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Posted by: Matt Bergin on July 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm

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Posted by: Matt Bergin on April 30, 2010 at 9:41 am

Via The irredeemable Shag:

Some of you are already aware of this event, some of you have kids, others probably know people with kids.  This is a great event across the country worth checking out tomorrow.  Also, please consider passing it on to anyone with kids.  SATURDAY, MAY 1, IS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

What is “Free Comic Book Day” you ask? Free Comic Book Day is an annual event where participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. How cool is that!

So stop by your local comic shop on Saturday, pick up something you’ve never read before FOR FREE, and expand your mind. Click here for a complete list of all the free comics that are being offered in conjunction with Free Comic Book Day.

If you have children/nephews/nieces, be sure to bring them too. Many of the comics are specifically geared towards getting children interested in comics (see the list below for kid-friendly comics being given away free on Saturday). Most comic shops really make an effort to make it a family-friendly event. Some shops this year will feature face painting for kids, comic/Star Wars character appearances, giveaways, writer/artist signings, and more! 

Some titles available for FREE this Saturday include:
·       Iron Man/Thor
·       War of the Superman #0
·       Archie’s Summer Splash #1 – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Doctor Solar/Magnus
·       G.I. Joe #155 1/2
·       Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Shrek & the Penguins – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Toy Story – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Sonic the Hedgehog – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Bongo (Simpsons): Free-For-All – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Irredeemable #1
·       DC Kids Mega-Sampler – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Owly and Friends – KID FRIENDLY!
·       Green Hornet #1
·       Love and Capes #13
·       Iron Man: Supernova
·       The Tick #1
·       Marvel Heroclix: War Machine Figure
·       and much, much more!

Visit Shag’s site, Once Upon a Geek, a Comic Blog Elite favorite, for more on FCB and geekiness squared.

Comic Blog Elite

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John Krasinski Is NOT Captain America*

Posted by: Matt Bergin on March 23, 2010 at 9:07 am

*But Johnny Storm is!

Sorry Jim, but according to Screenrant, Aint It Cool News, and, no doubt, a million other sources by now, Chris Evans has been offered–and has accepted–the role of Captain America in Marvel’s upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America.

Instant reaction: Boo–I was genuinely intrigued by the idea of John Krasinski in the role, or maybe a relatively unknown “handsome young arian” to weild the sheild.

Secondary reaction: Chris Evans WAS Johnny Storm in the two Fox-produced Fantastic Four movies. The guy nailed everything about that character except the hair color, but still, he was so perfect in the part that hair color was the only gripe.

But is this a GOOD thing for Captain America?

Johnny Storm is a cocky goofball hothead prankster who finds the will to man up when danger calls. Steve Rogers is–in the comics anyway–an earnest, noble runt who wants desperately to serve his country in World War 2, but he isn’t up to snuff. But he has such heart and a willingness to do ANYTHING to be a hero to his country that he signs up for the super soldier program. He is psysically limited, but a hero from the start. And the super soldier serum simply gives him the physical goods to back up his spirit.

I’m sure the movie’s story will be a little more nuanced than this, but will Evans’ performance?

I’m a big Captain America fan–original, Ultimate, Bucky-Cap, and everything in between–so I hope this works. And I’d even say I am a fan of Chris Evans’ work–Push was entertaining, he was great in the FF movies, and I even liked that silly cellphone thriller he was in a few years ago. Marvel has been aces so far, but they’ve also been casting A-list actors. Like him or not, Evans is B-list all the way…at least until he gets that big A on his forehead.

Fingers crossed that this will be good. Luckily, the bar for Cap on film has been set…low.

Comic Blog Elite

Today’s Awesome Is Brought to You By the Letters A-Z

Posted by: Matt Bergin on March 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Artist Neil Cameron seasons his awesome alphabet soup with plenty of geekiness.

Click the image above to visit Neil’s site and view each pic in full.

This and 25 more pics like it await:

Comic Blog Elite

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Your New Desktop Background: Dark vs Darth

Posted by: Matt Bergin on March 19, 2010 at 8:12 am

Shades of the old Buzzscope Battleground Showcase. D on D action: Darth Vader locked in mortal combat with a lightsaber-swinging Batman, by Dave Dorman, via the Internets. Not really a thing, but it should be.

If you’re not into sci-fi, you may prefer this rendering of The Dark Knight vs a Great White.

That guy will fight anything!

