Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Original comic art

Here are my two prized original comic art pages:

The first one is a page from Scud: The Disposable Assassin by Rob Schrab. He pencils his pages on graph paper, then traces and inks them on vellum. Very unique. I was so jazzed to be able to buy a page this summer.

The second is a page from Sam and Max: Freelance Police by Steve Purcell. I bought that one two years ago from Steve at Comic Con. I still don't have it framed.

Also, be sure to check my Comic Con post below! I updated it with pictures.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Comic Con 2008

We had a great time. Amy and I got in with my Professional badge, and while it didn't create an instant parting of the crowd like I'd hoped, it did cause a few artists we spoke with to ask what we did.

We were only able to go for part of Friday, and all of Saturday and Sunday. Friday we drove down after work and got there about 4:30. We cruised the floor for a bit, said hey to Doug TenNapel and Sean McGowan, and ran into a few other forum friends (Erik "Lars" Brown and his wife, and I think Eric Branscume). Stopped by Eef's booth at Slave Labor, but he wasn't there. We ran into him on the way over to Bad Karma's booth, though. Said hi to Eric Peterson and Val at Bad Karma. (Yes, three Erics in one night.) We met up with Frankie and his friend Melissa, too. Some of us wanted to go to an MST3K panel they had, but when we got up there an hour and a half early, the line was all the way down to the street level, so we said forget it. We wanted to go get dinner with everyone (including the Mulhollands), but it didn't work out, so we had a group of six (Eef and his brother Isaiah, Eric Brown and his wife, and Amy and I). We went to Rockin' Baja Lobster, if I remember right. Had some good carnitas tacos. We went up to my folks' house for the night, and Ian came down and met us.

Saturday was more cruising the floor. Picked up some books and talked to some artists. Got to meet the artist who created Korgi. He was a nice dude, and he had some of his original pages for us to look at. I went to Rob Schrab's booth to say hi, and it seemed like he remembered us from last year and Doug's house, so that was cool. I bought an original Scud page from him! It's gorgeous. I'll post a picture when I get the chance. Dan and Doug Heder stopped by while we were there (and Dan remembered us too!), so we said hey.
We went by Doug T's booth again and Angie was there, and we got a big hug from her. We chatted for a bit about the bewildering experience that is the Comic Con.

Amy and I ran into Scott Adsit on the floor, and got a picture with him. I put my hand on the small of his back without thinking for the picture and felt awkward about it for the rest of my life.
While searching for Ian (whose iPhone had died) I ran into Robert Smigel doing a new Triumph the Insult Comic segment (horrible pictures to come). Amy and I also saw Matthew Fox walking to a signing booth, which was cool. We met up with Josh Kenfield for a bit as he waited in line to get some MST3K guys to sign a poster.

Elizabeth Starks also came Saturday and joined us for a good part of the day. That night was the TenNapel Forum Hodown, and Tawney Smith and bf Tony came, which was great. We had a good time seeing the Westhavenbrook guys and other forum friends (Ruiz and gf, to name a pair), and eating more good Mexican food. Frankie bailed because there was a magical cat giving out free wands somewhere.

On Sunday Eric Peterson and Isaiah and I went surfing in Carlsbad. It was Eric's first time. Isaiah took off to the main lineup, having had a lot of experience up in Oregon of all places, while Eric and I stayed on the inside. Eric was fine at catching waves, but standing up presented more of a challenge. He made it to one foot up by the end of the morning, and I'm sure he'll get it if he goes again. We made it down to the Con in time to get into the room to wait for Sockbaby 4 to premiere. (It's available to download on now!) It was great! Doug even gave a shout-out to all the frogmen in the audience, so Eric, both Adams, and I all got to take a bow. The panel afterwards was pretty funny. Jon and Dan Heder were there, as well as Rob Schrab, his girlfriend Kate Freund, John Soares, Justin and Cody Spurlock, and even Isaac Singleton!
It was a fun year!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Making Movies Better: The Reeling Fall

Amy and I started watching Hellboy (the director's cut) today at lunch, since she's never seen it before and we are planning on seeing Hellboy 2 soon. As I watched Hellboy get knocked and go flying through a series of museum display cases, I was reminded of a pet-peeve of mine: the anti-gravity fall. It occurs when a character is punched, kicked, or blasted enough force to send them flying 20 feet or more, and that flight-path is an unnaturally slow and straight line.

