Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The ACT-I-VATE Experience
Video directed by Seth Kushner
and Carlos Molina - CulturePopProductions.com
Original Score by Q*Ball
The ACT-I-VATE Experience, a documentary directed and produced by Graphic NYC's own Seth Kushner and Carlos Molina, (CulturePopProductions.com) gives a behind-the-scenes look at the premiere webcomics collective.
“What began as a promo piece for ACT-I-VATE became an informative film about webcomics, web vs. print, and the future of the industry,” says Seth.
The ACT-I-VATE Experience features interviews with and art by such comics luminaries as Dean Haspiel, Nick Bertozzi, Mike Cavallaro, Simon Fraser, Tim Hamilton, Leland Purvis, Molly Crabapple, Kevin, Colden, Dan Goldman, Josh Neufeld and many more.
The film has already premiered at the Baltimore Comic-Con, Brooklyn’s King Con, APE in San Francisco, Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago, and online at Newsarama.com.
ACT-I-VATE, the premiere webcomix collective, features original, serialized graphic novels and is updated daily. ACT-I-VATE's select artists produce their signature work sans editorial oversight and offer their comix for free to an ever-growing audience of loyal readers. In addition to these high-quality comix, ACT-I-VATE is known for having lifted the veil between creation, creator, and reader by providing a forum for spirited dialogue between audience and auteur. The website confirms one of ACT-I-VATE's core tenets: that the artists and writers of this curated comix community are the optimal providers of intellectual properties and original content.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The theme of the issue is "Objects of Desire," so I asked Moby to chose a few of his favorite things to use as props. The items he came up with were interesting, to say the least. See outtakes below-
Friday, December 4, 2009
Pekar Week on GRAPHIC NYC concludes with How Harvey Pekar Got Me Laid (A Schmucky Tale) with art by my SCHMUCK collaborator Kevin Coldon. See it Here.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
For the GNYC profile on Harvey Pekar, I decided that all of Harvey's quotes should be presented in word balloons, coming from him, in a fumetti (photo comic) form.
Planning ahead, I knew I'd need plenty of photos of Harvey with a variety of expressions, to make this work. Thankfully at the shoot a few weeks back, Harvey delivered exactly what I needed.
The next step was to get Chris's article, isolate the quotes, break them down into beats, and match them with appropriate photographs. It took weeks. But, I made comics out of photographs, which is something I've wanted do do for a long time, and plan to experiment with further in the future.
Sampled below, is one sequence from the piece, where Harvey talks about his experience with David Lettermen.
Thanks to my buddies Dean Haspiel and Kevin Colden for their advice and Jeff Newelt for his help.
Please check out the full profile, American Splendor's Inimitable Harvey Pekar on The Pekar Project, with much more of my photo sequences.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
During the week of November 30th, Graphic NYC teams with SMITH Magazine to celebrate comics’ favorite curmudgeonly and likable autobio writer with Harvey Pekar Week, taking a look at the former file clerk’s career from American Splendor to The Pekar Project.
“We had a chance to hang out with Harvey, Jeff Newelt, and the Pekar Project folks at the King Con a few weeks ago,” GNYC editor and writer Christopher Irving says. “What started as an interview soon mutated into something more, an experimental hybrid of my profile-writing with Seth’s love of fumetti, and that soon grew into an entire week’s worth of content for Graphic NYC.”
Monday starts off in the artists’ corner, with Pekar Project’s Rick Parker giving a step-by-step tutorial on "How to Draw Harvey Pekar", followed up with "The Anatomy of an American Splendor Cover" by cartoonist Dean Haspiel. Tuesday features a profile on Harvey, which offers a unique blend of Kushner’s photos of Pekar with word balloons derived from Irving’s essay, the two components synergized into a comic book marriage of words and pictures.
“This one’s all Seth,” Irving says. “He was a total nut on this piece, and the end result is even more unlike anything done before in comics journalism.”
