NO MERIDA MAKEOVER? ‘Brave’ director Brenda Chapman on Disney princess and ‘sexing her up’
WILL THEY or won’t they?
Disney announced this month that Merida, the strong and spirited archer from Pixar’s “Brave,” was entering its “princess collection.” But the Merida Makeover swiftly made Disney the target of criticism.
Disney, after being upbraided for sexualizing young Merida — and accused of de-emphasizing her strength — reportedlly said this week it was changing course with the makeover and reverting to Merida’s original form. And yet — speaking of targets — you can still find images of the Made-Over Merida on Target’s website.
Oscar-winning “Brave” director Brenda Chapman — who created the film as a “love letter” to her young daughter, providing a model of feminine strength — strongly criticized Disney’s makeover decision this week.
“As far as the Disney makeover, I was incredibly disappointed and frustrated, but not surprised,” Chapman tells Comic Riffs. “I do hope that Disney will correct it... . They have taken the images off of their Web site here in the States, but they are still up in other countries... so I’m dubious.”
Although Disney distributes Pixar films — and John Lasseter heads up animation for both studios — Chapman (who since “Brave’s” release has moved on to LucasArts) emphasizes the differences between Pixar and Disney.
“I thought ‘typical,’ when I first saw the artwork,” Chapman tells Comic Riffs. “So wrong-minded, [especially] when the Pixar crew and myself worked so hard to give them a completely different kind of princess — one that kids and parents today can relate to in many different ways. And Disney turned her back into the same old thing, taking away her symbol of strength and individuality, her bow and arrow, and sexing her up. Not cool.”
Many Merida fans felt a similar disappointment and disgust. More than 220,000 supporters have signed the Change.org petition “Say No to the Merida Makover.”. That response has pleased Chapman.
“I was blindsided by the overwhelming response to this issue,” Chapman tells ‘Riffs, “which is quite nice.”
‘CANDORVILLE’: Darrin Bell poignantly memorializes his 94-year-old grandfather, who embodied the Greatest Generation
WHEN DARRIN BELL pays tribute to recently deceased people, depicting each honored figure on a train to the afterlife, the arc can be sharp and moving.
But when Darrin Bell pays tribute to a family member, depicting the dear relative who once worked on trains, the story is especially transporting.
This week, the “Candorville” creator has memorialized his “Grandpa Roscoe” Bell, who worked for Los Angeles’s transit system for more than 40 years. The California-based grandson shares the proud and ennobling story of his grandfather, who died last month at age 94, as he poignantly rides that rail to another realm.
“Grandpa was so proud of ‘Candorville’ that I knew he’d be tickled to know that he would live on in Candorville,” Darrin Bell tells Comic Riffs of this week’s arc. “But more fundamentally, the train to the afterlife is reserved for people who’ve made an impact on this world. And when I sat down to pay tribute to him, my first thought was: ‘Grandpa Roscoe and his entire generation changed the world forever.’ ”
Emmett Roscoe Bell Sr. embodied a generation that fought for freedom both at home and abroad.
“He endured and prevailed over racism with class and dignity,” the ”Candorville” cartoonist — who is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group — wrote on his blog, in tribute to his grandfather. “He fought in World War II, at the Battle of Guadalcanal and many other places. He raised a family. He drove cable cars and then a bus for L.A.’s Rapid Transit District for over 40 years, and when he retired, he turned his attention to creating the semi-annual Bell family reunions.
“He became the family historian. He was our living history. Grandpa Roscoe lived his life exactly how he wanted to, with integrity, humor and perseverance.”
Comic Riffs recently caught up with Bell — author of the new book , ”Does the Afterlife Have Skittles?” — to discuss his grandfather’s influence, example and personal legacy:
MICHAEL CAVNA: My deepest condolences, Darrin. ... How are you coping with the loss?