Comic Blog Elite

Meanwhile, at the Comic Blog Elite: High Five! Comics

Posted by: Matt Bergin on March 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm

One thing everyone wants in a blogger is enthusiasm for the blog’s subject matter, but it is just natural for fanboys and fangirls to gravitate toward the curmudgeonly nit-picker role more often than not. The CBE has plenty of dedicated fansites–shrines to characters or creators–where there is nothing but love shown to the focus, but finding a blogger who covers all corners of the comics industry writing reviews and analysis with genuine excitement and love for his or her content is something to be cherished. Now few things say excitement or enthusiasm quite like an exclamation point in the middle of a website’s name…except maybe a high five–which is why High Five! Comics is getting the CBE Spotlight treatment.

So what if it takes a team of three geeks to muster this ellusive enthusiasm I seek? And so what if this trio often claims to be drunk when they come up with their content? Blame it on the a- a- a- alcohol, if you must, but the High Five trio get the job done. Three writers make for a reliable schedule of regular posts, often playing off one another, but generally just doing their own individual things. Readers get a nice mix of straight-up comic book reviews, opinion pieces, and–for those missing curmudgeonly nit-picking–the occassional rant.

Hold a hand up high for the team of Johnny, Maggie, and their neighbor Rob, and check out their blog. They won’t leave you hanging.


The Comic Blog Elite Top 10 (for March 4, 2010)

Comic Blog Elite

@PaleyCenter’s LOST Panel Wrap-Up

Posted by: Matt Bergin on February 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

The Paley Center For Media hosted a Lost panel, featuring series masterminds Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff, along with several cast members (including Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson) and production staff. PopCultureShock couldn’t attend the February 27th event, but, thanks to these fine Internets, we were able to follow the @paleycenter livestream of the event.

Vague, mysterious, confusing spoilers ahead.

You have been warned.

  • Damon says the show’s “Daddy issues” were inspired by “Star Wars”.
  • The mystery of whether Desmond was actually on Flight 815 will be answered soon.
  • Mr. Eko was supposed to have a longer, more prominent story in the show but the actor wasn’t interested in continuing on.
  • There will be no chronological DVD release of the show.
  • In the other universe Jack is married to someone we’ve met before.
  • “It’s a thing we might do on a street corner or in a church basement”-Michael Emerson on he and Terry O’Quinn playing hit men in a show.
  • “For me it was finding out who the hell I am! I’ve never known what I was doing”-Nestor Carbonell on his favorite moment thus far.
  •  Greg Nations is the go to guy for “LOST” mythology because he keeps the show’s Bible and answers questions for the writers re: backstory.
  • “I don’t think any of us are smart enough to answer that!”-Edward Kitsis on a fan’s question re: time travel and string theory.
  • Carlton Cuse said that if Malcolm David Kelley hadn’t grown up, “Walt” would absolutely still be seen on the show, and they are trying to find a way to get the “Walt” character back into the show in this final season. (Only a few episodes left to shoot, so…)
  • Is Locke good or bad? The producers just asked this to the audience, 10% think good, 90% think bad or are indifferent about it.
  • “Every single episode of ‘LOST’ is broken in a room with all of us”-Damon Lindelof
  • “Put people in a dark room, spin them around for a minute, punch them in the face and say ‘You’ve just had the lost experience’”-Damon L.
  • There is a lot of talk tonight about why there aren’t monkeys or apes on the island.
  • “No”-Terry O’Quinn on whether or not they’ve ever been able to pitch stories.
  • They refer to the show we see as the “Iceberg”
  • Water is the final word on this season. 
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John Krasinski IS Captain America*

Posted by: Matt Bergin on February 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm

*According to artist Josh Adams, that is.

John Krasinski, known to most as Jim, the smirky, self-aware nemesis to Dwight Schrute and romancer of Pam on NBC’s The Office has made the short list of actors rumored to be up for the role of Captain America in Marvel’s upcoming film The First Avengers: Captain America.

“WTF?” you might think, while staring directly into the camera blankly. WTF indeed! Sure, he’s tall and blondish…and he played an old-timey football player that one time…but can Krasinski really go from playing straight-man to Steve Carell to throwing Captain America’s mighty shield?

Seeing this Krasinski-inspired drawing of Cap by Josh Adams has me thinking yes. Yes he can. God bless America!

Roger & Me

Posted by: Matt Bergin on February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am

I started No Cure For Comics as a distraction. The blog was my outlet during the summer of 2009, when I sat in isolated recovery from surgery and radiation therapy for thryoid cancer that had been diagnosed earlier that year. I got better, I suppose, though I’m not cured. I’ll be taking medication for the rest of my life, and I am almost certainly due for another round of radiation in the coming months. But I’ve been well enough to return to work full time, resume my regularly scheduled living, and (good for me, bad for my readership) no longer require the therapeutic diversion of constant blogging.

