Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Old Myrant Is Dead; Long Live the New Myrant!

Welcome to the archived original Myrant blog! 

Though this blog was supplanted with an entirely new venue as of April of 2008, I've kept it all in reach -- with well over 800 posts, including lots of in-depth essays, articles and interviews still here to enjoy.

I'm posting this Fall 2009 update just to bring new visitors up to snuff. 

I've lots of new published work out, lots of news --

  • First off: A reminder to all that my current (posting daily since April 2008!) website and blog, the new improved Myrant, is over here -- click this link and enjoy the view! Add the current Myrant blog and site to your daily lineup.

  • The new, improved Myrant features lots of material I could never post on this old Myrant venue, including artwork, sketches for sale, and lots, lots more. Go and explore!

  • I also have plenty of sketches and original art (published and published) for sale at all times at the ComicArtFans.com gallery (click this link).

  • * My latest published work is The Vermont Monster Guide -- written by my friend & New England folklorist extraordinaire Joseph A. Citro, illustrated (with over 80 new illos!) by yours truly.

    Vermont Monster Guide cover artwork by Stephen R. Bissette; color and digital production by Cayetano 'Cat' Garza, Jr.; ©2009 Stephen R. Bissette & Cayetano Garza, Jr., all rights reserved.

  • Joe and I are on tour promoting The Vermont Monster Guide throughout the rest of 2009 -- here's the dedicated Vermont Monster Guide page, jam-packed with tour dates, info and links; step-by-step 'how we did it' info and artwork; photos, links and all manner of monstrous delights.

  • I've also posted a section dedicated to showcasing Bissette drawing demonstration videos, revealing how illustrations in the Vermont Monster Guide were inked -- another feature we couldn't ever accommodate on this original Myrant blog, now integral to the new, improved Myrant site.

  • Other new book projects worthy of your attention:

    * The upcoming (November 2009) paperback edition of Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman (co-authored by yours truly, Hank Wagner and Christopher Golden);

    * My new short story "Copper" debuts in the forthcoming anthology The New Dead (coming February 2010 from St. Martin's Press); I also did the cover art and interior color illustrations (in collaboration with Ignatz Award-winning artist Cayetano 'Cat' Garza, Jr.) in the Subterranean Press signed-and-limited hardcover limited edition of The New Dead (also coming in 2010).

    * A plethora of new comics work, artwork and articles by yours truly in various Center for Cartoon Studies and Trees & Hills New England Comics collective anthologies (visit the new, improved Myrant's September 2009 posts for previews, art, info and links to buy!).

    * I also have many new works being published by my good friends at Black Coat Press, with two new book series forthcoming in 2010.

  • If you enjoy my essays, articles and interviews here at the archived Myrant (and the new Myrant), be sure to check out my Black Coat Press book series S.R. Bissette's Blur -- currently up to five volumes (over 1200 pages!), collecting my complete writings on film, video, DVD and media. The latest volume, Blur Volume 5: Blog-O-Scope, begins the archiving in print of my finest blog essays -- this venue won't be archived forever, so pick up your set of Blur today!

  • SR Bissette's Blur Volume 5: Blog-O-Scope cover art by Stephen R. Bissette; cover design by Jon-Mikel Gates; ©2009 Stephen R. Bissette and Jon-Mikel Gates, all rights reserved.

    It's still quite a record of my first extensive online experiment in writing and creating a (mostly) daily journal -- Enjoy.

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    Friday, April 11, 2008

    New Bissette Website and Blog -- and New Bissette Book in Bookstores November 2008!

    Greetings, all -- 

    My blog has moved for good to my new website. 

  • Click on this link to access my latest posts, art and blather on comics, books, movies and whatever's on my mind at the time...

  • ...and keep your eyes out for the November, 2008 release of my latest book project, Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman, co-written with Hank Wagner and Chris Golden, coming from St. Martin's Press.

    Also coming later this year: The equivalent of another book -- my fully illustrated 50,000 word essay "Teen Angels: Bratpack & Britney, Boy Commandos & Bad Girls: A Meditation on All Things Bratpack", available only in the hardcover limited edition of Bratpack by Rick Veitch, forthcoming from King Hell Press!

    Now, get on over to my new blog and website, and see you there!

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    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Hey, all --

    Cat has made the major change! The new blog (and site) is up and running!

    From NOW ON, change your bookmark to:

  • this link! The new website is now the home for the blog!

  • Cat has busted through the first major hurdle and done the initial rehaul. More to come, but use the above link from now on!

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    That's it, Happy Easter. Have a great one, one and all.

