Some Thoughts on Space Shuttles and Sunsets

Today, I watched with much of my office as the space shuttle Endeavor flew over our building in Burbank. It was an undeniably cool moment. Certainly an exciting one, but there was also a little sadness mixed in there for me.

Not many people know this, but as a young child, I lived for a couple of years in Lompoc, CA. My father found a job in the town, and we moved there with him at the very tail end of the 70s. If you’ve been there, you’ll know that there’s really not much in Lompoc. It’s largely a military town, and my family isn’t a military one, so it was strange that we moved there. But as a very young boy on the brink of the Reagan years, it was about the coolest place on earth.

The reason is that Lompoc is only a few miles away from Vandenberg Air Force Base, which is why it’s a military town. And Vandenberg, for those of you who don’t know, was a huge part of our nation’s then very thriving space program. I remember being woken up by my father on more than one occasion back then to watch various rockets taking off and missiles being launched (which when you’re four years old, is pretty darn cool). I could see them from my bedroom window. From my window! Admittedly, I don’t remember much else from that early in my life, but I remember that.

At such a young age, I had no basis of comparison when it came to things like rocket launches. For all I knew, watching rockets enter space from your bedroom was something that every kid did in the morning, as common as eating breakfast. I didn’t know that this was something that was pretty rare until I got a bit older, and by then we had moved away.

Outside of the various launches, I really only remember one more thing about that time in my life, and it’s largely why I wanted to see the shuttle today. In the seventies, Vandenberg was selected to become the west coast’s launch and landing site for the space shuttle. As far as I can tell, it was never used as such, but at one point while I was living there, they had one of the space shuttles—I’m assuming Columbia, though I can’t say I know for sure—at the base. And at one point, people of the community were invited to come down and see it.

Now, when I say see it, I don’t mean see it from a distance. I mean, go right on up to it and take a look inside, the same way you might look in an old WWII bomber at an air show. The memory’s a bit hazy, but I can recall being held up to get a good peek inside by one of my parents, and I was surprised by how small everything was inside.

Yes, friends, I’ve actually been in the space shuttle, and my reaction was being slightly underwhelmed. I did mention being young and having no perspective, right?

The point is that now I do. I realize that was something fairly rare. Something that by any standard is pretty darn cool. I realize that I was lucky to be there at that point in time, just as I was lucky to be in a place where I could see the Endeavor fly by overhead today. Seeing the space shuttle so up close and personal as a tyke is one of my earliest memories, and while I never harbored serious dreams of becoming an astronaut, I do attribute those early years for my love of science fiction and appreciation and support of our space program.

Soon, it sounds like everyone will have a chance to see the space shuttle the way that I did, and I hope people take advantage of it. But it’ll be a look back in time, not a look forward, which is what it was when I was a child. These things matter when we’re talking about exploration. The point of exploration is to chart new territory. We should always been looking forward when it comes to space.

I realize things change, and privatizing space exploration and travel makes sense. I’m all in favor of it if it’ll get up back up in space. But the space shuttle’s been flying almost as long as I’ve been alive, so seeing it take one last flight is an emotional thing for me. It’s been a very rough flight at time, but it’s always been our link to the stars. It’s been the closest thing we have to an Enterprise or Millenium Falcon, and now it’s gone.

So goodbye, Endeavor, and farewell, space shuttle program! Yes, you didn’t literally fly off into the sunset, but that’s okay. I think when you’ve been to outer space, that’s no longer necessary.

And the new Dark Crystal: Creation Myths writer is…

Yes, I do realize that it’s been months since I’ve updated my blog. I can’t imagine there’s anyone out there who cares all that much, but if I’m wrong, then allow me to offer my apologies. I’ve been extremely busy lately. To tell the truth, I still don’t have much in the way of free time, but it occurred to me that if I don’t start posting updates again every now and then, my blog would start qualifying for Forgotten Friday.

And of course, I wouldn’t be around here to write Forgotten Friday anymore. Quite frankly, I can’t think of something sadder than that.

So what’s been keeping me so busy? Well, there’s a lot I’m not able to talk about right now, but one thing that I can discuss is Dark Crystal: Creation Myths vol. 2. We’re just a little less than halfway through it right now, and I have to say, I think we may outdo the first volume with this one. Vol. 2 deals with the second conjunction, the darkening of the crystal and the emergence of Mystics and Skeksis. We’re telling the story that gives the entire franchise its name and that sets in motion all of the events that lead up to the film. It’s some powerful, dramatic stuff, and fortunately, we have an amazing writer onboard to help us realize it.

