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Archive for January, 2016

Thank you Jennifer Hale!

Autographs

So you want to make my daughter deliriously happy? Show her that her favorite princess and her favorite villian are played by the same person.

Maddie’s obsession with Star Sapphire hasn’t abated and I was intrigued to discover she was voiced by Jennifer Hale in the Green Lantern series. She’s the same actress who voiced Cinderella in the direct to video cash grabs – I mean sequels. She responded to our letter in about two weeks, lightning fast and a triumph for Maddie!

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Cady McClain

Autographs

One of the great things about soap opera stars is that they respond to email! It’s also a good be that they will eventually  end up in b cinema. In Cady’s case, before All My Children, she had guest shots in  Cheers, St. Elswhere and Law and Order.

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tvsuicide-squad-2016-task-forceTV is starting up again, it’s slow – we are still waiting for iZombie and Supergirl, but it’s starting definitely​. Last week’s Promo for Legends of Tomorrow left me a little cold, but I really loved the showcase of the new DC cinematic universe. It got the girls excited to – they had no interest in Wonder Woman and were on the fence about Suicide Squad until they saw this.  It really does make me excited for what’s coming up on the films, but I’ve said it before, where DC is really killing it is on TV. They’re creating a brilliant shared universe there, and one that I’m far more interested in then there cinematic one.

The FlashFor me of course, the linchpin here is the Flash.

Mind you, I’m fully aware that Arrow came first – but I don’t really watch Arrow as much as I probably should – it’s hard for me to get in to. The Flash is a far more accessible show, better rounded and more engaging for me.

The Wally West story has been genuinely interesting. I like when its going, although I’m having a hard time with Wally been kind of – unlikeable. I’m sure that will change, but I miss the funny more lighthearted Wally that became my favourite flash in the comics. Still, the return of Reverse Flash and everything that is happening since the show has returned to TV for the rest of the season has really worked, dead on.

That brings us to Legends of Tomorrow. I missed the premier, but thankfully they legendsrebroadcast it last night after the Flash and I stuck around to watch it eagerly.

I’ve heard nothing bad about Legends, a lot of my friends are really into it, and completely on-board. I’m not so sure I am. It wasn’t bad mind you – it wasn’t bad at all. It was a very smart thing they did, setting this up over the course of a year across two different television series – when we finally got all the characters assembled it felt like visiting with old friends. This really is DC television’s version of the Avengers. The problem is, it wasn’t spectacular. The Avengers was mind blowing, this was merely okay. It was fun to watch these characters, but really I feel like I’m watching it because it’s got the DC logo in the top corner – and not because of its own merits. I’m not sure that I would be into this as much if it were a DC show, and that bothers me – it also makes me wonder if I’m going to be able to stay with it. A television show has to be pretty spectacular for me to remember to sit down in front of the TV and a certain time every week – I managed to hold on with both Arrow and Agents of SHIELD for about two or three weeks, until I started forgetting when it was on and fell behind and never caught up again. The Flash captured my imagination from the very first time I watched it – admittedly that was six months after the original premiere, but nevertheless I was on board immediately and haven’t missed an episodesense. Legends needs to improve dramatically for it to inspire that100_3362 kind of loyalty from me, and I think it might – the ending left me wanting more, and anticipating the next episode that this may be a DVR.

There’s some really good stuff here though. I love the costumes- Firestorm has one of the best versions of that costume I’ve seen, and I was actually a big fan of the way the series relaunched in 2006, and that seems to be a lot of what they are pulling from. I’ve always been a fan of what Gerry Conway created in Firestorm. One of my earliest comics was a Firestorm that guest-starred the JLA, Firestormand it’s been a real treat to see this in live action. There were times that I found the Ronny version a little lacking, but even still, I was loving it. This current incarnation though, it’s just perfect. The interaction between Professor Stein and Jefferson just works. These two have real chemistry with each other and really capitalizes on the dynamic of the age difference, something that was missing from the slightly overaged Ronny Raymond version (He was much younger in the comics).

Can we also talk about the Atom? I personally liked Brandon Routh as Superman, but for all the haters out there, you HAVE to admit he’s way more than redeemed NEyfD7W17jZeBC_2_bhimself and is absolutely KILLING it as the Atom. I love this suit too. I know it took a lot of flack at first for being a poor man’s Iron man, but really, once you see this overeager puppy dog personality that Routh is giving out, it’s obvious, this is as far from Iron Man as anyone could get. Seriously,  I think I may have to build a copy of this suit for myself.

I’ll definitely be back for more of this, and I want to see what happens with it.

