Great online comics at least...

The last few days I’ve been fighting the “Ohio Valley Crud.” At least that’s what they call any generally unidentifiable malady around here.

While in this snot-for-brains state, I fortunately stumbled across a listing of the 2007 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards nominees.

Thus, while fighting the crud, I became hooked on reading the nominees in the digital comics category. This was admittedly not a hard thing for me as I have loved comics since I was knee high to a wallaby (grasshoppers are too small).

Nonetheless, I was amazed by the quality of the work. The story lines were addictive and the art is beautiful. Here are the nominees I’ve read so far…

Motel Art Improvement Service by Jason Little, features 18-year-old Bee who stumbles on this guy who goes from motel to motel secretly altering paintings on room walls. Little offers this strip to alternative newspapers as well, though I have never seen it in print.

Girl Genius, by Phil and Kaja Foglio, is steampunk at its geeky best. G.G. follows the wild adventures of Agatha Clay who is a “Spark” — essentially a talented mad scientist/engineer of very special lineage. This would be a great addition to Young Adult graphic novel collections as printed compilations are available.

Minus, by Ryan Armand, is about a young girl with magical powers. Minus is a neat character, but the real winner here is Armand’s artwork. Instead of using a computer graphics program, he hand watercolors his work and the results are wonderful.

Finally, Shooting War, by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman, takes place in 2011 during President McCain’s second term. A live-streaming video blogger accidentally films a terrorist attack and soon finds himself in Iraq covering the long war as a journalist for a 24/7 terrorism coverage news network. The comic combines artwork with actual photographs for a real/surreal on-the-spot feel. Unfortunately, the online version is a huge tease for a graphic novel to be released this fall. I’ll have to buy it, so it was a very successful tease.

For readers who only like their comics funny, note that Shooting War and Motel Art are edgier works that include violence, nudity and drug use.

Other Eisner nominees include Phables, by Brad Guigar, and Sam and Max by Steve Purcell. However, I haven’t had a chance to read them yet.

Finally, here’s a list of other digital comics I’ve recently enjoyed:

If there are any digital comics you’d recommend, let me know. I always enjoy discovering a new cartoonist.

Posted in Culture

100 x 100: a Hong Kong photo exhibit

Michael Wolf has taken some fascinating photos here.

Photographs of residents in their flats in Hong Kong’s oldest public housing estate: 100 rooms, each 100 square feet in size.

Darlene and I have lived in a several one or two room apartments. As a result we still “live” in one room. We’re just used to it. Even so, this still boggles my mind.

(Hat tip to Kottke.org)

Posted in Culture

iTunes 7... Eureka!

Two recommendations in one.

First download Apple’s new version of iTunes. The fit and finish in this new version is quite good. First, they integrated cover art downloading for any CD (not just the ones you purchase from the iTunes Store). You can then “flip” through the images like you would flip through your CD cases in a drawer. It’s pretty slick.

Also, they upgraded the content on the iTunes Store. Yes, they’re now selling Disney movies, but equally importantly is they have upgraded the television shows. The width increased from 320 to 640 pixels wide which, with their latest codec, looks very good blown up to full screen on my laptop—close but not quite DVD quality. I’d be interested how it looked on a TV screen.

My iTunes test drive was the pilot for Sci-Fi network’s new show Eureka (this link will open up iTunes). That is my second recommendation. The acting is good and the story line is quirky and you can’t beat the price—free. I’m sold on the show and it will take some self control to not immediately buy the season.

In a nutshell, a U.S. Marshal transporting a young woman to L.A. gets lost and stumbles across a secret town where America’s scientific geniuses are socked away to live, work and sleep science. Instantly he is sucked into an investigation of missing boy that is really a question of space-time disintegration.

My favorite description of the show is that it’s a twist between Twin Peaks, Star Trek and the Andy Griffith Show.

Posted in Mac-Tech

Bloody brilliant!

Well, classes ended for the summer last Saturday and since then I’ve watched more television than I have in the past year.

I ordered the new Doctor Who season one for the library and have been previewing it. I’ll tell you right off that the show is bloody brilliant and we’re hooked.

