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Archive for May, 2013

Batman this weekend

I’m a huge fan of the ’89 Batman. Now that we’re past the 20th century, time has diluted our memories of just how huge this movie was. At the time, it was bigger than any of the Nolan films are today, it was a total game changer. It’s aged fine, not as well as you may hope, but not as poorly as other movies of the period.

It’s playing this Saturday at the Cedar Lee at midnight. Wear a cape and get a free popcorn! (then head back our site on Monday for a new Violent Blue!)

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Superior Spider-Man #10 [Review]

I thought this was a really good review of the current Superior Spider-Man…and since I’m not getting around to doing a last week’s pulls any time soon, take a moment to check this out.

Comic Reviews by Walt

superiorspiderman010Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Ryan Stegman
Inks: Stegman & Cam Smith
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Marcos Martin
Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Ten issues in, and now we’re suddenly, supposedly…um, back where we started, I guess. The new, the superior, Doc Ock is Spider-Man, in Peter Parker’s body…and there is no Peter. Wasn’t that what the original premise seemed to be? But then we had Force-Ghost Peter, revealed that last page of #1, and I was excited for this series, beyond the tentative trying-it-out.

So, here we are, tenth issue…11 if you count the Age of Ultron issue I skipped/ignored. And while Ock continues to smooth out his process of being proactively superior as Spider-Man to Parker’s ways, we see a recurring tattoo, obviously a reference to the Green Goblin. And Ock continues improving things in…

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Shadowman

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Trying something new out here. This is  all about the best comics you have probably never read. Some of these you may know the names of, some you may have seen around. Others I promise you you have never heard of.

We’re going to start off easy though. This column is about Shadowman.

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Not the current valiant series, but the original. You have to go back a ways to find that. The original book predates the video game….and a LOT of people only know the Shadowman story from that game. that’s fine, except the game isn’t really what Shadowman was designed to be. The reboot that Akklaim forced on  the character to get out of some outrageous contracts it had gotten itself into. The original Shadowman kicked around the corners of the original Valiant universe form almost the beginning. Some will say he was the company’s analog to Batman, but that’s not entirely true since Shadowman had some powers. The compulsion to fight evil at night wasn’t based on neurosis, but voodoo. It’s likely you saw him in crossovers and maybe picked up an issue or two, but this isn’t a character you can drop in and out of. This is one you have to follow from beginning to end to understand the arch.

shadowman13What makes Shadowman such a brilliant title is that more than anything, this is the story about how being a superhero can really mess up a person’s life. Jack Boniface never really wanted to be a superhero. NEVER. He was picked by a voodoo cult to be this generations Shadowman, then seduced by an alien who infected him with a poison to dilute the power and render him far less effective.

Being a musician, he works at night. But he can’t work at night if he’s out chasing the evils of the night.  Through the course of the series we explore his past, where he grew up and his parents, and we see him thrust in the future where he is told the date of his death.

The series never ended…not exactly. Remember a few years ago and the media circus that Daredevil had to deal with when he was outed? Imagine that only worse. Matt Murdock was an attorny with some power on his side. Jack is nobody. He ends up drug before the court and finally finds himself on a ledge. the last shot of the series is him jumping….but we don’t know what happened next. The series was left open ended like this because at the time no one knew what was going to happen to Valiant. It’s a little bit of a drag to end it like that, but the ride is absolutely worth it.

I picked all of my Shadowman comics up out of .50 -.25 cent bins. With the valiant revival, that may be a bit harder, but definitely give this a shot if you can grab a majority of the series. You won’t be sorry.


Maddie’s Cupcake

Maddie Banner

This was a fun project – Maddie had to paste half of a picture and draw out the second half.

maddie cupcake


fourth annual Lake Effect Comic Con

Conman

100_4115We had a good time this year at Lake Effect Comic Con. I really dig this con, not just because it’s a free one, but because it’s a small con that still really pulls out all the stops. A great artist’s alley including my acquaintance from the Pop! Culture Club Marc Sumerak (Marvel writer and former  editor). Chris Yambar (bongo comics), Bob Ingersol (DC editor) and Craig Boldman (Archie) not to mention a bunch of others.

