Wednesday, December 22, 2004

'Tis the Season to Be... AWOL XVIII

Tomorrow, I head home for the holidays. That means that Media Diet may be quiet until I get back to Brooklyn. That doesn't mean that Media Diet is dead (long live Media Diet!). It just means that it's resting. Worst case scenario: Media Diet will be back up and running Jan. 4 or so.

May you and yours have the happiest of holidays.

Institutional Corrections

From Harper's, January 2005, p. 7:

"The location of Nevsky Prospekt was misidentified in the December 2004 issue ["The Anti-Profiler," Reviews]. It is in St. Petersburg, not Moscow. We regret the error.

It is not in Petrograd or Leningrad, though.

From Utne, January-February 2005, p. 11:

In our 16th annual Utne Independent Press Awards nominations (Nov./Dec. 2004), we mistakenly referred to Cabinet magazine as "Cabinets" and Alternatives Journal simply as "Alternatives."

Singular? Plural? Who dare to says?

From U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 27, 2004, p. 6:

"Conquering Our Phobias," [December 6] included an incorrect area code for Virtually Better, a source for help. The correct number is (404) 634-3400.

Sufferers of telephonophobia, arithmophobia, and numerophobia are particularly encouraged to call.

The Free-Range Comic Book Project XLIII

This is an installment of Media Diet's Free-Range Comic Book Project:

Spectacular Spider-Man #226 (Marvel, July 1995). Writer: Tom DeFalco. Artists: Sal Buscema and Bill Sienkiewicz. Location: On a bench at the Nassau Avenue subway station.

For more information on this project, please refer to this Media Diet entry.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Book Blurbage

What in the world is Davy Rothbart, publisher of Found magazine doing contributing a jacket blurb to Carol Dunitz, Ph.D.'s book Louder Than Thunder: A Contemporary Business Parable?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Magazine Me LV

I dare you to read this magazine while in public -- or on public transit. And while you're at it, check out this comic book.

[Thanks, David and Paul!]

Definition of Success

US News & World Reports reports on Jimmy Carter's recent book-signing tour of Sam's Clubs and Costco's, including the following quote:

"Anybody who buys my books is a good person."

Researchers have previously studied the characteristics that made Carter a leader. Me? Off to the bookshop!

Comics Go to College

Egon was on the ball with this back in September, but I just got my copy of the New School's Spring Bulletin, so it came as news to me: Ariel Schrag's teaching a course!

Graphic Novel Workshop NWRW3521
13 session(s). Thurs, 8:00-9:50 PM, beg. January 27. $510.00
This course leads students stage by stage through the process of creating a short graphic novel. The emphasis is not on drawing but on the narrative. The course begins with analysis/critique of narrative comics, and then leads students in individual projects through the cumulative stages of outline, rough sketches, final penciling, lettering, inking, and editing. Mainly the course focuses on the "rough sketch" stage of the graphic novel, in which we discuss narrative point-of-view options, depicting content through page layout, narrative pacing and the "grammar" of comics, composition of the page and within panels, incorporating background into narrative, and symbolic vocabulary. The effects of final drawing/inking style on narrative is discossed. Student work is critiqued in class, and there are individual meetings with the instructor. We study works by Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Renee French, Chris Ware, David B., Joe Matt, Joe Sacco, Adrian Tomine, Scott McCloud, Chester Brown, Herge, Julie Doucet, and R. Crumb.

The bulletin includes a detail from what appears to be a comic Schrag's created to help explain how she tells stories. Should be a cool class!

The Free-Range Comic Book Project XLII

This is an installment of Media Diet's Free-Range Comic Book Project:

Lady Demon #1 (Chaos!, March 2000). Writer: Len Kaminski. Artist: David Brewer. Location: On a bench at the Nassau Avenue subway station.

For more information on this project, please refer to this Media Diet entry.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Geek TV: On Earthsea

The last two nights, I've made a point to be home by 9 p.m. to watch the two-part Sci-Fi Channel Earthsea miniseries. While I enjoyed it, I kind of miss having friends around who also freak to the geek TV to talk about the program with -- and I felt a little let down at the end of last night's completion.

I mean, come on, the Nameless Ones were let loose on Earthsea five minutes before the program ended. That meant that the final solution to the age-old problem -- the entire quest -- was arrived at and realized in less than five minutes. Amulet (wham), key (bam), thank you, ma'am. A little too clean for my tastes. I may have even liked another two-hour segment in which some aftermath had to be managed.

That said, the predominant feeling I came away with is that I'm not so sure that the newfound mainstream appreciation for all things epic, wizards, and trolls is a positive for the fantasy genre -- in print or visual media. Why? Because when so widely disseminated and distributed, when so largely in the popular discourse, the very mechanics and methods of the genre become overly transparent and, well, trite.

Thanks to the Lord of the Rings, we've got hairy people wearing capes. There's a jocular, chubby comrade. Always a boat at some point. A ring, an amulet, or a key. The ancient, long-buried evil. The self-test. The horrid-voiced evil being who may or may not be related to the hero. And thanks to Harry Potter, we've now got the jealous rival. The esteemed magical university. The hoary, heroic wizard instructor (a tweak on Gandalf's hoary, heroic wizard mentor).

A challenge: Make an epic fantasy not involving hairy people, capes, chubbiness, boats, rings, amulets, keys, tombs, quests, jealousy, and magic camp. Can it be done? I think it can be.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Blogging About Blogging LXXVIII

I'm considering getting rid of the email-notification mailing list Media Diet currently offers. Policing the comment spam -- deleting the queued-up offender messages -- is overly taxing time-wise, and in these days of RSS and such, it seems there are better notification options. Barring any vociferous protest, I will stop using the mailing list in the next week-plus. Just a head's up.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Gone Are the Days of the Gentleman-Athlete

Phil Mushnick's Equal Time column in today's New York Post slams Sports Illustrated for its sometimes-jokey coverage of recent sporting escapades. Calling SI "once sports' most significantly right-headed publication" -- as opposed to what other magazine, perhaps? -- Mushnick mouths off about SI's snickering about the Monday Night Football/Nicolette Sheridan brouhaha, a photo shoot of an Olympic sprinter (earning a comparison to ESPN magazine's "gangsta style"), and a profile of a skateboarder.

"Has he ever hung out in front of a 7-Eleven, making life miserable for the storeowner?" Muchnick wonders. Huh. Sir, SI is a magazine published for sports fans. If you expect to revel in the era of the moustachioed pugilist, barehanded baseball, and the dandy horse, you were born in the wrong century. I'd argue that SI is higher brow than the average sports fan and athlete. And dismissing skateboarding: What's the old saying? "When golf is outlawed, only outlaws will have Big Berthas"? What do you think would happen if all the public basketball courts were closed? Tennis courts? Little League fields?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Free-Range Comic Book Project XLI

This is an installment of Media Diet's Free-Range Comic Book Project:

Wildstorm Halloween '97 #1 (Image, October 1997). Writers: Christopher Golden, Peter Gutierrez, and Tom Sniegoski. Artists: Ed Benes, Ryan Odagawa, and Chris Warner. Location: In the gate area of the Central Wisconsin Airport, Nov. 28.

Disavowed #3 (Homage/Wildstorm, May 2000). Writers: Brandon Choi and Mike Heisler. Artists: Tommy Lee Edwards and John Lucas. Location: On a bench at the Nassau Avenue subway station, Dec. 2.

For more information on this project, please refer to this Media Diet entry.