The flight and fall look horribly fake because the character travels in a straight line for those 20 feet before suddenly dropping to the floor and sliding. Everyone knows how objects look when they are thrown: there is an arc as gravity overcomes the force of the push. If the director's intention is to communicate that the force was so great that the character actually flew 20 straight feet, than that force needs to be shown. The characters should fly with much greater speed and hit a wall really hard. If the intention is just "a pretty good kick," then show an arc to the landing.

From memory, I know I've seen it in Hellboy, X-Men, and The Matrix. The specific scene I'm thinking of in The Matrix is when Neo kicks Agent Smith down the hallway. He travels straight back at a constant height above the floor before finally dropping at the end. He waves his arms as he flies, and the camera follows him on his straight path. Rather than selling a supreme and forceful kick, it reminds you that a stunt team was dragging him in a harness and an effects team erased the wires. Why otherwise competent action directors keep making this mistake is beyond me.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reborn and a newborn

Drawings, that is. Angela (a.k.a. Curly or Sweetness) commissioned these from me a while back.

This first one is a redo of this piece, entitled "flee!"

Next is a redo of this drawing.

This last one is brand new. I wrote the "Cat wizards" bit a long time ago and I don't remember why, but it can only be a reference to Frak Fraco.

Monday, July 07, 2008

"it's greek i'm from greece asshol"

I don't know if any of you went back and checked the new-ish comments on my "Michael Turner sucks at women" post, but I had to repost this guy's comment here; it's hilarious. I want to make the last little bit of that run-on sentence my new catchphrase. You have to say it without any pauses, and pronounce "asshol" phonetically, as though the word were new to you. I actually picture Ian saying it when I imagine it being spoken. I think he'd be able to best carry the comedy inherent in the phrasing.
"axriste malaka arxidi asshol do u tjink that u are better?if you did a woman u won't bettr tan michael turner asshol fuc u asshol u r a pice of shit malaka arxidi axriste pou exeis mperde7ei ta mpoutia s malaka it's greek i'm from greece asshol"
I don't know what I did to earn the ire of this Greek madman. Does it make him feel better yelling at me in Greek? I'm sure I'd be very insulted if I understood it.

Apologies for the bad language (both the Greek and the English).

New Digital Bits shirt (Comic Con themed)

The Digital Bits just put up the new shirt they're selling at this year's Comic Con. Sarah, Todd and I developed the idea and I drew it. The original version actually depicted Batman and Wonder Woman towing R2-D2, but their "legal department" nixed that one, so Todd and I came up with this final design based on some typical Comic Con attendees.
If you've ever driven from San Diego to LA up the 5, you should get the reference. Having lived here all my life, I don't know how much of a universal symbol this sign is. Will attendees from a non-border state get it?

Also, in case you can't identify the types: furry, anime cosplayer chick, and kid with Naruto headband and homemade cardboard box costume.

Childhood belief about prayer

As I was driving to a doctor appointment this morning, I was praying a bit. I realized when I arrived at the doctor's office that I had been distracted at some point and hadn't "finished" the prayer. That is, I hadn't closed it with an "In Jesus' name, amen." It brought back memories of how I prayed as a kid.

The way I prayed (and I don't remember if I was taught this or just picked it up from seeing my parents pray or something) was to start it with "Dear Jesus" and to finish with either "Dear Jesus, amen," or "In Jesus' name, amen." I remember "Dear Jesus, amen," as the more frequently used closing until I got older. I also remember believing that if you didn't end the prayer properly, the prayer wasn't over, and anything you said until you actually closed the prayer would count as you talking to God. So, if I said, "Dear Jesus, thank you for my parents, please may I have the He-Man Power Castle ... *distraction* ... stop it, Josh! You're such a booger-face! ... *remembers prayer* .. Oh no! Uh, dear Jesus, amen," then that would all count as my prayer to God. To put it in nerdy terms, it was like forgetting to close an HTML tag or use the proper bracketing in a mathematical equation. Everything between those open tags or brackets would count towards that initial designation (with potentially catastrophic results!). I was afraid that any "sinful" words uttered before properly closing the prayer would be as though I were saying them to God Himself!

