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Friday, 20 April 2007

Second Life Star Trek



Okay, this is just so wrong, but not entirely unexpected. Seems some creative types in the Second Life virtual community have got the drop on Perpetual Entertainment and produced their own Star Trek-styled avatars. (There's quite a lot of Trek stuff in SL, actually, including Trek City and a Trek Museum, and there seems to be a lot of interest in comics and superheroes, too. But on a quick tryout, I didn't see anyone running around in a V for Vendetta mask).

The sequences come as apart of a show posted on Blip.tv that forms a general reveiew of events in Second Life which includes the news that Coke are running a competition among SL residents to design a Coke vending machine.

I gather the commercialisation of Second Life isn't an entirely popular development: although people are happy to design their own cars they'd much rather teleport around SL (because it's quicker) or fly (because it's cooler): so when a company like Toyota provides their latest models inworld, the take up isn't that great. Toyota and other companies would, it appears, be better off, say, going off the wall and instead of creating something based on their real world product, invent something that was way out there -- like a Toyota-branded jet bike -- with minimal branding but just enough so as to be noticed if anyone was interested. It's all about making constructive contributions to what's become a very involved online social community, something I recall only too well from my time working behind the scenes on one of the earlier avatar communities, vzscifi, which was the UK arm of vzones.com.

Spider-Man Muscial Madness

Okay, I think we're probably reaching Spider-Man saturation point here because after several rumours Marvel released a statement yesterday confirming that Spider-Man is indeed headed to Broadway … as a musical no less.

Hot on the heels of the release of Spider-Man 3 (and all the attendant discussion of what will form the plot to Spider-Man 4), the show is to be directed by Julie Taymor, who directed The Lion King on Broadway, with music and lyrics by U2's Bono and The Edge.

Hello Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment and Sony are producing the Spider-Man musical, which, as yet, doesn't have an official name or opening date.

Marvel did say that a reading for the show would take place this summer, and Playbill.com reports that reading will take place in New York on 12 and 13 July.

You just know someone's going to try to make a reality TV show out of this, don't you...

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

In Memoriam: Brant Parker

God, people will be thinking I'm an incredibly morbid kind of bloke, which isn't the case at all, but there's been another death in the comics community.

Just days after reporting the death of Italian artist Massimo Belardinelli (2000AD co-0creator Pat Mills has written a terrific tribute to him on the main dtb site) reflecting on the death of Johnny "BC" Hart comes news that Brant Parker, co-creator with Hart of "Wizard of Id" has also passed on.

The New York Times (registration required) reports Parker, who had been drawing the marvellous Id strip for some 40 years until his son Jeff T. Parker took over in 1997, died on Sunday at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia after complications caused Alzheimer’s disease. He was 86.

The Wizard of Id, set in a medieval world where all manner of barbs were hurled like arrows at our modern milieu, is one of my favourite all-time newspaper strips, which began in 1965 and now runs in some 1000 newspapers worldwide. Parker drew the award-winning strip with gags from Johnny Hart, the latter better known for the equally enjoyable B.C. strip, both distributed by the Creators Syndicate, until 1997.

Paying tribute to Parker, Creators Syndicate President Richard S. Newcombe says in a memoriam article on the Syndicate site: "Brant was a truly innovative mind in the comics world. The artistry he displayed in The Wizard of Id was remarkable for its consistency and creativity. I join millions of 'Wizard' fans in giving thanks to Brant for being an inspiration to comic strip artists around the world for so many years."

And so say of all of us.


Jeff T. Parker also paid tribute on the Syndicate site, revealing that, ever the teacher as well as a cartoonist, his father's advice to him and to any aspiring cartoonist was, "Draw! Draw! Draw!"

"He was always studying and learning from other cartoonists, young and old," Jeff continued. "He was a great observer of all that was absurd in the world (including himself)."

On Monday, Jeff posted a fitting tribute to his father with a cartoon on the Creators Syndicate web site showing the King and the Wizard peering at the stars through a telescope.

“Hey!” the Wizard says. “There’s cartoons up there!”

Brant Parker, born 26 August, 1920, Los Angles, died 15 April 2007 Lynchburg, Va. Survived by wife Mary Louise Sweet , his sons, Jeff, James; three daughters, Julie Shackleton, Laurie Tannenbaum and Kathie Borkowski; a brother, John; 13 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.


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