Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dr. Pepper, I forgive you!!

Despite its unnecessary foray into BBQ sauce, Dr. Pepper joins the recent spate of sodas going retro.

There are a dozen reasons to make this more than temporary. Keep this, please!!!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Speaking of BBQ branding

Bull's-Eye has recently re-jiggered their label (new on right), and I like it!

I also genuinely like the sauce not just for taste, but becasue it's one of the very few brands of BBQ that does not use high fructose corn syrup. Yea, I know that distinction can be debated, but if you've a chance to get one less thing with HFCS, why not?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Enough with the cross-branding already!

Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce???? Really?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wednesday Comics Collected Edition

Speaking of oversized books, the Wednesday Comics Collected Edition is no slouch.

I really did enjoy the Wednesday Comics floppies in the newsprint format, but after about 6 of them the novelty wore down knowing in th back of my head that a collection would likey be the best format to enjoy these great strips.

The stories are great all around, there is some simply fantastic art involved, but it's the oversized format that really shines. The book itself reminds me of a family edition, something a parent could read to a wide-eyed child. And then imagine that child growing older and appreciating the book more and more, eventually being able to share with another generation. That's the feel this book has. The stories and characters have roots, some are more unorthadox than others and are likley to make more of an impression because if it.

The print quality is top notch, and boy do these pages pop on the much needed white paper. The original folded newsprint was a nostalgic touch, but here the art can be truly appreciated. It's not even a heavy gloss stock, it's a lighter matte finish and a great choice.

From the classic adventure styling of Kamandi, the slick and bubbly fun of Supergirl, and the flat out weird and wonderful Metamorpho, the second tier characters ride as high (or higher) alongside the more well known heroes who's stories are no less colorful. The book is a love letter to comics fans and a great gift for just about everyone else.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Rocketeer Artists Edition

What a glorious, beautiful book.

Bless all at IDW for putting out this oversized edition of Dave Steven's Rocketeer. The pages are all produced from the black and white original art, and every page is a wonder to behold. Dave Stevens could flat out draw, and aside from owning or seeing an original page yourself, nothing shows that off better than this book. It makes you feel that you do own a library of the original art, as great care was taken to faithfully reproduce the page "as is." Blue line pencil can be seen beneath the inks, screen tones masks show ever so slightly, and numerous lettering balloons show corrections and paste overs.

The detail on the inks themselves come through in such a heartfelt manner that it's hard to just not sit and stare in awe at every page, observing (and deeply missing) a master of his craft.

Comics afficianadoes and art collectors would do well to sit a spell in front of this edition, should you be able to get your hands on one. I myself had to look at it second hand, hoping for an additional printing but I'm prepared to hunt the aftermarket.

Dave Steven's The Rocketeer Artist's Edition

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Long Live WildStorm

I would say I didn't see this coming, but after all I have two functioning eyes.

But damn it all if it isn't just a tad bittersweet. As a WildStorm editor of days past, it's easy to remember of all the crazy shit that went on there -- and most of it is the good kind of crazy. In alot of ways it was seat-of-your-pants comics publishing, and I learned a ton from the most talented people in the biz at the time. My time there was hardly monumental, but in that time I got to do some really cool things.

I'd like to give a holler to all my WS peeps, many of whom are still dear friends. In good times and bad, it was a great thing to be a part of.

The Beat: The WildStorm Legacy

Bleeding Cool: The End of the WildStorm Universe

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sit on my lap. It's storytime.

When I was a wee lad, me great grandad would spin tall tales of me great, great grandad Dread Edco Roberts. Across all the seven seas he did sail, plundering treasure like the scourge he was harkened to be. His deeds more dishonorable than not, for he was a pirate, a man turned to the life of the skull and crossbones with as many stories to his origin as there were ships he sank. Was he betrayed by his country? Did the scandoulous wiles of his true love turn his heart black as coal? We know not the truth to why he set sail upon the fearsome waves of piracy, we only know Dread Edco painted fear across the ocean and all who dared cross his path...