Still, at my more leisurely current rate, I write about comic books, movies, nostalgia, and sometimes my cancer. These areas of interest are encapsulated in a person dubbed an “Essential Man” in an article I consider essential reading–a profile from the March 2010 issue of Esquire of iconic film critic and thryoid cancer survivor Roger Ebert.

I grew up watching At the Movies and Siskel & Ebert. Back then, I knew Ebert simply as the fat one from the bickering balconeers reviewing the weekly film releases of the 80s and 90s. After the skinny one, Gene Siskel, passed away in 1999, Ebert seemed to shed this old caricature image and take on a more scholarly voice in his reviews (or maybe it was there all along, and I was the one who matured)–even while remaining one of the few mainstream film critics to respect geek interests and appeal to the sensibilities of the Comic Con crowd (I didn’t mature too much to not think this was awesome of him). After his initial illness–thyroid cancer, diagnosed in 2002–Ebert began to transcend his and Siskel’s thumbs up/thumbs down gimmick. When he lost the ability to speak (lost his entire lower jaw, in fact!) due to aggressive radiation and metastasized disease, Ebert stepped out of the televised spotlight, but hardly missed a beat with his written reviews. He proved that, once you got past the bantering “Siskel & Ebert” (and later “Ebert & Roeper“) schtick, the man is a critical genius–a master of cinematic opinion and appreciation. And even though he can only give a proverbial tongue lashing these days, he weilds a deadly pen and types with lethal keys. The way he has continued living his life despite disfigurement and disability is, of course, amazing as well.

The article, written by Chris Jones, has been making the Internet rounds all week, and for good reason. Ebert’s story has all of the ingredients of great cinema–for which the iconic critic would surely (at least under more objective circumstances) give an enthusiastic “thumbs up.”

Ebert’s story inspires and terrifies me. It is insane to me that he has the will and the enthusiasm to continue like he has, a testament to how a strong mind and spirit can outlast and outshine a broken body.

But Ebert’s tale also scares me, because, while I’d love to follow his lead should my own disease take me down a similarly horrifying road, I think his celebrity (the celebration of him, not just the fact that he has money and can get a seat in an exclusive restaurant) and a full life’s worth of accomplishment before the disease are what gives him his strength today. I am no icon. I’m not even a famous caricature. I think I’d take a legacy as the fat one, just to have a legacy at all. Ebert’s example makes me even more desperate to find my own voice, like he did his, before I lose it.

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We of the comics Internet tend to view posting press releases as “content” as cheap and lazy, but some press is worth releasing until the bigger story surfaces. So, on that note, I’m posting this release from Brooklyn art gallery Jack the Pelican, which is holding something of a farewell exhibit this Saturday that is sure to pique the interest of comic book connoisseurs and sequential scholars.

“It breaks my heart to announce Jack the Pelican is closing our space at 487 Driggs Ave. In Williamsburg. It is our hope to re-open some months in the future at another location. But where and when, we cannot say. But we are saying goodbye for now on a bright note, with one final show that is dear to our hearts…

by anonymous, ca.1921

Opens this Saturday
February 20, 7 – 9pmThis is a beautifully drawn, 40-page comic book about an artist, his seedy existence, his community, and his struggles. A single narrative, extending over 30 years, it was completed anonymously in 1921, which makes it the earliest document of its kind. What we’re showing here are the original drawings in watercolor and ink.

This comic book belongs to Jack the Pelican and all our artists and also everyone who struggles against the odds and the day-to-day adversities of being an artist. It’s central message is Just Keep Pecking Away, and it’s dedicated to “the down and outs, the never-was-its and the also-rans (sic), in the Year of our Profits 1921. In the early days of Jack the Pelican, we invited all our artists to read it. It was akin to an initiation. We always called it “The Sacred Comic Book.” It’s not really much of a mission statement for a gallery, but it was the closest thing we had. We are happy now to have this last chance to share it with all of you.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E03E5DD1E3AE733A25756C0A9659C946596D6CF . {{Link broken}}

In the early 1920s, he escaped from New York to make Canada Lake his permanent home. He continued making art for the rest of his life, but seems to have abandoned his restless pursuit of Art & Fame.

We’re not presenting it as a book. The pages were never bound. It came to us as a stack of drawings. We’re hanging them in sequence on the wall, running through all four of the gallery’s spaces. The first thing that visitors will note is that it looks way too modern to have been drawn in 1921. The pen and brushwork is too fast and furious. Plus, it has a smelly, underground quality that makes it feel very contemporary. This could be Williamsburg now. Those kids—now long dead—could be you and me. What’s more, it appears to have been influenced by R. Crumb and fired by the imagination of Dr. Seuss—and it’s almost even as curmudgeonly as William Powhida—even though it comes many many decades before all of them.

