Today's Comic Art Friday is dedicated to fantasy novelist Peter S. Beagle
, author of among numerous other works the popular The Last Unicorn
. The animated film based on Beagle's famous novel is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, with a newly remastered DVD presentation from Lionsgate Entertainment.
What you may not know is that for the past quarter-century, Beagle has been involved in a legal dispute with the producers of The Last Unicorn
over his rights and royalties. Although the movie is widely considered a classic it was one of the first American animated films to be animated in Japan, and many of Japan's best-known animators worked on the project Beagle has never received a dime of profit from the production.
Beagle's U.S. publishing representative, San Francisco-based Conlan Press
, has struck a deal with Lionsgate to directly purchase copies of the new The Last Unicorn
DVD for resale. Conlan's even offering autographed copies
, hand-signed and personalized by Peter Beagle himself, for an extremely reasonable price. For every DVD Conlan sells, Beagle receives about half the funds. So now, at long last, there's an opportunity for Beagle who's experienced some tough times over the years to recoup some financial benefit from his most famous creation.
My daughter KM received her autographed copy in yesterday's mail. I've ordered another autographed copy that will soon be winging its way to my goddaughter in Maine. And it wouldn't hurt my feelings one iota if you, friend reader, dropped over to the Conlan Press Web site
and ordered up a copy of The Last Unicorn
for yourself, or someone special. In fact, I'd be thrilled if you dropped a note in the comments section to let me know that you did. It's a delightful film, and if you buy your DVD directly from Conlan
, the money goes where it should have gone all along.
I thank you, and Peter Beagle thanks you.
I'm sure that as a fantasy writer, Peter Beagle is often asked the question, "Where do you get your ideas?"
I get that same query about my Common Elements art commissions. And I answer in the same way that I imagine Peter Beagle does: "I make them up."
In fact, concocting ever more mesmerizing combinations of unrelated comic book heroes tied together by some arcane connection is the second-greatest thrill aside from admiring the art itself I derive from my comic art collecting
My greatest thrill? Coming up with a Common Element even the most expert of comic mavens can't decipher. Because I'm devious like that.
On today's featured Common Elements project, I managed to stump even the artist who drew it. I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl with a new DVD of The Last Unicorn, personally autographed by Peter S. Beagle
Starring in this Common Elements spectacular are two of the lesser lights in the DC Comics universe: The Huntress
, seen swinging into action at center stage, and Deadman
, reeling into the foreground. This phenomenally designed and beautifully executed drawing sprang from the fertile mind and pencil of artist Luke McDonnell, most famed for his tenures on Marvel Comics' Iron Man
and DC's Green Lantern
, but a favorite of mine thanks to his work on one of my best-beloved comics from the late '80s and early '90s, Suicide Squad
After this artwork was completed, Luke e-mailed me to ask: "The common element of this team-up escapes me; care to divulge?" After shouting "Yes!" and pumping my fist into the air in imitation of Tiger Woods, I was only too happy to fill Luke in.
The two leads in this little action drama are the only two superheroes of whom I'm aware whose first names are state capitals. Out of costume, the Huntress is Helena (as in Montana) Wayne, daughter of Bruce (Batman) Wayne and Selina (Catwoman) Kyle in an alternate timeline in which those two legends hooked up. (The current Huntress, who appears DC's Birds of Prey
series, has a different backstory and surname, but she's also named Helena.) For his part, Deadman's real name is Boston (as in Massachusetts) Brand.
And before you wags write in, Black Lightning real name: Jefferson Pierce doesn't count. His middle name is not "City." Nor do any of the numerous superheroes whose last names are state capitals i.e., Roy (The Human Bomb) Lincoln; Kyle (Nighthawk) Richmond. Jean (Phoenix) Grey doesn't cut it, either.
Although, now that I think about it, I believe there might be a superheroine whose first name is Madison. But I can't remember who she is.
Luke McDonnell, however, got the last word on this conversation. He stumped me with the villain who's tussling with Deadman and the Huntress here. For the record, it's the Lizard
, Spider-Man's reptilian nemesis. But I didn't figure that out until Luke told me.
Well played, Mr. McDonnell.
And that's your Comic Art Friday. Remember: Save the unicorn, save the author
Labels: Cinemania, Comic Art Friday, Cool Stuff, Good Reads, Hero of the Day