The classic sci-fi show was a staple on BBC from the 60s to the 80s. It was low budget camp, but affectionately good. They let it die a graceful death, but last year the BBC resurrect the series. I had heard that it was good—reruns have been showing on the Sci-Fi Channel But it is a lot better than I had expected. It’s close enough to the original that people will recognize the series, but it is so much better. It’s campy and humorous yet really great sci-fi. Highly recommended.

Equally brilliant…

...was Ned Lamont’s victory of Joe Lieberman. While I was glad to see Joe go down, there is more to the victory that I like. I like that candidates who are being outspent 2:1 and 3:1 are still winning. Jon Tester in Montana, Jim Webb in Virginia and now Ned Lamont in Conneticut all won against heavily financed opponents.

Instead of winning through sheer expenditure of money they are winning by standing for something and organizing real people at the grassroots level.

America needs to keeps its collective eye on this trend as it could corrupt our current system of government. It’s really beginning to smack of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

It’s truly a subversive concept.

Posted in Life

I'm in love... with a potato chip

If I have a junk food downfall, it is the potato chip—specifically kettle-cooked chips.

My favorite brands have been Mike-Sells Old Fashioned out of Dayton, Ohio, and Cape Cod Potato Chips which are, yes, from Cape Cod (Hyannis—been there, ate that, yum). More recently I’ve found Kettle chips from Salem, Oregon, to top both brands. It’s enjoyable to taste regional products.

Like most everyone else though, I eat them with knowing guilt that I’m adding fat to my gut in the process.

However, last week I had a revelation that my guilt could be reduced by as much as 65%.

Kettle Foods has just released a new baked potato chip and they are absolutely wonderful. Not only do they have 3g of fat as compared to 9g, but they are thick, crunchy and (hold onto your hats) taste like potato chips!

They certainly don’t taste anything like the baked chips I’ve had before. Apparently those chips are made from compressed potato flakes. How do you make a compressed potato flake chip? The Kettle chips are made from actual unskinned Russets. I think it has something to do with the fact that Russets have more sugar in them than white potatoes that is making the product work for Kettle.

Either way, I highly recommend them for anyone who is as chipper as I.

Posted in Culture

Jam with "Harry and the Potters"

Did you know Harry is a punk rocker? Yesiree! Harry and the Potters is an indy punk band from Massachusetts that “plays songs about books.”

Brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge write and perform songs inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. They quickly developed a following by playing concerts in libraries and book stores drawing everyone from third graders in love with Harry to “hipsters” to 60-somethings.

They now have three albums to their credit including a fun plea on their holiday album for Ginny Weasly to Meet Under the Mistletoe. It’s a lot fun. Also check out the Harry and the Potters website.

(found via Librarian.net)

Posted in Culture

All hail Little Nemo! The comeback of the century!

One hundred years ago (15 October 1905 to be precise)...

“Little Nemo had just fallen asleep when an Oomp appeared, who said, ‘You are requested to appear before his majesty, Morpheus of Slumberland.’ ” The Oomp then presents Nemo with Somnus, a gentle horse to ride into Slumberland.”

That’s the opening panel of Windsor McCay’s “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” THE best comic strip of the early 20th century and one of the top five in comic history.

Until you see it you don’t believe it. The art and the color are just second to none. Unfortunately, examples of McCay’s work has become harder to find and it’s hard to appreciate this guy’s genius without examples.

That said I was estatic when Darlene sent me an article from yesterday’s New York Times that Peter Maresca had, against all logic, decided to reproduce 110 original Little Nemo strips.

Why is this against logic? Well first, many of the existing strips are in poor shape and the restoration effort was immense. Secondly he decided to reproduce the entire experience of reading a Little Nemo strip.

Today we’re used to comic strips that are maybe four square inches. In the early days of comics, however, they occupied an entire page of the Sunday paper measuring more than a foot wide and nearly two feet in height. So this book is a monster 16-inches by 21-inches and it is printed on newsprint with the same texture of newsprint used in 1905. This is literally the first time in 100 years these strips have been published in their original size.

Check out the book website at Sunday Press Books. Here are some sample pages from the book.

Just seeing the samples, this book is a grand slam home run.

UPDATE: Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow! I just opened a letter from my mom with the NY Times article with a note that she was getting me the book for my birthday next year! whoooooohoooooo!!!!

Posted in Culture

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