Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reviews: Fantasy Theater, *PPFSZT! and The Scavengers

Today I’m back to my reviews of comics I picked up at the SPACE convention.  I have three more to review, so I shall begin now with no further delay!

J. Kevin Carrier’s Fantasy Theater #22 features two tales written and drawn by Kevin Carrier (of course!).  The first is about the sword wielding Glorianna, who is hired to save a young noble from an assassination attempt!  There are surprises and lots of action in “The Art of Murder”! The second story is about Capella who is a half-alien super-powered girl who gets airsick when flying.  In this story Capella’s mind has been switched with a villain and she must find a way to get her (half-alien) body back!  I am a big fan of Kevin’s work.  His art is cartoony and fun, and his stories always entertain.  He doesn’t do anything spectacular in this issue’s plots, but the stories remind me very much of older comics, when things were more fun and wrapped up neatly in the end.  I highly recommend Kevin’s work.  I have previously mentioned his webcomics, which include regular installments of Glorianna and mother/daughter super-tea, Lady Spectra and Sparky.  If all goes well, I’ll have my own Lady Spectra story done soon too!!

*PPFSZT! #36 is a western-themed anthology comic.  There are about 50 pages of stories and illustrations so forgive me for not reviewing them all.  But here are some of the highlights:  Magnet Man & Smokey Gunn by Brian Wayne Powell is a joke strip that uses only 2 visuals.  A format like this means the story must be good.  And it is!  Not great…but good!  RIP in “Weird Western Falls” by Michael Anthony Carroll tells a story about Death in the old west.  It has a clever ending I won’t spoil!  Notches by Roger Keel, Tony Lorenz and Scott Shriver is well told, though kind of predictable and has very nice art with very effective gray tones.  Counting Coup by Robert J. Sodaro and John Lambert was my favorite story in the collection.  The story is good and I really really like the art style!  *PPFSZT!  Is worth checking out!  With so many contributions, you’re bound to find something you like!  Look here for details.

The Scavengers by Bill Volk is a 24-hour comic.  Which means it was done in less than 24 hours. It is only 12 pages though, not 24.  Anyway, it tells the story of a ragtag group of heroes including Octo-Lincoln, The Hodag, Chixon, and Kevin Costner.  It reads almost like a jam comic, probably because Bill was making things up quickly as he created the story.  It’s a funny story with goofy artwork.  Lots of fun!  See more stuff by Bill on his website!

Well, that’s it for this week!  I’ve got lots of artwork to do and hopefully I’ll be able to show some stuff here soon.  See you back here soon!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Motor City Con Recap

This is my report about the Motor City Comic Con.  I had a table at the con last weekend.  My short version recap is: BEST CON EVER!!  But I would be remiss if I didn’t go into some details about this!
Table set!
 The crowd at Motor City Con was absolutely amazing!  The most amazing aspect was the size of the crowd.  I’m sure there were some people in Michigan that didn’t come to the Con.  Maybe.  One attendee told me he spent 45 minutes in line to get in the door on Saturday and the line was wrapped around the building when he got in!  There were times I couldn’t see the table across the aisle because of the congestion.  The Sunday crowd was understandably smaller, but it was still pretty amazing.  Perhaps as big as most Saturday crowds I’ve seen.

But it wasn’t just the size of the crowds that was great.  It was the people who made up the crowd.  First I must say I was impressed by all the people getting their geek on with the amazing costumes and cool t-shirts.  I especially love to see the little kids just having a blast all decked out better than Halloween night!  And the crowd was very diverse.  I recall how when I was a teenager, comic conventions were attended almost entirely by teenage boys.  The crowds now are full of people old and young, male and female, and entire families are often seen traveling the floor.
I'm ready for a great con!

Finally, the crowd was so very nice and fun!  People who came by to take a look at my table, chat with me, or buy something from me were extremely friendly and it was a pleasure to meet you all!  The other artists and vendors I got to talk to were just as pleasant as can be also!

I made a lot of sales at Motor City.  It was definitely my best numbers ever.  It’s a great feeling as an artist to know there’s something you made that is sitting on someone else’s table, desk, or shelf somewhere!  Taking a look at the statues I posted in my last entry, the only ones I still have are the Black Widow, Cyclops, and the Cthulhu statue.
I did not get smashed by the super-cool giant balloon Hulk!

As a final note I’d like to give a shout to my friend and helper Dan Moyer who came with me Saturday.  Dan’s not a big comic book guy and he’s never attended a comic con before, and I can tell you he was rather blown away!  His interest is more in the celebrity guests who attended.  Dan has written about classic Hollywood in his biography of actor/producer Jack Webb , which you can find on Amazon here.

Well, that’s all for now.  Once again, it was a great great con!!  And to all the folks who purchased my works thank you thank you thank you!  Excelsior!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clay Avengers Assemble!

Here's some pics of my most recent polymer clay creations.  I'm stocking up in preparation for the Motor City Con.
You may notice I gave them all similar stances.

A view from the side.

With my hand to show the scale.

Top view.  I don't know why.  I just wanted to take a picture from this view. 
If only I had a little table to put in the center!

More statues.  Do you know who they are? (Answers below.)

Monochrome Cthulhu on a stand and Cthulhu (with glow-in-the-dark eyes!) charging

Mario and Link of Nintendo fame.

Cyclops being held to show scale.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reviews: The Possum, Plastic Farm, and Nervenkrank

It’s time for me to review some more of the comics I picked up at SPACE this year!  I have 3 comics to review this week and they are very different from each other.

