Welcome to this week’s blog. Lots of random stuff here as expected, so sit back, crack open a cold one, keep a loaded pistol by your side and enjoy.
JONAH HEX: Pulled this info from a few places today…
“Jimmy Hayward, who directed the animated “Horton Hears a Who!” will make his live-action debut with “Jonah Hex,” the Warner Bros. western based on the DC Comics character. Josh Brolin is attached to star in the film. The character of Hex, known for having the right side of his face disfigured and wearing a Confederate army uniform, was a rough-and-tumble gunslinger and part-time bounty hunter whose adventures always ended in blood. One incarnation of his comic book series saw the Western genre combined with supernatural elements, and it’s this aspect that was featured in Neveldine and Taylor’s script. The studio will likely keep the script, though it’s expected that Hayward will put his stamp on it. “
Well, I can help some of you by building on this. All day I have gotten e- mails from friends asking about the director and the supernatural elements. Justin and I read the script. I went to Los Angeles and met with one of the producers, a good friend from my “ASH” days, Andy Lazar, and even got to look at some of the art done for the film. First thing, the supernatural elements noted in the screenplay work with the main story wonderfully and they are minor…this is a hardcore action western at its heart, with its main focus on Jonah at all times. We really enjoyed the screenplay and the cool thing is, Andy and the crew are fans of the comic…something that I think is important. Now, as far as Jimmy Hayward as director, well…there were a lot of people wanting this gig and from what I hear they went with talent first…the right guy for the job that gets the character and wants to prove it. I clipped this from a post by Matt Brady and I think its an excellent observation because some people are worried about the choice of jimmy as director.
“you could make the same argument for Rob Minkhoff, who came from animation, directed a middling film (Haunted Mansion) and then directed something that showed he knew what he was doing, Forbidden Kingdom. But like others, the Pixar pedigree has me more enthused than turned off. As a studio, Pixar is still unparalleled at storytelling. As long as we’re playing this game, why not get into the time machine and make the same argument for Jon Favreau and Iron Man again as people did? Also, given that Batman and Dark Knight were largely action/SFX pieces (and Memento and Insomnia were not), you could say the same (and people did) about Nolan and the Batman franchise.”
I’m not worried one bit about Jimmy Hayward. He has a fantastic first name and he comes from an animation background, which means he understands character, structure and especially storytelling. Honestly, right now, some of the finest directors in the business are in animation. I’m excited to meet him soon, excited he is on board and hope he enjoys all the hex comics he will be getting from me. This is thrilling news and that they will be shooting this spring makes it even cooler. More to come on this…
PLACE YOUR BET: A few days after Christmas, I went to meet my brother Tony [one of 4, including me] and his wife Debbie at the hard rock casino in Tampa and had a nice N.Y. deli style lunch and caught up with what’s going on in our lives. We actually had some good sandwiches in a place called the GREEN room…funny thing, no green to be found except for the lettuce on the sandwiches, and not called a green room for the traditional reason, a place where actors would warm up before a performance, but a good time was had by all and its good to see what I will look like 3 years from now. We look a lot alike. After, they stayed to gamble and Amanda and I headed out, but I stopped by one slot machine called “ Wheel of Fortune” and tried a number of times to feed it a five spot. Didn’t work, so tried another machine, and no luck there, so I got up to leave when a vendor took my five and gave me a new one. Well, at that point I fed it into the machine, got 4 wheels in a row, and spun a bigger wheel and walked away, with only one pull, with $253.25. Good karma for not running over a turtle earlier that day. Well, I did what no one really ever does, and I cashed the ticket in and left the casino a winner. Of course, I gave Amanda half.
THE READER: Saw The Reader a couple of days ago between workdays and really enjoyed it. Kate Winslet is just perfect in this sad story about a woman who has an affair with a younger man in Germany in the 50’s. I think people were misinformed by the advertising on this one… but trust me, it’s interesting, sexy, and again, another view of life after World War 2. I really respect Kate’s choices of films and will usually see anything with her in it. I also have to note that she always seems to get naked in her roles and, hey, I’m a guy and I enjoy that.
