Google Maps Upgrades The Isotope And Blows My Freaking Mind!
As if the internet didn'tprovideenoughtoolsalready for folks coming in from out of town to help them (& would-be stalkers!) find the wonderful world of the Isotope, our friends at Google have just dropped a bomb on my brain with the unveiling of the latest Google Maps feature... Google Street View.
You blow my freaking mind Google. If you're reading this and work for the company, I'd like to show my appreciation for everything you boys and girls do. So bring in your business card this week and I'll hook you up with free comics & cocktails!
And that goes for the folks at Tonight We Make Soap too, who pointed this new feature out to me. Thanks!
For those of you wondering if that extra-long weekend of grilling out folks got thanks to Memorial Day was pushing this week's new releases back by a day... (sigh) yes. Yes it is.
At least if we have to wait an extra day for our books those publishers might as well put out some books we've been waiting a long time for, right? Well, I have to say they're delivering on that front! Check out a small sampling of some of the books I'm crazy excited about that are finally coming out...
I'll be down in LA this weekend, rubbing shoulders with thousands of droids, sandpeople, wookies, and slave princess Leias for the biggest jedi-con the world has ever known... the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Birthday Bash. I'll be hanging out with my friends Rock & Roll Marc and Whitney Matheson, and if you're there too dressed up as one of my favorite robots, aliens, or sexy space chicks stop and say "hi"... that is, unless you're Homeless Chewbacca I saw and smelled enough of that guy at San Diego Comic Con last year to last a lifetime!
The Hewlett's Gone From Tank Girl to Gorillaz And Now That You're Warmed Up, Baby...
Since the first issue of Deadline magazine hit the stands I've been a big fan of artist/designer Jamie Hewlett. You'll know Hewlett from his awesome work on Tank Girl or for the supersexy virtual band Gorillaz. But with the Gorillaz on hiatus and Tank Girl getting a relaunch with a new artist we couldn't help but wonder what Mister Hewlett has been up to these days.
Turns out, he's been up to more than you might suspect!
There's Monkey: Journey to the West, a re-working of the ancient Chinese legend into a massive performance combining Cirque Du Solei acrobatics and animated film. This show reunites Hewlett and his Gorillaz co-creator Damon Albarn, with Albarn providing the score while Hewlett will design the set, animations and costumes. The show also promises 45 Chinese circus acrobats, Shaolin monks and Chinese vocalists! If you're thinking about catching the world premiere next month and making me incredibly jealous, check out more details here.
Hewlett art also popped up and on the walls of one of London's most popular new night/sexclubs Kabaret Prophecy. For those Hewlett fans who either live too far away to pop in or those who are afraid of such places here'ssomeinteriorshots of the club for your viewing pleasure.
But perhaps the most interesting place to find Mister Hewlett's art showing up these days is on a series of ultraswanky limited-edition sex toys made in conjunction with Kabaret Prophecy. Yep, you read that right... Jamie Hewlett vibrators! Check 'em out, but be warned you might be exposed to some cartoon naughty bits!
(click to *ahem* enlarge)
From the brochure The Ultimate Member Collection distills the ethos of this renowned luxury nightclub into charismatic objects of desire. Each Ultimate Member Limited is part of a limited edition of 1500 pieces.
There's been some disagreement among the IsoStaff about whether we think any Hewlett fan should actually use a limited-to-1500 $275 sex toy. Personally, I think Jared's in the wrong on this one... life is short, Jamie Hewlett would want you to indulge yourself in your objects of desire!
The DC August Solicitations Are Up... & I'm All Excited About Pete Milligan
I've written about the Irish comics author Peter Milligan here on the Communique before, and it brings a great big stupid grin to my face to do so again. DC Comic's August solicitations just went live, and what's in there makes me really excited about my summer comic reading. And Pete Milligan is the reason why.
THE PROGRAMME #2 (of 12) Written by Peter Milligan, Art and cover by C.P. Smith
As the Soviet superhuman Spirit of Lenin gathers the other "Russian Dolls" for war, the U.S. government scrambles to activate their own out-of-date superhuman program. But what they find is not encouraging. The American "hero" is an over-the-hill former musician with a fractured memory who's clearly not ready for the coming conflict. Can the CIA get their champion in fighting shape before the storm hits?
