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Notes from the Road: A Word About Tomorrow (Kicking Off 2011)

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Monday, Jan 3, 2011
In the wake of arguably the failure of futurism, can comics launch the much anticipated Internet of Things? Most likely not, but Johnny Zito is one of the generationally-definitive minds and worth spending some time with if your in Philly this Friday.

There’s a Romeo Y Julietta No.2 drawing to ash on the tiny table positioned right next to the oversized leather armchair in my office. A holdover from Xmas, it was the kind Churchill smoked, and it’s the only thing from last decade I’m really ready to tolerate near me right now. From the horror of its opening act, the shock & aww hell of it’s crescendo and the bitter disappointment at the new Executive branch of government, the noughties seem to gratefully have run their course.
  
There were a few high points of course. Bill Gibson’s shift to writing about the present in his Bigend Trilogy (Zero History, the closing novel, was just sublime), Brian Wood’s Local, John Reed’s Snowball’s Chance and Tales Of Woe. But they seemed like flashes, rather than some continuing, sustained melodic engagement with the idea of tomorrow.


For the most part, the noughties seemed eerily like the World Of Tomorrow from 70 years ago. Minus the flying cars and the lunar cities, and I’m sure by now you’re well-versed in the rest of the tirade. Personal jetpacks, and the like.


After the beating that was the first decade of this century, the dashed hopes and everything else that came with it, the soundtrack seems to be little better than Robert Plant’s All My Love played on endless loop. Even the honest-to-goodness Darker Places of Tom Waits’ whiskey-drowned croonings (think of ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’, think of ‘Shiny Things’) seem to hold too much of the promise of better times.


Watching Kevin Kelly’s The Next 5,000 Days TEDtalk right now for what may literally be the 108th time seems to be more of a punchline than a promise.


Good thing Heliovore, my Blackberry, buzzes when it does. My current frame of mind might need a solid bout of Leonard Cohen to cure it. And it is a good thing. It’s a message from the kind folks at South Fellini comics.


South Fellini Studios the legendary Johnny Zito’s mail reads, are taking web comics to brick and mortar comic shops in Philadelphia, New York and LA this year. The traveling gallery of original art, tee shirts and comics continues this January at Brave New World.  The boutique comic shop situated in Old City will open it’s doors from 5 pm to 10 pm on Friday, January 7th for an evening of wine and comics


Kind of a weird connection there, Kevin Kelly and the internet of things…comics back in the real world. There’s definitely a promise here. Or maybe it’s more basic than that. A premise, new ground from which to work.


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Brave New World Comics is located at 45 N Second Street Philadelphia, PA 19106.  The gallery will be open between 5 pm and 10 pm on Friday, January 7th.  For all media inquiries please contact JohnnyZito@gmail.com

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