Funny Pages is the latest movie from the A24 that goes on general release this week, about a young cartoonist finding his calling as a comic book creator. A black comedy film written, directed, and edited by Owen Kline. Here's the trailer.
It is described as a coming-of-age story of a young cartoonist, Robert, played by Daniel Zolghadri, who rejects the comforts of his suburban life in a misguided quest for soul. And the trailer gives added emphasis to Wallace, played by Matthew Maher, a mentor figure who used to work for Image Comics. This is treated as a big thing, I am told that the film reveals that Wallace was a colour separator at Image, but he becomes a mentor for Robert.
I wondered what participation Image Comics may have had with this movie to get namedropped in this way. Turns out, none; it was as much a surprise to Image Comics as it was to us. Also, as Image Comics was born in the age of digital comic book colouring, Image Comics never hired a colour separator per se. They worked with a couple of different colour separating businesses in the early days, such as New Jersey's Kell-O Graphics, where the movie is set. As for actual Image Comics, until 2008 or so, it was just production, sales & marketing, accounting, and administration staff. And these days no one separates colour at all.
However, there is one link – the writer/director Owen Kline used to be a regular at the Brooklyn comic book store, Rocket Ship Comics, which was owned by Alex Cox, who is now Image Comics' Director of Speciality Sales. Owen's sister Greta Simone Kline as well, now better known as the singer/songwriter Frankie Cosmos. They are also the children of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, so this is Hollywood royalty are talking here.
It has a comic book creator as a rebel against the route of education, which probably used to be more valid than it is now. These days, many comic creators and artists learn it at university or college, with specialised coursed; back in the day, that wasn't an option, so people didn't bother. But it does contain the idea of the committed creator who has a calling to tell a story, any story, their story, and then A24 of Everything Everywhere All At Once, Take on Image Comics with Funny Pages – but No One Told Image tell it through the medium of pens and paper. And that's something a lot of us can identify with.
I also understand that a lot of the movie was filmed at one of the Jim Hanley comic shop locations in New York. I am sure that regular visitors will be able to tell me which one. Funny Pages has played at a few film festivals, with its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the Director's Fortnight, and goes on general release in the US on the 26th of August 2022. And hey, isn't it once to have indie films about people hanging out in comic shops again? It has been two or three decades…