November 24, 2009 by Jesse Lonergan
I was an English teacher and Turkmenistan and before every class I heard the sacred oath chanted by students. Starting from the very lowest grades they new it by heart. It was kind of like the pledge of allegiance, only…
My beloved motherland,
My beloved homeland,
You are always with me
In my thoughts and in my heart.
For the slightest evil against you
Let my hand be lost.
For the slightest slander about you
Let my tongue be lost.
At the moment of my betrayal
To my motherland,
To her sacred banner,
To Saparmurat Turkmenbashy the Great
Let my breath stop.
… it’s a little bit more grim than the pledge of allegiance.
Check out Joe and Azat for more about Turkmenistan.
And check out these photos of the pit of hell (one of Turkmenistan’s most bizarre tourist attractions) by John Bradley.
November 23, 2009 by NBM
“Say what you will about political lightning rod Ted Rall: the man’s not afraid of coming off like a dick. Callejo’s painted art, a far cry from the proto-punk stylings Rall uses on his political cartoons, captures the milieu wonderfully and even manages to convey the varying degrees of dismay Rall’s young self feels over the way his life is going.
November 23, 2009 by shane white
I had a dream last night that Werner Herzog had hired me for a film he was doing. I was over at a friend’s house discussing why we couldn’t start our film in the North Atlantic Ocean, because we didn’t have shark fins and we’d probably die of hypothermia. Werner happen to be there at the moment for some reason.
It wasn’t clear whether I was going to be his Production Designer, Art Director, Actor or all three. We were immediately flying to Germany…or was it an Asian country? At any rate the whole production crew were going to live in one big house during the entire shoot.
I remember having to share a room with several other people, and started thinking about my wife back in the states. For whatever reason I couldn’t find my cell found which made it worse.
We were all in a main room discussing what the project direction was going to be when Werner decided to get a group photo of us. There was a guy there filming a “behind-the-scenes” documentary from Werner’s film company as well.
So we group around this massive couch, and Werner sets up an old bakelight radio and it starts playing some German Opera or something. “We should have a little music for this,” he says in his easy comforting manner.
“Besides, the look on your faces make me out to be Charon or something.”
There’s these little girls playing on a shelf right next to him. The shelf was covered with Chinese porcelain tea services and they started to rattle and shimmy under their weight. He pays them no mind. But my focus is on them and he wants everyone to focus into the 4 x 5 camera he’s working with. I could feel the tension building.
Then out of the blue he picks up a tea-cup a small one at first and points to me, “I want you to sob at the drop of this tea cup. No, wait let me get a larger one so you can really cry.” I look at him and say, “I’ll try, how long do I have?”
“Now.” All eyes were on me, and I couldn’t quite drop-in to the scene fast enough. The cup didn’t break the first time either, so that didn’t help, especially when he said, “Wait, start over.”
November 20, 2009 by Ted Rall
Sorry for my absence from this blog for a while. I’ve been taking advantage of the “calm before the storm” of promoting “The Year of Loving Dangerously” to work on another book, an all-prose political manifesto. It’s coming out in the fall of 2009. I’ve got 27,000 out of 40,000 words done, and it’s due December 15th, so wish me luck. Although, as usual, the last half is going by 5x faster than the first half.
November 20, 2009 by Ted Rall
SEAS grad draws ‘sketchy’ life
With the edgy, graffiti-swathed New York of 1984 as its stage, “The Year of Loving Dangerously” tells the rousing coming-of-age story of the now renowned political cartoonist in the year his life fell apart.
By Tommy Hill
Published Thursday 19 November 2009 07:24pm EST.
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For the cockeyed Columbia student who took his acceptance letter as a one-way ticket to the upper crust, Ted Rall’s autobiographical graphic novel “The Year of Loving Dangerously” is a wake-up call. With the edgy, graffiti-swathed New York of 1984 as its stage, the full-color memoir, to be released next month by Nantier, Beall, Minoustchine, tells the rousing coming-of-age story of the now renowned political cartoonist in the year his life fell apart.
Long before he became an award-winning journalist and artist, Rall was a dedicated Columbia engineering student, committed to the grueling undergraduate marathon of interminable nights holed up in Butler, striving for the inevitable six-figure paycheck at the finish line. In the work, however, the young Rall is sidelined by a freak medical condition, forcing him to miss his exams in the first semester of his junior year. A series of unfortunate accidents over the course of the next few months sees him arrested, fired, broken up with, expelled, and evicted. In the blink of an eye, Rall is booted from his high-flying life in the Ivy League and comes crashing down on the mean streets of a still gritty New York. Suicide looks like a welcoming exit.
“The message I wanted to get out there in this book,” Rall said, “was that this could happen to anyone.” But as depressing as its premise is, “The Year of Loving Dangerously” is no mere sob story. As the title implies, Rall’s is also a tale of freewheeling sex and endless lusty exploits. The homeless, desperate Rall discovers very early on that sometimes a comfy bed is just a smooth grin away. He becomes, in effect, a gigolo—“For day after day, week after week, and month after month, I ended up crashing at women’s apartments.” What started as a hopeless nightmare turns into a gripping adventure that is at once a steamy quest and a struggle for survival.
