Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Out With Dad 3.04 "The Swashbuckling Adventures of Making Out"

This week I am going to continue my in-depth look at the third season of my favorite webseries, Out With Dad.  When last we left Rose and Claire, they were going out after deciding that they weren’t happy with their dads.  “The Swashbuckling Adventures of Making Out” continues the story as Rose and Claire decide to go to a movie.  First we get a nice little cameo of David, one of the people who shared at last season’s PFLAG meeting, as our couple buy two tickets to “Pete Winning and the Pirates”.  I’ll stop here to point out that “Pete Winning” is another Toronto-area webseries that Out With Dad director Jason leaver has worked on.  “Pete” is a futuristic laser-blasting pirate action-adventure. (I don’t really know how to describe it…you’ll have to watch it yourself!)

Anyway, the girls have a quick discussion about how Rose’s relationship with her dad isn’t perfect, but she doesn’t hate him.  And also that a movie is a great escape from reality. Then they get in the theatre and eat a little popcorn.  Which has me wanting to scream “Why aren’t you eating the popcorn?!”  I would never let movie popcorn got to waste!  Maybe it’s a guy thing.  But that stuff costs something like $20 a bag!  Which is probably $90 Canadian!!  I’d definitely eat the popcorn.  And now I have everybody who’s seen the episode saying “You really care about the popcorn?  When the really important part is about to begin?” Okay, okay.  Rose and Claire watch a little bit of the movie.  And pay a lot of attention to each other.  And kiss a lot.  And…are noticed by someone else in the theater. Which will become important in later episodes!

Rose goes home and has tea with her dad and they discuss teen sex and skydiving. I think I covered that topic well when I discussed the last episode.  (No, I don’t mean skydiving.) Besides, the really good stuff is yet to come, and I should save some thoughts for them.  After all, the season just keeps getting better!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952

I don’t know how I can calculate the effect Charles Schultz has had on my life.  Schultz’s creations have been a constant as long as I can remember.  I read the daily Peanuts comic strip, always at the top of the page in the local papers.  I watched the TV Specials every year.  I had many collections including the hardcover “It was a Dark and Stormy Night”.  When I got older I took my kids to Camp Snoopy to ride the Woodstock roller coaster!  Schultz has been responsible for so much entertainment, joy, and even introspection in my life. I’d say he has to be one of the top 5 most influential people from the Arts to affect me.

Recently I read the Complete Peanuts, 1950-1952.  This is a collection of the earliest Peanuts strips and it is very different from what the strip would become.  The art is similar to Schultz’s familiar style, but rough. The content is different, as Charlie Brown is less the loser and sometimes the instigator of trouble.  Snoopy isn’t pretending to be a pilot or a lawyer yet.  In fact, he’s just a puppy at first.  Lucy, Schroeder, and Linus show up as babies, then start to get more time.  The main cast is Charlie Brown, his friend Shermy, and two girls named Violet and Patty. (Not Peppermint Patty, she would come later!)

Though these strips are nowhere near as good as what would come in later years as Schultz developed the characters and chose to focus more on others in the supporting cast.  Shermy, Patty, and Violet aren’t nearly as interesting as Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and others that would come along.  However, the charm of this volume is discovering these seldom-reprinted strips and watching as the strip changes and grows as Schultz evolves artistically.  I’ve read about the early days of Peanuts before, and it was great to finally read all the strips.  I’d recommend this volume to any Peanuts fan, and I plan to continue with volume II as soon as I have time.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: Out With Dad 3.03 "Storming In & Out"

It’s time for me to get back to writing my thoughts about the beginning block of the third season of my favorite webseries, Out With Dad. Storming In & Out picks up where the last episode ended: Rose and Claire have been interrupted during a moment of affection by Claire’s dad. This is when we learn that, despite her seemingly always happy demeanor, Claire’s life isn’t all fun and games.  In fact, her life looks to be a bit more complicated than Rose’s.  The first scene in this episode, with the confusing conversation between Claire’s dad and everyone else, including someone on the phone, is excellent!  It’s scary and funny and ridiculous, but I could see something just like this happening in a real-life situation.  My favorite line is “My son is not a lesbian, that doesn’t even make sense!” Claire’s often-absent father isn’t too happy now…

