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Archive for December, 2015

Pop Meeting 112 Comic Book creators

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Think of it as Mt. Rushmore. If there were a monument of the great comic book creators, whose faces would be on it? Gerry Conway? Denny O’Neil? Allen Bellman? (Mike Barr, definately)

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


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Closed for Christmas

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This Years Cover

commissionsI’m not a huge Star Wars fan. That’s what made it difficult this year. The theme was something Star Wars – anything. It didn’t have to be Cleveland or Christmas, but definitely Star Wars. Part of me wishes I had gone with my initial idea – The Doctor (probably ten) fixing an X-Wing. there would have been more detail but it would have stood out better. Instead, I went with A Christmas Story. So did everyone else.

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I still think I had an interesting take, and here’s the process behind it!

First pencils are done separately. This is completely a test run- to figure out placement and size. A lot of things ended up being a LOT smaller than I had intended.

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You’ll notice that Artoo doesn’t even appear yet. He was added later….once I saw how much empty space was between Shimi and Qui-Gon. I could have filled that up with a cityscape, but Artoo seemed like a better idea. The dialogue in Anakins thought balloon is diffrent to. I really struggled with that. I wanted something true to both A Christmas Story and to Anakin’s character. Revenge is cute..maybe even funny. Maybe a little disturbing. It didn’t fit. I tried a few diffrent phrases, and none did it for me. I then decided to list all the memorable qoutes from the movie. A Christmas Story has a LOT of them. Oh Fudge came up and was as perfect as I could get.

12360210_1079288528782236_5606749236471654893_nBy the way, Artoo? I’m never drawing that sucker again. I had no idea how complicated he was. That design seems so simple – it’s a lie! He’s fiendishly hard to get right…and if you get something wrong BELIEVE me you’re going to hear about it.

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So now that we have a plan, I move on to actually drawing it on the cover. If there are any changes (like adding the droid) now is the time. I really wish I could have figured out a good place I could sneak in the leg lamp. Even at this late date I was trying – maybe in the adobe building? Nope. No room. (That’s really what that initial drawing is for – to figure that stuff out).

Also now that we’ve settled on “Oh Fudge” as Anakin’s thought, it changes his demeanor. He’s frustrated and upset, but not necessarily angry. The clenched fists go from active to passive.

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Inks are next. I hate inking. I’m terrible at it and I don’t have the proper equipment for it. When I do something for Kreepy Kastle, or Angel Lite comics, or Lazer Comics or Violent Blue, I ink digitally. Not an option here. It has to be done on the cover and that means good old fashioned inking – and only one shot at it.

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You’ll noticed that there’s parts I left uninked. There’s some pencils still showing through, ones I hoped would fade away once I dove into the coloring process. Last year I used colored pencils. It worked reasonably well, but still left a bit of a rough “crayon” look to the pieces. A couple of watercolor covers caught my eye and put that in mind for this time around. I stuck with the pencils for a few highlights- the blue on Artoo for instance; it required a precision Watercolor paint doesn’t afford. It was an adventure to mix some of these colors, trying to get the right tone for shadows and folds. The twin suns are my favorite part. To achieve it with negative space…the areas I DIDN’T paint, that was really rewarding to see succeed. I was hoping that the water wouldn’t warp the paper too much. It did a bit, but no enough to ruin anything.

12311315_1079642625413493_4214082644950401269_nI can’t complain too much about how it turned out. The spelling on Anakin’s name is a mistake – google misled me. I should have tried Wookiepedia. Still I really like the idea of Anakin going all Sith on us because of that horrible pink bunny suit, and the amount of research this took to get the images right was genuinly surprising. Shimi had parts to her outfit I didn’t remember. Artoo has ports in places I never thought about.

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A big thanks to Carol and John’s for including me in the art show and an even bigger thanks to the person who bought my art. That money will go to the Cleveland food bank and help someone in need this winter.

Merry Christmas to all.

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Christmas Force

IMG_9392Yes  I saw it. Saturday afternoon I headed out to Amherst cinemas and plunked down my $4.00 for the newest Star Wars movie (We’ll talk about that later). It seemed like something I should do sooner rather than later since spoilers were already starting to leak out and I was headed out to a Star Wars themed party at Carol and John’s later that night.

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I had done a piece for thier art show that would be raffled off as the night went on. The Christmas party was great fun as always, with snacks and deals and friends. They brew a craft beer every year just to hand out at this event (I don’t even drink beer. I just want the bottle!)

