Friday, January 16, 2009

Singing with Satan

I went to my first karaoke bar the other night. It was a birthday party for the wife of a director I know -- one of those fancy, alternative types who uses a single letter for his name. This guy calls himself Y. 

Anyway, I showed up at the bar with a gift for Y's wife (who uses several letters in her name). It was my left buttock cast in bronze. Despite the fact that this is considered a great complement in some cultures, it didn't go over so great with Y. Fortunately, the guy I came to the party with, Georgia Tom, is well-versed in Greco-Roman wrestling and was able to subdue Y so that I could take the stage for a quick rendition of "Man, I Feel Like A Woman!" by Shania Twain. 

Things were going alright until Studio 407's Managing Director, Lord Galactitron, showed up and kiboshed the fun. 

"Edgar!" he bellowed, grabbing the microphone from Bob Saget's daughter. (The Saget family was also at the bar, only not with us.) "What the hell are you doing making merry when Studio 407 needs its blog? Get back to your cave!"

Then he just yelled "Studio 407" again because he's always bugging me to include the name of the company in these blogs as often as possible and he probably knew I'd write about this.

I tried to unleash Georgia Tom on him, but Tom's wrestling skills were no match for Lord Galactitron who, thanks to years and years spent as a bikini jello wrestler, is no slouch in the ring himself.

Needless to say, I got my toys and went home as Lord Galactitron took the stage with some of his fellow evil dictators to sing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.

What's the moral of this story? Well, it's that if you ever go to karaoke and you think your boss might be there, make sure to have access to a camera so you can post things like this as payback:

Speaking of being tormented by the forces of hell, this week I'd like to tell you about our new book Helix. It's the story of an exorcist who, due to a botched exorcism, is forced to absorb a legion of demons. Now he has their powers, which is pretty cool, but every time he uses them, the demons steal a little more of his soul. Dark stuff.

The book was written by Denis Faye, who proved with his indie book The Monocle and Jimmy Specs that he has a weird preoccupation with superheroes in desperate need  of therapy. The art was done by Stefano Cardoselli, who some of you might know from 2000AD or Heavy Metal.

Helix is a quick read, but a good one. Check it out here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Spark, Spider-Man and a nice bowl of dead squirrel

The thing that bugs me most about the way "reluctant" heros are portrayed in comics is that they're reluctant in the same way that Studio 407's Editor-in-Chief, "The Big Pencil," is reluctant to eat roadkill. That is to say, they're not reluctant at all. 

Take Spider-Man. Mind you, I love the web-slinger as much as the next geek, but issue after issue, on page 7 he'll be all, "I'm reluctant! I'm reluctant!" then on page 9, he changes his tune to "Should I wear my red and blue Spidey suit or my black one? Tell me, seriously, because I'm worried the black one make my butt look big."

These guys have all this existential angst and blah, blah, blah, but ultimately, they just luuuuuuuv to slide on that spandex almost as fast as The Big Pencil tucks into a freshly-grilled possum kabob.

That's why I truly dig Studio 407's new graphic novel The Spark. It's the story of this kid Lucas who, thanks to a mysterious phenomenon called The Spark, gets super powers. At this point, he's supposed to join three other Spark-empowered kids to prevent an alien invasion. Unfortunately, he's (you guessed it) reluctant. He's got a busy life, a dysfunctional family to prop-up, a job to keep. Sure, saving the planet seems the obvious choice from an outsider's perspective, but in real life, sometimes personal issues seem far more overwhelming than even the risk of extraterrestrial enslavement.

It features writing from Martin Renard, art from Nahuel Sagarnaga Cozman  -- and an excellent wet t-shirt scene about half way through the book.

Ask for it at your local book store or comic book shop. Click here to check it out. 

If you just can't wait for it to hit the shelves, pre-order at Barnes and Noble here.