The GeeksverseNEWS Round-Up | Dec. 1–7, 2012

NEWS Round-Up | Dec. 1–7, 2012
Published on Thursday, December 6, 2012 by
We remember Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez, take a look at next year’s FCBD titles, look at some real early Greg Pak work (it’s not what you expect, we’re betting), and more in this week’s NEWS Round-up.

R.I.P. Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez (1940–2012)

Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez, the comix artist best known for his counter-culture superhero creation Trashman and his work for various underground press publications like the East Village Other, the all-comics tabloids Zodiac Mindwarp and Gothic Blimp Works, Zap Comix, and numerous other small press comics titles in a career that spanned six decades, passed away from cancer-related causes at his San Francisco home on November 28, 2012, according to SFGate.com. He was 72. At the time of his death, the Buffalo, NY-born Rodriguez was working on a graphic history of the 2004 San Francisco hotel workers strike and Joan Dark, a modern graphic novel re-telling of Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote.

Like many of the 1960s underground comix artists, Spain brought a left-leaning radical perspective to his work, although his output had a distinct, hard-nosed, working class outlaw sensibility to it that was influenced by his experiences as a telephone wire factory worker and a member of Buffalo’s Road Vultures Motorcycle Club (which he recounted in the 1994 collection of semi-autobiographical strips, My True Story).

    

Spain helped found the United Cartoon Workers of America and with Robert Crumb, established San Francisco’s Mission District murals movement celebrating the city’s rich Latino cultural heritage. Days after news of the death was announced, a graffiti mural  made by anonymous artists memorializing Spain Rodriguez appeared in Buffalo’s Central Terminal.

A graffiti mural made by anonymous artists memorializing Spain Rodriguez appeared in Buffalo’s Central Terminal days after news of his death was announced. A CD with pictures of the mural was later dropped off at the offices of The Buffalo News, with a note that read “Included are photos of an illegal mural – a dedication to Spain Rodriguez, located in Buffalo’s East-Side, at the Central Terminal. Please use these photos and your powers to get the mural some shine … or just throw the CD out.” 

Rodriguez is survived by his wife of 23 years, journalist and filmmaker Susan Stern, and daughter Nora Rodriguez.

FCBD Committee announces 2013 “Gold Sponsor” Titles

Diamond Comics Distributor’s Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) Committee recently announced the 12 “Gold Sponsor” titles for next year’s Free Comic Book Day, to be held on 04 May, 2013. “Gold Sponsor” titles will be made available to all Diamond-affiliated retailers participating in FCBD. Our thoughts on select “Gold Sponsor” titles:

Kizoic Presents: Sesame Street/Strawberry Shortcake (Ape Entertainment)

What the press release says: On side one, Elmo, Cookie Monster, The Count and Super Grover teach you about the magic of reading comics! It’s GUARANTEED to chase the clouds away! On side two, join Strawberry Shortcake and friends on 3 berry sweet adventures! Includes “The Blue Flu”, “The Hunt for Blackberry’s Treasure”, and “Blueberry’s Book Tour”. It’s a bushel of fun!

What we say: Hopefully, six months will be enough time for us to have this Elmo story scrubbed from our collective consciousness. “Tickle Me Elmo” will never mean the same thing again.

FCBD 2013 Superman Special Edition (DC Comics)

What the press release says: Sorry, but you’ll have to come back next month for full details!

What we say: We should have known better than to expect DC to share hype-space with other publishers.

Star Wars/Captain Midnight/Avatar (Dark Horse Comics)

What the press release says: All-Ages Adventure! Star Wars joins fan-favorite villains Darth Vader and Boba Fett! Then explore the upcoming Dark Horse series, Captain Midnight, where the search for the missing superhero is on! And the smash hit Avatar: The Last Airbender follows Mai as she deals with her broken heart…

What we say: As expected, Dark Horse is capitalizing on its Star Wars license, even with doubts for the future given Disney’s acquisition of the property. The Avatar: The Last Airbender teaser will be sure to get the popular cartoon’s fans atwitter.

Marvel FCBD 2013: Classified (Marvel Comics)

What the press release says: Sorry, but you’ll have to come back next month for full details!

What we say: We should have known better than to expect Marvel to share hype-space with other publishers.

It’s The UGLYDOLL Comic & Other Stuff (VIZ Media)

What the press release says: Say, Friend. Do you need a hero? Then this comic isn’t for you. (Though being Ugly IS a super power — “ugly” means unique!) Do you need a cookie? Then this is your book! Join OX, Wage, Babo, Ice-Bat and all their friends in the UGLYDOLLs’ first-ever comic book adventure! The UGLYDOLLs may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but they sure will eat your candy! And don’t miss the bonus features from other famous members of the VIZ Kids family!

What we say: Interesting choice by VIZ Media going with David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim’s UGLYDOLL franchise. The publisher primarily trades in manga imports. Is this a sign of a future strategy of incorporating more North American talent and properties in their line-up? Also, worth picking up for the cover alone.

