Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Why keep comics?

Something on my mind:

Someone asked me back in the late 80s why I keep comics after I read them instead of just throwing them away. I answered that there is a chance they could be valuable some day, but the main reason I keep them is in case I want to read them again.

I do have a few that are worth decent money, and I sold one fairly valuable comic a few years back just because I didn't like it.  I culled a dozen or so comics from my vast collection, and that was the only valuable one. I used the money to buy new comics, of course!

I do put them in bags, but this is mostly so they are in good enough shape to read again. I find I can comfortably fit 3 regular sized comics in one regular comic bag. I have a stack of boards, but I don't use them. And I have a large enough collection now that I'll probably never re-read them all again. But you never know...

Okay, I've said my piece. Now I need to get ahead on my art so I can post more here. Bye for now!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

More Painting!

I'm really enjoying creating these! All the paintings here are still in my possession, so if you're interested in purchasing one, please e-mail me. They cost from $25-$100 each depending on size and number of characters (how long it took to complete). And I, of course, take requests!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Out With Dad 4.16 “Reconciling with Claire"

I was just about to get back to talking about my favorite webseries, and the newest episode was just released for general viewing also.  So here goes!

This episode is the one everyone has been waiting for. Well, except "team Vanessa". That group is waiting for something else. But it is a huge episode for all fans.

The episode begins with Rose reluctantly visiting Claire, the "ex". The encounter goes along about as I predicted and hoped it would, at least at first. Claire is more than friendly towards Rose, and their past relationship is downplayed for being a "teen thing". I like this because it fits Claire's personality to not be hung up on the past. Though viewers of the series get obsessed with the relationships of the characters, people in real life have relationships and they end. Sometimes we never talk to these people who we thought were so important again. But we shouldn't dwell on such things and we should be forgiving. Claire's "we were just kids" attitude is very fitting.

Rose's fear and regret fits her personality also. But she does put too much pressure on herself, and, in a way, she gives herself too much power to affect others. Also, shame on her for not knowing how to play chess.

I like the conversation about true love and the complicated relationship Claire is currently in. It's also interesting that Claire considers Rose/Vanessa "true love". Is she being uncharacteristically deep, or is she rationalizing? It certainly seems to have made her feel better to believe that she was left behind for a "true love" to come together. Rose is less sure. We shall see what happens in the future.

Oh, and "I forgive you Rose Miller" may be the most powerful line of the series!

As I said, the episode went along as I expected. Then there's the ending. Didn't see that coming!!  Whoa!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Upcoming: Halloween Comic Con

This post is my update as to why I've been so busy and haven't posted anything lately. I've been preparing for a new Comic Convention. Halloween Comic Con is a comic and gaming convention coming up on Saturday, October 22nd in Sandusky, Ohio. The hours are 10-6 and I'll be there all day!

I've been doing some painting, and have some new comic-oriented pieces that will be for sale at the con. I've also been busy keeping up with my webcomics, "Mutant Elf" and "Mutant Animals vs Zombies vs Machines vs Humans". Check them out by clicking links to the right of my blog posts.

I'm also getting close to finished with a strip for "OH, Comics", the anthology that will be available at the SPACE convention this Spring.  "OH, Comics" is always fun and I'm proud to be a part of the publication every year.

Finally, I updated this page with links and updated my biography. I have a new position this year (same place, different area of instruction), and I'm loving it but adjusting, so preparation takes more time than in the past.

Hopefully, I'll post again soon. I guess I'll end with some artwork:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review: Amiculus

Here I am ready to review another independent comic I picked up at SPACE, the greatest small-press comic con in Ohio!

Amiculus (or AMICVLVS in Roman) is the story of the last Roman emperor of the west, a 12-year old boy named Romulus. It is subtitled "A Secret History" as it tells the heretofore unrevealed secret of the conspiracy that destroyed an empire. Or at least, that's what writer Travis Horseman claims. He may also be adding his own little story to a historical tale. But it's definitely more fun to pretend this is all real. After all, if Abraham Lincoln was the greatest President and the greatest vampire hunter...

Anyway, the point is that this story is based on the real Roman Empire, which was divided into two parts in the 400s and the western portion fell to barbarian hordes. This is, I think, a really cool time in world history. If you have no interest in such things, don't worry, this is also a great story of intrigue and betrayal. It begins with an Eastern Empire historian searching for the reason the West fell 60 years ago. This leads him to learning about Amiculus, a figure in the shadows feared by everyone.

I won't go into details other than that. I will say that I absolutely loved this comic! The writing is edge-of-your seat with suspense as to what will be uncovered by our historical investigator. The pacing is great. And most importantly, you can understand the story without being an expert on the historical time it covers. Finally, the art by Giancarlo Caracuzzo is fantastic!

So I have nothing bad to say about this comic. I'm so glad I picked it up and I hope you will to! Volumes I and II are available here!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reviews: Murray & Bo and Blink: And Now, This...

It's time for another one of those posts where I discuss a small-press comic I picked up at the SPACE convention earlier this year in Columbus. Or in this case, two comics:

Murray and Bo by Michael Carroll is an "8 hour and 4 minute comic", which means it was totally written and drawn in 8 hours and 4 minutes. And it isn't short, either. It comes in at 24 pages of story! So then you must think "it's just scratchy art and no story". Well...Michael's art style isn't overly complex, it is true. BUT...the art does an excellent job telling the story and the story itself is extremely clever and entertaining. I'd say you can't get a better entertainment per minute of creation ratio anywhere!

Specifically, the story is about a bird that works as an air conditioner and the snake that hires him. That sounds rather weird. And it is. But...it gets weirder. It seems the snake didn't know about tying off to an anvil. I'd think this would be obvious, but somehow he missed this step. So instead of staying home, Bo (that's the snake) goes on an adventurous flight with Murray (that's the bird, of course). All hilarity ensues. And I'm not kidding. This is a very funny book. Just one of those stories that works perfectly though if you pitched the idea no one would believe it would work. But trust me, it does! So get a copy today!

Blink: And Now, This... is, by contrast a very serious comic about a very serious subject. Author and artist Max Ink takes his popular characters from his Blink comic (search my history and you'll find I've discussed them before) and uses them to tackle the issue of racism. This comic takes place shortly after the murders of nine people in a black church in South Carolina. Blink, Hank, and Sam react to the shootings with different levels of  anger, despair, and hope. Of course, the comic can only scratch the surface of the horrible problem of racism that still rears its head even in our modern, advanced world. But it is still a worthwhile discussion, and the comic should make anybody think about this world in which we live, how we treat each other, and how we can make it better.

Rather than discuss the specific conversations in the comic, I'd like to continue the discussion with my own thoughts. I know this world, and the country in which I live, are not perfect. There are a lot of people out there who seem to find any reason: race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. to hate each other. However, I do believe the world is a better place to live today than ever before. We have broken down barriers and at least tried to destroy legal discrimination. I am always reminded that my mother went to school in a segregated system in Alabama, and just a couple generations later such a practice is unfathomable by most students. So we should remember the past and how far we've come, yet not excuse the past but understand it. Then we should strive to make our present better so that in the future out progeny will look back and see how far we've come since our time.

Final thought: when I decided to combine these two reviews, I thought the contrast between the comics was interesting, and I wanted to do them together so as not to put off writing. However, though I love and recommend them both, I'm not sure they belong together. So I'm sorry if this offends anyone or seems inappropriate. Comics can be light entertainment or they can make you think about important topics. It's what makes the medium, especially as it pertains to self-published comics, so amazing to me!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Musical review: Cedar Point's Bandstand USA

Though rare, I have posted some of my thoughts about music, and specifically live musical entertainment at my favorite amusement park, Cedar Point. I wanted to write a bit about a particular show from this season for some particular reasons.  Maybe some high-up people at the Point will read this and continue this type of show. Because there are some great reasons why Bandstand USA is an amazing example of musical live entertainment!

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, amusement parks offer live song and dance shows, each with some sort of theme. Bandstand USA has a great theme, because it starts with some great music. The catchphrase used by the park is "AM radio hits". This show does not contain any current songs, but rather highlights from the early days of rock-n-roll. Hits made famous by acts such as The Temptations, Chuck Berry, and Chubby Checker. The music includes songs such as "Land of a Thousand Dances", "Ain't no Mountain High Enough", and "Soul Man". These are some of the songs that formed the very roots of what has become contemporary Pop music, and all current singers should look back on these songs with thanks and appreciation. Personally, I've always loved the "oldies", and still spend most of my time listening to music from acts that began recording before I was born.  As I often say, music didn't begin in the year 2000. I applaud Cedar Point for having a show focused on this era. I don't know much about modern music, but EVERYONE should recognize most of these songs. And if you don't recognize some of the more obscure tunes...it's great to research them. I'll admit there were a couple I wasn't familiar with myself.

Also, I have to add that it isn't just the song selection that makes this show worth seeing, it is also the cast. I've seen plenty of shows like this overt he years, and sometimes there just seems to be a group of performers that gel really well. This seems to be the case here. The interaction and entertainment ability of the cast is superb. There are certain songs and dances that let individual cast members shine, but I can't really say there's a single performer who outshines the rest. The whole is great because of the contributions of the parts. (Well, I may have a personal favorite or two, but that's just my opinion and I would never say because I would feel like I'm putting the rest down.) I'm only superficially aware of the audition process, but the folks on charge do very well when picking out performers. Finally, one of the neat things about seeing this show many times over the summer is picking up on things that happen that you wouldn't notice if you were only watching it once. I notice the action in the background, how well the performers cover for each other, the funny looks, and little changes. And I really like seeing the dancer/singers waving to little kids in the front row. After all, you never know when you may inspire someone to be a future live performer!

So, as the season winds down, good luck to everyone involved, and to the Cedar-Point-powers-that-be: keep doing shows like this!