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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ric Estrada Joins OCC!

Legendary comics artist Ric Estrada is the newest associate to the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection, due to his work with E. Nelson Bridwell. Estrada has had a long, illustrious career in comics, and, in his formative years, received instruction from some of the true greats of the art world, and was also encouraged in his art work by none other than Ernest Hemingway. Read more about Ric Estrada here, or Google his name, and watch a ton of info come to you.

Toy and Action Figure Museum Schedule, Christian Comics Creator, and Classroom Comics

Well, it's going to happen this Saturday! The opening of one of the most unusual sites in Oklahoma, and perhaps all of the U.S. The Toy and Action Figure Museum, located in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, will open it's doors during a grand celebration starting at 10 a.m. An itinerary for the day can be found here. It includes drawings for new Marvel toys and an antique pedal car, as well as a luncheon, vendor booths, inflatable rides for kids, guided tours of the museum every 15 minutes, the induction of six Oklahoma cartoonists into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame, and MUCH more. More than ever, it looks to be a great day for kids and adults alike!

A while back, I spoke of my search for Christian comics and creators. Well, here's a long-time comics artist (one of my favorites, actually) who recently began living out his faith, and expresses it in his own Christian strip found on Mark (M.D.) Bright has worked for both Marvel Comics and D.C. Comics over the last several years, and has gained quite the fan following for his work. I found his site only within the last few weeks, and thought I'd pass it on to readers. Besides a lot of great artwork and story board work, it contains his Christian testimony and a direct link to "Level Path," his strip. Check out Mark's site here.

Okay, another Classroom Comics selection. Today, Bone. "What is Bone?" Glad you asked, because the review below will answer that question. I will say that Scholastic was so impressed with the comics series that they have plans to rerelease every volume under their banner, getting the immensely entertaining material into schools. You can read more about that, here. I just recently passed the first volume, "Out From Boneville" to the librarian at our local school. Last I heard, she was planning to have a few of her older readers try it out. Here's hoping we can make new readers out of them. Hope you enjoy the review!

I wish comic books were a part of mainstream America. I mean, the millions of people who enjoy the comic strips in their local newspaper, but scoff at the thought of reading a comic book (what's up with that?) really don't know what they're missing. Especially considering those exceptionally good books that I believe mainstream America would enjoy, if they gave them a chance, and if someone got them into mass marketing. One of those books is Bone: Out From Boneville, the first collection in several volumes, by creator, writer and artist Jeff Smith.
What is Bone? It's a combination of things, really. Things like fantasy, adventure, humor, and even a little "creepiness", done in such a way that all ages can enjoy. It's Dungeons and Dragons, meets Walt Disney, with just a bit of The Lord of the Rings tossed in. Yet, it all smacks of freshness and originality.
In this volume, the three Bones (Phone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone) have been banished from Boneville (where else?), and are on their own in a strange land containing talking bugs, vicious, but not-too-smart rat creatures, a rather large red dragon, and the like. Landing smack-dab into the middle of an ages-old conflict, one of the Bones is sought out by the rat creatures, who hope to rid the valley of the "Great Red Dragon." Adventure, intrigue, and hilarity ensue.
Not only does Jeff Smith's elaborate writing and characterization thrill the reader, but his artwork is unmatched, for it's ability to render simple cartoon-like characters, and well-detailed, dramatic ones in the same frame, all of whom he is somehow able to make the reader care about. There is, quite simply, no reason for anyone not to take the first volume of Bone for a spin. They would soon desire more.
Bone: Out From Boneville, published by Cartoon Books, 142 pages, $12.95.