Friday, 29 April 2011

One Question Interview #25: Simon Gärdenfors

Photo: Gusten

Much like eating a fun-size Snickers on a diet, today's One Question Interview may a little tiny bit of a cheat. Ever since Swedish cartoonist/ musician/ TV personality Simon Gärdenfors' gave us a glimpse of his extensive candy packaging collection during our interview promoting The 120 Days of Simon  last year, we've been filled with confectionery curiosity. Recently launching a Kickstarter project for a cartoon starring a popcorn judoka, and currently working on an graphic memoir which takes its visual cues from classic candy wrappers, it's clear that to understand Gärdenfors, you must  understand the inside of his cupboards.

Unfortunately, when we came to him to ask for his list top ten wrappers, boxes, and sachets, he told us that Swedish website Preview 11 had already beaten us to it. Fortunately, those forward-thinking question-nappers are allowing us to post the list in English here. Hoorah!

What are your ten favourite examples of candy packaging?

#1: Double Dip 
- Sherbet (UK)

The charmingly hateful characters make my heart melt. The silliness of the packaging combined with the colours make it magic. It has new packaging now, and it’s not attractive at all—the characters are drawn in a way that is just not pleasant.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

News: Simon Gärdenfors Needs YOU to Kickstart Paco the Judo Popcorn

Friend of Avoid the Future, Swedish cartoonist Simon Gärdenfors has teamed-up with animator Jonas Pike Dahlstrom, to set up a Kickstarter page for an awesome new project. Their noble dream: to create an animated pilot for their character, the mighty Paco the Judo Popcorn. As it stands, the project has 23 days left to meet its target of $5000, and it's up to you, the benevolent arts patrons of the digital world, to make sure that the project comes to life!

From the Kickstarter page:

Paco is a popcorn with superpowers. Although he spends most of his days like any other ordinary popcorn kernel passing time with his other friends in the kitchen, when he gets mad he transforms into a super judo popcorn!
We've already made an animated 1-minute teaser featuring Paco's origin story with lots of action in the same cute candy package visuals we plan to use in the pilot episode. Paco is the kind of cartoon we dreamt of watching as kids and it is our belief that kids of all ages will dig it also.

Outside of the inner-joy that comes from knowing that you've helped bring this project one step closer to fruition, incentives for donating include stickers (everybody loves stickers), an mp3 of Paco's theme song, t-shirts, original art, hand-made Paco dolls, and for $10,000 Simon and Pike will dress as the characters and perform at your birthday party. Donald Trump, if you're reading this—and we know you definitely are—we're counting on you for that last one!

Come back tomorrow for a little more Paco goodness as Simon Gärdenfors goodness as he returns to ATF for a One Question Interview about the candy collection he hinted at in our very first interview ever!

Monday, 25 April 2011

News: Latitude Festival to Feature Graphic Novelists for the First Time!

One of the things we get most excited about is the continued integration of comics into the accepted arts and entertainment landscape. So, when the team behind music festival Latitude contacted us with the information that they would be including graphic novelists in the line-up of their literary arena for the first time, we jumped at the chance to help spread the word about it.

From Thursday 14th – Sunday 17th July, festival goers will be able to see the likes of British comics legend Bryan Talbot (Grandville, Alice in Sunderland), alongside William Goldsmith (Vignettes of Ystov), Julian Hanshaw (Observer/ Comica graphic short story prize winner 2008), and Guardian cartoonist Nick Hayes (The Rime of the Modern Mariner). With yet more guests to be announced, there’s plenty to be excited about.

We recently spoke with the festival's Arts & Special Events Promoter Tania Harrison about her decision to include graphic novelists for the first time:
It’s something I’ve consciously thought about and have wanted to do for a couple of years. I think there has been big growth in the world of graphic novels, and they’re very appealing to a large group of people who are music fans—a lot of our audience read graphic novels or comics in preference to traditional novels. 
Graphic novels are accessible to a lot of people, and that fits in with the mission behind Latitude—we’re looking at all art forms, of which graphic novels are very important. There’s a whole wave of really exciting graphic novelists out there and it’s only fair to include them at Latitude.
As well as confirming that there will be something every day for comic fans in the literary arena, she also dropped a few hints that there are still many great things to be announced. We recommend keeping one eye on the Latitude website for more information as it happens. Tickets can be purchased here, and the full/current line-up of acts and guests can be found here. See you there!

Friday, 22 April 2011

One Question Interview #23: Joey Weiser

One of the thumbnails depicting Weiser's original, slightly darker Cavemen in Space ending

As one of the very first creators that we interviewed on the blog, we’re very pleased to have Joey Weiser back to kick off our second wave of One Question Interviews. The man behind Cavemen in Space, The Ride Home, and Mermin, Weiser is responsible for some of the most accessible and appealing all-ages comic work available at the moment. Also, he draws the weekly giant-monster kaiju-inspired webcomic Monster Isle, which is obviously the best genre a webcomic can possibly be.

Catching him off-guard, we jumped at the chance to talk to him after he hinted on his Twitter account that his 2010 AdHouse all-ages graphic novel, Cavemen in Space originally concluded a little differently.

Q: Is it true that Cavemen in Space originally had a different ending?

Yes!  I recently mentioned this on Twitter, because it’s been about a year since my fundraiser to publish the Cavemen in Space graphic novel.  The original concept for how the book ends had a much different twist.
In the original ending, the crew of “The Wheel” still successfully defends their space station from the Zanntu invasion, but ultimately the Earth is still taken over by the alien empire.  This take-over leads to Professor Casimir’s experiment being shut down, and then the characters are given the same choice to either return back to the past, or live with the Professor as his assistants, now under Zanntu rule.

This ending was one of the very first ideas when I was brainstorming for the book, along with the final conclusion with who decides to return to the past, and the very last panel.  It stuck around through all the outlines, the pitching process, and even into first draft or two of thumbnails.  The concept came to me because I was actually working for a company at the time that was purchasing and integrating other companies into them.  It was interesting to me because it was certainly difficult, and not many employees actually transitioned over unfortunately, but life goes on for better or worse.

However, as I continued to work on the book, it grew into another thing, and this idea wasn’t working for me as much in the end.  I think it’s a good twist for “twist’s sake,” but it didn’t really reflect the kind of ending I wanted anymore.  Plus, I became more concerned about Casimir’s growth, and thought that it was better for his character if he made the decision himself to shut down “Project: Cavemen” rather than just being forced to.

Our gratitude goes to Joey for being so nice about us accosting him on Twitter for this answer. If this feature left you a bit mystified, Cavemen in Space can be previewed and purchased over on the AdHouse site. He'll be debuting new work as part of the 2011 Fluke Anthology (see our post about last year’s here) at FLUKE! 2011 in Athens, GA.  Our personal favourite of Weiser’s characters, Mermin, was most recently seen in this gorgeous illustration he did for the Drawn for Them ♥ Japan Tumblr. Yes, you’re quite right, he does make a lot of neat stuff, doesn’t he? It would only be right to buy one of everything on his webstore now.