This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : mtv-tr3s

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On My Radar: Comic Love and ‘No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics’ coming June 2012

I’ve been waiting for No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics since I first heard about it last summer. I just found out today that it’s not being released this month as previously announced and is coming in June. I can’t wait!

Here’s a blurb from the publisher:

Until recently, queer cartooning existed in a parallel universe to the rest of comics, appearing only in gay newspapers and gay bookstores and not in comic book stores, mainstream bookstores or newspapers. The insular nature of the world of queer cartooning, however, created a fascinating artistic scene. LGBT comics have been an uncensored, internal conversation within the queer community, and thus provide a unique window into the hopes, fears, and fantasies of queer people for the last four decades.

No Straight Lines showcases major names such as Alison Bechdel (whose book Fun Home was named Time Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year), Howard Cruse (whose groundbreaking Stuck Rubber Baby is now back in print), and Ralf Koenig (one of Europe’s most popular cartoonists), as well as high-profile, cross-over creators who have dabbled in LGBT cartooning, like legendary NYC artist David Wojnarowicz and media darling and advice columnist Dan Savage.

No Straight Lines also spotlights many talented creators who never made it out of the queer comics ghetto, but produced amazing work that deserves wider attention.

- some of my graphic novels

It’s no secret that I love graphic novels — especially those that are informed by historical events and introduce me to new ideas. But in the beginning my inspiration was the “funnies” section of the newspaper. My father got me into collecting comic paperbacks when I was around five years old.

I would spend many a weekend at thrift stores going through their discount bins and uncovering treasures I first discovered in The Sacramento Bee like Hurray for B.C., I Love You, Broom-Hilda and other classics. I learned what social commentary was through comics, from collections like Do They Ever Grow Up? and of course MAD Magazine (I collected the paperbacks).

Inspired by my love for the TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” in the 90’s I started reading and purchasing comics and graphic novels again. After the show ended I admit I forgot about collecting comics and didn’t pick it up again until I started working for MTV News in 2006. It was perfect timing. There, I had the opportunity to suggest a name for the new comics blog and it was selected: Splash Page. I contributed interviews and reviews when I had the time, such as a great Q&A with The Alcoholic‘s Jonathan Ames.

After I left MTV News in 2009, I took my interest in reviewing comics and graphic novels (as well as technology-driven innovation) over to MTV Tr3s, where I created the “Comics” category on Blogamole and interviewed High Soft Lisp author Gilbert Hernandez, of Love and Rockets fame. I encouraged Tr3s’ contributing bloggers to continue pitching comics coverage after I left.

I still purchase comics and graphic novels but haven’t reviewed them on The Lair or for any of my employers in quite some time. When you work in media, it isn’t always easy to align your passion with your work commitments. I don’t have time to get as deep into comics and graphic novels as I used to, but this year I promised myself that I will review any new comic purchases I make and I will definitely be blogging about No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics when it’s finally on my shelf!

I’m thankful for the opportunities I had through MTV News’ Splash Page and at MTV Tr3s to celebrate comic culture and the people who continue to innovate in that space. I’m not an expert whatsoever — just a fan who was at the right places at the right times to contribute to the culture. If you’re looking for experts, follow my colleague Rick Marshall. He’s an excellent person to research and contact if you’re interested in learning more about a career that involves comics coverage and all sorts of geeky pop-culture opportunities.

For those of you looking to pick up and learn more about independently-published comics (and you’re within traveling distance of NYC), check out this year’s MoCCA Festival on April 28 and 29.

DISCLOSURE: My headline was inspired by this beautiful song.

My Encounter With Horror Icon George A. Romero

On May 17, 2010, I produced and shot an interview between MTV Tr3s Associate Producer Sandra Roldán and director George A. Romero. “Survival of the Dead” hits theaters today (May 28), but I already saw it on May 2nd, so HA HA! *Nelson laugh*

Did I mention I am an insane zombie fan?

We’ve been rolling out clips and related blog posts from the interview on Blogamole.

Here is one of my favorites:

This shoot was a labor of love. As many folks already know, MTV Tr3s is in the middle of a huge reboot. In addition to changing the brand to Tr3s: MTV, Musica y Mas, the channel and all online & mobile properties have a bunch of surprises for July 12.

Suffice it so say, my team and I have been incredibly busy and don’t have time for many shoots between now and July. When I found out that there wasn’t anyone available from production, I had to make a quick decision. Romero or no Romero? Did I even have to ask myself that? HELLO.

It was an easy decision to collaborate with Sandra on this shoot. She is a fan as well, and despite our insane workload, we knew we couldn’t pass this up. We slammed through other assignments, prepped a list of questions, coordinated with Romero’s team and made it happen, DIY style.

I shot the interview on a Panasonic DVX100B, the only camera that was readily available. We had wireless lav issues so luckily we can prepared with a stick mic. Romero felt comfortable sitting in front of a sun-filled window, so we did the best that we could with the set up.

After the shoot, I kept a laptop near my desk and edited our clips on Final Cut (while simultaneously working on my PC). During some parts of the day, I would be editing with my right hand while typing with my left.

Right now, we have a standing marquee promo on that links to our ongoing coverage. We’ll be rolling out content until mid June.

And those, my friends, are the crazy lengths that fans go to.

It was refreshing to be around a director who was very down-to-earth, friendly and open. I am sure it didn’t hurt that Sandra is easy on the eyes; at one point I needed Romero to look in her direction and asked him if he would. He responded playfully by saying “No, I definitely don’t mind looking at her!” His energy was like a rough around the edges, mischievous uncle.

At the end of the interview, I told Romero what I thought about “Tomboy,” one of the characters in “Survival of the Dead.” I shared that I was glad he made the most intelligent and longest-surviving star of the film an (openly) queer Latina soldier.

His eyes literally twinkled when he replied, smiling:

“Yes, when you’re not jailed by the system you can show characters that normally don’t get represented, it’s nice.”

That statement and his cheerful response totally made up for the fact that “Tomboy” is masturbating wildly for no apparent reason in her opening scene.

My interpretation for that scene is that initially we don’t know “Tomboy” is a lesbian and sexualizing her made it easier for the audience to see her as feminine/attractive/acceptable after her identity is revealed. She has a very confident personality and the other characters respect and care for her.

I suspect that the gratuitous wacking off was just a spoonful of perverted sugar to make her reality go down for the boys in the audience.