Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quay Brothers Exhibit


Early yesterday Kristina Carroll tweeted that she would be meeting Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon at Parsons to see the Quay Brothers exhibit. Quay Brothers exhibit!? How could I not have known. No matter, Parsons is just five blocks away so I ran to met up with them during my lunch-hour.

I stumbled onto the Quay Brothers when I was in high school and while I quickly jumped from them to Jan Svankamjer, there is no denying seeing Street of Crocodiles was a mind-blower for me. Until then, stop motion animation consisted of "The California Raisins". (For you youngin's, you'll have to imagine a time when the world was not at your keyboard, especially out in the burbs.) Ever since, animation, and stop motion in particular, has embodied a perfect melding of visual art, sound, and dance for me. An art form that always feels deeply internal yet just outside of comprehension. When done right.

Dormitorium: An Exhibition of Film Decors by the Quay Bros.
Through October 4th / Free
Set decors and projected film excerpts.
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Thursday until 8:00 p.m.
66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street.

The exhibit consists of eleven miniature sets and their corresponding puppets. The scenes are presented in a dark room in boxes lit from within. Some of the boxes had magnifying portals to look through which not only forced you to step close into the environments but also created constant distortions and changes in focus. All in all, they are every bit as isolating and claustrophobic as the movies they were in service to.

The layout of the room, while sparse, does a good job of making feel as if you are in an encased exterior. The walls are made of black curtains. It took me a while to realize that behind the curtains were giant windows -- as clouds would come and go outside, the room would (almost subliminally) grow lighter and darker. Tall spindly lighting stands extended from the floor until they and branched out at the tops to grab the ceiling. the whole effect is like walking through a dark and wiry minimalist forest.

Excerpts from the films are projected in an alcove which not only allows you to see the sets and puppets in action, but gives the whole exhibit the same attention to sound and music as the movies. Having a chance to see some of the movies on a larger-than-television screen will mean I spend a number of lunch hours there before closing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SDCC 2009 wrap up

A week ago Tuesday I could not believe it was time to go to Comic Con, just as I can't believe it's over already. The event seems to exist in Brigadoon time. Like every year past, this one was fun and overwhelming -- crowds, costumes, excited fans, the usual spectacle. But the real business of Comic Con happens at the dinners and hanging out afterwards. It was one of the more productive conventions I've been to in a long while. (I think that had something to do with making an effort to keep dinners down to less than 20.) Lots of ideas afloat. Some will happen and some are pie-in-the-sky. It'll be fun to figure out which is which over the the next year.

The fun is in the pictures:
Days 1 and 2.
Day 3ish.
Days 4 and beyond

...but for a quick run-down of some run-ins:

The first order of business was to get over the resentment that Greg's luggage got to go to San Diego via Ireland and I didn't.

Brom was showing off an advance copy of his novel The Child Thief, a very dark retelling of Peter Pan. It will include a number of black and white and color illustrations. He had a few originals on hand which were stunning, needles to say. There is a soft luminosity about Brom's work that is so worth making an effort to see in in the flesh.

Stephan Martiniere and Greg Manchess will be collaborating on two stories. I can't wait to see what comes of combining their two painterly, yet very different processes. We'll see what comes of it in late fall.

At one point I found myself standing next to Anders from Battlestar Galactica. He may have been the least interesting character on the show but at two feet away, he's not the worst thing you can be looking.

Donato Giancola, Rick Berry, and Greg Manchess all dd demos at the Spectrum booth. Unfortunately my duties at the Tor booth kept me away from most of these but I did grab a few shoots. Demo flickr set here. One minute of Greg video below.

Tor booth duty consisted of saying, "November 3rd, Gathering Storm will be out November 3rd." bout once every 16.5 seconds. At least it was a place to sit down for a while.

Of course my main concern is looking for and catching up with artists. Too many to mention here.

It was also great to meet up with other industry peoples. I quick hello from Claire Howlett at Imagine FX might lead to some fun article possibilities. I met Shawn Speakman from Del Rey/Suvudu, who said "I love you" so convincingly it gave me a badly needed reboot to the evening. Shawn did a much better job at reporting art things than I did, witness: not one, but two, Todd Lockwood interviews. Of course it's always great to meet up with Lou Anders from Pyr, Jeremy Lassen from Night Shade, Alan Lynch from Alan Lynch Artists.

