Austin creator Jason Neulander (author of "Ghengis Khan: The Opera") has invented a whole new medium: the liiiiiiving commmmmic booooook! He has turned his long-running serial radio show "The Intergalactic Nemesis" into a graphic novel and is now performing the whole mess as a live-action stage show where the individual comic book panels are projected -- in a movie theater -- behind live actors and foley artists.
"The year is 1933. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Molly Sloan and her intrepid research assistant Timmy Mendez team up with a mysterious librarian from Flagstaff, Arizona, named Ben Wilcott. Together, they travel from Rumania to Scotland to the Alps to Tunis to the Robot Planet and finally to Imperial Zygon to defeat a terrible threat to the very future of humanity: an invading force of sludge-monsters from outer space known as the Zygonians..."
It's a comic book that everybody experiences together in a theater, with their elbows touching and popcorn squeaking on the bottoms of their shoes. With sound effects. And actors. Imagine a whole bunch of bombastic thespians gathered below a movie screen, in your face, narrating comic book panels that mesmerize and baffle you...
The panels dissolve slowly enough that you can pay attention to both the screen and the people. You can pick between art and humanity with your eye...roving back and forth to make yourself drunk on narrative, delirious with color and sound...
We tracked Neulander down and interviewed him about the history of the project, pulp fiction in general, the movie industry, and why 1930's patter is so goddamn snappy.
I'd love to see other comic books screened this way -- with the original panel art narrated and performed instead of turned into hokey, unexceptional "film adaptations" where wooden actors try to look as much as possible like awesome drawings. Comic books are beautiful. Live actors make you lean forward and pay attention. Experiencing comic books together with a crowd full of people is exhilarating and right.
I like imagining the transitions between panels. I like the combination of radiocraft, comicraft, and stagecraft, without the numbing, anodyne flatness of moviecraft. Imagine your favorite Batman comics mounted this way...or something even stranger, like Bechdel or Crumb. This gives indie comic creators a chance to get their work into theaters without changing their product, diluting it, or making it broad and forgettable.
Imagine dragging all your friends to see comics like this, glorious page by glorious page, insanity heaped on insanity.
"LET'S ALL DO A LOT OF MUSHROOMS AND GO SEE "THE FILTH."
You can buy the individual issues of "The Interglactic Nemesis" comic book here, with art by Austin's Tim Doyle ("Amazing Adult Adventures").
Or, if radio drama is more your thing...
...you can listen to the entire original "Intergalactic Nemesis" radio drama here for free with music by Graham Reynolds ("A Scanner Darkly")
OR, if you want to see the comics and radio drama together and you live in Austin, you can see Episode 2 this weekend at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse (Quentin Tarantino's favorite movie theater) before the opening of the 7 PM showing of "The Lightning Thief." The price of admission to "The Lightning Thief" gets you into "The Intergalactic Nemesis: Episode 2" for free.
OR -- IF YOU WANT THE FULL EXPERIENCE -- IF YOU WANT TO SEE EVERYTHING AND KNOW EVERYTHING AND BE ONE OF THE ILLUMINATED ELECT -- THERE WILL BE A FULL-ON COMPLEAT RILLYBIGSHOW OF ALL THE EXISTING EPISODES AT THE STAPLE! INDEPENDENT MEDIA EXPO AT THE MONARCH EVENT CENTER IN AUSTIN ON MARCH 6TH! OH MY FUCKING AUNT AND UNCLE GOD! YOU JUST HIT THE JACKPOT MY FRIEND!
Anyway, living comic books. Next big thing, maybe.
Posted by miracle on Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:47:51 -0500 -- permanent link