Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Monday, February 27, 2006

Nip It In The Bud 

While I was coughing all over Manhattan, Don Knotts died. Growing up in North Carolina, it was required by law that we watch the Andy Griffith Show religiously, though exceptions were made for the black and white episodes. Anyone who doesn't acknowledge that show as one of the top things produced by television is doping, because it was. It had it's own flavor of plots, timing and characterization, and Barney Fife was a high point of that (not a clever reference to HighPoint, NC). One of my favorite bits is when Barney is trying to console Opie about a dog outside in a thunderstorm, and how other dogs will look out for it. Then he extrapolates to animals that wouldn't be as helpful, like Giraffes. As the tension builds with louder thunder--"yeah... giraffes. Always lookin' out for number one!" ***I just bumbled across a site that shows a Quicktime clip of that very scene! What a great build it has to the humor, hooked onto a lot of worry and fear, which makes it count all the more. It's hard to imagine many comedies today not cramming that same timespan with jokes in hopes of making one stick. Here's the link. Another favorite that comes to mind thinking of young Ronnie Howard is Barney's superstitious phase where he keeps rubbing the little red-haired boy on the head for good luck. As Mark Evanier mentions his thorough posts on Knotts, Griffith was smart enough to let Knotts steal the show because it just made it more successful, and that's true. In recent memory it occurs to me that Jerry Seinfeld did the same thing with his cast, realizing that even if the others got the bigger laughs, he'd still win too. And when Knotts left the show to pursue movie roles, TAGS could never get another dynamic to work half as well again. Every other extraneous character in Mayberry tried to fill the bill, with Andy always visibly irritated at them. So instead of the easy-going Sheriff always looking out for his inept cousin, he became the crotchety normal in a world of idiots. But still the viewers stayed loyal, probably hoping for some smattering of the golden days to return. Knotts' film career didn't flourish long, but as a kid I really enjoyed The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Reluctant Astronaut, and Incredible Mr. Limpet. Actually Mr. Limpet weirded me out some. Anyway, the internet isn't big enough for me to recount all the laughs I got out of the Fife character, if I could even remember that many. Thanks Barn.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Escape From New York Comic Con 

That was INSANE. I knew people were ready for a big show in Manhattan again, but no one saw that coming. People were pouring into the place like water and those without preregistered passes were turned away into the cold. Well, it wasn't really that cold, in fact it was sunny and nice outside, which no doubt helped. Everyone made fun of my excuse for a voice today, strained from sickness and shouting over 80s music at the Marvel gathering last night. If you were there and bought me a beer, thanks by the way. In fact, thanks to everyone at Marvel for being so helpful and letting me set up and work at the offices the past couple of days!

I took some pictures, but my camera is on some goofball setting that makes them all horribly blurred. I'll try to put some up if any are distinguishable. The show was really like most comics shows now, go back and read any of my con reports and replace the city with "New York" and it should work fine. But lots of the people from the area who don't get out that far and have no cars (because why would you?) were, I think, pleasantly surprised at all a big comics convention has to offer. Every comics show has appearances by incongruous celebrities, and the one I just had to talk to was Bosom Buddy Peter Scolari. Who got a phone call as I shook his hand and then looking surprised said, "I guess I have to go to an audition now." Break a leg, Peter, I hope you get the part! There was an impossibly long line on the next floor up that I assume was for Milla Jovovich (ULTRAVIOLET! go see that title sequence!) I briefly ran into almost every friend I wanted to see and some I hadn't expected to. So that with a cheap Jet Blue flight made it a good trip in spite of my compromised health. I look forward to returning to the city at full power later. Time to pre-board, whatever that is. Maybe it's like pre-ordering in a comics shop, which feels just like "ordering".


Friday, February 24, 2006

Sick In The City 

After weeks of kids coughing right in my face and me wiping their noses with my hand, I finally caught the cold that all of America has. It started manifesting the night of my red-eye flight to New York- right on! Even though Jet Blue is pretty comfortable, there's just no sleeping on a flight unless I have a whole row to stretch out. It's been great meeting the regulars who work at Marvel, but they look at me like I just shambled out of one of their current zombie stories. I'll be at the NY Comic-Con tonight and tomorrow, and I promise I won't breath on you if I see you there. I think I'm signing at the Marvel booth around noon Saturday. And now to go drink more of those fizzy placebo drinks that are really just trying to trick me into drinking plenty of water!


