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2010 February

Hanging out with Nick Abadzis and vote on the Honduran coup comic cover

img_0406Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day with visiting graphic novelist Nick Abadzis, creator of the Eisner award-winning Laika. He visited the Stanford Graphic Novel class on Weds, offering some great advice on our atomic bomb story and how to get your work seen by publishers. Later that night he then gave a fascinating talk on his research process and the steps he took from the original idea behind Laika all the way through to finished artwork – including a visit to Moscow to get a feel for his backdrop.  Yesterday he, Adam Johnson and I went down to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where Nick offered similar wisdom to the students there, as well as signing the odd dozen copies, each with a meticulously crafted (not to mention lightning fast) dedicated illustration. Here’s the man at work – note the blurred brushpen. A true cartooning gent and top dog (groan). Thanks Nick!

And now, the chance for you to get involved in the creative process of Honduran Coup comic. Below are 4 potential designs for the cover. Have a look at the four different options below and then register your vote for the favourite one using the poll I’ve created here. I’ll announce the results next week. This is a first-time experiment for me, so depending on how many votes come in I’ll expand more interactivity into this site in the coming months. Anyway, back to the voting options:

Number 1                                                               Number 2

cover1

cover2

Number 3                                                    Number 4

cover3cover4

I’m leaning towards number 1 at the moment, which features Zelaya (Z), Micheletti (M), Clinton (C), Romero (R), riot police and Zelaya supporters in a line, outside the Brazilian Embassy and United Fruit factory (for its historical connection to US interests in Central America). Cover 2 features a line of said riot police, no.3  focuses on the reflection of supporters in the protective visor of a riot police officer (my second choice) and no.4 is more of a boxing showdown-style setup with Zelaya facing off with Micheletti, leaving the rest of the ensemble cast in the background.

Se buscan traductores! (2a parte)

As mentioned yesterday, I’m looking for bilingual spanish/english readers to spot any translation problems in the page above. Leave a comment with your constructive criticisms, gente. Gracias! More news below, plus a poll for you to vote on.

Spanish translators fijaos!

All of part two of the Honduran coup is now freshly translated into spanish, but before it goes off to the printers, I’d appreciate it if any hispanophiles out there want to echar un ojazo at the following and let me know if there are any glaring grammatical/translation mistakes. Gracias!

“I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a murderer”, reversing the Supreme Court ruling and ongoing Honduran abuses

In a bizarre twist ripped straight out of a Peter Sellers film, Israeli citizens are coming forward in relation to the recent murder of a Hamas arms supplier in Dubai. Get the lowdown in my original post from Thursday. Why? Because their passports put them at the scene of the crime after the assassins cloned them and stole their identities. Leaving people like poor Melvyn Mildiner, 31, to now be fearing for his life, despite having never left the house.  Though interestingly there’s this reported quote from ynet.com that he ‘awoke to a world of fun’. Whatever gets you going Melvyn.

For those of you still scraping your jaws off the floor from the now infamous Supreme court ruling that uncapped corporate electoral spending, the democrats have awoken from their shock to suggest some counter-measures. Read about them here.

And whilst my Honduran coup comic is now almost finished and primed for the printers (for more info on it click here), the violent repression of resistance members in Honduras continues unchecked by the media. For a brutal wake-up call, a list of the reported incidents has been published and updated here.

Rebranding Iraq, Nawlins, and a new Honduras page

News today that the US has decided to rename the Iraq war ‘Operation New Dawn’ to vaunt the US’s evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq. So it’s goodbye “Operation Iraqi Freedom”,  hello new dawn. Despite the predictable media fanfare (drowning out the rising death toll, you say?), it seems no one actually did a google search before coining the moniker. Had they done, they’d have seen that amongst the top billings for ‘New Dawn’ is a rehab center for getting people back on the right track.  The company’s slogan says it all: “Confidence. Security. Hope. Always” – sounds like a military press release to me. Speaking of which, here’s the original memo from the Dept of Defense suggesting the name change. Lest you commit the social faux pas of mismatching the wrong war to the wrong sobriquet, here are some personal favourites of mine:

“Operation Earnest Will” – no, it’s not the abortive first draft title of Good Will Hunting, it was the 1987-1988 Inter-State War in Iran

“Operation Deliberate Force” – best not to think about the need for the word ‘deliberate’ here – NATO Intervention in Bosnia 1994-1995

Both still sound better than “Operation WTF WMDs”, mind you.