In other news, no new Doctor Who until Christmas 2016. Looks like the TV category on the blog is going to get a lot thinner…


Inglorious Basterds

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12509264_10153361810487218_4373660787809765978_n.jpgTONIGHT! 7PM – $5 – The Palace Director Series continues with another Tarantino classic – “Inglourious Basterds”. Maybe his best??!!! A good debate. Doors, Chandelier Lounge and SMASH: The World’s Greatest Food Truck open and start serving at 6PM…it’s a German Beer Hall kind of a night!


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Can’t read from source file or disk

techtipsWhen I’m not writing comics or watching terrible films I also work as an IT consultant. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the last 17 years.
Problem:

File shows up in a folder, but any attempt to delete, rename or move it results in : “Error Deleting File or Folder – Cannot delete file: Cannot read from the source file or disk“.

If it’s a folder, no hidden files are inside it. You can read and write to it. No permissions error, and the file/folder is not set as hidden or read only in properties.

Dropping down to a DOS prompt and trying a DEL, DELTREE, or RN return the same error.

Solution:

This is caused by an invalid character in the file name. Possibly a dot or a space (Spaces are really hard to spot – they’re invisible. But try a rename and just use the arrow keys in the rename box. If there’s a space at the end, the arrow key will find it and move one character past the last letter). Normally Windows will not let you create something with an invalid character in the name, but it can happen if you’re in a system remotely and the connection gets cut off, or if there’s corruption on the Hard disk, or if the file was created by a Mac and then some how transfered over to the system.

I ran across a couple of possible solutions from the command prompt, but if your file has a space in the name, especially in the middle of the name, you won’t be able to run them.  Tried a couple of tools, “Killbox” returned a similar error – that the file dosen’t appear to exist. Finally came across “Unlocker”. This app will force a delete of the file. Start up the program and use it’s interface to browse to the file / folder in question (local or network drive, it dosen’t matter. as long as you can browse to it, the application can work with it), and from the actions list select “Delete”. File is immedeately deleted. There’s also a “Rename” and a “Move” option. if your trying to preserve the file.


Nightmare on Elm Street

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I went into this with a positive attitude. Robert Englund put it in perspective for me when he told me “I come from the stage, and every new production is a remake of something that’s gone before”. Yeah this makes sense.

Also, let me be clear, I don’t hate Jackie Earl Haily in the role. I think he’s a brilliant actor and really came to love him during his brief stint on TV’s Human Target. I knew I’d have a hard time accepting anyone in this role other than Robert and Jackie was a good a choice as any, better than most.

So why did this film turn out so terrible?

imagesAs much as I like Haily, I do have to say, I just can’t get behind that makeup job. I do understand what they were going for, a more realistic burn victem and it might have worked if this were an original concept, but this is a remake and you have to convince me. Freddy’s face has far more character than this, I’m sorry.

It’s really the least of my worries here though. It’s the rest of the cast we really need to worry about.

nightmare_on_elm_street32Perhaps it’s unintentional, perhaps it was written into the script, but honestly, I don’t LIKE any of these kids. I can’t build any sympathy up for them. I don’t know if the producers were thinking they were just trying to appeal to the goth/emo crowd, but whatever they were trying to do, they failed. The thing is, it’s a stark contrast to Nancy from the original film, who was a very ordinary person that had to reach down and find her inner strength, ultimately becoming a much stronger heroine. The Nancy of this film is depressed, lifeless, and never inspiring. We get an angry beatdown towards the end, but that’s not strength, it’s just rage. Nothing inspiring to see here folks.

And then there’s the CG…

wall copyI think Freddy vs. Jason made great use of the CG with the blood drops and the Freddy shadow. Here’s they especially like to use it during homages – the most egregious offender is when Freddy comes out of Nancy’s wall. in the original a pane of spandex looked eerie, it filled us with dark wonder. here, CG Freddy looks like a balloon animal. Not threatening at all.

We get mildly better homage to the stairs scene and an almost shot by shot remake of the bathtub scene, but it’s all just so uninspired. Maybe if I cared about these people but I just don’t and that makes the clever stuff – the misdirection (did Freddy do it or not?), the micro nap theory, the scheme (trap Nancy in dreams) and the great moments like in  and out of dreams in the pharmacy, it’s all irrelevant if I just don’t care about these people.

So definitely, if I were to do this again, I’d make my heroes stronger, and probably lose the homages altogether, remembering that it’s not the scenes that make the original great, it’s the concept, the story and the people.

 


Pop Meeting 113 Show and Tell

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These really tend to be some of the most interesting meetings where you can see some amazing things you might never ever have known existed. (like this Aquaman collection from one of the club’s founders, Jason Fitch)

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


Trying to say goodbye to Michael Sabin

This is going to be an extremely personal post – feel free to chuckle at the pictures and keep scrolling past if you wish.

