Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An old cartoon...

...drawn 30 years ago, before I started using Jason as a pseudonym. 30 years?!? Yes, time to buy that porsche and get those hair implants...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Used dvds bought in Paris

1. Matewan
2. The Graduate
3. Hearts of Darkness
4. Open Your Eyes
5. Jeremiah Johnson
6. The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid
7. JFK
8. Wild Bill
9. Carnal Knowledge

I've been looking for a copy of Matewan, so finding one for one euro was a catch. It's a fullscreen version, which is a bit annoying, but still...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A signing

No Angoulême for me this year, but I'll have a signing at the bookstore Super Heros in Paris, on Friday 27, at 5 o' clock.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Corto sketches

Pen sketches copied from Ballad of The Salt Sea by Hugo Pratt, around 83, 84.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Drawing from around 82 or 83, I'd guess, copied from a Peanuts strip. It should have been put up on my other site, The Old Cat and The Dog, but there is not much happening there.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blow Out

A conspiracy thriller where sound recordist John Travolta might have evidence that a presidential candidate has been assassinated. Also starring Dennis Franz at his sleaziest and Nancy Allen at her most vulnerable, directed by Brian De Palma.

Ah, De Palma... His two latest films, Black Dahlia and Redacted were pretty awful. I thought he was such an established director that he could afford a couple of flops, but there hasn't been any new film from him in several years. Give us one more masterpiece before you kick the bucket, okay? Blow Out is an homage to Antonioni's film, taking up themes that concern De Palma as well: reality, illusion and the lies underneath. There are several bravura sequences, one of them being Travolta finding out his tapes have been tampered with. There's also a pretty big plot hole. At some point Travolta just needs to take a phone call to find out something. He doesn't. It would have ruined the ending of the film, of course: A resigned sadness, that I'm not sure you can get away with in modern Hollywood films anymore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Captain Easy

A bit more depth in the characters would have been nice, but it's impossible not to enjoy the charm of Roy Crane's drawings. There's a fun to the stories that I miss a bit in current comics.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Photographer David Hemmings takes some pictures of a couple in a park. While developing the film he realizes he might have been witness to a murder. Also starring Vanessa Redgrave and in a small part Jane Birkin, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Another slow art film, but actually, it's pretty good. It's an enigmatic thriller, where even the question of whether a crime has been committed or not isn't entirely certain. It doesn't explain anything of what is happening, something you will either find frustrating or appealing. Personally, I like that. It also captures a time and a place: Swinging London in the sixties.

A bit SPOILERish:

I've seen this film several times. I've always loved the ending with the imaginary tennis ball. It's one of my favourite movie endings. But watching it now, it's the first time I noticed this: After Hemmings throws "the ball" back, the camera stays on him, we don't see the mime tennis players anymore, but now we hear the sound of an actual tennis ball being hit. What is the significance? An indication that the whole thing took place in his head? Hmm...

Next: Blow Out

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Moderns

Keith Carradine is a struggling artist in Paris in the 20s, agreeing to forge some paintings. Also starring Linda Fiorentino and Wallace Shawn, directed by Alan Rudolph.

Still haven't seen Midnight in Paris. There is no rush. I'll wait until I find it used or at half price. I re-watched this film, also taking place in that period, and with Hemingway and Gertrude Stein as supporting characters. I seem to remember liking it when I saw it in the cinema in the late 80s, but there's something annoyingly smug and clever about the film. It's slow and arty and ends up even more boring. It also feels a bit claustrophobic since it keeps reusing the same four or five sets. The characters are not someone you care about. And does it have to be so serious to be art? Put in a couple of jokes for chrissake!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Long Riders

Jesse James robs banks and is shot by Robert Ford. It's the one with all the brothers: Keith, David and Robert Carradine, James and Stacy Keach, Dennis and Randy Quaid and Christopher and Nicholas Guest. Also starring Harry Carey jr, from the John Ford westerns, Mr Blue and Pamela Reed. Directed by Walter Hill.

It's a great western - one of the last good ones. It's well written. The dialogue rings true, something that often is not the case in modern westerns. There's a great score by Ry Cooder. Actually, there are real musicians in the film, playing music. It used to bother me in the old Ford and Leone films, that the fiddler or whoever was clearly an actor faking it to prerecorded music. People are being shot in Peckingpah-ish slow motion. For being a Hill film, there's a surprisingly strong female character, Pamela Reed as Belle Starr. Okay, she's a whore, but still... Dennis Quaid plays the goofy brother, not Randy. David Carradine is badass as Cole Younger. Love the scene of the Swede trying to buy his horse, in the middle of a bank robbery. The horses through the windows scene is still impressive. There's even the cowboy being shot and falling off the roof scene!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Duellists

In Napoleonic France Harvey Keitel keeps duelling Keith Carradine. Also starring Albert Finney, directed by Ridley Scott.

