Local creator seeking to kickstart the Vatican’s holy warrior

TheCruZaderFive years and 140-pages after first putting ink to paper Omar Morales is hoping to see his Vatican City superhero, The CruZader, make it to print. The Bay Area-based Morales is currently seeking assistance through Kickstarter to help cover the printing costs of publishing the full color graphic novel. As of this writing Morales is a little more than half way toward his $10,000 goal with more than a month to go.

He recently announced that Paul Gulacy, considered one of the pioneers of the graphic novel medium, will be illustrating the cover for CruZader. In 1978, Gulacy worked with Don McGregor to release the first direct market graphic novel Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species. He’s since worked with most major comic publishers and his style has been seen illustrating big name characters from Batman to Star Wars.
Morales has also tapped illustrator Ray Dillon, who’s work has been seen under the banners of Marvel, IDW, and Image, to produce a kickstarter exclusive sketch featuring The CruZader battling a vampire.

Who is The CruZader? According to a press release announcing the Kickstarter:

The story, from creator and publisher Omar Morales, revolves around the monk-like title character, Antonio De La Cruz, a reluctant priest who is re-trained as a holy warrior for the Pope. De La Cruz must embrace his destiny in order to defend the Vatican from an invading army of radicalized terrorists—who are much more than what they appear.

“The story is your classic action-adventure comic book, and what drives it is the inner conflict that Antonio suffers as a result of the often violent duties he carries out on behalf of the Vatican,” said Morales. “There is some strain and tension in his relationship to the Pope, and he keeps a very big secret from the Pontiff, adding to the intrigue.”

RetChronicles: Revisiting “Titans Hunt”

New_Teen_Titans_Vol_2_71For a few of years I’ve been haunted by a story arc from The New Titans dubbed “The Titans Hunt.” Since my original reading of the storyline in 1990, it’s lived in my mind as one of the greatest Teen Titan stories ever told. For a couple of years now I’ve wanted to revisit the story, but haven’t been willing to invest in the floppies knowing I already had them sitting in a long box 3,000 miles away. On a recent trip to my childhood home, I decided to crack open that box, pull out a big chunk of nostalgia, and pack it all in my luggage (I had to steal a second suitcase from my parents because I ended up taking 15 pounds of comics back with me).

The “Titans Hunt” story arc runs from issue 71 through 84, but the fallout from the events in “Titans Hunt” ripple well beyond issue 100.  In the letter section of issue 71 editor Jonathan Peterson promised to “shake things up” as the title had fallen into a rut. Working with longtime Titans writer Marv Wolfman and penciler Tom Grummett little time is wasted turning the Titans inside out like a baboon through a Brundle telepod. By the end of the first five issues in the arc most of the Titans are captured by the Wildebeest Society for a mysterious experiment, Aqualad’s in a coma, Titans Tower has been demolished, Jericho is revealed to be a traitor, and some b-list Titans are “dead” (I run the tally at the very end of this post).

Wolfman doesn’t hold back when it comes to putting these beloved characters (many of whom he created) through the grinder. Peterson definitely got his wish by the end of the storyline with most of the core members who’d been on the roster for more than a decade out of commission.

The storyline was successful in re-energizing the series by planting seeds for dozens of storylines that would play out over the next three dozen issues. It ends with a Riddler’s costume worth of question marks hanging in the air. How long will Cyborg stay a vegetable? Is Raven really dead? What’s going on with Steve Dayton? How will the inevitable battle between Donna Troy and her son play-out? Will Pantha be a good mother for Baby Wildebeest? STAR Labs honestly has no experience dealing with Atlantean biology? Is the Terra from the future the same Terra that betrayed the Titans and accidentally killed herself under a mountain of earth way back in 1984?

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The Cartoon Art Museum teases Sandman 25th Anniversary exhibition

sandman issue1The Cartoon Art Museum will be saying “farewell” to Metropolis on September 29 and “hello” to The Dreaming on October 5. In conjunction with the 25th Anniversary of Sandman the museum will be featuring a Sandman exhibition running from October 5 until March 16. There’s currently very little information available regarding the exhibition beyond a small teaser on the museum’s website. Starting on October 30, Vertigo will be launching a new Sandman miniseries featuring the art of J.H.Williams III. The new series will tell the story of Dream before he was imprisoned by the Order of Ancient Mysteries in 1916.