    Blog & Website Revisions --

    -- are underway. Cat and I are amid the spasms of change here, bear with the results and speedbumps, please! These may toss the blog and site up in the air and send 'em crashing down now and again, but it's all soon under control and will be highly improved. Big changes coming, all for the better!

    More to follow later today... as time permits.


    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    Glasses Are In, Borders and Quebecor Are -- Out?

    Hmmmm, this revamped blog is a mixed blessing. Bear with me, folks, we'll smooth out the bumps and red typeface in the weeks to come.

    Morning, all... links and blinks:

    * Center for Cartoon Studies folks made the grade at the SPLAT comics event in Manhattan this past week, and CCSers also made The New York Times fashion pages! I always knew you were cool, CCSers, but here's cultural proof. Yep, glasses are 'in' -- and being a cartoonist with glasses puts you on the cutting edge of 2008 style.
  • The New York Times SPLAT slideshow "Life is a Runway: Must-Have Glasses" is here, check it out --
  • -- and note that slide #2 is our current CCS fellow Bak, and slide #5 is CCS pioneer class alumni Caitlin Plovnick. Looking good!

    * Get The Flock outta here, before the Flock eats you! The carnivorous Pleistocenian phorusrhacid Titanis walleri -- the 'terror bird' -- got a pop culture shot in the arm with its appearance in Roland Emmerich's fun 10,000 BC (best sequence in the movie, to my mind), but Bob Smith was there before Roland.
  • I reviewed James Robert Smith's (aka Bob Smith to his pals) recent novel The Flock on Myrant earlier this year as one of my fave books of the year,
  • and artist Mark Masztal glommed on to a copy and has been posting art inspired by Bob's book on his blog. Check 'em out, and here's hoping Bob and Mark can make it happen.

  • * The US dollar is at a historic low, the recession Washington keeps wishing away is hitting us all at the gas pump and in the grocery stores daily. It's about to nail the writing and comics community harder than it thus far has.

    Bad news for book lovers and comics creators and publishers:
  • "Book retailer Borders Group Inc on Thursday suspended its quarterly dividend and said it may sell itself..."
  • Though the chain bookstores have been behaving like corporate phorusrhacids, Borders as much as any, this will be a major blow to many who work at Borders, to book lovers whose only local access to product is via a Borders, and to publishers, authors and creators who will lose vast income in those unsold books.

    These kinds of losses devastate the creative community, and the comics community is already facing a crisis from the other end of the food chain via
  • the troubles at Quebecor, printer of almost all of Marvel and DC's comicbooks; this from January 14, 2008 (link compliments of Rick Veitch)
  • when "the struggling commercial printing giant... accepted the $400 million rescue financing proposal saying it is 'in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.'..."

    Then, Rick Veitch sent me the following article as email text on January 17th of this year, saying, "...I think one of their core problems is they negotiate five year contracts with guys like DC and Marvel. Then when the dollar drops out they are screwed." And oh, has the dollar dropped out since (another gift of the Bush Presidency, dedicated to devastating the US economy for their own economic gain). Here's the January announcement:

    Quebecor World fails to obtain new financing
    Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:57am EST

    MONTREAL, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Quebecor World Inc said on Tuesday it failed to obtain $125 million of new financing required under waivers from its banking syndicate and missed a debt payment on $400 million of notes.

    The struggling commercial printer, which is working on getting bank approval for C$400 million of rescue financing from its parent, media group Quebecor Inc, and a private equity fund managed by Brookfield Asset Management, said it did not make the $19.5 million payment of interest due that was due on Tuesday on its $400 million 9.75 percent Senior Notes due 2015.

    The company said the failure to obtain the $125 million of new financing or make the interest payment on the notes do not result in an immediate default on its debt.

    (Reporting by Robert Melnbardis; Editing by Renato Andrade)

    Now, that was written when $1 US = $1.01 Canadian; our dollar has taken a beating since then, further debilitating Quebecor's fortunes.
  • This past week, Quebecor was in the Canadian news again:
  • "The Montreal-based holding company, which was forced into creditor and bankruptcy protection after its banks rejected a rescue plan in January, warned last month that it expected to take a hit of up to $779 million resulting from the difficulties of its Quebecor World printing subsidiary."

    This will have a terrible impact on the comics industry, so hang on to your hats and pay off those credit card debts ASAP, cartoonists.

    * On a cheerier note,
  • Hey, Ma, I made it to the front page of the Brattleboro Reformer!
  • The photo, BTW, was clicked by my sweet, sweet wife Marjory.

