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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Proprietor James Sime & the Isotope Staff
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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Smoke & Guns in Wizard Magazine
& Comic Stores the World Over
Smoke & Guns, the original graphic novel about warring gangs of heavily armed cigarette girls written by the Isotope's own Special Projects Director Kirsten Baldock, sees its official worldwide release today and is also featured in a glorious two-page spead in this month's Wizard Magazine.
Congrats out to Kirsten, artist Fabio Moon, and everyone at AIT/PlanetLar for the most fun and sexy book of 2005!
(click to enlarge)
Smoke & Guns by Kirsten Baldock and Fabio Moon
104 Black & White Pages for $12.95
Diamond Order Code: JUL05 2551
The Isotope's New Favorite Band
Play Live Thursday, September 1st
No doubt you already know about the Isotope's infatuation with the Osaka based band PINE*AM. You've no doubt already heard their quirky DEVO-esque bubblegum pop emanating from the store's sound-system on several occasions, or perhaps you've already picked up a copy of their awesome "Pull The Rabbit Ears" CD which perpetually lurks behind the shop's counter, or perhaps you joined us in checking the band out live when they were last in the city, or perhaps you've just heard members of the Isotope staff extolling the virtues of PINE*AM's groove-laden vintage synth bleeps, euphoric three part harmonies, catchy guitar hooks and robotic drum loops.
And what could be a better way to celebrate the Isotope's love for the band than having them in for live concert?
While internationally touring bands playing at your local comic shop might not be the standard, let us invite you to come see PINE*AM playing live on the Isotope's stage this Thursday night! And witness the band playing some of our favorite songs like Gymnopedie 0.1, Far Star Lover, Hidden A, and Space Tug [departure from universe2].
PINE*AM @ the Isotope
Thursday, September 1st
On stage at 9pm
(also be sure to catch PINE*AM this Wednesday Night @ The Rickshaw Stop)
Monday, August 29, 2005
The Original Cardboard Sketches
of Eisner Award Winning Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson, the artist behind the beautiful Superman Red Son and those gorgeous 100 Bullets covers has long been a favorite artist of the staff here at the Isotope, and we couldn't have been happier to get to help launch Atomeka's Dave Johnson Sketchbook with our very own exclusive Isotope Edition and an in-store appearance by the man himself back in the summer of 2004.
With handfuls of cardboard box sections at the ready, sharpies in hand, and pipe clenched firmly in his teeth, Johnson whipped out amazing sketch after amazing sketch which he handed out for free to those in attendance. The Isotope scanner ran hot trying to keep up with and document Mister Johnson's sketching prowess. While not all of Mister Johnson's sketches were recorded before the eager fans ran home to frame their very own Dave Johnson Originals, a selection of ten of his best have been preserved. And now the archive has been opened to the public and these sketches are available to peruse on-line at your leisure.
Dave Johnson's Secret Sketchbook
Friday, August 26, 2005
2005 SF Zine Fest
August 27 - 28th
Celebrating zines, mini-comics, indy film, short-run sketchbooks, and everything Do It Yourself the SF Zine Fest returns to the Mission District with a two day long expo of workshops, semminars, screenings and swap meets. For the fourth year running there is no better place to get your zine or mini into the hands of like-minded individuals or to pick up the latest hotness from the four corners of the hand-made zine and comics scene.
Including an excellent silkscreening workshop by John Isaacson, a hands-on bookbinding workshop with Roderick Chow, some truly excellent indy film screenings, and a great assortment of hand-made zines, micros, minis, and much more.
The Isotope will be in attendance checking out all the cool new releases and looking to score copies of Global Hobo's legendary Henry & Glenn, the comic that asks the ages old question "What would happen if Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig lived together in domestic bliss?"
San Francisco Zine Fest
2050 Bryant Street (between 18th & 19th)
Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, Auugust 28
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
30 Page Preview of
Paul Sizer's Moped Army
Little White Mouse creator Paul Sizer's work always makes the Isotope smile, and no more so than with the announcement of Moped Army. The future's pugnacious youth revive a legendary organization of the distant past... the Moped Army rides again! With great art and a book full of speeding down cyberpunk city streets on two wheels of discontented fury, the Moped Army riders live their breakneck lives in a full throttle world of danger, intrigue, young love, and screaming blacktop.
