|Tony Millionaire, absolved|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tony Millionaire||3 Nov 2011 2:01 PM|
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Category >> Tony Millionaire
Our weekly strips from Kupperman & Weissman, plus links to other strips from around the web:
A group of us are waiting to be served in a restaurant. The waiter arrives, and the person facing me evidently ordered paper-wrapped baked owl. (What he gets looks like a little owl mummy.) I puzzle over why this seems somehow wrong and disturbing even as the diner peels off the first bit of the wrapping, releasing a gust of cooked-bird steam and exposing a naked, baked owl wing. It actually looks pretty tasty.
The diner sitting next to me is Françoise Mouly, which, although tenuous at best, is enough of a connection for me to consider this a comics-related dream and include here. As I wake up I wonder if the French term for this delicacy might be something like hibou en croûte, but that's more like a meat baked in a pastry shell, like beef wellington.
In case you're wondering, a few minutes' googling here and now reveals to me that the correct term would have been hibou en papillote (but there is, mercifully, no such dish).
Tony's 500 Portraits is coming soon. (The numbers here are bullshit, since we cut a few dozen images from the book and there have probably been more in the intervening time, but it made for a great headline, didn't it?)
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So, a year or two ago, Tony Millionaire tells us, "I've have over 500 portraits of people on my computer. Let's make a book!" We say, "Sure!" (Because this is what you do when Tony Millionaire says, "Let's Make a Book!")
We schedule the book for the end of 2011, and this spring we start to have a conversation about it between myself, Tony and Jacob Covey (designer and co-editor). Tony sends us about 500 files that he's pulled from his hard drive. Jacob and I start going through them. We soon discover that this book is going to be more of a challenge than we initially expected. For one thing, about 100 of the files were duplicates, so we really only had about 400 portraits, and "400 Portraits" didn't have nearly the ring to it as a title.
Furthermore, almost none of the files include the name of the person depicted. Most were clearly named by Tony at the end of a long night, after a six or 12-pack, a job well done and the name no longer relevant to him. So we have files with names like "ghosthippy.tif," "evil.tif," "actscoolfucksinterns.tif," "prettyboy.tif," "crazybaldasshole.tif," "meathead.tif," as well as more than a few that appeared to be named by his forehead as he passed out: "dhfuhkjDZKh.tif," "cmnxz≈mz vas.tif," etc.
Tony has neither the time nor inclination to try and identify the names. He suggests making the book a giant puzzle for readers. Jacob and I resist. Jacob and I encourage Tony to flesh out the book with some essays about drawing, his process, etc. Tony resists. Stalemate!
Eventually, I enlist an army of interns to help me identify the portraits and after a few weeks of highly scientific research and renaming the files so Jacob can work with them easily, and after Tony digs up another 100 portraits (actually well over 100 -- by the time it was all said and done we actually had to cut a few dozen images to keep it to 500) and also sits down and writes a series of brilliant essays for the book just to shut Jacob and I up, we were on our way. (Seriously, Tony's "85%" theory about humankind is worth the price of admission alone.)
After a few weeks of nightly back-and-forths between the three of us, which mostly consisted of random insults and vulgarities mixed with parenting advice from Uncle Tony and lots of talk about our daughters (all three of us have daughters -- no sons -- and all of them appear in the book in one form or another; Jacob's wife even gave birth to his second daughter, Maren, during production!), we had a book.
I couldn't be happier with the result. Tony emailed us after he got his advance copy last week and said, "This is the best book ever made." I agree.
But please, kids, name your files clearly.
They'll be signing copies of the new First Second title Nursery Rhyme Comics, an anthology featuring 50 classic nursery rhymes as depicited by 50 of your favorite comic artists. And their original artwork will be on display tonight for the signing!
So, don't sit on a wall and have a great fall, or fetch a pail of water and go tumbling after --- just head to Secret Headquarters [ 3817 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles ] tonight at 7 PM!
We got our advance copies of Tony Millionaire's 500 Portraits at the office yesterday and man oh man, what a gorgeous little book. Designed by our Art Director Emeritus Jacob Covey and smartly edited by Jacob and Eric Reynolds (Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Ian MacKaye, Louis Armstrong and Léon Theremin in one spread? Genius), this is going to be the must-have gift book for the holidays. Stay tuned for more and better previews!
Our weekly strips from Kupperman & Weissman, plus links to other strips from around the web (now updated with Maakies!):
Our weekly strips from Kupperman & Weissman, plus links to other strips from around the web (Kerschbaum's back!):
Our weekly strips from Kupperman & Weissman, plus links to other strips from around the web:
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