On sale August 22nd. 32 pg. Full Color. $2.99 US
That sure sounds like a return to glory for Milligan!
Frankly, I don't care if he's not the most popular or celebrated writers of the "British Comics Invasion," or even if he's written a number of comics over the years that have underwhelmed me... Milligan still has more books in my top ten all-time favorites list than anyone else. Check out Human Target, Skin, Skreemer, Bad Company, Rogan Gosh, X-Statix, and the out-of-print-too-soon book that always takes my second most beloved comic ever spot Enigma and you'll soon share my love for his work as well.
The first issue of The Programme hits on July 18th. I'm looking forward to it, can't you tell?
And if my Sunday couldn't get sweeter, our friends at San Francisco's best culture/entertainment/news/politics blog SFist dealt my weekend out a straight flush with a massive write-up on our in-store event with Ed Brubaker. Nice!
As Newsarama reports Isotope Bartender Kirsten Baldock (armed with her 1935 Old Mister Boston Guide) is resurrecting some delightfully noir adult beverages from the golden age of cocktailing for your pleasure. Bring your IDs.
Clueing You In On What's Up With Eric Powell's Baby
Chances are if you're reading this website, you're waiting for Eric Powell'sSatan's Sodomy Baby just like I am. Did it even come out? Has it sold out already? Are you really going to have to spend twenty bucks on eBay to get one? And are you ever going to get your hands on a copy?! Yeah, seriously!
In an effort to get the straight dope on what's happening with this book, I did my research online, found out what Mister Powell himself had to say about it, and got my Diamond distributor rep on the phone.
As some of you already know, the book was intitially bumped at the printer because of a glut of Free Comic Book Day books. And on his messageboard Mister Powell tells the hilarious tale of the book getting bumped a second time because the printer's spam filter automatically directed the order email to the trash thanks to the word "sodomy" in the message. To add insult to injury, Diamond Distributors has decided the book must be bagged for the public's saftey (which the printer did not do), and it is now being stopped at all distribution centers to be hand-bagged by Diamond staff members. The result? Another week delay. And according to Diamond some shops on the East Coast have gotten copies, but not all of them. And we West Coast shops have yet to see any. Also, just to make Satan's Sodomy Baby's little life even more difficult, those shops that didn't order enough copies back when the orders were placed won't be able to get them. The book isn't available for reorder!
So... and are you ever going to get your hands on a copy?! Yes, my friends, you will!
The Isotope's abundance of copies have been promised to us for next week (Wednesday May 23, 2007) and thanks to some forward-thinking on your Isotope amigos part, we will have plenty of copies on hand for anyone who wants them.
For those of you who are still worried about getting a copy, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line if you'd like us to put a copy of this book aside with your name on it!
Asian Art Museum Hangs The Art Of Tezuka Featuring the Undisputed God of Manga
It's no secret that we here at the Isotope consider San Francisco the greatest city on Earth. When there'ssodarnmanyinterestingthingshappeningallthetime, it's a pretty easy case to make. But just in case those reasons aren't enough to feel the love for San Francisco, here's one more...
The SF Asian Art Museum is holding an exclusive exhibition of work by Osamu Tezuka. Known as the "god of manga" and the creative genius behind Buddha< Astro Boy, Metropolis, Belladonna, and even that one book that Disney blatantly ripped off. With over 150,000 pages of manga in the course of his career, it's impossible not to be impressed by the man's career and legacy.
Here's your first chance to see this major exhibition of more than 200 original drawings and paintings outside of Japan!
The Art of Tezuka @ Asian Art Museum 200 Larkin Street (@ Fulton) June 2nd - September 9th
DC Brings the Wonderful Hitman Back w/ Garth Ennis & John McCrea
Yes! This is the best comic news we've heard in ages... Hitman is at long last returning to DC Comics with series creators Garth Ennis and John McCrea in tow! For those of you out there who think I'm talking about this song by The Plasmatics, let me tell you about the glory that is the Hitman comic book.