Be sure to catch writer/artist Paul Sizer on his Two Stroke Invasion Tour 2005 starting out next month with our friends at Green Brain Comics and roaring along with a massive pack of mopeds on through several other shops along with SPX and the Motor City Con.
And wet your appetite for this hot retro-futuristic two-wheeled tale the Isotope is serving up a massive 30 page PDF sneak preview!
Click for Part One
Click for Part Two
Click for Part Three
Moped Army by Paul Sizer
144 Black & White Pages for $12.95
From Cafe Digital
Shipping this September. Diamond Order Code: JUL05 2738
Monday, August 22, 2005
Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum
Now Online for Your Viewing Pleasure
The Isotope is proud to feature the world's only museum dedicated to original art on toilet seats by comic creators. These lids were offered to the many comic artists and authors who have visited the Isotope for special events. Seats are only given out to those who visit the store in person and most were drawn in-house with our assortment of Sharpies.
With work by both artists and authors from around the world, the museum continues to grow and currently includes seats by Brian K. Vaughan, Jim Lee, Junko Mizuno, Warren Ellis, Tony Harris, Misery, Rick Remender, Judd Winick, Derek Kirk Kim, Steve Niles, Ed Brubaker, Dave Johnson, Joe Casey, Lee Bermejo, Brian Wood, Grazia Lobaccaro, Peter Gross, Kieron Dwyer, Kyle Baker (pictured) and many, many more.
Thanks to Flickr you can now check out this museum from the comfort of your laptop or desktop computer screen for the first time ever.
Isotope's Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum
Sunday, August 21, 2005
The Rapping Sorcerer Supreme
It's no secret that we here at the Isotope like Doctor Strange, several pages of original art of Doc's comics have hung on our walls and we perpetually display a one-of-a-kind Doc costume every day of the week... so upon our discovery of a San Francisco-based Sorcerer Supreme-influenced rapper who goes by the name of Akword Strange, we had to let you know about it!
Although no up-coming shows are listed, his official website features dozens of songs for your listening pleasure as well as a hilarious comic book issue of the origin of Akword Strange. Not to be missed!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Celebrate The King w/ Elvis Flicks
& Peanut Butter & 'Nanna Samiches
It's August 16th and that means it's an anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. And that's a sad thing, my friends, because Elvis was a damn cool guy.
During his life Elvis Presley made a whole bunch of great music, took what must have been several million publicity photos, starred in 31 movies of questionable quality, reinvented himself time and again, kissed a whole hell of a lot of girls, and pouted, wiggled, sweated, shook, crooned, and preened like none before or since. And even though the guy was well aware that he was a living American icon, it's pretty apparent by the roles he took on, the scenes he performed in, and the goofy outfits he let wardrobe put on him in his string of silly but fun movies that he never took himself too seriously. Like I say, damn cool.
And plus he had cool hair. And his taste in shoes wasn't half-bad either.
In celebration of the King's life the Parkway Speakeasy Theatre in Oakland is doing a free showing of Elvis' 1962 semi-classic Follow That Dream, with special raffle prizes and peanut butter and 'nanna samiches. Check out the movie trailer, slip into your favorite white jumpsuit, and come join the Isotope and all our friends at the Parkway for a night of hunka-hunka shaka-shaka.
Thrillville's Evening With Elvis @ The Parkway Theater
Tuesday, August 16th
1834 Park Blvd.
Proudly brought to you by www.thrillville.net
An Essential Tool for Great Urban Living
The User-Created Reviews of Yelp
Like the perpetually useful Craigslist, the ultimate SF user review nexus that is Yelp is an utterly crucial component to modern urban living in the beautiful and exciting city of San Francisco. Slicing through the hype with honest, personal opinions of real people just like yourself makes Yelp first-stop shopping when it comes to finding the cream of the crop of San Francisco dining, shopping, drinking, and living experiences.
Having read an abundance of reviews on the site it's pretty clear that it takes something really special to impress the collective opinions of Yelp readers and reviewers, and even more so to receive the rare distinction of being canonized in the site's weekly newsletter of the best and brightest of what San Francisco has to offer. With this in mind, we here at the Isotope could not be more delighted to be recognized as one of the top stories just this last week.