The addition of Sandman to the exhibition roster makes it a big year for Sam Keith at the museum. From February until June the museum featured a retrospective for the artist best known for his groundbreaking series The Maxx. Keith, the artist on the first five issues of Sandman, has been credited (along with inker Mike Dringenberg) by series author Neil Gaiman as having one of the most important roles in the series by helping to create “the look.”

We’ll have more information on the exhibition as it becomes available.

Public hearing scheduled on museum proposals for Crissy Field

Crissy FieldOn September 23, the public is invited to hear presentations from the three finalists being considered for the mid-Crissy Field site in The Presidio. Final presentations will be made regarding the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, The Presidio Exchange, and the Bridge/Sustainability Institute. This meeting will allow the three groups to present their final proposals to the public and respond to questions. There will be a final public meeting on the designs with the Presidio Board of Trustees on October 24. The September 23 meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at Herbst in the Presidio, 385 Moraga Avenue.

Crissy Field is part of Golden Gate National Park and looks out over the Bay toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The proposals are being considered for a space that was formerly a Commissary during the area’s previous life as a military base. Due to it’s status as the largest national park within an urban setting the Presidio Trust is required by Congress to follow strict guidelines in conjunction with the National Park Service when planning development. Developing the 100,000 square-foot Commissary into museum space is one of the primary objectives of the plan established in 2002.

All of the proposals would be excellent use of the coveted space, but I’m particularly interested in the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum due to it’s focus on visual storytelling and inclusion of “comic art” in the proposal. From George Lucas’ introduction to the proposal:

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Escapist seeks local creators for Small Print Fest

EscapistThe Escapist is putting a call out for local creators who have a minicomic and are interested in being part of their annual Small Print Festival:

If you are a local comics creator and have printed a minicomic, please contact us by October 15th, 2013 and let us know if you are interested in being a part of this event. Please give us examples of your work. The Festival may run both Friday, November 29th and Saturday, November 30th depending on the amount of people who sign up. The first event ran two nights and was lots of fun with readings and projections on the screen. Be a part it, network with other creators, showcase your work, and sell your mini-comics at the store.

Contact us at hello at the escapistcomics.com, call us at 510-652-6642, or come by the store. You probably should call us first before stopping by. We may want to carry your minicomics before the event.

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The strange case of Michael Moorcock and Grant Morrison

Gideon StargraveThe below commentary is an updated version of a November 27, 2013 post on my neglected tumblr.

This link is to an epic response from Grant Morrison to Alan Moore, but I’m mostly interested in the part regarding Michael Moorcock.

I don’t dabble much in creator drama (and I find the Moore vs. Everyone drama especially droll), so I didn’t actually know Moorcock had such disdain for Morrison. It shocks me, because if it wasn’t for Morrison I likely never would have picked up a book featuring Moorcock’s charcter Jerry Cornelius. Since Morrison led me to discovering Cornelius I’ve read every single Moorcock story (as far as I know) that features the character. The devouring of those stories led me to Dancers at the End of Time which in turn resulted in digging deeper into Moorcock’s work including Elric, Corum, and more (even works like Fireclown and Gloriana). Likewise, I came to Jorge Luis Borges due to that author’s influence on Morrison’s Doom Patrol.

Reading Moorcock’s 2004 thread, where he continues to hold a grudge 25 years after 17-year-old Morrison first used Gideon Stargrave, it sounds like Morrison had spent the last two decades trying to hide the tribute he was paying to the author in his work. I don’t personally think that was the case as Morrison wasn’t shy in mid-90s interviews or the letters section of The Invisibles to mention how he was inspired by both Moorcock and J.G. Ballard in his youth (the latter he’s cited as being the larger influence on both Gideon Stargrave and King Mob). Moorcock seems to be fixated on the character of Gideon Stargrave while missing the more relevant influence of Cornelius on aspects of the character of King Mob.

Reading works by creators like Morrison is enhanced by figuring out how different pieces of the larger puzzle were informed. In many ways, it’s like dismantling the samples in a Beastie Boys album and visiting the source material. Kurtis Blow has often joked about how he could have sued the Beastie Boys for clipping his song “Party Time” in “Hey Ladies,” but instead accepts the sample with pride, because it’s led new listeners to his work.

I’m a fan of Moorcock because Morrison shared his exuberance for the character of Jerry Cornelius with Gideon Stargrave. Instead of being petty and spiteful Moorcock should instead be thanking creators like Morrison for keeping his legacy alive instead of collecting dust in the poorly organized sci-fi section of a used bookstore.