IMG_9407 The Star Wars Gingerbread was just to DIE for. IMG_9400

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And of course they showed us that the one thing that can make a Christmas party better is Lightsabers.

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Hope your weekend was just as eventful.

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Phantom of the Opera 1925

Movie banner12345388_1083527951691627_6709919314020208049_nSo I went out to the 90th anniversary of the Cedar Lee theatre last night to see their screening of the original 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney sr.

It was….

Well, actually head on over to the Kreepy Kastle and you can find my full write up over there!

http://kreepykastle.com/phantom-of-the-opera/

 

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Pop Meeting 111 Star Wars

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With the new movie right around the corner, it seems like a perfect time to discuss Star Wars!

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!

Hey, does anyone else remember the time Mazinger Z fought off those two Jedi or did I just imagine that?

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Ayşecik ve Sihirli Cüceler Rüyalar Ülkesinde :Turkish Wizard of OZ

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000004414_Turkish1xFilmed in 1971, This is one of the more loosely based version of OZ, with a poor production quality (a LOT of exterior scenes because apparently they couldn’t afford a studio….) that I forgive a lot more readily in Baum’s own films back in the 30’s and earlier.

A little girl named Ayşa lives with her grandparents on a farm, which is carried away by a terrible tornado. When the house lands, she opens the front door and peeks outside. Given a kiss by the Northern Sorceress and promised aid by seven…well I suppose they are supposed to be munchkins, though they are dressed as toy soldiers, she sets out to find the Great Wizard.  She encounters Korkuluk the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion.

Keşkin Zeka demands that they kill the Wicked Witch (Kötü Cadı) of the South Bh4xY(Suna Selen) in order to receive their wishes. But Ayşecik and the Lion are imprisoned in the witch’s jail-house after their friends are destroyed by her army of soldiers. Aysecik comes into the jail-house, carrying a heavy, tin bucket but the sets it down as the wicked witch orders her to wash the floor. The girl trips over a string and her left shoe lands on the floor, the wicked witch picks up the shoe and teases Aysecik. Ayesecik picks up her bucket of water and throws it at her, the witch screams as her servants run away but then she begins to tremble, then she finally evaporates into thin air. Back at the Emerald City, Keşkin Zeka admits to being a fraud, delivers trinkets to Ayşecik’s friends, and leaves h2gHFOer behind in his balloon escape, so they set off on their journey again, meeting again the china dolls, the hammer-wielding cavemen and then start to dance, then Aysecik ends up home.

I’m fascinated by it as a bit of an OZphile, and it might amuse or terrify small children, but this is one of those movies if you have the original, why bother?

Scenes are available on YouTube.


Legendary

Autographs

Some autographs I’m truly surprised I get back. It almost seems like legends shouldn’t sign through the mail…but then again, how else might I get them?

Bob Newhart is getting up there and when he appears on the Big Bang theory, he’s not looking to hot. he ‘s slowing down, but he’s still a brilliant comedian.

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And James Earl Jones…what more needs to be said?

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Last week

tvThe FlashFirst and foremost, I’d like to say that Zombieland is NO substitute for The Walking Dead, okay? It was actually a clever move for SyFy to run it last night in the Walking Dead’s time slot though, sort of trying to ease us out of the Sunday night habit we developed over those last two months. I found myself flipping between that and the Big Bang Theory reruns on TBS, not truly watching either one.

Enough of that. This entry here isn’t really about what I HAVEN’T watched, it’s about what I DID watch last week!

Can we just start off by agreeing how awesome the Flash and Arrow crossover was this week? Honestly I felt like I was watching an old issue of showcase.​ It’s amazing to me that these crossoveres even exist and I’m so happy to watch them.

Of course, if we want to be perfectly fair, we HAVE seen the Flash and Hawkman both on screen together before….but really, that’s a special that is best forgotten….12308301_1075958212448601_4967550108004245228_n

I know that they’re obviously setting up for next year’s Legends of Tomorrow series, but it’s one of those moments where even though I know I’m being played with a backdoor pilot, I just don’t care. The payoff is good enough that I’m fine with that. Really that’s the thing about DC on television, everything you’re doing just works. I know I’ve said it before, but what Marvel is to superhero movies, DC is to superhero television.I’m looking forward to Legends of tomorrow more than ever.

