Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Woodstalk #4 & 5

I talked about the first three issues of Wolkstalk here, and I think it’s now a good time to revisit the series and discuss what has happened since.  As a refresher, Woodstalk is the comic about the heretofore unrevealed tale of the zombie outbreak at the classic hippiefest concert known as Woodstock. So now on to issue #4 and 5:

Whereas the first trio of issues centered on the British rock group The Zombies, the focus of the tale suddenly changes with the introduction of a couple hippies that shall be the center points of these stories.  Starlight and Sunshine have come to Woodstock selling some homegrown hash to make some cash to invest in their relationship and the raising of their soon-to-be born child.

They find there isn’t much interest in their product as everyone’s more into the brown acid that’s turning everyone zombie-like.  Or maybe it’s actually turning them into zombies.  It’s hard to tell with tripping hippies.  Anyway, Star and Sun find themselves able to rise above their pacifistic nature and take out some zombies as they begin their adventure in the zombie-infested Woodstock.

Writer/artist Bruce Worden does a great job telling a captivating tale of hilarious zombie/ hippie action and mayhem! I highly recommend this series!  It just gets more interesting!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Review: Out With Dad 4.03: "An Island Outing"

Well, if I start now I should be able to catch up on my Out With Dad review/comments before the next episode is released.  So here goes episode 4.03: “An Island Outing”.

This episode takes place on an island.  Of course.  Rose and Nathan are spending some time together much to the joy of Dad (Nathan) who wishes he could spend more time with his daughter.  During their island adventures some important happenings come up in conversation.  They begin discussing Kenny, who is apparently doing something with his life other than seeking further education.  Kenny was never much into the books and school, so this makes sense.  Rose notes how different Kenny and Alicia are, which makes it a wonder they were ever a couple.  Though they are both very caring people who are great friends to Rose, this alone didn’t keep their relationship going after High School.  This, as Nathan notes, is rather typical of what happens as people grow and mature.

Next the duo discusses Valerie, a woman Nathan dated when Rose was younger. Though Valerie and Nathan got along well, in the end it was Rose that split them up.  At least, the fear of parenting eventually scared Valerie off.  Rose gets upset that Nathan always seems to use Rose as an excuse for not having romantic relationships. Then they discuss some closure Nathan had by meeting Valerie at a convenient store.  This leads to discussions of Rose and having some closure with Vanessa or Claire.  We learn that Rose and Claire avoided each other for 3 years of High School.  I find it a bit surprising that Clare stayed in the school where she was treated badly and wasn’t allowed to have a GSA, but maybe that was her way of not giving in.

At the end Nathan mentions that there might be more to Vanessa’s story than Rose is aware of.  Besides the clever choice of words, I hope this will lead to us finding out about Vanessa’s current life soon.  Despite the happy ending of “Vanessa’s Story” she is certainly has confronted and is confronting a whole different level of challenges than Rose.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: Fantastic Four: The Musical

I wanted to make some comments on the Fantastic Four, since there’s a new movie featuring them coming out soon.  I don’t know exactly when and I’m not interested in it so I’m not going to  check right now.  Anyway, Fantastic Four was the FIRST comic of the Marvel age, created by the immortal Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  Definitely one of the greatest creations ever.  And they’ve been interpreted in other media for quite some time also.  The new movie will be, I think, the fourth attempt at a version on the big screen.  I’ve never been able to get through any of the other 3 versions, and I don’t think the new movie looks good at all.  So I won’t talk about them.  Instead I am here to discuss: Fantastic Four: The Musical!

Yes, there really is a Fantastic Four musical available out there.  It’s part of season 4 of Arrested Development. If you don’t know, Arrested Development is the greatest television comedy ever created.  It had a tumultuous but award-winning run on Fox and was revived in 2013 on Netflix.  I don’t have Netflix, but I recently watched the season on DVD.  Anyway, the Fantastic Four are mentioned plenty in this series, including a reference to their strange low-budget 1990’s movie, a bit fictionalized to make ever more hilarious.  But the big payoff is the musical, performed by a bunch of patients in rehab and done without permission from Marvel or Disney or whatever.  It’s the brainchild of Tobias Funke, whose dream is to become an actor.  One spoiler: he’ll never succeed, he’s terrible.  But that’s what makes it hilarious.  The DVD extras include even more footage concerning the musical and how it was put together.  I never thought about how difficult it would be to choreograph something and make it look bad.

