Random acts of linking
I found a way to wedge in that link about the dearth of gossip columns in Los Angeles, but I have several other items I want to point out -- and most of them aren't comics-related. So, here we go with a collection of links on seemingly random topics:
The New York Times has an interesting preview of Turner Classic Movies' upcoming series, "Product Placement in the Movies," which examines that relationship between Madison Avenue and Hollywood that stretches back to the 1930s. That's right, product placement didn't begin in 1982 with Reese's Pieces and E.T.
If you squint really hard you can see a connection between this link and comic books (or at least comic-book design): Thanks to Cartoon Brew, I came across this great Japanese website devoted to old jazz album covers. There's a heaping helping of some legendary Blue Note covers, as well as some lesser-known work. If you have an hour to spend, just click around on the site -- there's some really inspiring stuff.
While I'm on a design kick, I'll spotlight the website of designer Mark Simonson, whose movie reviews are very specialized (possibly even more so than the comic reviews at Polite Dissent). Simonson has focused on "the use (and misuse) of period typography in movies." He points out typographical anachronisms such as the use of Helvetica Compressed (1974) for the logo of Hush-Hush in the '50s-era L.A. Confidential. My favorite part, though, is Simonson's lengthy dissection of the use of Futura in Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums.
By this point, it's probably obvious that I'm a bit of a design geek. So, I'll seal that by saying I've really been enjoying Design Observer, a wonderful blog dedicated to typography, graphic design, environmental design, and everything in between. Of particular interest are recent posts on "style" and influence/homage/plagiarism, and the decline of rock 'n' roll graphic design.
Hey, it's a comics-related link! Christopher Butcher writes about the mixed reactions to Blue Spring, a book he championed a while back. It's an interesting assessment of how critics respond quite differently to the same work.
And finally, if I weren't so distracted by Hedda Hopper's hat I might've paired this item with the entry about online fandom: Ian Brill envisions a time when publishers cut costs by producing a comic that's "all on-line reaction."