I’ve been about a week behind on Doctor Who, which is fine. The tendency of them to do two partners this season has really been troublesome for me, I really prefer the one shots that they started doing back when the series returned in 2005. The constant cliffhanger episodes have really been a little much. I suppose it wasn’t strictly a Rachel-Talalay-capaldi-series-9-300x219two-parter, but really close enough that I’m delighted to see you Rachel Talalay back in the directors chair though, I’ve enjoyed her work since her association back with the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and to have her become such a big part of these new Doctor Who episodes is delightful. Someone up on the Hellbound web mentioned that the hell episode felt almost Hellriaser, with the Doctor having to actually solve what ended up being a giant puzzle – and the confession dial actually does resemble one of Leviathans puzzles more than a little bit. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a Hellraiser influence in Doctor Who either, remember the trickster? Now there was a cenobite clone if I’ve ever seen one! (and don’t even get me started on those boxes in the Sarah Jane adventures)

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The initial departure of Clara from the series didn’t please me. While I don’t really enjoy her chemistry with the current Doctor, I much preferred her with Matt Smith, but that initial end still seemed like a very punk way to go out that I much prefer the exit that they gave her here, although it seems extraordinarily dangerous to have another rogue Tardis just floating around out there. Isn’t time lord technology supposed to be dangerous? And doctor_who_series_9_poster_by_jasetheavenger-d8i3dtqeven with Clara there, she is accompanied by Me.  Me is nothing short of a sociopath. I hate this chick, and to this day I believe she was one of the Doctors greatest mistakes.

The return to Gallifrey for the final episode was amazing.  I’ve been saying a lot this year, that the season has been mediocre. Not the last two episodes – these are been everything I’ve come to expect from the Doctor Who reboot. I love the fact that Gallifrey now seems to be back in our universe, but still far enough away that we’re not going to see it often. It’s still more distant than it was in the original series but close enough to maintain a presence. The idea of the Doctor being outraged at the use of the confession dial as a torture device, the way he forced the resignation of the Lord President, the description of him by the soldiers, it was all just perfectly epic. I so enjoyed this story. Moffat knows enough to give us some fan service whenever possible, and the return of the Hartnell Tardis, that too was a delightful surprise. really to me I don’t think of it so much is the Hartnell Tardis as I do the Pertwee Tardis. The first incarnation that we see that we see him in– or perhaps at a later one I don’t remember – is this same console, along with a very similar if not identical console room. The back wall, the one we never see, the one that isn’t all roundles, that room always made an impression on me.

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hqdefaultI’m really digging the velvety coat that Capauldi dons at the end. That along with the banded collar, I hope those stay. All around, he gets more and more like my favorite  (again, see Pertwee above) every day it seems.

The new sonic screwdriver that we see at the end of the episode by the way, I like it. I like it way better than the one that Mat Smith and Capauldi have bee using, although I still have a seriously soft spot for The one that Tennant and Ecclston used. It had a more practical look where as this on in particular looks very much like a prop that you’d find in engineering during an episode of Star Trek : The Next Generation.(seriously though, doesn’t that look JUST like it belongs in that Starfleet tool box down there?)

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Still it’s an improvement, especially over the stupid sonic sunglasses (which there was no need to be outraged over – we were told flat out at the basheginning that they weren’t going to last)

I had to catch up on two episodes of Ash versus the Evil Dead as well. You know what? I’m glad these things are only half an hour. I still believe that the series is almost entirely fan service. it’s interesting what’s going on with it, but there is so little actual story that to spread it out over a season has got to be difficult – and it shows start after each upset I don’t feel like I’ve watched a whole lot of story, but that’s okay because I’m really tuning in to watch Ash with his chainsaw and slice up fiendish demonic thingies and we get that in spades. I am interested in seeing where the series goes, and I think it would be really cool if somebody re-edited it down into say, a two hour Evil Dead film – just boiling it down to the essentials. I think it could be accomplished, and the end result would be even more satisfying – still not complaining, I never thought the series would happen and refused to believe that it was actually real until I was sitting down watching it. Really if I have any complaints, it’s that as far as I know, Tom Sullivan isn’t doing any of the artwork for the Necronomicon. The Book of the Dead flew open in this last episode and I could see some of the images in there and they look very similar to what Tom created for the original Book of the Dead. There is absolutely no reason he shouldn’t have been invited back to create the new Book of the Dead prop and any artwork necessary. It’s a real missed opportunity.

Still, what a time to be alive, when you can watch the Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman and Hawkgirl on live-action television, and then let the channel the next day to watch Doctor Who and one more time to watch a continuation of the evil dead. it’s good to be in 2015.


Old Christmas videos!

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I posted some of these a couple of years ago, and to celebrate the season we’re doing a few more this year.

Wow they were little back then….


