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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Life for Virginia, AFTER Santa Claus...and the Power of the Printed Word!



One of my friends rather astutely asked me, after I reprinted the famous "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" letter from the New York Sun Times a few days ago, if perhaps Virginia O'Hanlon perhaps felt lied to later in life, about the existence of Santa Claus (which I don't think she really was, you know).

AND, after a little research, on my side of the checkerboard, It seems that she did NOT at all feel deceived, and led a life herself of helping, and answering questions for, children-- first as a school teacher and later as a principal, and attributes the Santa Claus letter as helping her find a good direction for her life.

Not to mention that the letter itself is one of the most reprinted newspaper articles of the last 100 years, read by who knows how many millions! That's pretty powerful stuff!... This goes to show what I strongly believe--that the printed word is of immense importance--in shaping our present and our future, and has the capacity to inspire generation after generation.

I find it of particular interest that the writer Francis Pharcellus Church was a journalist during the Civil War...the first conflict that was truly recorded both in print, and for the first time in pictures, bringing home to the average person, in an unavoidable way, the horror and toll of war and the brutality of death. The fact that he could have seen so much tragedy and still found it within himself to write such inspiring words, full of love and hope is a profound revelation...

I would have liked to have met him...

It also makes me remember, that here at the brink of our digital age, we must find ways to archieve what is important to us. In whatever medium that turns out to be...

Now, for example, It's hard to imagine what a Sarah Berhardht play would have truly been like. What it would have felt like to be in that room? It was art for the moment, hanging in the air for a brief time, never to be relieved or replayed in exactly the same way. A finite commodity. Only so many genies in the bottle. The same can be said of a Caruso concert, which despite a few scratchy recordings, can never be reprised. Lost to us forever. So, what would it have never been like to have a copy of Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer," or Charles Dicken's "David Copperfield" ...or to have Virginia's letter in a digital file that was deleted because a storage system was at capacity.

It's inconceivable to me.

But that's me.

I love nothing more than to see a post card from 1860, or hold a first edition with tipped-in Arthur Rackham plates, or take a peak at the declaration of independence when in Philly, or see the hand written directions for the famous Jam Cake that Maw Maw--gone nearly 7 years now-- wrote down for me. I remember it being near seven layers thick, with icing made of coconut that was so stiff that you could mortar bricks with it, and it tasted AMAZING.

You know...I never imagined back then, the day when she would NOT bake one of those during the holidays, and it would NOT be sitting under that glass domed cake dish... I still can picture that room in my mind, the table, the people, my Dad and I making sure we had our mincemeat pie, quite happy that nobody else liked it. :-) The debate of whether the dressing had too much sage or if we should put raisins in it or not (I like the raisins).

But I see her recipe, and I remember it all.

It's nice to have it down on paper... I'm sure you have things like that in your own life. Little scarps of paper that may mean nothing to anyone else, but mean the world to you...It's always a connection to our past. And the archieving of our history.

The power of the printed word... And that's only what a recipe can do!

With the power of the printed word, we have the ability to inspire, to influence, to provoke thought, to shape consciousness, as no other art form has the power to do.That is not something that should be casually lost, in my opinion. And I am a big advocate of finding a way of meshing the wonders of instantaneous communication with the beauty of a lasting legacy, finding a way to keep the artifacts of our human experience.

It's something to ponder.(Maybe even write about!)

:-)

And now, here is more about the fate of our Virginia, as I do my little part to spread her legacy into new forms of communication.

--R.




Here's more:



History

In 1897, Dr. Philip O'Hanlon, a coroner's assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia O'Hanlon (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed. Virginia O'Hanlon had begun to doubt there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he did not exist.

Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." He unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philosophical issues behind it.

Church was a war correspondent during the American Civil War, a time which saw great suffering and a corresponding lack of hope and faith in much of society. Although the paper ran the editorial in the seventh place on the editorial page, below even an editorial on the newly invented "chainless bicycle", its message was very moving to many people who read it. More than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.

In 1972, after seeing Virginia O'Hanlon's obituary in The New York Times, four friends formed a company called Elizabeth Press and published a children's book titled Yes, Virginia that illustrated the editorial and included a brief history of the main characters. The book's creators took the book to Warner Brothers who eventually did the Emmy award-winning television show based on the editorial. The History Channel, in a special that aired on February 21, 2001, noted that Virginia gave the original letter to a granddaughter, who pasted it in a scrapbook. It was feared that the letter was destroyed in a house fire, but thirty years after the fire, it was discovered intact.

Some people have questioned the veracity of the letter's authorship, expressing doubt that a young girl such as Virginia would refer to children her own age as "my little friends." However, the original copy of the letter appeared and was authenticated by an appraiser on the Antiques Roadshow in 1998. Its value was appraised by Kathleen Guzman, formerly of Christie's—now with PBS' Antiques Roadshow—at $20,000–$30,000.


Virginia's identity

Virginia O'Hanlon's full name was Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas. She was born on July 20, 1889 in Manhattan, New York. Her marriage to Edward Douglas in the 1910s was brief, and ended with his deserting her shortly before their child, Laura, was born. Virginia was listed as divorced in the 1930 United States Census.

Virginia received her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College in 1910; a Master's degree in Education from Columbia University in 1912, and a doctorate from Fordham University. Virginia was a school teacher in the New York City School system. She started her career as an educator in 1912, became a junior principal in 1935, and retired in 1959.

Virginia O’Hanlon received a steady stream of mail about her letter throughout her life. She would include a copy of the editorial in her replies. In an interview later in life, she credited the editorial with shaping the direction of her life quite positively.

Virginia died on May 13, 1971 in a nursing home in Valatie, New York. She was buried at the Chatham Rural Cemetery in Chatham, New York.


Legacy

Every year, Virginia's letter and Church's response are read at the Yule Log ceremony at Church's alma mater, Columbia College of Columbia University.

The story of Virginia's inquiry and The Sun's response was adapted into an Emmy Award-winning animated television special in 1974, animated by Bill Meléndez (best known for his work on the various Peanuts specials) and featuring the voices of Jim Backus and Jimmy Osmond, and in 1991 it was adapted into a made-for-TV movie with Richard Thomas and Charles Bronson. Another remake, a CGI animated story called simply Yes, Virginia, was first aired in 2009 on CBS with Beatrice Miller as Virginia, Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Alfred Molina providing the lead voices. In New York City, local television journalist Gabe Pressman has recounted the story each Christmas for the past thirty years.

In 2003 "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" was depicted in a mechanical holiday window display at the Lord & Taylor department store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.


In 2009, The Studio School in New York City, honored the life and legacy of Virginia O’Hanlon. Janet C. Rotter, Head of School, announced the establishment of the Virginia O’Hanlon Scholarship, speaking passionately about The Studio School’s commitment to offering need-based scholarships for students of merit.

Virginia, depicted as a young cartoon character, is part of Macy's 2010 Christmas campaign and appears in their 2010 holiday commercials, inviting children to stores to write "Yes Virginia Santa Letters," and at the Macy's department store on 34th and Broadway in Manhattan as the theme for its 2010 holiday windows.


(Above: Francis Pharellus Church, the writer of the Virginia letter; Virginia O'Hanlon, Circa 1965. All history content taken from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes,_Virginia,_there_is_a_Santa_Claus)

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus"...and I concur.


I have always liked this lovely response to a little letter in the New York Sun, over 100 years ago... Though we can be cynical --as we are increasingly more these days-- and declare that the world is going to heck in a handbasket (what does that mean anyway?), times are the toughest that we (our generation anyway) can remember, and the future uncertain (it always is, because guess what.... it hasn't been written yet)--all of which are true, I lament and admit--

BUT, my friends, I still maintain that one of the greatest attributes of the human race is the ability to use our imaginations, to believe in things we cannot see...and to love.

