Mar 27 2015

All The Wrong Questions: “Who Could That Be At This Hour?” – Lemony Snicket

Snicket attempts to follow his successful A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I did some reviews for but, unfortunately, did not create a series of) by taking his author/narrator character and making him the center piece. So maybe the correct question is: Why isn’t this story nearly as good as the last series? Well, the cast of characters are not as defined, there are less clever references to literature and language, the villain is obfuscated–a word here that means unclear and thus uninteresting–and the plot doesn’t have the same drive for completion: There is nothing here to keep me on edge and hoping for success. The tale gives the early years of Snicket and how he became involved in a bizarre world of crime and deceit and how his cleverness gets him through it. He is teamed with an incompetent adult to recover a stolen statue for its rightful owner, except that it isn’t stolen and the rightful is up to debate. Seth’s art is always fun, but it is rare, with his main picture being of events not depicted in the story. Sadly, there is no reason for me to continue with the series.

Mar 25 2015

Ultimate Spider-Man

Sadly, this cartoon about the nerd who gained superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider is nothing special. Lip service is made to being multicultural and tries to play to the generation that loves video games, knows nothing of the 4th wall, and may be willing to buy the toys that are set up on the show, although I don’t know if they actually materialized. Plots are thin, with occasional zingers and lessons to be learned but little to make you feel that you have been presented with quality entertainment. At least give us a theme song!

 

Mar 23 2015

Quantum of Solace

Perhaps this movie would’ve been better for me if I watched it almost immediately after Casino Royale. Otherwise this rather typical spy thriller action-adventure of good old 007 just didn’t do that much for me. Yes lots of explosions, but the only real take away is that most people who sleep with James Bond die and I don’t mean from some sexual disease. 

Mar 23 2015

Studio Time 3-22-15

From awhile back, the thumbnail. Interestingly, this was at one point intended to be pge 55; now it is 105:image The mockup from last week:
image Additional study on the image:image pencils:image initial inks:image

Brushwork:

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Mar 21 2015

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I decided enough time has passed that I could see the Potter movies and try to enjoy them on their own, as opposed to in relation to the books. I figure I’d start from the 3rd installment as that’s when I recall Hollywood making the effort to make them good, and it’s also when I stoped seeing them in the theater. In this film the boy wizard’s life is in danger as the only man to ever escape from the dreaded prison of Azkaban is gunning to kill Harry. This is also–in my opinion–when the story starts to take a darker turn. Horrific ghost creatures who suck the joy from you and a more tangled web of the larger plot begins. As I mentioned once before on this site, I am concerned that kids will watch or read the now completed series in succession as opposed to every year of two as they came out. In the latter case, kids will age with the book and be better prepared for the darker events. In any event, this was a fun movie, certainly no worse than most made, but really only enjoyable for those who are interested in the Potter adventures. 

Mar 19 2015

For Healthy Organs

Vitamins

Mar 18 2015

Tekkonkinkreet

Seriously? Perhaps the most sensible part of this movie was the title. Beautifully animated yes, but this interminable story about punk criminals in some crazy city was torture to watch. Other than using it at Gitmo I have little to say as I’ve wasted enough time on it. 

 

Mar 18 2015

Not Nice to Point

Nearing the end now. C finally has all he needs to lay down the law: “You’re under arrest, jerkwad!”

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C stands outside the panel, bathed in white with his cigar/sword of justice, looking vaguely similar to the bust of Pallas/Justice (or maybe just M’s “good angel” conscience standing on his shoulder) . M stands in shadow, walled in by bricks.

And the whole thing is reminiscent of their first meeting (so many many years ago for me):

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Mar 17 2015

Justice League vs Bizarro League

The plot of this short, Lego animated film of DC comic characters is actually pretty strong: Bizarro, the twisted clone of Super-Man, makes his own Justice League in order to fight off a threat to his cubical planet. As for the rest, it is often cute, but not necessarily great for older viewers. Justice League vs Bizarro League

Mar 16 2015

Two Gun Hart: Lawman, Cowboy, and Long-Lost Brother of Al Capone – Jeff McArthur

Second generation Italian immigrant, horse rider/ acrobat/ boxer/ wrestler/ circus performer, music lover, blue collar worker, honored Veteran of World War I, Nebraskan Marshall, agent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, temporary bodyguard to President Coolidge, delusional and intractable in seeing the world in anything but black and white, idolizer of movie star Cowboys, perjurer, and flamboyant enforcer of the 18th amendment, are all terms that could be used to describe Vincenzo Capone, or Richard Hart, or one of the other names he (and others) called “Two Gun,” but if you called him anything at all—and that is extremely doubtful for anyone prior to reading this book—you would have called him the big brother of Al Capone: the most notorious Prohibition gangster of them all. This is a story so unbelievable, so incredible, it can only be true. The author does a fantastic job painting a vividly detail portrait of a man most could not even have imagined existed. Seamlessly written, the author takes the life of Richard “Two Gun” Hart and breaks it down into digestible chunks, brilliantly illustrating the people, times, and events that surrounded, influenced, and shaped the “other” Capone.

