Friday, April 30, 2010

If I Ran the Zoo

All right, so if I were actually in a position where I had absolute power, I probably wouldn't make people shave their stupid mustaches. Live and let live. I guess. But I would make Tim James study a foreign language and the history of immigration in the United States. I'd also make sure Steven Baldwin was restored to his former glory.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Avengers Assemble! And Dance!

Man, there are a lot of Avengers. There was no way to get even close to getting them all in, and I have to admit that I'm not the biggest Avenger fan, so this grouping is kind of a random mix. There are some characters that I remember from some random issue I read years ago, but for some reason I remember as an Avenger. The Whizzer, for example. There are definitely some missing characters (like Quicksilver)(who probably should have gotten in there somewhere)(especially seeing as Mantis made it)(and he certainly should have beaten out the Whizzer). But I got all the big guys. Captain America, Iron-Man, the Hulk, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye.

Some people have asked me how I go about coloring the comics that I put on the blog. I'm not sure if I do it the most efficient or professional way, but this is it.

First, I start out with the basic line drawing which I generally do on bristol with brushes and nib pens. On the computer I work with it in Photoshop.
I get the feeling that most people use many more layers than I do, maybe using one layer for each color. If I were doing more complicated stuff I might see how that was necessary, but for the kind of bright flat tone coloring that I do, I don't worry about it. Unless I have a ton of colors in a really close range (like five shades of blue) or a drawing with a lot of details I only use two or three layers (one for lines, one or two for colors). This drawing is a little complicated so for this I used one layer per row because it can be hard to keep track of what is what (for a total of seven layers, one for lines and the rest for colors). Captain America gets his own row, then the Scarlet Witch and Iron-Man, then Vision, Thor and Tigra and so on.
When possible I use the magic wand tool to select areas to be colored, but that only works for enclosed spaces and I have a habit of not closing things off when I'm drawing. If I can't use the magic wand, I use the polygon lasso tool (which can take forever). While I'm selecting areas I don't worry about the tone of the colors. I'm more concerned about getting the areas defined. So when I first colored Captain America the blue was a bright garish blue and the red was blinding. Once I had colored the whole drawing I went back and started adjusting colors.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gerunds and Infinitives

Greetings from Monday in San Francisco. I'm staying with my friends Avani and Patrick, and today they've got to work and study, so I'm about to take a tour of book stores. So I think I'm going to hit Phoenix Books and Music, The San Francisco Mystery Bookstore, Modern Times Bookstore, Dog Eared Books, Borderland Books, Isotope Comics, Acorn Books, and City Lights. And hopefully, I'll have time at the end of the day to hit the public library for an exhibit on Korean comics.

Such a dork.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dancing With Myself

Done, done, done. Two more classes, some exams to grade, some students to fail, a certificate ceremony and then I am out of here and on the plane for San Francisco.

And if you feel like dancing with yourself, I recommend my current favorite. Blast it. It's also good for walking into work.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prepositions

Teaching, teaching, teaching... modals, phrasal verbs, the passive voice, participial adjectives, the past perfect progressive, count and noncount nouns, adjective clauses, noun clauses, adverb clauses of time, adverb clauses of concession, adverb clauses of condition! Four months with only Martin Luther King Day off, but vacation is almost here. Two more days and I'm heading out to San Francisco for a week.

And I'm not going to think about English at all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

These Guys Really Exist?

So charming. So sophisticated. So refined. Delightful. What debonair gentleman. Such nice matching haircuts and outfits. Such pleasant dispositions. And just enough cologne to let you know they're coming from a block away (which should be considered fair warning).


Friday, April 16, 2010

Ra-Ra-Rasputin

As I said before, I think my next book is going to be a bit darker than any of the stuff I have done previously. I wouldn't say that it's going to be horror, but it's definitely going to be creepy. Something like the Twilight Zone or the stories that Roald Dahl wrote for adults. I decided to head to the library to get some ideas... books on ESP, mind powers, hauntings, murders...

And Rasputin came into my mind. I didn't know much about him so I picked up Rasputin: Satyr, Saint or Satan by Douglas Myles.

It breaks down like this...

From a young age Rasputin was able to cure animals and people merely by touching them.

He was clairvoyant.

He was a religious wanderer, who believed in religious salvation through sin. This meant that sex was a purifying act and that there was nothing wrong in finding pleasure in it. These ideas naturally brought him into conflict with the Orthodox Church which believed that sex was for procreation only.

Rasputin also didn't believe that wedding vows meant anything in the eyes of God. There were lots of orgies and apparently women could not resist his animal magnetism (or his rather large penis)(which was supposedly cut from his body when he died and is now on display at an erotic museum in St. Petersburg)(though there is some debate as to whether it is actually Rasputin's penis or a sea cucumber).

