3 p.m. Faulkner County Library. Free.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go cry somewhere else about your mom throwing all your priceless comic books and baseball cards in the trash the minute you turned your back on them for that worn copy of Playboy long about the time puberty hit. Everybody's got that story.
The new news is: that stuff about not being able to turn back time isn't true anymore. Ditto on what your stepbrother said about anybody who wears a Starfleet uniform in public deserving to have their ass kicked. Comic books and other geek fare are big business these days, with comic book conventions in other states drawing tens of thousands.
While Arkansas can't claim one of the big Cons yet, you can come on out to ComiCon-way 2012, which kicks off this Friday at the Faulkner County Library (it opens at 10 a.m. Saturday).
Featuring exhibits and events including a spaceship bridge simulator, items from one of the largest collections of Superman toys in the world, a showing of the Stan Lee documentary "With Great Power," classic arcade game tournaments, superhero mask decorating for the kiddies and much more, it's sure to be a good time.
Best of all: while justice is never free, citizen, ComiCon-way is. More information is available here. So don your tights, shake the cat fur out of your cape and be there. Excelsior!
NATE POWELL’S ‘CROSS SECTIONS’
5 p.m. Historic Arkansas Museum. Free.
When I first met Nate Powell, it was on a sweaty summer night back in nineteen-ninety-something, at one of those plug-in-and-play concerts at Belvedere Pavilion. I’m pretty sure most of those shows weren’t officially sanctioned by The Man, which made them that much more fun.
Nate’s old band, Soophie Nun Squad, was the product of a group of bright, enthusiastic, hyperactive kids who all had a million projects going on at any given time: other bands, zines, comics, activism, art projects, sketch comedy shows, you name it. I can’t remember the specifics of what Soophie’s songs were about, but I’m pretty sure some of the major themes were: having fun, doing what you love and not letting the awful, gray burden of workaday life grind your dreams into a bitter dust.
As much as anyone I can think of, Nate has embodied that ideal, still playing in bands and making comics long after so many of our peers abandoned their erstwhile obsessions. The interesting thing is that when you work on something you love for a long time, you’ll often become really, really good at it. And Nate is really, really good at what he does. Over countless pages – Xeroxed and stapled in the early days, offset printed and bound in beautiful hardback editions lately – Nate has strengthened and refined his craft, creating an instantly recognizable style.
His graphic novels “Swallow Me Whole” and “Any Empire” have earned glowing praise from critics both within the comics world and from more mainstream publications such as Booklist and the Los Angeles Times. The awards he’s won – Eisner, Ignatz – are some of the most prestigious in the field. By living his ideals, working hard and doing what he loves, Nate has realized enormous success. That’s about as inspiring as it gets, friends.
At this show, he’ll be exhibiting and selling works from his graphic novels from the last five years and will also have copies of his books. There will be music from Isaac Alexander and soup from Sharea Soup. Nate will sign books at The Comic Book Store at noon on Saturday.
If you've always wanted to own one of Nate Powell's works of art, you will soon get your chance. Here in a couple weeks, the Historic Arkansas Museum will open "Cross Sections," an exhibit of works from the Dogtown boy made good. The show will focus primarily on work from Powell's graphic novels from the last five years, including the Eisner- and Ignatz award-winning "Swallow Me Whole" and the Booklist fave "Any Empire."
The reception is Friday, April 13 at 5 p.m. and the exhibit runs through June 1. There will be music from Isaac Alexander and a soup tasting from Sharea Soup. Powell's graphic novels will be for sale as well.
Thanks to reader Louise Terzia for the tip.
Well it looks like Nate Powell — Arkansas native, comic artist, musician — has done it again, "it" in this instance referring to the earning of serious critical praise. The Ignatz- and Eisner-Award winning artist's last work, 2011's Any Empire, has earned a big nod from Booklist, landing in its top 10 graphic novels list, alongside such notable doodling storytellers as Art Spiegelman and Daniel Clowes.
"Powell’s exceptional visual-storytelling gift transforms a potentially obvious antiwar parable into a ravishingly beautiful, emotionally resonant, thoughtful, and provocative work of art," wrote Booklist's Ray Olson.
Olson described Powell as "the most prodigiously talented graphic novelist of his late twenties-early thirties cohort."
All right, comic book and card collectors, here's some red meat for you: River City Comic & Card Expo is going to wipe out all your discretionary dollars for the month.
As you can probably see from the flier, the shindig takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Sherwood Forest, 1111 W. Maryland in scenic Sherwood, and admission will only set you back three bones.
Look for tons of comics from all eras, graphic novels, movies, trade paperbacks, toys, games (board, console and video) and plenty of costumed geekery.
Guests include Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser, artists for several Marvel Comics titles, Charles Martin of Literati Press and Adam Smith and Matt Fox of Wet Black Ghost publishing. (You might also remember Fox from the Arkansas Times covers he's illustrated.
Local artist Matt Fox, who provided really striking illustrations for our Big Ideas issue last year, is working with local writer Adam Smith on Wet Black Ghost Publishing, a new collaboration that's yielded a one-shot print comic called "Mule" and an on-going webcomic called "Long Road to Valhalla."
The former, which is for sale at KaPow Comics in Sherwood or via the Wet Black Ghost website (where you can also read a digital version), is about an underground health clinic, where people pay a "mule" to take on their sickness through some sort of Dr. Frankenstein-type machine.
The latter, Fox says, will end up being around 70 pages. Right now, they're on page 5, with new pages up on the site every Monday. So far, not much has happened, but it looks really great.
Last week, Comic Book Resources offered a dispatch from Top Shelf's Comic-Con 2011 preview panel. The news you care about:
Nate Powell’s “Any Empire” will be following three people from childhood to adulthood, growing up in a southern town, their fantasies about violence, the Reagan era, and examining their changing attitudes to violence. Nate Powell added, “There is a turtle murder mystery too. I’m really excited!”
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