Written by Garth Ennis, the wild mind behind Preacher, The Boys, Punisher, and Chronicles of Wormwood, the series follows the darkly humorous and murderous adventures of contract killer Tommy Monaghan. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, this 60 issue series serves up a highly delectable selection of black humor, superheroes, the mob, violence, vampires, romance, and zombie fish. And really, when your protagonist up-chucks on Batman's boots in the very first issue, you know you've got something special!
For several years now this series and character have been ignored by the suits at DC Comics and what collections they once had available for interested consumers are long out of print and selling for inflated prices on the used book market. But no longer... because they're bringing Hitman back.
Could this actually mean that DC is going to finally put those paperback collections back into print and finish reprinting this series so I can start putting this great lost book into people's hands who are coming down from a Preacher high? Oh, I sure do hope so!
Peter Jackson & Steven Spielberg Bring CG Tintin to the Big Screen
When everyone was talking about director extraordinaire Peter Jackson doing an adaptation of The Hobbit I couldn't help but wonder why anyone would want to see that happening. I mean, obviously, Jackson would do an amazing job on the movie... but after three epic Lord of the Rings flicks what would be the point or doing the not-nearly-as-interesting prequel? Personally, I'd rather see Jackson doing something new or adapting more things he really loves to the silver screen. Or even better, adapting something I love.
Well, it looks like I get my wish!
Because earlier this week it was announced that Mister Jackson would be teaming with Steven Spielberg for three WETA Digital animated Tintin movies. For those of you who haven't experienced the beautiful wonder that is Tintin, I'll tell you that the comicbook adventures of that one young Belgian reporter, an absent-minded professor, and a surly drunken sailor are some of my favorite comics of all time. And it doesn't matter if you're young or old, I think you'll find them incredibly fun and charming. Definitely worth checking out!
Read more about these movies that bring out the geek in me (along with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg) here
Recently Declassified Video From the Isotopic Vaults
While the upcoming Ed Brubaker Criminal launch here at the Isotope promises to be a jazz-infused event of mythically noir proprotions, complete with amazing cocktails from yesteryear courtesy of bartender Kirsten Baldock's 1935 Old Mister Boston Guide, and therefore the event will be nothing like the footage you are about to see!
We thought it was good time to celebrate one of our favorite Brubaker in-stores of times past with this freshly declassified video footage from our Sleeper launch event.
UPDATE: My in-box has been flooded this morning with requests for that awesome Motorhead cover of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper." Click here for your own copy, and while you're there be sure to check out "Highway To Hell" and the video of Lemmy and Mikkey destroying a car!
Ed Brubaker Writes Some Comics And This Is Why We Give a Crap
Alright, I'll admit it, we probably do this to you all the time. You come into the Isotope, or you tune into the Communique, and we're talking about some up-coming in-store event we're throwing in celebration of some creator you've never heard of before. And we're talking like said creator is the best damn thing since the discovery of tonic water combined with gin!
I know a lot of folks probably went through that frustration when I was bouncing on my toes last summer going "Oh, oh! We've booked the American Born Chinese launch with Gene Yang and Lark Pien!" There were a few folks who told me they didn't know who Gene and Lark were at the time so they decided to skip the event... only to realize six months later that American Born Chinese was being hailed by critics as the book of the year and was scooping up every possiblepublicationaward there is. And even these people's never-read-a-comic-in-their-lives moms were wanting to pick up copies of that book! So it is with these people in mind that I've decided to rant about Ed Brubaker today. Who he is, what he writes, and why we give enough of a crap to fly him and his wife in so you can hang out with him this next weekend.
Ed is currently blowing comic readers collective minds writing critically-acclaimed runs on some of Marvel's biggest books, and while we like the work the man has done on popular titles like Iron Fist, Cat Woman, Batman, Deadenders, and X-Men, the following stand out as our favorites.
Criminal Vol 1: Coward 128 pages from Icon for $14.99
As long-time fans of crime noir authors like Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, Elmore Leonard, and James M. Cain it takes something pretty special to get us to call something "one of the best crime noir books we've ever read" but with this new series Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips reunite to serve it up in style!
Dirty cops, high stakes contraband, and opportunistic lowlifes keeping one step ahead of a date with the gas chamber, Criminal has plenty of double-dealing for your one-last-heist loving heart.