Until recently, true believers had to drive out to the Outer Sunset to visit Isotope Comics, one of the coolest comic book stores - nay lounges - in SF. But luckily for Jon C., Xiu L., and other comic book aficionados, the good folks at Isotope have opened up this hot new location in trendy Hayes Valley.
To explore and participate in SF's best resource for opinions, information, and guide to city living visit:
Monday, August 15, 2005
Ink: Bay Area Cartoonists
August 16th - September 18th
Showcasing and demonstrating how a cartooning aesthetic can move between comics and non-narrative fine art, Ink: Bay Area Cartoonists features comics of all variety and pages of original comics art alongside other media from some of the SF Bay's most unconventional comic creators. Curated by Xeric Award winning Justin Hall, this gallery showing includes work by Renee French, Andrice Arp, Fredo, Jesse Reklaw, and Lark Pien.
Opening night festivities on Thursday, August 18th from 7 - 10pm.
Ink: Bay Area Cartoonists
@ The Amaru Gallery
510 Valencia Street (between 16th and 17th st)
August 16th - September 18th
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Rob Osborne's Retirement Community Opus
An Isotope First Look at Sunset City
Rob Osborne, famous to comic fans the world over for his mad plan for world domination and for being the first ever winner of the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics, knows you've been waiting as patiently as you possibly can for his follow up to the excellent 1000 Steps To World Domination. He's teased you with interviews and enthralled you with his hilarious website. Now, thanks to your friends at the Isotope, you can now enjoy a first look at Osborne's upcoming graphic novel Sunset City.
In a typical retirement community called Sunset City, where the residents enjoy a contented life of golf and gossip, a retired widower makes an unexpected choice of empowerment that will forever change his remaining years and alter life in the retirement community forever.
Sunset City by Rob Osborne
80 Black & White Pages for $9.95
Shipping this October. Diamond Order Code: AUG05 2620
Download and enjoy a first-look 10 page preview here
Celebrating Yesterday's Video Games
2005's Classic Gaming Expo
Fill your pockets with quarters and prepare yourself for a weekend long celebration of vintage systems, classic arcade cabinets, and a whole lot of retro-gaming with the Classic Gaming Expo 2005.
This two-day celebration of the dawn of the the videogame industry includes more games than you'll know what to do with and videogame celebrities like Pitfall! designer and Activision co-founder David Crane, Atari co-founder and the man behind both Pong and the Atari 2600, joystick inventor Steven Bristow, Battlezone designer Ed Rotberg, Richard Maurer, the genius behind the incredible 2600 port of Space Invaders, a game arguably better than the arcade game it was ported from, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and the always-popular Howard Scott Warshaw, designer of ET the worst game ever made.
What could be more fun than a flashback to your addictions of yesteryear?
Classic Gaming Expo 2005
@ San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency
1333 Bayshore Highway
August 20th & 21st
click for information
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Yet Another Quirky Consumer's Guide
To Great Garbage for Better Living
Let's admit it, here at the Isotope we're out and out suckers for trying the new (and potentially awful) products that proliferate store shelves in gas stations, electronics stores, mini-markets, and urban boutiques. Perhaps it was all the new inventions that brought Reed Richards and family to strange new worlds in the Fantastic Four comics we read as youngsters or perhaps it was drooling over the sexy new worlds of commodity that we found in old 1950's catalogues for kitchens of the future, but whatever the motivation we love testing out devolutionary new product strangeness wherever and whenever we can find it.
Back in May the Isotope Communique profiled The Impulsive Buy, which celebrates the wonderful world of foodstuffs of the junk, fast, trash, and non-nutritious kinds, and today we bring you a newly launched quirky consumer's guide to make your life better.
Strange New Products showcases such modern-day miracles as Wi-Fi routers for your automobile, Anheuser-Busch's sure-to-be-awful new malt beverage energy drink (pictured), Fertility Text Messaging, anti-bacterial pens, wireless USB sewing machines, and even the gotta-get-yourself-a-can Horse Piss Brand Beer.
Get with the times and make Strange New Products a daily stop. The Isotope endorses this product and/or service.