“I’ve wanted to experiment with doing sequential stories with photos and text for a long time, and a profile on Harvey Pekar seemed like an appropriate place to start,” Seth says. “Harvey’s written comics about himself for so many different great and varied artists over the years, it only seemed natural for me to portray him photographically in a comics form.”
Wednesday features “The Pekar Project: Getting’ the Band Together,” which has portraits of the four Pekar Project artists, as well as quotes and bios on each. Thursday features Jared Gniewek’s review of The Pekar Project, and Friday has an encore presentation of Seth’s essay “How Harvey Pekar Got Me Laid,” this time with illustrations by Kevin Colden, (Fishtown), Seth’s collaborator on Schmuck (now online at ACT-I-VATE); and Friday sees one from the vaults, as Irving presents a 2000 interview he did with Harvey for Comics Buyer’s Guide.
“Also this week, Graphic NYC will be enabling commenting, so we look forward to hearing what our readers think.” Kushner says. “Pekar Week has been a ton of work to put together, and we’re excited to share all of the great content we’ll be posting throughout the week."
Thanks to SMITH Magazine, Jeff Newelt, Rick Parker, Dean Haspiel and all of the artists who contributed.
Check www.NYCGraphicNovelists.com every day this week for all kinds of great stuff.
Read more: The Pekar Project at SMITH Mag.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
“What began as a promo piece for ACT-I-VATE became an informative film about webcomics, web vs. print, and the future of the industry,” says Seth.
The ACT-I-VATE Experience, a documentary directed and produced by Kushner and Carlos Molina, (CulturePopProductions.com) gives a behind-the-scenes look at the premiere webcomics collective, makes its online premiere at esteemed comic news portal Newsarama (www.newsarama.com). The film has already premiered at the Baltimore Comic Convention and Brooklyn’s King Con, SPX in San Francisco and Quimby Con in Chicago.
“One of the first things Seth showed me when we first got together on Graphic NYC was a PDF pitch of Schmuck,” Kushner’s Graphic NYC partner Christopher Irving says. “Let’s just say that he’s upped his game with the online aspect of it, and it’ll only make our site more than just the premiere New Comics Journalism site. And just wait until you see what he’s got in store for next week…”
Look for The ACT-I-VATE Experience on Newsarama.com and Schmuck on Activatecomix.com, both on Thanksgiving Day.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
See below for stills, and I'll post some behind-the-scenes photos and the final video soon.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Please check it out before all the family squabbling and tryptophan kicks in.
Meanwhile, a behind-the-scenes origin of the project and preview of the art can be seen Here.
SCHMUCK chronicles the journey of Adam Kessler, a young man on the road from man-boyhood to actual adulthood. The tale follows the main character on a comical journey of blind dates, internet connections, break-ups, and the all-to-often ridiculously painful situations he must endure on his quest to grow up and find love in New York City.
While SCHMUCK tells a universal and relatable story, writer Seth Kushner feels it is told from a fresh perspective through both his words and the visuals of Kevin Colden, the artist who will be illustrating his tale. Kevin won a Xeric award for his acclaimed webcomic FISHTOWN, (first serialized on ACT-I-VATE) which was released as a graphic novel by IDW Publishing in November 2008 and was nominated for an Eisner Award. "SCHMUCK is a very personal story for me, since it's based upon a period of my life, and Kevin's sensibility, style and ability to tell a story in a way that feels both fresh and natural make him the ideal collaborator," says Seth.
Adding to the uniqueness of the package, Seth, a professional photographer, will be weaving flashback sequences throughout the narrative which will be done photographically in a fumetti style, blurring the lines between art and reality, fact and fiction. "Since the main character is a photographer, it only makes sense to incorporate photographs," says Seth. "There have been comics that have utilized photography before, but we’re making a photo-comic that doesn’t suck,” says Kevin.
SCHMUCK is planned as 200-page graphic novel and is currently being shopped to publishers. "At the moment, Kevin and I have twenty-three completed pages, which our agent is current pitching around, and it is our hope that we will find the right publisher to take on our project and then we will embark on finishing the rest of the book," says Seth. "For now, we're thrilled to be serializing it on ACT-I-VATE, and have it alongside all of the amazing and brilliant work found on the site."
