Monday, February 26, 2007

February 26, 2007
Good to be back in Arizona and back in the office. Yesterday, Kathy and I drove down to the Cine Capri at the 101 and Scottsdale Road to catch the 11 o'clock showing of "Pan's Labrynth." No lines, we were the only ones! Walked right up and got a ticket ($14 for two), walked inside and there were no lines for popcorn ($3.50 cash). Seven people in the theatre, got great seats. And this after all the airport lines I had to endure, not to mention the lines all over New York. And did I mention the weather? Patented 70 degrees and sunny.

Totally enjoyed the movie. In fact Kathy rated it as the best movie she has seen this year and that includes "The Departed," "Babel" and "Little Miss Sunshine." I wouldn't go that far, although it was a very imaginative flick, very intense, with Mexican and Spanish sensibilities ("put a root under your bed in a saucer of milk and your baby will survive.")

On Thursday at the New York Comic Con seminars on graphic novels, the first panel we sat in on, had an old friend of mine on it. Larry Gonick, who grew up in Phoenix (Central High), and is the creator of The Cartoon History of The Universe, among other amazing little gems, was there front and center. His mother Molly used to babysit Deena when she was little and we really liked her and invited her to our house for parties. Larry has had the incredible experience of having Jackie Kennedy Onassis as his agent. I'm not making this up. As you may know, Jackie worked for Harper's and she loved Larry's books and got him mentioned in Ann Landers newspaper column and the phones rang off the hook and the sales doubled, then quadrupled. Then a religious nut in Texas wrote Ann Landers complaining about several biblical references in the comic and Jackie had some religious expert (Tim Cahill?) write a scholarly response backing up every one of Larry's assertions and Ann printed that and the sales took off again. When I asked Larry what Jackie was really like he said, "When she talked to you she never looked over your shoulder, she looked right at you. She was gifted that way." Or, at least that's what I think Larry said, because I was looking over his shoulder at Marisa Acocella Marchetto, a famous graphic novelist who was coming our way.

Marisa created the best-selling graphic novel Cancer Victim: A True Story, about her own battle with cancer, and she is a regular cartoonist at The New Yorker. She joined us just in time to ask, "So what was Jackie O really like?" Larry regaled us with several more astonishing stories ("she was rail thin, 90 pounds of carbonite steel."). Larry also raved about my sketch book (it takes a Zonie to appreciate it because I don't think Marisa was all that impressed). He offered to take our Top Secret Project to his current agent at Harper's, and I thanked him and told him we would take him up on that when it was ready.

Other graphic novel factoids I learned at the conference: there were 2,800 titles released last year and they have surpassed comic books in sales as of this year. Graphic novels had $75 million in sales in 2001 and $330 million last year. Manga comics account for 46% of those sales and Manga also made $5.2 billion in licensing fees, last year. Yes, that's with a "b."

Yes, it's a mighty big business. In addition to the Yaoi phenom (see post below), there is an American title called "Lost Girls" (written by Alan Moore and drawn by Melinda Grebbi) which sells for $75. That's per copy. It's a graphic novel, supposedly quite erotic and it's very hard to find. Believe me, I looked.

Onion Headline de Jour
Publicist Schmoozes Wife Into Sex

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but you can take him to a new place where his tail gets to slapping into some outrageous shit."
—Old Cartoonist Saying

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