A View From Behind The Isotope Scenes
In August Issue of MillarWorld Magazine
The latest issue of the recently launched MillarWorld Magazine features interviews with Garth Ennis, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and Chewbacca, advanced reviews of Warren Ellis & Ben Templesmith's Fell and Mark Millar & Steve Dillon's Ultimates Annual, as well as including a philosophical look at the world of comics and comic retailing from the Isotope's own James Sime.
Check it out here
Monday, August 08, 2005
San Francisco Bullitt Road Rally
& Free Outdoor 33mm Screening
Based on the novel Mute Witness by Robert L. Pike, Bullitt stands as one of the coolest movies ever made. Jam packed with cool characters, souped-up sexy musclecars, the kind of gritty cop dialogue you just don't get in movies anymore and (most famously) the ultimate in white-knuckle high-octane action on the steep hills of the city by the Bay.
Driving the streets of San Francisco who hasn't dreamt about jamming the pedal to the floorboards and sailing off the tops of the city's highest hills like Steve McQueen launched his '68 Mustang into the west coast air off the top of California Street? This might be your chance thanks to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the rolling roadshow complete with outdoor projection unit, stereo sound, and a 50-foot inflatable screen... and the Bullitt Road Rally.
Road Rally teams will meet and be given a CD containing clues to guide you throughout the top-secret Bullitt rally route. Bring your yellow pages, your digital camera, your map of San Francisco, your CD player, and your most cherry classic musclecar. The road rally is followed up by a free 50-foot screening of the flick in glorious 33mm. If you're a Bullitt fan and live or work anywhere near the city of SF, this is one event you will not want to miss!
Bullitt Road Rally & Outdoor Screening
Washington Square Park @ Filbert & Stockton St
Tuesday, August 30
Alamo Drafthouse website for more information
To get your road rally cheatin' started early the Isotope recommends consulting either this page or this one.
Friday, August 05, 2005
San Francisco's Got a Passion for Comics
And It's Sweet Talking the Isotope
Our first month in our new Hayes Valley location has brought in a lot of new faces and a lot of first time comic readers. We love it when we get to hear that these visits have ignited, rekindled, or stoked the flames of a steamy lifelong love affair with comics, which is just what we've been hearing this week.
First up with a story that will truly warm your heart is Kyle Minor's tale of discovering the Isotope and purchasing his first comics in almost a year's time. Let's face it, there can be no greater reward for doing what we do here at the Isotope than getting cool folks like Kyle excited about reading comics again.
Mister Minor is a regular contributor to the excellent Prism Comics website.
In other comics news, a brand new comics shop has opened up in Hayes Valley... practically on my way home from work. Isotope used to be located in the hinterland of SF's Outer Sunset, but now they've moved to what is quickly becoming one of the coolest neighborhoods in town. It's a great great store, and looks amazing. The staff there is incredible and really go out of their way for the customers. I highly reccommend a visit.
Because of this, I have already bought my first bunch of comics in almost a year, and have read some great stuff. Now readers of my blog might actually discover what my real taste in comics is. Hint: it's not Ninja #1.
Secondly, we've got a great write up from musician/male model/world traveller Larry Hosken
Comic Book Shop News
After spending all of yesterday tinkering with the New Zealand travelog, I needed to get out of my apartment today. So I walked to Isotope Comics' new location. I got my fortnightly fix and looked around. The new space has no air hockey table, and does have comfy benches for reading. I could imagine loitering there in comfort.
As I checked out, the ever-debonair proprietor, James Sime, apprised me of upcoming store events.
A band would soon play at the shop. No, really. A band from Japan. No, really. He said that the band, PINE*am, sounded like Kraftwerk as re-interpreted in Japan. On 8/31 they would play at the Rickshaw; on 9/1 they would play at Isotope. I was still re-drawing the boundaries between the pop-culture areas in my brain when he snapped back to comic books.
Isotope's own Kirsten Baldock wrote a comic book, a comic book that will soon hit the stands: Smoke & Guns, about warring gangs of cigarette girls. No, really. When the book is released, the party plan is to go to Jackson Arms and shoot guns. Exact date, when known, to be announced the store web site.