DARRIN BELL: “Oh… I'm fair,” as my grandfather would say to anyone who asked him the last few days of his life. The man had just days to live and he knew it -- and he was still refusing to complain. As for me, I'm coping fairly well because I'm not alone. I was his primary caretaker, but I had the help and support of my fiancee, Makeda Rashidi, and of the people closest to Grandpa Roscoe — his companion Dr. Bennie Reams, his sister Alta Faye Crawford and her husband, Mr. Nathaniel Crawford. I'm coping well because I have no regrets. I left nothing unsaid. I was with him till the end. I did everything in my power to care for him while he was with us, and I'm doing everything I know how to do to care for his legacy now that he's moved on. When you don't have regrets, it's much easier to smile again.
It is tough, though, to lose my number-one fan. He was the audience for whom I wrote. He's the only one I was afraid to disappoint. He was the first one I wanted to make laugh.
.Continue reading this post »
‘COMICS ABOUT CARTOONISTS’: Editor Craig Yoe delves into the tales and trials of the ‘world’s oddest profession’
THE BEST ART often is what transports you.
But what if the best art about creating comics transports you to places you don’t necessarily want to go — reminding you with vivid clarity of some of the pain and strain and mental struggle that can go into creating comics?
That art, I reckon, you’d have to call a resounding success. Especially because the cartoonists are tapping their own professional and psychologically challenges — and leaving it all on the page.
That is what makes the stories and images all the more meta-riveting in ”Comics About Cartoonists: Stories About the World’s Oddest Profession” (IDW), Craig Yoe’s recent anthology. Some of my interviews lately with fellow drafting-board dwellers have gravitated toward the plight of staring at the blank page, trying all one’s usual tricks to summon inspiration.
To those creators, I recommend tripping with these works by such legends as Jack Kirby and Jack Cole and Al Capp — as they explored the cartooning life through their own cartoons.
Comic Riffs recently caught up with Yoe to discuss his motivation — and perspiration — behind curating this book:
‘SUPERWOMAN’: ‘Cancer Vixen’ author praises Angelina Jolie’s ‘fearlessness’ in double mastectomy decision
WHEN ANGELINA JOLIE made public her preventative double mastectomy this week, it was only natural to listen to Marisa Acocella Marchetto’s thoughts on the matter.
Marchetto is a breast-cancer survivor who turned her experience into the excellent 2006 memoir of a graphic novel, “Cancer Vixen: A True Story.”
“She’s a superwoman and more sexy already, if that’s even possible ...,” the New Yorker and Glamour cartoonist told The Post, in response to “My Medical Choice,” Jolie’s powerful op-ed in Tuesday’s New York Times.
“It’s that fearlessness that makes her attractive,” Marchetto said of the Oscar-winning actress, global humanitarian and beauty icon. “She’s the most awesome woman in the world and just got even more awesome, in my book.”
(You can read the entire piece, by The Post’s Emily Wax and Lena H. Sun, by clicking HERE.)
Another Oscar-winning actress whose name may become linked to breast cancer — at least narratively — is Cate Blanchett.
In March, it was reported that Blanchett — who has starred opposite Jolie’s fiance, Brad Pitt, in “Babel” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” — will be an executive producer on a screen version of Marchetto’s “Cancer Vixen.”
Deadline Hollywood reported that Blanchett will also star in the HBO Films adaptation of the graphic novel.Continue reading this post »
‘IRON MAN 3’: Tony Stark holds off ‘The Great Gatsby’s’ great opening, nears $1B worldwide
IN A SHOWDOWN of stinking-rich playboys who have invented their identities, who would emerge with more swag, if not swagger?
The winner: Tony Stark held off the strong debut of Jay Gatsby, as the rich got richer at the weekend box office.
Robert Downey Jr.’s wealthy playboy helped Disney/Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” gross $72.5-million in its second week in North American theaters, topping Leonardo DiCaprio’s wealthy playboy in Warner Bros.’s “The Great Gatsby,” which bowed in with $51.1-million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Final numbers are expected Monday.
“Iron Man 3” also grossed $89.3-million in foreign markets as it nears $950-million globally after three weeks — setting itself up to pass $1-billion worldwide by early this week.Continue reading this post »