Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Comic Strips

A couple of the big syndicates are releasing a new crop of comic strips. United is offering Secret Asian Man, and Universal is launching Cul de Sac .

Secret Asian Man is obviously trying to fill an ethic niche, while Cul de Sac looks like a well-drawn and well-written strip about kids. I like Richard Thompson's work and the sample strips I've seen.

Here's the question: How many cartoonists have been told by the syndicates that a new strip about kids, however well done, is impossible to sell in today's market because of existing kid/family strips? (Tiger, Baby Blues, PreTeena, Agnes, Hi & Lois, Big Nate, FoxTrot, Curtis, Marvin, Heart of the City, On the Fast Track, to name a few.)

Interestingly enough, Universal just launched Lio last year -- a kids' strip with a twist, but still a kids' strip. King greenlighted The Pajama Diaries, a family strip, a year or so ago as well. Dog Eat Doug combines babies and animals, and Cow and Boy offers kids and bovines. So, apparently, you CAN sell a strip about kids and families. This makes perfect sense, as everyone was a kid or has kids or knows kids. It's the same with family strips: everyone has a family, so it's easy to identify with the subject matter.

The moral of the story is this: Don't listen to the syndicates. Do what inspires YOU. If it's kids, or pets, or families or aliens, do it. There's always room for good comics, regardless of the subject matter.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Question of the Day

So what's dirtier: Giant-Sized Man-Thing or Essential Man-Thing?

Just asking.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Paucity of Posts

I've been posting so infrequently, A Nickel's Worth is starting to resemble Steve Gerber's blog (without the medical discussions). Steve's an excellent comic book writer, and you should all buy his upcoming work on Dr. Fate, news of which is here.

To digress a bit about Mr. Gerber, I enjoyed his work as a wee lad on such titles as Marvel's Man-Thing, The Defenders, and Howard the Duck. I picked up the entire run of the early 1970s Man-Thing several months ago on ebay and have been slowly working my way through them. The stories are excellent: quirky, funny, and incredibly subversive for a 1973 comic book. There are even crazed Vietnam vets, fer crying out loud. I have the Essential Howard the Duck, which I plan to read as soon as I finish the Man-Thing books. (A postscript: You've heard the joke, haven't you? What's the dirtiest Marvel comic book title? Answer: Giant-Size Man-Thing.)

Anyway, back to business. Why have I not been posting? Well, a lot of reasons, I guess. Mainly I've been busy. Lots of ch-ch-ch-changes coming up, most of which I can't say anything about for a couple of months. It's mostly good news, with a rather big helping of'll see what I mean later. (Cryptic enough for ya?)

I've been working a lot lately -- comics, greeting cards, t-shirt slogans. Some of my witty one-liners are currently being featured on shirts from the What On Earth catalog. Check 'em out here and here!

It's summer and my kids are home from school, so we've been hanging out a bit. My boys and I have watched Terminator 2 on cable about three times (I'd already see it about 10 times before that). It's a great action movie that's infinitely watchable. It may not be Citizen Kane, but damn, it sure is fun. Great chase scenes, great action scenes, silly plot, but great direction. Like Road Warrior, another "guy's movie" that I can watch multiple times, it's a great ride.

What else? We saw Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which was very good. Some might complain about the film (Jessica Alba is too young, we never see Galactus, etc.), but I thought it captured the spirit of the comic book well and absolutely nailed the Surfer character. Unlike most recent superhero films, it wasn't non-stop CGI fighting. The action was well staged and had a sense of drama and gravity.

I also rented Ghost Rider, which, although it had excellent effects, was quite a disappointment. Nicolas Cage is way too old for the role and turned in a bizarre, campy performance that really hobbled the film. The story itself left me uninvolved, and Peter Fonda was amazingly bland as the devil. How can the devil be bland?