Madeline and I both came in costume, me in my new Iron Man armor and her in her She-Ra costume. We both entered the costume contest, and we both got defeated! Maddie lost to a cute litle girl Jedi and I lost out to the golden age Sandman. The winner in the boys division was the coolest little David Bowie (from Labrynth) that  I have ever seen. Even though we didn’t win, we were both awarded heroclix for participating and that was great. I pulled a Super Nova I didn’t have and Maddie got a Terraix.

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A number of my Heroclix buddies were there as well for the tournament.  Sean spotted me and drug me into the tourney room where I declared “okay, who wants to play me? I better warn you though, I may take up more than one square on the map….”

We spend some time shopping as well, Maddie came away a bit dissapointed because she couldn’t find a Supergirl or Star Sapphire figure. She did however grab two issues of Super Mom signed by the creator Scott Bachmann. I pawed through discount bins and bought about thirty comics ( a LOT of silver age Daredevil and a bunch of X-Men right around and before the X-Cecutioner’s song). We shopped so long we missed the panel on worst kid sidekicks….but that’s okay.

Finally we ended the day with a screening of  A Little Snow Fairy Sugar an adorable little anime which they were showing on the big screen (If I hadn’t had Maddie I would have shown up earlier for Big Trouble in Little China).

Maddie had a nice day, and for this being her first comic con, she did very well. My Iron Man costume really diminished my dexterity – she ended up being my hands, paying people, rifling through boxes and pulling things off tables, not to mention taking photos (okay, some are blurry, but she did a good job for seven years old!) We can’t wait to go back next year! Until then though, there’s new Violent Blue up today!

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Lake Effect Comic Con This Sunday!

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Just a reminder, Lake Effect Comic-Con is this Sunday. There’s free admission, free movie screenings, a costume contest, comic creators and TONS of sales. I want last year  (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/lake-effect-comic-con-need-to-update/) and it was a great time, not to mention finding great deals. Maddie will be coming with me this year and it will be her first comic book convention! She’ wearing her She-Ra costume and I’m wearing my new Iron Man costume. Hope to see you there, then back here for new Violent Blue on Monday!

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Prometheus and Expendables 2

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I got around to revisiting some of last years blockbusters, just to see if my initial reactions held up.

The-Expendables-2-PosterWith the Expendables 2, I see more holes in the story, but really, who’s going to this movie expecting a deep narrative? This is a vehicle, and vehicles have formulas : Start with the actor(s), create a character and then work your way backwards to build a story around them.

E2 is really the delivery of the promise made by the first film. It’s not that The Expendables was a bad movie, or even a bad action movie. What it was, it was a Statham/Stallone movie and that’s cool….except it billed itself as an action star reunion. Look, I’m in my late 30s. Jet Li, Statham, Couture and all the wrestling guys in the world…those aren’t my action heroes.  They’re good, but they aren’t my heroes….that’s all I’m saying. I wanted to see Arnold, Bruce, Jean-Claude and Stallone together. Those are the guys (and to a lesser extent, Chuck Norris, and Dolph Lundgren) that my generation thinks of as action stars. Those are the guys we wanted to see. The nice thing is that E2 delivers that, and when that’s what you’re really coming in to watch, it still holds up just fine. There are no surprises here, no plot twists, it has infinite rewatchability.

220px-PrometheusposterfixedPrometheus on the other hand…..

Truthfully, this film got a lot better with the second viewing. I previously commented on the expectations and how no amount of warning would convince anyone this wasn’t an Alien prequel. Having watched it once already, the anticipation is gone, allowing you to sink much easier into the story. It’s still annoying that the monsters are SO like the Alien monsters in behavior but not in form. It’s still half hearted in that respect, but being able to really get into the story without spending the entire time waiting for something familiar to appear or not….it helps.

Still, the movie suffers from being a part of this series. If this is sitting on my shelf and Alien is sitting on my shelf next to it….I’m choosing Alien every time, plain and simple.

And then I’m going to go read some Violent Blue.  Sounds like a plan to me….