This morning as I remembered that I had trailed off in my prayer, I realized I still sort of believe that. If I really think about it, or if you were to ask me, I would say that I don't actually believe that, but I still finish a prayer if I remember later that I hadn't.


For a while as a young boy I also used to ask Jesus into my heart in every prayer. I remember praying for lunch with some friends and asking Jesus into my heart for the hundredth time. I'm not sure exactly why I did that. I remember also (at odd times later in childhood) fearing that I had never said it properly and that I was still unsaved, so I would pray it again on the spot "just to be sure."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Spaced signing with the cast and director!

Kevin Smith just announced a DVD signing with some of the cast and director Edgar Wright of the British show Spaced. I bought a bootleg version of Spaced on DVD years ago off of eBay, and have enjoyed it very much. It would be really cool to meet Jessica, Simon, and Edgar and have them sign the new DVD, but I imagine it will just be a huge line with little interaction. Then again, how big is Spaced around here? I have no idea. I probably won't go, but I enjoy the idea. And in the end that's what really matters, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Court Jester (1955)

Jeri's pick for Movie Night last night was The Court Jester, starring all sorts of familiar faces. Danny Kaye, of course, was the main attraction, but I also spied Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, and the mom from Mary Poppins (all young and attractive).

The movie is a Farce For All Seasons. It is chock-full of goofy concepts that are introduced throughout the movie (all the way to the end): first, a former circus performer must transform into an old man in order to smuggle a baby into a castle; then he must assume the identity of a court jester (who is, unbeknownst to him, also a master assassin hired to kill several nobles), and get the keys to secret passageway in the castle that will enable them to put the rightful king (the baby -- who has a purple pimpernel on his butt signifying his royal blood) on the throne; once in the castle, he must locate the other mole by whistling a particular tune, but he mistakes an evil noble for this mole and dismisses the good guy as a peasant; he meets the king who quizzes him on his supposed Italian background, so he has to BS his way out of it; then he is hypnotized by the princess's witch into becoming a dashing hero who will win the princess's heart (the sound of a snap brings him in and out of this condition, of course, so you can see where this leads); then his love interest is accidentally chosen to be the king's wench for the weekend; then he is discovered and made to fight this big brute guy, but before the match, his armor is struck by lighting, which magnetizes it; the witch also poisons one of the cups of wine that will be drunk before the match, and he must remember which is which; the guy he is fighting also discovers the poison, and must try to figure it out ("The poison is in the pestle, while the chalace of the palace holds the brew that is true!" ** "Now the pestle has the brew that is true, and the flagon with the dragon holds the poison!"); then he gets into a sword fight with Basil, and keeps snapping which switches him between himself and a master swordsman; meanwhile the secret passageway has collapsed, leaving a hole big enough for children (or the little people that he is friends with at the beginning!).

I'm probably leaving some of it out.

This was my first Danny Kaye movie, and it's easy to see his appeal. He's a very talented singer, dancer, and actor. He was perfect for this sort of comedy, and carries the show the whole way.

The only thing I didn't like about the movie was that his contact within the castle, the mole named Fergus, gets tortured and killed off-screen and gives up the secret of the baby king. In the whole rest of the movie he's this earnest, competent, hard-working guy who does his job thanklessly, and that's his reward? To get killed off-screen and be known as the guy who gave up their secrets under torture? We are notified of his torture and death by one line uttered by a villain, then he is never mentioned again. The movie ends on a happy note without another word of acknowledgement towards his role in the success of the plan. Bum deal, man. Reminds me of the cop in The Lookout.