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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Boo!

Good news: Kyle just finished the graphic novel version of a GOOSEBUMPS story for Scholastic. I believe it will be released Halloween 2007.

With Kyle still in LA, the theme this Halloween is "Mom is Not Stressing Out." Rule #1 of mellow-momdom involves being prepared; see Kyle's animated "The Mall" to witness the joys of last-minute Baker shopping.

So we're all ready: Isaac loves his macho-muscles Batman costume (thank you Grandma!), Jackie has her choice of adorable outfits (princess or ballerina) but Lillian still needed to accessorize her "Evil Fairy" costume.

We easily found fairy accoutrements in our neighborhood: wings, wig, eyelashes, makeup. You can't buy children's shoes or a stroller in the East Village, but outfitting a "fairy" (ahem) is no problem at all.

Back home, the dress rehearsal was a huge success (we'll post photos) until Jackie spotted her sister.

"I WANNA BE A FAIRY, TOO!!!!!!"

Sigh...back to the store.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nickelodeon Magazine

Kyle wrote and illustrated "The X's" comic strip on pages 30-31 of the October 2006 issue of Nickelodeon Magazine (sorry for the late post).

Our kids love to sing that theme song:

"Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nuh-Nick-Nick-Nick...Nickelodeon!"

Liz

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Uh oh...

I had considered myself a reasonably decent parent until a few weeks ago. Driving down the Westside Highway in Chelsea, a giant billboard of a mechanical bird caught 2 year old Jacqueline's eye:

"That's Robot Chicken! I love Robot Chicken."

Mom's defense: it wasn't me! It was that evil babysitter!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Jack Davis Tribute



I went to The Comic Art Professional Society tribute to Jack Davis at the Porter Valley Country Club on Saturday, Oct. 21.

I had car trouble, and hadn't really read the invitation until that day,
when I discovered it was formal, with jacket and tie required! I'm currently here in LA on a job, and living out of a suitcase full of t-shirts and shorts, which were expressly forbidden at this fancy club. I didn't have time to both fix the car and buy clothes before the 6:30 banquet. I was tempted to give up, but this was a rare opportunity to meet my personal cartooning hero, the legendary Jack Davis! I fixed the car.

As I hobbled toward the ritzy entrance wearing borrowed (stolen) clothes which were too small for me (I couldn't button my jacket or pants), I worried this might be one of those country clubs that excludes ethnic minorities with exposed navels and no socks. I mentally prepared some elaborate alibi about being Tiger Woods' forgotten idiot relative. I needed a name. Sportin' Woods? Anyway, before I could get my story straight in my head, the well-dressed man at the door took one look at the horrible hairy moron shambling before him and said, "You must be Kyle Baker". And he was right.

Fortunately for everyone involved, there were superior and better-dressed cartoonists there, including

Sergio AragoƱes
Paul Coker
Mark Evanier
Chad Frye
Benton and Anson Jew
Mike Kazaleh
Bobby London
Bill Morrison
Paul Power
Scott Shaw! (Don't forget the exclamation point!)
Stephen Silver
Dean Yeagle

And many more! All of them fans of mighty Jack Davis!

As a kid my biggest inspirations were Walt Disney cartoons and MAD magazine. That's what made me want to be a cartoonist. Most of the cartoonists at the event grew up on Jack Davis' work.

It was a real treat to see a display of ACTUAL Jack Davis paintings, including his famous poster for Woody Allen's "Bananas". I spent a lot of time just staring at the paintings, trying to decipher the secrets of his technique.

We watched an educational and inspiring film of Davis at work in his studio. First he did a line drawing in pen, then he added a light source with sepia washes, then added some watercolor hues on top. Every cartoonist watching the film was feverishly making mental notes.

I am often hesitant to meet my heroes, for fear of shattering my illusions. In this case, the man behind the curtain is a true wizard. Jack Davis is exactly like his work. Inviting, friendly, humorous, engaging, and tasteful.

Mr. Davis told us he had just come from a visit to the Disney/Pixar animation studios, and he effusively expressed his amazement at the 3d computer imagery produced there.

