and tickling." (Read More)

Searching for a Way Out in Next Exit - 27/10/2004
Where does your mind go when it wanders? In Next Exit, a new comic book series by Christy Lijewski coming in November from SLG Publishing, that place is Alkaline, a world built on dreams and memories. Retrab and Markesh are trapped in Alkaline, and they're after what everybody else is after, too: an exit. A map that Retrab wins in a chess game just might point the way to one, but she and Markesh must travel through Alkaline's bizarre cities and terrain in order to find it. The two find themselves tangling with wacky dream logic, monsters, scantily-clad lady mayors, and the sinister powers-that-be in Alkaline, all the while building a close friendship.

"I have exceedingly vivid dreams," Lijewski said, explaining the idea behind Next Exit. "I wake up and can remember everything that happened. However, it usually doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I like the idea that a world made of memories wouldn't totally make sense to an outside viewer, just like dreams don't make sense once you wake up." Lijewski was also inspired by Alice in Wonderland, another story set in a dream-land. "I wanted the chance to write a story that would allow me to create my own Wonderland-ish world," she said.

Lijewski first explored Alkaline in "Doors," a story she entered into TokyoPop's Rising Stars of Manga contest. She won honorable mention with it, and decided to develop it into a whole comic book series. "I realized I had so much more that I wanted to do with the story," she said, "and so much more I wanted the characters to experience. I had barely scratched the surface of the world and wanted the chance to actually tell the whole story as I'd intended it."

Manga is an obvious influence on Lijewski, who admires the wide variety of stories and art styles encompassed by that label, but she doesn't feel that Next Exit is manga. "I'm a pasty white girl who draws comics -- not manga -- and I'm not trying to say otherwise," she said. "I draw in a style I'm comfortable with, and I hope people who are usually turned off by manga can realize that and maybe give my comic a chance anyway."

SLG's editor-in-chief Jennifer de Guzman doesn't think that will be a problem. "Christy has a very kinetic art style to go along with Next Exit's story, which is at times fast-moving and frenetic and at other times quiet and poignant," she said. "It's a story that's completely accessible and engaging because it's fun and has emotional resonance. Christy knows how to play up those elements in a way that's charming and not in-your-face obvious."

The first issue of Next Exit is slated for release on November third, and the comic will published on a bi-monthly schedule. A preview of the series is available at SLG Publishing's website, www.slavelabor.com.

Food and Faith in Loyola Chin, from SLG in December - 12/10/2004
"My mom used to warn my brother and me to never argue while eating," Gene Yang says, musing on the inspiration for his new graphic novel Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order. "Otherwise, the food would turn into insects in our bellies. I was convinced from an early age of the mystical powers of food."

Yang explored this theme in his previous graphic novel Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, published earlier this year, but he uses it to explore more deeply into questions of faith in Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order. The graphic novel, which will be released in December from AmazeInk comics, tells the story of a high school sophomore who discovers a way to visit other realms through what she eats before sleeping. On one of these sojourns, she meets a mysterious man named Saint Danger -- a saint who has lost his faith -- who has a plan to save humankind. Loyola must examine her own heart and as herself what makes us better human beings -- our intelligence, or our compassion? (Read More)

Oni Press brings The Awakening this November - 2/09/2004
Horror haunts Oni Press this November with the release of THE AWAKENING, the first volume of a new horror trilogy by writer Neal Shaffer and artist Luca Genovese. THE AWAKENING is a 104-page graphic novel that is equal parts mystery and supernatural horror.

This volume's story center on a young school girl named Francesca who has just enrolled in a prestigious boarding school. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong when shortly after her arrival, she finds one of her classmates brutally murdered, sending her into deep shock, and a coma. Even worse, following this tragic incident, Francesca begins to have visions of which girl will be slain next, and she is unable to tell anyone about it. Is this a new horror being visited on the hallowed institution, or is it something much more, going to the core of the school itself, to an evil that defies description?

"I have a deep respect and love of the horror genre," explains THE AWAKENING's writer, Neal Shaffer. "The problem with most modern horror stories is that they rely on cheap shocks and jolts to scare the audience.

"This book serves as my tribute to the giallo – a particular Italian form of horror exemplified by the works of filmmakers such as Dario Argento and Mario & Lamberto Bava. And the thing that distinguishes these Italian works is that they are more about a sustained mood and atmosphere than a quick edit and loud shriek." (Read More)

August Anime Available! - 19/08/2004
The Madman Entertainment catalogue of Anime titles being released in August is now available. Head over to our Anime section to take a look at what's new, and don't forget to check out our Anime Archive for all your Anime DVD and VHS needs.

15 minutes from AmazeInk in August - 16/06/2004
Everyone Can Get their 15 Minutes This August from AmazeInk

When superheroes are part of everyday life, they're bound to have close encounters with ordinary folks and ordinary problems. And not every superhero is going to be a Superman. 15 Minutes, a new full-color comic book series from AmazeInk by Bob Elinskas, David Hedgecock and Mike Kelleher, takes a fresh look at superhoeroes, superheroics and brief encounters with fame, of which, as the saying goes, everyone has their fifteen minutes.

"I've been doing a great deal of thinking about the world of superheroes and how it would be to live in a world where superheroes exist," said 15 Minutes writer Bob Elinskas. "You'd have all kinds around, from the really powerful and popular to the obscure and lame -- and probably far more of the lame and obscure than the popular and powerful. Everyone would bump into a hero or villain at some point. So, we'd all have stories to tell of our brush with 'fame.'" (Read More)

Miyazaki showcase in cinemas - 23/05/2004
Madman Entertainment has announcement the Australian cinema dates for the Studio Ghibli Miyazaki showcase. The Myazki showcase featuring such classic anime films as Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, Laputa Castle In The Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service & Porco Rosso will screen at the following venues for a limited season.

SYDNEY: Chauvel and Valhalla Cinemas, July 1

BRISBANE: Schonell Theatre, July 29

MELBOURNE: Cinema Nova, August 12

ADELAIDE: Palace Nova Eastend, August 26

PERTH: Venue to be confirmed, September 9

For more information visit about the Miyazki showcase and other Studio Ghibli films visit the Studio Ghibli Collection homepage.

Egg Story Comes Out of its Shell This July - 13/05/2004
Growing up. Leaving home. Falling in love. Witnessing madness and murder. Becoming a ninja. This could be a story about any of us. But it isn't. It's a story about eggs.

Egg Story, an SLG Publishing graphic novella by comics newcomer J. Marc Schmidt, tells the tale about two egg siblings who are determined to have lives that don't end in a frying pan. The plight of eggs is not a subject most people think about, but Schmidt did, asking himself what it would be like if the mainstays of so many breakfasts were like people.

"They have a pretty short, rough life," Schmidt said. "Being taken away from their mothers, locked up in a carton, then a refrigerator, then as a final insult they get their heads dashed and are cooked up in any of 1001 or more ways! So what if an egg said, 'I'm not doing that'?"

He answered the "what if" with Egg Story, a 64-page graphic novella about two eggs named Five Spots and Feather who liberate themselves from the fridge, only to find that freedom isn't all shopping sprees and channel-surfing. When one of their comrades cracks up, entertaining fantasies of becoming a soufflé and ending it all on the kitchen floor, how can the eggs find meaning in life? For Feather, the answer is simple. He becomes a ninja.

Egg Story is a 64-page graphic novella scheduled for release in July 2004. A preview is available at SLG Publishing's website, www.slavelabor.com.

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