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear DC,

If you ever want Green Lantern to be dead to me, this is a good way to start.

via Bleeding Cool

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Field & Stream Fishing coverage

What you see here is a bona-fide print advertisement in a national magazine, designed by yours truly. Yes, the fact that a Field & Stream Fishing advert appears in Field & Stream magazine is no mere coincidence, but I'll take whatever exposure comes.

You should check out Field & Stream Fishing!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Post Rasin Bran: Very old is new?

"Vintage" branded Raisin Bran.

Colors, layout... perhaps. Typograpgy, no.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Subway token

Used on recent travels thru Chicago...

It's a cool trick, tho surely they are pushing the limits of generations who can recgonize a cassette.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Field & Stream Fishing

Got a new game out for iPhone and iPod touch: Field & Stream Fishing.

It's a slick arcade-style fishing game, and a pretty addicting time-killer. Give it a go!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Generic branding, literally

Some decades ago, generic branding was just that: minimal lableing that gave only the base description of the product. This was done for a multitude of reasons, namely to distinctly separate off-brand foodstuffs, tho it has to be argued that a lack of money or access to actual package design resources also played a part.

In the modern age where most any office clan can boot up photoshop, that later caveat becomes less of an issue. But more interesting is the choice to make use of that resource in an effort to directly compete with branded product. Every once in a while a generic brand surprises you in its effort if not its execution.

Safeway brands makes its latest canned generics a step further by replacing photos with (digital) illustration. The "S" curve motif still covers all its products, but with a more classic presentation of boxed type. The addition of illustration takes more than minimal effort in both management and cost. The generic line continues to blur.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Label alert: Quorn

I love Quorn. The delctable chicken substitute has recently expanded its product line along with all new branding. Got a bit more of an easygoing, southwestern feel.

The staple of the line has always been the cutlets, but there's many more offerings-- check some out the next time you need a break from the bird!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Signage of Downtown Chicago

 Oh, yeah, I went to Chicago. It was a whileago now but it sure is a cool town. Downtown is pretty sharp; outside of the amazing buildings and clashing architecture, Michegan Ave and the surrounding area is chock full of wonderful, crafted signage to geek out over.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Now merely the second largest* aquarium in America, Chicago's Shedd Aquarium does have some cool exhibits. It's a bit more old school, something I liken to the San Francisco Academy of Sciences (before the renovation). What was noticeably quaint as it was awesome were all the nautical details built into the archetecture. No detail in this building shies away from its aquatic theme, and god bless.

See some pictures of fish, and stuff.

* largest: Georgia Aquarium, previously visited.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Big Moth

Took this pic with my cell phone-- which I know these days is anything but remarkable. Except that my stubbornness in keeping off the mobile technology train has me in possession of a cell phone several years old. Sans bells, whistles, or touch screens, it still surprises me on occasion when the conditions for its meager megapixels are just right.

And, um, that is a big freakin' moth!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Man, what a great movie. Definitely my fave of the year so far. Check out my full review over at Sleepless Films.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Design Reflects Culture

This image says more than I ever could. But like history, both design and culture are on a spiraling curve-- while a points may show on a different plane, they all come around again.

Related: Crunchberries not actual berries

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Evolution of Cookie Crisp Cereal

"Co-OOOOOOO-kie Crisp!"

Remember that? Believe it or not I am old enough to remember both Jarvis the Wizard and the Cookie Crook. That original changeover was one of the first examples of radical re-branding that stunned this once-naieve child. Watch as crooks then make way for dogs, wolves, and in foreign markets-- a panther? I'd love to know the story behind that, what other cultures do or do not accept about wolves hocking cereal.

The cereal itself was practically a forbidden fruit, often reviled by watchdog groups as one of breakfastdom's worst offenders. Cookie Crisp's real claim to fame was topping lists with the highest sugar content and its unhealthy promotion of sweets as the first meal of the day. I mean, come on, it's cookies and milk for breakfast. Genius. I fondly remember the rare occasions I was able to partake.