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Doctor Lollipop debuts on Cartoon Hangover

Doctor LollipopWhat happens when a raptor finds his way to the Fancy Forest and gets rumblies in his tumblies due to eating too many talking animals? He calls on the medical expertise of unicorn physician Doctor Lollipop, of course.

Doctor Lollipop is the creation of San Francisco’s Miss Kelly Martin.  On Thursday, Martin’s independently published and distributed comic made the leap to short animated film with it’s debut episode on Cartoon Hangover. Readers of Martin’s two issue comic will see some familiar faces in the first episode including Nurse Crackers the rabbit and surgical intern Rococo the raccoon (who has a chainsaw). The cartoon also introduces the “crazy handsome” Doctor Woodsman who Doctor Lollipop is forced to rely upon due to hooves not being “fashioned for the type of incision work needed.”

The second issue of Doctor Lollipop is available at Martin’s store envy shop.

Fun fact: Doctor Lollipop is voiced by Chris Diamantopoulos who recently played ostrich farmer Marky Bark in the fourth season of Arrested Development.

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Sarah Clark brings baseball to the Cartoon Art Museum

Panel from Sarah Clark's "Season Ticket Diaries"

Panel from Sarah Clark’s “Season Ticket Diaries”

At the start of this year’s baseball season Oakland-based illustrator Sarah Clark found herself with season tickets to the A’s. Seeing so many games in her future she decided to document her summer of baseball through short comic strips called “Season Ticket Diaries.” She’s currently up to her 18th game of the season which documents the August 4 showdown with the Texas Rangers. Clark has been tapped to be the next “Cartoonist-in-Residence” at the Comic Art Museum on September 21. Visitors to the museum will be able to view her illustrations, watch her work, and ask questions. She’ll be at the museum between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., which also happens to be the same time the A’s will be playing the Minnesota Twins. Be sure to thank her for choosing to spend part of her day at the museum instead of at the ball park.

More information on Sarah Clark is available at sarahclarkart.net. You can follow her on Twitter @sjeanetteclark.

Comic Art Museum
655 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-CAR-TOON
Website: www.cartoonart.org
Twitter: @cartoonart
Facebook:
cartoonartmuseum

APE 2013 exhibitor list now available

Alternative Press ExpoBadges officially went on sale for the Alternative Press Expo on Tuesday and this morning the exhibitors list was released. The Alternative Press Expo enters it’s 20th year of staying true to its mission of being focused on truly independent creators and publishers. This will be the last year for APE at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center, a venue it’s called home since 2004, due to plans to raze the building. It’s not yet known if APE will remain in San Francisco in 2014. Special guests this year include Bill Griffith, Diane Noomin, Raina Telgemeier, and Dan Vado. More than 400 exhibitors are expected on the floor this year with a complete list available here. Over the two days of APE more than 5000 attendees are expected to meander through the aisles, watch panelists, and attend workshops. Additional programming and workshops are expected to be unveiled in the coming days.

If purchased in advance badges are $10 per day or $15 for the full weekend. APE will be held October 12 and 13 starting at 11 a.m. each day.

Comics by the Bay: Treasure Island in “Station-to-Station”

Station to Station cover

Headlines in May revealing “alarming radiation levels” on Treasure Island make it the perfect candidate for spawning inter-dimensional kaiju to stomp all over San Francisco. That isn’t exactly the premise of the Dark Horse Comics one-shot Station to Station, but it would fit. The one-shot released on August 28 collects a three-part serial by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman that ran earlier this year in Dark Horse Presents. It features an experiment going terribly wrong at a secret lab on the Bay’s historic man-made island resulting in the appearance of dinosaurs, laser guns, and a massive tentacle monster. The issue is receiving rave reviews around the Internet.

Talking Comics writes: “Bechko and Hardman’s work reads like a classic episode of The Twilight Zone: mysterious, character-driven, and filled with shock-and-awe psychodrama.”

Bloody Disgusting writes: “The result is a story that moves with incredible pace, and a casual approach to creatures from alternate dimensions. It’s fun, original, and awesome on the eyes.”

Borg.com writes: ” Unlike a lot that comes out of Dark Horse Presents that have grown into ongoing series, Station to Station doesn’t need a series because it does what it needs in a single issue.”

Comic Booked writes: “Every page, every panel runs like pure poetry in the way that it comes together. There’s a full sense of composition and dynamics that crackles and bristles with energy.”

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