    Have a Super Saturday, sap-suckers --

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    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    God Damn George W. Bush

    Five years ago at 10:15 PM EST -- a little over ten minutes from now, five years back -- President George W. Bush got on the airwaves to announce to our nation and the world the beginning of the Iraq War.

    Five years later, with just shy of 4000 US soldiers dead, over 600,000 Iraqis dead (according to John Hopkins University), countless hired mercenaries and corporate hired hands dead, countless wounded on all sides, a traumatized and ill-cared-for population of stateside vets, an over-stretched US military standing serving far longer stretches of active duty than any US military since WWI, and over 2 million war refugees -- not counting, either, the dubious numbers of 'detainees' and 'extraordinary rendition' prisoners of war who are not considered prisoners of war protected by previous US treaties or any standing international law previously recognized by prior US Presidents and administrations -- we are still at war with no end in sight.

    Five years ago, I wrote on The Swamp discussion board at The Kingdom (both long defunct) that this war was wrong, and I angrily castigated those on that board who had stated their support for our going to war prior to March 19, 2003. I could not believe that anyone would want this war to happen. But many did, and many still cling to their support in the face of five years of deceit, chicanery, distortions and lies. Many heated words were exchanged then, but I didn't believe the stated reasons given by our President, Vice President or any member of his staff then. Every stated reason for then going to war has been since proven to be either a lie, a gross distortion of truth, or complete and utter fabrication. Hell, I'm just a hayseed hillbilly in Vermont, and their claims didn't hold water five years ago under what little scrutiny was possible prior to March 19, 2003. They haven't passed muster since; they've all been proven nonsensical. It was all lies.

    March 19th -- another March 19th -- another day that President Bush espouses his shit without change and claims this was somehow a noble act, serving some perceived good.

    God damn George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

    God damn them to hell, as they've willfully damned Iraq to hell-on-Earth and damned America to unnecessary, ceaseless war.

    God damn Fox News and all corporate media that supported the march to war, and have supported the lies and obfuscations and deceit of the American populace ever since. God damn Karl Rove for even conceiving Bush as a credible Presidential candidate. God damn those who rigged, tampered with or boondoggled the election process in 2000 and 2004. God damn those 18 and over who didn't vote in 2004, allowing a mere 30% of the US population to vote Bush and his hyenas back into power three years ago, thus sustaining the war effort with their inaction. And God damn me for not doing more when I could have, should have -- as if any one of us could have done anything to curb this lunacy.


    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Compiling Taboo Tidbits
    Plus: Defying Bush, Heavy Metal 2009, Grimes and Pan

    A catch-up scour of the online news venues for my birth date confirmed that
  • House Democrats are, at last, standing up to President Bush's bullying and bullshit --
  • -- too late to make a difference to our collective plight, alas (or didn't you notice the Bear Stearns calamity, the first of its kinds since the Great Depression -- and what heavily-leveraged Wall Street firm is next to go?), but it's heartening to see any organized resistance from any branch of our government to the President and his cronies. It only took the House's "first secret session in a quarter-century," but still. Given the disastrous consequences of the Bush Presidency we're seeing almost daily now, one can only wonder how deep the holes we've dug ourselves into really are.

  • Other news: Kevin Eastman, co-directing a new animated Heavy Metal movie? Yep, you bet!
  • David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac, etc.) is at the helm, too, with Tim Miller producing; this from Dark Horizons scribe Garth Franklin, Variety, and thanks to Mark Masztal for bringing this to our attention. It's gotta be better than Heavy Metal 2000/F.A.K.K.2 (2000), and I was never enamored with the 1981 original, but it was what it was when it was, and that's something. We'll see if Fincher can shape something more substantial and coherent for the 21st Century HM movie... I wish 'em all luck.

    Taboo 6 was the first to sell out completely; what issue will be forever gone from the SpiderBaby backstock archives next? Cover by Cru Zen.

    Work on the Bissette website continues, with a shot in the arm coming from my at last purchasing a sorely-needed, brand-new computer. This will also result in a major revamp/reboot of this blog, so watch for that, too.

    While awaiting the computer's arrival and set-up, I'm culling my shelves and files for Taboo tidbits of info and art I can share on my new site, and I welcome any published critical pieces or quotes about Taboo anyone might know of. It's been interesting seeing how and where, with hindsight, how comics and media scholars and historians see my humble collaborative efforts on Taboo (co-founded by John Totleben, initially sponsored and funded by Dave Sim, co-edited and co-published via SpiderBaby Grafix with my first wife Marlene O'Connor, then co-published with Tundra Publishing Ltd., concluded with Kitchen Sink Press). Those ten volumes (Taboo 1-9, Taboo Especial) indeed kicked up some dust and have a recognized legacy beyond just being the discarded cocoon for lasting works like From Hell and Lost Girls.