The brand has gone through more than a few owners and themes, design-wise it's a steady downhill journey and you can see the instant the 90's rears its ugly head. Dear lord, it's like marketeers held designers by gunpoint to enforce their focus group and shopping psychology agendas. My favorite is the original with the photographed jar of cookies and the wonderfully quaint Jarvis illustration. Tho I do give some style points to the Nestle branded 2nd row 2nd, even if the actual product is a barely featured in the layout. The last box in the montage is one snapped just the other day in the store, and it may as well be a generic brand.

Cookie Crisp on Wikipedia

Jello puts product before brand

On the left we see the design from a thankfully fading era of overtly gaudy packaging, a few boxes still in stock on the store shelves. A mishmash of approaches, all elements competing for attention with the product itself lost in the fray.

But on the right we have a cleaner, classy layout that puts Jello's presentation of the product front and center. Bastard child multi-branding of Oreo is relegated to a small but featured flourish, as it should be.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fuelman will gas your car!

One of the cooler things I've seen.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Pepsi Throwback

It's neat Pepsi "Throwback" decided to use sugar instead of syrup for this special edition soda ("special edition soda"?), but really I wanted the can. Unfortuneately I was dissappointed by that darn self-proclamating yellow throwback ribbon across the front. So close, Pepsi, so close!

But damn, that was a sharp logo.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

I'm sure they'll take your word for it

It has been under construction for some time, altho this current announcement is a kicker. Thx to Vicky for the pic :-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dominic Fortune: It Can Happen Here and Now

Howard Chaykin seems to have an endless number of projects in the works, and even after a decades long career I am always excited to see what he is writing and especially drawing. He's so damn prolific that I can't even keep up with everything he does. Primarily I have always been attracted to his art, but still have never been disappointed by his writing. And for whatever reason, Dominic Fortune is one of my favorite "non-heroes." The character's appearances were fleeting, but I attached myself to him nonetheless. Eventually set into relative obscurity, he was indeed the perfect candidate for a Marvel MAX revival, and I can't think of a better creative match than with Chaykin, who's ties go back to the character's earliest appearances.

The MAX line pretty much means anything goes as far as content is concerned, but the recent Dominic Fortune miniseries collected in the It Can Happen Here and Now trade simply gives readers old enough to remember Fortune an age-suitable story. It's a Rated R jaunt to be sure, but the story's time and settings seem to wrap themselves into that blanket fairly effortlessly, due in large part to Chaykin's equally effortless handling of the action-adventure genre.

This far-overdue spotlight on Fortune finds the original incarnation of the dashing raconteur globetrotting along the brink of a burgeoning World War II. Both in and out of uniform, Fortune skims over danger and dodges bullets, exposing dastardly plots and bedding beautiful women. Under the MAX banner this is of course all done with adult language, violence, and innuendo that's not innuendo at all. It's a perfect fit and it's great. Unlike other Marvel throwbacks that have been taken the MAX route, the mature approach wraps itself far better around Fortune's setting and attitude, and dare I say eclipses the originals. But I do say that now as an adult who enjoys adult stories, while still fondly remembering the yarns that introduced him those many years ago.

Chaykin's story blazes through events and keeps the action and intrigue center stage, and while the overall outcome is the inevitable crashing wave on the ocean of history, the characters he follows have more than enough to keep interest. And it's not even that they are deep or overly fleshed out, quite the opposite. It's trademark Chaykin spewing forth the brash and provocative in splattered brush strokes rather than fine lines. And speaking of brush strokes, Chaykin once again is in top form on art. Handsome and rugged heroes, slick villains, foppish hanger's-on, and... the women. Vicious, bitchy, drop dead sexy Chaykin women. There's no mistaking them on sight and any fan of his art will not be disappointed to add this book to their collection.

