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Tag: Beanworld

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Sketch Cards for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

I was pleased to be invited by Comic Book Legal Defense Fund current president and Beanworld creator, Larry Marder to draw up ten sketches for the Liberty Trading Cards series and fundraiser. It not only gave me a chance to contribute to a worth cause, but to draw my characters (Trollords and Bedbugs) and some of my favorites like the Bone cousins, Kevin Matchstick (from Matt Wagner's Mage), The Mask, Scott McCloud's Zot! and Larry's own Mr. Spook. Fun! These along with tons of other one-of-a-kind sketch cards by oodles of artists will be randomly inserted as one of three subsets in the 72-card deluxe series which tells the story of comics censorship. See more sample cards and learn more about the project at the CBLDF News Blog.

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Beanworld Reviews: Let's Get Metaphysical

After a lengthy layoff, two Beanworld books have been released recently by Dark Horse, quenching the thirst of long-time fans, and smartly packaged for a new generation of readers. In both, readers will encounter all those who populate the Beanworld: Beanish, Professor Garbanzo, Mr. Spook, the Boom'r Band, the Hoi-Polloi, Dreamishness and the Pod'L'Pool Cuties; as well as Beanworld basics such as Gran'Ma'Pa, Gunk'l'Dunk, the Chowdown Pool, the Bone Zone, Mystery Pods and the Four Realities. And once you're hooked, you'll never want to leave.

Bridging the gap of that long hiatus between the original Beanworld comic book run (last seen in 1993) and the forthcoming new Beanworld volume is a Holiday Special story called Every Cutie Deserves a Toy!

Serving as a teaser, this full-color comic whets the appetite for what's to come, and is informed by Larry Marder's fifteen years as CEO of McFarlane Toys. For the young beans, toys or "action effigies" serve as important tools of education and communication when nothing else seems to work. But beyond intros, teasers and toys, it's also a primer for a way to think about Beanworld, paving the way for the themes that Marder's most interested in, and which will be explored in the new major volume to be released Fall 2009, Remember Here When You Are There.

In Beanworld, simple comparative words, terms and concepts like here and there, up and down, look and see and then and now become downright metaphysical. According to Wikipedia, metaphysics "...is concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of being and the world." And with Beanworld Marder isn't just concerned with the nature of Beans in their World.

The brilliance of Beanworld is that the basic nature of the art and language at once belie and work in tandem with the deep philosophical concepts explored in its pages, and more importantly, in the minds of readers. Beanworld's surface appearance draws in a reader with its fun and charm and simplicity, and before one knows it, they're contemplating the nature of being human, finding their place and coexisting with others in the world, and then beyond to the larger universe.

Collecting the original first nine issues, Beanworld Book 1: Wahoolazuma! contains the origins of many main concepts, characters and pieces of the World. But we're always reminded by Marder," It's not just a place, it's a process." And indeed, process is very important in Beanworld, from how they come to be, "breakout", hunt and gather and prepare their "chow," and discover their world and how it works. If some bean doesn't do their part, or someone comes along to put a kink in the process, things get out of whack quickly, which happens in the very first story.

When I first read the first couple stories twenty-five years ago, I found the artwork crude and too simple. And a couple of the creepy corn characters in The Legend of Pop! Pop! Pop! are my least favorite in entire Beanworld saga. So it wasn't love at first sight for me. But the story is integral to the mythos, and by the second story, I began to be hooked. And by the fourth, Beanish Breaks Out, it clicked in my head, got under my skin, and I was seriously addicted, a Beanworld Fan For Life.

But what it means to each reader depends on them. To paraphrase Marcel DuChamp, a prime influence for Marder, "the viewer makes the painting." Beanworld can be read as myth, metaphor, an ecological fantasy, a superhero adventure, or just a plain good story. What you take from it is up to you. For me, it's about metaphysics, art and the relationship between artist and audience, parenting, love, community and finding your personal niche. You may see yourself in one or many of the characters, be it hero, artist, soldier, teacher, musician, spiritual leader, scientist, parent or inventor. It's also just good fun.

Order Wahoolazuma through our Blue Moon store to support this blog. I've written of Beanworld before here. And for more on what's up with Beanworld, visit Marder's blog.  There are many resources there at the top left to introduce and explain Beanworld. Volume 2 is due in July, 2009.

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Getting in the Christmas Mood

Last year this time I wrote a comprehensive post of my Christmas favorites. Adding to the list this year are a couple books: Auggie Wren's Christmas Story by Paul Auster is a short and simple little ditty, and quietly moving. The book is a nice package with a cool cover and illustrations inside, but a tad pricey at $15, so I'd try picking up a used copy, or read it for free online at the link above. Larry Marder's Beanworld just last week made its first appearance in print in more than a decade with a full color holiday special. For long-time fans, this book will whet the appetite 'til Beanworld makes a big return in 2009 with two big books: the first reprinting early material; the second of all new stuff! For new readers, it will serve as a great intro, as this Beanworld review makes clear. I ordered several copies to give as gifts, but have not yet read it. I'll post an update here later.

I've added some songs to my iTunes Christmas playlist, but my favorite is a new song by Florapop, Watchin' it Snow, which can you can listen to at the new Florapop MySpace page. This is just the first taste of a planned Christmas album for next year. Mark Flora and I are already planning the art for it, which I've done for previous albums, like Sunshine Saturday. Happy Christmas!