    I recall years ago finding a fat text-only paperback book on the zine culture in a Barnes & Noble that included among its FactSheet 5 et al coverage a very complimentary writeup of Taboo in the context of the late '80s/1990s alternative zine universe; alas, the book was gone when I went back to buy it, and I've never been able to recall what the book's title was. Anyone out there have any ideas what it might have been?

    In the meanwhile, I have found numerous references and complimentary writeups in various books on horror comics and genre literature that are in my home library, including non-English texts I'll be seeking translation help on. For instance, note David Kendall's kind words in Below Critical Radar: Fanzines and Alternative Comics from 1976 to Now (edited by Roger Sabin and Teal Triggs, Slab-O-Concrete, 2002? -- no copyright year listed):

    Taboo 7: 'nuclear family' cover by Joe Coleman.

    "...the ultimate in alternative horror comics was Taboo (founded 1988) -- independent and controversial, it proved that the genre wasn't going to slink away at the end of the twentieth century; that the ghost walk would continue. A third of its nine [sic] anthology book-sized issues were seized by Customs in the UK, Canada and New Zealand, leading to distribution problems for other issues. When comics are finally included in the cultural history of literature this form of censorship will be seen as brave publishers/artists fighting complacent outdated authority. Yet, throughout the 1990s it was simply reported as the seizure of 'obscene material,' disconnected from its artistic content. Evidently, comics are so far under the radar they're not even considered worth defending. Horror comics doubly so.... Indeed, in its long run Taboo managed to bridge the gap between pre-Code horror comics and post-Exorcist trends in the cinema..." (pp. 55-56)

    There's more from David's generous assessment that I could quote, but I'll save it for the website, and welcome leads on or digital transcriptions of any other published Taboo overviews out there.

    Yesterday I mentioned the planned fan site for my old Kubert School pioneer class amigo and vet Taboo contributor Rick Grimes. I should also let you know that
  • Taboo and Rick Grimes fan Ryan Heslin created this tasty non-profit fan site up for Pan & Robert Lelievre.

  • As a fellow fan of all things Danish, I quite enjoyed what I found there, and thought you might, too. I'll quote Ryan's brief, "Pan were a Danish prog/psych/blues rock band from the early 70's which featured the following musicians: Robert Lelievre (vocals, guitars), Thomas Puggaard-Müller (lead guitar), Henning Verner (piano, organ, vibes), Arne Würgler (bass, cello), Michael Puggaard-Müller (drums), and in the group's second incarnation: Jens Elbøl (bass) Torben Enghoff (sax, flute) and Nils Tuxen (steel guitar)."

    Check it out, and enjoy the tunes.

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    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Trailers, Taboo, Grimes

  • More great trailers are up on Trailers From Hell!

  • Let's see, there's juicy vintage previews to John Frankenheimer's 1966 sf gem Seconds, Peter Brooks's brilliant Lord of the Flies (1963), Albert Zugsmith's definitive '50s paranoia epic Invasion USA, Don Siegel's stunning fusion of Ambrose Bierce and sexual Southern Gothic The Beguiled (1971), the body-count creative-killing subgenre wellspring Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) and the long-forgotten but still grand Spanish classic La Residencia/The House That Screamed (1970). The latter is among my personal favorites and came to mind yesterday when I finally got to see The Orphanage (2007) on the big screen, a film that carries the aesthetic of La Residencia into the 21st Century with style.

    Taboo 5 cover by Jeff Jones

    Taboo Backstock Waning... Don't Wait!

  • Here's your 2008 wake-up call that my back issue stock of Taboo is dwindling -- click on my site, and go to 'Store' for listings and current prices.

  • Taboo 6 (with the only published chapter in any venue of Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli's Sweeney Todd) has been out of print and sold out since late 2006, and other issues will be gone for good in 2008, so don't dawdle if you're at all interested.

    Cat and I will be finally installing PayPal ordering facilities to the site by April; for now, a peek at the site for choice and pricing, an email to me via msbissette@yahoo.com and a little back-and-forth to complete your order is the procedure, but that'll be streamlined and push-button easy on the site itself soon.

    This weekend, Taboo and Rick Grimes fan Ryan Heslin contacted me about Grimes's work in Taboo;
  • here's one of Ryan's fan sites (for musician Tymon Dogg), and he's intent upon doing the same for Rick Grimes's comics.
  • Will keep you posted, and overjoyed that Grimes will at last earn the long-deserved attention he and his unique comics creations deserve.

    Have a manic Monday...

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