He became connected with the Tsars because their son was a hemophiliac and Rasputin was the only one who could stop the bleeding. This brought him into conflict with all the doctors who hadn't been able to help the child.

His resulting close relationship with the Tsars brought him into conflict with all their advisors and many others with political ambitions.

He was also a pacifist who foresaw that World War One wouldn't be good for Russia or any country involved. This brought him into conflict with all the military men who believed that a good war would boost the economy and restore national pride (this despite the fact that Russia didn't have enough guns for its troops)(the strategy was to wait for one of your comrades who had a gun to die and then take his gun as he would no longer have any use for it)(was recognizing the flaw of this strategy proof that Rasputin was clairvoyant?)

He was difficult to murder as well (poison, stabbing, shooting, drowning, who knows what else).

How much of this is true... I don't know. But it's definitely the stuff to make a story out of.

Or a classic bit of disco.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clash of the Titans


Despite the fact that Clash of the Titans is rather awful, I came out of the theater thinking that it was better than I expected. Which is kind of sad. It would be nice to be excited about a movie that I haven't seen, but it seems that doesn't happen so much these days. I'll get into conversations with friends and we'll discuss the decline of movies and how everything being made now is just garbage. So much of it just seems unwatchable. Too many computer effects, poor character development, bad dialogue being spoken by bad actors, plots that don't make sense. It feels like movies just try to overwhelm your senses. It's like they are trying to trick you. They want to pummel your brain into submission so you won't know how bad what you are watching is. It's easy to look back and think that there was some golden age of film making in the past.

Taxi Driver, The Godfather, Jaws, Alien, The Conversation, Chinatown, M*A*S*H*, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Sting, Blazing Saddles, Animal House.

The seventies were great, but I think all the bad stuff just kinda gets forgotten.

Take the year 1977. There was Star Wars. There was Annie Hall, Close Encounters and Saturday Night Fever. The first Smokey and the Bandit came out that year. All good movies (and if not good at least you've heard of them).

But a lot of other movies also came out that year.

Bruce Li in New Guinea and Bruce Lee the Invincible for example (Bruce Lee had been dead for four years).

There was The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse, The Legend of the Wolf Woman, Demoniac, Beast with a Gun, The Crater Lake Monster, I Spit on Your Grave, The Class Reunion Massacre and Welcome to Blood City. All classic horror flicks I'm sure.

I bet Satan's Cheerleaders was excellent. Cheerleaders' Beach Party was also probably pretty good.

There was Death Kiss which is not to be confused with Kiss of Death also released that year. And Death Driver which shouldn't be mixed up with Road of Death or Death Game or Fist of Fear Touch of Death.

Also coming out that year:
War of the Planets, Caligula II: Messalina Messalina, Confessions of a Driving Instructor, One Way Boogie Woogie, Madame X: An Absolute Ruler, Polk County Pot Plane, The Night They Took Miss Beautiful, The Rubber Gun, Not Now Comrade, High Rolling in a Hot Corvette, What's Up Nurse!, The 5th Musketeer and ABBA: The Movie.

As well as the deeply moving Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.

I take comfort in the fact that, like all the above films, most of the schlock in theaters these days will just disappear into the ether. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone looking back on the movies of the 00s and thinking of it as a golden age.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stop!

Those days when it seems there are just too many thoughts in my head are the worst. It hardly feels like I can even breathe. It's like every aspect of my life is demanding immediate attention. The worst.

Fortunately, today is not one of those days.

The sun was out. It was warm. I got another good review for Joe and Azat.

And speaking of reviews you should definitely check out this review of the Star Wars Episode I and this review of Episode II, if you haven't checked either one out yet.

AND check out this misheard lyrics video for Complete Control by the Clash.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter

My parents got divorced when I was pretty young. Every other weekend I would go to my dad's house. Sometimes we'd go to museums, sometimes minor league baseball games in Burlington, and sometimes we'd just rent some movies and hang out at home. Being young and having awful taste I always wanted to rent the newest Chevy Chase movie or something similarly awful, which is why we would rent at least two movies. Which is how I got introduced to Mad Max, Bruce Lee, and the Man With No Name.

I know these movies (and others my dad picked) aren't really considered classics, but it seems like they have been a vital part of my education.

Thanks, pop.


Scarecrow, Riddler (with Query and Echo), Ra's al Ghul, and Man-Bat




I think this might be the last of the Batman villains for awhile. Once I started drawing them it got really tempting to try and draw every Batman villain ever. But there are a lot and I think I might enjoy drawing Darth Vader doing the bump much more than the Ten-Eyed Man doing the can-can. I'm not sure what I'll draw next. Star Wars is tempting, but so are the Avengers or the X-Men. Or the Justice League. Or slasher movie villains! Or Dick Tracy characters!! Or all of those Image heroes from the 90s doing a giant Bollywood dance number!!!