As an added bonus, this collection features reprints of some of the original Marvel stories, including the earliest that first captured my imagination as a young reader. Something about that cover to Marvel Premiere #56... so very different from the superhero offerings of the time. The character of course went through a few mix-ups through the years, none of which ever stuck, so it's a great treat to see Dominic Fortune in his true element once again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Comics

With my comics reporting so lax of late, the "Day" of my traditional New Comics Day posts has become arbitrary.

Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps

So, so very near to the conclusion of Blackest Night, I can't say I was disappointed, but I wasn't exactly wowed either. But I will say it was more entertaining near the end after a lackluster buildup. In Green Lantern Corps there was more focus on the battle royale aspect of the Spectrum Corps, altho some of the more interesting points of the colors teaming up seemed to be glossed over in lieu of big fight scenes. Altho if anything that book had too much going on to keep up with. The current ish #46 may have jumped the shark with the introduction of Ice as a Black Lantern, considering for the life of me I don't know that she ever died... I mean, a second time. As with most things DCU, it's complicated. But as far as I know Ice was alive and well and awaiting Guy Gardner's return to Earth. Does this issue suggest-- nay, state-- that Ice had died "off screen?" Is this version of Ice as a Black Lantern the one from her original death? And if neither, does that give The Black re: Necron the power to just conjure up any 'ol Black Lantern he wants? Can you believe I have to type these kinds of questions? Also, Refrigerator.

The most ironic part of the Blackest Night storyline was that the most interesting stories didn't even happen in the Blackest Night books! They took place in Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern proper, which is how it should have been from the get go. Looking back on the series, not a single piece of exclusive story or information came from the Blackest Night series. Now the argument there would be the reveal of Sinestro as White Lantern in Blackest Night #7. However, if one had not read that issue and instead read Green Lantern #52, you've really got it covered, and in far more detail. (same goes for the Alternate Spectrum Corps that preceded, as I see it). In fact I think GL #52 is actually the crux of Blackest Night, giving us not only Sinestro's self-imposed destiny, but the revelation that planet Earth is no less than the origin of life for the universe. Seriously, the last issue of Blackest Night better have some kind of doosie reveal or setup for it to have any relevance now.

This week sees Blackest Night #8-- the grand finale, and my self imposed target to discontinue regular comics buying. Not the end of the blog, or comics, or the reporting, mind you, more info to come.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Comics Delay

There are alot of lanterns.

Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps

I have to say I am enjoying the boiling point of the Blackest Night hoo-ha in Green Lantern #51, if only for all the crazy shit that's going down. It's still kind of surprising to see that a ring of any color is set to possess just about anyone at any time, even multiple times. The brief appearance by parallax seemed too quick and too good to be true, and was indeed short lived. But then it had a slightly ominous exit so surely something else is in the works. Whether that be for Blackest Night or further on, who knows. (Well Geoff Johns knows)

Not as unexpected are the winding down resolutions in Green Lanter Corps, presumably just before a grand finale for Blackest Night. Gardner of course is redeemed back to Green status, this his breif stint as a Red Lantern is a memorable one and not likely his last.

At this stage I'm curious as to who will be revealed as the White Lantern, current rumblings and announcements on the DC side no longer necessarily point to Jordan. I'm sure he'll play a part and may even be a catalyst, but "Brightest Day" announcements appear to be pointing in another direction..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Georgia Aquarium

Billed "The Largest Aquarium in the World," The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta certainly has alot to look at. It's a real treat for any aquatic enthusiast, like me!

Most impressive was the massive central tank, home to gargantuan whale sharks and graceful giant rays. It is something pictures just can't do justice, but I did my best:

Georgia Aquarium Gallery

Monday, February 01, 2010

Gladys Knight + Ron Winan's Chicken & Waffles, Atlanta GA

There's chicken, there's waffles. Good eats!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trident Layers is fancy gum

Trident gum has a separate branding look for its "Layers" gum. It's very adult contemporary, as far as gum goes. Sure do like the wallet-style interior, tho.