So I'm having one of those I-love-this-town moments, sort of like when I was walking on Haight and saw the sign announcing Banghra Espanol. But you have to watch yourself. I imagined myself smoking clove cigarettes and announcing to no one in particular: "I attend only two shows each year. One must be Sleater-Kinney. And the other must be from Japan." When you surf a wave of culture, you must make sure you don't wipe out and become trapped in a whirlpool of degeneracy. Or something like that.
Still, I made a note to listen to some PINE*am sound clips and maybe show up for the show. And I gratefully accepted a preview showing a few pages of Smoke & Guns. It looks pretty funny, in a violent kind of way. Something to look forward to.
And last but certainly not least is an enthusiastic report from Sophie Yanow the cheif mistress and ruler of the recently launched gumpop.com
Today I visited Isotope Comics on a whim. They just moved closer to the ol' Golden Gate, so I figured I would give it a whirl -- with the new location and the freshly bestowed Best of the Bay title from the Guardian, I thought now was the perfect time to stop in. Anyone who's been to Isotope realizes that the next step is for me to admit that this is my new favorite comic store. Well, here's the thing. Four years ago my local comic shop closed. Since then, my whole County has had one shop... a very small one, catering largely to the gaming and manga crowds. What can I say, I dabble in those fields, but indies are my true love. Isotope is all about comics. And damned if it isn't all about comics I love.
When I walked in I saw owner James Sime engaged in lively conversation with a young comics fangirl, while another guy chilled over on the couch checking out a book. The atmosphere rocks - they've got couches and chairs for you to kick back in, and the space is nicely decorated in a style very reminiscent of Mod culture. It's not wall to wall comics -- there's no stale air lingering around in the back room, because, well, there isn't a back room. It's all one big roomy space. The comics are layed out tastefully and James was more than willing (excited, even) to pick out an array of comics for me to check out (some of which I ended up buying) based on the conversation we had. I can't wait to dig into them, and hell, I could have just chilled on the couch at Isotope if not for the Phenomenauts show I had to scamper off to (which, coincidentally, James was pining over).
Bottom line: Isotope kicks ass, so if you like comics, interesting conversation, and a great atmosphere, che-ch-che-che-che-ch-check it out.
The Isotope staff are all really excited to hear that cool people like Ms Yanow and Misters Hosken and Minor are still discovering the shop thanks to our move to swanky Hayes Valley. We love meeting new people who share our enthusiasm for comics, pop culture, and cool communities. And as any scene is only as good as the people who populate it, it's exciting to see so many interesting and creative people coming in our new front door this past month.
And hearing how much these folks are enjoying the shop really brings a tear to our eyes.
Thanks to one and all for lavishing us with so much love!
The Scene of the Crime Boys
Slip Into The Red Tights
The long-rumored creative team of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark were confirmed today at Wizard World Chicago to be taking over Daredevil after Bendis and Maleev's final story arc finishes. The creative duo of Brubaker and Lark are responsible for some of the Isotope's favorite comics including Gotham Central and the utterly stunning SF murder mystery Scene of the Crime. No doubt the creative duo's gritty street drama style will be a perfect match for Daredevil and will ensure that the title continues it's several year long streak of excellence.
And it's pretty easy to get excited about this upcoming run when Marvel releases images like this
Big Air, Big Powder
... in SF?
As if San Francisco didn't have enough cool happenings to keep your schedule packed already, when we hear that someone is closing down Fillmore Street for two days, shaving 12,000 cubic feet of ice, and building a 30 foot jumping ramp so that they can ski and snowboard the streets of San Francisco we have to spread the news!
On Saturday, August 27th the steep slope of Fillmore Street from Broadway and Green and Vallejo Street between Webster and Steiner will be closed down, snowed up, and turned into a ski jump for the $100,000 SF Big-Air Pro-Am 2005. Featuring Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley (no relation to Bill) and twenty of the best skiers and snowboarders in the world, this event consists of a run down Fillmore Street at breakneck speeds, a 30 foot ski jump, and a 70 foot big-air flight from Vallejo to Green Street.
The event will be filmed for Fox Sports, Fuel TV, MTV2, Spike TV, and will be featured in Moseley's upcoming videogame. Expect to see the Isotope in attendance!