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From Page to Screen

First off, no Dapper Dan this morning. Sorry folks. I know a lot of you were hoping he would tell you whether or not the new cinematic superhero extravaganza was worth watching, but somehow the publicity department neglected to send him screening information. (I wonder why?) So you’ll have to make up your own mind.

But here’s another comics related film worth watching. I’d seen links to it going around all week, but didn’t think the concept (Ken Burns meets the history of comics) sounded very promising—or at least I thought what it promised was not the kind of humor I’m interested in. But after Jeet e-mailed it to me last night, I finally took the plunge and watched it, and it’s pretty funny. (TCJ.com columnist R.C. Harvey is a prominent figure.)

Today on the website, Kristy Valenti reviews Jess Fink’s Chester 5000 XYV. It’s an, um, erotic robot comic book.

Frank Santoro rules.

Jeet Heer reminded me of a quite nice short profile he wrote in 2004 about John Gallant, Seth’s late father.

Not comics: For the Walrus, Jeet has also written an appreciation of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, with a special emphasis on the man’s Catholicism.

I never would have guessed that Marjane Satrapi was such a big Sin City fan!

Patricia Mainardi writes about the transition between popular prints and early comics here. (via)

The New York Times is apparently planning to start publishing comics again soon.

And an argument that cartoonists write the best culture diaries. (Don’t say it.)


11 Responses to From Page to Screen

  1. vollsticks says:

    That wasn’t funny in the slightest.

  2. Tim Hodler says:

    Eh, I don’t know. Sorry you didn’t like it. It just caught me in the right mood, I guess.

  3. Kim Thompson says:

    I am a huge fan of Harvey’s Caniff biography –for all of its reputation as excessively long, I chewed through the whole thing like popcorn back when I proofread it, and wanted more– and I still thought that clip was hilarious. Anyone who didn’t at least crack a smile at Jeannie Schulz using the book to crack walnuts with needs to go take the Turing test.

  4. patrick ford says:

    The mention of Ken Burns is enough to put me to sleep. The pervasiveness of his approach has turned the bulk of documentary film making into unintended parody.

  5. G. Groth says:

    That clip was fairly brilliant, I must say, and I also say that as a big admirer of Harvey’s bio, which was, even at 900 pages, a page turner. It almost made me a Caniff believer!

  6. Craig Fischer says:

    I’m a fan of MEANWHILE, too–enough so that some day I hope to read the full text of Harvey’s manuscript, which is double the size of the published book. (Any hope of a two-volume set some time in the future, gentlemen?)

    What made me a Caniff believer was reading TERRY AND THE PIRATES!

  7. vollsticks says:

    I dunno, possibly a geographical thing, Tim? I’m in the U.K and whilst I “get” the references the jokes all fell flat. Or maybe Ken Burns is impossible to parody…however, it DID make me want to read the book!

  8. patrick ford says:

    The clip would have been even funnier if it had involved reading something which is really difficult to read. Say an old issue of Spider-Man or The Green Lantern.

  9. Robert Lamb says:

    Huge R. C. Harvey fan. Huge Tom Gammill fan. They’re both great!

  10. Jeet Heer says:

    I also belong to the camp that likes both Harvey’s book and this mock-documentary. About Caniff himself, my feelings are mixed. Of all the major newspaper cartoonists, he had the shortest period of doing really first-rate work (aside from mabe Feininger). Caniff’s early work and the first few years of Tery were mediocre. Terry started improving in 1938 as Caniff started developing his filmic style and quickly became a first rate strip till about 1942 or 1943. But then Caniff started getting caught up in military propaganda and the strip lost some of its edge. Also he started using really fake-sounding slang for his dialogue. Steve Canyon was more of the same. So Caniff was at the top of his game for maybe 4 or 5 years.

  11. patrick ford says:

    I agree with Jeet on Caniff’s dialogue. The “His Girl Friday” style of characters communicating in long streams of wisecrack banter, with occasional maudlin monologues becomes tedious fairly quickly, even though Caniff was very clever at it. The same style in the hands of a middling comic book writer becomes torture to try and plow through.

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