Watch for SCHMUCK debuting on ACT-I-VATE.com on 11/26/09, Thanksgiving Day, with future installments running every Thursday for six weeks.
About the authors-
Seth Kushner’s photography work has appeared in such magazines as The New York Times Magazine, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, Time, L’Uomo Vogue, and in galleries around the world. His book, THE BROOKLYNITES, (powerHouse Books, 2007) was considered ”a terrific coffee table photo/interview book” by The New York Times. Aside from living out his dream of writing a graphic novel based on his Schmucky past, he is working on LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS, a book profiling cartoonists. Seth is also the co-creator and co-editor of GRAPHIC NYC, (nycgraphicnovelists.com) a website devoted to comics journalism. Seth was born, bred and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife Terra, his newborn son, Jackson, and way too many comics. SCHMUCK is Seth's first comics work.
Kevin Colden is the Xeric-winning author of the acclaimed ACT-I-VATE webcomic FISHTOWN, which was released as a graphic novel by IDW Publishing in November 2008 and has been nominated for an Eisner Award. He is a founding member of The Chemistry Set webcomics collective. His work has appeared on DC Comics ZudaComics.com and is also on display in the permanent collection at MoCCA. His current project is I RULE THE NIGHT, for ZudaComics.com. He lives in New York City with his wife, cartoonist Miss Lasko-Gross, where he works on comics, film and video.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rather than share my experience of the shoot, I've decided to instead share Joe Q's tweet's about it, as they appeared on that day-
-Most surreal moment of the year: today I was photographed for a fashion piece for L'Uomo Vogue. Seriously, you can stop laughing now
-Photog Seth Kushner and the team hired by Vogue made me so comfortable that I forgot what a dork I am and made it fun.
-Funniest bit: Stylist provided a cool retro Spidey T to wear under a sweet ass swanky jacket, but it was way too small for my fat ass.
-So, she said no prob, here's a trick of the trade. She took scissors and slit the shirt straight up the back.
-I went from looking like 20 pounds of sausage in a 5 pound container to looking decent in a heartbeat.
-if it's any consultation, we destroyed the Spidey shirt in exchange for saving Aunt May's life.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The 32-minute "promo-mentary" will debut online at Newsarama.com on Thanksgiving day.
Reviews have been good-
Jim Gibbons of Comic Book Resources says-
"Though the film is admittedly a promotional tool for ACT-I-VATE, the interviews it features are chock-full of thought-provoking sentiments and information that fans of webcomics or comic readers that haven't given webcomics a shot should find interesting."
Matthew J. Brady of Indie Pulp says-
Overall, it's a great watch, full of excitement about the possibilities of comics and enough glimpses of great art to make anyone interested in checking out the huge variety of work on the site, all available to read for free. The documentary should be available to watch online soon, so be sure to watch for it and give it a look.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Read the full post Here.
Jim Shooter got his started at DC Comics writing Action Comics and Adventure Comics in 1966, when he was only 14 years old. After a run on Legion of Super-Heroes, Shooter joined Marvel in as an Assistant Editor and writer. In 1978 he succeeded Archie Goodwin to become Marvel's Editor-in-Chief. During his nine year tenure, Marvel enjoyed success from Chris Claremont and John Byrne's run on the Uncanny X-Men and Frank Miller's run on Daredevil, and Walt Simonson's The Mighty Thor. Shooter was the writer for Secret Wars, the first major company wide crossover, an event which has since become the norm.
After leaving Marvel in 1987, Shooter founded Valiant Comics, Defiant Comics, Broadway Comics, and in 2007 returned to DC Comics as the writer of the Legion of Super-Heroes, a book he had written 30 years earlier. Currently, Shooter is working with Dark Horse Comics on a relaunch of the Gold Key characters, just as his did during his Valiant days.
