Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Out With Dad 3.21 & 3.22

It’s about time I got around to writing about the finale to season 3 of Out With Dad, my favorite webseries.  I actually have 2 episodes to season 3 I have not reviewed, but I think it will work well to discuss them both at the same time.

Episode 3.21, “Vanessa Goes Home” is the perfect example of how you do not need a lot of verbiage to tell a good story.  The majority of the 5-minute episode is silent, and the silence builds up to the ending very well.  About the ending, I don’t think many of us viewers were surprised to see Vanessa come home to a welcoming house.  However, the specific event of her Mother moving out was surprising to me.  It looks like her dad has decided that his daughter’s well-being is more important than the supposed “rules” of his religion.  Good for him. The embrace between Father and Daughter was joyful, and the return of Vanessa to the world of color ends things beautifully.

And then there’s 3.22, “With Family and Friends”, the finale.  Wow. This one ended up well beyond my expectations and certainly ended up differently than I predicted.  The opening scene with Nathan and his parents…just classic!  Hilarious and yet very real.  The mirrored expressions between Nathan and his dad was the perfect ending.  It also shows the great detail Jason has put into this series. The next scene between Rose and Nathan sets up the situation.  It is also interesting to see Rose use some of Claire’s favorite dialogue.

At the barbecue, Angela shows up with her daughter, Carly, leading to an awkward exchange between Angela and Nathan.  This does not bode well for the senior relationship.  The conversation about the GSAs is educational and also shows the personalities and relationships of the characters.  Claire is so gung-ho, Alicia is desperate to help, Kenny is brass and Rose is timid about the whole thing. Unfortunately, it also serves to illustrate the real differences between Rose and Claire.  Though as Nathan noted earlier, Claire is helping Rose come out of her shell, it remains to be seen if Rose will ever truly emerge.

Which sets up Vanessa’s return quite nicely.  I don’t have a good comment about the reunion and its repercussions, I’m afraid.  I’ll just leave it alone for now.

My initial thought concerning this episode is: how could you?!  Jason, how could you do something so cruel!  After they’ve come so far, how can you do this to Angela and Nathan??!  I mean, I like the romantic stuff between the kids, but I figure they have a long time to find true love and settle down.  But the parents?  They may never have another chance at happiness!!  They simply MUST iron things out and get together absolutely for good!

Anyway, I’m excited to hear that Jason has another season in the works, and I’m very curious to see where he will take things from here.  I have my thoughts and predictions on the future, and maybe I’ll get around to writing about them soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2014: a look back

I’m overdue to look back and talk some about 2014.  I’ve been busy lately using every free second I can to create new sculptures and comics, so I’ve slacked off on the blogging, but hopefully I’m back!

First, my favorite artistic activities of 2014 include the 2 small press conventions I was able to attend as an artist!  SPACE and Genghis Con were both a lot of fun.  It’s wonderful to see people come out and show interest in the independent comics produces by me and other folks who may not be big names…at least today!  I also loved the BIG con I did last year, Motor City Con, which has a great way of making even little me feel like I’m important, and the attendees who came by were just so nice!  I think it’s about as large a show as I’d like to attend, at least as an artist hocking his wares, but it was a wonderful success for me!  I also did many a local Art Walk and a couple Free Comic Book events.  It’s great to see so much interest in comics, from older fans returning to their old hobby to the young kids that have that fascinated aura about all things comic-related!

Speaking of comic-related, here’s some of my favorite things from last year:

Favorite Comic Series (regular)- Astro City

Favorite Comic Series (limited)- Groo vs. Conan.

Favorite Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy

Favorite Television show: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

Favorite webseries: Out With Dad

Check out the links for info!  And search my blog for more details of my opinions!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Charlie Hebdo

I am sitting here with a saddened heart. I have been reading about the horrible terrorist attack in France. Terrorists killed at least a dozen people who worked for a satirical newspaper called Charlie Hebdo.  I have never followed any of the paper’s stories or anything, but I feel a great sadness at this news.  Partly because this type of attack is attacking people for free speech and ideas.  It is especially sad to see people who make jokes out of the sadness and badness of our world killed for their expression.  It is an attack on free speech.