For the cover images and solicitations of all 12 Gold Sponsor titles, check out the official press release at Bleeding Cool. The full list of all 53 FCBD titles, Gold Sponsor or otherwise, can be found in the January issue of Diamond Comic Distributors’ Previews catalogue, on sale at all comic book shops on 02 January, 2013. A separate press release will be issued on 13 December detailing FCBD’s 2013 Silver Sponsors and their comic book titles.

Time to get your “What FCBD comics will readers leave on the shelves?” pool going!

Presenting, your “Asshole-of-the-week”

In news from the You-Can’t-Make-This-Shit-Up Department, a 26-year old Long Island man shot his girlfriend of four years over an argument about the plausibility of a zombie apocalypse stemming from a viewing of The Walking Dead, the critically-acclaimed cable TV series based on the long-running Robert Kirkman comic book published by Image Comics. Jared Gurman, 26, was charged with attempted murder after shooting his girlfriend—unnamed as of press time—in the back (seriously, you can’t make this shit up!) with a .22 caliber rifle for contesting his belief in the plausibility of Walking Dead-style, virus-reanimated zombies. It is currently not known what sort of expertise or training Gurman has in virology or the theoretical science of reversing physiological death for him to have such strongly held views. The unidentified woman suffered a punctured lung, a shattered rib, and a punctured diaphragm (we’re assuming that the report is talking about the thoracic muscle, not the birth control device, a punctured one of which would be a different—but no less tragic—development altogether). She is reportedly in stable condition.

In the back? Seriously? What an ASSHOLE.

Police are still baffled as to how an asshole and douche-nozzle (see file photo above) with obvious anger management issues, an inability to separate reality from fiction, and who looks like the result of Guy Fieri mating with a furless hamster could have a girlfriend, a girlfriend of four years at that, and are assuring the public that they are putting their best forensic minds to investigating the possibility that Gurman may have gotten his hands on alien mind-control technology or that he has mutant shape-shifting abilities. Police have also floated the possibility that we live in a cruel, random world, and that things rarely make any real sense and trying to find reason in the workings of the universe can lead to needless ennui and depression, or at the very least, a boring all-black wardrobe and bad taste in music.

In his defense, Gurman said that he only shot his girlfriend to prove his zombie theory, saying that he would have been culpable only for “unmurder,” which is not a crime recognized by any judicial organization or sane person, since his girlfriend would surely have come back as one of the undead. Gurman had no comment when informed that, according to The Prison Bitch Name Generator, his new “Shower Nickname” will be “Golden Boy.” (Okay, the preceding two paragraphs we definitely made up. Except for the “Golden Boy” part.)

Here’s a “crossover” you probably never saw coming

Starting this weekend, Degrassi: The Next Generation actor Jake Epstein will join the cast of the Broadway rock musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as the alternate Peter Parker replacing interim alternate Matt Caplan (who played Flash Thompson in the original cast). No word yet on whether this will require some Dan Slott-style mind-swapping.

The Julie Taymor-helmed production which features music written and composed by U2’s Bono and Edge has endured its share of bad publicity and poor reviews, but continues to be a solid box-office draw and—along with other musicals like Mamma Mia! and Wicked—has been credited with contributing significantly to the 2011–12 season’s record-breaking takings of $1.14 billion, helped by the rise in ticket prices even as total attendance actually fell compared to last season’s numbers (12.33 million, down from 12.53 million).

Liu, Pak, and Lapham hit the promo circuit for X-Termination

Cover to X-Treme X-Men #12

Writers Marjorie Liu, Greg Pak, and David Lapham have been making the rounds of the major news sites talking up X-Termination, the “X-Book” crossover event scheduled for March of next year. Check out the following links for a triple-dose of hype:

Seeing Greg Pak’s name with all those X’s drew up memories of Pak-written and directed comedy short from back in 2000, Asian Pride Porn—our very first exposure to his work, actually, some four years before he broke through with Marvel Comics—which features the award-winning playwright and screenwriter David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Yellow Face) championing the slogan “From onanism to activism.” (The video below is not actually porn, obviously, but you may still want to practice discretion in choosing where and when to view it.)

Dennis Haysbert to replace the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have confirmed that Dennis Haysbert will replace the late Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the sequel to 2005’s Sin City, a film based on the comics by Frank Miller. Duncan died on 03 September 2012 from complications arising from a heart attack he suffered in July.

The versatile Haysbert, or President Sergeant Major Dennis as we imagine he likes being called, has had a number of notable roles in film and television, including Pedro Cerrano in the Major League trilogy, President David Palmer on 24, and Sergeant Major Jonas Blane on the-closest-thing-to-a-realistic-G.I. Joe-we’ll-ever-see TV series The Unit. Perhaps his most visible role in recent years however, is as the “AllState Guy” spokesperson for AllState Insurance.

Haysbert definitely has the same booming basso profundo-like vocal range Duncan was known for, so we suppose it’s safe to say that the role of Manute is, all together now, “in good hands.”

Alan Moore shows off Jimmy’s End

We’re a few days late with this, but get off our back, we were busy. Doing stuff. Anyway, Jimmy’s End, written for the screen by Alan Moore, debuted on the MotherBoard TV channel on YouTube last week.