Pinhead Skull Cap take one

hellraiser

100_3270Today we’re back to the Hellraiser makeup. Now that we’ve created the pins for the face (as we saw the last time)  it’s tiem to address the rest of the head. In the past I’ve simply driven nails through a plain old bald cap and called it a day. The nails were real and looked just fine. In this case however, that’s not going to work. What I’m going to need on the Bald cap are nails that match the ones that are on my face.

The natural route was to simply use the exact same nails I had created out of model magic  for my face and glue a bunch of these to the bald cap. I had made a whole lot of extras with this in mind and so I went to work gluing them on.

They ended up a little floppy100_3271, but so were the ones I had already made for my face. It really didn’t matter as long as it all matched. I tried on the cap and the pins spread evenly. Everything looked good.

Then I took the cap off.

SNAP!

Pins started to break off and flew everywhere. The model magic was too light to take the shape changes of the bald cap and constantly broke when taking it on and off. Looks like I’m going to have to find something else to try with this. Time to go work on some Violent Blue while I ponder this.

Pinhead cap : FAILED


FX work

Last week I mentioned I was starting CG FX for the movie “Attack of The Killer Cyborgs From Beyond The Grave”. Once I got the ship design done, it was time to create the scenes and then set up a render farm to produce the actual shots.

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wireframeOne of the real challenges here was to create a radiation field for the ships to fly through. Clouds are complex bits of work and take FOREVER to render properly. I had five workstations running 24 hours a day with a sixth one used for plotting and occasional overflow. After a week of render time (well over 600 combined hours) We’ve finally got all the necessary clips done, though I may play around with a few scenes I want to try out later. We’ll spend this week adding extra effects – electricity and lighting, then sound and editing.  Stay tuned and I’ll let you know where to get the movie from Baron Morbid. In the meantime, go check out todays new Violent Blue!

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Injustice : Gods Amoung Us

gamer

Injustice-Gods-Among-Us

I went out of my way to read all the Injustice series as they were putting out the comics (tie-in). It was enough to get me to really pay attention to the game when it came out.

It’s been a bit, so most people have had more than enough time to play it and get to know the game. It’s the kind of game that appeals to me because I really don’t have to supermanthink too hard about it. It’s a fighter that I can drop in and out of real quickly. my girls love fighting games too and a superhero fighting game with Daddy is just one of their favorite things ever.

One of the other things that makes it so noticeable is that it’s a DC game. Good DC games are few and far between. Marvel still cranks them out with regularity (though not quite as often as I remember them doing in my Genesis days) but DC seems to have problems making anything that doesn’t have the words “Batman” or “Arkham” really work outside the comics.

The new costumes are neat, and not something I’m going to get up in arms about. It’s an HD video game, they want some more grain and texture on them. I’m notinjustice_flash_alt_thumb_zpsc07c122d expecting exact duplicates of what we see in the comics- though I will say the Injustice comic prequel really did better jobs on the costumes. In fact, I prefer the Injustice comic version of Superman’s costume to the New 52 version even.  I’m not digging the shape of Batman’s mask and evil Flash looks downright silly – still Flash can be a hard costume to get right. The lightning motif keeps it right on the edge of cool or lame as it is, and it doesn’t take much to push it all the way to silly.

flash

The Flash TV show got it right. The JLA pilot….not so much.

lexAnother interesting thing about the look – while Lex Luthor does don the armor occasionally, he spends most of the game looking like Lex Luthor : CEO of Lexcorp. I LOVE that. Even more interesting to me is that they seem to have patterned his face after Bruce Willis. Maybe that’s just me, but seriously, other than those eyebrows….

The other thing about the game that’s very standout is the Joker. He’s actually a playable character at one point in the game, and that’s unique in of itself. It’s not Mark Hamil though, and believe me, he is missed. This isn’t Richard Epcar’s first time out as the Joker – he previously did the voice in DC vs. Mortal Kombat. You can see right away he’s doing something very similar to Hamil, and that’s cool. There are a lot of moments, every few sentences where you hear an inflection that tells you it’s not Hamil, but considering how long he did it, this is to be expected. I think it’s really col that they are trying to keep a similar style, instead of going a completely different direction. The Joker has some of the best lines in the game – “Why does she hate Pancakes?” was one of my favorites.

pancakes

20120824013136!Justice_League_Task_Force_game_coverWhen we come down to it, my only real problem with the game is simple : We’ve seen this story before. Justice league or JLA from alternate universe is evil and good JLA has to defeat them. It’s been done a hundred times- heck, it’s even been done before in the game world. Remember Justice League task force for Genesis and Super NES? Still, it’s a very minor gripe. After all, this is a fighting game, and the storyline, while derivative, is well done. Far better done than I would expect coming from a video game anyhow.