I could ramble on about Arrested Development and how wonderful it is forever, but I think I’ll end this post with a plead: please, everyone skip going to the movies and instead buy Arrested Development on DVD or download or whatever.  Please support the BEST Fantastic Four adaptation ever! It sure ain’t Lee and Kirby, but that’s what makes it so good.

Now I’m going to go get my rocks off…

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: SPACE and what's next!

I’m so slow to post things on my blog lately!  I was recently at the SPACE convention in Columbus and for the past week I’ve been busy creating things for my next show, Fun Across the Galaxy, plus I’ve been reading a lot.

You see, SPACE is a wonderful small press/Independent comic’s show, so I got to talk to a lot of creators making all kinds of wonderful and original comics!  I bought and traded for a bunch of new stuff, and I was so excited by the experience I’ve been reading and creating every chance I can get!  I need to start writing about the books I’ve read and the creators involved.  I also have some other things to write about, and some new art of mine I’d like to share here.  I just need to get around to posting stuff.

Anyway, I can’t say enough of how fun SPACE is and how friendly everyone there always is.  The show was hampered this year by the original location closing, but organizer Bob Corby did a great job getting a wonderful new place.  The new location is the best the show has ever had, and next year SPACE will return to being a Spring show.  I’m ready to send my application for a table right now!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Reconnecting with Alicia (Out With Dad 4.02)

Now it is time for me to talk about the most recent episodes of Out With Dad, the world’s greatest webseries.  Episode 4.02, “Reconnecting with Alicia” is one big shot of Rose and Alicia walking together and talking.  That may not sound exciting, but considering they are talking about some exciting stuff!  In this episode we get to find out some important information about what has happened since last season, and where we go from here.  Let’s look at some of the conversation:

Alicia tries to comfort Rose about entering university.  I think this is the first time I’ve realized Alicia is older than Rose.  Though I guess it was hinted at before.  If I’m remembering Rose once commented about “since we (Rose and Kenny) were in grade 9” to Alicia.  Anyway, it helps that Alicia has some experience at university and that will help the viewer understand what they are doing during the series, I think.

Alicia also notes Rose in still introverted, and they both show their intelligence by knowing the textbook definition of “Introvert”.  Alicia also mentions that they weren’t allowed to have a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) in High School, but there is one in university.  But Rose isn’t over-eager about advertising her sexuality to everyone at her new place of learning.  Rose does agree to go to a GSA meeting though.

We now learn a bit about some absent members of last season’s cast.  Claire keeps in touch with Alicia, but Rose hasn’t spoken to her since “the birthday incident”.  And something happened between Rose and Vanessa, but Rose isn’t saying anything right now.  I think it almost unbelievable that Rose and Claire never spoke again in High School, but I think fans will like it better if they eventually get to see some kind of reunion rather than just hear about it.

There’s a very interesting exchange concerning dating. Rose doesn’t even want to date because it makes it obvious she’s a lesbian, while Alicia has it easy since everyone expects a girl to have a boyfriend.  Especially for Rose, who doesn’t like to be the center of attention.  I think Rose does have a point here, as I do think, in today’s society, a gay couple is going to stand out more than a straight couple.  But Rose will, eventually, have to get past not wanting to stand out, or she’s going to have to get very comfortable being single.

And I think that about covers it for episode 4.02!  This keeps me one episode behind in my reviews still.  Maybe I can catch up after the SPACE convention this weekend. (Where I will have Out With Dad-related art available if anyone wants to come see me in Columbus!)  Boy it’s fun to be watching some new Out With Dad!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: OH, Comics #23 "Music"

The Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition approaches later this month.  SPACE is a wonderful convention that showcases comics and creations that are not by the mainstream creators and mainstream creations.  Rather, it’s a bunch of people putting forth their best efforts to express themselves and entertain a bit.  OH, Comics is an annual anthology (mostly..it skipped a few years) I have contributed to since its 10th issue.  It is available at the convention and can be ordered online from publisher Bob Corby directly. (Or you can buy a copy from me if you see me at a different show.)  The latest issue of OH, Comics was officially released earlier this year at the Extra SPACE con, but I haven’t gotten around to talking about it until now.  So here’s my review:

Bianca Alu-Marr and Steve Peters start out this year’s “Music” theme with a sci-fi tale called “The Song Remains the Same”. The story involves a little musical mystery on a space station that perplexes a human and a dragon.  I like the slick presentation and the clear art and lettering.  It’s a solid beginning to the anthology and a nice intro to The Comicverse characters and setting.

