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Wolverine & Psy = BFFs

17 Oct

Because someone loves you out there.

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Cat Girl Comic Book Hope

10 Oct

Last night I went and saw Kimbra play some music live.  My friend Trent and I began the evening by waiting in line to get into the show.  We were directly behind this cute little girl in a leopard print dress including a black tu tu.  To top everything off, her shoes were actually bright red, fuzzy slippers with little claws.  She had a cat obsession, clearly.

The wonderful thing about this little girl was how playful she was, and that special something that warmed my heart: she was reading comics. [this post was just interrupted by a package being delivered for a book called “Reading Comics” which is not the book I was hoping  to read on the plane, but, oh well, I still got a book]  This little girl was full of energy taking her mom’s phone to use as a flashlight at the tables near the back of the venue (we ended up sitting behind them).  She was reading away first with a Sonic the Hedgehog comic and then with some sort of Angry Birds space picture book.  You could tell her mom was there for the music and this girl was there to satisfy her mom and to read books.

(The best quote from her was right before The Stepkids (who were reallllly bad) started playing another song and she exclaimed, “OH NO NOT AGAIN!”)

In case you haven’t gleaned from previous posts, I am an avid advocate for children’s comics.  I believe that companies should devote more time to fostering creative energy in children and start them early on comics.  Instead of the five titles a month coming out of the “Big Two” why not double or triple that?  You can tell that they have some sense of trying to get kids on comics, but that’s only one day of the year: Free Comic Book Day.  The comic companies are aware that children read comics, but they’re so caught up in appealing to this artificial white men, teens to 40s demographic that they don’t realize comics are for everyone!  This little girl is an example, Archie is appealing not only to the much younger generation’s demographic but also the little girls’ demographic.

Comics deserve to be in hands and read by everyone.  Companies should put emphasis on all readers rather than just alienating everyone outside of the superficial demographic.  Luckily, the “Big Two” aren’t the only ones making comics and the others know how to focus on kids.  Still, the “Big Two” have the (some) more recognizable characters so they should put an increased amount of effort into children’s comics.

Unfortunately, the little girl and her mom left right before the show was over.  I was going to get their attention and tell them, “hey, some of the best comics around for people your age are ____…”

Here’s a list that could have filled in the blank:

  • Owly
  • Tiny Titans
  • Johnny Boo
  • Archie
  •  Uncle Scrooge
  • Mega Man
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Smile
  • Tin Tin
  • Bone
  • and many others.

The Dark Knight Rises – Review!

21 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises is one of those movies in which I’m initially stumped with how to review it.  At times, I enjoyed it, and, at others, it was a confusing mess.  It was a like/dislike relationship.  I wouldn’t go so far as say it was a love/hate relationship because, in actuality, there was nothing to love and nothing to hate.

I saw this film in IMAX because that’s what everyone online said I should see it in.  Unfortunately, the only true IMAX theater in the Pacific Northwest is in Seattle… which I’m 5 and a half hours away from.  I noticed that the audio was slightly better, but the picture quality was minutely clearer.  This upgrade was not enough to justify the price, and I do not see the big deal with IMAX.  Sure, I’ll get around to true IMAX, but it’s not for me currently.

I’m not sure whether or not it was the IMAX or the finished film, but the score was distracting my viewing experience.  Hans Zimmer is talented in making scores for films, I’m not trying to take away from that.  However, I am not a fan of constant scores.  The mixing was too loud for the score particularly when the movie has a lot of mumbling, accents, and weird Bane voices.  I was occasionally lost with all of the noises going on.

The film contains many plot holes as well as too many coincidences.  It builds and builds and builds but only because one thing leads directly to another rather than having multiple issues pan out.  Despite trying to make multiple storylines with almost an absurd amount of characters, the vision remains fairly singular.  Along this path, the film was entirely predictable aside from the few spoilers at the end.  The screenplay relied upon so many classic tropes that there was not much of a new interpretation on anything, just a rehashing of old material into a superhero film.  A lot of the fun was lost when you knew what was about to happen with almost everything.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m an avid movie viewer, study film, or comic book geek – there just were no surprises.