I met Kevin Eastman for a nanosecond - he gave Greg a big hug and seems like a sweetheart.

Meeting my favorite blogger, Jason Henninger, was definitely a highlight. He's the kind of blogger that I'll read no matter what the topic -- he's funny, enlightening, and bit mindboggling, usually all at once.

What else?......

Bungee jumping. There was bungee jumping. More like enhanced trampoline-ing, but still.

Lots of late night talking and portfolio reviewing at the Westin. I lasted all of .3 seconds in two arm wrestles with Rebbecca Guay. (That's .3 seconds combined.) I missed most of Charles Vess' lecture, which made me sad, but then we had a lovely bay-side dinner so I can't feel too sorry for myself. For some reason being around Charles is calming amidst all that chaos.

And...and....well, the fun stuff will come out as plans pan out (or don't.) Give me another week to catch up on work and sleep and I'll start looking forward to next year.

In the meantime, he's one minute of Greg painting a big green monster from Princess of Mars:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Filling in the gaps.

If you are at Comic Con, there will be a series of three demos at the Spectrum booth #4503

Thursday 1 - 2:00

Friday 1:30-2:30

Saturday 1:30 - 2:30
Greg started the "Princess of Mars" painting above at the Illustration Master Class -- he'll be tackling the monster, so to speak, for this demo.

Last chance

Ok, my last bit on the anniversary and then I promise to get back to scifi and fantasy art!

You still have until noon (eastern) today to sign up for as many giveaways as you would like. A simple comment gets your name in the running. There are all kinds of cool toys, dvds, tshirts and other essential items -- 24+1 of them, in fact -- but for the art-centric reader we have:

That said, the real star of yesterday's posts were all the July 20, 1969 remembrances. Please continue to add your own to the's been a blast reading what everyone had to share.

War Horse. Or, please can i go to London!

(Via Jonathan Carroll)

This looks amazing:

Monday, July 20, 2009


One of my brothers claims to remember everything that ever happened to him since he was 5. The rest of us have no doubt that he believes this to be true. I, on the other hand, can't remember anything about last week and couldn't tell you a single detail about that movie/book that I swear I totally love.

That said, I do have a very clear memory of being a small kid when my mother said she wished she had a wall-sized poster of Earth Rise for the house. I knew nothing about space or any programs associated with it, but something in my mother's voice so clearly spoke of a love for science with equal reverence for all the mysteries in the world and our small and wonderful place in the universe.

Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk on the Moon

Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk on the Moon

Shared via AddThis

Moon Landing, via The Onion

Yes, everyone has seen this but it makes me tear up with laughter every time. So stupid and so brilliant.

Sunday, July 19, 2009 turns one...with prizes!

One year ago today we launched our wee pet project We picked July 20th, Moon Landing Day, because exploration, imagination, and accomplishment means a lot to us.....and because the original launch date of five months prior was just crazy talk. The year has been a great one and it's just the beginning. We've got new developments up our sleeves and new acquisitions to share -- it's almost hard to have the patience needed to sit still to get them out into the world.

For our birthday we are giving away 24 prizes -- one every hour, midnight to midnight. Keep checking in throughout the day to put your name in the running.

In honor of moon landing day, we have asked over two dozen people in the science fiction community to take a brief moment and describe what July 20th, 1969 meant for them. Again, stop by throughout the day to get glimpses into the various perspectives everyone had to offer.

I have already been effected by reading a few of these testimonials as they came in. Being born six months after the event, it always seemed an occurrence that existed outside of history -- a momentous endeavour inside a bubble all it's own. Reading accounts within the context of people's everyday lives has, to some degree, recontextualized it for me.

As you read, please feel free to add your own thoughts and memories of the day.

Lastly, the team is truly one of the most varied and creative set of people I've been involved with. A heartfelt thanks/congrats to Fritz Foy, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Pablo Defendini, Jamie Stafford-Hill, Torie Akinson, Liz Gorinsky, Megan Messinger, Bridget McGovern, Richard Rohr, and all of our amazing bloggers, writers, readers, and artists. It's an honor to be included in this group.