This week’s book review corner features New Orleans: After the Deluge, an amazing piece of comics journalism that recreates the chaos and panic when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. It was originally serialised online, so you can actually read it here. The story focuses on half a dozen characters around the city and their contrasting reactions to the impending disaster. Based on actual testimonies, it’s a towering work that earns Josh Neufeld a place in the comics journalist hall of fame, next to Joe Sacco. Ok, so it’s still a small hall, but you get the idea.

Lastly, the more observant among you will have noticed the chipin widget on the right sidebar has been replaced by a new button, which will take you directly to the paypal checkout for a copy of the Honduran coup comic. Yours for $5 plus $2 shipping to the US, or $4 to the rest of the world. Not only that, but for those of you who are new to the site (welcome) or who haven’t ordered your hard copy of the Honduran Coup: A Graphic History (for shame), I’ve created this new page with all the information, links, quotes and background you could ever want, plus a radio interview thrown in for good measure.

A sneak preview…

…from my first graphic novel and current long-term project. More about this next week. In the meantime, scroll down for news.

Tweeting the Olympics, Iranian comics coverage and the ABC guide to assassination

Some amazing, bizarre and inspiring stories in the news this week. I came across the amazing one this afternoon, though it’s the form of the news that’s amazing as opposed to the content: the Winter Olympics’ use of a live twitter feed embedded in its online coverage so you can monitor trends in real-time as events unfold. See for yourself. Needless to say, the potential for this carried over into other news stories is massive.

The bizarre portion relates to the assassination guide mentioned in the title and is something straight out of the Bourne Identity franchise. If you hadn’t heard, Mossad, the Israel intelligence agency, is alleged to have carried out a covert operation to take out Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a leading Hamas official, in his hotel room in Dubai on Jan 20. Aside from the furore surrounding the identities of the team involved (who are also alleged to have cloned British and Irish passports) and the undeniable fact that al-Mabhouh wound up dead, what is most unbelievable is the security camera footage that chronicles the entire operation, broadcast recently on the US’s ABC network. Click here for the play-by-play guide, should you ever need to brush up your black ops skills. A surefire contender for the least covert operation ever carried out.

Lastly, on the inspiration front, is news from Iran that dissidents are publishing a comic that chronicles life in  Iran. I know what you’re thinking – you’ve already read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. But whereas Satrapi’s incredible memoir relied on her childhood memories, this new project is being published in real time (there’s that buzzword again), and will be serialized three times a week. Click here for the full story or here for the start of the comic.

Honduras pt.3, no.12 and news below the fold

Panel 10: The yellow quotes here are taken from the Washington Post and Fox News coverage. The 15 countries claim is from the Morning Star.
Panel 11: More on this corrosive decision for democracy here.

This concludes the graphic history of the Honduran Coup. For more comix, check out the comix archive for all my comics journalism.

Remember to scroll down to read my latest comments on news stories and visual journalism from around the world. Or you could just click here.

Honduras pt.3, no.11

Panel 7: For a graphic history of the School of the Americas, and the link between its graduates and human rights violations, click here.
Panel 8: For more info on the Honduran Military’s presence at PANAMAX, go here.
Panel 9: Direct quote from President Obama on June 29th, the day after the coup that ousted Zelaya.

Honduras pt.3, no.10

Panel 1: Seen here with the report is IACHR President, Luz Patricia Mejia Guerrero. Here’s the full report.
Panel 5: News of this predictable yet disturbing development here.
Panel 6: Depicted here is Jorge Rivera Aviles, Chief Justice of the Honduran Supreme Court. For more on his decision, click here.

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