Jack told us he was greatly influenced by Walt Disney cartoons, which is why he knows big hands and feet are essential for comedy. I was going to tell him about my current job at Disney, but then I remembered God gave me two ears and only one mouth for a reason. I shut up and listened.

Sergio and Jack told funny stories about their travels around the world. My favorite was the story about their trip to Mexico, and how Jack Davis held an umbrella over Sergio's mother in the rain while she cooked for her son's friends. It was one of many illustrations of what a great friendly guy Jack Davis is. My favorite "Sergio is a great guy" story of the evening was about the time a translator was hired for a public appearance at a venue where it was mistakenly assumed Sergio couldn't speak English. Not wanting to see the translator lose a paying job, Sergio pretended he couldn't understand English for the duration of the gig.

The brilliantly entertaining Mark Evanier was also there, and describes the cool awards that were given. Read about it and see photos here:
http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2006_10_22.html#012293

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Kyle Baker featured in Arie Kaplan's MASTERS OF THE COMIC BOOK UNIVERSE REVEALED!

Kyle was one of eleven comics creators featured in Arie Kaplan's MASTERS OF THE COMIC BOOK UNIVERSE REVEALED!

From Arie's website (which has Amazon links):

My first book, Masters of the Comic Book Universe Revealed!, was published in September 2006 by Chicago Review Press. It's a series of Rolling Stone-style biographical profiles of great artists – in this case, comic book creators. By chronicling their lives and careers, I'm presenting a sort of oral history of the comics medium itself. I interviewed and profiled eleven innovative and influential comic book luminaries – Will Eisner (The Spirit), Jerry Robinson (Batman), Stan Lee (Spider-Man), Trina Robbins (GoGirl!), Art Spiegelman (Maus), Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Kyle Baker (Why I Hate Saturn), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Dwayne McDuffie (Static Shock), Ho Che Anderson (KING), and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis).

From the 20-page Kyle Baker chapter:
"Kyle Baker is the cartoonist who put the "comic" back in comic books. In an industry where graphic novels conern either brooding, jaded superheroes or brooding, jaded Gen-X (or Gen-Y) loners, Baker tells defiantly funny stories. There's no hidden agenda here, there are no existential musings on whether we're alone in the universe or the fact that with great power comes great responsibility. His graphic novels like WHY I HATE SATURN are about everyday people falling in love, fighting, xxxing, stabbing each other in the back, and generally making the audience guffaw with their infantile shenanigans. The fate of the world isn't at stake; the only thing at stake in a Kyle Baker book is often the protagonist's rent check, which may or may not bounce. His stories are a welcome breather from the all-too-dramatic fare normally found in most comics, and their relatability and lightness of tone make them not only welcome, but necessary.

But like a film or television comedian who's decided he needs to broaden his range, he's used his growing clout to found his own publishing company and divide his time between frothy, humorous fare like THE COWBOY WALLY SHOW or his PLASTIC MAN series for DC; sprawing biblical epics like KING DAVID; and serious works with political and historical significance, like his breath-taking self-published NAT TURNER miniseries, or the political satire graphic novel BIRTH OF A NATION, his collaboration with HOUSE PARTY director Reginald Hudlin and BOONDOCKS creator Aaron MacGruder. And somehow the polymath workhorse has found time to write and direct various animation projects for film and television, often overseeing every aspect of each production in true auteur style from his studio in Manhattan's SoHo district. As a renaissance man and a storyteller with an innate sense of the theatrical, Kyle Baker is more than comics' court jester, he's its Woody Allen."

I really enjoyed this book. Learning how successful individuals get from here to there, so to speak, is fascinating to me. While each creator's journey was unique, they all share talent, determination, and work incredibly long hours.

As Marjane Satrapi said "...you have to be almost like a monk to be able to make comics."

Liz

p.s. Thank you Arie and Nadine!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Liz's Comments on Heidi's Blog

http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2006/10/18/notable-quotables/

Regarding children and comics: Kyle just did a BART SIMPSON’S TREEHOUSE OF HORROR story (mentioned on our blog http://thebakersanimationcartoons.blogspot.com/), as did Terry Moore and Eric Powell. All three stories were hilarious.