The replay is alright, though I’m not sure how often I’ll return to it. I can’t see myself going through story mode again, and I don’t really have the stick-to-itness to unlock all the characters, but standard  Vs mode is always around for a quick pick up and go when I’m not drawing Violent Blue…. in fact, I think I hear Superman calling my name right now!


My Found Footage marathon

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grave-encounters2-movie-poster-vicious-brothers-itunesA while back we talked about Grave Encounters 2 (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/grave-encounters-2/) and by extension the previous film Grave Encounters.

Found footage really isn’t new, The Blair Witch Project pretty much created the genre and Paranormal Activity has made it profitable, grabbing the attention of other studios, indie and big boys alike. Especially in the digital age, it’s much like the zombie movie. Anyone pawith a handheld camera and a little bit of creativity can create one .

I’m not really a fan of Paranormal Activity. Of the modern found footage films, I think Grave encounters is one of the best. It’s certianaly the one I judge against. That’s why I’m looking at the set of movies I’ve got today. These all are done in the same vein, some almost directly coping the film itself.

We’ll start off with “The Tapes”. This movie tries to exploit the whole reality tv genre, much like Grave Encoutners. Of course, these guys aren’t actually looking for ghosts, they are investigating an alleged sex cult. What they find is a Satanic coven and hilarity ensues.

The movie would be far better if I could actually get behind  some of these characters, but they are all just MV5BMTM0OTg5NzU3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjc4OTM0Nw@@._V1._SY317_CR4,0,214,317_completely unlikable and you really kind of root for them to get hacked up. The gore doesn’t disappoint, and if you are into occult movies, I suppose this is a fun way of getting your fix…if you can keep you popcorn down.

This is the first movie to ever give me motion sickness. I got hit really bad, surprising since shakeycam doesn’t usually do that to me. All in all, this one is really a pass.

Next up is “The Asylum Tapes”. Also goes by the name “Greystone Park” This movie is noteworthy because it’s the directorial debut of Oliver Stone’s son. After watching it however, I really hope he can just be content with being a trust fund baby and not unleash anymore of this on the unsuspecting public.

Okay, perhaps I’m being unnecessarily harsh. Really, this is not the genre for what he was trying to do. This film is pretentious, and more than a little artsy. It has SOME interesting concepts and some great lines…and all of them are more than this kind of movie deserves. The Asylum Tapes (2012)Real people don’t talk like this.

We have the main characters breaking into an abandoned insane asylum, pretty much just for kicks, but there seems to be a kind-of idea floating around that maybe they could make a movie out of this… The filmmaking aspect of the story however feels completly secondary. And afterthought, nothing more.

I think I would have forgiven more if this had been a straightforward cinematic style. When you go shakeycam, you live and die by it, in the plain realism of it. These guys wax philosophical, and jump in and out of first person POV to wide shots and quick cuts of scary images. The idea is to build atmosphere, but all it ends up doing is take me straight out of the movie. I can’t suspend my disbelief so easily when you jump styles like that. This just doesn’t work as a found footage movie. When we do have the shakycam going it was another one that made me sick to my stomach, but interestingly enough it would frequently be just….TOO good. Perfectly framed shots lit for the sheer soul of it……again, a found footage film just isn’t the place for this. It makes me wonder why they choose this form of storytelling in the fthe-asylum-tapes-01irst place.