Captain America Vol 1: Winter Soldier 168 pages from Marvel for $16.99
If you ever wanted a comic to make you feel your pulse quicken, you're not going to get much better than this wide-screen super-spy action adventure.
No doubt you've already heard all about our man Ed killing off Captain America in the paper or on CNN in this title, but the real juice here isn't the flash-and-bang that gets reporters excited... it's the fact that Brubaker and phenomenal artist Steve Epting know exactly what we want in our superhero comics.
Gotham Central Vol 1: In The Line of Duty 128 pages from DC Comics for $9.95
One part Homicide: Life on the Street one part Batman comic, Brubaker and co-writer Greg Rucka delve into the inner workings of an overworked and under-funded police precinct that deals with more than just the usual suspects. Classic Bat-villains like the Joker and Mister Freeze rub shoulders side-by-side with junkies, con artists, and mafia overlords.
Also, Gotham Central is the comic that made 52's cop on a whiskey bender Renee Montoya one of our most loved characters in the entire DC Universe.
Daredevil Vol 1: The Devil, Inside & Out 144 pages from Marvel for $14.99
No one knows how Brubaker managed to do it, but he took all the pieces of Brian Bendis' Daredevil magnum opus and blew our minds all over again! With the book's main character locked in prison, and his secret identity known to all, this is one hell of a gripping prison drama wrapped with just enough comic book-y elements to make it eternally fun.
This book definitely makes me miss my all-time favorite HBO series OZ. A lot.
Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight 122 pages from DC Comics for $12.95
Set in the greatest city on the planet (San Francisco, of course!) Scene of the Crime puts an interesting twist on typical private detective tales... and does it so well! We're betting most of you haven't checked this one out yet and if you haven't, you definitely will want to. We think after all these years it still ranks among Brubaker's best.
A word of warning though, the short story backup has been known to cause spontaneous crying even in the hardest and manliest of manly men!
Sleeper Vol 1: Out In The Cold 160 pages from Wildstorm for $17.95
Oh yes, Sleeper!
Amongst the Isotope staff only a small handful of comics rank higher than the mighty Sleeper, and if you haven't read it yet you are well and truly missing out. A four volume series set among the filthy underbelly of the supervillain underworld, this is the series to show your non-comic-reading friends and rock their worlds. I could go on all day telling you about how wonderful everything about this book is, how it continues to be the single most popular selection in the history of the Isotope, and how much my staff and I all love Brubaker's writing and Sean Phillips' gorgeous artwork... but if you've been in the front door of the shop, I probably already have!
Put simply, your comic reading life is not complete without this book on your shelf.
The Isotope Communique Proudly Presents A Day Long Celebration of Everything Brubaker
With the first volume of Ed Brubaker's fantastic Criminal hitting the shelves last Wednesday and an up-coming launch event here at the Isotope, we couldn't be more excited about this multiple Eisner-nominated comics author right now.
But don't get us wrong, we're no Johnny-come-latelys when it comes to the Brube. We've thrown our share of Brubaker in-store events before (like this one & this one & this one), but honestly... it's been a while. So we decided it was time to fly him and his wife in for a big, glorious Isotope style bash.
But it wouldn't be a day long celebration if all we did was talk about our up-coming event, would it? So over the course of the day we'll be pointing you towards great Brubaker gems you might not have read yet and will absolutely thank us for suggesting, de-classifying some vintage Isotope video of one of our previous Brubaker in-stores, and finishing up with the press release for what is perhaps the coolest comic contest ever (well, if not the coolest comic contest ever, it's at least the most dangerous)!
All we can say is it's a damn good day to be a Brubaker fan.
On The Dawn of Nexus' Glorious Return Steve Rude The Dude Drops Some Bombs
One of my most cherished comic collections of all is a complete run of Nexus comics. A critically-acclaimed 80's space opera, Nexus was originally published in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. These weren't only the most beautiful and smartly written comics I had ever seen up to that point in my life... but even more exciting was that it was done by a couple of homegrown heroes from my very own Mad City!
