SPECTATORS - Part 70
Plus, my exclusive interview with Kelly Thompson!
Happy Birthday to me!
Brian here, and this is is how old I am:
46 was a strange, hard year, but also a sporadically wonderful one, so I think I’d like to resubscribe, please.
I’m missing a lot of loved ones today, but am very grateful for friends like Niko Henrichon and Fonografiks, who got me the greatest gift of all: another glorious double-page spread of Spectators.
No San Diego Comic-Con for Niko or me this year, but I hope everyone has a great time.
And while I won’t be making any appearances for the foreseeable future, you generous paid subscribers will eventually have another exclusive signing opportunity, and Tower members are also automatically entered in our monthly drawings to win an original page of Niko’s hand-painted Spectators artwork.
Congrats to July’s randomly selected reader… Miles, who became an annual member in February. Never too late to join and help underwrite the completion of our weird epic, thanks again!
In last week’s chat thread with you Tower types, we we were discussing favorite Kubrick films, and loyal contributor T. Miller dropped this bombshell:
Thanks to Stanley Kubrick (and a letter from Warner Brothers), I will always know where I was at 11:20 AM, Tuesday the 18th, October 1977, which was a casting interview for The Shining held in the Warner Bros. Suite at the Tremont Hotel, 100 East Chestnut, Chicago. My mom heard on the radio (probably WLS) that they were doing casting for the role of Danny in Chicago and anyone interested should submit a photo, which she did. I don’t remember much of it, being six at the time, but apparently I talked about dinosaurs quite a bit (There’s a life lesson. Never talk to a casting director about dinosaurs. It’s a career killer. Unless the film is about dinosaurs, I guess.). My mom hung on to the letter, which is now hanging on my wall directly next to the letter welcoming me to the A.N.D.G.
How cool is that?
Thanks very much for the killer story, but our underpaid intern Genesis the Exploded Giraffe could only award one Kubrick prize to a randomly selected commenter, and they picked… Pat Darcy, whose favorite Kubrick films include:
Teenage me - Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket; Adult me - Eyes Wide Shut; Old me - Dr. Strangelove. It’s perfect.
Congrats on your prize and good taste, Pat. Genesis has been on safari this month, but will reach out for your mailing address when they’re back next week; ditto for you recent winners of the latest Saga.
But other than that, all past giveaways and signed books/toys/whatever have now been mailed out, so if you’re missing anything, please reach out directly to Genesis and they’ll get back to you asap: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congrats to my Saga collaborators for the Best Series nomination at this year’s Ringos!
For you fellow hardware fetishists, back in 2019, co-creator Fiona Staples and I were lucky enough to take home a couple of these lovely trophies (featuring artwork from the highly recommended Tellos by gone-too-soon legend Mike Wieringo):
Anyway, those of you “involved in and credited with creating comics professionally” (except fellow nominee/nemesis Ed Brubaker) can vote in this year’s awards right here: https://ringoawards.com
One of my favorite current comic creators is fellow Substacker (go read her 1979 Semi-Finalist) Kelly Thompson, Eisner-winning writer of comics like Birds of Prey and Hawkeye, and co-creator of the beloved Jeff The Landshark.
Recently, Kelly sent me a preview for her exceptional new Image Comics miniseries The Cull, with insane art and colors from Mattia De Iulis, and you know what that means… I immediately had to sabotage her with a bunch of stupid questions.
You lucky subscribers will get full access to Kelly’s hilarious and insightful answers, but I wanted everyone to first check out this sneak peek of The Cull, a story about five friends heading out to a famous rock in their small coastal town to shoot a short film before they all go their separate ways in the fall. But one of them has a secret…
The first issue will be at your friendly neighborhood comic shop this August 17th, but I guarantee it’s going to sell out, so you’ll want to reserve yours before what retailers call “final order cutoff” next Monday.
Anyway, check this out:
After the paywall, Kelly will be sharing one more exclusive panel from that gorgeous first issue, PLUS she’s very generously gifted Exploding Giraffe one of these absurdly rare alternate covers (only 300 exist), which we’ll give away to a random commenter in this week’s chat thread:
Everyone else, thanks so much for reading, have a great week, and see you back here for more free Spectators next Monday.
BKV SABOTAGES KELLY THOMPSON WITH TEN AWKWARD QUESTIONS
1) Hi, Kelly! Congrats on the fucking fantastic first issue of THE CULL. Before I forget, what animated show has the very best theme song?
KT: I want to pick something hilarious and clever like the Animaniacs (deeply imbedded in my young heart) or maybe something charmingly relevant to my first comics work – like Jem and The Holograms (they have two good theme songs!)… however, anything other than the X-Men Animated Series theme song is a lie and my soul knows it, even if nobody else does.
2) The word “breathtaking” is overused when it comes to describing art, but I remember literally gasping the first time I saw one of those double-page spreads from Mattia De Iulis. You wrote Mattia’s first published comic work, right? What’s your collaboration like with this extraordinary artist?
KT: Yeah, Mattia is bringing breathtaking back. I support it. He is just a magician with light and color. I believe his first Marvel work was JESSICA JONES with me – and it was just a match made in heaven from page one. He’s a complete sweetheart and of course the talent speaks for itself. But despite his massive talent I never feel his ego – like most great creators I’ve worked with – he’s really just always looking for the best thing for the project. He wants to make something great, just like me. That makes it so much easier. It’s beautiful when you find those relationships. I don’t know what karmic good I did that Mattia wants to work with me, but I’m incredibly grateful for it.
3) Speaking of JESSICA JONES, when we first talked over email, I mentioned that I thought you wrote some of the character’s very best stories. This isn’t really a question, I just wanted to write something that would annoy Bendis.
KT: And I appreciate that on all its levels, Brian.
4) Have you gotten into any Hollywood nonsense that you can reveal? Give Exploding Giraffe an exclusive, goddammit!
KT: Haha. Well, as you know all too well, nearly everything is held up right now with the strike. Which – literally as I am answering these questions – took an important and historic step forward, with the Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) joining the WGA to strike. People that don’t follow this stuff closely or don’t work in the industry maybe don’t realize how huge that is, but it’s huge. So let’s talk about the strike real quick.
SUPPORT YOUR STRIKING WORKERS.
That’s it, that’s all I had to say. There’s nothing else. Quite literally.
There have been some interesting inquiries already on both THE CULL and BLACK CLOAK and two of my other projects were getting quite close to deals right before the strike, so I guess we’ll see what happens when things normalize. Hopefully those deals survive. If not, we try, try, again.
(is this why I am always so tired?)
5) You’ve done excellent work for both Marvel and DC. Which universe is better?
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