Next Craig Bogart takes us on the road with Bon Jovi as he confronts the devil.  Craig’s story has a neat twist and makes some commentary about rock and roll music and how it has changed over the years.  A very solid self-contained tale here that I’m sure many will find humorous.

Pam Bliss presents us with “Always Do Your Best”- the theme song for the hero Foursquare.  Though it’s hard (for me) to sing the lyrics instead of just read them, the song is quite well written, and campy as a hero’s theme should be.  Foursquare’s reaction at the end is well done also.

Of Song Sung & Unsung is a sad poem by Matt Levin with rubber stamp art accompanying it.  The poem is well written and I’m enough of a musician to understand the feelings expressed, though I’m no composer.

We’re in Treble by Kate E. Lore is a nice one-page strip using music notes as characters.  Very cute!

Mr. Rifft by Bob Corby is a musical ghost story with a nice surprise ending and very nice art that is of a unique look among the entries this year.  It really stands out visually and the storytelling is great as usual for Bob.

Robot Rap Battle by Jared Wenzel & Eric McAlister tells of two robots rapping.  The raps are well written and the art may be rough, but it fits the content of the story well.  The reaction shots of the other robots (and a microwave) are very good!  This is a fun strip.

Out of Tune by Me is a sequel of sorts to the story I did in the first Music-themed anthology many years ago (which I still have a copy of for sale!).  It involves the same villain, Force of Mind, and one of the heroes, Lizard Man.  I like using the First Lady so I figured out a way to fit her into the story.  Hopefully the ending makes sense to everyone.

In M.A.G.I.C. by Michael Anthony Carroll Michael puts together another team of stick-figure super heroes. He seems to be able to create at will teams of heroes with just about any theme and really clever names.  I don’t want to say more here, because it’s better to read it yourself!

Kel Crum does a one-page gag called Everything Sucks which has a much happier ending than you’d suppose.  And it’s a good example of how he comes up with punchlines that are extremely unexpected.

Troppo by Ben Small is a science fiction tale of a fighter pilot who listens to music while fighting. 

The intricate art is a little difficult to see in the anthology but the story is easy to follow.

And finally we have Troy Verasis, Tanmoy Das & Nick Schley tell the story of Santa’s Band.  
Which is about just what it sounds like—Santa Claus starting a band.  With a clever name, too!

You can click the links above to find out more about the individual creators.  If you see your name 
without a link, please send me one and I’ll add it.

That’s it for my review of OH, Comics.  Hope to see lots of people at SPACE this year!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: Big Hero 6

I recently got to watch the Marvel/Disney Superhero movie Big Hero 6.  This is a different type of Marvel movie: it comes from a Marvel comic and is animated by Disney.  This is the chance for Disney to show their recent acquisition of Marvel comics/Marvel Entertainment is going to be a good thing, and not just bloat profits for the mouse.  So…how do I think they did?

First off, I admit the movie came out some time ago, and has been out on DVD for some time now, so I haven’t been overly diligent in seeing the movie.  Truth is, I don’t know the comic or the characters and I haven’t even researched them before writing this.  Which I think is a good thing, since I’m giving you this review without previous knowledge of the source material, instead of comparing it to said source material.  I’m reviewing only the movie on its own merits.

The movie tells of a young genius name Hiro who invents robots.  He’s introduced to his older brother’s college friends and decides to build robots in the college.  Then his brother is killed due to the machinations of a super-villain and Hiro and friends become Big Hero 6, a group of super-heroes.  That’s the plot, which isn’t too complicated.  In fact, it isn’t complicated at all.  Nor is it anything new.  Yet it works wonderfully!  The key is the same thing that makes all the other Marvel movies work so well:  this movie has a lot of heart!  It isn’t just action and gizmos and neat effects.  It is a touching story of a boy who lacks direction in his life and has survived a lot of tragedy.  Hiro may be the most tragic Marvel movie character yet, in fact.  Seeing his journey and triumph is uplifting and fun!

I hope there are more movies about Hiro.  Big Hero 7 perhaps?