Call me sappy and sentimental, because of course, I am, but I always have hope...another wonderful human attribute...I haven't given up on us just yet... :-)

And I maintain, always, that there is so much good to remember, and to be thankful for, really there is. Sometimes it nice to cut off the noise, and the sound bites, and the negativity, and sit and reflect, and perhaps read, a response-- to a little girl named Virginia...

Much love to you all during this holiday season, and wishing us a wonderful 2011.



--Renee



___________________________________

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.





"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'

"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.

"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."



VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.



Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.



Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.



You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.



No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Operation Smile: You Can CHANGE a LIFE! Think about the power in that statement for a moment....






Hi Ya'll, and Happy Holidays!

You know, there are so many worthy charities out there, and each year at Christmas, especially, instead of buying alot of useless stuff, most of it made in China, I try to focus on also putting aside money and giving to charities that are doing real good in the world.

This year, I'd like to submit to you for your consideration as well: Operation Smile.

It's hard to imagine just what this organization does, but with a donation of only $240 dollars, you can literally "change" a life. Stop and think for a moment just what a powerful statement that really is?

My friend has been giving to them each year (he also sponsors a child in Ecuador through another organization, which is also something I'm considering). But when he showed me the catalogue for Operation Smile recently, it would be hard NOT to feel for these children, needing the most basic of care.

Operation Smile focuses on children that are born with clef palettes and clef lips (as well as helping in other ways), and sends doctors all over the world to correct these malformations that not only lead to ridicule in their countries, but lack of self-esteem, and in some cases, no chance to ever get out of the cycle in which a twist of fate has put them. You can even pick if your surgery sponsorship will take place in Africa, Latin America, Asia... or don't specify and let the doctors decide the greatest need...

I know times are lean these days. But how often can you say that $240. can CHANGE a life? Some of us throw that away on needless things every month. On clothes that we still haven't worn. On shoes that don't fit. On expensive dinners we don't need....

But if you can't afford the $240 there are other ways to help. For instance:

$60 buys warm blankets for 12 children

$25 can be donated to the "most needed fund" (going to the medical mission where it can do the greatest good to provide free surgeries to children in desperate need.)

$30 buys post-op care kit for 1 child

$100 buys Smile bags for 150 children--(Volunteers hand sew these bags and fill them with donated toys, stickers and a mirror, so a child can see their new smile for the very first time. Your gift will help ship these bags to cheer up hundreds of children after surgery.)

$30 buys antibiotics for 10 children

$30 buys pain medication for 12 children

$50 can be donated to the surgery fund--(Often on medical missions, the doctors and nurses encounter children with severe burns or dental problems. Your gift will correct these medical conditions and give young patients a chance to experience freedom from what would have been a life-long burden.)

$100 can equip 1 pre-surgery station


$25. can equip 1 exam station


$50 buys IV starter kits for 25 children

$30 buys feeding bottles for 6 babies ( I almost stopped and wasted that on Sushi tonight! Geez!)

$75 buys surgery supplies for 1 surgery

$30 buys hospital gowns for 5 children

Or if you have more money, for $600 you can sponsor an operating table for a day, helping a total of 5 children!!


Here is some information from the Operation Smile website:

How Your Support Helps:


Every dollar counts. Every gift helps change a hurting child's life.


Your gifts transform lives:

• For a little as $240, you can help provide a cleft lip or cleft palate surgery. This surgery can change a child's life forever and can take as few as 45 minutes.

• Contributions in excess of surgical costs are invested into our sustainability programs, which empower our partner countries to treat more children on their own.

• Operation Smile has more than 4,000 credentialed medical volunteers ready to donate their time and talent. Your gifts help send them to countries where desperate children are waiting to be healed.


Your gifts help teach and train healthcare professionals:

• We have a worldwide network of teaching hospitals and university partners, including Duke University, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn State Hershey Medical Center and many others.

• Your gifts help support our life-support training programs worldwide. Today, Operation Smile is authorized by the American Heart Association to function as a global and mobile International Training Organization.

• Our annual Physicians' Training Program (PTP) brings doctors and nurses from around the world to the United States for advanced training in their specialized fields.


Your gifts build awareness and leadership:

• Our International Foundations and U.S. Chapters raise funds, recruit volunteers and raise awareness on a grassroots level.

• With your support, Operation Smile continues to lead the way in effective, safe surgeries worldwide through medical diplomacy and research.

• 600 Operation Smile Student Clubs in the United States and around the world build awareness, conduct grassroots fundraising and educate students about values of commitment, leadership and volunteerism.

• The World Care Program brings children and young adults to the U.S. and other countries for surgeries that are too complicated to be performed during in-country missions.

_____

For more information, go to:

http://www.operationsmile.org/about_us/how-your-support-helps.html



_______________________

Renee here again...

So, those are my two cents, and the charity I'm focusing on this year.

And, yes, again, I know there are many wonderful charities. And I support several of them. I also check them out thoroughly to make sure the most money goes to the most good. What I love about Operation Smile, is that they tell, as per above, in a quantifiable way, just where your money goes!

What a wonderful way to support the advent of a healthy child in your life, ... or to remember one that isn't, or to commemorate someone who has been an inspiration to you. I have people in all of the above categories... and for me this year, I will honor them this way. :-)

And with that, a final wish, for a healthy and happy holiday for us all.

Best,

Renee

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Nick Cardy: The Artist at War" -- From Eva Ink Publishing


I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this new book from Eva Ink Publishing--"Nick Cardy: The Artist at War."

Not only do I consider this book a wonderful tribute to legendary DC Comic's artist, Nick Cardy, but the historical significance is what I love as well. It's a part of all of our histories....

I've always been a World War II buff.

I was that weird kid in Jr. High and High School, who spent most of her time in the library, reading books about the African Campaign and the military strategy in Europe. Why, at Westlawn Jr. High, my 9th grade history project was editing, directing and compiling a 2 hour slide show on the "war to end all wars." I particularly enjoyed writing the script. A lovely lady -- a death camp survivor, whom I'm sure is long gone now.... provided some wonderful narration. I think my teacher, Coach McGregor, was blown away, and ended up keeping the project to show to later classes. I won the History Award that year. LOL

As you can see, I REALLY am, and have always been, fascinated by history.

So, it was no wonder that on a recent visit with Nick, when he brought out a little binder, about 3 inches thick, and invited me to take a look, I was blown away by what I saw--- original sketch after original sketch, chronicling Nick's time in the army during World War II-- from the time he was drafted, through basic, to being dropped, perhaps woefully unprepared, into out and out conflict and mayham!

And this was the original book!

I understood the significance of that... This was Nick's outlet during the war, to take himself out of whatever was going on around him. To chronicle his life with art, in lieu of a camera. His artist's eye WAS the camera. This was the book that was in his pocket during quiet times around a mess tent. This was the book that was in his pocket when buildings were exploding around him...This was the book that was with him when he watched friends die.

And it's all here...

It was a foregone conclusion. I HAD to do this book.

What I love about this project, as I'm sitting here holding the original binder, is how it unfolds like a movie... slowly... the day to day of basic training, the mundane acts of getting your hair cut, or washing your face to go to mass.... plopping down totally exhausted to sleep on a thin canvas cot--surrounded by people, but separated from those you love.... from there, the pages escalate to the young man being shipped overseas, and almost immediately being dropped into towns in Belgium enduring relentless shelling, enemy tanks approaching around the corner, buildings exploding like paper firecrackers, reduced to rubble....and finally, Nick's own exit from the war.

Long before Nick Cardy became lauded as one of the best cover designers to ever work in the comics industry, this was part of his story...

It is one man's journey....

I am so pleased to present this sketchbook in it's entirety, complete with Nick's own commentary, in a hardcover 6x9, 128 page book. Also included in the deluxe edition will be a 30 minute DVD interview with Nick talking about his experience.

In these pages, you can see the same attention to movement of the human body and knack for page design so apparent in all of Nick later illustration work.

So, I invite you to come on this journey--because again, that is surely what it is--one man's journey...during a horrible war...echoing perhaps the experience of millions.