Rose’s conversation with Nathan about the incident is also very well done. I see the joy on her face and in her voice and I’m happy for her. (It’s easy to forget she’s not a real person experiencing these things!) And now comes the most interesting portion of this episode.  Claire’s upset.  Rose thinks it would be a good idea for her to spend the night.  Nathan says no.  It’s an interesting predicament, but I think Nathan is right about this one.  Rose might think it wouldn’t be any different than having any girl stay over, but it certainly is.  Is it the same as having a boyfriend stay over?  Yes…and no.  But I don’t think having a romantic partner spend the night is something any 16 year old should have to deal with.

I do want to add that Caitlynne Medrek’s performance in this episode is outstanding!  I’m a little afraid to say that because I’m worried that it could be interpreted as saying the other actors aren’t doing a good job.  But I am not at all saying that anyone else is below par! Kate and Jonathan and the group playing Claire’s family did great jobs.  But Claire is so cute and funny and Caitlynne is doing so well taking us on the wild ride through Claire’s wild emotional states!

I shall return with more commentary, as these episodes just keep getting better and better!  Best season ever!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mutant Elf number 5 page 20

No, I did not forget to color this page.  Hopefully the black-and-white was a surprise

I decided that I wanted each chapter of Mutant Elf to be no more than 20 pages, and this story was going to take more than 20 pages.  Therefore, I end with a cliffhanger!  Never fear, Mutant Elf will continue next week with a new online home!  If you like the series or have questions or requests, please feel free to comment or contact me!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mutant Elf number 5 page 19

Here continues Mutant Elf.  I will start searching for a better posting site soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: 2013

Well, it’s time to do a recap of all the goodness of the last year.  2013 was a very nice year for me artistically, and I sure hope the best is yet to come!  I participated in the local Art Walk, which was nice fun though not exactly huge profit.  The big shows I did included the SPACE (small press show), Motor City Con, and Detroit Fanfare.  SPACE is the smallest, but I like the venue and the people who attend, because they are specifically looking for non-mainstream comics and material.  Motor City was the biggest, and is just awesome in scope, but Detroit Fanfare is nice because it isn’t as big.  I did well in sales and purchases at all 3 of the conventions.  It’s great to have people seek me out after buying something a previous year, and buy something more!  Art is my hobby, but it is nice to know I can turn a little profit from my work as well as have great fun!

One of my favorite statues I made last year!
Some of my favorite comic purchases of 2013 include collections of Jack Kirby’s 70s Captain America run and the earliest tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  My favorite comics of the year include Captain Midnight and Resident Alien, plus the now cancelled X-Factor and Legion.  Currently I am really enjoying DC’s Crime Syndicate storyline also.  I enjoy reading webcomics such as Lady Spectra and Sparky and Mr. Morris.  No matter what the changes, some of which are really not to my liking, I continue to find comics somewhere, published by someone, that I really enjoy.

I did a collaboration with Kevin Carrier last year.
In other media I read Terry Brooks’ latest Shanara series and loved it, and Howard Kaylan’s autobiography was my favorite non-fiction book of the year.  I’m enjoying the new TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and my continuing favorite TV show Psych.  I also really got into Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey this year, and am looking forward to seeing more of them in 2014.  I didn’t go to the theatre last year, but I did finish watching the Harry Potter movies (the last one was very well done) and the Batman trilogy (Dark Knight Rises was my favorite of the series).  And, of course, on the web Out With Dad continues to be the best thing ever!

Looking at my bloggy stats from last year, my review of “Starting Out”, the first episode of the 3rd Out With Dad season was my most viewed post, also in the top 5 are Out With Dad: The Lost Episode, Review: Rose’s Video Diary-Changing Relationships, my review of Howard Kaylan’s Autobiography, and my comments on the Lone Ranger and Shazam.

Mutant Elf continues in 2014!
So Out With Dad is a very popular subject!  While I’m thinking about it, I have finished the “Lost Episode” comic, but I don’t know when it will be available for public viewing.  I am currently working on comics for upcoming anthologies, then I have another collaboration to work on, and I plan to continue Mutant Elf on a weekly basis!  2014 looks to be a promising year!