Jack Kirby is among the most influential American artists of the last century, but a substantial body of Kirby’s work has been largely overlooked until recently. In the post-war years, with the popularity of superhero comic books fading, Kirby teamed with writer Joe Simon to create the new genre of romance comics.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates these forgotten works with “Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics.” The interpretive exhibition opens on Saturday, April 14 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM with a discussion by Michel Gagné, author of a recent collection of the same title from Fantagraphics Books.
At the end of World War II, with soldiers returning from long deployments, romance was in the air. The superhero comics that served to instill a sense of patriotic heroism leading up to the global conflict had lost their appeal. Simon and Kirby seized on these emerging sensibilities to create one of the most popular comic book series of all time. Unlike previous comic book genres, the work appealed largely to women readers. The stories and imagery reflected mid-century American society while discretely challenging the conventional morality of the era. Kirby’s work from this period was mimicked by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and others, and is emblematic of post-war American aesthetics.
Curator Michel Gagné will discuss his delicate restoration process at the opening reception on Saturday, April 14. An exhibition will display enlarged examples of Simon and Kirby’s romance comics and examine the creative process of these American masters. Gagné has worked as an animator and cartoonist for Pixar, Disney, DC Comics and the Cartoon Network. He won the 2011 Annie Award for Best Animated Video Game and the 2012 BAFTA GAME Award for Best Debut Game for his independent creation Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) just minutes from downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00. Phone 206.658.0110. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community.
YOUNG ROMANCE: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics — Curated by Michel Gagné
Opening reception and curator discussion Saturday, April 14, 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Exhibition continues through May 9, 2012.
Shadow Planet Productions is pleased to announce Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet will finally be unleashed on the PC gaming community. The critically acclaimed game was recently awarded the BAFTA for "Best Debut Game", the Annie Award (animation's highest honor) for "Best Animated Video Game", and has received numerous prizes and nominations from industry media outlets.
Shadow Planet Productions' partners and creators of ITSP, Michel Gagné and Joe Olson are particularly excited about this release as it will not only feature the single player Campaign and multiplayer Lantern Run, but will also include the Shadow Hunters Co-op mode which was released as a separate Game Add-On for the Xbox LIVE Arcade version. Players can play locally or online with their friends to defeat the infectious shadow entity once and for all!
"Seeing ITSP run on PC is a sight to behold", said Gagné, "but what I'm really excited about is to finally have Shadow Hunters as part of the main package. I feel like that Co-op mode didn't get the chance it deserved as a separate Game Add-On, but this time around, I'm confident it will". “ITSP is right at home on today’s powerful gaming PCs”, said Olson, “with increased resolution, improved controls, and two multiplayer modes we truly believe the PC version of ITSP packs in a lot of value.”
In conjunction with the PC release, the Xbox LIVE Arcade version will be discounted to 800 MSP. The Shadow Hunters Game Add-On will continue to be available for 400 MSP, letting Xbox 360 owners complete their Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet experience.
Additionally, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet will be available for pre-sale on Steam for 25% off one week prior to release, beginning April 10th, 2012 and ending April 16th, 2012.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet for PC will be available for purchase on Steam on April 17th, 2012 for $14.99 USD and on Games For Windows LIVE Marketplace for 1200 MSP.
Michel Gagné and Joe Olson of Shadow Planet Productions describe how XBLA hit Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet came to be, why it ended up on Xbox instead of Wii and what platform it’s coming to next. Listen here.
The X-Bit show, which debut on March 30th in Seattle, will feature lots of footage of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet on a multi-screen set-up. According to show producer, Teo Acosta, "Our VJ is incredibly talented, and I think people's minds will explode when they see Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet projected on 4-5 screens." If you're in the area, make sure you check it out!
I was so sad that Joe Olson (my game partner) and I couldn't attend the BAFTA ceremony, but we made sure to have our eyes glued to the live streaming version of the show. We anxiously awaited with sweaty palms as the "Best Debut Game" category was announced. Then, our minds were blown... pure and simple. Watch the video below.
Being nominated for a British Academy Award is quite a thrill. Here's an interview I just did with them. I'm so sad that I won't be able to attend the award ceremony but you can bet I'll be watching the live streaming version of the show on Friday, March 16th at 2pm PST (9pm GMT).
Well, it had to happen one day or another. I finally joined Twitter and will be adding quick updates with news items, links, appearances and thoughts. I've been busy tweeting for the ITSP tweeter account for several months, but this new account will be of a more personal nature.
This morning, I learned that Moebius (AKA Jean Giraud) has passed away and my heart is heavy with grief. Few artists have impacted my life the way he did. When I discovered his work in my early teens, I was immediately taken by his imagination. As I dug deeper into his opus, I felt a spiritual connection. His work moved me in a truly special way.
Moebius brought a sensibility and sophistication to comic book art and storytelling that few have matched. He was in a class by himself.
I had the chance to meet him at a Gallery showing in Los Angeles in the mid 90s. We had a nice discussion. I told him how much his work had affected me, for which he seemed really grateful. Without me asking, he picked up a pen and drew this beautiful line drawing for me.
It's always a pleasure to get fan mail. A couple of weeks ago, we received an email that really put a big smile on my face. I asked Jamie, the author of the email, if it would be okay to share it with our readers and I was enthusiastically given permission. Here it is!
My daughter, Milla Beene, she's 5 years old, loves your game. She finds it delightfully scary and is always getting us to play it. She really loves the art of the game and I guess the cute little spaceship, fighting against the odds.
Anyway, she drew a whole heap of pictures in honour of the game (this is what is attached). I tried to find some comparison screen shots so you have some idea of what she was drawing. She calls the eyeball monster at the end of the demo the 'mummy' monster and absolutely loves the spider stalking creatures.
So thanks for making a game that delights a little kid so much that she feels the need to replicate the art.
Looking forward to see what you come up with next. Congrats on all your success.
This coming Monday (March 5th), I'll be doing a talk at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. It will be fun to visit the school again after so many years. Sheridan is where I studied classical animation from 1983 to 1986. There, I learned to flip paper, use an animation stand, and was taught about exposure sheets.
To commemorate my visit, I uploaded my third year student film from 1985/86 on YouTube (embedded below). Looking at it now, it feels a bit crude compared to some of the student films I see these days, but then again, we had virtually no digital technology back then. The whole thing was animated on paper, inked and painted on cel, and shot on 16mm film.
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