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Notes on the Def Con

(This  Stripped column originally appeared in the August 20-26, 1998 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)

by Beth Hannan Rimmels


"Never pass up a chance to fuck over a publisher (the only species over which lawyers and tax collectors always enjoy the moral high ground)."

— one of Dave Dragavon's rules for living in Ironwood #2

Some quick notes and news on last weekend's Comic-Con International in San Diego. More next week after I recover from the combination of jet lag and post-convention stress syndrome.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's coffers were significantly larger after the show. First, Oni Press and Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) produced 1,000 "Semi-Politically Correct Variant Editions" of the Jay and Silent Bob action figures being released in October. Of the variant edition, 500 will be given away to retailers at Connections '98, the industry trade show that precedes the Con. The remaining 500 were for sale at the Graphitti Designs booth at the Con. The aim was to raise $5,000 for the fund.

"We didn't want to bogart all the money to be made off of these super-limited variant editions," explains Bob Schreck, publisher of Oni Press. "Instead, we thought we'd pass the stash over to the fine folks at the CBLDF. It's merely an act of self-preservation. With Oni's editorial tastes, it's only a matter of time before our butts will be up on charges!"

Matt Wagner (Mage, Grendel) designed the Jay and Silent Bob figures, which come with a bunch of accessories, plus Stoner Boner, the "priaptically enhanced canine" of Oni's comic-book series. The Semi-Politically Correct Variant Edition includes a special photo cover variant of the Jay and Silent Bob comic, in which each character is holding one of the action figures.

MR. SANDMAN  Fan favorite Neil Gaiman (Sandman) also released a book at San Diego to raise money for CBLDF. Gaiman has been besieged with requests to post his script "Day of the Dead" for the TV show Babylon 5 online since it aired this spring. But when he discussed the prospect with series creator J. Michael Straczynski, JMS warned him that it would probably lead to bootleg copies being sold at conventions for $30 or more. Gaiman decided to please the fans, thwart bootleggers and help CBLDF by releasing the script officially.

"I liked the idea that television fans could also support the CBLDF," said Gaiman. "There are so many enthusiastic B5 fans out there, often in the strangest of places. Greg Ketter and designer Bob Garcia turned my idea into reality in record time."

The $12.85 print version is a deluxe, 48-page, saddle-stitched volume that will include the complete, original script, an introduction by Straczynski and annotations by Gaiman detailing the evolution of the script and changes made after Penn and Teller were cast as guest stars. It also includes scenes cut from the final shooting script. The first print run is 5,000 copies, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the fund. For more information, check out the CBLDF Web site.

FILM CREDIT  Darren Aronofsky, writer/director of the indie-film p, recently gave an interview to KCRW public radio in Santa Monica, Calif., in which he said that his black-and-white urban cyberdrama had been influenced by Frank Miller's Sin City. The interviewer, who evidently doesn't read Variety, suggested that p was influenced more by Miller's Ronin, which allowed Aronofsky to discuss the fact that he has been signed to direct a film version of it, with Miller himself writing the first draft of the screenplay. The complete 30-minute interview can be heard at the KCRW Web site in Real Audio format.

CASTING NEWS  In more Tinseltown news, Bob Burden's Mystery Men movie seems to be developing nicely. Kinka Usher, director of the Taco Bell Chihuahua commercials, was brought on board as director in April, and Geoffrey Rush (Shine) was cast last month as the villain. According to Daily Variety, William H. Macy (Fargo, Boogie Nights, Air Force One) is in final negotiations for the role of the Shoveler. Filming is set to begin next month.  


Column 1998 Long Island Voice. Jay & Silent Bob comic 1998 Oni Press.