VALKRYIE: Bryan Singer does a really great job of creating a truly suspenseful action film around the actual event surrounding one of the major attempts to assassinate Hitler in VALKRYIE. I happen to be one of the few people out there that isn’t bothered by tom cruise in a film…in fact, I will usually see anything he is in because the quality of the film and the people around him he chooses are always tom notch in their field. Anyway, Tom and the rest of the excellent cast create a really suspenseful film around events whose outcome is already known to us. No small feat and I for one am really glad to see Bryan going back to his roots and taking a break from superheroes. He really shows off here how much of an excellent filmmaker he is. Props to you, dude.
THE I-PHONE AND THE I-FART: http://ifartmobile.com/
If you have an I-phone, and it’s important to make your best girl giggle at least 10 times a day, well, I couldn’t have spent a better 99 cents anywhere. Basically it’s a fart machine for your phone. Spin the wheel and get a surprise fart or pick from the list of over 20 different sounding farts, hold the phone behind someone and …let her rip! I did a little reading and in one day, over 40,000 people downloaded this application. I have had a number of cell phones since they came out, but the accessibility and easy use of the I-phone is simply the best. It’s worth every single penny and is endless hours of fun. Ask anyone that knows me, I’m not really a tech junkie on any level [ask Brandon Peterson first, he will tell you] but man, the I-phone is addictive.
INVASION: So, Amanda and I are spending most of our time these days here in Florida and especially the winter for a number of reasons, number one being the weather. It’s been around 74 degrees for the past 3 weeks and I have to tell you, I don’t miss the snow, the freezing subways, the pale skin, depressing early gray sunsets and digging out my car one bit. The thing about living near the beach though is the wave of Canadians that come down here to vacation. I heard on the news that Clearwater is one of the top 3 vacation spots for those wonderful people that come from America’s hat. Now, what does that mean to me? Not much except for more traffic and crowded beaches and restaurants…and terrible drivers. No, its not Canadians in particular, it’s anyone that is someplace they have never been before… and add to that a half million old ladies and men over 78 that white knuckle it at 12 miles per hour and it makes for some fun driving. I am part of the problem as well because being a true new Yorker, I drive like everyone in front of me is about to win my grand prize in an Indy 500 race…and an additional problem is the amount of strange animals who seem to wander out into the middle of the road for no apparent reason other than to get to the other side. I had to dodge a turtle the other day with Amanda screaming, “Don’t kill it” in my ear. Don’t worry; I managed to leave him untouched. A few months ago I was driving down my street and a “racer” snake a few feet long was crossing the street when a hawk flew out of nowhere and snatched it up before I has a chance to flatten it. Poor thing looked like it was in shock. I used to call Justin gray daily and tell him of my Floridian animal adventures…here are some highlights: two giant swarms of African bees [not the killers, just the hurters] flying squirrels, turtles, armadillos, a family of raccoons I had to relocate because they were pooping on my roof, wood eating squirrels, rat snakes that sun themselves outside my kitchen window, a Bob-cat…just a cat we named Bob actually, all sorts of ants that aren’t so cute as DreamWorks would like you to believe, and so on. Add to that I am located close by to a place called alligator lake and you get the picture. It’s funny; all we had in New York are rats with rabies and dogs with guns.
NEW YEAR’S: Low key was the theme this year. I am surrounded by neighbors around my own age and younger with kids and all of them, surprisingly, are well rounded charming people that welcomed Amanda and I to the neighborhood the day we got here and now they are a part of our lives. I know from experience this is a rare thing. In Brooklyn, I am equally blessed with some good people down the hall, but none that I actually hang out and do dinners with like this crew. Anyway, we all decided to keep it local for new years and went to a neighbors place for food and drink. Around 11pm we all went to my yard where, the week before, I dug a pretty decent size hole and we had a wonderful fire going. It was about 58 degrees out and perfect for a fire. We put chairs and blankets down and we had a nice surprise: Darwyn Cooke and his gal Marsha showed up from driving down from Halifax to hang with us for a while 15 minutes before midnight. All together, it worked out perfectly; no one had to drive, and we brought in the new year the way it always should be, with good friends.
COMMISSIONS: Most conventions, Amanda and I sit together and I baby-sit the people waiting to get a commission from Amanda. Now, I personally can’t draw anything like Amanda, even on my best day and the thought of taking someone’s money and doing a sketch that might not be fantastic just freaks me out, so I don’t do them. I used to do free sketches for people that sort of sucked, but I would always see these little sparks of magic on eBay going for a decent amount of cash and that would bother me. I know it shouldn’t, but it bothered me because I thought the sketch sucked and now some poor soul has to actually pay to have it for their collection. I get around 10 e-mails a week asking me for free this or that and things for charities and I do my best if its for a good cause, but I don’t do commissions on any level. Now…why I am saying this is because I am more of a fan boy than most of you reading this…that’s right, I myself am one of those guys that gets artists to do commissions. I don’t do it at cons usually; I just do it through the Internet with artists that offer that service.
