Thursday, May 28, 2009

Comic Book News, In Brief
(accompanied by an awkward bit of autobiographical over-sharing)

I first heard of Real Deal via the Beastie Boys' magazine, Grand Royal. After ordering a few issues and falling head-over-heels in love with its bizarre blend of blaxploitation and Gary Panter-esque art, I sent a ten question interview to the creators (artist Lawrence Hubbard and writer HP McElwee), hoping to run something about them in my fledgling fanzine. Not only did they respond tout de suite, they answered all of my questions in the angry, over-the-top voices of their crooked pimp characters. I was in heaven! This being the early-90's, though, I was apparently the only one enjoying such blatant badass-ery. The interview was met with a small handful of angry, feminist hate mail (ironically: mostly from men), immediately ranking it as the most popular thing I'd ever done!
Ah, but how time changes everything. It's now fifteen years later, and indie/arty comics publisher PictureBox is preparing to re-acquaint the world with Real Deal's hysterical brand of blaxploitation at this summer's MoCCA. They've even got an interview with Hubbard on their ComicsComics blog. (Sadly, McElwee died of a stroke and heart attack at age 43.)
I'm telling you, if you enjoy those old, 70's Pam Grier/Jim Brown/Fred Williamson flicks, or the Wayans brothers' spoof, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!, or the crime fiction of Chester Himes, or even the surreal comic stylings of Archbishop Don Magic Juan, you'll want to check out Real Deal.

Bonus! Comic Book News for those uptight, upright citizens uninterested in graphic storytelling in the urban milieu:

Sock Monkey & Maakies wunderkind, Tony Millionaire, provided the art for Elvis Costello's newest album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. Enjoy it big, bold and up close here, or wait for the teeny, tiny, iTunes recreation come June 2nd.

Lists! We all love lists! They make order out of chaos and provide us with helpful shopping hints. Timothy Callahan, author of Grant Morrison: The Early Years, delivers a bit of both with his Top 5/Bottom 5: The Best & Worst of Grant Morrison.

Need a conversation starter for your next dinner soiree? Sacred comics cows get branded as barely B-grade beef when negatively reviews A Drifting Life and The Hooded Utilitarian re-runs his unenthusiastic review of Fun Home.

You're invited to a house warming Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel's place! The party takes place July 11 at the Cleveland, Ohio boyhood home of genius Jerry. The house was recently restored to its original appearance thanks to the generous donations of wealthy fans of classic comics.