Final Score

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Capitol map10367582_872180892826335_755174026719423114_nSunday night was the secret movie night up at the Capitol Theatre. This is rapidly turning into one of my favorite events, especially since they did it twice this year.

The idea is this – they announce the upcoming schedule for the midnight and cult movies, then you stick around for a free film, always a cinematic atrocity from the programmers personal collection.

I entered the theatre, and discovered that insted of trailers or slides (like you usally see if you arrive at a movie early) they had the Christmas episode of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse running. I was never a big fan of the show as a kid. I’m still not, but I appreciate the lunacy a great deal more and man, how weird is it to see Lawrence Fishborne and William Marshell together in this thing? It’s stuff like this that makes these events feel more like a get together, like you’re hanging out at a friends place watching ridiculous stuff on TV – only in this case, it’s a movie screen insted of a TV.

The lights went u000199_18_44_17_018441724175p and two lucky people won prizes; a copy of a beautiful art book – “Alternative Movie Posters” vol 2. The artist had been exhibiting at Genghis Con on the east side of Cleveland that day (I keep meaning to get out to that one, it’s run by the guys at Comics are Go, my preferred comic shop) and he slipped the Capitol Theatre a copy to give away that night. Seriously, this is a great prize. I’ve been seeing the ads for this book at every con I’ve gone to this year and it comes out in just a day or so. This winner got it early, and for free.

The second prize was a season pass to the Late shift series.  A pretty amazing win and honestly, if you’re coming to the secret movie, you’re definitely up for these films.

And now, on with the show.

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f2131d84e8ac2ab90112b2b355ab0d3fHow do I describe what followed? The film is called “Final Score”. It stars Chris Mitchum– yes, the son of Robert Mitchum. I spent most of the film trying to figure out exactly where it was supposed to be set at. In the beginning during the talk of software development and turing “here” into the new silicone valley I thought maybe they were trying to sugesst it was in the US, even though it was obviously a forign film. Nope, later on the main character’s son asks “Why do we live here insted of America?” Okay, fine. But where exactly is here???

The final battle takes place in a very japanese looking building, and I ocassionaly see horse and carts in the street – not amish ones but old fashioned ones – and this film takes place in the 80’s. That’s another clue. Seriously, it was kind of hard to tell. The cast is mixed, with a lot of American skin tones confusing me further. I eventually had to go to IMDB to discover it was Indonesian. Let’s see what else IMDB has to say about it.

Richard Brown, a decorated Vietnam War veteran now living in Indonesia, discovers that gunmen invaded his home, murdered his son, Bobby, (preparing to celebrate his 8th birthday), and gang-raped and murdered his wife, Florinda. Vowing revenge, he begins to track down the culprits, learning in the process that they’re in the employ of a business rival named Hawk. At one point he’s captured, beaten, and tortured but then he’s rescued by Julia, Hawk’s personal secretary, who also seeks revenge on her employer for causing the death of her sister. Brown eventually finds and confronts Hawk at Hawk’s fortress-like compound.

This is not an entirely bad description, but it lacks the flavor of the movie. Mitchum is wholly without charisma. In every close up he looks like he’s having a stroke and he’s mastered this look of not quite knowing where he is at the moment…

20140219000212-finlscore-FINALIts obvious that the entire movie was shot without sound. The dubbing and foley however, get so exaggerated that it frequently crosses over into the cartoonish, and if there’s one thing this movie doesn’t need, it’s MORE cartoonish features.

Explosions abound. I wish I had kept count because they are everywhere. It’s almost as if a pyrotechnic guy met another guy who knew how to make squibs and decided “Hey! Let’s make a movie!”.  There’s too much of a budget on display here for that to be the case, and more’s the shame. I have to wonder if anyone was actually keeping tabs on this film. On paper it’s dynamite. Helicopter fighting a dirt bike with a Gatling gun on it…(you know that bike that’s in every commercial for the original Machete? This movie did that first.) a car chase that ends with the bad guys car slammed into by a train, revenge, gunfights, and a ninja shows up at one point.

This really is amazingly bad, and I’m honestly curious enough to pick up some of director Arizal‘s other work, just to see what else he’s done. It’s a movie to see with friends, not alone. It’s up on Youtube right now, though I imagine it could get pulled at any moment if someone actually wants to enforce copyright in this turkey. The rape scene ensures it won’t be in my collection, but I’m still happy to have experienced this film in all of it’s cheesy glory.

By the way, if you’re interested in the Late Shift lineup, check out the list below.

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