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Tomer Hanuka’s dreams of the Al Gore administration

Although they don’t get to spend too much time doing comics anymore, the Hanuka brothers carry their comic sensibilities with them on their high profile magazine illustration assignments. And a recent project by Tomer Hanuka is really something special.

Hanuka was hired by art director Josef Reyes to do the lead art for a New York Magazine story documenting the fictional decade where Al Gore, not George W. Bush, became president in 2000. It poses the question, “How would Al Gore have handled 9-11 and everything in those eight years?” This lead art goes with the first chapter, written by Kurt Anderson, about Gore’s White House being struck by United Flight 93. As Tomer puts it, “Al Qaeda doesn’t care who’s president.”

To view several process sketches and more of Hanuka’s art, visit their blog.

A glimpse inside Spider-Man, ‘Broadway’s most expensive musical ever’

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, by Annie Leibovitz

As the delay-plagued Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark finally prepares to begin previews — Sunday, if nothing else goes wrong — New York magazine takes us “Inside Broadway’s Most Expensive Musical Ever.”

The longish cover story serves as both a profile of Julie Taymor, the visionary director who’s been a lightning rod for criticism, and a chronicle of a production troubled by a financial shortfall, a ballooning budget, the loss of two stars, and technical difficulties that have thrust the musical into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Here are some of the more interesting tidbits:

• The widely reported budget estimates, which range anywhere from $50 million to $65 million, apparently are “fantasies.” Says the show’s lead producer Michael Cohl: “They are like asking my dog ‘How much is the budget?’ and counting how many times he barks.” New York writer Jesse Green suggests the actual figure is even higher, “in the vicinity” of $70 million.

• Taymor wonders why writers even care how much the production costs: This is a drama–rock-and-roll–circus, or a circus–rock-and-roll–drama; there’s no word for it. And what do they want? Two-character, one-set musicals? How is that helping the theater?” She likes that “rock-and-roll-circus” description.

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