The final nail in the coffin for this movie is the lack of monsters or any real threat. It’s all poorly constructed atmosphere, a few quick and simple scares but nothing significant. We get one evil shadow for about three seconds and a brief flash of the girl on the cover – that’s right : she’s not the main antagonist and is hardly in the film. Funny, marketing seemed to figure out what this movie needed far more than the filmmakers. Oh, and don’t read too much into the inspired by true events stuff. Essentially the “true events” there is Sean Stone and a buddy exploring an allegedly haunted place one night and feeling unnerved. Sure. Whatever. Did I use the word “pretentious” yet?

Seriously, this movie reeks of it. From the beginning scene (which we cut back to occasionally) of the family and guests  having a deeeeeep discussion around the family hooka (seriously) to the final shots of Oliver stone tipping his hat to the camera as his shadow walks away from him, this movie doesn’t earn any of it and it just kind of pisses me off.

amityvile hauntingI want to do a quick shout out to “The Amityville Haunting”. It’s a watered down Amityville Horror done in found footage style.  This one is a real shame. It’s not bad, It’s really not, but if it had been give just a little more time and a little more money, this really could have been a great film- it could have rivaled Paranormal Activity and built on the power of the name. As it is, this movie is really just a cash grab trying to capitalize on that name alone and the popularity of the genre. There are scenes copied right out of Paranormal Activity and that’s a real shame. The ghosts are uninspired and not scary looking enough. The writer obviously knew a bit about the original story and throws in a number of great references, it’s kind of like the later Hellraiser movies – you can see some people really trying to create something here, but they just don’t have the time or money or support of the studio who just wants to keep pushing out product, not matter how good or bad it is. A real shame and a real lost opportunity.

Finally, we have “The Speak”.  Like The Asylum Tapes, this is a groups of people exploring a haunted site, in this case an abandoned hotel in the middle of the city (not isolated or tucked away like the other movies we’ve been talking about). Of the bunch, this is probably the most like “Grave Encounters” in that these guys are trying to create a “Ghost Hunters” kind of show. Once inside, they preform a ritual called “The Speak” which is designed to open the door to the spirit world and let the ghosts in.

Really, this is the best of the bunch I watched 15292566514917060963here. It has an interesting style in that it is billed as one continuous shot through the entire hour and a half film. First and foremost let me just poke a couple of holes in this claim, because I was really excited to check this out. There is at least one sequence late in teh movie that is a cut, but possibly it’s just an insert….they cut to footage they are watching on a camera, then back to the characters in the movie.  There are at least two other moments that could he bidden cuts in the film. The last minuet or two of the movie are cut normally, but that may not count as it not necessarily supposed to be that first person POV anymore. So yeah, not a TRUE one take deal, but close enough that it’s still impressive what they did here.

You have to keep this in mind too. We get some pretty good performances from these actors considering it’s basically one long take. I spent twenty years on stage, and I get how hard that can be in of itself, but you got to understand this is WAY more complex than theater. You’re performance is constant, going up stairs different floors different rooms, up on the roof, the scope of the blocking and choreography in this film is staggering. It makes what might otherwise be considered average performances shine a lot brighter.

I liked this one. Good monsters and possession, incredibly creepy atmosphere (far creepier than Greystone Park and with fewer resources- imagine that) good ideas, and really a genuinely well done film. It’s definitely worth a rental, though it might not really be a buy. If I have this on my shelf next to Grave Encounters, I’m still going with Grave Encounters, but of the lot, this comes the closest and works the best by far.

Okay. I’m sufficiently creeped out for the night. I think I’ll read some Violent Blue to clear my head before hitting the sack. Happy nightmares everyone!


Ship comission

So I reached out to a filmmaker I know from Cinema Wasteland to see if he’d like some help with his current project “Attack of The Killer Cyborgs From Beyond The Grave”.

The job was to design a ship that would be used for one of the characters and a bounty hunter chasing him. Because it was a cheesy 50’s sci-fi vibe I got stuck on the idea of a flying saucer and came up with this:

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ship pass 1

I emailed it off and the client was happy and I started some early animatics. The problem was, I wasn’t so happy with it. The more I looked at it the more it felt – I don’t know, half-way done.

I decided to scrap the entire design and start again from scratch. Something dirtier. More teeth.

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This design starts off way more as a travel pod from the early Star Trek movies, but is built up to be uglier, more like something out of Blade Runner or Aliens. From behind I wanted it to look like a Jim Lee drawing out of Wild C.A.T.S.

