It has come to my attention that a petition to prevent the BBC from cutting the budget of their documentary department, Storyville, by c. 60%, has been launched a while back. The BBC has a world-class history of documentary production and remains one of the important guarantors of innovation an quality in the field. To see such a substantial reduction in their budget would be sad indeed. Go, sign the petition.
Just got back and have a million things I wanna do here, so what better than to comment on the recently released documents of the settlement between writer Harlan Ellison and publisher Fantagraphics? (the document is available here) Well, I guess there’s lots, but here we go. While it is obviously the most practicable reason for all involved, and eminently understandable that both parties wished to settle – Fantagraphics not wanting to spend a fortune in legal fees and Ellison basically just wanting to obtain some kind of redress he could subsequently hang his Phrygian cap on, like he did with his settlement with AOL a few years back. Congratulations all round on putting this matter behind you.
However, it is nevertheless sad to see what is essentially bullying tactics on the part of self-styled free-speech champion Ellison have an effect, no matter how diffuse. The major concession here is that Fantagraphics have conceded to remove the offending parts of their upcoming 30th anniversary book and company history, Comics as Art – We Told You So, despite having maintained and gone far to prove that these allegedly libelous statements are substantially true. Ellison has produced nothing that refutes the clear evidence backing up their statements in the book, provided by Fantagraphics in their motion to dismiss, and while he naturally should not necessarily be expected to do so in public and should therefore perhaps be given the benefit of the doubt, the evidence against him is substantial.
Sorry for the apathy here, this last week and-a-half or so. All that will change. Right now, I just gotta get back from Germany where I’ve been spending a little time, first in Hamburg, now in Berlin. There’s a lot of good stuff here, some of which I’ll try to post on these next few days, once I’m actually at a machine that’ll allow me to upload images and such. Hang in there – we’ve also got a bunch of other good shit coming up.
As a long-time reader and fan of Bart Beaty’s Comics Journal column, “Euro-Comics for Beginners”, today continued as “Conversational Euro-Comics” at Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter, I have been looking forward to Beaty’s book on the new wave of European comics since I first heard he was working on it, several years ago. Now it is here, it is called Unpopular Culture : Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s, and it does not disappoint, though it raises a number of interesting and somewhat problematic questions.
Only a few, if any, people besides Beaty could have written this panoramic survey of the development of the comics medium in Europe over the last decade-and-a-half. As someone who has followed the scene with great interest, and even published on it : and also experienced Beaty in the flesh on several occasions : I can whole-heartedly vouch for his commitment, knowledge and critical acumen in this area.
The clip above is taken from L’Eclisse (1962), showing the place where the lovers (Alain Delon and Monica Vitti) are supposed to meet – but alas, they don’t, and thus the camera has to film something else. 100% Antonioni, don’t fight it – feel it.
Michelangelo Antonioni 1912-2007 RIP
Ingmar Bergman 1918-2007. RIP
Det drejer sig som Jasons Jeg drepte Hitler, Lene Asks Hitler, Jesus og Farfar, Bendik von Kaltenborns Seks sultne menn, Manuele Fiors Ikaros (hvorfra billedet til venstre er hentet), samt Steffen Kverneland og Lars Fiskes første bind af Kanon.
Today, there’s a great and lenghty interview with leading Euro-comics critic Bart Beaty, conducted by Comics Reporter’s awesome OMAC Tom Spurgeon. The interview deals with Bart the Man (there’s even a photo showing parts of Bart’s huge library of comics) but also with topics from his recent book Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s, hyped here on the Bunker some time ago. Tom Spurgeon is great. Bart Beaty is great. What are you waiting for? Go read!
Yesterday, Spanish Boy Wonder Alberto Contador won the Tour de France. The time trail from Cognac to comics capital of the world, Angoulême, was in reality the last chance to change the top in the general classification (GC). Indeed, this was an exciting time trail, in which the three leading riders rode as though they were fleeing from the Devil himself (or perhaps just from the scandals of the Tour?). Discovery Channel’s Levi Leipheimer beat everyone, but his competitors Cadel Evans and fellow Discovery rider Contador rode spectacularly as well, leaving the top of the GC unchanged.
So, later today, Contador will be celebrated on Champs-Ã‰lysées, standing on top of the podium, next to Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer. Did the best man win? As a commentator on Danish network TV-2 noted: “Yes. If you’re prepared to accept the fact that the man on top of the podium is the second best“. Rasmussen-gate will probably haunt Contador’s victory in the years to come.
This year, it was 25 years ago that the modern classic Blade Runner first flashed across the silver screen. Just in time for the anniversary, the film has emerged from years of copyright limbo and it has finally become possible for director Ridley Scott to finish a final cut of the film that matches his original vision — as he sees it today – as closely as possible. Blade Runner: The Final Cut comes out in October, but unfortunately won’t see theatrical release, though special screenings will be held in New York and LA, so copies for cinematic presentation will at least exist — important when one takes into consideration the film’s enduring life in theatres worldwide since its original release in 1982.
The official release, however, will be on HD & Blueray DVD, in five different sets (image here), the most complete of which will include all existing versions of the film, except the so-called ‘San Diego Preview’ but including the hallowed, elusive ‘Workprint’ (click here for an overview of the different versions) – which includes a good deal of other material that didn’t make it into the theatrically released versions – as well as copious amounts of extra material, including a comprehensive documentary on the film. This is, of course, great news to all Blade Runner afficionados, but one cannot but worry a little that Scott has tampered too much with it, negating some of the imperfections that made the old Blade Runner magic.