Monday, November 25, 2013

Batman and Iron Man

I was looking at these sketches the other day I was struck by how Batman and Iron Man now have what is considered by most the two best Super-Hero movie franchises.  And it would be hard to say whose is best.  There have been Batman movies since the 60’s, while Iron Man has only appeared in 4 movies so far.  However, some of the Batman movies are considered awful, while all the Iron Man movies are considered at least “good”.  Personally, I like Iron Man better, but that may just be my Marvel-prejudice showing.  Anyway, here’s some recent drawing I did experimenting with gray-tone markers.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Rose's Video Diary #10: Body Issues

With the third season of the award-winning webseries Out With Dad only weeks away, we fans have been treated a new series of “Rose’s Video Diaries” to entertain us during the wait.  The Rose’s Video Diaries are a series of short videos featuring the main character, Rose Miller, talking into the camera about her thoughts concerning things that affect her character and sometimes move the overall story along a little bit.  I don’t usually comment on these videos (I did so once.) but the most recent video diary segment has had me thinking, and I think I have enough thoughts for a blog entry.  The diary is called “Body Issues” and can be seen here. I’ll try to comment on the character, the writer and actor, Kate Conway, and also society in general as it relates to this issue.  At least that’s my plan.  I’m not using an outline or rough draft here, so it may meander a bit.
Kate as Rose Miller
Kate comments about this diary that she wrote it based on her own experiences and feelings and what her teen-age character would think about the issue.  It reminded me of some stupid comment I read, probably on YouTube, back when I first discovered the series.  I can’t quote the comment but it was something about “fat ugly girls” and why would you want to watch them.  I don’t think Kate is fat at all.  And I’d also say she’s attractive.  Is she Gwyneth Paltrow? No.  Does she have to be? NO!  She’s just perfect for whom she is and she’s certainly perfect for the role of Rose.  My point here is that there’s no “perfect” body type, and I think people in society are too often over-critical of others, and of themselves.  On the other hand, if you look around at people and talk to them, you find a lot of people are not really that critical.  There’s a huge variation in what different people find attractive and everyone seems to be the answer to someone’s dreams.
Gwyneth as Pepper Potts
I do think women are held to a far more critical standard on our society than men are.  I also think women are often their own worst critics.  I’m sure men aren’t nearly as critical as women think we are.  Kind of like how just because so many of us can’t help but notice Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t mean we think everyone has to look like her.  In the video diary, Rose does a good job comparing herself to the other girls on the show.  And Rose is right that Claire (Caitlynne Medrek) is tiny and Alicia (Laura Jabalee) is pretty, but  she makes the incorrect assumption that this somehow affects Rose.  Rose only has to be Rose and she has enough friends and admirers as it is.  And I guess this is my advice to all the people (especially young women) out there: you are you and stop trying to match anyone else.

Artist's rendition of Rose

Particularly on the issue of weight, I understand the desire of most of us to want to do better, and weight issues seem to be one of those areas where we think we should be doing better than we are.  I do think there’s too much emphasis on “super-skinny” rather than just “healthy”.  I have personally known people who lost huge amounts of weight, and I’m happy for them because I think they will live longer, healthier lives.  But People need to be smart about weight and weight loss.  The extreme ways Rose mentions people try to lose weight are not good and healthy.  Diet and exercise; that’s the key!  And yes, I’d like to lose about 10 pounds myself.  I’ve gotten too sedentary as I’ve aged.  I need to get up and move.  Right after I watch some Out With Dad, of course!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Fluid

Fluid is a comic I picked up at the Detroit Fanfare Comic Convention last month.  Creator Kamron Reynolds had his table next to mine and it was a pleasure to be beside him.  Fluid is one of many comics Kamron had available, and I picked it because it is aimed at younger readers, which sounded like fun to me!

I was right.  This is a good, fun comic to read.  The basic story is about a kid who is new in town and has arrived at a very interesting time.  It’s summer and the new kid, Joe, needs to learn the rules to survive.  Luckily he meets a friendly boy named Neal who can show him the ropes.  And teach him the rules. Most of which has to do with massive water-balloon fights.  And that’s what makes this comic so much fun!  Art-wise, Fluid is fun and cartoony, with nice action sequences.  Kamron does a very good job showing the emotions on the characters and the colors make everything clear. The only problem is that the story ends just as things are getting started!  But it’s a great set-up for a series and I look forward to reading more about Joe in the future.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Me, Howard Kaylan, The Turtles, and Shell Shocked!

I met Howard Kaylan, lead singer of the Turtles, in 1990 or so when my friend Dan Moyer* and I went to see The Rascals and The Turtles in Cleveland at a “rib fest”.  Howard talked to us about his young daughter (I think she was 2 at the time) and his moving out if the city so that she, among other things, would not have to choose which gang to belong to.  Howard also signed Dan’s Rickenbacher and my CD booklet and talked about music, explaining that they couldn’t perform “Like the Seasons” live without a string quartet present. (We didn’t really think they could, but it’s such a wonderful song we had to comment on it!)  Howard and his musical partner Mark Volman were incredibly friendly to us that day and I’ll never forget it.

I became a Turtles fan in High School after hearing some of their songs and picking up their Greatest Hits cassette, one of the few tapes I took with me when I was in the Navy.  I’ve since collected most of their catalogue on CD, including the Flo and Eddie albums.  The Turtles are definitely one of the best bands ever, at least vocally, and Howard is one of the best rock/pop vocalists ever.  They really are that good!

Top: my signed CD
Middle: Mark signing Dan's guitar
Bottom: Howard and Me!!
Recently I read Howard’s autobiography, Shell Shocked! It’s an amazing tale of everything in Howard’s life from childhood to the present.  I particularly enjoyed the music-related stories, such as the creation of “Happy Together”, recording with Bruce Springsteen, and putting together their “Battle of the Bands” album.  I did not know that Howard was musically talented as far back as his High School years playing clarinet and sax in a marching band and rock and roll band.

The more personal stories in the book are sometimes funny but sometimes sad and hard to read.  I was surprised at Howard’s birth name, Jewish background, and how intelligent he is!  At the same time I’m shocked at how easily such a smart person could so easily get involved with drugs and struggle with multiple marriages.  I know I would not enjoy living the life that Howard lived in these cases.  I don’t know how he kept going looking for work in the lean times or fighting legal battles for years.
I’ve seen the Turtles (featuring Flo and Eddie) a few times live and listened to their music many many more times, and they never fail to entertain.  If you have any interest in the history of Rock and Roll/Pop music or have ever enjoyed listening to “Happy Together” I believe you will enjoy this book.  My little review here does not begin to do justice to how entertaining and well written this book is!