Well, this is one gorgeous looking film - almost like a series of paintings come to life, often shot at magic hour, and with a convincing recreation of the time period. The fencing looks very realistic, far from the clearly choreographed Errol Flynn type of fencing. Keitel is intense, as usual, and I've always found Carradine to be an underestimated actor. The film has a sort of impressionistic storytelling - short scenes with big gaps in between - and is less Hollywood than Scott's later films. Actually, I would say it's his best film.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


... painted on a cigarette case.
Thanks, Nicolas Verstappen for the photo.

Monday, January 9, 2012


This one I saw in the cinema. In Norway it was censored. Several scenes, like Bishop being ripped in two, were cut. It's Cameron's second film, if you don't count Piranha 2, and his best one. I doubt he will make anything better. It's a pretty much perfect film. There's an element of Greek myth to it, the way Ripley goes down to the kingdom of death to get back the little girl. The characters are memorable. The budding relationship between Ripley and Hicks is never mushy. The fight between Ripley and the alien queen is intense. You can sort of see that some of the vehicles are models, but it doesn't take you out of the film the way bad CGI does. It probably should have been the only sequel. I don't know if anything would be lost in a world without Alien 3 and 4. Every alien film is basically one thing: people running down a corridor and the alien coming after them, and how many variations can you do on that?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I wish I had seen this film in the cinema when it came out. 14 years old is a good age for seeing it, I think. Problem is, in Norway the film had a 15 years old age limit, and I was such a goody two-shoes kid that I never tried to sneak into a cinema. I read the comic book version of the film, though, by Walter Simonson, and when I eventually saw the film I was actually a bit disappointed by the chestburster scene. It just seemed more ferocious and gory in the comic.

Like Jaws it's a much better film than it had any right to be. Both Spielberg and Scott were young and hungry filmmakers. One can imagine what some old Hollywood hack would have done with the same script. One strenght of the film is that the characters actually seem like real people. They talk in a very natural, 70s film style, something that is completely lost in the later films, ending up with flat comic book characters in the fourth one. And yes, I'm a cartoonist using "comic book" as a negative term here, but anyway... Re-watching the film now, it's again strange to see how slow it is. Almost an hour passes before the monster is loose. The scene where the Tom Skerrit character, Dallas, is killed has sort of been a bit funny to me. When the alien stretches out his arms in that scene, in my head I hear Gotta dance! from Gene Kelly's Broadway number in Singing in the Rain. But that's probably just me.

Charles Addams

Ah, one day too late. Charles Addams was born 100 years ago yesterday.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Three things

1. I've had the latest phonebooks lying around - they've been there for almost a year, I guess. I was looking through the white pages for a name for one of the characters in my new comic, when I thought I should check if my name is there. And it is! My name is in a French phonebook! I was almost as excited as Steve Martin was in The Jerk.

2. After not being in a cinema for over a year I went and saw the new Mission Impossible. It's not bad. It's not as good as the first one. It's better than the second one. The setpieces are great. There is some character stuff, and the problem with that is that you don't really care about Tom Cruise as a character. You want to see him run and punch people out. The talky/feely scenes are a bit boring. Some of the gadgets in the film, like making the new agent being able to hover over the ground was a bit hard to believe in. And the bad guy was a bit boring. Wanting to start World War 3, the Bond villains stopped doing that in the seventies. The rabbit's foot, in the third one, was a better macguffin, even not knowing what the damn thing was.

3. For some reason I've been thinking about the duet that Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash did together, Girl from the North Country. There are one of two places during the song where one of them starts to sing one thing and the other something else, then they correct themselves. I've wondered why they didn't make a second take. But perfection can be boring. And that small mistake actually makes it more memorable, more human.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lost Cat

So, yes, Lost Cat. That will be the title. Here's the very first panel of the story.
Note to self: Erase the pages as you're finished inking them, because erasing hundred pages in a row is no fun.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Good Night, Athos

There's a five page preview of Athos in America, at Robot 6, here:

Night of the Demon

Dana Andrews is investigating a devil cult in England, with the help of Peggy Cummins in this film, called Curse of the Demon in the US. Directed by Jacques Tourneur.

There's an interesting link to film noir with this film. Andrews did, among others, Laura, Cummins was memorable in Gun Crazy and of course Tourneur did Out of the Past. The film looks great, and has some creepy scenes - it's mostly psychological horror, based on mood and atmosphere, in the style of Tourneur's previous films like Cat People. There's a special effect involving smoke that is pretty impressive. Unfortunately the producer wanted to show the demon of the title, and well, he shouldn't have. It's obviously some rubber thing that completely breaks the tension. The film, or possibly the short story it was based on, might be an inspiration for Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell. The ending is similar, where the person who is cursed is trying to give the curse back.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Calef Brown

Calef Brown is probably my favourite illustrator. He's done several great books for kids. His website: http://www.calefbrown.com/