Working alongside renowned illustrator Pablo Callejo, Rall has created a work that is as visually striking as it is emotionally moving. The intricately detailed panels, many of them based on photo records of New York at the time, vividly reconstruct the context of Rall’s most trying year in all its grimy, punky detail. Illustrations of Rall in his old haunts—bars, record stores, underground concert halls, and Columbia’s campus—are as rich and evocative as photographs.
By the story’s end, Rall has managed to piece his life back together. With a job and a place of his own, seducing women has lost its existential urgency. But, as Rall assured, “The Year of Loving Dangerously” is not the whole story. “This is only the first part of what’s going to be a ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’ trilogy,” he said. “I’ve got a whole lot more to tell.”
November 19, 2009 by NBM
A rave with reservations if that can be. While Ain’t It Cool News was at times appalled by what O goes through, even calling the book mysoginistic (which means he didn’t really get it) he waxes lyrical about Crepax’ adaptation of it:
“First of all, the Eurotica imprint of NBM Publishing has done a beautiful job of packaging this book together.
Crepax is a master storyteller and he wields a lyrical brush. His style is beautiful with a nouveau tendency towards elongated bodies and necks especially…but not grotesquely so. The smoothness of his brush work just glides across the page in most instances and only in the most intense moments does he allow his work to get rough and scratchy.
O is never less than always beautifully sexual. Crepax makes sure that her sexual beauty draws the reader’s eye even when the heart or mind might want to pull away from the events that are unfolding.
The beauty of Crepax’s art somehow makes it palatable and I found it to be something I couldn’t put down…
Guido Crepax truly was a master storyteller, and while he may have focused his talents in an area that many are afraid to go, if you can handle the content, Crepax’s THE STORY OF O is actually a must-have for those who love graphic storytelling in all its many forms.”
heh, heh, we really pushed his buttons.
November 18, 2009 by Terry
oop, a bit late here, as it’s already a few posts down, but a warm welcome to Pablo Callejo, whose art graces Ted’s latest Year of Loving Dangerously.
Of course, you might already know him for his work with Rob Vollmar on Bluesman and the Castaways.
Always wondrous stuff.
And hopefully he’ll talk for both he and Ted who *grumblmumbl* hardly participates here even if I resort to pointing a gun at him!!!
Ted?… You there?
November 18, 2009 by NBM
“The Dungeon series remains a thrilling, sharp read, in this case thanks largely in part to Blain’s stunning art work. Certainly this isn’t a good jumping-on point for newcomers, but it’s well worth getting through the series to arrive at this point. You’ll be surprised where the journey takes you.”
and on Joe & Azat:
“An entertaining book, mainly due to Lonergan’s deft characterizations, both with Azat and his extended family, especially his abusive drunkard of a brother. Lonergan may be vague on a number of details, but the dialogue nevertheless rings true. The fact that it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome helps too. It gets in, makes its points and leaves. I wish more comics would follow that example.”
So says Chris Mautner on Comic Book Resource’s Robot 6.
November 18, 2009 by shane white
That’s right, we use big words here because that’s what Terry likes–literate people to read literary works of art. The entire catalog of NBM books will make your head spin dizzy with thoughtful and provoking looks at life and the people living them. So do yourself a favor and make your holiday shopping that much easier…I mean hell they’re having a sale right now on Eurotica…you know…for the kids!
A nice review here of North Country awaits you.
November 17, 2009 by Pablo Callejo
Hi, everyone. This is Pablo Callejo, writting from Spain. I’m happy to be here, and I would thank Terry Nantier for hosting me at his virtual home.
First at all, let me tell you that I’m a self-taught English speaker, so please excuse my horrible way of writting.
Now, on the subject: Pepo Pérez, a great spanish illustrator and cartoonist, besides a serious comics theoretician (www.pepoperez.com) said a few days ago, in his blog “Es Muy de Cómic” that, when one of his books is released and the people starts to buy it, it’s like the book isn’t a creation of him anymore. At that moment, it isn’t “his book”, but the people’s book, following his own way.
I can’t agree more with that, and, in my opinion, there are two moments which marks the “goodbay farewell” moment: the first one, is when you go to the Postal Office with the CD containing the full art, into an envelopment ready to send it to the Publisher. After a lot of effort, months (or three years, in the case of “The Year of Loving Dangerously”) of discounting sleeping time to draw, finally you breath and think “Ok, here you go!” (actually, this is not the end of the work, since there are always a lot of minor corrections and changes).
And the second and definitive one, is when the Postman knocks your door, and says “MAIL FROM AMERICA!!” and you get this:
Believe me, the moment you open the box and take the first book in your hands, is magic. Then, looking at the paper, smelling the inks, is when you feel that’s not your “son” anymore. Now, it belongs to the people. Good luck, son, I hope you can make the people happy (they’re going to spend their money in you, so better you do!).
Well, in the strange but not impossible case you’re reading this from Paris (France) or nearby, I’ll be next Friday and Saturday in Mantes-la-Jolie for a small signing tour, in the framework of the Blues Festival “Blues sur Seine”. I love to be in France for signing, french are so… “connaisseurs” and so friendly, it’s always a pleasure to meet them. I’ll post photos.
And, next week, some “making of” about “The Year of Loving Dangerously”.
Thanks. And best regards,