"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Pittsburgh Magazine has produced a remarkable profile of Ed Piskor that includes a print interview and a video of the artist walking through his childhood home, where the drawings he did as a teenager are still visible amid peeling paint and fallen plaster.
Both pieces focus heavily on the milieu in which Piskor was raised, the Homestead neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which took a sharp nose dive after the steel mills closed; Piskor’s parents were among the many who lost their jobs. When he was growing up, the neighborhood had a heavy gang presence, so Piskor spent a lot of time indoors, drawing, but it was also there that he was exposed to hip-hop and became fascinated by it; his Hip Hop Family Tree has grown out of that youthful obsession.
“People are constantly in communication and sharing with each other. But they physically want to meet each other in the flesh. There’s obviously a tactile element, but also a craft element in the production of the object, that’s lacking when you see it on the Internet. It’s the difference between seeing a Coca-Cola commercial on TV, and going to buy one.”
— Bill Boichel, owner of Pittsburgh’s Copacetic Comics, talking about this weekend’s PIX: The Pittsburgh Indie Comix Expo, which is sponsored by his store and the Toonseum. Boichel’s point is particularly apt for small-press comics shows, where many of the works are handmade or have an artisanal quality that doesn’t necessarily come across on the Internet.
While PIX is drawing in a number of out-of-town guests, including Trina Robbins, Boichel notes that Pittsburgh has quite a comics scene of its own, with seven out of the 10 bestselling graphic novels in his store being local products.
Legal | Defense testimony began in the Michael George trial Monday after the judge denied a motion by the defense to order an acquittal. George’s daughter Tracie testified that she remembers her father sleeping on the couch in his mother’s house the night in 1990 when his first wife Barbara was shot and killed in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. Another defense witness, Douglas Kenyon, told the jury he saw a “suspicious person” in the store that evening and that Barbara George, who waited on him, seemed nervous. [Detroit Free Press]
Conventions | Last weekend’s Alternative Press Expo inspired Deb Aoki to offer a burst of suggestions on Twitter as to how it could be made better. Heidi MacDonald collected the tweets into a single post, and the commenters add some worthwhile points (including not scheduling it opposite the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which attracts much of the same audience and is free). [Deb Aoki’s Twitter, The Beat]
Awards | Ian Culbard’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness won the British Fantasy Award for best comic/graphic novel, presented Saturday by the British Fantasy Society. [The British Fantasy Society]