The technical film making aspect was fairly solid.  There were occasional shots that made me wince, but I was satisfied with most of the presentation.  It’s a good movie when focusing on most of the cinematography.

The action scenes cover up many of the problems with the film with some inspired dirty, hands on fighting.  Not only is Bane fiercely intelligent, he can match Batman in a first fight which makes the fighting imaginative and brutal.  That’s the great thing about Bane in this form, he’s methodical and may be one of the few multi-layered characters in the film.  Christopher Nolan nails the character with an interpretation similar to the introduction of the character in the comics.  Many people have since decided that Bane is purely a brute, but, in actuality, he’s one of the more intelligent comic book villains out there.

The acting was fairly consistent in a film that had many loopholes.  The stand out character in the entire film is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Officer Blake.  He’s the emotional center, and we see Gotham through his bright, hopeful eyes.  That’s what makes the film so satisfying at the end.  He sticks to his beliefs in right and wrong, and pursues justice and even understanding.  I ended up caring more about Blake over any other character.

Overall, I came out of the film with an okay feeling.  It’s worth seeing in theaters for the experience, but I’m not sure if it demands many repeated viewings.

Photo Challenge – Something Sweet

19 Jul

There are four things sweet in this image:

  1. My popsicle
  2. Me
  3. Kevin Keller
  4. AND my Batman button

This gives a decent idea of what I did today (despite that 3 hour chunk playing Pokémon…).  I focused on Me (WHICH I ALWAYS DO).  I worked on my Kevin Keller piece for about 2 hours earlier and I’m taking a break from working on it right now.

Also, I got a free Batman button at the comic shop… SO I WILL LOOK HELLA COOL when I wait in line for 50 hours to see The Dark Knight Rises tomorrow.  C’mon people!  Let’s break some records!

Hidden story behind this image: this is one of about a dozen photographs (that, to the normal eye, look identical) in which I perfected myself.  First, I had to make sure the popsicle looked a similar color as the cover to Kevin Keller.  Then, I had to get the popsicle, my face, the comic, and the Batman button all in the same frame.  Also, I kept on switching between two facial expressions without realizing it.  I was either deadly serious or raising my eyebrows.  In this photo I just look mildly amused.

Or incredibly subdued in my badassery.

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PHOTO. CHALLENGE.  It’s worth your time (and virtual, meaningless money).  So, check it out!

Green River Killer – Review!

16 Jul

Green River Killer is a based-on-a-true-story fiction comic that delicately presents humanity in a murder story.  Now, this humanity isn’t necessarily directed towards the murderer, although it doesn’t rail against him.  Instead, the comic asks why or what would lead a person to do these things.

The comic does not present the story from the perspective of the killer who may or may not be caught at any given time, but opts to focus on the lead investigator detective Tom Jensen.  Writer Jeff Jensen happens to have great knowledge of the case on the detective’s side since Tom Jensen is his father.  A certain amount of authenticity is brought to the story with this relationship.

Prior knowledge of the story is not needed to enjoy the comic, although it helps to have a clue.  For instance, I lived in Tacoma – about half an hour south of Seattle – and had some familiarity with the serial murders.  Most of this, however, came from those true life cheesy recreation stories on TV.  I didn’t live through this like many people in the area did, but I had heard about it.  Actually, coming to this story without much previous knowledge allows you to be more drawn into the story without over-analyzing everything.

The writing strikes a chord because you become so heavily invested in Tom Jensen’s mission, and he becomes real to you without ever meeting the real life Tom Jensen.  He is a man with burdens upon his shoulders and a dedication to one sole mission; he’s someone you can rally behind.  The writing also shows a lot of the confusion and frustration involved for Jensen and the other detectives even after they bring in Gary Ridgway.  How do you go through with finding the history of a serial killer?

Jeff Jensen manipulates time with the use of multiple time periods without ever losing the reader.  It causes parallels and themes to the story and provides the reader with clues.  You know Gary is the killer, right?  But there’s more to that underneath his 48+ murders.