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912926_568273296550431_430293457_nI an SO glad I did. I’m so very much happier with this one.

The model is done, but I’ve fallen behind schedule a bit due to a family emergency. Beginning some animation this week, and may have to take some time of from doing new Violent Blue (we’ll still post strips every MWF of course). Can’t wait to see the final product!


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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and FridayNew_035


Thank you Julie Newmar!

Autographs

I do believe Julie Newmar is my favorite Catwoman. I liked Michelle Pffiefer, but her Catwoman was definitely a Tim Burton creation and not at all a reflection of anything in the comics. Anne Hathaway kind of captures that not-quite-a-villian feel, but really, she’s just to…nice.

We don’t talk about Hallie Berry.

There were of course, other Catwomen in the Batman TV series, but they were all imitations of Julie Newmar. She did it first and best and I’m thrilled to have her autograph!

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Video Game Parents

gamerA question has been occurring to me lately.

It first came to mind when Maddie and I were playing Gauntlet on the M.A.M.E. cabinet on night. Maddie frequently asks to play games with me on the rebuilt arcade machine, mostly the Marvel vs. DC M.U.G.E.N. game, but also things like Marble Madness or Crusin’.

100_0956This night she had asked for a co-op game, especially one with a princess. Gauntlet seemed to be the best solution and we played through dozens of levels.

The next time the question came to mind was when I was playing a game of Heroclix over at Comics are Go! in Sheffield. I had brought out some of my custom objects to play with the game pieces – an old 7-Up machine, a cigarette vendor and an X-Men 4 player arcade cabinet. We were talking about how dumb it was that no one ever ported this game over to any arcade 1platform of the day or even to PC-CD (Though I’m told it’s finally available for ps3. Is that correct?) I mentioned that my daughter and I had played through the entire thing on my M.A.M.E cabinet.

So what’s the question? Here it is.

Are we the first generation of parents to use video games to bond with our kids?

It’s a devilishly simple question….and not as straightforward as it seems.

Sure parents probably played some video games with their kids, but how often? How did it fit into their 1795077relationship? It’s still a reasonably new medium thought that’s getting easier and easier to forget. One of the developers in the documentary “Indie Game” pointed out that this generation – people born around/after 1975-1980 grew up with games as a normal part of their life. It wasn’t a novelty, it wasn’t an occasional activity, just popping a quarter in if you happened to be at the pizza parlor or something. We had Atari’s and Nintendos and probably played a little bit on most days.

When we first got an Atari 2600, my parents played a little bit with me, but the novelty soon wore off for them and they moved on. For the most part, I played games alone or occasionally with friends. I imagine that was the case with most kids. Some dads here and there would get addicted to Zelda or Mario and perhaps they would take turns, but those are really single player experiences, not bonding games. The documentary “The Ecstasy of Order” describes a 100_0957couple of families where they would competitively play Tetris, but again, one at a time, posting the score on a whiteboard or refrigerator.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a gamer. Not in the least. If you really stretch the definition, you might be able to label me as a retrogamer (one of the reasons I made Steve in Violent Blue one – at least that way I can know a little more about what I’m talking about). I enjoy classic games, and archive as many as I cam using emulators. I have a paticular love of old arcade games up through the 32-bit era. They tend to be short and the M.A.M.E. rampagedcabinet gives me unlimited virtual quarters and that’s a good thing because more often than not, I don’t have the patience to finish a game. I complete a game on my PC or DS approximately once every year or two. The last one I did was the new version of Y’s ….and that doesn’t exactly count since it’s just a rehash of the game I beat on my Sega Master System twenty years ago. I’m pretty sure I will beat the Spirit Camera game Amy got me, but even that three hour game has stretched out for months!

When I was a teenager  I played every day, as an adult, I play games once a week or less…which brings me back to my point : NOT a gamer.