Yeah, we have a new writer on this volume, and while it’s been announced, I think it got a little overshadowed by some of the other Archaia news that’s hit this past month. Starting with Vol. 2, Joshua Dysart, the Eisner-nominated writer of Unknown Soldier, BPRD, Conan and Swamp Thing is taking over writing duties, and considering the balance of social themes and action that’s prevalent in our next two volumes, I think Josh is the perfect man for the job. Trust me, you’re going to love what he’s been doing.

Also, on a complete fluke, I came across this review of Vol. 1 earlier today.

First, I certainly can’t take issue with the reviewer’s opinion of the book. If he didn’t care for it, he didn’t care for it. I can’t change that. I believe we’re producing a headier book than many people expect from licensed comics, playing with the idea of mythology and its role in shaping and defining society, and if you’re expecting something more action-oriented, this first volume might come off as a bit slow moving. I get that, and it was something we realized going in. Vol. 1 covers over a thousand years of events, so we knew the reader was going to be somewhat removed from it since there are only a couple of characters who appear in all the segments.

I think we did a good job compensating for that, but you’re all free to disagree. However, what I really don’t agree with in this review, at all, is the idea that comics can’t capture puppetry. It’s a different medium to be sure, but puppets take to comics every bit as well as anything else. Certainly, seeing the work of Jim Henson and his team come to life onscreen is something amazing, and we’re never going to be able to reproduce that, but we’re not trying to. We’re trying to tell a good story through the medium of comic books that just happens to take place in the world of the film. That’s the essence of all licensed comics, and if the creative team’s hearts are all in the right place, it’s successful. It’s not the same experience as watching puppets on film, it’s a different, equally enjoyable experience. If the reviewer didn’t find it as enjoyable as the movie, that’s his opinion and he has every right to it. But it’s not because the medium’s incompatible with puppetry. Trust me, I’ve spent the last eight years bringing the creations of Jim Henson to comics, and the popularity and critical acclaim those books have received is more than enough to prove otherwise.

I should hopefully have some cool new announcements to make here soon, along with some art from Dark Crystal Vol. 2. I also have some recent prose stories that I may be posting. We’ll see. Has anyone actually read the prose stories that are on here?

Have a happy Passover and/or Easter, folks!

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth returns to comics…

So, any Labyrinth fans out there?

I can finally announce that Archaia’s new Labyrinth graphic novel will be hitting stores in 2012. It’s written by the imaginative duo of Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Polly and the Pirates) and Adrianne Ambrose (Fangs for Nothing, Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice). Bringing Jareth and the Goblin Kingdom to life through his amazing watercolors will be Cory Godbey (Flight). I greatly enjoyed working with both Cory and Adrianne on Fraggle Rock, and I’ve been wanting to work with Ted for years now, so this is all quite exciting.

Also, if you’re a Labyrinth fan, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on Archaia’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day offering. They’re releasing a free hardcover (yes, you read that right, a free HARDCOVER) that contains original stories from some of their biggest releases, including Labyrinth.

Their press release is below, if you’d like more information on the upcoming FCBD book. For more information on the Labyrinth graphic novel, stay tuned…

ARCHAIA ANNOUNCES AN ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL HARDCOVER FOR FREE COMIC BOOK DAY IN 2012

48-PAGE, FULL-COLOR BOOK CONTAINING ORIGINAL MATERIAL FROM ‘MOUSE GUARD,’ ‘JIM HENSON’S LABYRINTH,’ ‘CURSED PIRATE GIRL, ‘RUST,’ ‘COW BOY’ AND ‘DAPPER MEN’ TO BE OFFERED COMPLETELY FOR FREE

Los Angeles, CA (December 2, 2011) – On May 5, 2012, Free Comic Book Day Gold Sponsor Archaia Entertainment will make history when it offers an all-ages, original graphic novel hardcover completely for free to fans who flock to their local comic book stores. The 6” x 9”, 48-page, full-color book will contain all-original stories—not reprints or excerpts from upcoming releases — from Mouse Guard, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, Cursed Pirate Girl, Rust, Cow Boy and Dapper Men, announced Archaia President and CEO PJ Bickett.

Officially titled Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories, the offering will be a shining example of Archaia’s commitment to produce high-quality graphic novels, despite its free price tag.

“We’ve offered single issues for past Free Comic Book Days but Archaia’s specialty is producing beautiful, hardbound collections,” said Bickett. “Offering a hardcover book for Free Comic Book Day is our way of helping to drive more potential customers to comic book stores on what has historically been their busiest sales day of the year. But it’s also a way to educate readers on what Archaia is all about: high-quality graphic novel collections of stories they can’t get anywhere else.

“On Free Comic Book Day, be sure to get to your local comic book shop early because this special book is guaranteed to run out fast and become an instant collector’s item!” said Archaia Marketing Manager Mel Caylo.

Below is the complete solicitation for Archaia’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day offering:

MOUSE GUARD, LABYRINTH AND OTHER STORIES
Original Graphic Novel Hardcover
2012 Free Comic Book Day
Retail Price:
Free
Page Count: 48 pages
Format: Hardcover with no dust jacket (paper over board), 6” x 9”, full color
UPC: 811514010689 00311
Country: U.S.

Written by Jeremy Bastian, Nate Cosby, Royden Lepp, Jim McCann, Ted Naifeh and David Petersen
Illustrated by Jeremy Bastian, Chris Eliopoulos, Cory Godbey, Janet Lee, Royden Lepp and David Petersen
Cover by David Petersen

This Free Comic Book Day, Archaia offers readers the chance to experience history in the making with a FREE, gorgeous, 48-page, 6” x 9” full color hardcover original graphic novel featuring all-new material! David Petersen returns with an all-new Mouse Guard tale that’s guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings! Lose yourself once again in Jim Henson’s amazing world of Labyrinth, featuring a fantastical story from Eisner Award nominee Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin) and Cory Godbey (Fraggle Rock). Get a new perspective on Jet Jones in Royden Lepp’s critically acclaimed Rust, with a short story seen through the eyes of younger brother Oswald Taylor. Jeremy Bastian’s acclaimed Cursed Pirate Girl hits the high seas in this whimsical, swashbuckling tale of wonderland journeys and unimaginable dangers. Nate Cosby (Pigs) and Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards) present Cow Boy, a comedy/western that tells the tale of a young bounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. And Jim McCann and Janet Lee follow up their Eisner Award-winning Return of the Dapper Men with an all-new short story that leads into the upcoming sequel, Time of the Dapper Men. Witness the origin of a new, major character! And…the return of 41?!

About Archaia Entertainment

Archaia Entertainment is a multi-award-winning graphic novel publisher with more than 50 renowned publishing brands, including such domestic and international hits as Mouse Guard, Return of the Dapper Men, Gunnerkrigg Court, Awakening, The Killer, Days Missing, Tumor, Syndrome, Artesia, The Engineer, and an entire line of The Jim Henson Company graphic novels, including Tale of Sand, which is based on an unproduced screenplay discovered in the Henson Archives. Archaia has built an unparalleled reputation for producing meaningful content that perpetually transforms minds, building one of the industry’s most visually stunning and eclectic slates of graphic novels. Archaia was named Graphic Novel Publisher of the Year according to Ain’t it Cool News, Graphic Policy, and Comic Related, and was honored with nine 2011 Eisner Awards nominations. Archaia has also successfully emerged as a prolific storyteller in all facets of the entertainment industry, extending their popular brands into film, television, gaming, and branded digital media.

So You Want to be a Manga-ka

Recently, I was putting together some writing samples for a job application when I came across a blog entry I’d written back when I was still editing manga at Tokyopop. Near the end of my time there, all Tokyopop editors were asked to create and maintain a blog on the company’s newly redesigned website. Considering we were being asked to do this while also overseeing a full slate of books each month, not everyone was the best at the maintaining part. However, I saw it as an opportunity to directly connect with fans and hopefully sell some of them on the new original manga titles I was working on.

I tried to update my editor’s blog at least a few times each month, usually with some thoughts on a series I was editing or some preview pages from one of my original titles. However, once I strayed a bit from that formula and wrote a pretty lengthy entry offering some advice to fledgling comic book and manga creators. That entry, which I called “So You Want to be a Manga-ka,” went on to become the second most viewed page on the website. (I believe the most widely viewed page was a poll about which Naruto character was the cutest.)

There’s no longer a tokyopop.com, and most of the content that I’d written for my old blog has evaporated into the Internet ether. However, I did manage to back up my “So You Want” entry, and figured it couldn’t hurt to repost it here, in case there’s anyone out there who may benefit from reading it. While it was largely written for the manga community and uses a few terms specifically aimed at them (like “manga-ka”), everything in it applies to artists and writers interested in creating Western comic books as well. If I were to write an article like this today, I’d use different terms, but my thoughts and advice on what it takes to create graphic novels would be pretty much the same. Enjoy!

So You Want to be a Manga-ka

There are tons of very good blog entries on this website offering advice and direction to aspiring artists. So many, in fact, that the thought of putting together my own never crossed my mind until recently. Even when it did, I initially brushed it off, simply because I’m not sure what more I really have to say. However, after receiving a message from an artist asking me for a few suggestions, I began rethinking the issue. After all, most of the art advice blog entries that I’ve read are written by other artists. As far as I know, none of my fellow editors have chimed in and blogged about what makes a good manga artist. Perhaps it’s worth hearing the editorial perspective if you’re interested in drawing manga professionally. After all, if your goal is to get published by TOKYOPOP, we’re the people you’re going to have to impress.

There is one caveat, however. Editors are every bit as different as the artists they work with. I’m by no means claiming to speak for every editor out there, or even every editor at TOKYOPOP. All of us look for different things when we evaluate a new artist. However, I do believe there are a few essentials that we can all agree on, and that’s what I’m going to write about here. A lot of aspiring artists say they dream of becoming a manga-ka, but what does that really mean? What does it take for someone to achieve success as a manga or comic book creator? Well, it takes a good many things, and after a little thought and a lot of Mountain Dew, I believe I’ve hit on most of the essentials.

1. You must be dedicated. If you want to be a manga-ka, this one probably seems like a sure thing. I’m sure you believe you’re dedicated to your art and manga. But are you really? Each volume of original manga that we publish boasts a minimum of 160 pages of sequential art, and takes most artists anywhere from nine months to over a year to complete. If your manga series runs for three volumes, that’s nearly 500 pages of art you’ll be responsible for creating, and around three years of your life that you’ll be devoting to your manga. Sure, it’s easy to feel enthusiastic and dedicated about your manga when you’re just getting started, but after two years of drawing the exact same characters and illustrating the story you outlined and conceived ages ago, are you still going to be that dedicated to it? Or are you going to find yourself getting bored and wanting to work on other things? You’d be surprised how many people find themselves falling into the second category. Make sure you don’t.

2. You must be fast. As I just said, each volume of manga consists of at least 160 pages of art. If you can only complete a page a week, then it’s going to take you over three years to finish a single volume. That’s not practical. While there’s no hard and fast minimum number of pages you MUST be able to do each week, if you can’t at least manage to complete one volume’s worth of manga within a year, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to publish your manga. As a manga-ka, you need to be able to complete solid pages at a relatively quick clip.

3. You must be consistent. This is every bit as important as being fast (and maybe even a little more so). If you’d like to be a manga-ka, consistency is essential, and it’s not as easy as you may think. Do your characters look different in every panel? Do they look like different people when you draw them in profile or from less-common camera angles? Does their height change throughout the series? Do articles of clothing and jewelry you’ve given them disappear and then reappear throughout your manga? Consistency is essential, and while you’ll have an editor to watch your back when it comes to character details, they can’t do your job for you. Your characters and settings have to stay consistent on every page of your manga, whether it’s page 1 or page 387.

4. You must be technically proficient. Yes, there’s a LOT more to art than just technical proficiency. That goes without saying. However, the importance of knowing art fundamentals should also go without saying. When I do portfolio reviews, I find myself pointing out the same three problems over and over again: anatomy, perspective and visual storytelling. If you want to draw comics or manga, you must–I repeat–MUST know the fundamentals of anatomy, perspective and visual storytelling. How you learn these things can vary. Whether you’ve learned them from art school, community college, books or web tutorials really doesn’t matter to me. What DOES matter is that you do know them and know them well. And practicing them is really the only way you’re going to get to know them, my friends. I realize that refining anatomy and perspective in your art is not very fun, but the end result will be greatly worth it. Quite frankly, knowing your fundamentals is what makes the difference between a professional unpublished artist and someone who’s just doing this stuff for kicks when they’re tired of playing video games.

5. You must be dependable. As an editor, I’m have nearly two dozen books that I’m responsible for. I don’t have time to hunt down creators to ask why their pages weren’t turned in on time. Dependability is essential for a manga-ka, and you’d be surprised how often I’ve found it lacking in the artists that I’ve met. As a manga-ka, you’ll be required to work with your editor on creating a schedule that includes deadlines for all of your pages. It’s crucial that you know what pace you can realistically work at when you do this because once that schedule is agreed upon, that’s it. Those are your deadlines. Your publisher is going to expect you to make them. If you don’t, there are people within the company that your editor is going to have to answer to. Those people are not going to accept excuses from your editor, so you’d better believe that your editor isn’t going to accept them from you. Remember, folks, manga publishing is a business. A company’s livelihood depends partially on the book you’re creating for them. It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’re corresponding with one single company representative, but believe me, there’s MUCH more at stake, and missing your deadlines creates much bigger problems than you realize. And for God’s sake, never pull a disappearing act! As your editor, I’m going to expect to be able to pick up the phone and call you during the day if I need to, or to get a response to any email I send you within a day. I get really frustrated when I can’t. It’s the sign of an unprofessional artist.

6. You must be collaborative. This is one that may not apply to all publishers, but it certainly applies to TOKYOPOP. Our books are not created in a vacuum. While the writers and artists are primarily responsible for what you see when you pick up a TOKYOPOP original manga title, they’re not the only people involved. Your editor’s job is to help you tell the best story you’re capable of telling in the time you have to tell it, and for him or her to fulfill that role, you need to listen to them and take what they’re saying to heart. They’re not interested in rewriting your story or “destroying your vision.” They’re interested in making your vision as strong as possible. That also goes for the designer that puts together your cover and even the reps responsible for marketing and selling your book. Everyone involved in working on your book all has the same goal in mind: they want it to be successful, both critically and commercially. While your opinion is extremely important and it’s crucial to “stick to your guns” when the situation truly dictates it, you’d do well to hear what others have to say.

7. You must be patient. A year ago, I probably wouldn’t have included this one, but things have changed over the past year and the reality of the current market necessitates it. As manga has become increasingly more and more popular, the number of hopeful manga-kas has risen, and with this rise in quantity has also come a rise in quality. That means that we’re no longer in a situation where anyone with talent and a great pitch will immediately catch our eye. Further escalating the problem is the increasing amount of global manga available and in development. Editors throughout the manga industry are busier than they’ve ever been, so patience has become quite a virtue among creators. Don’t be surprised if it takes months to hear back on a pitch you submit to a publisher, if you hear back at all. And don’t be surprised if it takes several pitches, or if you’re told to re-pitch an idea in “about a year.” It’s extremely rare for a proposal to get greenlit entirely as is immediately after it’s pitched these days, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

8. You must be talented and creative. I’ve grouped these two together not because they’re less important than the above traits, but because they’re the two that I feel are already the most widely known. Everyone knows you need talent and creativity to create manga, and you know what? It’s hardly in short supply. Talent and creativity are essential. However, it’s the seven other traits I’ve mentioned here that will allow you to stand out from the rest of the hopeful manga-kas and enter the realm of the professional ones.

Still there? Then you’ve definitely shown you’re interested in creating manga professionally. Now let’s see how serious you are about it. I welcome any comments and questions below from artists, whether they’re published or not. I promise that I’ll do my best to address them. Otherwise, go and create! After all, the first part of making manga is to actually go and do it!

Comikaze!

The first annual Comikaze Expo is this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and I’ve been assisting the organizers with some of their programming. I’ve put together three exciting and very different panels for the show, and I’ve been invited to participate in a fourth. In addition, I have two Fraggle Rock signings at the Archaia booth.

Yes, it’s going to be a busy weekend.

If you’re going to Comikaze—and if you’re not you really should be—here’s where you can find me.

Saturday, November 5th

10:00-11:30 a.m. – Archaia Booth (#1709)

I’ll be signing copies of Fraggle Rock, discussing the upcoming Dark Crystal graphic novel series with fans and singing selections from Les Miserable and Jesus Christ Superstar. Well, maybe not that last bit. (That is, unless you want me to. I mean, it’ll be first thing in the morning, I’ll be signing on my own and will probably be hurting for company. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re actually at the show that early and come by to see me, we can talk about or do whatever the hell you want.)

1:00-2:00 p.m. – Room 4

Darkness Rising: New Voices in Horror Comics

Do the things that once gave us the shivers still have the ability to terrify? How many times can we be startled by zombies, vampires and psychopaths before they lose their shock value? What can a genre that’s existed for centuries do to remain relevant to a generation of readers who grew up watching Freddy, Ghostface and Jigsaw? Join Dan Fogler, R. H. Stavis, Jackson Lanzing, David Server and Nicole Sixx as we discuss the process and practice of writing horror comics and figure out how to offer up a fresh serving of fear in this era of Paranormal Activity and The Human Centipede. If you’re a fan of horror or a writer looking to work in the genre, this is the panel for you!