I’m a sucker for black and white artwork.  I love seeing the raw ink strokes and detail.  The great thing about Jonathan Case is that he adds just enough detail to the scenes while not drawing away the focus.  It’s impressive how subtle his art really is.  He draws a lot of talking heads, but each one has a slightly different expression making no two panels the same.  He can really convey a whole array of emotions with just a slight line manipulation.  Even though it’s a crime comic, Case doesn’t go with the typical heavy shadows which actually benefits the story.  The best thing about the art, however, is Case’s use of splash pages.  I’m usually not too big on splash pages, but there were two in a row where I literally said “wow” aloud.  That’s how gripping the art is.

There were little problems in the comic.  My one worry is the reread factor.  That’s where the art comes in, but it may be hard with a story you already know the outcome of particularly with something from real life.

Overall, the effect of the book mirrors the impact of the splash pages – a big “wow.”  It latched me into the story causing me to read it within one sitting.  The graphic novel truly deserves its recently announced Eisner Award.

Photo Challenge – Something You’re Reading

3 Jul

After a bit of a false start, Kevin Keller and I are both enjoying “Summer Fun!”  So, that’s to say that I’m a little to be reading at the moment what with all of the disc I’ve been throwing lately…  I’m barely keeping up with my pull list for comics, but I have managed to squeeze in some reading over the last month.  Like 3 volumes of Tiny Titans (super short reads, I know, but they’ve made me laugh pretty hard for a comic reading), 2 volumes of Criminal, and the 2nd volume of Incognito.

Kevin Keller’s comic features prominently because I won’t be only reading that one for fun.  Sure, I’ll get some enjoyment out of it because I’ve grown fond of Archie Comics.  However, my end goal is to utilize this comic for my article on Kevin Keller and the representation of gay identity within the comic series/the Archie Universe as a whole.  It’s been rather frustrating because I think the series is shipping on a bi-monthly schedule so I’ve been waiting awhile for this one.  I decided that my scope would encompass the miniseries, the gay marriage issue, and the first three issues of his own series to make the grand total 8 comic books (though, Life With Archie #16 is basically two comics in a magazine format).

While working on my article on comics, I’ll read some while I’m at it.  The other two featured are The Infinite Horizon and Green River Killer.  The Infinite Horizon has Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto as the team behind the series.  It’s a post-apocalyptic horrorshow that sounds pretty awesome.  I picked it up on Free Comic Book Day and have been going through my stacks so I can read it.  From what I’ve gathered (both reading and viewing) Phil Noto is a phenomenal artist.  Green River Killer is a crime comic.  I bought it for Emerald City Comic Con to get it signed, but it was in the shipment that came late from Amazon so I wasn’t able to bring it.  On the outside I don’t think I care too much for crime comics, but I continually find myself reading them and enjoying them… I must secretly enjoy the hell out of them, then.

What’s on your reading list?  I have a whole box full of stuff I need to read, but it’s always great to hear what other people are reading.

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More of the PHOTO CHALLENGE?  Follow the link for the whole list of posts!

Photo Challenge – School Binder

28 Jun

I feel like this prompt on school binders (sorry… sorry… ‘prompt’ is such a cool word) is meant for teenagers.  HEY GUYS, let’s make a prompt for high schoolers!  Loser high schoolers who spend more time on the internet than with their friends!  …Wait, I’m just like that and I’m in college…

Anyway, I imagine that the prompt is expecting binder covers with sparkles and dinosaur puff stickers.  Well, my binder is one of necessity because this is the only binder I have available to me.  My photography binders from high school would probably be the ones up here…

Instead, this is my binder for my Advanced Media Studies course from the fall.  I’m keeping it handy because my final project for the course was on Kevin Keller and how Archie represents the gay identity through their idealized community.  I’ve been waiting on the third issue of his solo series for a little while now (finally ordered it through eBay… $3 comic… plus $4 shipping T_T), so now I can begin finishing up my article in order to submit it to some journals.  Just as a FYI, in that backwards image that I forgot to flip, there is an “A” standing proud and clear.

I also presented this article at the NWCA conference which was pretty fun.

So, there you go… there’s my loser green binder with white paper that has ink on it with additional organizational tabs.

BADASS.

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For more of the lovely Photo Challenge peruse on over to this ‘ere link > MASTER LIST.