I can't count the number of times I got to meet author Mike Baron & artist Steve Rude "The Dude" who it seemed were constantly hanging out at Bruce Ayres' wonderful Capital City Comics. Those encounters with these genuinely friendly creators were, quite honestly, a major inspiration and influence on how the Isotope hosts our popular in-store events.
Now that you know that I adore Nexus like Rollins loves doing sit-ups, no doubt you can imagine how downright giddy I've been about the reunion of the Baron/Rude team and the comic's imminent return. The fanboy in me can't help but devour every new story and interview with these creators about the new series!
That Larry Young, he sure does know how to make a feller wait and wait and wait for our vintage muscle car comics. But at long last, it's finally coming out! In this latest interview Mister Young lets us know about the series once again and when it's going to drop.
He's Bringing Back the Stupidest Batmen Ever Another Post About Why We Love Grant Morrison
The most common day-after question we heard from those lucky few hundred of you who had the opportunity to drink screwdrivers with Grant Morrison at the Isotope last year was "Could Grant Morrison be cooler?" If there was any doubt, today we can with supreme confidence tell you the answer to that question is "No, he couldn't."
While we certainly adore Mister Morrison as a comic book author and personality for his mind-blowing ideas, deep understanding of the human condition, literary strengths, and the many experiments with the medium that his writing famously reflects. The thing we appreciate most about Morrison is his unabashed fearlessness when it comes to celebrating comics' greatest asset...
One look around the Isotope shop or this very website and it's pretty apparant that we're enthralled with the single most wonderful thing about the comics medium and American comic industry as a whole, and that's the manic culture-jam of both high and low art. While some might foolishly think otherwise (as fools are often known to do), comics are snobbery's pure, undiluted Kryptonite in true everyman form. Capable of withering even the mightiest of down-nose-lookers with the tiniest reveal that glorious morsels of unashamed pulp (e.g. Spider-Man) plays in the same sandbox alongside heady works of social importance (e.g. Joe Sacco's Palestine) on a daily basis. This is comics' most superheroic power, and no other writer working in comics today knows and celebrates this more than Grant Morrison.
Which is why instead of sweeping them under the rug like the silly mis-shapen things they are, he's bringing back the stupidest D-List Batman also-rans of all time, and commemorating the nexus point of the lowest of pulp and highest of arts combined. And it is this very act of celebration that we think makes Morrison so significant in the world of comic books today.
Read about Morrison's up-coming take on those funnybook losers of yesteryear Bat-Hombre, El Gaucho, Chief Man-Of-Bats, Wingman, and more from the man himself over on Wizard's website here.
I Like Food, Food Tastes Good Crazy Cookbook by Fave Bands
I'm not sure whether it's the beautiful San Francisco weather we're having or it's that trio of wonderfullysweetshows the staff just went to... but whatever it is, I've been thinking about ice cream and dessert-y treats all day long.
And what better timing could there be than that of an email in my in-box telling me about I Like Food, Food Tastes Good a cool new rock and roll cookbook from Hyperion Books with recipes inspired by songs in 100 different bands' repertoires or real-life road experiences. Named after the classic Descendents song, this book features true works of food preparation art by bands that know how to eat on the road (including NOFX, Death Cab For Cutie, They Might Be Giants, the Violent Femmes, and Shonen Knife).
Either this book is very, very cool... or I'm just very hungry!
UPDATE: Good thing you looked at that video when you did, boys and girls, because Paramont Pictures has had the site shut down for hosting it. Wow, looks like someone really doesn't want us seeing any Iron Man shots that aren't studio approved. In other IM news, this picture from USA Today is everywhere!
Going Behind the Scenes on Buffy #3 From Script to Completed Page
Alright, we'll admit it... your assembled amigos at the Isotope are loving Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eight. It's been a blast getting to meet so many of the new folks this series has been bringing in the front door, and you can tell Mister Whedon is having just as much fun writing this new series as we are getting to read it. You'd have to be a fool to not appreciate the true thing of beauty it is to see Whedon work that wild magic with none of the budgetary constraints of writing for television.
In celebration of the just-released issue number 3, we're getting to take a look inside the creative process behind this great new series thanks to the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics. Check out this sneak peek and enjoy yourself some Buffy, from script and pencils to the completed page. You know you want some!