Best,

Renee



________________________________________



Here is the Diamond Solicit for ordering:




"Nick Cardy: The Artist at War"

Hardcover

128 pages




Signed Edition with DVD:

978-1-4507-4725-7

$39.99



Sketch Edition with Original sketch by Nick Cardy and DVD:

978-1-4507-4726-4

$150


"Renowned cover artist and illustrator from DC Comic's golden years, Nick Cardy now in his 90's, has been drawing his whole life. And thank goodness for it, as he contributes now to not only our comics history, but to our history as a nation as well. Before beginning his career in comics post World War II, Nick was one of our young men shipped overseas to take part in the “war to end all wars.” Without benefit of a camera, Nick did what he did best-- carrying a sketchbook and documenting his time in the war from beginning to end. The humor and the horror. What we have at the end of the book, is a chronicle, one man's journey, that speaks for millions. Each sketch and painting accompanied by Nick Cardy's own commentary. A must have for fans of comic art and history as we hear it from the mouth of an industry legend, and see it with our own eyes."




This book can be ordered from Diamond directly or from Eva Ink Publishing: evaink@aol.com

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Glowing Golden Reviews for Maryland Gallery Show!



"The Comic Book Art of Michael Golden" came to a close at the Mosely Gallery in Maryland on December 2nd, 2010. But what an amazing show! Our thanks to everyone at the Mosely Gallery for a fantastic retrospective of Mr. Golden's work.

The Mosely Gallery is associated with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the only state run university that offers classes and degrees in sequential art. Check 'em out.

--Renee

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swimming with "Whale" Sharks!



On the way to Wizard World Atlanta, I was happily waylaid to go swimming with 4, 30foot whale sharks. I have to tell you, it was unimaginably incredible. At least after I got use to the other sharks in the tank... That's right! The swim also included numerous Sting Ray, Manta Ray, Hammerheads, Sand Tiger Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks (my nemesis) , Sawtooth Fish, and so much more. An unforgettable experience.

Part of my on-going pursuit to enjoy whatever city I'm in! :-)

Here is a video of the adventure featuring Matt Driscoll, myself and two nice people we'd never met before, celebrating a birthday!

If you are ever in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium is one of only three aquariums in the United States that even HAVE Whale Sharks. So, even if you don't want to go into the water, visit the aquarium anyway. It's a wonderful place. For example, when I wasn't in the water, I was glued to the otter tank and petting baby sting ray and sharks!

And now to the tape:

video

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Golden to Conduct FREE Storytelling Class at Wizard Atlanta!





Golden and Scott There to Make Your Holiday Shopping Easier!
:-)


Atlanta, GA-- Get out of the crowded malls with folks fighting over sweaters people are going to return anyway, and come to Wizard World Atlanta for some not-so-last minute Holiday shopping, ya'll. And while you are there, drop into Saturday's "Storytelling with Michael Golden," and hear some tips-- both for story and for art--from one of the best in the business.

Wizard World Atlanta is taking place December 4th and 5th at the Cobb Galleria Centre, 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday.

Headlining the guest list is artist Michael Golden, known for his stellar storytelling work in the comics industry on such books as "G.I Joe," "The Nam," "Micronauts," "Batman Family," "Avengers," and far too many to name here. Golden is also the co-creator of numerous characters including Rogue (of the X-Men), Bucky O' Hare, and Spartan X to name a few. Golden's work will shortly be seen on projects that include "Spawn 200," "Two Worlds," and a short story featuring the Rocketeer. Upcoming covers include work on the new graphic novel "Serial," as well as the cover of the children's book, "Kerry and the Scary Things."

Michael will be at Wizard Atlanta both days of the show, and will have prints and new books available for holiday shopping. Get one signed for that special person on your list! He'll also be doing a limited number of sketches at the show.

In addition, Michael will be offering a FREE class in storytelling on Saturday morning! This is a shorter version of Michael's paid course! Don't miss it! The tips that Michael has to share are for anyone interested in any type of storytelling medium.

Joining Michael at the show will be Eva Ink Studio's member Steve Scott, fresh off a popular issue of "Batman Confidential," Steve's work has been seen on numerous books including "Indiana Jones," "X-Men Forever," "Kyle XY," "Marvel Adventures Hulk," "She Hulk," "Razor," "JLA," "The Phantom," and much more. Not only that, but Steve is the only artist tapped to do any work relating to the "Batman Dark Knight" movie, and thus the only artist to draw a sequential art rendition of Heath Ledger as the Joker, in that now famous turn. Being no stranger to media-tie in's, Steve's work has also been featured on the television show, "Smallville."

Steve too will be at the convention both days, offering prints and sketchbooks to the public, as well as sketching original pieces. In addition he'll be offering original art pages for sale, including pieces from "Batman Confidential".

Writer, editor and colorist Renee Witterstaetter will also be with the guys from Eva Ink Artist Group. Renee will be signing copies of all her comics, as well as her recent books "Excess: The Art of Michael Golden," and the new children's book "Kerry and the Scary Things."

Other guests joining Michael Golden and Steve Scott at Wizard Atlanta include: Henry Winkler, Adam West, Burt Ward, Greg Horn, Mike Grell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Arthur Suydam, Joe Linsner, Tony Harris, and many more.

In short! Mall....what "mall?"

For more information on Wizard World Atlanta go to: www.wizardworld.comFor information on Eva Ink Artist Group, Michael Golden and Steve Scott, go to:www.evainkartistgroup.com


(Artwork Above: Michael Golden at the Mosely Gallery in Princess Ann, MD; Cover to "Kerry and the Scary Things," by Michael Golden with story by Renee Witterstaetter; Star Trek piece by Steve Scott.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Mark Texeira Sketchbook Available for Ordering!


Our new sketchbook on Mark Texeira will be in stores in December. If you haven't ordered your copy, it's not too late. You can let your comic store or Diamond know now. ISBN numbers are below. The book is available in signed and sketch editions. You can also order directly from: evaink@aol.com



Best,

Renee



_________


"Mark Texeira: Nigthmares and Daydreams" Sketchbook


From Master Illustrator, Mark Texeira, take a journey on the dark side as we explore many of Mark's covers and sketches with a decidedly "bent" viewpoint--from his creator-owned character Pscythe, to monsters and babes--full of brawn and beauty-- this is volume doesn't repeat any art appearing in any other retrospective. A must have for any fan of fine art! And, who knows, you might even find a few of the cast showing up in your own slumberland. Great for Halloween and Beyond!


Artist(s): Mark Texeira

Bio notes: Renee Witterstaetter


Hardcover
Full Color
48 Pages


Signed Edition:ISBN: 978-1-4507-1734-2

$39.99


Sketch Edition:ISBN: 978-1-4507-1735-9

$150.

(Featuring an original sketch by Mark Texeira)

"Spider-Man:The Musical," Hung UP, but NOT Hung OUT to dry!


So....

"Spider-Man: The Musical" went into previews last night. Apparently one of the performers has hung out on a wire for 6 minutes while the performance stopped. That would certainly disrupt someones enjoyment of the show, but never the less, I am very curious about the production and plan to go see it. Glitches and all. But, hey that's what previews are for-- to iron out the glitches.

I think "Lion King" is still one of the most amazing things on Broadway, or anywhere (if you haven't seen it, GO), and everyone thought is was going to be a stinkaroo! Boy were they wrong! It's one of the longest living shows in town now. So I have alot of faith in the inventiveness of Taymor. And of course the Elton John music was fitting and superb. As for Spidey.... I'm not a huge Bono fan or The Edge, who provide the music, but I'll give it a chance.

At any rate, I'm happy to see something opening on Broadway that isn't some silly juke box musical that charges $85 or more per ticket and doesn't deliver even on the level of a high school musical (Rock of Ages, I mean you, sucka).

And with the wire work and areal fights, it seems something akin to Cirque du Soleil as well! That would be fantastic!

