Moments that defined your love for comics (Part 2)

•October 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Comics have the advantage of having not so much corporate oversight (discounting the Big Two, of course) and being venues for creativity.
Unfortunately, in the US, our storytelling is heavily centered around super-heroes, and that limits us on the types of stories we can tell.

Love Affair #4

Hombre, by Jose Ortiz and Antonio Segura

 

This work strikes the perfect balance of amazing (and full of shock) writing, and incredible illustration.

You should try to find the Black and White version. It is how it is meant to be read.

But basically, after you read this one of two things will happen.

a) either you will never write a dystopian novel/script again, because nothing can ever surpass this.

b) all your fiction will be dystopian for a while, because you will setting your sights very high and will be trying to surpass this masterwork, out of sheer admiration.

Among other things, these scripts redefine conventions in very succinct ways, like the aging of the hero, the concept of anti-hero, the frailty of humanity, the fine lines to cross that separate a good guy from a bad guy, etc…

If you want a link on the bibliography of this character

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hombre_%28comics%29

 

Love Affair #5

The Savage Sword of Conan #4 By John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala.

savage sword conan #4 iron shadows moon What do you get when you pair one of the best penciler with one of the best inker in the world?

You get Savage Sword of Conan #4, that’s what you get.

The adaptation of the story by Robert Howard titled Iron Shadows in the Moon turned out to be legendary and amazing.
Page after page the strong and flawless firms depicted by the Master John Buscema turn to get embellished beyond belief with the expert inks of Alfredo Alcala.

John Buscema hated drawing inanimated objects, such as backgrounds, buildings and cars. That was partially why he loved doing Conan.
What is so more difficult to understand is why he complained so much about the inking by Alfredo Alcala.
Then again, artists are known to have such pain in the ass fragile egos…

Reminds me of the issues that Will Eisner had with Warren publishing his covers of Spirit with colors by Richard Corben or Ken Kelly. The results were AMAZING, but since it was not what the artists envisioned.. Eisner ended up voicing his discontent.

That’s why so often it pays to learn to relinquish creative control, and let other people bring their input into your work. You may not like it how it deviates from your vision, but when you are creating for an audience, sometimes your vision is not the be-all-end-all, and the changes people introduce enrich your concept.

Thank goodness there are dozens of other instances of collaboration between Buscema and Alcala, for the rejoicing of all art fans. What Buscema disliked drawing, Alcala rendered masterfully well, allowing finally the Cimarian to trample a world full of buildings, vegetation and landscapes that usually were very bare when Buscema was penciling.

 

 

Love Affair #6

The Tomb of Dracula (Whole Collection)  By Gene Colan and Marv Wolfman.

Why is this a landmark?

Bunch of reasons. One of them is the amazing, fabulous, awe-inspiring art of art of Master Gene Colan.

Another is the fact that this is one of those few times in comic history when the same group of creators stays on a title till the title closes.

And not to mention there was a cross over of horror with superheroes, such as silver surfer, or spiderman.

From April 1972 to August 1979 you could read the evolution of a character, and watch the writer and the even the artist evolve and make the story grow with them.

Total must. And you can either purchase the Essentials series, or find it in Omnibus.

 

State of the Project: Chapter two script completed.

•October 14, 2014 • 2 Comments

Took a while because one midpoint segment needed a lot of work, and I created writers block (I don’t believe in having it, or suffering from it. You do it to yourself).

But I am happy to say that after that slump, the rest of it moved along pretty well.

 

Now I am sitting down, re-plotting the rest of the chapters and adjusting temporal lines and new character introductions..

I do have a few more concept art, and sketches, that I should share.
But for the time being I am pondering whether to move this project to a different blog.
What do you think?

 

Women’s fashion in comics….it shouldn’t matter.

•October 8, 2014 • 2 Comments

Holyjumpigmackrelandabucketofsandypearls!!!
What is wrong with people? (Don’t answer. I know already… A LOT!!)

Would you give a book full of incest, infanticide, murder, wars to a kid to read?

No?
Well, how come so many kids are being sent to bible camp, here in the South of the US? Because in case you haven’t noticed, the judo-christian bible is full of those examples.

Would you give a comic full of sex, gore and violence to a kid to read?

No? Exactly! That’s why “The Crossed” is not for kids.

Then… why all these idiotic protests about WonderWoman looks like this, and Starfire looks like that?

PARENTS and adults in general, are responsible for what their kids read. Periods. And kids are supposed to sneak away and try to read things that are inappropriate for them.

We (in the United States of America) live in a somewhat free society (or one that keep telling itself it is) and as such, there is going to be a great variety of books and comics being published, because they respond to market demands.

Some will depict characters in a PG way, some wont, and either will go for blatantly sexualized version, or will stay with the cheesecake version.

I read one, or the other, and then move on, depending whether they addressed my taste. If they haven’t I drop them and it takes a miracle or a the passage of a very long amount of time, for me to pick them up again. If I get my expectations met, I keep buying them.

But then I read this:

http://www.themarysue.com/red-hood-and-the-outlaws-starfire/

And my question remains: WHY?

Why should we make it a subject of public debate?

Is it because there are no comic book alternatives? Isn’t there a plethora of “Safe” starfire comics Lucy couldn’t have picked up from the .25 Cent bin at the local comic book shop?

Isn’t there a bunch of Saturday morning cartoons she can watch with safe Teen Titans?

Lucy is in college, and she doesn’t understand the cultural complexities of alien life forms? Or market sales in comics? Man.. we are screwed with idiots like these in college!

Or you may argue something to the effect that these materials desensitize the male population concerning abuse towards women.
To which  I counter-argue that without examples like these we couldn’t illustrate counterpoints of a conversation.
At the end of the day, the problem is not that we have porn, or cheesecake, or burlesque, or gore, or violence, or gunplay in comics. What is really the problem is that some people decide to do wrong.

Some people decide to murder, abuse, rape, harass, humiliate, and basically do evil.

You may argue that some people don’t know better, others may argue they need to be taught, others may argue that behavior is learned and as a society we are responsible for each other….
And then they seem to forget that for a society to be free and open, there have to be counterpoints, and counter-culture movements.

Another article of people just focusing on their agenda.

http://comicsalliance.com/wonder-woman-marguerite-sauvage-sensation-comics-fashion/

Man, is this script cliched, or what!

Either Sean E. Williams got hired to write a pamphlet on sexual harassment  and I didn’t know about it, or he decided to talk down to its audience to a degree where I can’t find my brain anymore?
Mind you, I am not against pamphlets nor pro sexual harassment. I am against cliched writing in shape manner or form.

Let me see if I understood the critical points of the plot correctly: A dude who knows and admires  WonderWoman, thinks he can manhandle her??? And he pulls out a shotgun in the middle of the street??

I repeat, sell me this as “Wonderwoman against harassment” and I will make a post about how proactive DC is cleaning their image.

Make me pay for this, expecting original adventures…I get pissed because I wasted 10 minutes of my life reading about something I already know and conveyed to me in an unoriginal manner.

And do not have the audacity to state “Fashion matters”

Yes. Fashion Matters. Very Little. In the whole scheme of things.

When there are millions of unsolved cases of missing children in the US alone… fashion matters.

When troop are still being deployed in foreign countries to fight for the corporate interests of a few multinational companies… fashion matters.

When our education levels are deplorable, and we consistently keep coming at the bottom of the charts of charts comparing industrialized countries… fashion matters.

When our police forces seem to live in a state of constant militarization, and there is no oversight over the police who shot people on sight… fashion matters.

When our political classes are in bed with the oligarchs and together they are destroying the middle class, and creating a large segment of underemployed populations…… fashion matters

When the only debt you can’t get rid off via bankruptcy is the one imposed in our student class via student loans and young adults are leaving colleges with several thousands of dollars in debt…… fashion matters

 

So, no. Excuse me if I don’t care if Starfire is a detached sexual being, or if Wonderwoman shows her ass too much through her shorts.

And I am tired of this fallacy that SOME women keep purporting when they repeat like parrots: “I dress this way to feel good about myself, not for you.”

Let’s deconstruct this with logic.
Granted, you may not be dressing for me, specifically,( nor anyone should expect you too). So far, we agree.

But then you derive pleasure or “feel good” feeling from “dressing this way”. Dressing has a functional side to it, protect us from elements, and maintain a constant core temperature for our bodies.
But if you make fashion statement and are not dressing just for functional purposes. You are not the proverbial arbol that falls in the forest where no one can hear it. You dress comforming to norms and expectations in your society and societal circles. You expect to create a reaction, you expect to build a perception and construct an identity based on how the other members of society perceive you.
SO FUCK YOU, YOU ARE DRESSING FOR US. For ALL of us, but you are.
And by the way, so am I and so is everyone else who doesn’t live in a cabin in the woods 100 miles away from civilization.

So lets agree that you are not dressing to attract MY particular attention, but also lets agree that societal interaction is a two way street. You try to influence society with your tools and society will try to influence your behavior with theirs.

So please, WOMEN OF THE WORLD, stop repeating “I don’t dress for you!” because in a way you do.  Find something else and more original to say.

But even if you do, its ok. Because I won’t fucking care.

Because fashion doesn’t matter, when there are a gazillion causes to address and a bigillion of issues to fix in this planet earth.

 

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier … The best super-hero movie I’ve seen in years….

•September 25, 2014 • 2 Comments

Technical Info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1843866/

Being often on a shoe-string budget, I had to skip the big screen release of this movie. Then again, there were other movies released in the previous and later months and I had to skip those too.

So, I ended up waiting for the DVD release.
First time in many many years where I regreted doing so.

A lot of hipsters can be found around the blogospheres and other internet outlets praising movies with a statement akin to :”Not only it was a great superhero movie, but it also was a great movie.”

Well, in this case, this was a great Super-Hero movie, and it also happen to be a decent movie too.

But it is pretty difficult to make a GREAT super-hero movie. Granted, it has been getting easier on the last decade or so, but still….

Here are some factors you have to contend with:

1) Pulp feel, not translating well to screen: There are millions of directors out there, all waiting for a chance to lend their vision to a project and get financed to put their ideas onto the screen. It is incredibly difficult to find a good director, who would do justice to the material, and, if needed, leave their ego at the door, and focus on what is best for the character. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier this was achieved with flying colors.

Continue reading ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier … The best super-hero movie I’ve seen in years….’

State of a project: Main Character coming to life (Part 2)

•September 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

From the previous post (http://comicwatcher.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/state-of-a-project-main-character-coming-to-life-part-1/)

The main character is getting fleshed out. But there are a few plot devices I have to take into consideration. For example, since the totality of the story spans an arch of a decade, I have to evolve the character and age him.

I also have to account for the wounds and injuries he is going to incur in the course of his career, and also give some as a back story, and part of his upbringing.

 

M.Sketch8 The appearance of the hero is becoming more consistent and solid.

The base is a muscular but thin frame, he is not so much bulky as solid steely muscle.

He is asked to make appearances in the gray suit that is so emblematic of the character he is playing, but as soon as he is left to his devices, he switches to Tshirt and Jeans.

The mask is also cute, but not necessary. He puts it on mainly for work. This is a homage to Will Eisner and his crime fighting creation, where the man behind the mask was just circumstantial to the wonderful stories that were being told, stories about people, circumstances, a city and its dwellers, life in full bloom and decadence….

Also, I want to highlight this concept of a man who is expected to interpret a hero characters, but he hates it.

It is the story of a man who is working as a comic book character, and the things he encounters.

 

Continue reading ‘State of a project: Main Character coming to life (Part 2)’

State of a project: Main Character coming to life (part 1)

•September 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Like most writers, I hit a block on a plot twist in the middle of chapter 2.
Oh well. Lets switch gears, I say, and spend some time on the draftboard.

My protagonist has to be physically attractive, because I am using conventions found in pulp and action comics.

I am intermingling this setting with grittiness and realism, so I gave him a couple of traits that make him not as attractive, such as a hooked nose and lots of small scars everywhere. And body-hair. Take that hairless perfectly sculpted superheroes.

Now in all honesty, this is a character that was already born more than 15 years ago. Even back then I already had some character designs for him.

For example, this character design was done in the mid 90’s.

The Pony-tail is a dead giva-way.

This character is interpreting/impersonating a comic book hero. I paid homage to Will Eisner’s The Spirit and fashioned him simple, with the domino mask and usually with a suite and tie.  And getting his clothes torned off quite a bit.

I made many drafts and images of the character

And made a lot of concept art for him.

Now, almost 20 years later, the story holds, but the character goes over some slight changes.

 

Next phase on fleshing him out, now that I have a starting point, is an exercise in realism. I place him in the world I have concocted, and give him a background story, how he grew up, what has he seen and what has molded him.

He was orphaned very early. Not for dramatic effect of vengeance, ala Bruce Wayne, but because in his dystopian future, his parents couldn’t survive. Period.

So he grows up in orphanages. Thus he is street savvy, a bit cynical. But somewhere in his genetic makeup there exists a desire to do good. He doesn’t give it up completely…he just buries deep within his soul, because the world he has to live in is not kind to heroes or those of altruistic nature.

He grows up disenchanted, but with the buried sense that something has to change in his world. He joins a company that is experimenting with a marketing/pr stunt, where they genetically alter a bunch of volunteers in order to make them viable “superhero” characters.

My character is one of the 10% who survive the program and is supposed to make staged appearances as PR stunts for his company, as a masked comic book hero of yesteryear.

Since he is taking on the role of a popular superhero, so he is a man in character.  But he is also very cynic and jaded, so he will take to wearing the domino mask with a grain of salt. Way too often he will just pull it over his head, like a guy rising his eyeglasses.

After his gene therapy didn’t kill him and made him stronger, his metabolism is accelerated so he loves wearing those T-shirts called wife-beaters. His physique is athletic, but the wife-beater gives him a certain sleazy look. A little secret he will keep to himself is that he knows that accelerated metabolism will likely mean accelerated natural death, and he knows his life will be cut short. So, he is inclined to bouts of melancholy.

His company wants him to look heroic, but he will often end up beaten, bloodied, bruised, and with his clothes torn. His company also wants him clean shaven, and hairless, like a cartoon comic book character, those bodybuilder -types of man-child that don’t even show hair in their legs. But he will skip the waxing often. More so after certain event grants him leverage to act more freely than before.

So, I spent a few days (evening hours) honing down the face.

20140618130024258_Page_01

M.Sketch.02 M.Sketch.18

 

You can see the general gest. Hair slicked back naturally. A color that is not blond, but more like light brown. (Color not relevant, because the initial concept is black/white/halftones.)

I wanted him to look young, but then the concept of accelerated metabolism lined up with the idea of an older soul in a young body, so event though he is in his mid twenties, he may look a bit older, curt, jaded.

 

Continue reading ‘State of a project: Main Character coming to life (part 1)’

A comment on celebrity nude pictures and such

•September 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

(Man, with that title, I wouldn’t be surprised if my blog generates a lot of “the wrong” type of traffic)

So, a couple of days ago, the web broke out with the news that a bunch of celebrities had their pictures hacked from devices and cloud storage and posted online

http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/01/technology/celebrity-nude-photos/index.html

And, because my day to day job deals with security and technology, here I am trying to read the sources employed, the methodology, and how it happened, and all the posts, blurbs, snippets keep hammering on the horror of having your nude pictures stolen.

Let me bring up some points:

1) The internet is the wild wild west:

And that is how it is supposed to be. The internet is a series of protocols put together to ensure the perdurance of electronic communications and redundancy. It failed, because it is easy to break and terminate redundancy.

The internet is not for pussies, and is not for the timid. The internet is a meritocracy, where the more you know the better you are. The internet is not designed to keep you honest, nor to make you wiser, nor to make you happy.

If we (as a society) want that, then we have to invent something from scratch, like Internet 2.0, where identity is associated with registration, and there are some devices regulating traffic flow, etc….

But the existing internet is not for people to be safe. It is not for people to be secured. It is done solely with the purpose of transmitting. Transmitting whitepapers, documents, pictures and videos of cats, people humping sheep, human decapitations, copyrighted materials, manifests, pamphlets, and above all porn porn and more porn.

You are in charge, of learning your device and getting on the internet and being safe. There are some people out there who want to get into the internet and hack you or your device, and they live for it, either for profit of for thrills.

Any type of regulation is idiotic, and I am including anything such as the DCMA to whatever you want to include.

The internet (as it was designed) was not to be regulated.

2)   So… you got your naked pictures stolen… WTFC (WhoTheFuckCares)!

Seriously. You have a right to your privacy, and to your personal space and all of that. But from the moment that you take a recorded imprint of your persona, you are risking it being mismanaged and ending up in the wrong hands. It shouldn’t be like that, but then again, there shouldn’t be wars nor poverty, and they do exist, and those are issues much bigger and important than your naked ass.

True Story: Marilyn Monroe took some explicit pictures with a photographer when she was very young, to pay rent. Years later, she became a big star and the photos surface, and she went full truth with them: “I needed the money, and they were done in good taste. I have nothing to be ashamed of”.

But for crap’s sake! Throw a rock at the internet pond, and you will hit a stolen sex celeb tape, or stolen cell phone pics, or other stuff like that.

When you are in the public eye, people want to see your ass. I  am not talking from personal experience here, of course. Part of my everyday job is actually very involved in personal and cyber security, and I am exposed to so much human stupidity when it comes to social media that I am truly dumbfounded and end up questioning whether humanity, as a species has any right to exist at all.

Now, combine that degree of stupidity with strange expectation that equates nakedness with dirtiness, shamefulness, or nastiness. Improper behavior in general. Then you get people feeling that taking a naked selfie is something naughty… and having them stolen and seen is something shameful….

I am here to tell you, NO ONE SHOULD FREAKING CARE. And I am telling it to you from both angles. You shouldn’t care if any one sees you naked, and no one should care to see you naked.

This fallacy of us being prude about our bare image extends to so many aspects that it is hard to compile them in a single post.

But since you are reading, I will try, and so you won’t assume that I am writing them in any sort of order, I’ll use bullet points:

  • You are born naked, there is nothing wrong being naked. Period. I have nothing to add to this.
  • Some people are going to leer at you for being naked. Sure, and other will leer at your hair, other at your earlobes, other yet at your shoes. Get over it.
  • People are going to form a bad opinion about you based on your body image. Yes. Well. Screw them. Unless you made the conscious decision of paying your rent by showing off your body, then you shouldn’t care. You should never give a flying turd what others think of you. If you do, you are just being manipulated. Find a way of grow out of that.
  • The veil of turpitude that surrounds nakedness, and its usual association with sex, just promotes and reinforces the concept of keeping sex and nakedness secret and relegated to “naughty situations.” You are just feeding into ignorance, and letting the ignoramus win.
  • When you die, at one point you will be naked and in communion with the earth. Bringing the full circle to a close.

This is not to say you should go out running naked every Thursday night.  Depending on your geographical situation it could result in  a sunburn or frostbite. And the fact  that society seems to love hanging on to their old mores.

But I do advocate that you start putting your two cents into every conversation you have on the street or at work, or in family circles stating: If we were more exposed to this stuff we wouldn’t go around making it a scandal. THAT IS THE REAL SCANDAL!

Sex and nakedness is not something you abhorrent, nor despicable. But alas if we think of it as such, there is something wrong with us. I view it as clipping my toenails. Nothing horrendous, but I shouldn’t do it in public for health reasons, and I should try to do it without bothering anyone. Much like religious belief systems.

So no, I wont be looking at, searching for, seeking out the pictures of those celebs naked. Why? Same asnwer I give when they ask me: “Have you seen the Kardashians (insert name of any celebrity here)?”
No. Why? Are they looking for me? No? Then why should I give a rat’s ass.?

 

Here is my favorite pic to go with this rant.

 

 

 

 
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