Oh! And Greg Manchess (designer of "Stubby" the rocket) made us a birthday card!


Saturday Morning Cartoons: Surface and Infinity:

Surface: A Film from Underneath: I love this. A thousand playful narratives, albeit one unhappy ending. At first glance you may think it’s about the technique but it quickly becomes more than that. (2.30 minutes)

Infinity: An ode to Tokyo. A sweet mood piece. (3.55 minutes)

Monsieur Cok and The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9

Monsieur Cok: “Mister Cok is the owner of a large bomb factory. Looking for efficiency and profit, he decides to replace his workers with sophisticated robots.” (9.45 minutes)

The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9: Space-age bounty hunters after a scary monster. Very funny and very cute and a little sick.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aleksi Briclot and Jean Sebastien Rossbach's Merlin

Anyone following the Spectrum annuals has, no doubt, noticed a number of amazing paintings from Aleksi Briclot and Jean-Sebastien Rossbach. Many of those images have been leading up to the publication of their long-awaited retelling of Merlin. The book is finally out and available. Hurray! Yes, it's only in French, but with 112 pages of four-color art, I do not care.

Jean-Sebastien has done book covers for Tor and I've had the pleasure of meeting Aleksi at the last couple workshops. I know this has been a true labour of love for them. Congrats guys!

Goni Montes and the Cat Who Walked (and Jack!)

A while back an editor came to me with a short manuscript about a cat living in feudal Japan, Kij Johnson's The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles. It’s a very sweet Zen-like little story. Problem was, it didn’t fit into any format that was feasible for us to publish in print —too long to be a picture book, too short to be a novel, too expensive to print color illustrations as a graphic novel, etc.

The project was set aside for while until Patrick Nielsen Hayden picked it up for Without format constraints or printing costs we were able to buy the story and hire an artist to create nine full-color chapter drawings.

A friend of a friend had pointed out Goni Montes to me a few months back. I immediately fell in love with his work and thought he would be good match for the project. If I remember correctly I asked him to think of it in terms of a Japanese-print-Cliare-Wendling-Miyazaki kinda thing rolled up into his own style. He either had the good sense to ignore me or processed it all beautifully — whichever he did, he did a great job. Great line, beutiful color, and a particularly nice use of negative space.

That aside, the real reason to check out the story is, of course, because it stars Jack!...Ok, maybe not "stars" some much as "has a cameo with"...ok, really it's just a walk on roll...but still, is any amount a Jack to be passed up. I thought not.

Check out the full story and all the illustartions here. As usual, there is an audio version of the story if you want to take a look at teh drawings and then get back to work while listening.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Luis Royo's Dead Moon

Artist rep Alan Lynch stopped by the office the other and showed me an early copy of Luis Royo's new book, Dead Moon. This is a thick and beautifully printed book, written and illustrated by Royo. He took a substantial amount of time putting this together and it shows. It's a stunning collection of paintings -- large scale epic works, loose intimate portraits, and everything in between. Check out this fifteen minute video for a preview of the art and interview with the artist/writer.

The edition I saw was in Spanish but an English language edition will be available soon. If you're at San Diego ComicCon, Royo will be signing copies at the Heavy Metal booth.

Spectrum 17 poster, very punny.

Arnie Fenner just sent me a look at Paolo Rivera's Spectrum 17 Call for Entries poster. Be sure to click to see the enlarged, and very funny, version.

I think The Drop Shadow is my favorite....or is it Darth Mahl?

Deadline is January 23rd, 2010...plenty of time to create (or in my case: ask other people to create) a few more masterpieces.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Animation: "Through My Thick Glasses" and "Thoughts of a Falling Glass Man"

Through My Thick Glasses: One of the best short films I've seen—poignant, surprising, with an amazing fantastical sense of design. It's the story of an older man telling his granddaughter about his experiences during World War II. (12.30 minutes)

Thoughts of a Falling Glass Man: Harmony disrupted...and rebuilt. (3.10 minutes.)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Michael Komarck and Dragonships

Don't mind me...just showing off the very show-offable Michael Komarck jacket for Secret of the Dragon, sequel to Bones of the Dragon