I met Mike Sabin at the top of a tree, at the edge of a forest, in the dead of night. No, that isn’t an invention, and embellishment, or an exaggeration. It was my Senior Year at a small private school near Cleveland. Mike arrived late, about a week or so into the year and he recognized me from the summer previous. We had both collaborated in the March for Jesus, playing music and leading worship as we marched from one end of the city to the next. In this new place, I was the only familiar face to him, so he introduced himself.

I don’t have pleasant memories of high school, but one of the things I always found the most abhorrent was the yearly ritual – a few weeks back to school and the entire high school would be packed up and shipped out to a camp for a three or four day retreat. This time of August, The end of summer and early fall was a peak time for my teenage allergies. That combined with the fact that I’ve never been the outdoorsy type – writing, drawing, acting, shredding my electric guitar… These are all activities better accomplished inside. To this day I don’t camp.

That night, someone had the great idea to do a variation on capture the flag that the flags in this case, being the senior class (WTF BTW?) The underclassmen would endeavor to capture as many seniors as possible, and the class who grabbed the most would win. Mike and I took off into the night. There was a rule against going much more than three or four feet into the woods.

That rule however, said nothing about altitude.

We dashed into the edge of the forest, found a pair of trees and began to climb. As we suspected, people came out to look for us, passing right underneath us. No one ever looked up. It’s a strange way to bond with another person, and unusual way to start a friendship but from thereon we were inseparable.

We shared the same macabre sense of humor, had similar tastes in music and comic books. We had similar spiritual philosophies and had read the same books. We would hold appalling conversations just loud enough to freak out eavesdroppers – this was a favorite activity for passing the time waiting in line at amusement parks . Mike helped to bring me out of my shell a bit, to suppress some of my more introvert tendencies and be more social. Perhaps it was still just the introvert finding ways to pretend to be an extrovert – I’ve always been good at that. If you can drop me in the 61UmxZAP3DLmiddle of a social situation without the work and small talk of getting to the center of the event, I’m fine, and Mike was good at that. Possibly the only person other than Johnny Em who could really accomplish it.

Mike and I were on out senior trip in Chicago and we went out to buy blades together in Chinatown. He found a beautiful butterfly knife while I acquired a charming Spanish short sword that’s still hangs above my fireplace to this day.

He got me going back into the toy isle. I was in high school and hadn’t checked out that part of the store in a long while. He showed me that collecting action figures was  still part of being into comics and there is nothing unusual about an 18-year-old scouring that toy isle to try and find that elusive Gambit or Rogue figure

He was there when I met Robert Picardo, the doctor from Voyager. Heck, he took the photo. It was his first Star Trek convention and it was an experience – we both had enormous fun that day, it may have on the first time that I’ve actually gone to one of these events with somebody else. He made me promise not to tell his mom how much he spent on that yellow uniform.12417913_1098411116869977_7634497227349242867_n

When we geared up to shoot Icarus’ Flight, he was there front and center, ready to go. It was a blow when he left for Washington, his role was one of the main characters and even when Mike Brown filled the empty slot on the cast, Sabin’s character was missed. He managed to get back though and filmed so many guest shots that his name ended back up on the title credits for the last couple seasons.

I can’t even begin to remember how many nights I spent in the upstairs apartment above the funeral home, frequently just us, just as frequently one or two other people.  I was at his house the night I first saw Evil Dead… that and the second one – He didn’t  have Army of Darkness. I stayed up late that night as he fell asleep. There was that night right after  graduation, there were four of us – his brother and his girlfriend along with me. We played Mortal Kombat 2 all night going round robin until the sun came up.

Mike introduced me to the Feve, one of my favorite places in the world, where the best Buffalo wings ever were made. We would pile up pillows in the front window and sit there, him and me and Dan – later on me and John and Sammy. The place has change a lot today, but that old dive coffee house and bar still shows up in my novels – brick and grime and dark, just like it used to be.

When The Crow first came out in theatres, we were there. Mike actually skipped out on a driving test so that he could be there  and I ditched work. When Mike Brown and I went to see City of Angels, Sabin had already departed for the West Coast, and we noted how keenly he was missed that night.

Mike and I formed a band with another person – it never went anywhere, we weren’t exactly the rousing success we hoped to be but we wrote a lot of depressing music and sung our hearts out.

Then there was that terrifying night, turning onto East Bridge Street, going under the overpass when the guy in the motor cycle – no headlight, slammed into the car. One inch further back and I would have been dead. An inch further up and the other passenger (Josh? I don’t think it was Dan or Jerrod) and they would have been dead. The bike skittered  away and the rider was thrown onto the street, 12508715_1098411113536644_383486336753610623_nlanding face up. The rider was a bloody mess, blood pouring from his ears, nose and eyes.  I lept from the car and sprinted the two blocks down to Mike Brown’s house to get help – his mother was a nurse. She brought a blanket help with the shock and called for an ambulance.