The Possum #2: Mexican Smackdown chapter 1 by Blair Kitchen is the first book on the list this week!  Blair did a short Possum story in the SPACE Anthology that I reviewed here.  The first issue of the Possum is available to read for free on Blair’s site, and I highly recommend checking it out!  Issue #2 pits our hero against a group of bank-robbing midget Mexican wrestlers.  Almost the entire story involves hilarious action with The Possum (Stuart Spankly) holding on to the hood of the villains’ getaway car.  The poor police in hot pursuit have little chance against the clever wrestlers, but The Possum cannot be killed (thanks to a zombiefying tic tac).  Not that he can do much to stop the wrestling robbers, but at least you can count on him surviving!  The story is mostly told with just pictures, and the midget wrestlers speak Spanish almost exclusively.  Even if your Spanish is as poor as mine, you should be able to get the gist of the villains’ dialogue and laugh along at the sight gags that fill the pages of this comic!  Then, like me, you can find someone fluent in Spanish to re-read it with you, and enjoy it all over again!

Plastic Farm One: Prolog by Rafer Roberts is very weird.  It’s mostly a story about the Kamakaze Kid, an old west drifter with some strange mystical-type abilities thrown in.  And that description doesn’t begin to explain him, or the comic.  I’d say Plastic Farm is one of those comics with the select audience, because I realize some people would be put off by the strangeness.  And it may be a little too strange for me, I’ll admit.  However, I found the weird story easy to follow and was surprised at some of the plot twists.  The art is weird too but tells the story well and fits right in with the story.  I think some people will totally love this comic, so check out the information at the Plastic Farm website for more details!

Nervenkrank May 2012 Preview by Katherine K. Wirick is the story of John Heartfield getting out of a military mental hospital. John Heartfield  was a real person, and though this story is based on fact, the author does not consider it strictly nonfiction.  So I’ll call it historical fiction.  This preview looks great!  I love the black and white artwork.  I hope the full version uses the same palette.  The atmosphere of the asylum is well depicted in both the well rendered expressions of the characters and the choice of camera angles.  Heartfield would eventually become an artist and political activist in Nazi Germany, but this story takes place in 1915 after Heartfield has been declared insane by the German army.  Check out more on Katherine’s website, of course!

Well, I have more comics from SPACE to review, but right now I need to get back to work on some statues for the upcoming Motor City Con!  I’ll show you the statues next post!  See you then!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: Out With Dad 2.10: The Museum Outing

You know when you watch a show and as soon as it’s over you’re eager for more?  That’s the experience I had watching “TheMuseum Outing”, the latest episode of the award-winning webseries Out With Dad!
The museum outing begins with Rose (Kate Conway) and Kenny (Corey Lof) approaching the Scarborough Museum in Toronto.  Kenny has realized Rose has tricked him into going somewhere “educational” and he’s not too happy about it.  I was very surprised by this the inclusion of this scene, it really wasn’t how I expected the episode would begin.  However, it’s a perfect way to begin things!  This shows how well writer/director Jason Leaver knows his characters and how well he presents them to the viewer.  Kenny’s reaction is funny and spot on with what we know about the character!  Excellent!  (This is a good time top mention that Kenny is my favorite character on the show!  Somewhere in my brain I have an essay on why that I’ll write someday…) Anyway, Rose does not give in to Kenny protests, and they enter the museum.  Rose’s reason for going to the museum is to see her new friend Claire (Caitlynne Medrek).  Right away they see Claire.  And Rose panics!  Again, a perfect character moment done perfectly!  And Kenny’s reaction is great.  No wonder she wanted him along, she needs him to speak for her.  When Claire sees Rose and Kenny, she doesn’t just say hi.  Rather, she volunteers to personally escort them around the museum.  This is Claire’s personality of not holding back her ideas and feelings.  She just jumps at the chance to spend some time with Rose!

The activities the trio partake in remind me very much of what they have at similar locations near where I live.  Which means pioneers in America and Canada were just about the same.  That shouldn’t be a shock, huh?  Rose and Claire grow a little closer during the tour, including some tentative physical contact, and Kenny seems to be having a good time—though I’d say he’s more interested in watching Rose’s actions than the historical reenactments!

And then we go to Nathan's (Will Conlon) and Angela’s (Kelly-Marie Murtha) second date.  Yes!  I don’t remember Jason indicating we would get back to this relationship this episode, so this was a pleasant surprise!  Nathan may believe he’s a jackass, but he does a great job making sure his relationship with Angela will continue.  Because these two have the common experience of being very close to someone who is gay, and trying to figure out the proper way to handle things, it gives them a real bonding opportunity.  Also, I like the conversation about the experience of having a gay parent.  That’s a perspective that hadn’t been addressed yet.  Oh, and I still think it’s time for Nathan to tell Rose he’s dating!!  I hope we see such a scene soon.

The ending was nicely done, and there was another little surprise that I really liked.  The campfire smell.  Not the fact that Rose likes campfire smell, but the CGI graphic.  That was totally unexpected and perfectly executed!  Bravo again, Jason!

But it makes me want more!!

Now allow me to end this review a little off-topic.  The historical nature of this episode and the American/Canadian observation above brings to mind that I recently read an article about how, 200 years ago, the United States and Canada were at war!  It’s hard to imagine such a things was ever possible considering our friendly relationship now.  The great thing is that we’ve been at peace ever since, and both nations are certainly better because of this.  (And by the way, we totally kicked your butts last time, so don’t even thin about it!)