105_3776Having kids kind of changed that. I play more often now, because when they ask to play a game with me, I don’t want to say no. They won’t always be around to play games with me. When I built the M.A.M.E cabinet, I intentionally built in two controllers because I knew my kids would be playing games on it some day. Maddie and Lydia race against me in Mario Kart on our DS’s and pass around the tablet for the Hungry Shark game. We fight on Marvel vs. DC and on the old Capcom games, we co-op on Magic Sword. We play on the Genesis hooked up in the Livingroom (although those games actually don’t look that great on the HD TV) and Maddie has discovered she likes Scorpion best in Mortal Kombat.

Video games with Daddy has always been a part of their lives.

See?

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Free Comic Book Day 2013

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I started my Free Comic Book Day this year at Midnight. Well, actually a little before, 405895_10151573825462278_1154100036_nheading out to Carol and John’s comic shop for the Midnight release party.The midnight party features free comics, specially brewed drinks and food along with sales and costumes. I went to this a couple of years ago with my friends John and Carl, and remembered not liking it, but didn’t quite remember why.

The two and a half hour wait in line may have had something to do with it. I remember it being crowded, but not this crowded….and we were waiting forever. The young lady in the great Doctor Who shirt (Complete with a button that said “come along Pond!”) that I was in line with was getting a little worried that there might not be much left if we ever go in. (By the way, if your reading this, I owe you an apology. I was in a bad mood and didn’t realize we would be out there so long. I should have talked to you more and been friendlier. I was rude to just stand and read my book as much as I did). On Superman_CustomFacebook I joked with folks that we should have headed to the party and played a game of Heroclix while we waited. Seriously, there was enough time to get in a full game while in line. If I do this party again next year, I’m planning something like that. Cards or heroclix or SOMETHING.

Still, we eventually got in and I got my first selections, including the Cleveland edition of Superman. That was one I definitely wanted, especially since we’re celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the character – or trying to at least.

Madeline had ballet the next morning and we weren’t about to let her take off just to trot around town trolling for comic books with Daddy. We suited Lydia up and were batgirlready when Maddie got home at 11. We tossed her costume on, packed a lunch and headed back to Carol and John’s for the costume contests.

Wow.

We had no idea that half of the places we went for Free Comic Book Day would be OUT by the time we got there. Perhaps we need to start earlier, but it also seemed like there were a bunch more people out this year than before.

600745_569131633131264_696461426_n I saw the  line at Carol and Johns and my heart sank a little. It was as long this afternoon as it was at midnight. Ugh. The girls wouldn’t last an hour or two of waiting like that. Still, we were there in time for the costume contest, so the girls got their numbers and headed up. Maddie and Lydia were in different age categories, so they weren’t competing against each other. I think I’ve very glad for that.

To my great delight (and perhaps a little surprise) both of my girls placed. Lydia got third (and lost out to the cutiest set Power Puff girls EVER) while Maddie got second in her division. I couldn’t be happier.

321454_569132826464478_884028288_n 601916_569130963131331_525149132_n941203_569131093131318_799551964_nNext off, we headed out to Parma to swoop down the Polish corridor. B and L comics  was out, however  he had a few ones from last year and older on the counter to try and still have something for people….my girls and I were at the counter making our purchases (we raided the .50 box) and were asking about which free ones he still had and folks were reaching around us to snatch them away before my two little girls could get anything! How rude!

Traffic was bad enough that we skipped Northcoast Nostalga…a shame too, because 128880_457630_60they always have great discount bins – .25 and .35 bins, and I always rummage through those. York was running out, but the girls got some Strawberry Shortcake there and we bought some Trinity (because they had Wonder Woman on the cover). I also got my Uglydoll comic here. This was just the coolest offering the FCBD! The girls loved looking at the statues and figures. York was running out too, so they pulled stacks of old issues from the back and set them up on the free table so everyone could still get something. Very cool guys. On the way to our next stop, I became aware of Maddie talking in the back seat. Not to me….no she was reading on of the strawberry shortcake comics she had just gotten to her sister.

Thank God for Comics are Go! in Sheffield. They still had a decent stock and had save me one of the FCBD  Iron Man 3 heroclix! You guys saved the day. Seriously. Heroclix_New-300x300The girls had been getting a little discouraged. The other thing Comics Are Go! managed to find for me was a copy of the Walking Dead comic for this year. Not one place we went had that one still in stock. In fact, Mike ran into the back  and dug that and a Judge Dread out for me I wouldn’t have gotten these comics otherwise. Then again, that’s one of the things about having a shop you go to regularly. In fact,  I think next year, we may mostly just do Comics Are Go. (Maybe the midnight party at Carol and Johns, but maybe not).