Though considered a controversial figure by some, I found Jim Shooter to be friendly, open and full of great stories. For his portrait, my initial plan was to shoot him out on the street with NYC's skyscrapers behind him, making him part of the skyline, but heavy rain prevented this, so we went to Plan B, which can be seen below-
Monday, November 9, 2009
David's innovative work in his creator owned Kabuki and Marvel's Daredevil pushes the boundaries of what is expected in comic book art and storytelling. David employs a mixed-media approach to his work, creating a unique narrative approach which often feels more like poetry than comics.
For the photo, I was looking to create a Japanese vibe, in keeping with David's work in Kabuki. Several locations in Manhattan's East Village helped with creating that feel.
Friday, November 6, 2009
"Back in June Fantagraphics Publisher Gary Groth and I were trouble-shooting ideas for packaging "Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons." Most of the ideas were unfeasible or enough of a gimmick that it felt distracting from the work. (Sure an iron maiden clamshell box is funny but do we really want the case to be that cumbersome?) As we axed ideas, so to speak, I kept returning to this classic gag of a man pressed under glass and was interested in how it echoed the idea that we're capturing the legacy of Gahan Wilson within this boxed set. A little research showed that we could make a slipcase with a plexiglass back so Gary and I agreed on the direction and I called up the legendary cartoonist to pitch him on the idea of drawing a self-portrait version of his old gag.
It turns out Mr. Wilson is a hilarious, engaging man to chat with but there was no convincing him to draw the portrait. He liked the idea just fine but felt that it was somehow impure to use artwork on the case that wasn't from the work inside. As my hopes faded I heard him suggest something I hadn't dared to ask: "If you want to take a picture we could do that." So the next minute I was on the phone to Gary. Would it hurt sales to have the grim visage of a trapped 79-year-old man staring out at the book buyer? Gary didn't care, he loved the idea more than he feared how it would be received. And it certainly wouldn't be ignored. So we had our solution.
The next trick was having no budget (aka Fantagraphics Budget) and the need for a photographer willing to travel out to Gahan's studio to pull off the shoot within a few weeks time. I wasn't optimistic, but remembering the work of Seth Kushner's NYC photos of cartoonists I took a stab at conscripting not just a decent photographer but a truly talented one. Seth generously agreed to our modest arrangement and treked out to Sag Harbor with his camera and a man-sized panel of glass. In no time we had these amazing portraits that nailed the concept. (Plus we ended up with some great unpublished outtakes like this one of Gahan cradling a "baby" skeleton.)
In the end, each book has a different Gahan portrait on the back cover so the framed image of the artist can be changed out and displayed on your shelf of honor. The front of the slipcase is pillow embossed (ie: the image is in layered relief, which doesn't photograph well here), the back cover is silkscreened plexiglass, and the book covers are all diecut with morbid icons, with matching tipped-in interior diecut pages."Here.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Mike work, evident in his creations Madman and Red Rocket 7, shows a pop art sensibility. Artist like Lichtenstein appropriated from comics during the 50's and 60's, and to me, Mike Allred has brought the look full circle.
My concept for the photo was to put the artist in his creation, to merge them, creating a new pop art piece.
I'm very excited to be involved with KING CON, Brooklyn's very first comic convention at the Brooklyn Lyceum. Please come if you can.
THE ACT-I-VATE EXPERIENCE - NYC DEBUT + PRE-PARTY SCREENING: FRIDAY 8PM sharp
The story of the preeminent webcomix collective. A documentary film directed by GRAPHIC NYC's Seth Kushner + Carlos Molina. Featuring interviews with Nick Bertozzi, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, Simon Fraser, Mike Cavallaro, Dan Goldman, Tim Hamilton, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld, and others as they discuss the genesis of ACT-I-VATE, its impact on the art and business of comics, and its future both online and on the printed page.
GRAPHIC NYC: SATURDAY 3PM-3:50PM
GRAPHIC NYC's own Christopher Irving and Seth Kushner host a chat with four celebrated New York City cartoonists: Peter Kuper (Spy vs Spy), Becky Cloonan (Demo), Christine Norrie (Cheat), and George O'Connor (Ball Peen Hammer), to discuss what makes NYC the nexus for comics.
More info on all KING CON panels Here.