Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Kick ARSE!!

Now I know it's hardly surprising for me to kick off a post with some Romita Jr art, seeing as I'm such a fan (cough) but bear with me...

There's a surprising amount of hidden talents and skills around you if you get to know people. In my office alone, there is a comedy script writer who plays in a band, another person in a band actually playing on CDs, a former interior designer and a talented cook (I know that doesn't sound much but you should taste how she makes the most innocuous looking things taste eye-flutteringly devine!).

Today I found myself walking home with somebody who I overheard talking about her recent work as an extra on a crime show or something. Being a film/TV fan (though increasingly less of the latter), I began asking her about this line of work when she said (being short) "I had to play a little girl in a movie recently!"I asked her more and she was hired as the stand-in: y'know, the body double used to set up lighting and block out shots before being replaced with the actual actress. When I asked her what the film was, she said "It's not out yet, it's called KickArse...". (Yes, Kick ARSE, OK?Not Kick Donkey Synonym, Kick ARSE)
"KickArse?!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, have you heard of it?"

"Ohhh yeah, I know KickArse, I..the writer's not my favourite..." (Actually, I like Ultimates but his FF, Spider-Man, Wanted, Civil War and War Heroes have all ranged from meh to offensively mean-spirited).
"I don't know him but I couldn't take to the director Matthew Vaughn, he was right up himself.."

Bloody hell, I work in the same office as somebody in a comic movie (before you shout "She was only a stand in", for one shot she was a hand double of the little sword swinging girl, so there). You really never what lies below the surface until you scratch, do you?
You could even find something like, I dunno, a Kryptonite heart giving me an excuse to post a cool-looking pic of Metallo from Smallville's next season.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Hulk Smash!!

'Kay, I trundled off to the quack's recently for a routine blood, piss 'n' whatever else test and everything was fine...except my blood pressure, which had spiked. I was expecting this as work's got to such a manic stage that the non-stop bollocks is driving me nuts (so to speak). Not to mention the fact that I'm the only person taking every single call in the second busiest section of work but I'm thwarted in trying to achieve my own job by three other sections in the same department. I'm a fairly easygoing person but I'm a slow slow burn and bottling the pressure has steadily been getting to me, causing me to want to throw a Hulk-like tantrum. Course, I can't so the mounting pressure builds within, resulting in thumping headaches and nauseous, swimmy spells...

I've been popping a few paracetamols and taking the odd breath of fresh air but quite frankly, my resilience and patience have gone. Whereas up to a few weeks ago, I felt energised when i left work and was eager to get on with my own time, now everything's all a bit...meh.

I can't be arsed at work (and capability apart, I've always been fairly conscientious) and constantly space out. What's worse, it's spilling over into me personal time as I'm horrendously apathetic at the moment: I've only managed breakfast for the past few days, can't even be bothered to get lunch or make dinner. I just can't summon the will to draw or even read (my read pile currently numbers 60ish back issues, two books and about five GN/TPBs), I just want to..well, I don't want to do anything. At work I get so (cumulatively) infuriated that I just want to kill myself, stab my own hand or pluck out my own eye (I won't though---I'm not actually suicidal, just driven to loony rage) but at home, intellectually I want to get productive but emotionally can't engage. I'm spending too much time pondering my sanity...I don't feel like I'm having a depressive bout but god damn if I don't have the same symptoms.

I started doing some samples (Superman above) and gave up as I couldn't focus: dunno if its because I'm angsty or the art's crap but I gave up as it just wasn't coming together. I started compiling a portfolio for BICS this year...and find that the Oni pages are lacklustre, with nothing yet to boost them up. I printed off a few nice colour pics I liked at Staples and they came out nice but too dark so I don't know what I'll show. Maybe I won't. maybe I'll pack in all the drawing, what's the point? (Well, I still want to draw my own stuff...but what's the point of working in a vacuum if you're not an astronaut?). I doubt myself at the best of times, let alonee when on the verge of a titanic hissy fit.
I halfheartedly scanned in a tweaking of an old pic and coloured that as it was all i could be bothered to do..I don't like the art or (basicly flat) colours at all but kinda like the way the red pops...kinda sums up my mood right now...

Monday, 10 August 2009

This Week I Have Mostly Been...

Well, I actually started some pencil samples yesterday and am happy with the main figure but have doubts about the background and I have a few things to do online so no drawing tonight. So what else has been occupying my time?
Well, I ordered Al Williamson's Flash Gordon back in December and it finally turned up, on my birthday of all days. I haven't done more than flick through it yet but I know this will be a firm favourite: an over sized black and white collection of ALL of his Flash Gordon work, his first stuff as strong as his last work decades later. I've been a fan of Williamson ever since his Star Wars issues and loved Flash Gordon as a kid so this is pure gold for me.
Sitting on my box of Legion issues to get through are a Modesty Blaise collection (an Amazon bargain with art by Romero), Insiders: Chechen Guerrilla (a Cinebook reprinting of a Euro comic currently being developed by Jessica Alba...lovely drawing but all plot and no characterisation, so a bit of a slog to read) and Arthur The Legend, a glossy Welsh (but English language)reprinting of a French comic retelling the roots of the Arthurian legend.
I don't really have the concentration or time for reading any fiction or anything overly taxing but have enjoyed two books lately: although a brisk read, Was Superman A Spy? is a fun collection of stories from Comic Book Legends, a column at Comic Book Resources that reveals the truth behind various comic book rumours. The book covers more recognisable properties than some of the more interesting stories around minor properties but is still intriguing.
The most enjoyable book I've read in a while is Charlie Brooker's dawn of the Dumb. I haven't really read daily papers since working at Smiths, where I read the Guardian and always enjoyed Brooker's writing. His Screenwipe, Dead Set and current C4 game show thingy were enjoyable so I picked up this book, collecting some of his Guardian articles . He is slowly revealed as not only a closet sci-fi, comic and techno geek but also a hilarious misanthrope. I read this at work and found myself giggling like an idiot every few pages at a turn of phrase or amusing notion. Well recommended.
TV wise, there's absolutely sod all on but luckily my TV pimp Mr McGee has supplied me with copious hours of TV fun. I'm currently watching the first season of The West Wing, intrigued by Rol's listing of President Bartlett among his best TV characters. I only ever caught the odd show but always enjoyed it so when offered the chance to view a season, I took it. Other than the Ivan Reitman-sounding end music and Josh's obnoxious media consultant ex-girlfriend (seriously, I haven't hated a character so much so instantly since reboot Starbuck!), I'm really enjoying it so far...though I can't believe a democratically elected government is ruled so much by favours and trade offs instead of genuine values. On the other it wrong to find CJ kinda foxy?

Anyway, best TV I've watched recently is the end of Lost Season Five. This has benefited no end from having a definite direction to follow, despite a few plot holes like if one character died from time travelling because she was born on the island, shouldn't another character have also died after time travelling at the same time? However, the double final episode opened up a whole new can of worms: free will vs destiny, the manipulation of the crash survivors and a major change for the final season. That character down the mine shaft in the end? Quite liked them but as they're in the new V, they won't be around much next season but I wouldn't be surprised if we see more departed characters. Great stuff and alot more rewarding than Heroes, which hit it's peak with season one, spiked during the first half of season three but looks to experience an excruciating fourth (and hopefully final) season..
I also enjoyed the two seasons of Carnivale, which only represent the first third of the planned six-season series before expense cut the show off but can still be viewed asa complete story in and of itself, albeit with a dangling plot thread or two. This is one od the best TV productions I've seen, the title sequence alone being damned impressive, and I liked the slow build in an epic tale of good vs evil. The second season really tied together the two opposing elements, leading them to each other while subtly highlighting their similaities and differences, mirror images of each other. There's moments of haunting despair and fleeting exultation but overall it's a grimy depiction of a turbulent era. Shame it didn't last though...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Not much to say except here's the finished version of the Arisia pic...coulda spent more time on the colours but lack of time 'n' all that...also cropped the right hand side to place the figure better on the image.

Right, I'm off to watch Grizzly Man...

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Somewhere Oa The Rainbow

A week ago, I happened to catch a glimpse of the new cg-animated teen Iron Man series and the new kiddie-friendly Spectacular Spider-Man show. Of the two, Spidey was definitely the best as there was something just too weird about Iron Man to be palatable (it would have been better if it was an original character rather than a licensed show). Spidey had the fashionable faux anime style but at least the show stayed true to the spirit of the comics, mixing Silver Sable, Silvermane, Hammerhead and even Foswell aka the Big Man into the mix. The best Marvel animated series at the moment is still Wolverine and the X-Men however, which I find odd to watch having emotionally divorced myself from the X-line's like watching home movies of an ex-lover...

Still, while musing how DC rules the animated airwaves over their Marvelous competitors, I began watching the new Green Lantern: First Flight animated DVD and wondered why their animated features are also much more enjoyable than Marvel's. It's not that Marvel's are terrible, it's just that they're usually misjudged reimaginings that make the characters unlike the originals and a result in forgettable adaptations. DC's animated features however stay true to the roots of the characters and results in a great set of films. New Frontier is definitely the best but Green Lantern is pretty fun, a great rollicking template for the upcoming live-action version.

I've been coincidentally reading some GL stuff recently (such as the promising Blackest Night and the first Sinestro Corps War collection) and as I wanted to try and do a new colour pic, I decided to draw Arisia from the GL Corp. Her costume stands out from the other GLs because of the large amount of white so she immediately draws your eye, as she did in the DVD.

I remember her from the 80s as being quite a naive, innocent character so I wanted to keep a doe-eyed look (not modelled on but kinda like Beth from Neighbours wot sung Torn) instead of a smiling sexpot. I liked the face on the first attempt but wasn't sure I was going to comfortably fit the second leg in and had concerns about twisting the torso musculature correctly. The second version quickly went off the boil: I tried the same face but it came out wrong, the hips went wrong and the pose was boring. Luckily third time's the charm and I managed to pencil and ink a version today. I'm going to reduce this down, pencil shade it and colour it on the PC so hopefully it'll all turn out well in the end...