As you may recall, we posted an embedded video of the prologue to that short film, Act of Faith, a couple of weeks ago, and much fun was had by all. So. Below is Jimmy’s End—it’s not strictly NSFW or anything, but this is a current Alan Moore joint, so there’ll be some kink-ish and visually disturbing stuff (although nothing that would merit anything above a PG-13 rating, we imagine, taken out of context) that might earn you some disapproving stares and a visit from HR if you watch this on your desk during your lunch break. “But it’s art!” you can say, but that stuff will never fly with those Philistines, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

One thing we’re wondering: Moore always loses his shit when film studios make movie adaptations of his comics, right? What would his reaction be if somebody tried to do a comics adaptation of Act of Faith or Jimmy’s End? Get on this, Internet, and somebody get a video of his reaction when he sees it!

That’s your NEWS Round-up for this week. Until next time, READ BETWEEN THE HYPE!
6 Responses
    • I still want to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway.

      Bongo always has a great FCBD offering.I’d like to pick up both the IDW Turtles and the Image Walking Dead titles as well. FCBD is one of my favorite holidays.

      • What few clips I’ve seen of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark makes it seem like an enjoyable show, and I say this as somebody who’s fairly indifferent to Bono or Edge’s music.

        Makes me wonder if maybe Taymor should have launched the show in Vegas first instead of Broadway… reading the reviews over the past couple of years, I’ve developed the notion that perhaps the majority of the Broadway press corps had a certain fixed idea of what a proper Broadway musical should be like, and Turn Off the Dark‘s wire-work and technical effects heavy approach conflicted with that, and maybe led them to come down harder on it than it deserved—there’s certainly a huge disparity between critic reviews and audience reviews of the show, and I don’t think it can simply be chalked up to the elitist notion that the show is disposable pop culture that unthinking audiences looking for a “classier” alternative to the movies eat up.

    • Somewhat surprised/disappointed in the paucity of posthumous recognition for Spain Rodriguez from more mainstream comics news outlets and blogs. It seems like there was more trending activity on blogs and social networks and such from the John Constantine cancellation news than the news of Spain’s death.

      He never did break out of the underground comix scene (nor did he ever have any intentions of doing so), but his influence on the work of certain “name” writers and artists is clear. His Trashman, I think, informed Garth Ennis’ earlier Punisher MAX stuff and the parallels between Spain’s Big Bitch and Queen Maeve from Ennis’ The Boys are fairly obvious. And of course, Alan Moore is a fan of Spain’s work. You can also see how his influence shines through in the art of guys like Darick Robertson and Brandon Graham.

      • Honestly, I know Harvey Pekar and Crumb from the films as much as I do the comix. I’m not as up on the underground comix as I would like to be. I must admit that I’ve never heard Spain Rodriguez’s name before this announcement. I’m glad that this site has always dug into comic names that I don’t automatically recognize, be it new creators, old creators, or Filipino creators.

        • To a degree, you can’t really blame readers for not knowing about the more obscure comix guys, or the early-/mid-1970s DC Comics Filipino Wave, or the 1950s/1960s romance comics, and all the other comics movements and trends that hit before superheroes broke through to the mainstream entertainment industry big-time in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The fact is, reprints are few and far between (if they exist at all) for various reasons (not commercially viable, industry politics, poorly preserved original files, etc.), and what’s available is often limited edition, relatively high-end, specialty/boutique publisher stuff.

          This is where you’d think the free electronic frontier of the Internet would help, but many publishers and copyright holders are sitting on a huge part of our favorite art form’s history, and I sometimes wonder if all of it will be lost to our collective memory just because of copyright concerns (which is a terribly chilling prospect, especially if you apply the same scenario to non-comics stuff). Nobody’s making any money off of those old comics anyway, so they should just throw it all up on the Web. The current and future generations of North American comics readers and creators need to learn about these things so that they can build on them, and not just keep “reinventing the superhero wheel,” so to speak.

          • I concur that publishers are sitting on copyrights for material that might be better freed. If the publishers are not going to reprint or revive then they might as well let the internet publicize. Although I could see why print folk haven’t embraced the idea that letting product out for free can make money. Unlike iTunes or some sort of download/streaming of music the print industry doesn’t look for re-readers that will eventually buy into the product.

            I like to explore the odd ends of the cheap bins and back issue bins but that only takes me back so far. Since I don’t dig past the dollar bins into the more expensive or unique matter I have limited exposure to the extremely weird.

            I would like to see comics branch out past the superhero wheel. Chew is an odd non-spandex book that did well. Walking Dead. Hack/Slash. Hellboy. Sin City. There are rare but notable exceptions to the superhero dominated market. Some have even made it into the mainstream with films to make the characters accessible to the masses. The unreading masses bought enough tickets to Hellboy and Sin City to ensure sequels. Walking Dead’s popularity ensures some more seasons even if it doesn’t make comics sell noticeably.

            Mangas popularity in this country should point to a reading public that will embrace some odd reading material besides capes.

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