This is not simply a book one reads, so much as devours, and not alone, as I constantly felt the need to share in the discoveries of the book, reading passages to friends and family alike just to see the shocked and thrilled expressions on their faces that must have mirrored my own. Even people who lived to the times discussed, were still taken aback in disbelief. It is disappointing that the citations to clarify the many fascinating historical events are broadly listed at the end only, making it difficult to allow the reader to separate and make their own opinion about some of the speculations that the author engages in on occasion (for example, he continues with the faulty notion that a cow caused the great Chicago fire), although not without circumspection and insight. It additionally could be argued that the author is too reliant on integrating information about the criminal Capones with that of their long lost brother (who is, after all, the centerpiece of the story), a fact that he touches upon at the end, although the vast majority of it is clearly necessary to broaden the understanding of “Two Gun.”

The story is historically fascinating, poignant and deeply moving; a true adventure tale that speaks to the American character. It is a story about immigration, American values (and their mercurial manifestations), the (im)possibilities of (re)defining oneself, and family—for better or for worse. I can’t imagine someone not wanting to read this book. Find out more about the author and his works here

Mar 15 2015

Studio Time 3-15-15

A mockup from last weekimage

A new new mockup from this week:

Pencils

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Penwork

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Brushwork:

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Mockup for next time

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Mar 15 2015

Neil Simon’s Murder by Death

I’ve seen this movie as a kid but only in part and, being a kid, did not know who the characters were supposed to be and couldn’t really enjoy it (interestingly, I did remember a good deal of it including the fact that the DVD that was lent to me of it had one missing scene, and it wasn’t even included on the special features!). It is a cute little story about thinly veiled great detectives of fiction put to the test to solve a murder. Still, probably cause it is dated, it isn’t hysterically funny, and the mystery involved isn’t clever enough for those who read enough mysteries to find the meta-contextual commentary particularly interesting. Not bad, but certainly not good enough to fully recommend. 

 

Mar 14 2015

Rex Libris (vol 2): Book of Monsters – James Turner

The second collection of the adventures of the titular character. In his never ending mission to protect the books of his library, Rex gets sucked into a book of monsters and has to navigate past (without a proper categorization system!) the various beasts in order to rescue a library patron. There are also other, shorter stories–even one with Cthulhu! The work of a librarian is never dull nor done! This was a fun romp, if not very deep in plot, which might be due to the series ending (low sales and knowing you’re being canceled can easily take a creator’s energy away). I’m sad to see it go.

Mar 13 2015

Lenore: Pink Bellies – Roman Dirge

It is long past time there was another Lenore comic, and while I’m furious about the delay, Pink Bellies is absolutely hysterical. If you haven’t read any of these comics before this may not be the best collection to pick it up, but with its delightfully silly art–coupled with images that show just how talented Dirge actually is as an artist–wonderfully colored, and just nonstop hilarity in terms of an insane action adventure romp, fighting super-soldiers and ancient gods, it is hard to beat. Lenore is about a little dead girl, roughly based on the poem on by Edgar Allan Poe, who is more than a little nuts, and a collection of friends–for lack of better word–that don’t so much go on adventures but deal with nonsense that tends to happen to them, not that they’re completely innocent of these happenings. I realize I keep using terms akin to hilarious and insane to describe this comic, but I think you will find them very apt. 

Mar 12 2015

Stone Cold Truth

Etched-in-Stone

Mar 12 2015

Agent Carter

Peggy Carter, if you recall, was the love interest of Captain America before he disappeared at the end of WWII, now it’s 1946 and she is trying to make it on her own in the American spy agency the SSR. This first season has the future father of Iron Man accused of treason with only her (and his butler) to prove his innocence, but can she both unravel the mystery and fight the stereotypes against women? I can’t say I’m particularly moved by the show. It’s trying not to get too wrapped up in the world of Marvel and be just a good spy show that also deals with women’s inequality issues, but I can’t say it is very good at that, so why not give us a little more in terms of Marvel hints (don’t tell me you can’t due to the time distance)?

Mar 11 2015

Better Call Saul

I didn’t think I’d care much for the spinoff of Breaking Bad, which takes place after that series ends but is a prequel giving the story of the shady attorney, Saul, (best line in Breaking Bad “you don’t need a criminal attorney, you need a criminal attorney”), and yet even though I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, I am greatly enjoying seeing how Saul became the man he is (or “was”? it’s tough with the time flow). Strange, considering the lack of suspense that prequels have, I suppose that is a credit to the writing and acting.

 

Mar 10 2015

Marco Polo

This Netflix original series it is often very pretty to look at and has quite a degree of action and naked breasts, but for a story about the historical explorer, it has much to be desired, such as historical accuracy.

 

Mar 10 2015

Dragon Breath

C reveals that he’s trapped M, and the page itself is closing in on Montressor, with smoke, nitre, catacomb walls and footprints all closing in on M. And C’s shadow bricks him in.C100-dragon

Mar 09 2015

Studio Time 3-8-15

original thumbnail from many moons ago, when I had no idea for the page:

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updated thumbnail which I made a month or two ago:

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Which I mostly forgot about, so I created this mockup:

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then these pencils:

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with these penlines;

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and this brushwork:

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I had a few minutes left to do a preliminary mockup for next week:

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