Welcome, lovely listeners, to Issue #27 of Comics Squee. Each podcast our panelists, wielding the Wand of Watoomb, discuss the comic books, graphic novels, and general sequential art geekery that excites them. Our superpowers are tangents and tentacles.
I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. Joining me are regular squeesters: April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls Meetup in San Diego; and John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at JohnWOliver.com. Returning to our revolving 4th chair this issue is Dan Whitworth, our local expert on Frank C. Papé and a former fan zine writer who’s interviewed such note worthies as Jackie Chan and Quentin Tarantino.
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: my choice for best comics database software; an animated retelling of an Indian epic ; the supernatural exploits of ghosts and goth aliens ; and a collection of indie comics by greats like Steve Ditko, Art Spiegelman and more.
April: Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley (starts at 00:02:18.625)
This is an animated film created with a Creative Commons license. It is a modern retelling of the Indian epic called The Ramayana, particularly on the story of Ram’s wife Sita. She gets kidnapped by an evil king and Ram dumps her after rescuing her. And Nina Paley parallels her retelling with her own story of dealing with being abandoned by her own husband.
Sita Sings the Blues combines a lot of animation styles in a really great way. The story of Sita is told by three narrators who are traditional shadow puppets, and the story happening in the background is detailed and tapestry like but with popups. Then at other points the story has very pop quality cartoon style. And then it becomes sort of stick figurey when it’s Nina’s story. So there are all of these distinct animation styles that are mixed together very nicely.
And the soundtrack on Sita is old blues music.
You can find more info at www.sitasingstheblues.com
John: Nocturnals by Dan Brereton (starts at 00:11:42.667)
Who’s up for goth aliens having pulpy adventures with ghosts, uplifted racoons, and monsters? Nocturnals is the story of Doc Horror and his daughter Halloween Eve. They’re aliens from a dying planet conquered by tentacle demons. Their friends are: Gunwitch, an undead gunslinger; Polychrome, a ghost; Starfish, she’s a fish-person and gunslinger with a sort of Deep One thing going on; The Raccoon, a humanoid racoon with a noir detective thing going on; and Firelion, a fire demon.
This book is pulpy supernatural noir fun. John discovered the comic via the tabletop RPG rulebook for it using the Mutants and Masterminds system.
The art in Nocturnals is gorgeous. It’s not drawn so much as painted. Some of the volumes have his reference photos in the back of his family posing as the characters.
- 2a) Tangent 1: comics in roleplaying game books (starts at 00:17:49.208)
Dan: witzend collection from Fantagraphics (starts at 00:18:56.292)
witzend was a graphic arts magazine started by legendary comics artist Wally Wood. It had a mission statement of no policy. So when Wood invited his friends and colleagues to submit whatever they wanted, things got pretty wild and diverse.
The magazine had everything from a portfolio of art from Frank Frazetta to an old school one page cartoon about hobo cowboys. You had installments of sci-fi comics like Orion (which was eventually completed in Heavy Metal) and Mr. A, Ditko’s extreme hero who was the inspiration point for Rorschach from Watchmen and influenced Warren Ellis’ relaunch of Moon Knight.
Fantagraphics has collected the magazine in a lovely (as usual) slip covered group of volumes. With them you ALWAYS get value for money. Their printing and binding is top of the line and they wrap everything when they ship it to you.
- 3a) Tangent 2: The notorious Mr. A from Steve Ditko (starts at 00:17:49.208)
- 3b) Tangent 3: Death ends the Bronze Age of comics (starts at 00:26:30.525)
- 3c) Tangent 4: EC comics collections from Fantagraphics (starts at 00:26:49.825)
Chriss: Comic Collector database software from CLZ (starts at 00:29:44.562)
This is the comics database software that Chriss uses. You can scan barcodes of newer comics to auto-add them to the database, manually add obscure indie titles, and search for titles and check mark all the ones you have. There are also fields for entering and structuring your data. And you can create custom fields and modify the theme.
You have to buy the mobile version separate from the desktop version. Which is a bit annoying but CLZ is a small company so it’s understandable. The software comes with a cloud storage that allows you to sync your database between your pantscomputer/smartphone and your laptop, which is awesome.
Chriss was at ComicFest in October and found some back issues of Damage Control. She was able to open the Collectorz app on her phone to see if she had those issues or not.
Can be tricky getting info from CLZ, since CLZ.com is like their promotions site. BUT their tech support is great and they respond quickly and helpfully.
The app is available for both IOS and Android, and the software is for both Mac and Windows. You can find out more about Comic Collector from CLZ at www.collectorz.com/comic/
- 4a) Tangent 5: What letter will be EXTREME now that X and Z are played out? (starts at 00:38:26.500)
- 4b) Tangent 6: Dan has all the lawns (starts at 00:38:54.500)
Question Time: What are your favorite indie comics? (starts at 00:39:28.708)
- April loves all of Fantagraphics and the indie stuff they print
- Sex Criminals
- Delilah Dirk
- Cursed Pirate Girl
- Love and Rockets
- The Tick
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next (starts at 00:44:29.583)
John breaks the rules by talking about past guest Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series of novels. He’s been listening to the audio books. Oh, and Alex di Campi’s holiday special for Grindhouse.
- Dan Whitworth:
Getting his hands on the illustrated versions of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. And the eventual second volume of Pretty Deadly.
The 28 volumes of Usagi Yojimbo that she checked out of the library during her most reconet Hold bender.
- Chriss :
The volume she Kickstarted of Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream that should shortly be in her hands. Also looking forward to next issue in relaunch of Little Nemo.
- 6a) Tangent 7: The monthly hunt for comics before there were comic shops (starts at 00:45:56.787)
- 6b) Tangent 8: Everyone on The Squee is really a sock puppet. Surprise! (starts at 00:48:00.719)