While we were in Comics are Go! Maddie kept looking around at the toys and other 128886_457754_62comics, and she discovered the My Little Pony comic book. She asked me if we could get that one too, and I said yes (like last year, we want to buy something at every stop to do what little we can to support these places). She was also looking at the figures and discovered the Wonder Woman line – A Circe figure and a special agent Diana Prince figure. She brought those up the Scott, the store owner and asked why the boxes said “Wonder Woman” when it didn’t look like Wonder Woman inside. He smiled and explained who the figures were. It was unbearably cute.

Of course we dressed up. Me too. I tried something different this year, my costume was Perry White, with Maddie as She-Ra and Lydia as Batgirl. Funny, Lydia’s always 21305_569069549804139_1496418892_nrefused to wear masks, but this year she came up to me first thing in the morning and asked me to make her a mask for her costume! Rushed in to the basement to find some foam and elastic, but we got it done!

By the time we got home we were all tired and Maddie was eager to tear into the Lego set she won in the costume contest. The girls asked for a Wonder Woman cartoon so I fired up Netflix and turned on the Wonder-Woman centric episodes of Justice League. We played with Legos and plowed through our piles of comics. We didn’t bring home as many this year. The girls had about seven each. I 935666_569131116464649_793281673_nhad about twenty. I know they were a little disappointed by that, but we still had a fun day out and I still had plans for the evening. After all, what better way to end FCBD than with Iron Man 3 at Amherst Cinemas? I still had a dollar left over from comic book shopping and managed to scrape together two more dollars in change (remember the days when you could still hit a movie using the change you found in you couch or car seats?)

I got to the theatre just before the movie was supposed to start. Just in time to see them put the “Sold Out” sign up.

@#$%&!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comics shops running out of comics? Comic movie running out of tickets? I’m beginning to see a theme here. Time to pop in the Scott Pilgrim DVD I borrowed from the Library and try again tomorrow.

I did make it in on Sunday. Probably the best Iron Man movie of all of them, I prefer this director. However, while I liked it better than any of the other Iron Man movies, but I still  think it needed 30% more Tony-in-the-suit. It seems like the entire point of these films is to get tony out of the armor….I get that they are trying to make up for it by throwing in War Machine/ Iron Patriot, but honestly, for a film called “Iron Man” Iron man is actually not in it very much. I think we had more screen time with Tony-in-the-suit in Avengers. And poor Tony, he was getting tossed around worse than Bruce Campbell in an old cabin.

I really like the Iron Patriot suit though. I’ve got a bunch of foam in my attic. Wondering if I could make a suit….I think my cosplay for Lake Effect Comic Con might be Tony with just the arm and leg armor from the escape sequence. We’ll see.

We’ll close  this with some photos from the midnight party and FCBD. Some of these are mine, some are culled from around Facebook. And remember, new Violent Blue is up today!

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FCBD Tomorrow!

Don’t forget, Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! Head out and support you local Comic Book Shop! I’ve already got the girls costumes ready for them!

Made by Samsung DVC

Then that afternoon I’ll be hading down to Amherst Cinemas for Iron Man 3! Remember, Amherst is a $3.00 theatre, leaving me enough to go see Godzilla at the Cedar Lee! (If I don’t head over to Comics are Go for Heroclix that is)

 


Th Screwtape Letters part three

filmography

Presenting part thee in our Screwtape Letters video series. Some of my favorite CG bits in this one.

When you’re finished watching, head over and check out today’s Violent Blue!


Aside

Hey guys, check out my interview over at

Banner small dark copyHey guys, check out my interview over at R-Squared Comicz. I talk a little about Violent Blue, comics in general and some of my upcoming projects!

http://www.rsquaredcomicz.com/2013/04/29/christian-comic-creator-interview-74-matthew-skelly/

Then don’t forget to head back over to the main site for today’s Violent Blue!