Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #70

By Nick Gazin

Dear Comic Bookos,

I'll be in Santa Barbara on September 9 taking part in some sort of art salon with my mother and sister, where we will talk about ourselves. If you have $100 and want to see that, the tickets are available here. All funds go to the Santa Barbara Arts Fund.

I think I saw this on Kaz's Facebook. The caption read: "Looking like a mini version of LA's Formosa Cafe. This is a ticket booth at Lakeside Amusement Park in Lakeside, Colorado. Designed by Richard Crowther. Photo by Tom Lundin."

I'm not sure who Nokkasili is exactly but the drawings that he or she is making of fantastic locations and buildings are blowing my mind. They are like a sophisticated version of all the art you see in grim locations like hospitals and motels where you peer into them and envision yourself in the place. You think, I wish I were inside the picture instead of where I am.

Look at this cool old Batman bow tie.

Look at this cool drawing Ines Estrada did. It reminds me of Pizzazz from the Misfits.

Look at this picture of Jack Kirby pretending to surf on the diving board while his grandson hangs on. What an amazing guy. The Comics Reporter posted a huge blog of some of Kirby's best images. You have to look at it.

Look at this cool article that Wilbert Cooper wrote about the comic book Real Deal magazine.

Watch this video pitch that Johnny Ryan and Dave Cooper made with Nick Cross as a pitch to Nickelodeon. I wanted to know more so I asked Johnny about this video.

VICE: How long have you been working on Pig Goat Banana Mantis?
Johnny: The cartoon that you saw online took about a year. I wrote it, we hired amazing voice actors, Dave designed all the characters and backgrounds, and Nick Cross boarded and animated it. Nickelodeon liked it and asked us to write a bible for the show, a pilot episode, and then a storyboard of that episode. That took another year or so. After all that they wound up passing on it.

 What was their problem with it?
I didn't really get a specific reason. I was told that it just wasn't the right fit for Nickelodeon.

So is there a completed pilot or is the clip on YouTube the only finished animation that you guys produced?
There's no completed pilot. The network bailed before we got to that stage.

You worked on the show with Dave Cooper, who you also made some comics with for Nickelodeon magazine. Wasn't the Banana character in those comics? Is there any plan of collecting those comics?
Yes, the show idea sprang from those comics I did with Dave. I'm not sure where we would collect them. There's only like eight pages of comics.

Your wife told me that the goat character was based on her. Were there any other characters who were based on real people?
The goat character was based on my wife. The other characters, the idiot, the nerd, and the psychopath, were based on me.

I liked that even in a children's cartoon, you got in some references to From Beyond.
Well, it's not like I wrote any specific references to From Beyond. I probably just wrote that some big, crazy monster attacks everybody and Dave took it from there. He's good at drawing crazy fucked-up shit.

I really want this cartoon to get produced because it looks great.
Yes, that would be cool.

[Then, when it looked like the cartoon would never see the light of day, Nickelodeon decided to develop it after all.]

Tell me the story of the creation of this show that you wrote.
It's a cartoon based on these comics that Dave Cooper and I did for Nickelodeon magazine. Dave pitched the idea to Nickelodeon. They liked the idea, so they helped us make this little teaser trailer cartoon. They really liked the way it turned out and wanted to go on to the next step and develop a pilot. We wrote and storyboarded a pilot episode which they didn't like so they wound up passing on the whole thing. Fast forward a few months later and animator Nick Cross posted the original cartoon on his site where it got a really positive response. I think this made Nickelodeon rethink their decision and they decided to revive the project. So now we are going back into development to try and make it work.

We haven't really worked out all the details yet as far as how many episodes and all that stuff. I only just found out that they wanted to try this thing again yesterday.

Here are some comic reviews.

The Big Team Society League: Book of Answers
Team Society League
Koyama Press

This is one of the funniest comics I have ever seen—EVER—and I have seen a lot of comics. What makes the greatness of this comic extra amazing is that all of the comics contained within it are jam comics drawn collectively by four different people taking turns from panel to panel. I've made a lot of jam comics and finding good partners is tricky. Typically people resort to doing dumb things and rely to much on non sequiturs.

The comics in Book of Answers revolve around this little round orange guy who I assume is some sort of anthropomorphized tangerine guy. He is able to die over and over again and his mouth and anus, as well as the mouths and anuses of the other characters, are often used for catching things or transporting objects and other characters.

It's hard to describe what makes silent humor comic strips funny. Obviously the timing is good and the drawings are good, but as is often the case it's hard to define what makes a good thing good. All I can say is that these are the best, most cohesive jam comics I have ever seen and if you hadn't told me that each one was the product of four separate people working together I wouldn't have guessed. Just look at these comics.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8
Michael Kupperman
Fantagraphics

The last issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle was good but not like this. There are so many jokes in here. So many fucking jokes and so much dream logic. This comic contains the kind of ideas I have in feverish states or when I am coming out of sleep.

The book starts with a comic called Red Warren's Train & Bus Coloring Book and it compounds so many different jokes and common memories. It really feels like something you would dream about, except it is loaded with guffaws. The idea is that it's some sort of horrible coloring book that a disinterested relative might give hosted by some older celebrity that you don't know about. It goes from acknowledging that this is probably a coloring book that you don't want hosted by a guy you never heard of and just spirals into another level of thinking in which Red Warren explains how trains mate and shows a mixed breed train-bus before one final page where it seems like Red is having paranoid delusions.

Next there's a comic called Murder She Goat, which closes with an insane retelling of the moon landing in which the moon is being used as a prison colony and the original astronauts were criminals. A werewolf is sent and he turns human whenever the Earth is visible. The question of "What would happen if you sent a werewolf to the moon?" alone is worth the price of admission. That's one of the best ideas I never thought of. This whole comic is basically the best ideas you've never thought of. After reading it you'll be all, "That is so clever, why didn't I think of it? AND THESE JOKES!"

And finally, here's the Moebius image of the week.

See you next time,
Nicholas

Previously - #69

@nicholasgazin

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