Friday, March 23, 2018

"The Death of Stalin" + MoCCA Arts Festival

I've always felt that the most interesting characters in a film are the "heavies" - Hans Gruber, Wile. E. Coyote, Cruella de Ville are just a few examples.  These are the fun characters.

I don't like the "goodie" heroes that save the day, I want to see imperfect, flawed, venal anti-heroes that ruin the day.  That's why I love film noir, where everyone is evil.  The more evil characters, the more noir, the better.  And that's why I was excited to see Armando Ianucci's new film, "The Death of Stalin". 

I had seen one of his earlier films, "In the Loop", a rollicking political satire, which I truly loved.  So I was anxious to see how he managed to make a comedy out of the death of Stalin, one of Russia's cruelest dictators.

The cinema was packed and people laughed uproariously.  The picture stars Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor and Paddy Considine, and was advertised as "A Comedy of Terrors".  It is truly a dark comedy.  In fact, I have an idea for a parody of dictators that I've been working on for years - so that's why I really wanted to see what Mr. Ianucci created.  In my mind, it's the funniest comedy of the year - and in a not so subtle way, it's a brilliant reflection of our current administration here in the U.S.  Please tell all your friends to go see it at once, especially if you like black humor. 

Another reason I wanted to see it is because a couple years ago I created "Hitler's Folly", a mockumentary that imagined what if Hitler had not only gotten into art school, but also went further and decided to become an animator. 

Well, the response I got from many people was - how could I make a comedy about Adolf Hitler?  He's too evil to make jokes about.  Yet it's possible that Stalin had many more people killed than even Hitler, and yet it's somehow OK to make a comedy about him.  (It's very hard to compare two dictators on some kind of evil scale...) 

But fortunately, you can compare the two films, this comedy about Stalin and my comedy about Hitler.  My film "Hitler's Folly" is available on-line for FREE.  I can't charge any money because there's some copyrighted material in it that I wasn't able to clear.  But please check it out on my web-site at  and if you like it, a donation would be appreciated. 

By the way, I give "The Death of Stalin" an A+.

Also, if you're around NYC on April 7 and 8, I'll be at the great annual MoCCA Arts Festival, sponsored by the Society of Illustrators.  This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to see the best independent writers and cartoonists from all over. 

You'll see amazing new styles and humor from the graphic novel stars of tomorrow and I'll be there at Table C136.  The MoCCA Arts Fest takes place at the Metropolitan West Pavilion, 639 West 46th St., right by the Intrepid Museum (the one that looks like a big aircraft carrier - you can't miss it!)  Bring your friends, and I'll see you there!

For information, hours and tickets, please visit:

--Bill P.

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