Friday, July 31, 2009

I love me some curvy female detectives.

I got the non-colored piece a few weeks ago since I had my friend Karen pick it for me at HeroesCon, THEN Chris hand-colored the original scan and gave it to me for a belated birthday surprise.

I want a frame big enough for the two of them together. I think I'll just add it to the frame inventory. My office is a mess since there's stuff everywhere that needs to be framed. It's a slow process, but will look good once it's completed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I draw and paint from time to time...

Dr. Strange. Not sure the measurements, but I did this some time ago. It's just marker, pen, and some paint here and there for effect. He knows something is afoot at the Circle K.

I've been thinking about doing this piece for a while and thinking about starting, yes, another sketch book. This time it being Star Wars characters. I've been in the mood to watch "Empire" for some reason. In case you don't know, this is a close up of Darth Revan, the character you essentially play in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, aka KOTOR.

Girls with Slingshots

Did a blog@ piece today.

Serious talent going on there. Funny and smart with tons of heart.

See how that rhymed? Check it out for yourself.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Justice League Casting Call Part Two

Last time we talked about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Green Arrow,Green Lantern, today we are casting Flash, the Martian Manhunter and a slew of cameos.

So let's have some fun.

On to The Flash!

Now it's interesting to point out that a few days ago, a friend let me know about this:

so...what's up with that? It could work. I especially like the idea of them using Wally. So we're going to go with that casting choice.

Scott Porter would be an almost perfect choice for Wally West. He can be seen in the "Friday Night Lights" show. Or could be seen. I think the show got axed this past season. Wally needs to be a bit young, without looking like a kid. He has tons of experience being Kid Flash and when Barry died, he ascended to the mantle of the Flash. I wasn't a big Flash fan growing up, I was mainly a Spider-Man, Batman and Green Lantern. While Porter recently turned 30, he still has a boyish look to him that I think Wally reflects perfectly.

Martian Manhunter.

Hrm. Now, I might have to take the cheap way out and just say cgi him. I mean it worked for the Silver Surfer. Though I disagree with his voice. Doug Jones should have been his body AND his voice. Perhaps a combination of state-of-the-art make up and CGI, sort of how they worked the werewolves in "Underworld".

His voice should be something regal, yet, alien. I think Phil Morris is doing a great job on "Smallville" with the role, but it's missing something a bit stronger. So, I really dug Miguel Ferrer's take on the character in "New Frontier". Yes, it's a bit cheating since he's already done the role, but I like it.

Cameos cameos cameos!!!

I'd really love to see characters, you know, out of costume that are staples of the DC universe, just as nods to fans.

I think John Hurt would be tremendous as an older Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman. Plus it'd be interesting for him to try an American accent. What'd be even interesting is a brief flashback or so of him in costume. Nothing more than say a couple of seconds or so. Similar to how they treated the Hollis Mason flashbacks in "Watchmen". Dodds has an incredible story and experience. Not sure how you would tie him in, but there should always be room for a character such as him.

Next time, I'll cast more cameos, supporting roles (Lois Lane, John Zatara, etc) and the villains I'd love to see them throw down with.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New art!

Zatanna by Charles Holbert. It's sort of different, but it's grown on me. It's actually based on a somewhat-famous cosplayer, VirtualGirl.

Charles' gallery can be found here:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From Blog@ today: EW on Great Comic Book Movies

Entertainment Weekly posted this list of “21 Super Comic Book Movies”. Now, it’s not a top 21 list or anything like that, it’s more in the lines of recommendations. It’s a pretty superb list, too. Of course the usual Hollywood blockbusters are there: Iron Man, Dark Knight, X-Men 2, Spider-Man…but the list also includes movies that are sometimes overlooked as great comic adaptations. Such as Ghost World (which actually received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), American Splendor, Akira, Oldboy, etc. While superb, this list isn’t perfect. It includes Superman II, but not the first movie? Also, The Rocketeer is omitted and it is such a GREAT adaptation, it’s a shame it doesn’t get greater recognition. It also includes two movies from Alan Moore stories: V for Vendetta and From Hell, which are considered by most comic book fans as two of the worst. Now, I know there is no feasible way any studio or writer could have adapted Moore’s 500-page From Hell into a 2 and a half movie or what have you (it actually ran a little over 2 hours), but was there any real need to modernize V? V was never intended as an action, espionage type of movie. So both the plot and the audience suffered for such a mishandling of the characters.

In addition to the list of recommendations, EW also posted a WORST adaptations list. Now of course, this list is full of the no-brainers. Judge Dredd, Superman IV, Batman and Robin, Steel, Catwoman. You know? The movies that made you felt dirty by association. This list pretty much nails it, too, except for two movies. The 2004 Punisher with Tom Jane and Daredevil. I don’t really get the displeasure with DD from the comic book community. Especially when one sees the director’s cut that was released. Sad thing is, that DD is tagged right along with Elektra on the “worst of” list. Also on the list are movies I didn’t even know were made, such as a Brenda Starr movie, and Sheena.

Reading both the lists, what movies do you think were omitted from them?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Justice League Casting Call Part One

I've had this idea in my head for a while now. With the recent casting of Ryan Reynolds as Hal "Green Lantern" Jordan, and with Brandon Routh's Superman contract expiring, will we ever see a Justice League movie, sort of how Marvel is getting the Avengers together?

Probably not in the next decade or so. But I'm not a major Hollywood casting agent *cough*yet*cough*, so I just want to have some fun here.

Okay, let's start with a new Superman.

Adam Scott. He has a pretty impressive resume, though I just discovered him on the show "Tell me you love me", which was a somewhat hit for HBO a while back. He has the stature, though he's my height, but camera tricks can work around that. He's pretty built, but put homeboy here on a workout regime and it'll be pretty good. He has the voice as well. In "Tell me", he played somewhat a mousy character named Palek, who reminded me a lot of Clark.

Now Batman...


I kind of refuse to recast Batman. Bale has owned this role since before he even had it. Check out "Equilibrium" if you want to know what I mean.

Now on to Wonder Woman. I refuse to case some 20-something as Diana. It doesn't seem right. Especially somebody like Meghan Fox or...yeah. So I went with another Megan. Megan Gale. Standing in at 5'11" and with a body that just doesn't stop, I think she'd be perfect, in addition to her "unknown" status so you could imagine her BEING Wonder Woman and not anybody else. I think she works on so many levels. The body, the face, the stature. She's not some lame, skinny 20-something WASP. I'm sure they'd redesign her costume a bit.

Now this guy was my pick to play Thor. Mainly because, you know, he actually has Nordic roots. I digress. Alexander Johan Hjalmar SkarsgÄrd, or just Alex Skarsgard is my choice to play Aquaman. Now, Aquaman is an interesting choice for any JL movie, but I think with the "green movement" on everybody's mind and "going green" is a buzz phrase, I'm sure Hollywood wouldn't have a problem putting him in. He's a noble character that just never seems to find a great writer that lasts more than 20 issues or so. He's basically King Arthur...underwater. Literally. The entire ocean is his kingdom! I think he's underrated and would fit right in.

I'm being a little bias here including Zatanna into the fray, but I think Ms. Zooey as Z would totally work. Nobody, in my eyes, could do it better. Even if it's just a bit role, for example let's say Bruce goes to her asking to be on this new team, but she refuses for two reasons. A) It'd be time away from her job, since crime-fighting doesn't pay the rent and B) it would distract her from looking for her father, who has mysteriously disappeared. I'm ALL for this. Plus her in that outfit? Yes please.

Since Cooper here didn't get the Green Lantern role, I decided he'd be just as good as Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow. I had originally thought it'd be kind of cool to put in Conner Hawke instead for a number of reasons: the team was looking for new blood, we already have a rich tycoon in tights, Connor and Zatanna would have something in common with their missing fathers and possibly a story involving her actually joining, but whatever. I figured if you had Hal, you'd have to have Ollie here on the action. Though where as Batman is the brooding billionaire, Ollie is the more swashbuckling type. I'd totally write him as the old Errol Flynn type, too. Originally I was trying to see if Kin Shriner would work as Ollie, but I realized I just didn't think it would. Kin did the voice for GA on the JLU cartoon a few years back. It's the voice I hear when I read Ollie in anything. He looks a bit like him, too. Oh well.

That's it for now. Next time we'll discuss Flash, Martian Manhunter and a slew of cameos. Wesley Dodds? Ted Grant? Fire? Kyle Rayner?

Who knows.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blackest Night #1

Blackest Night #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Published by DC Comics

It's hard to believe that this moment is finally here: Blackest Night has begun. Two years ago, at the end of the Sinestro War, there was mention of a prophecy of the "Blackest Night," which is also a phrase from the Green Lantern oath. Geoff Johns has been a master at setting all this up and making Green Lantern one of DC's must-read titles in addition to being one of the best books on the market today.

Though, if you went and bought this issue today, chances are you knew that already. If you haven't read Blackest Night #0 (which was available on this year's Free Comic Book Day) and Green Lantern #43, I recommend you do so.

Blackest Night #1 is everything I thought it could be and then some. Sharp dialogue, intense action sequences, and shocking reveals. I'm not sure this book could have been that much better. Johns and his dynamite team, who have worked on Green Lantern with him before, make the panels pop with intense magnitude and the images stick with you well after you put it down. I knew the dead would rise, but I didn't know it was going to be on this scale.

This issue reflects what basically the event is about: death. The book is mainly narrated through the words of Hal Jordan and does a major recap of his life, death, and rebirth as well as other heroes' losses. There are a few touching scenes in this issue, especially Hal showing Barry all the heroes that have fallen while Barry was lost to the Speed Force. The number of casualties surprised even me.

The design of the Black Lanterns, or "Death Lanterns," is a bit creepy. The evolution of Black Hand in particular is amazingly disturbing. Once just a B-list villain, he has developed into a crazy, necrophiliac monster who is headlining the DC "Event of the Summer." The one thing I'm unsure about, which I hope will be explained later, is exactly how the Black Lantern works. The body of the deceased rises, but is there a soul to the corpse? Or does the power of the lantern twist the soul as well?

Bottom line, readers: pick this one up. Sure, it has a $3.99 price tag, but it's more than worth it. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

100th post! So we have a review of Unwritten #3 and a bit of a rant about GL movie!

Wow. 100. I've only had this blog for about a year and a half. I still marvel at the fact about what an incredible year it's been. Ups and downs, but still, I think this will be the year that defines me for the rest of my life.

and with that...

The Unwritten #3
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross
Colors by Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee
Letters by Todd Klein
Cover by Yuko Shimizu
Published by Vertigo

There are few books out there now that I read on the way home after I leave my shop. Even fewer are the books that have captured my attention like this title has. . . especially for a book only three issues in. Mike Carey is no stranger to this sort of genre, writing for other Vertigo books including Hellblazer, Sandman, and Lucifer. The thing about The Unwritten is that it feels sort of grounded compared to his work about the Divine, but still has elements of wonder and magic. If you haven't started reading this series, I say it's time you begin. Let me give you the rundown: it's about a man whose father was a prolific fantasy writer and based his main character on his son, Tom. Now, Tom's father disappears and all the stories that his father wrote may actually be true. The way these issues work almost kills me with their cliffhangers, because they are honestly-- just THAT good. In each issue, we discover more about the world of Tommy Taylor and Mike Carey's imagination feels like it has no bounds. Having said that, this particular issue takes a different route than the previous two.

Now don't worry, it still plays out wonderfully. But this time around, it's a little more low-key than the previous installments. Tom travels to the Villa Diodati with other popular horror writers to discuss horror and its nuances. It's the "House of Frankenstein," it's also the house where Tom spent some time as a youth. There are flashbacks of Tom and his father and how their relationship reflects a scene earlier in the issue when the group of authors discuss Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and whether it's a social parable or something else. Tom does a bit of detective work and discovers a safe behind one of his father's old paintings. After a few guesses, he gets the combination right and inside he discovers a mysterious note and the doorknob to his father's old room. Meanwhile, one of the horror writers goes outside to smoke a joint and is soon murdered. Now the killer is creeping towards the legendary manor.

Just because you think this book has to do with a boy wizard messiah, does not mean it's meant for children. It's written for mature readers, as well as readers with enough intelligence to understand and appreciate the literary references and obscure slang. The dialogue is crisp and Peter Gross' art accompanies it quite well. As I mentioned earlier, this issue takes the story a bit slower, but after the first two issues of Carey constructing this world, an issue of character-building isn't so bad and is understandable. This book is easily one of the best on the market now, with its interesting characters and intriguing story. The best part is, it's only three issues in, so those of you who haven't caught on, it's fairly easy to start now.

So yes, it is that good, people. So, I had sent Mike Carey the link to this week's Best Shots column and he got back to me thanking me for the kind and eloquent words. Awww yeah. Nothing warms my nerd heart more than a compliment by the creator/artist/writer/colorist...ANYBODY from a book that I reviewed.

Now on to more pressing things at hand: Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan.

Where's the "dislike" button for this? Maybe this will be the Michael Keaton situation of this generation. I mean, when Heath was cast as the Joker, everybody was up in arms. Though not me for some reason. I trusted Nolan, and I trusted the vision, especially after they had said they are basing him on Ultraviolent Alex from "A Clockwork Orange". Though here we have Reynolds: a good-looking, athletic guy with charisma up the yin-yang...but I just don't think he has what it takes to fill Hal's ring.

Now, I admit, I can be mistaken and will be blown away by next year when we see some trailers and etc. And if so, I will easily apologize. Until then? I'm going to hate on this.

Hater's gotta hate...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wheel of Time #0: Dragonmount

Yes, it's a bit old, but somehow I missed it. As a HUGE "Wheel of Time" fan, anybody who wants to adapt James Rigney Jr.'s, aka Robert Jordan's, epic fantasy series will have to do a lot to impress me. This attempt by the Dabel Brothers is an okay start. Not mind-blowing, but not having me want to use balefire on it (that's a reference for all the WoT fans out there). Now when I bought it, I thought I was just going to get a straight adaptation of the prologue from the first book, "The Eye of the World," entitled Dragonmount. In actuality, it's that AND and some of the story from "EotW," which was re-released as two separate books aimed at a younger market, with larger text and a handful of illustrations. One of these included an additional prologue entitled "Ravens," focusing on Egwene al'Vere, which is what shown in the comics. Chuck Dixon's adaptation is pretty good, almost word for word from Jordan's works.The main complaint I have is the art. The panel construction is a little sloppy and all the male faces look alike. I know Rand from his red hair, but that's about it. There is room for improvement and time will tell if that comes to fruition. I'd recommend it for people who have been curious about wanting to get into the series, it explains the backstory pretty well and will hopefully continue to do so. I recommend that WoT fans like myself give it, at least, a try.

Yes, a month later, birthday stash part deux

what we have here is more birthday stuff. I haven't had access to a camera, so I'm finally uploading images.

It's the Bumblebee Mighty Mugg, Weeds Season 4, Magician's Quest Mysterious Times for the DS (think Animal Crossing and Harry Potter mixed), and The Prestige. It still was a pretty awesome birthday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Witchblade #128 review

Witchblade #128
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow

In Part 4 of War of the Witchblades we don't get another showdown between Sara Pezzini and Dani Baptiste. No, this more like the calm before the storm. When we left off, it looked as though Sara had been skewed by the Angelus Sabine, but of course the Witchblade has healing properties and Sara is brought back from certain death, if not still a bit psychotic. To make things worse, Dani has formed a sort of truce/alliance with Sabine and her companions. I'm forseeing some pretty big throw-downs in future issues to come.

The issue has some strong story points and great dialogue. It starts off with Sara's sister Julie getting out of prison and waiting for Sara, who of course never shows and she can't wonder why. Little does she know she has just been impaled and thought dead by fierce Angelus warriors. With Sara dying and Dani unconscious, the Angelus nab them and plan on taking the Balance, aka the Witchblade. All seems pretty smooth until Sara's boyfriend Patrick Gleason shows up and gives a clean headshot to one of the warriors. Gleason attempts to threaten them more, but the Angelus quickly get the ball back in their court by telling Gleason he can only take one wielder, while the other stays with them. Gleason of course chooses the woman he loves, and the Angelus take Dani off. Once the Angelus departs, Gleason wastes no time trying to resuscitate Sara. When she revives, all she can think about is getting the other half of the Witchblade. She is cruel to Gleason and abandons both him and her daughter to go find Dani and restore the Witchblade that she thinks is rightfully hers.

Meanwhile, Dani wakes up and she finds herself surrounded by the Angelus. They lie about why she is there and they assume the role of saviors, explaining if they had not been there Dani would have been killed by the possessed Sara. Dani tells them to stay out of the way of Sara and herself since this is their war. Sabine gives her word that she and her warriors will do so, unless it looks as though Dani would need any assistance. Yeah. Right. People should know by now, just because the Angelus look like "the good guys" does not mean they are.

Cut to the Curator and him receiving an unlikely visitor, Tua'ma. Apparently they are brothers, but we really don't know the full extent or what that really entails. The Curator tells Tua'ma that he will not stop him this time from doing what he feels must be done. Sort of mysterious happenings going on, but the art is especially strong in the last few pages. There are a lot of hints and possibly foreshadowing going on in this issue and it has a lot of steam and build-up. If you haven't picked up this arc yet, give it a try. It's self-contained to the Witchblade universe, so no worries about having to buy a plethora of books, and it is a solid read. Ron Marz is creating a slow burn with this issue that has tons of dialogue that I'm sure will have an explosive conclusion.

Let's talk about chicks, man: Jean Grey-Summers/Marvel Girl/Phoenix

Jean Grey was first introduced in X-Men #1, way back in September of 1963. Then, she was just known as Marvel Girl (I remember hearing Stan Lee hated that name, but he couldn't come up with anything better at the time). Jean Grey is an Omega-level mutant, and has been one of the physical hosts of the vastly powerful Phoenix Force who possesses god-like powers and is one of the most feared beings that ever lived. With the Phoenix Force, Jean has potentially limitless psionic powers of telekinesis and telepathy - Hank McCoy (the ever-lovable Beast)has said that, based on her massive power levels, "on the Richter scale, she'd be a 12". When bonded to the Phoenix, she is said to outclass mutants, granting her complete control over matter, energy, thought, and unlimited psionic energies. She can tap into reserved energies for future generations, denying them existence. So much for that girl next door image.

Along with being best known for being one of the founding X-Men, the romance between her and Scott Summers aka Cyclops is pretty legendary. Probably rivaling that of Peter and MJ for the longest-running in Marvel history. At the beginning of the series, Jean and Scott harbor a mutual crush for a long time but neither is aware of the other's feelings (though the readers are made aware early on) and both are too shy to make a move. Jean once has a date with Angel, but insists on taking Scott along, which confuses and frustrates both men. For a while, Angel has feelings for Jean which lead to some bad moments between him and Scott. When Jean leaves to pursue tertiary education at Metro College, it further widens the gap between Scott and Jean; however, Jean and Scott later date openly. At one point, Professor X seems to have some romantic feelings for her. However, he believes that she could not reciprocate because he is a paraplegic; therefore he says nothing of it, instead channeling his energies into an increasingly intimate mentor/student relationship with Jean. This forces her to keep his secrets and, at one point, transfer his own power into her. Weird, huh?

Now here's where things get tricky with Jean. She taps into this powerful force appropriately called the Phoenix Force. Like I stated above with her powers, she is not a chick you would want to cross. The thing I hated about the whole Phoenix saga is that it didn't really feel like X-Men. Aliens and all that stuff really felt more like an Fantastic Four thing, or to a lesser extent, Avengers. Don't get me wrong, Clairmont is STILL the X-guy to this day, but there is such thing as too much power and that's the Phoenix saga in a nutshell.

So to pay for her sins, Jim Shooter killed her off. Though her return was enivitable, I mean the name is "Phoenix" after all. She's been a major staple in the x-books, later in New X-Men, they battled Xorn (who had revealed himself to be Magneto but would later was imposter), who then mortally injures Phoenix by transferring a large amount of electro-magnetic energy to her brain, inducing a "planetary-scale stroke." As Jean dies in Scott's arms, she tells him to live. It was revealed later that before she died, Jean created a empathic matrix crystal for Rachel and imprinted it with her essence so that, no matter what happened to her physically, her soul would always be with her. Pretty damn touching and she hasn't been seen since. Though you know it's only a matter of time. I've heard she'll be back sometime after "War of Kings" is over.

This is the costume I most remember, mainly because it was the one I grew up with. Now I'm not sure what's going on here. It almost looks like something from Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Anybody remember that? Huh, huh? She was still a staple of the X-books when they were relaunched in the 90's. It's the book that also put Jim Lee on the map. When the comic became a smash animated show, they gave her this costume, but I'll go into that show possibly somewhere down the line. Now that show covered a lot of things, but they simplified the Phoenix Saga a bit, and thank God for that. She did appear in her Marvel Girl go-go attire.

This costume is probably my favorite. It's not practical, but it's great to look at. Plus, it was the 70's. Go figure. She was also in various other X-properties, such as X-Men Evolution, X-Men Legends, and of course the X-Men movies, played by Famke Janseen. Interesting story, they originally were going to put Beast in the movie, but later just added the Dr. title to Jean. Now with how everything is sort of a skewed in the X-books, I wonder HOW she'll come back. In Uncanny X-Men #510, when Emma Frost is psychically incapacitated during an attack, she unexpectedly encounters what seems to be Jean Grey communicating to, and assisting her, seemingly from within the astral plane. No further reference is made to this afterward. Weird to just drop this. This should be a bigger deal.

Though I wonder if they'll continue the love triangle among Jean, Scott and Emma. Now THAT I would buy into.

Whew. That was pretty hefty amount of info. Next week, I'll probably keep it simpler: Jem, as in "truly outrageous".

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tori Amos "Smell likes Teen Spirit"

Yeah, that's pretty haunting, but I at least could finally understand the lyrics.