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by Chris Conaton

22 Jul 2009

Another Comic-Con gets going on Wednesday with preview night, San Diego’s 40th. I love Comic-Con and this will be my seventh in a row. But even in the relatively brief time I’ve been attending, the event has changed a great deal. Despite retaining the name “Comic-Con”, these days the convention bills itself as the largest pop-culture gathering in America. Comic books still have a presence, of course. Panels involving Marvel and DC’s biggest titles can come close to filling the mid-sized 1,400-seat rooms, and occasionally a creator will build a big enough name for himself to hold court in the 3,000 or 4,000-seat rooms. But that’s a rarity. Those rooms are mostly reserved for television shows these days.

Down on the main floor, several dozen retailers sell current graphic novels and individual issues, while an entire section of the floor is donated to dealers who trade in comic books from the golden (1930’s, ‘40s) and silver (‘50s, and ‘60s) ages. Individual comic publishers have booths on the floor, everything from the biggest (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image) to small press imprints you’ve probably never heard of. Not to mention artists’ alley, where dozens of artists, some famous, some not, set up to sell their work, talk with fans, and create new sketches. But even on the massive main floor, the comic book people and the major tv and movie studios don’t always get along. In the wake of Comic-Con 2008, Chuck Rozanski, who runs Mile High Comics, one of the largest dealers at the show (and in the United States, for that matter), had a long and fascinating column about the dealers being virtually ignored in favor of catering to the major film and television studios. Comic-Con PR man David Glanzer’s take was that the same percentage of floor space is dedicated to comic books as in previous years. But if we’re to take Rozanski at his word then clearly something that was once the lifeblood of the show is now more of an afterthought.

by shathley Q

22 Jul 2009

Perhaps more so than any other artist, Wally Wood has come to symbolize the frustrated genius of comics, bowdlerized and ultimately defeated by mass medium publication. What could his lasting contribution have been if the comics industry of the ‘50s had been primed for creator-ownership like the industry of the ‘90s? Or more to the point, what innovations might the creator of Daredevil’s red suit have given audiences, had he found that acknowledgement he sought from Marvel and DC and gone on to work with classic superheroes?

While Wally Wood’s will always remain as visionary inventor of the ‘32 Panels That Always Work’, the lack of his fuller impact on established superhero characters is sorely lamented. Perhaps the happiest time of his productive life was to be had at the carefree studios of MAD Magazine. Despite his frustration by mass-media corporations Wood’s genius deserves to be recognized, even celebrated.

In an example of his work from that period, Wood pens the closing panels to ‘Flesh Garden’ a parody of Flash Gordon. In an unexpected twist readers discover that Flesh did not return to earth. Instead, he chose to remain on Planet Ming. Once Dale exits, the rocketship is empty.

Wood’s empty rocketship provides a strange and unwitting reply to compliment made by the visionary Will Eisner. Speaking to Frank Miller in their book-length conversation, Eisner/Miller, Eisner appraises Wood as, ‘Wally was a genius. In 1950, he did spaceship interiors that were valid in 1980! I mean thirty years ahead of his time!’.

With ‘Flesh Garden’ Wood presents his audience with an alternative recognition; the idea of potential. Just as the empty rocketship is an exhortation to venture beyond the planet, Wood’s refusal to draw a (no doubt genius) interior reminds readers that like science fiction, comics is ultimately germinal of the world we deserve.

by PopMatters Staff

22 Jul 2009

Polvo
In Prism
(Merge)
Releasing: 8 September (US)

SONG LIST
01 Right the Relation
02 D.C. Trails
03 Beggar’s Bowl
04 City Birds
05 Lucia
06 Dream Residue/Work
07 The Pedlar
08 A Link in the Chain

Polvo
“Beggar’s Bowl” [MP3]
     

Photo: Ashley Worley

Photo: Ashley Worley

by Christian John Wikane

22 Jul 2009

Photo by Amy Driscoll

Two years after Beth Arentsen debuted her solo album, Sap (2007), the NYC-based singer-songwriter is preparing a follow-up EP entitled Nicer. The six-song set, produced by Arentsen with Lenae Harris and mixed by Eric Yoder, will drop next month and feature all new original material, including “Gossip Queen”, “Earthquake”, and “He Knows (My Heart)”.

This summer, Arentsen has debuted many of the new songs in a series of concerts held throughout New York entitled HopeStock: Music to Bailout Your Soul. Presented by Nona Hendryx and Spirit Sings, the next HopeStock show is slated for Sunday, July 26th at S.O.B.‘s in lower Manhattan and will feature a roster of artists that includes Arentsen, along with Maya Azucena, Bobby Long, iLLspoKinN (of Spokinn Movement), and a special appearance by Nona Hendryx with her band of Gypsies. At the show, Arentsen will also reunite with her former bass player in P-1, Tim Deuchler, along with her trio members Lenae Harris (cello) and Brian Wolfe (drums).

Later in August, Beth Arentsen will open for Ari Hest at Comcast Songwriters in the Park in Red Bank, NJ.

In this clip, Arentsen sings “He Knows (My Heart)” from a recent, sold-out appearance at Joe’s Pub in NYC.

For more information, visit www.myspace.com/betharentsen.

by Omar Kholeif

22 Jul 2009

It is undeniable that Jeff Buckley’s posthumous legacy has turned the little-known avant-garde artist into something of a pop legend. Indeed, his record label’s persistent desire to churn out Buckley infused live song collections is almost unparalleled. With no less than nine releases since his death, the hunger to consume all things produced by the late musician has become a point of obsession for some of his followers. Now, with the release of Grace Around the World, another series of performances and a DVD can be added to the already overflowing collection of so-called “rarities”.

In this, the listener is privy to some of the first live recreations of Grace, which (despite my reservations), turned out to be as enthralling and devastating as the original work itself. It is obvious from listening to this material that Buckley was an artist consumed entirely with his own image and performance. On this, the original tracks extend into long, free-flowing productions, which suggest that Buckley was more preoccupied with experimenting than promoting a mainstream musical persona.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

In Defense of the Infinite Universe in 'No Man's Sky'

// Moving Pixels

"The common cries of disappointment that surround No Man’s Sky stem from the exciting idea of an infinite universe clashing with the harsh reality of an infinite universe.

READ the article