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


There, that will be the Mad Magazine parody title, and prolly the title for every review the movie ULTRAVIOLET starring Milla Jovovichgets. Anyway, several comics artists and I drew mock comics cover for the title sequence for this. That was about a year ago, and for all I know they've since changed it to something else. But maybe our work will be in there when the movie comes out March 3rd. I'll post my piece after the debut. Hope it does well, and that all the success somehow gets credited to the title sequence...


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Marvel Adventures: THE AVENGERS 

Thanks to those of you who have written nice letters after seeing the latest Marvel solicits with the latest Adventures book, THE AVENGERS. We're starting with Manuel Garcia pencilling, and me (Jeff Parker, searcher enginers) writing, and Aaron Lopresti providing covers. Excellent art all the way around! Since the Adventures books are supposed to introduce new readers to the Marvel Heroes, the line up generally reflects the characters people might know from the movies, plus the two you have to have or it's not the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America. Originally Giant-Man was offered to me with the line-up, but I really wanted more female characters and pleaded until Janet Van Dyne was allowed to take the big role, in case you're wondering who Giant-Girl is.

Lookin' round the interweb, I see some people are still confusing Marvel Adventures with the MARVEL AGE books that have been gone for a while. The stories we do in Adventures are not retellings, they're new. Sometimes we introduce established characters as if new, because we just can't expect possible new readers to go back and absorb 40 years of continuity to figure out what's going on. So my focus is to present the characters as true to classic form as possible, because how things happen is more important than the facts of what happens. And they're not aimed at kids, though we really want kids reading them. And going by the great numbers the books do in retail stores outside the direct market, they are-- or someone is! If you want to get a sense of what the Avengers book will be like, pick up some of the latest Adventures Fantastic Four books by me and Manuel, that should get the tone across. Thanks again for all of you who've wrote looking forward to the book-- so am I!


Thursday, February 09, 2006


One of those zillion interviews I mentioned is up at NEWSARAMA. Okay, maybe it was more like three. But when you repeat info, it feels like more. You can read and then post in the message board where people question whether I'll maintain the integrity of the New Universe. Where were these people when the books got cancelled? Of course that was the 80's, when a book might be cancelled for dipping down into the 50,000 range, but still. Point is, I am not going back to read those last few issues where it's all about a floating, glowing baby head talking to people.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Neat-- there's a six page preview of STARBRAND SPECIAL at NEWSARAMA. Written by me and drawn by the inventive Javier Pulido! About a zillion interviews with me talking about it will be popping up any day now, so I won't say much here. But tell your shop to hold a copy of "Adventures in the Mulletverse" for you, why don'tcha.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Votes In: America Loves PRESIDENT STRIPPER! 

First I was happy to see the not-easily-impressed gang at Comix Experience in San Francisco give the story a thumbs up in The Savage Critic. And a while ago I bumbled across a good review from Fanboy Planet...

The opening story of a go go dancer by John Buscema and John Romita Sr. features some great classic draftsmanship. However, the re-imagining of it by Jeff Parker, turns it into brilliance. "President Stripper" plays as parody of romance comics and insidiously cogent satire.

This relieves me a lot, because I was wary that I was walking the line with political humor, which is often Not Funny. I begin tunneling into earth like a human gopher at the slightest mention of The Capitol Steps or Mark Russell and his infernal piano. Maybe it's just singing political humor that I find so painful. Of course, I had an edge since my delivery system was some gorgeous John Buscema pencils with John Romita finishes. Anyway, if you're at the comics shop, look for Marvel's Romance Redux book, or possibly even the fat trade, whatever that's called.


Saturday, February 04, 2006


This is pretty cool--NEWSARAMA has a 25 page preview of SIGHT UNSEEN, the new graphic novel by Bo Hampton and Bob Tinell. Bo spelled out the basic story to me a while back, and it's cool to see that the whole 152 page book has come together. Somehow they're selling it for under 20 bucks, which I can't figure out but will happily pay. Props to IMAGE for backing quality Horror/Adventure! Go read the interview that sets up the story and then the massive preview.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006


That's right, Marvel's ROMANCE REDUX is out today. Pick up today's issue for my redub of "I DO MY THING... NO MATTER WHO IT HURTS!" It's worth it for the beautiful Buscema/Romita art alone!


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