Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Neil Gaiman, Here I Come...

Prepping and packing this morning for tomorrow night's trip, which will eventually deposit me on Friday morning on Neil Gaiman's doorstep (with Hank Wagner, co-author with Chris Golden of the St. Martin's Press book on Neil and his work). It's still kind of amazing how all this fell together, but I'm really looking forward to seeing Neil again after so long.

Alas, I cannot bring Neil a Coffee Zombee mug, because -- he cannot drink coffee! My last visit to Neil's US home, ostensibly to do an interview with him forThe Comics Journal (which was deep-sixed by TCJ despite our successful attempt to find a sponsor to get us together -- a long story for another time), was plagued by Neil suffering a major pain-in-the-neck, and I don't mean me. Turned out he suffered from a negative reaction to caffeine! Ah, the '90s...

It's been about ten years since we were face-to-face -- he was working on the whole Princess Mononoke English-language dubbing script at that time, and we roomed together at Necon. We've stayed in touch, but I miss the lad.

I'm sure he's a crispy critter from all his travel and constant workload, but shit, I've seen Neil in crispier condition. Another story, another time.

Soooooooooooooo -- winding down the blog for the week -- I'll be back on Tuesday AM, unless I'm able to steal computer time at Neil's -- let me touch on a few things.

* As of this AM, Tim "Doc Ersatz" Viereck and I have rebooted the interview I began with Doc back in the late winter/early spring here on the blog. We're winding down on our Johnson State College 'daze' (where my first-ever comic, Abyss, was funded by Doc) and then we'll be getting into his fascinating years at Dino DeLaurentiis Studios in North Carolina (where he worked behind the scenes on David Lynch's Blue Velvet, Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive, and King Kong Lives, among other films), Douglas Trumbull's complex in Massachusetts (working on the historic Universal Back to the Future ride), and much, much more. I reckon we'll have more to post, with pix, by December, so prepare for a trip down someone else's memory lane around the time the snow might be flying.

Johnson State College campus memories and oh so much more, coming soon...

* Speaking of other people's memory lanes,
  • Center for Cartoon Studies pioneer class alumni Adam Staffaroni is posting photos and narrative of his summer 2007 trip to the great Northwest over on I Know Joe Kimpel
  • (which is still your one-stop shopping site for all things CCS-related in terms of comics, etc.). Check it out! I'll be having breakfast with Adam this morning -- we're working on a project -- so I'll find out more, but keep an eye on the Joe Kimpel blog for Adam's Saga!

    * Today, my Drawing Workshop class at CCS begins a three-session workshop on character design and model sheet design with
  • the amazing Kaori Hamura, who lives here in Vermont
  • and is now into her second year of working with CCS, sharing her animation industry insider knowledge of creating characters and getting down the essentials.
  • Here's a little more one-stop info about Kaori and her career; enjoy visiting the links and seeing her work online.

  • * Speaking of workshops, CCS is still basking in the glow of Lynda Barry's visit last week.
  • More personal responses to Lynda Barry's CCS workshop -- with photos! -- awaits you here,
  • and we're all working on something special following her visit. More on that another time.

    * Well, the fall sales season at the Antiques Mall in nearby Quechee, VT's famed
  • Quechee Gorge Village
  • is winding down. I've been restocking the booth big-time the past week or so, including original art (Cayetano 'Cat' Garza art, original art packaged with Colleen Frakes Xeric-Award winning comic, etc.), more CCS comics (all signed!), collectible comics from the '40s to the '90s, DVDs of all genres with a lot of rare and recently-released cult titles (almost all factory-sealed and brand new) including the Alejandro Jodorowsky classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain, books, a ton of Bissette collectibles (all signed) and much, much more.

    Going...going...gone! This one-of-a-kind Bissette Coffee Zombee mug is now in some happy coffee-drinking collector's home, available exclusively at Dealer booth #653 in the Quechee Gorge Village Antique Mall!

    I've now racked over 800 items in that rather wee booth since April of this year, with strong sales throughout the summer and fall. All earnings from the CCS artist community's work goes to the artists, save for the $1 markup to help cover a portion of the monthly booth rental fee. Marge and I had a pleasant Saturday painting new ceramic pieces at the White River Junction
  • Tip Top Pottery studio,
  • so I'm placing some new Bissette one-of-a-kind original works in the booth next week -- including the first in a series of dinosaur pottery pieces to accompany the Coffee Zombee mugs I've been doing. I'll post photos of the new work here next week.

    So, if you're in the area before Christmas, visit the booth -- dealer #653 -- in the Antiques Mall in Quechee Gorge Village. You won't be disappointed, and be sure to pick up lots of CCS goodies!

  • * There's a fat batch of new trailers with commentary over at my fave online entertainment Trailers from Hell!
  • If you haven't been there since my last post of the link, give yourself an hour or more today to visit 'em and catch up -- if you're at the office, wait till the weekend, Bunkie. No need to lose your job over From Hell It Came or Suspiria previews!

    * And in the big bad world:
  • Followup on the current estimated cost of the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), essential context for spend-and-borrow-to-wage-war President Bush's ongoing vetoes and verbal abuse of Democrats in recent weeks.
  • "The $1.6 trillion figure, for the period from 2002 to 2008, translates into a cost of $20,900 for a family of four, the report said...," to also followup on that rather expansive span I cited yesterday. Again, I'm not sure where some come up with the $43,000 per household pricetag, but I'm sure you'll agree the estimated $20,900 is daunting enough. We're all like Br'er Rabbit: "Oh, please, puh-leez don't throw us to those bloated-budget Democrats, Br'er Bush!"

  • We also have news this morning about the Blackwater investigations: "A Blackwater Worldwide spokeswoman says the company supports "stringent accountability" for any wrongdoing in the wake of a New York Times report that federal investors have found that the shooting deaths of at least 14 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater guards in Baghdad nearly two months ago violated rules of deadly force..."

  • Aaaaaaaand, the Associated Press reports: "The Justice Department has reopened a long-dormant inquiry into the government's warrantless wiretapping program, a major policy shift only days into the tenure of Attorney General Michael Mukasey." Good news, that.

  • Now if only our elected officials wouldn't let AT&T and Verizon et al off the hook for selling us all down the river in this illegal spying program.

    Have a great Wednesday, one and all...

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