Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jerk means "idiot" or "mean person"?

The terms "jerk" and "a--hole" have meant "mean person" to me as far back as I can remember. Those were the earliest playground definitions. But watching older movies (sometime in the 80s and earlier), I've noticed that they both used to mean "idiot." Steve Martin's The Jerk is an obvious example. I always thought that movie was about a guy who was, well, a jerk. A person who was unkind for selfish and douche-y reasons. It wasn't until I finally saw it that I realized it meant The Idiot.

Watching Spaceballs as a younger kid was similarly confusing. (I shouldn't have been watching it at that age in the first place, of course, but that's what friends' houses are for.) There's a whole bit when Dark Helmet discovers that a large portion of his crew is made up of cross-eyed morons, all of whom possess the surname "A--hole." I didn't get why these dumb guys were called that. They weren't mean, they were stupid!

I don't know when the transition from "idiot" to "mean person" took place, but I don't know anyone that still uses those terms in the earlier sense anymore, so it seems to have been a universal shift. Anyone else notice this? When did the change occur?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Minor brush with celebrity

I recently discovered that Zoë from the band Looner is the daughter of famous film score composer Basil Poledouris! I met her a few years ago.

Zoë and her husband Angel emailed me, said they really liked my art and asked if I'd be interested in doing some for an album cover. They had seen this image on Google Image Search:

It's titled "Bah-loon" on my website and I guess it came up when they searched for "looner" or "loon." I then went to one of their shows and met them and we seemed to hit it off. They were both very nice and enthusiastic about working together. We corresponded a bit via email as I worked on thumbnails for them. Then we picked one that we decided on as a final, which I finished and sent over.

I didn't hear anything back for a while, so I emailed them again, and got a really weird and short message back. Something about a friend or associate dying and them moving to another state. No, "hey, thanks for the work," no "sorry, we've decided to go in a different direction," nothing. Just a statement of fact and no further contact. They'd been using one of my images in their promo material for a while, and continued to do so after breaking off contact, but I waited a bit and they eventually removed it all.

It was a bummer because I liked the concept we worked out and we got along well. It was one of the more fun projects to work on, simple though it is. I still have a t-shirt and CD they gave me that night.

Poor cover art for "Western" from Accent UK

By gum, it's been a while since my last complaint.

And man have there been a lot of Western comics lately. Two new anthologies just popped on my radar (this one and Outlaw Territory), and I just saw that they're making a The Good, Bad, and the Ugly comic (the preview doesn't grab me, and I may write a post about the ridiculous break-top 1851 Navy seen in one of the panels).

The subject of today's post is the cover to Western, drawn by Kirk Manley.

My problems are only with the guns. First off, you have the shell ejectors (the tubes along the undersides of the barrels), which, on an actual SAA (the gun I'm assuming Manley is trying to depict), are actually located along the south-western side of the barrel (from this view). The picture below reveals this beautifully.

On later double-action revolvers, where the cylinders swung out, the ejector rod was moved to the position Manley depicted. But on SAAs, you can't push a shell out through the center of the cylinder, so the ejection takes place right there through the open loading gate (as show above). A lot of artists are guilty of substituting double-action revolver characteristics on their cowboy guns (as I've pointed out in the past). While the ejector housing location isn't a huge sin, it still demonstrates a lack of research and reference.

Other minor sins include the fact that the ejector rod looks hollow, like another barrel. The back of the trigger-guard also appears to connect with the grip, which is incorrect for any revolver. It looks like a revolver top welded to a 1911 grip (the pistol on the right is a clearer example). The pattern on the grip, too, was not common on revolvers back then.

But the biggest sin of Manley's should be obvious to the layman. Did you find it yet? Take a look at the grips. Look at where they enter the top of the fist and where they exit out the bottom. See it? It looks like this cowboy is squeezing those grips so hard they're coming out the bottom of his fists like a gooey piece of taffy. It's really obvious on the right side. Doesn't that look horrible? The grips are way too long. Even if they were structured correctly, you wouldn't see that much grip coming out of the bottom of his hand. The length combined with the way they bend forward towards the viewer makes for a really poorly referenced drawing that is glaringly bad once you're aware of it. Not only is the gun anatomically incorrect, but Manley didn't use reference of a hand holding a gun.

I also wonder if Matt will have something to say about the font used for the title. Isn't it that same over-used font that we saw in the Man with No Name comic?