Bongo is a wonderful publisher, and Kyle enjoyed working with them; he hopes to work with them again in the future.

These are just my comments as a parent:

Kyle’s story is in the middle of the comic, a family-friendly tale about fairies. The other two stories, particularly the last one, are not family-friendly. But it is a “horror” comic, so there you go.

But to my mind, this TREEHOUSE comic symbolizes the challenges parents face as they navigate their local comic shop (if there is one): you have to bypass a lot of inappropriate material to find the kiddie section (if there is one). Really, why bother? Our family shops at the local comic book store (we love them!), but none of my “mommy-friends” do.

I do know moms who shop at Walmart, K-Mart, Target. Imagine if these stores had an extensive quality comics/graphic novel section for young readers? Books like ARCHIE, THE BAKERS (shameless plug, sorry), BONE, OWLY, Scholastic, etc. as well as superheroes?

I can dream, can’t I?

p.s. Heidi: we love your blog!

COMIC BOOK BY LILLIAN

Here is a link to the mini-comic book that Lillian, 7, debuted at the Baltimore Con last month. It's an action-packed story about an evil babysitter.

Click here to see the comic. http://kylebaker.com/www/lilliancomics/anna.htm

Love, Liz (aka mom)

Monday, October 16, 2006

THE SIMPSONS GET BAKED

The newest issue of BART SIMPSON'S TREEHOUSE OF HORROR features KB's take on the famous yellow family. The perfect Halloween gift for youngsters! It's a trick AND a treat!

Here's what one satisfied customer has to say:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Raiding the Dress-Up Drawer

Two years ago Isaac was Batman for Halloween. We kept the costume, and 2 year old Jacqueline recently discovered it. Wearing it she was a toddler transformed: arms extended in front of her, she ran back and forth through our apartment like a heroic, tiny vacuum cleaner: "Shhhhh: I'm like a birdie!"

Lillian: "Jackie, go and fight the laundry. It's mom's worst enemy."

Liz

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Kyle Baker in East Village Art Show (today only)

Sorry, meant to send this out sooner...

This church is a wonderful part of our East Village community. ALPHABET
CITY: Everything A-Z is fascinating, and includes art by Kyle Baker
(directly from our living room!).

Alphabet City: Everything A-Z

Host: The Father's Heart Ministry Center
Location: The Father's Heart Ministry Center
545 East 11th Street, New York, NY View Map
When: Thursday, October 5, 6:00pm -
Saturday, October 7, 6 to 10:00 pm
Phone: 212-375-1765

The art show aims to explore, through art, what life is like in a gentrifying neighborhood and to celebrate the diversity and richness of the community.

Cheers, Liz

Thursday, October 05, 2006

MOM'S CANCER Plug

Kyle paid us a surprise visit this past weekend. While combing through the chaos...I mean, his office...he found his signed copy of Brian Fies' MOM'S CANCER which I have wanted to read. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Brian has a website www.momscancer.com and a blog momscancer.blogspot.com/

Lillian spied MOM'S CANCER and really wanted to read it. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate (she is 7) but know there is nothing keeping her from a graphic novel or comic book that she wants to read. It is like showing off a box of chocolates and not giving her one.

So I decided to read MOM'S CANCER with her so we could talk about it. If you have or have had cancer in your family, you really see yourselves in the story. The book's non-preachy anti-smoking message is powerful. If I taught health class to vulnerable youth, I would require this book to be read.

Favorite part: sibling superheros.

MOM'S CANCER, edited by the wonderful Charlie Kochman at Abrams, is up for a Quill Award October 10. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

NAT TURNER Orders Overwhelm Us...

We haven't been blogging recently because:

1. With our accountant's proverbial gun pointing at us, Kyle and I are doing our 2005 taxes (no more extensions).

One word: YUCK!

and

2. We have been overwhelmed with NAT TURNER Vol. 1 (of 2) orders.

I want to set up a romper room section in our local post office: Liz is there every day.

Thanks for buying the book!

And more news on The Bakers to come...