So, I applaud the new Spider-Man musical, and I'll certainly review it when it hits. Never say never. It "could" be our next Lion King, and if so, I'll be in line more than once.

--R.


_______________




Despite Technical Problems, 'Spider-Man' Mega-Musical Rocks Broadway
(http://www.popeater.com/2010/11/29/spider-man-musical-tech-problems/?ncid=webmail)

Launching the biggest show in the history of Broadway can't be easy – especially at a time when the Great White Way has been having a particularly rough go of things. But after years of delays and financial troubles, the makers of 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' are forging ahead with the mega-musical, whether it's ready or not.

Directed by the visionary behind the Broadway reimagining of 'The Lion King' and with a full-length score by two of music's most iconic figures, Bono and the Edge from U2, 'Spider-Man' is as big a risk as has ever been undertaken in theater, and the stakes are high, according to '60 Minutes': "The danger and risk with 'Spider-Man' the musical is that to stay afloat, to keep running, it has to be as big a hit as Broadway has ever seen."

Despite being pushed back repeatedly over the last several weeks – the show's first planned preview was set for Nov. 14, after having already been delayed from January and February of this year by longstanding production issues – and following word from sources close to the production that it was far from finished, the first preview performance of 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' went ahead on Nov. 28, but it was far from the flawless spectacle Bono, the Edge and director Julie Taymor likely wanted. Instead, the production had to be stopped five different times to fix technical problems, causing its running time to bloat to just under four hours.

For her part, Taymor has long said that troubles like these come with the territory of mounting such a large and elaborate show. Asked by '60 Minutes' correspondent Leslie Stahl if she was nervous, Taymor – who also directed 'Frida,' the Beatles musical 'Across the Universe' and the forthcoming Shakespearean adaptation 'The Tempest' – said, "If you don't have fear, then you're not taking a chance."


Taymor, Bono and the Edge have been taking chances on 'Spider-Man' for years. Bono and the Edge began working on music for the show not long after the release of director Sam Raimi's 2002 big screen adaptation of the comic, and script readings for the Broadway production reportedly began as early as 2007. But staging the show they wanted turned out to be far more complicated – and expensive – than the creative team thought it would be.

To deliver the show financers and producers expected, Taymor dialed everything up a notch and no expense was spared. Known for her vivid and intense visual style, Taymor filmed sequences for giant LED screens that were built into the already-elaborate set of mechanized skyscrapers, and highly-controlled, if still dangerous, high wire aerial acrobatics became integral parts of the production. (Two acrobats were injured during rehearsals, one of whom broke both of his wrists.)

It's no surprise then that sometime last year, the production ran out of money. The delay created scheduling conflicts for one-time leads Evan Rachel Wood (Mary Jane Watson) and Alan Cumming (Green Goblin), who left the show and had to be recast. After their departure last summer, Taymor announced her official cast: Reeve Carney (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Jennifer Damiano (Mary Jane), Patrick Page (Green Goblin) and Natalie Mendoza (Arachne).

Before Sunday night's preview performance, producer Michael Cohl told the audience, "I'm hellishly excited, and I can't believe we're actually here and it's actually going to happen." He also asked the audience for patience should the performance be forced to stop as the crew worked through technical problems, and with one notable exception, Cohl got what he asked for. During the second act, when the show was again stopped for a technical problem, one woman exclaimed, "I don't know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today – I feel like it's a dress rehearsal." The unhappy woman, not the production, was booed by the otherwise understanding audience.

The New York Times notes that most of the flying sequences "went off without a hitch" and delighted the children in the audience. However, when the aerial stunts failed, it revealed just how reliant on technical perfection this iteration of 'Spider-Man' truly is, as the show was forced to grind to a complete halt each time it had to contend with a high-wire problem.

The worst of these came at the end of the first act, when Spider-Man was suspended motionless several yards above the audience for several minutes, forcing the act to end prematurely. Unlike film, there are no second takes in live theater.

Being suspended in mid-air with nowhere to go is a feeling the show itself is pretty familiar with. It was nearly shuttered in 2009 before Cohl, a longtime concert promoter and producer who has worked previously with U2, signed on and managed to raise the additional $30 million needed to save the show.

After all is said and done, 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' will have cost $65 million to bring to the stage. It's the most expensive Broadway show ever, with a budget of more than double the former record-holder, 'Shrek: The Musical.' This 'Spider-Man' also comes with an additional $1 million in weekly operating costs.

Like the singing acrobats who fly through the air in the Foxwoods Theater, 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' has a history of defying the odds. But it still has to contend with its biggest foe yet: the recession. With the economy still hurting and unemployment high, will the show be able to fill enough seats to recoup its massive cost? The delays have already pushed the show's official opening to Jan. 11, a traditionally weak time for ticket sales and a few weeks too late to take advantage of the onslaught of tourists who visit New York City at Christmastime.

Friday, November 26, 2010

TV Interview with Michael Golden at the Mosely Gallery, at UMES


Hi Everyone-- As you can see from my previous posts, Michael Golden was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the University of Maryland recently. My hats off to UMES for such a respectful and classy gallery show, showcasing Michael's career and presenting over 45 rare pieces of artwork for display.

The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award was also wonderful!

Here too, is a nice interview with Michael the day of the event, with a cameo by yours truly. :-)

--Renee
:-)

http://www.wboc.com/global/Category.asp?c=174346&autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=5310327&flvUri&partnerclipid

Michael Golden Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Maryland






Salisbury, MD-- Artist Michael Golden has just been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and it's certainly no wonder.

Artist/writer/creator Michael Golden, co-creator of the X-men's Rogue character, "Spartan X" and Bucky O'Hare, is known worldwide for his groundbreaking work on "The 'Nam," "Micronauts,"  "G.I. Joe Yearbook," and  "Dr. Strange, " among MUCH more, and is counted as one of the best cover designers and storytellers in the sequential art business.

Currently, Golden's work can be seen with recent covers for "Nightwing", "Iron Man", "Wonder Woman," "Heroes for Hire", "Exiles," "Demon's Regret," "Spiderman," "Hulk," "Mice Templar," "Serial," as well as numerous other titles, for about every company out there ... including a few secret projects for IDW, DC and Image.

In short, Michael Golden has been one of the most influential creators around for the last several decades:

"....unless you can actually draw yourself, it is very difficult to understand the exact mind-blowing impossibility of what he does," said writer/artist Larry Hama, of Golden's work.

"Michael blithely puts down on paper exactly what he sees in his head. It's like he's got a cosmic opaque projector that shoots a laser beam from his brain through the kundalini eye in his forehead straight down onto the drawing surface where all he has to do is trace it," continues Hama. "The result is hard-edged and fully realized in every way. No fuzzy impressions here. No using the side of the pencil. No squiggly space-filling lines blocked in on automatic pilot. To paraphrase Neal Adams (who was referring to Golden), there is not a single millimeter of line on the page that is not directed by conscious thought."

Recent books covering the colorful life and amazing art of Michael Golden include a Manga version of the "Bucky O'Hare" series, created with Hama, as well as the top selling art retrospective "Excess: The Art of Michael Golden," written by Renee Witterstaetter, which sold out and has gone into a second printing, as well as his recent sketchbook "Heroes and Villains," and the just released NEW sketchbook, "MORE Heroes and Villains."

As a conceptual cover artist, Michael has penciled everything from Batman and Captain America to Vampirella!  And the list keeps growing. Mr. Golden has served as an Editor at DC Comics as well as Senior Art Director at Marvel Comics, and has worked on scores of movie production projects, some currently in development.

His art has been the focus of gallery shows in places as diverse as Gijon, Barcelona, New York, Antwerp and Brussels, while his class on storytelling has been conducted from Spain to Brussels to France to Canada to the United States... and most recently China.

