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 ( 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?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Drinks with Dad (OWD 4.01)

Season 4 of Out With Dad has begun and I haven’t written anything about it yet!  So, here I am to give my commentary and ramble on about what the series has me thinking about right now. It’s great to see the story of Rose and her Dad continue, and it’s interesting to see that creator Jason Leaver is using a new method to fund the series.  I won’t go into the details, since you can check them out for yourself on the Out With Dad website. Instead, I’ll comment on the events in season 4 so far.

First, let me say something in general about season 4.  Jason has chosen to pick up the series several years after season 3 ended.  Rose has just turned 19 and is in her first year at University.  I think it works very well for the series to pick up here, as opposed to trying to continue exactly where it left off. Partly because the actors have noticeably aged, but also because the high school setting had pretty much been exhausted for interesting plot threads, since Rose was out and dealing with it.  I’ve had thoughts since the end of season 3 about where I would take the personal relationships from that point, but I think OWD is about more than who Rose (and Dad) are dating.  The series exists to present realistic scenarios about what it is like to be gay and to be supportive of someone else who is gay, and how life if different for someone who is homosexual.  It’s about the unique challenges of Rose and her Dad and the societal challenges that someone like Rose has to face that someone like me (not gay) never had to face.  This aspect of the show is what I’m most interested to see as to where the story goes from here.  Oh, and I’m also curious as to who Rose will be dating!

Episode 4.1, “Drinks with Dad” catches us up with the lives of Rose and her Dad since season 3 while they have a drink together to celebrate Rose reaching the legal drinking age in Canada. We learn in this episode that Rose is going to college, still lives at home, and still regrets the situation at the end of season 3.  It also establishes that Rose is not dating Claire or Vanessa, and that this shouldn’t be surprising since very few people marry their high school crush.  It also talks some more about Rose’s mother, and how she and Nathan met in grade school and married young, but he doesn’t want Rose to think she’s failed because she hasn’t done the same.  We also learn that Nathan is in counselling to deal with the loss of his wife, and he thinks he’s finally dealing with the loss after all this time.  Perhaps raising Rose was too much of a distraction and Nathan never stopped to deal with his feelings.  Hopefully, this foretells a future love for Dad? 

Okay, I was going to review the next episode also, but I’ve spent too much time on this one.  I’ll get to it soon. I promise!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Age of Ultron review

I know there’s a lot of people who have written about the second Avengers movie, and it isn’t exactly brand new, but this is when I have the chance to give my impressions, so I’m gonna write about it now.

I think Avengers: Age of Ultron is a great movie. It isn’t nearly as good as the first installment of the Avengers, but it still entertained the heck out of me.  It does a very good job establishing the Avengers as a team that know how to work together while at the same time giving a reason why THIS story is worth having a major motion picture to tell us about.  There are great moments in this movie, and the best to me did not involve the big battles scenes or even the big bad guy, but rather were the more emotional, character moments that show us that these heroes are people with powers, and are best defined by their actions and not their abilities.  That being said, the ending- with the passing of the torch to a new lineup, was my favorite part and the most Avengers-y moment in the film.  I’ll explain:

The Avengers was initially created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a collection of the Marvel Super-heroes that existed at that moment in the company.  The idea was to make a super-group out of the amazingly successful individuals.  But the difficulty with this concept is that nothing happens to the characters while they are in the Avengers that will be more important than what happens to the characters in their own books. Stan solved this problem by changing the lineup of the group.  The characters who had their own books left and the new Avengers consisted of Cap, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch.  The three new recruits would become iconic Avengers.  I’d say this is because they were, first and foremost, Avengers, not solo stars appearing in a second book.  This is also why characters such as the Vision and Wonder Man have become iconic Avengers.  They were created in the book.

In the movie, all characters have significant character arcs, but the most interesting involve the characters who do not have their own movie series.  The best arc in the film belonged to Hawkeye.  His surprise family and vulnerability were both different from the printed page and a welcome sight.  It also shows that the movies aren’t going to be “filling in” the traditional histories of these characters from the comics. I like this a lot.  Finally, the movies ends with the introduction of a new Avengers lineup, with most of the original movie team leaving.  This is wonderfully similar to the comics and yet done in a totally new way with different characters.

So, bravo Marvel for putting out another great movie!  I know there’s more on the way and I can’t wait to see them!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Update: June 2015

It’s long overdue that I write something for my blog.  I’ve been incredibly busy lately with preparations for Motor City Comic Con, spending a weekend at the con, and working my day job.  Therefore, the blog has taken a hit while other things get done. But now it is summer, school is out, I only have one commission currently on my list, and I don’t have another convention for a good month.  So now I can write about all those things I’ve been neglecting.  Such as: Avengers movie, SHIELD and Flash TV shows, Out With Dad: season four, and comics I’ve been reading.  AH. Where to start?

I think I’ll begin by talking about myself.  I’ve just completed posting the 9th chapter of Mutant Elf on my webcomic page.  This completes the first of a two-chapter story involving getting all the lead characters into the Fairy World together, where they will have lots of fun!  Well….they’ll be in constant danger, but we will have fun watching them get out of it!  At least, I hope you have fun.  The series seems to have a lot of views and a few followers, so I think someone’s enjoying it other than me.

I’ve also finished a new set of statues, some of which I sold at the convention, but some others are still available!  I’m really enjoying making clay versions of Paris Watkins’ super-heroes. You can see some on his Facebook page.  They really lend well to being sculpted, probably because they’re so cartoony. I’ll show some other pictures of my stuff here soon.

Finally, I had the pleasure of having a letter printed in a comic.  You should go to your local comic shop, or contact Dark Horse Comics and demand they get you a copy of Groo: Friends and Foes #1.  You MUST get a copy of the actual issue, because letters are not reprinted in trade paperbacks. It’s not a particularly amusing or well-written letter.  It’s probably about the same as this blog.  But it’s mine, and I’m very proud of it!!

I’ll be back soon with comments about something of great importance.  I won’t say exactly what.  Until I figure out what it is.