Four of the people killed were cartoonists, which really hits home for me.  Though I’ve never been a political cartoonist, I have ideas and opinions that I could, if I wished express through my art that could be found offensive to some.  Heck, the LGBT-themed Out With Dad comics I’ve done would certainly be offensive if certain people read them.  I just cannot fathom why anyone would want to kill someone over some silly cartoons, no matter how offensive they found them.  I see and hear things I find offensive all the time, but I respect people having the right to express their thoughts.  If I disagree I do not have to listen, and I feel free to express an alternate viewpoint.  But I would not partake in violence over an opinion.  That’s just sick!

I support free speech!  I support expression and art!  I am Charlie!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: Woodstalk

Woodstalk is a comic series I picked up at the Genghis Con.  It’s a great idea and one of those comics I wish I had thought of! As the title implies, it tells the forgotten story of the zombie outbreak at the most famous music festival ever, Woodstock.  Writer and pencil artist Bruce Worden intends to cover the entire festival, having each issue cover the time during the performance of each act at Woodstock.   But the real stars aren’t the actual performers that played those days, but rather…the Zombies!

No, I don’t mean zombies.  I mean The Zombies, the British rock group that in reality split up right before Woodstock began.  If you don’t know who the Zombies are, you need to go learn some music history.  I’ve been a fan since I was in High School and first heard “Time of the Season”.  Along with “She’s not There” you have two of the most amazing sounding songs of the era.  The rest of the Zombies’ catalogue is also quite good.

Anyway, back to the comic.  The Zombies show up hoping to get  some time on stage at Woodstock, even though they aren’t invited, which is funny to begin with.  However, they soon find themselves surrounded by young people mindlessly staring off into space.  And then they encounter some zombies!  (Basically the same thing except flesh-eating.) The zombies have to fend off the zombies, trying to stay alive while trying to get on stage.  They have some knowledge in the area of mysticism, which they put to good use against the undead hordes.  All while no one else notices.

I’ve finished the first 3 issues of Woodstalk, and I await more.  The first issues each feature a different inker, but the art is solid in each. And the story is well told, clear and fun!

Despite my love of 60’s music, I’m not familiar with a lot of the acts at Woodstock (too folksy for my taste I guess) but it’s great to see a young creator with appreciation for older music. And I lok forward to seeing CCR, though I know that's not coming soon...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Out With Dad 3.20 "Getting it Out"

It’s about time I got back to writing my reviews of the last episodes of season 3 of Out With Dad.  Getting it Out begins with Nathan talking to Johnny, at first about Rose’s predicament at school, but most importantly about the upcoming barbeque and Angela being invited.  Nathan is worried about Angela’s presence because of “how he gets” during the event.  Johnny ends up volunteering to talk to Angela about Sarah (Nathan’s deceased wife).

Back at school, Rose meets with her principal, intent on revealing everything about the bullying she’s been experiencing since she was “outed”. Mr. Gladstone is very understanding, and emphasizes that Rose’s safety is more important than other students’ (or their parents’) religious beliefs, even in a Catholic school.  Then comes the twist, when Mr. Gladstone comes out to Rose.  He even admits he could lose his job if word got out.  This is rather sad, because it indicates that he is not able to be himself and work for the Catholic school.  It is all too familiar, as where I live a teacher was recently fired after announcing his wedding plans to another man.  Mr. Gladstone’s has a willingness to hide his true self in order to work in his position, but I don’t think I could work for an institution that had such a bigoted policy.

The story continues with Claire asking Kenny about a gift for Rose’s birthday, and him explaining not to get one because it’s weird.  Rose shows up, confirms the “no gift” rule, and holds Claire’s hand while telling her about the conference with Mr. Gladstone.

The next scene has Johnny talking to Angela about how Sarah died.  It’s incredibly sad.  It does explain the special relationship between Rose and Johnny, which was a very nice touch and not something I had thought about before. So I think it was a great idea to include this scene.  Besides, it’s always nice to see more of Angela!

And then the episode ends with one of the funniest scenes of the series, as Nathan agrees to come out to his parents as a father of a gay teen.  It’s one of the most naturally acted scenes, too!  It’s just incredibly cute!  Well, this episode seemed to have it all….but the best is yet to come!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Genghis Con Cleveland

On November 30th I attended my first Genghis Con in Lakewood, Ohio. The small press/independent comics show is a one-day event near Cleveland.  I was a bit concerned about how turnout would be because even though this is not the first year for the con, it was at a new site.  The site, known as the Screw Factory may not look like much on the outside, but the space inside was very nice for the participants and there were plenty of attendees circulating around the artist tables.  I had a great time, sold some stuff, and met Tom Orzechowski.  Tom is a famous comic book letter artist whose work I have admired for decades!

I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by, talked to me, bought or traded stuff with me, or even those who came by and I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting. I plan to be back next year!

I don’t have any pictures of the event, so I’ll just post some statues I’ve made recently.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: Groo vs Conan

Groo vs. Conan is, simply put, the best comic I’ve read all year!  I just have to write a bit about the characters, creators, and how much I enjoyed the series. If you know of them and this series, it will be a lot of stuff you know, but please be patient.  I am writing this in the hopes that someone out there who never has before might just give Groo a chance!

Sergio Arangones is probably the best funny-style cartoonist ever!  He’s been doing doodles and cartoons for Mad magazine for decades and he just seems to fit more in a page that is physically possible.

Mark Evanier write Groo and is also known for writing a bunch of Garfield cartoons (My wife is a huge fan and we own them all on DVD). 

Somehow Mark and Sergio got together and created Groo the Wanderer, the funniest barbarian ever! Groo is also the best.  At what he does best, that is.  By which I mean kill people and act without intelligence. He also likes cheese dip. I don’t know why I’m mentioning that now except it’s funny.
Thomas Yeates is a great artist who draws some very serious Conan comics.  This somehow makes him perfect to bring Conan into the world of Groo.  Seriously.  This guy is very good!

Conan the Barbarian, if you don’t know, is the creation of Robert E. Howard and was first published, in prose not comic form, in the 1930s.  There have been many adaptations including movies and TV series, as well as the current Dark Horse comics and a long run of comics at Marvel.  Conan is big and strong and clever, and has defeated many a foe.  Not a foe as dumb as Groo though.  Of course, no one is as dumb as Groo. So Conan is facing his greatest opponent: A killing machine with no brain. Sounds like fun!

Groo vs Conan mixes the grim and gritty world of Conan with the strange and whimsical world of Groo in a fashion that reminds me of the old Disney movies when they would combine (2-D) animation and live action footage. But the story really revolves around events that occur in the real world.  Or at least, the real world as depicted by Sergio.  The whole crossover results because of Mark and Sergio trying to save a comic-book shop that is going to be leveled to make way for a shopping center.  This somehow leads to Sergio being injured, and getting lots of strange medication that make him feverishly imagine that he is Conan and is on a quest that involves Groo. It doesn’t sound funny at all when I type it, but it’s extremely hilarious when you read it! Really!!

On the Groo side of the tale,   the wanderer is hired to destroy a bakery loved by the locals to make way for a castle. Conan is tasked with stopping the simple-minded one from wreaking havoc.  And the local villagers hilariously observe, comment, and get all messed up in the whole thing! Of course, we get to see the inevitable showdown between swordsmen.  The battle of the century!  The war to end all wars! (Wait, that was WWI…) Anyway, I just can’t describe it without totally spoiling the whole thing. So I suggest you go buy it. I bet you can still order the individual comics, which are cool because they include letters pages. Or I guess there’ll be a collection soon.  But I wouldn’t wait if I were you!

You need to read this series now before the next Groo series starts.  After all, you don’t want to have the next death spoiled before you read it!  And with Groo around, there are a lot of deaths!!