It's planned for his extensive 1-2 day storytelling class to launch shortly, as Michael shares more of his philosophy of art and what he considers to be the Golden Rules of storytelling. This course will be conducted as 2 day workshops at key points throughout the United States.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Maryland, a month long retrospective of Mr. Golden's work, featuring over 45 pieces of rare original art, is currently running the UMES renowned Mosely Gallery.

This marks Mr. Golden's second Lifetime Achievement Award, joining an award from the Lille Comics Festival in 2009.

For more information on Michael Golden and his work, contact: evaink@aol.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Golden/44937601170?ref=share

Monday, November 22, 2010

Renee's "Kerry and the Scary Things" Inteview Online


Hi Everyone-- As some of you are aware, I did a radio interview last Wednesday talking about some of my new projects--Thanks to those that were able to tune in! The interview, which was live, is now online in the radio station archieves. One of the things I talk about is my new book "Kerry and the Scary Things." Hope you enjoy the interview.

If you are interested in ordering this book, you can do so by contacting me at: evaink@aol.com

Thanks!

And here's the link:

http://wheremonstersblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/episode-126-with-renee-witterstaetter.html



--Renee
:-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to Survive a Comic Book Convention! By Colin Anderson



Howdy-- I found this article on Comicbookbin, and it gives some good solid advice on how to get through those rough and tumble conventions-- you know...the ones where it's like salmon swimming up stream! Here's the original link:

http://www.comicbookbin.com/Comic_Conventions_A_Beginner_s_Tip_Guide001.html

You can check out more of Colin's tips and articles there. And, for those of you that say that you spent all of your money by the time you find our tables, well, all I can say is: Come to us first! :-) It's the only way to support the artist and buy sketchbooks or commissions directly from the source!

And, whatever you do.... Have Fun!

Best,
Renee


PS-- That's my friend, Ken, in a Star Wars costume he made himself, and wore around Star Wars Celebration in Florida, even though it was amazingly hot! He did a terrific job on creating this piece from scratch. Wow! And the other pic is Ken sans sweat-box helmet--which was very much a production to remove. (He looks a bit like Richard Hatch, no?) He was willing to take the heat for his cosplay? Are you?


More on costumes at conventions below! I think they are GREAT!

And now, on to tips for you and your convention enjoyment, as well!

_______________________________________________________________
Comic Conventions: A Beginner's Tip Guide
By Colin Andersen
Oct 11, 2010 - 21:45:40 PM



So this past weekend, despite my 15 years of comic book collecting, I attended my first comic book convention (Con). In some groups this is practically blasphemy, but this was the first chance I really had, so three friends and I traveled to New York City for the weekend to try it out. As you know (or might imagine if you’ve never attended a con), it is one of the most crazy experiences you’ll ever have. Somehow, I doubt I’m the first one to be so awed by all the that’s going on during my first trip, so I thought I’d give some tips for people thinking about attending their first convention from a man who just came from his first.


Tip 1: Plan Ahead

If there’s one huge mistake that I made going into the NYCC it was being completely disorganized about everything. There are so many panels, spotlights, and booths to visits that it is entirely too easy to lose track of time. That panel you really wanted to go see? It can easily fly past you without you every noticing. You might get too caught up looking through back issues of comics or playing unreleased video games or even just taking pictures of people in costume. Whatever it is that distracts, it takes no effort to completely forget there was something you ever wanted to see. What you need to do is check the schedule of all the events and plan everything out ahead of time and STICK TO IT! Even if you plan everything out, which I tried to do, if you decide to skip even one item on your list, you’re much more likely to skip them all. Instead, create a schedule where you leave time to explore the floor but prioritize what you most want to see most and try to deviate as little as possible from it.

Tip 2: Dress Appropriately

This goes for both people planning to come in plain clothes and those that plan to cosplay, though I am admittedly much less versed in the arts and techniques of cosplay. Now I want you all to picture something; imagine a place where tens of thousands of people and literal tons of computers and televisions screens are all packed into one place. How hot do you think a place like that could get? If you answered pretty darn hot, then you’d be right. Though not as bad as it could be, the Jacob Javits center where NYCC was held could get quite uncomfortable and hot at times. Though I brought a sweatshirt to fight the cool New York fall morning, I soon had discard it and shove it into my backpack to prevent my body melting. I find khakis and a T-shirt to be ideal for the convention.
This leads me to next point: bring a sturdy bag that isn’t too cumbersome. Odd are, if you’re attending Comic-Con, you’re going to end up buying things. Possibly many things. You will also likely be there for upwards of 5-7 hours a day. So unless you think carrying all of the stuff you buy and all your free schwag sounds like fun, I would strongly suggest you bring something comfortable to carry it in. Also, make sure that whatever bag you bring isn’t too bulky. As I said before, there are thousands of people moving around and you will have to fight your way through them and it is really easy to get your bag caught on someone else or something. If you get it caught on the wrong thing, it could easily be expensive too. In fact, at one point this past Saturday, my girlfriend’s backpack got hooked on someone’s costume and she was nearly pulled down a flight of stairs. Try to avoid that.


Which leads me to the costumes. Now, I suck at sewing and wouldn’t know where to start anyway, so I don’t claim to know anything about cosplay. What I will say is, it seems horrendously uncomfortable to carry Pyramid Head’s, well, head around for hours at a time. Not only am I sure it’s as hot as the sun, but it just looks hard to see and move around in. If I were going to make a costume, I’d make sure it was agile and relatively cool. Now that being said, there are endless numbers of people out there that know more about the subject than me and, I’m sure that if you’re willing to make a perfect replica of Deadpool’s costume, then you’re prepared to take the heat and get stopped for pictures every few minutes. I’m not one to stifle creative thought, so don’t let my suggestions stop you from making that fully-functional Iron Man costume you’ve been designing, it’s just my thoughts of the subject.


Tip 3: Bring Money. And Lots of It (Or, How To Spend As Little As Possible)

As with nearly every event I’ve ever been to in America, be it baseball game or carnival, things can get expensive fast and New York Comic-Con is no different. Between the booths selling everything from comic books to corsets to body pillows (if you don’t know what these are, just Google “Japanese body pillows,” preferably not at work) to the food vendors, you can practically watch the money fly out of your wallet. I even bought a comic I already have two copies of exclusively to get it signed. Even if you’re just tagging along with a friend and you don’t like comics, movies, or video games, you’re still highly likely to find something that you want to buy. And don’t expect to find water bottles for anything less than four dollars, Anyway you play it, you will hemorrhage money so make sure you bring plenty. However, if you are on a budget, like me, there are some steps you can take to at least help the flow of your hard-earned cash.
First of all, set up some sort of budget for yourself. Take out a limited amount of money before the first day and hide your cards. Try and make yourself make that money last for all the days you’re their. In may case, I took out 100 dollars for the weekend and limited my spending to only things I really wanted and wasn’t likely to find elsewhere and managed to make it last me almost exactly for the trip. You might be surprised how just not letting yourself take more money out might save you some money.
Secondly, one thing that saved me a lot of money was eating right before going into the convention itself. Any food you get within the convention itself will be approximately four times as expensive than if you bought it anywhere else. Eating one good-sized meal before going in can save you a lot of money. If you find you’re intensely hungry during the day, don’t be afraid to leave the building to hunt down a restaurant; it’s not that hard to get back in (just make sure you check your schedule beforehand so you don’t miss any of your planned events.

Third, explore your options in all areas. Just because that one dealer has that piece of Mario memorabilia that you so desperately desire, doesn’t mean it’s the only one that does. Shop around and check everywhere; someone else may have that exact same piece for significantly cheaper. In my experience at NYCC, most of the dealers that set up shop at the con are actually really nice people. So if you’re worried that something might sell while you’re shopping around, just ask them to please hold onto it until you come back. Odds are, they’ll be willing to pull it from the shelf for a little bit to help you out. Also make sure that you check out your travel options. If you’re close enough to wherever the Con is, walk there. It’s goof for you and saves money, so why not. If you really need a ride check out whatever options the convention might provide. At least at NYCC, they had buses leaving for major areas of the city every fifteen minutes. I probably saved twenty or more dollars just riding these to within five blocks of where I was staying and walking the rest of the way.
Lastly, follow your instinct when making purchases. You’re bound to see dozens, if not hundreds, of things that you want to buy while touring the floors, but that doesn’t mean you need anything you see. Especially if you have budgeted in a way like I suggested, there will be many things you want that you won’t be able to get. Follow your instinct in deciding what items are actually worth spending money on. I know that that $100 dollar live size Pikachu cut-out is screaming for you to but it, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Now, if there’s a comic book you’ve been searching cross-country for years for and you finally find it in a bin of a small dealer for ten bucks, then that might be worth it (and for me it was).