The biker with no helmet actually brought a civil case against Mike after he left for the Seattle area, his lawyers had to pay to fly Mike back out this direction, we got time to visit with him in between testimonies – the case eventually got thrown out of court. The biker was clearly in the wrong

There were evenings full of talking stretching late in the the night or morning, even if it was just in the cold of  the fire escape behind the funeral home. It was an age where anything could happen, and we could solve the entire world’s problems in two hours discussion if only the they would just listen.

He got me in over at the Chronicle Telegram and there were long nights at the newspaper working together. He saved my fourth graphic novel – one of the most esoteric pieces I’ve ever written down. That night I was so frustrated that I threw the manuscript in the air and stormed off. He stayed behind, grabbing every page and rescued the book. I don’t know that it was worth the care he took in saving it, but that’s not really what he was trying to rescue now was it?

There was that brilliant New Year’s Eve flanked by Billie and Jerrod watching the fireworks go off in North Ridgeville for first night.

Mike faked my death once.

I kid you not.

The thing about guy relationships, is that they don’t exactly end. They  just get put on hold. You can not see each other for days, weeks hell, years but once you’re back in the 1812_4274813639341_1658516325_nsame room you pick up as if nothing had happened – right where are you left off . These days, a lot of distance separates me from my oldest friends… And I let it happen. I let them vanish and and scatter to the corners of the earth… and all but a couple stubbornly refused to quite fade into the past. And I should hang on harder, but a big part of me just doesn’t quite know how – there’s the introvert talking again.

I flew across the country to Washington to stand up for Mike at his wedding. His father and I stood next to each other and hid handkerchiefs up our sleeves to deal with the tears. A couple years later he flew back to Cleveland did the same for me. I had three bachelor parties, he was at two of them – There was a quiet dinner that Johnny Em and Mike threw at Houlihans, then another was a night of laser tag and multi player first person shooters at the nightclub I was working at. The very night before my wedding there was our final role-playing game night, an Earthdawn campaign.

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As we left for the church, I was driving us all in my car and Mike leaned up between the seats and asked if I was sure I knew what488086_4274810999275_1182336516_n I was doing. He then suggested that we could always turn this car around and head straight up to Canada.

He gave me a short Katana for a wedding gift. It’s still sharp, one of the few Battle ready swords in my collection.

Mike got stuck with the runaway bridesmaid. That’s why, if you look in my wedding pictures, he enters the Church with one girl, but then enters the reception hall with a diffrent one. Not that it wasn’t perfectly appropriate for him to show up to the same event with multiple women….

 

My wedding was last time I saw him.

67059_4274819679492_512382277_nWe occasionally spoke on the phone, we would touch base on Facebook. He drifted into some things that I feared were dangerous for him (and when I say dangerous, those who know us realize I’m talking about paranormal, spiritual and the like) and hanging around some people wern’t great for him and I told him so. In the end, it seems all that was a phase, and in a lot of ways he got his life back on track but by that time we were talking a lot less. That may be my fault.

I knew he was sick. Hell, I knew he’d been in the hospital around Christmas – it was scary, but then it was like it just passed and he was back to normal that effervescent personality, sneaking down to the sushi place, posting a few pictures and cracking silly jokes.

How did I let you get away from me? I was just thinking about you this weekend I watched that indie version of the crow – thinking how much you would love this that remembering that night we went to see the original. It wasn’t that long ago that we were just talking to some of the current funeral home personnel about your dad – his name is still on a ton of the records there. I almost think I’m living your life… Because when we were younger I was sure you were the one who is going to grow up, find a successful career, get married and have kids. And I was certain I wouldn’t live past 30.

And that’s the thing… why this is hard for me, why I’m having a difficult time finding closure here. I may have hit forty this year, but as far as that relationship goes, I’m still 23. We’re still 23…and you’re not supposed to die yet God damn it!

There’s a moment in Aria #3 that captures it. I feel adrift at a Faerie funeral.

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I should have tried so much harder to keep in touch, and I should’ve been there at the end. I’m sorry Mike, I think I let you down.

There are only about four people throughout my life that I could truly refer to as my best friends. You know who you are. Three of you now.

This blog will go dark for the rest of the week.

Offline


Suicide Squad – more promos

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will-smith-deadshot-costume-suicide-squad-movieI so, really, REALLY want to like this. Deadshot is all wrong (and was always my favorite character of the squad) but everyone else looks good and the pose is brilliant….It’s like having a loose tooth you know? You keep wiggling it because it hurts and feels good at the same time, and you really want to have it out, but know it’s going to be a mother ripping that thing out of your head.

And that’s really the thing about all of this that bothers me. They did such a good job on so many of these characters. They really did. Even Deadshot actually looks very good…as long as he keeps that mask on, but the thing is, