Words and Pictures
Who was the real Che Guevara? Idealist? Revolutionary economist? Media icon? In the wake of anniversary celebrations and Hollywood blockbusters, Words & Pictures poses the question to Spain Rodriguez, author of Che: A Graphic Biography, during his appearance at the Wordstock literary festival. Himself an icon of the alternative comics scene, Spain has been an outlaw biker, political correspondent, and creator in the 1960's of the first underground comics tabloid, Zodiac Mindwarp, for the East Village Other.
Stop-motion animator Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) spent more than three years bringing the Neil Gaiman story Coraline to the big screen. On the eve of Coraline's world premiere at the Portland International Film Festival, Selick sits down with S.W. Conser to talk about art, commerce, and the future of hand-crafted animation.
For the first time in three decades, Pulitzer prize-winning graphic novelist Art Spiegelman (Maus) has gathered his early groundbreaking comics into one volume. The new edition of Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! includes a new graphic memoir opening a window into both a personal and cultural history of the late 20th century.
Art talks with S.W. Conser and Bill Dodge about comics as high art, breaking the media censorship of the Danish Muhammed cartoons, and creating picture books for children and grownups.
For more than 40 years, maverick stop-motion animator Bruce Bickford has been constructing dreamlike landscapes and bringing them to life, gaining notoriety in the 1970's as the fertile mind behind the Frank Zappa films Baby Snakes and The Amazing Mister Bickford. The subject of an award-winning 2005 documentary, Monster Road, Bickford still works out of his Seattle studio and has just re-released his surreal magnum opus Prometheus' Garden, which screened at the recent SuperTrash Film Festival.
Words & Pictures travels north to Bellingham, Washington, to visit Canadian comics and animation wizard Michel Gagne, whose work runs the gamut from the abstract jazz-inspired film Sensology to concept design for Disney and Pixar.
Gagne's bewildering take on the Dark Knight for DC Comics (Batman: Spore) infuriated traditional superhero fans, and his recently unveiled project Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet breaks the mold for computer-based gaming. Recorded with the kind assistance of KUGS-FM Western Washington University.
Words and Pictures presents a compilation of Pacific Northwest cartoonists reading from their works. Guests include Carol Lay, Charles Burns, Jim Woodring, Bob Rini, David Malki, and John Callahan.
Just in time for the 2008 election, investigative reporter Greg Palast has published a comic book, Steal Back Your Vote, with the cooperation of Robert Kennedy Jr. and cartoonists Ted Rall (America Gone Wild), Lloyd Dangle (Troubletown), and Lukas Ketner (Witch Doctor). KBOO's S.W. Conser talks to Greg and the comic artists about steps that citizens can take to counteract voter fraud and suppression.
Greg Palast is a New York Times-bestselling author and a journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the British newspaper The Observer. His work frequently focuses on corporate malfeasance but has also been known to work with labor unions and consumer advocacy groups. Notably, he has claimed to have uncovered evidence that Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and Florida Elections Unit Chief Clay Roberts, along with the ChoicePoint corporation, rigged the ballots during the US Presidential Election of 2000 and again in 2004 when, he argued, the problems and machinations from 2000 continued, and that challenger John Kerry actually would have won if not for disproportional "spoilage" of Democratic votes.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Bill Plympton pays a return visit to his hometown of Portland as his new short Hot Dog premieres in Mike Judge's upcoming Animation Show (beginning Oct. 26 at Cinema 21). Bill's latest animated feature Idiots and Angels opened to critical acclaim this spring at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be arriving in Portland theaters in early 2009.
Words & Pictures celebrates 65 years of the UPA animation studio with rare audio clips and stories from the people who were there. Guest Jack Heiter helped animate Mister Magoo, Roger Ramjet, and the forgotten 1960's classic Gay Purr-ee; and animation historian Tee Bosustow is the son of UPA director Stephen Bosustow, who co-founded the studio in the wake of the 1940's Disney strike.
Words & Pictures welcomes guest Mike Konopacki, a labor cartoonist who collaborated with author Howard Zinn and historian Paul Buhle to create a comics version of Zinn's A People’s History of American Empire. S.W. Conser talks with Konopacki about the power of images to raise public consciousness and the challenges of mixing caricature with historical portrayals.