Tip 4: Have Fun!

This last tip probably sounds incredibly lame and clichĂ©, but it is important to remember nonetheless. There are likely going to be times where you’re going to encounter someone that rubs you the wrong way or something just plain goes wrong. Maybe you someone bought the last copy of a specific issue you wanted or some took the last spot in a panel you wanted to attend. It’s easy to get angry is these situations, but just remember, you went to the Con to have a good time and hang out with people that have the same interests as you. So even if something doesn’t go the way you want, just move on and find something, or someone, to have fun with. There will always be something else for you to do or someone else to me, so just go have fun and don’t let anything ruin your experience. I hope that, at the very least, this list of guidelines for first time Con-goers will help you make the most of your first convention.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

From Colleen Duran-- The Plain Facts about Piracy.


I feel this is a very important subject for all creatives out there. We can not sit by and think that work is going to be protected. Colleen's words are the truest I've heard on this subject.


--Renee


The "real" victims of online piracy
By Colleen Doran - 11/17/10 03:33 PM ET

For more than 20 years, I’ve written and drawn comics for a variety of major publishers: Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image and Disney. Like many artists, I’ve seen my sales figures chipped away as the print market shrinks due, in no small part, to rampant online piracy.
I tried to count the number of pirate sites that had my work available for free download, but when I hit 145, I was too depressed to go on. Pirates and impecunious fans inform me that pirating my work is great publicity, for piracy isn’t nearly as dangerous to an artist as obscurity.

Fame doesn’t necessarily pay, either. Just ask the cast of Different Strokes.

I made my comic series, A Distant Soil, available as a free webcomic less than two years ago. Despite assurances that the many sites pirating my work were doing me a favor with their “free advertising” I never saw a single incoming link from them, saw no increase in traffic, and made virtually no money.

Frequent original content (often pirated the day I post it,) increased my traffic, not pirate “advertising”. Pirates draw traffic from my site, and cost me millions of hits annually, which cuts my advertising revenue.

Readers assume they are only nickel and diming rich corporations with their bit torrent naughtiness, but I am a middle class artist and farmer for whom a few thousand dollars a year in lost income means I can’t afford health insurance.

Each of these pirate sites is a de facto publisher, yet they have no responsibility toward my work. They ignore takedown notices. Few creators can afford to sue.

Convicted felon Gregory Hart, who ran the site htmlcomics.com, threatened me with legal action when I asked him to remove my work from his site. After wrangling for a year, a coalition of major publishers and the FBI took him down.

To add insult to injury, angry readers turned on creators and publishers for enforcing their legal rights against a felon. This is the reality faced by artists in every creative pursuit all over America. And it’s having an impact on jobs.

I spent the last two years working on a graphic novel called Gone to Amerikay, written by Derek McCulloch for DC Comics/Vertigo. It will have taken me 3,000 hours to draw it and months of research. Others have contributed long hours, hard work and creativity to this process. But due to shrinking financing caused by falling sales in the division, these people are no longer employed.

The minute this book is available, someone will take one copy and within 24 hours, that book will be available for free to anyone around the world who wants to read it. 3,000 hours of my life down the rabbit hole, with the frightening possibility that without a solid return on this investment, there will be no more major investments in future work.

Creators and publishers can’t compete with free and the frightening reality is that even free isn’t good enough. Pirates aggregate content in ways creators and legit publishers can’t. Why go to dozens of web pages for entertainment when you can go to a pirate and get everything you want? There’s no connection to creators as human beings who work hard and make money from that work, and who need income from past work to finance future work.

Distribution is the only concern. Readers care about the gadget that gives them the goods, and have no connection to the goods at all, or who made them. But without desirable content, there’s nothing to distribute.

Everyone gets paid - manufacturers of computers, iPads, electricity, bandwidth – everyone except the creators of content.

It costs big bucks to finance these pirate sites. Major advertisers and open source ad providers like Google pay them.

Congress is moving on a bill that promises to cut funding for pirates, and the usual suspects who have become accustomed to getting whatever they want online without paying for it are crying foul.

Here’s hoping the next step in combating the lack of respect for copyright includes an initiative to instill some respect for the people who create content. Real human beings live behind that work.

Colleen Doran is a cartoonist and illustrator with more than 500 credits for companies as diverse as Lucasfilm, Disney, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Harper Collins, and Image Comics. Her work includes illustrations for Captain America, Sandman, Wonder Woman, Amazing Spider-man and many others.

Full story and comments here:

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/129741-the-qrealq-victims-of-online-piracy?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4ce492040b79b03c%2C0

Renee Talks "Scary Things," on WhereMonstersDwell, Wednesday, Nov. 17th!


Just did this radio interview, November 17th! It is available for listening on www.wheremonstersdwell.ca, along with my last appearance on the show as well as interviews with Steve Scott, Michael Golden and much more!


Just alot of fun: talking about my new children's book, "Kerry and the Scary Things," conventions, gallery shows, art books, movies I've worked on... and whatever comes up!


--Renee
:-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eva Ink Artist Group Im-PRINTING at Virginia ComiCon

We love this show and love the folks that run it. Hope you'll come by and see us all. Golden, Steve Scott and myself will be there for Eva Ink Artist Group, and we'll also have some of our associates, Joe Jusko and Rodney Ramos joining us. It's shaping up to be a fantastic show!! And if you are interested in being on anyone's commission list, please let me know at: evaink@aol.com

Best,
Renee
:-)

______________________________________________


For Immediate Release
November 15th, 2010
Note: Artwork Attached

Michael Golden and Eva Ink Artist Group "Im-print" at Virginia ComiCon!
Golden, Scott, Jusko and Ramos round out the Roaster!


Richmond, VA-- The Biggest Comic Convention in Virginia, the Virginia ComiCon is coming up this weekend! And there is going to be a special Michael Golden print to mark the occasion!

Eva Ink Artist Group will be at the show en force with legendary artist and creator Michael Golden. Michael is known for his groundbreaking work on such books as “The’Nam,” “G.I. Joe,” “Doctor Strange,” “The Micronuats,” and much more. And currently Golden is working on “Spawn 200” with Todd McFarlane, as well as a few other special books in the works with IDW and more. Michael will have copies of his new book “Michael Golden: MORE Heroes and Villains” at the show, in addition to other books , DVD's and prints. Golden will be signing and sketching both days of the show.

Artist Steve Scott, fresh off his successful “Batman Confidential” gig for DC Comics, will have copies of his sketchbook “Steve Scott Sketches” as well as some new prints he’ll be debuting in Virginia for the occasion. Steve’s work has recently graced issues of “X-Men Forever,” “Green Lantern”-- special projects, and also includes amazing work on Hulk, Indiana Jones, and production work for “Smallville” as well. Steve will be signing and sketching both days of the show.

Writer and color artist Renee Witterstaetter will also be on hand to sign copies of her books “Excess: The Art of Michael Golden,” “Tex: The Art of Mark Texeira,” “Dying for Action—The Life and Films of Jackie Chan,” “Spartan X,” and her new book “Kerry and the Scary Things.”

Also joining the convention is fine art painter supreme, Joe Jusko, who is also the subject of two new Eva Ink Publishing sketchbooks, the first one hitting stands now--“Joe Jusko: Savage Beauty.” Copies of the book will be available at the show while supplies last. Joe is know for his beautiful cover work featuring Marvel, DC and Edgar Rice Burroughs characters, and much more, including beautifully painted Lara Croft sequential pages, and creation of the comic book series "Cops: The Job." With a legacy too lengthy to even mention here, Joe will be signing and sketching at the show both days.

Renowned inker and illustrator Rodney Ramos, will be joining the group as well in his first ever appearance in Virginia! Rodney will have a plethora of pages and prints available for the Virginia ComiCon. And will be sketching and signing as well. Rodney has worked for every major comic book company out there, on their most prominent characters. If you collect comics, you have a hundred of his works in your collection, no doubt. Don't miss his first appearance at the VA ComiCon!

In addition to Golden, Jusko, Scott, Ramos and Witterstaetter, the amazing guest list for this weekend includes Ethan Van Sciver, Arthur Suydam, Larry Hama, Mike McKone, Billy Tucci, Tim Seeley, Jim Calafiore, Budd Root, Brian Pulido, and many more!

For more information or to book a sketch with the featured artists above, contact Renee Witterstaetter at: evaink@aol.com

For more information on the VA ComiCon, go to: vacomicon.com



(Above: A pilgrim Spidey piece from Michael Golden for "Spiderman 1602." Just reminded me of Virginia for some reason.--R.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Golden Fantasy Artworks on Display-- A Review

New Article about the Mosley Gallery show. I like it that they focus on the Exosquad piece. I was the editor on the series and hired Golden to do the covers. --R.



Comic Book Artist Exhibits Fantasy Artworks at Mosely Gallery.
Focus: Exosquad #1



The exhibition of Michael Golden's comic book art, on view through Dec. 2 at the Mosely Gallery, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, raises important questions about audience, gender and the relationship of images to texts.

Specifically, these images were created as integral parts of stories in comic books or graphic novels, whose readers are primarily male. As such, can they hold the attention of female viewers or viewers who have little knowledge or interest in what Golden has termed "science-fiction/fantasy-adventure"?

Somewhat to my surprise, the answer is "yes." I was struck by the extraordinary skill and expressiveness of these images, despite the fact that I know very little about the characters or narratives depicted in them.

The exhibition has about 40 works, primarily original drawings in black and white for pages and covers of comic books and graphic novels. A few paintings for comic book covers or yearbooks are also on display.

Two works for the cover of "ExoSquad #1" show Golden's working process. One is a brush and ink drawing and the other, a 'blue line' painting. To make the drawing, Golden initially "penciled" or drew the scene. He then laid a sheet of clear acetate over the pencil drawing, tracing its outlines and linear details onto the acetate in black ink with a brush. After that, he "colored" or painted the pencil drawing. He then laid a copy of the acetate line drawing, now in blue, over the painted drawing, creating a composite image. The final image, fusing line with color, thus exists only as a composite.

Golden's approach to making these images reflects, in part, the process used to reproduce them, in which the lines and colors are printed separately. What is unusual, however, is the extent of his involvement, performing tasks -- penciling, inking and coloring -- that are generally done by different people.

The end result is a crisp, clear, minutely detailed image, full of dramatic action, that sums up the key characters and storyline (based on a television series of the early 1990s) of interstellar war between humans (Terrans) and Neosapiens, an artificial race of slaves created by the Terrans who then revolted against them.

Other fantasy-adventure works in the show depict Superman, the Micronauts, Spartan X, Bucky O'Hare and Jurassic Park. Golden's brush and ink drawing for the cover of "Jurassic Park Returns #4" shows his incredible skill in creating a wide-range of illusionistic effects, such as the detailed representation of the immense, open-jawed Tyrannosaurus whose shadow is about to swallow the terrified couple at the right.

The show also includes cover art from Golden's "The 'NAM" series, which deals with the experiences of ordinary soldiers in Vietnam. The example on display shows soldiers leaving hostile terrain by helicopter. Other works in the series depict their interactions with fellow soldiers, the Vietnamese, or civilians in the United States upon their return home.

WHAT. The Comic Book Art of Michael Golden
WHERE. Mosely Gallery, Arts and Technologies Center, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne
WHEN. Through Dec. 2
HOURS. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed for Thanksgiving Break, Nov. 24-26
CALL. 410-651-7770

Full Story Here:

http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20101114/LIFESTYLE/11140330/-1/NEWS17/Comic-book-artist-exhibits-fantasy-artworks-at-Mosely-ExoSquad-?1-Cover%3FGID=gaKzUbuhIzNOKgOfrcv6ag1sRdCmppxCxJgBNa55doQ%3D

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Michael Golden Conjures Up some Magic for Wizard Austin!





Hey Everyone! Back in Texas for a convention in the state of my birth. I grew up a LONG way from Austin, but Texans are Texans, and I'd love to see more conventions in this huge and varied country... er, I mean state. LOL If you are in the area, come on by and see us. :-)
--R.




Storytelling Panel and Discussion Set for Sunday!

Austin, TX -- Wizard World Austin is conjuring up some post Halloween spells this weekend, culminating in an amazing guest list and schedule of panels and events for their first Austin show! Including "Storytelling With Michael Golden," focusing on the career and ideas of this groundbreaking illustrator, writer and designer," set for Sunday at Two O'Clock.

As Michael will probably tell you during the 45 minute event, to him, good storytelling is NO hat trick, and certainly doesn't require smoke and mirrors. The basis of telling a good story has rules and elements-- no matter is you are talking about a movie, a novel, or a comic book-- and he'll certainly tell his own ideas, in this mini session, that have made him an industry legend, and give you tips to apply to your own work as well.

In the course of the workshop/ discussion, Michael will also, of course, talk about his own career if asked, which has included stints on "G.I. Joe," "The 'Nam," "Micronauts," "Bucky O'Hare," and "Spartan X," as well as co-creating Rogue from the X-Men and much more. His storytelling work on such books as "Doctor Strange," and "Avengers," is cited as being some of the most influential design and story work in the medium. In addition, Michael has also served as an editor at DC Comics as well as Senior Art Director at Marvel Comics. So there is MUCH to talk about.

In addition, Michael is the focus of a comprehensive gallery show at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, running until December 2nd, with another show scheduled for Madrid at the end of the year. His work has been on display in places as diverse as Antwerp, Changchun, Gijon, Barcelona and Paris, while his full class in storytelling as been conducted in Canada, the US, China, Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands as well.

Aside from his talk on Sunday, for the rest of Wizard Austin, Golden will be located in artist alley, signing two VIP prints for the show, as well as offering his own books, prints and artwork! Be sure to visit him there.

Other guests joining Michael Golden at the show include: Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner, Billy Dee Williams, Mike Grell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Arthur Suydam, Adam West, Tommy Castillo, Gary Friedrich, Kerry Gammill, Keith Wilson, Renee Witterstaetter, Greg Horn, Mike McKone, James O'Barr, Rodney Ramos, Billy Tucci, and many more!



Wizard World Austin is taking place November 12th-14th at the Austin Convention Center. For more details go to: www.wizardworld.com


More more information on Michael Golden, his work and appearances,contact evaink@aol.com


(In the images above: Michael Golden signs at a convention appearance. Also, Michael Golden conducting his seminar at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in October, 2010)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Afterward to "Kerry and the Scary Things!" Book to hit stores this month!


Hey Everyone-- My new children's book "Kerry and the Scary Things is hitting stores at the end of the month. It's the first in a series of new books. I hope you'll check it out. In the meantime, here is a little history about the project. Oh, and the cover is by Michael Golden, interiors by Keith Wilson, story by myself! :-)

Best,
R.

_____________________________________



The Bag of Tricks!


Kerry, the hero of our piece, may look like a kid, yet he's anything but!

In fact, he had his birth somewhere around 1986 when my friend and collaborator, Keith Wilson and I first started batting around the idea of a little boy who loves monsters, and the alternate universe in which they live.

At that point, fresh out of college and eager to create, I penciled out the story for Kerry, and Keith, an amazing cartoonist, designed the look of the title character, along with our other cast and crew.

Before the days of the Internet, we sent out pitch packets to various companies, heart in hand, and waited on the postman for a "yeah" or "nay."

We finally got our "yeah." A publisher bought our story, and elated, we began working on the follow up to "Kerry and the Scary Things," entitled "Kerry and the Dreadful Dragon." Other books in the works included "Amanda and the Magnolia Tree."

Unfortunately, the publisher in question went belly up, and Kerry's temporary home was no more. There was nothing in our bag of creative tricks to fix that! Plus, Keith had already moved to New York at this point to work on covers at DC Comics, and around the same time, I was also offered a job as an assistant editor at DC Comics myself, working in the Superman office with the talented Mike Carlin.

So, I loaded up the truck and moved to New York. And Kerry was put on the back burner, where he sat for many patient years, while we lived our lives and worked on our careers.

As time went by, I continued editing comics, and segued into film production, writing and artist agenting. Keith moved back to Texas, started a family, and continued to work in comics and publishing. We also began to see many of our initial original ideas mirrored vaguely in various books and films... Not that it was intentional... sometimes I feel that once things are out in the ether, anyone with a creative brain can grab them "out of thin air," and voila! Like concepts can happen almost simultaneously. (A word of advice to all of you "sitting on your ideas.")

In fact, one of my usual sermons is about how the instantaneous hum of the Internet puts us in the position of homogenizing thought and creativity around the world...will thoughts and ideas have time to grow and mature unfettered, without constant outside, uniforming stimuli?

Kerry and his cast of Scary Things are certainly paying tribute to some of those fantastic, unfettered ideas of bygone years, while still trying to be far removed from any "monster" stories out there, as he becomes his own adventurer with his own ideas of how to deal with his world, and as we also glean hints of his Grandfather's past.

After working in publishing for over 20 years, it became obvious that it was time for Keith and I to get back to the children's books we loved so much. Eva Ink and Hot Attack Publishing illuminated the path. Not only did we owe it to our concepts and ideas, but also to the people who helped along the way.

Our monster fighter, Kerry himself, had his start inspired by grand old monster stories of our "Afternoon Movie" days, and to those we pay homage. Kerry himself is named after monster loving artist, dinosaur drawin', Kerry Gammill , who is a friend of both Keith Wilson and myself. So, naming our character who puts together a monster fighting backpack and goes in search of adventure was the easiest part! Thank you Kerry!

So too, was naming our writer Doc McNamee, inspired by my Shakespeare teacher and mentor Dr. Laurence McNamee, and one of the most influential people in my life after my parents. He was a wonderful, encouraging teacher, who inspired all who knew him to go out, be creative, and approach life as focused and unafraid as possible, making your own metaphorical "backpack" and working on your set of tools to do so. There were so many facets of Doc--interpreter during World War II, Shakespeare expert, boxing aficionado AND columnist for the Dallas Morning News, writer of the popular column, "A Few Words"... one doesn't even know where to start...

Except to say, "Thanks Doc for everything."

Although the "Doc" in the book is not him, his spirit is certainly present.

Along the way, we were blessed to be joined by amazing cover artist, the incomparable Michael Golden--Co-Creator of X-Men's Rogue character, Bucky O'Hare, Spartan X, and much more. One of the best storytellers in any business, and a superb designer. I know that when I was an editor, I hired him to do practically all my book covers. We are thrilled to have him providing the frontage here!

So, now in 2010, "Kerry and the Scary Things" gets a face lift, a fresh coat of paint, and a rewrite through my older eyes, and he's presented to you here after a long and winding road. The treatment has a retro feel-- almost like a coloring book when we are finally trying to stay within the lines, reminding me of recent lazy afternoons coloring Spiderman with my great-nephews Ryan and Randall on my Mom's kitchen table. The intent is full of nostalgia. The story, well...

If there is any "point" to the fun and hijinks that ensue in the story, other than the journey, I suppose it would be to encourage, to use your imagination, you creative kids you, of all ages.

It's the strongest tool there is, and unique just to you. Just ask Kerry!

--Renee Witterstaetter
New York City
2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!


As I'm sitting here coloring my new children's book, "Kerry and the Scary Things"--which seems appropriate for Halloween....many thoughts running through my head...which I may write about in a bit. :-)

In the meantime, have a great day, ya'll.

--R.
:-)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mid-Ohio Con Caught Right in the Middle of Things! (In a good way of course)


Columbus, OH-- Mid-Ohio Con not only lives up to it's geographical name, but this is one convention that also has it's thumb right in the middle of pop culture and comics, and this fave Fall convention is BACK, November 6th and 7th! Joining the artistic line-up for the show will be comics creators Michael Golden, Mark Texeira, and Steve Scott!

Michael Golden is known for many titles in his artistic legacy, notably as being co-creator of Rogue, Bucky O'Hare, Spartan X, Marionette, Bug, and more beloved characters. His storytelling work is touted in such books as "The 'Nam," "Doctor Strange," "Avengers," "G.I. Joe," and much more. You can see his recent work on covers for Marvel Comics, and more storytelling is in the works as well, currently collaborating with Todd McFarlane!

Michael has recently been honored with "Lifetime Achievement Awards" from the Lille Comics Festival as well as the University of Maryland Eastern Show. Gallery shows on Mr. Golden have been mounted in places as diverse as Antwerp, Gijon and Barcelona. A 45 piece gallery show is currently installed at UMES until December 2nd, while an another gallery show is slated to begin in Madrid in December.

Fine art painter and storyteller Mark Texeira is known for his stunning covers on so many Marvel comics, it would be hard to name them all. Titles routinely associated with his name include "Ghost Rider," "Black Panther," "Moonknight," and much more. Recently, Mark just completed a Punisher mini-series that will hit stands soon, as well as a few other projects for the Big M. His covers have also recently appeared as frontage for Vampirella and numerous other titles.

Marks work has been featured in gallery shows in Charlotte, as well as Illustration House and The Society of Illustrators in Manhattan.

Artist Steve Scott has just finished penciling an exciting Batman project that is on stands NOW, and his issue of "Batman Confidential" hit to rave reviews! Known for his work on "Indiana Jones," "She-Hulk," "Hulk," "JLA," "X-Men," and much more, you can see a preview of Steve's Batman project on newsarama at:

http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?gid=2549

Podcasts with many of the creators can be found at http://wheremonstersdwell.ca, while Steve's work has also been featured in gallery shows in Charlotte, Illustration House and The Society of Illustrators in Manhattan.

Recently returned from an appearance in Malta, writer, editor and publisher Renee Witterstaetter will be joining the crew as well as a guest at Mid-Ohio Con, to sign copies of her new books "Excess: The Art of Michael Golden," and "Tex: The Art of Mark Texeira," both published by Vanguard Productions. She will also have copies of her film book "Dying for Action: The Life and Films of Jackie Chan," as well as copies of her numerous comic book work to choose from, including "Spartan X."

Coming up for Renee is the impending publication of her new books "Kerry and the Scary Things," and "Mark Texeira: Nightmares and Daydreams Sketchbook." Stop by Renee's table as well, to inquire about commissions from any of the fellas above.

Mid-Ohio Con is taking place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and also features guests: David Finch, Adam Hughes, Brian Pulido, Matt Wagner, Billy Tucci, Bryan J.L. Glass, Chris Sprouse, David Mack, Ethan Van Scriver, Frank Cho, Herb Trimpe, Sergio Aragones, Todd Dezago,Todd Nauck, and many more. For more information go to:
http://midohiocon.blogspot.com/p/guest-list.html


For more information on the artists and commissions/sketch lists contact Renee at: evaink@aol.com


Above: Columbus points the way! Clutching his copy of "Michael Golden: MORE Heroes and Villains" or is it "Bucky O'Hare".... hard to tell from here. ;-)