JIM FERN, a Fables artist and good friend, does them on a web site that offers direct commissions called http://comicartcommissions.com/ if you really want any character you love rendered in a really cool way, see Jim’s samples. I think Jim’s work is just amazing.
I have, in the past year, commissioned pieces by Jordi Bernet [not doing this anymore I hear] Steve Rude, Eduardo Risso, Anna Merli and a bunch of others. Another great site and with a good friend running it is www.redsectorart.com and reps a few excellent artists there. You can get commissions by Steve Rude at www.steverude.com and they are pretty amazing and worth every penny. Like most art collectors, its great to get a treasured page of your favorite book, but these days the prices for those are super high so a lot of my focus has gone to these sites and getting characters I want to look at rendered by these super talents. I just figured I would turn you on to this and it’s a lot easier than waiting on line at a crowded convention. With all these sites, there are times the artist isn’t taking requests, but check back time and time again, because they do open up. Tell them I sent you. It will help.
MY FRIEND STEVE BUNCHE: When I first started doing background assists for my high school buddy Mark Texeria in the early nineties, Marvel Comics had a big bullpen with a lot of super-talented people that worked on assorted jobs to make the books, and especially the comic art, camera ready to go to print. Word balloon placement, art fixes, typo fixing and so on were all part of their daily day-to-day jobs, this all before computer as well. In the middle of this chaos was a guy named Steve Bunche. A multi talented guy that, in his head, has the knowledge of 50 die-hard film and art fans. He is generous beyond words to those around him, making it his job to know what your likes and dislikes are and always suggesting a film or a record or a book that , I swear to god, no one else on the planet knew about. He was honest to a fault about what he read and saw and I personally found him refreshing on so many levels. To this day if he reads something I wrote and likes it he tells me. If he doesn’t, he simply doesn’t bring it up…lol, which I know is his way of saying he thinks it’s “ass”. How respectful!
When I was writing the Daughters of the Dragon series with Justin, all I kept thinking about is Steve. Steve will approve of this scene, Steve will like he tone of the book, Steve will dig the way Kari is drawing this…because I knew he loves those characters and deep down I knew if Steve approved, well…the hell with the sales. I knew if Steve said it was good, in the end ,others like him would discover it. Even now, he is one of three people that reads Hex whose opinion I want to hear all the time to make sure we are staying on course.
Steve and I bonded on many levels, our love of obscure B movies, comics and the group DEVO [yes, I love Devo] especially. When Steve left Marvel [bad move, Marvel Comics, you should have never let him go], he left behind a huge gap that was never to be filled…trust me. Steve went on to work at vertigo and other places, but he has not left my life thank god. The other cool thing about Steve is that he grew up and went to school with my girl Amanda Conner in Connecticut. They were best friends and continue to be to this day. Watching them together is so wonderful to me because they both have so much in common and really, no one beside myself can make Amanda laugh so hard and really understands what makes her tick. They “get” each other and having Steve in our lives just makes us both that much richer, cooler and happier.
Now, to the point finally…Steve has a blog that I admire and is quite simply, amazing. Why a company just doesn’t hire this guy to run their Internet news is beyond me, but I want everyone reading this to give it a shot. Right now, I am blogging, but it’s crap compared to the excellent observations and way of words Steve has. Many a time I have found myself digging into his articles and trains of thought and wishing I could express myself like Steve does. This guy notices everything and credits everyone and I challenge you to find a more insightful dissection of all things entertainment. Please, do yourself a favor and click on the link and give it a read and leave a comment. Trust me; this site will become one of your favorites instantly. http://buncheness.blogspot.com/
NASTASSIA KINSKI: I loved her since Tess and Cat people and now you can love her too. Found this photo on the Internet …enjoy.
That’s it for now. Next time my review of some other stuff and maybe I will even talk about actual comic books, but don’t bet on it. Please post here as I will be answering any questions an as well…leave your opinions and insights as well. Thanks for all who helped me nail my snow globe search and thanks for the movie suggestions.