Around 1910, our hero,’ as the artist refers to himself, goes to an art gallery that guarantees fame.’ He is duped. Inside, he finds a note from Art and Fame, whom he’s been chasing for years: Sit down & make yourself at home,” it says, “Will be back in 100 years. This strong point of view is consistent throughout. He is skeptical of those who run the art world and many of his peers whom he sees as selling out. But he remains darkly optimistic, an idealist to the end. And, he loves his dog. And it’s 2010 now, so…

That this work was authored and drawn anonymously is no accident. It is emphatically anonymous. Song without Music, reads the cover, Whistled to any old tune; Composed, sung and illustrated by the author; Published by the same guy. The protagonist is fantastically obsessed with art. He runs off in his youth to Tahiti to make paintings. He wins the Great War for his country (as an artist). At first, we thought the whole thing a satirical work of fiction. (Oh, and it never was published, nor even intended to be, in the traditional sense. Nor was it ever even seen by the public, until now.)

But no, it’s him. It all turns out to be an autobiography. The incidents and the people he describes are real. More than a few went on to brilliant careers. We know this because we were able to figure out his identity.

His name is Charles Nicholas Sarka (1879 1960).

Sarka’s uncanny skill in capturing the attitude and character of people and places in quick flashes of pencil and watercolor has long been widely admired. In the first decade of the 20th century, he traveled extensively by steamship to paint on-site in diverse locations around the world, including Egypt, Morocco, the Hawaiian Island, the West Indies, Tahiti and Mauritania, and Southern California. Well known among fellow artists of the time as Sarka of the South Seas and dubbed in 1966 by Pacific Islands Monthly (Sydney) as the American Gaugin, he was long associated with that region and wrote a novel based on his experience there, Tahiti Nui, available in the Archives of American Art. (Despite the Bowery dialect he uses in his comic book, he was a literate man.)

Among his traveling companions were George Overbury Pop Hart, an older and better known artist, whom he depicts throughout The Sacred Comic Book as the crusty old mustachioed sign painter, always carrying a pot of beans. The two lived modestly in their travels with their income mainly coming from watercolor portraits of yachts they painted in port. They apparently also did a lot of fishing for dinner.

Sarka was celebrated in the 1960s as the ideal of an itinerant ‘hobo’ artist. It has been noted that his inability to sit still was probably a detriment to his career and that as a result of constantly moving, much of his work has been lost. A serious painter, with an active exhibition record, Sarka nonetheless became better known as an illustrator for books and magazines, an occupation not uncommon for American artists in this period. He was successful at it for many years, doing covers for the foremost periodicals of his day, including Collier’s, Leslie’s, Scribner’s, Cosmopolitan, Everybody’s and Harper’s. He was popular. There’s even a contemporary coffee-table book that features him as one of the greatest American artists of the era. The New York Times gave his exhibitions mixed reviews, on the whole commending his adventurous spirit and talent, while criticizing his slapdash approach.

The Sacred Comic Book is set in New York, where Sarka moved from his native Chicago in 1899 to work as a staff artist for the New York Herald. His close friend and mentor was Walt Kuhn, American painter and organizer of the 1913 Armory Show. Another close acquaintance was Rudi Dirks, renowned creator of the Katzenjammer Kids. Sarka shared a studio with Rudi’s brother Gus (who killed himself there with a revolver). Sarka built his shack on Canada Lake, near Gloversville, in the summer of 1910. In 1914, a terrible fire in his Gramercy Park studio destroyed much of his work. It was humorously reported in the New York Times.

To see what a character this man truly was, download the pdf from the NY Times, Published: March 5, 1914 )

In 1963, following his death, a show of his Tahiti watercolors sold out, with works going to major American Museums, including the Metropolitan, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney. The only one to get into private hands went to then First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

His watercolor technique is still much admired. In the American Art Review in 1999, James Crawford wrote a feature about him, entitled The Watercolor Tradition of Charles Sarka. Sarka loved to draw and paint and his friends looked forward to his letters, pouring over with elaborate, humorous sketches. His friend, naturalist artist Paul Bransom declared that throughout his long life in art, “Sarka never drew a bad line.” Several of his colorful missives were featured in 2000 in the Smithsonian’s Art of the Illustrated Letter, which identified the genre as one of the forerunners of the comic book. Nothing in that show, however, gives the merest hint of what visitors to The Sacred Comic Book will encounter.

Please come and help make Sarka famous.”

This sounds like an amazing, inspiring find, which the gallery had hiding in plain sight. If any PCS readers make it to the exhibit, please report back on this sacred event!

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