Hot on the heels of IFC.com's debut of The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. and our imminent release of the companion book, the Sundance Institute has announced that creator Dash Shaw is one of twelve aspiring filmmakers to be selected for the Institute's annual January Screenwriters Lab. Dash is developing a feature-length animated film titled Slobs and Nags: "Told with hand-drawn animation, a disconnected family is thrown into chaos when the scientist father loses the test subject of his experiment with appearance-altering technology." Congrats Dash!
• Review: "[Dan Nadel:] Reading Pim & Francie is an apocalyptic experience — as if Columbia is demolishing both his own work and the idea of 'cartooning' in general. I found it exhilarating and terrifying. ... [Tim Hodler:] ...The fact that so many of these grotesque stories and vignettes don't really resolve contributes to the reader's growing sense of unease. ... Al Columbia's comics... really bring out the surreal terror already buried within cartoon imagery. ... [Frank Santoro:] Pim and Francie's adventure struck a chord in me that's been dormant for a long time. A haunting wonder, perhaps? A curiosity of the unknown that, when found, rattles one to the core?" – Comics Comics critics' roundtable
• Video: Visa denial (for shame!) forced Gene Deitch to deliver his keynote address to China's Xiamen International Animation Festival by video; Cartoon Brew shares the clip along with the text of the speech Gene would have given in person
• Hooray for (the French equivalent of) Hollywood: Comix 411 takes a look at Luc Besson's in-production film adaptation of Jacques Tardi's Adèle Blanc-Sec (which Kim flogged about a few weeks ago); for the Francophones among you, TF1 has some behind-the-scenes video footage
This has been a bit under the radar for American fans (I don't remember seeing a peep about it on such sites as aint-it-cool) but Luc Besson is well underway filming his adaptation of what looks like the first two or three Adèle Blanc-Sec albums by Jacques Tardi , and the movie is supposed to premiere in France next Spring and open throughout Europe during the Spring and Summer. (No American distributor yet, but it's hard to believe a Besson movie wouldn't find a Stateside berth.) It's intended as the first of a trilogy, too, presumably adapting the whole series.
With a cast that includes Bond villain (and, for the art-cinema crowd, Diving Bell and Butterfly star) Mathieu Almaric and go-to psychotic Philippe Nahon (of I Stand Alone, Irreversible, and High Tension infamy), as well as a relatively unknown but mighty pretty young woman as Adèle (although it's a pity that Isabelle Huppert, who was born to play Adèle just as much as Shelley Duvall was born to play Olive Oyl, is too old for the part by now), Adèle looks like it could be a lot of fun; the plot description suggests that Besson is hewing very closely to the original. (And the "Indiana Jones meets Amélie" description is inspired.) It's Besson's first all-out action/adventure movie since The Fifth Element 12 years ago.
Here's the poster, and click here for a scan of the PR one-sheet:
• Review: "[The Squirrel Machine is a] darkly disturbing, brilliantly drawn story... B&W pen and ink drawings elucidate complex machines and Victorian-era architecture in baroque detail, while surrealist imaginings take turns for the truly repugnant. Sexual perversion, putrefaction and serial-killer style artworks are all ornately portrayed, as are the buildings, shops, horse-drawn carriages and crumbling mansions of a 19th-century small town. The story, while told primarily in pictures, includes a stilted and formal dialogue that only adds to the perversity. ... Though not for the faint of heart, this obscure tale will offer rich rewards to the right kind of reader, one who appreciates grotesque horror, angry mobs and the creative explosion of a repressed Victorian sexuality." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "In this memoir [Giraffes in My Hair], [Bruce] Paley openly shares his stories of the '60s and '70s, and by the end you'll feel like he's a long-lost uncle. ... At some point, this book will probably become a movie, but I suggest you check out the uncensored version with [Carol] Swain's great artwork, which sets the scene perfectly. It's a miracle Paley survived to tell these anecdotes, but I'm glad he did." – Whitney Matheson, USA Today Pop Candy
• Profile: Joe Heller, editorial cartoonist for the Green Bay Post-Gazette, talks to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Tirdad Derakhshani in a syndicated article about the influence of Prince Valiant ("The release of Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938, the first in a new series of gorgeously printed, hardcover Valiant collections from Fantagraphics Books, served as a bittersweet reminder of the century-long rise and eventual decline of a great American art form, the comic strip"), with accompanying video
• Onomatopœia: Stephen Worth at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Project Blog presents a great Basil Wolverton rarity: an article Wolverton wrote for the Daily Oregonian in 1948 titled "Acoustics in the Comics." Learn the difference between "SCHALAMPF!" and "PFWUMPFPH!" (It's a re-run, but still worth a look)
• Things to see: Is Steven Weissman (a) prepping for Halloween, (b) inventing a new superhero, or (c) hoping to get cast on the next season of Project Runway? Whatever it is, I like it
• Review: "I found the main characters relatable enough that when more or less out of nowhere... the sci fi/psuedo-super hero elements kick in, it's a shock to the system that threw me but that I also cared about. In not that many pages, Clowes had got me invested in these kids, so no matter how bizarro the next act was, I was in for a pound... There really is some smart stuff said in the course of this narrative about human nature, growing up and power..." - Ben Morse, The Cool Kids Table, on Eightball #23 by Daniel Clowes (via Sean T. Collins)
2625 Durant Avenue #2250 • Berkeley, CA 94720 • (510) 642-1124
Clowes and Zwigoff will host a special screening of the Ghost World film, followed by a Q&A and book signing to celebrate the release of Ghost World: Special Edition.
This deluxe new edition of the bestselling graphic novel expands the original book — which tells the story of two best friends, Enid and Rebecca, facing the prospect of growing up and apart — from 80 pages into a 288 page, behind-the-scenes tour through the making of both the classic book and the subsequent hit film. Including a new introduction and several pages of new strips by Clowes, as well as over 200 pages of "extras": the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Clowes and Terry Zwigoff, dozens of pages of never-before-collected ephemera, including unused concept drawings, notes, movie posters, foreign edition covers, merchandise, and much more, all annotated by Clowes. Truly lavish, definitive and comprehensive.
"I really identified with the girls in Ghost World. They made me feel like I wasn't so alone." – Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
The latest "Daniel Clowes is working on a movie" story involves Clowes writing the screenplay for an animated film directed by Michel Gondry based on a story and artwork by Gondry's son Paul. More here and here.