I assembled the above panel and although I’m not mentioned in the panel description, I’ll be serving as moderator. It’s an eclectic, lively and very bright batch of panelists who are sure to have interesting things to say on the subject of scary stuff. If you’re a fan of horror comics (or horror in general), be sure to stop by.

4:00-5:00 p.m. – Room 306AB

Spotlight on Womanthology

Originally devised by Renae de Liz as a way to give women creators of all abilities a chance to be published, the Womanthology project has become one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever. This anthology graphic novel has gained the support of virtually everyone in the comic book community and the first volume, HEROIC , remains one of the most highly anticipated comic book properties in some time. In this panel, various contributors will discuss the development of Womanthology, their individual roles in the project, and the legacy they are building. With Cat Staggs, Bonnie Burton, Kimberly Komatsu, Jenna Busch, Jody Houser, Amanda Deibert, and Mary Bellamy. Moderated by Nicole Sixx.

I won’t be appearing on this panel (for rather obvious reasons), but I did help pull it together and will be out in the audience showing my support. This will be the largest Womanthology panel held since the project was announced, and will be the first panel to show art from the project. As far as I’m concerned, that makes this one a can’t miss.

Sunday, November 6th

1:00-2:00 p.m. – Room 2

How To Make Comics (Great For Kids!)

Everybody’s talking about how comics are growing up, but have we (gasp!) forgotten about the children? With a bunch of publishers starting kids-oriented imprints and many educational programs introducing youngsters to reading through comics, is this audience finally getting proper recognition? Join Tim Beedle (Muppet Robin Hood), Neo Edmund (Zenoscope’s Silver Dragon books), Kazu Kibiushi (Amulet), Paul Morrissey (Casper the Friendly Ghost) and Heather Nuhfer (Strawberry Shortcake) as they chat about what makes “all-ages” awesome, what titles hooked them in the first place as kids and what
downright fun it is to make comics the whole family can enjoy. Moderated by Tom Pinchuk (Unimaginable).

I was invited to participate in the panel on all-ages comics, and of course I was very happy to do so. I’m a firm believer that we need more comics for kids in the market, and an industry-wide system of support to ensure that they reach the readers they’re intended for. Everyone on this panel is a friend of mine and an extremely talented creator. It should be a good time for the whole family, provided I can remember not to swear.

2:00-3:00 p.m. – Room 306AB

Fraggles, Froud and a Frog Named Kermit: Bringing Jim Henson to Comics

For over 75 years, the work of Jim Henson has entertained and inspired viewers of all ages and won him millions of fans worldwide. Today, the legacy of this creative genius has expanded into a new medium—comic books! Join Tim Beedle (Muppet Robin Hood, The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths), Paul Morrissey (The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock), Joe LeFavi (Fraggle Rock, Return to Labyrinth), Jeff Stokely (Fraggle Rock) and Ian Brill (Farscape) as we discuss and dissect all the ways that The Jim Henson Company and Disney are putting puppets to paper. Learn how classic fantasy movies such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth along with beloved TV shows like The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and The Storyteller have been brought back to life by the writers, artists and editors responsible. Plus, discover how this new medium is allowing The Jim Henson Company to bring life to some of Jim Henson’s unrealized projects, such as the upcoming A Tale of Sand.

I did a version of this panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair, but we have a different crew of panelists this time around, as well as the ability to show art from the books we’ll be discussing. If you’re a Jim Henson fan, you’re going to want to be there, especially if you’re curious about some of the new Henson comics that Archaia will be putting out this year.

3:30-5:00 p.m. – Archaia Booth (#1709)

I’ll be wrapping up Comikaze with a group Fraggle signing in the Archaia booth. I’ll be hanging out with Joe LeFavi, Heather Nuhfer and Paul Morrissey, and we’ll be signing copies of Fraggle Rock while dancing our little bums off to the show’s soundtrack. If you’ve never experience a group Fraggle signing before, they’re usually a lot of fun. And considering we’ll be coming down off of a weekend of con craziness, I’d say anything could happen!

This is Comikaze’s inaugural year, so hopefully you can make it down on Saturday or Sunday to ensure they get a good turnout. LA could use a good comic convention, and the people running Comikaze clearly have their hearts in the right place. Plus, Elvira is one of their special guests. How cool is that?

Hope to see you there!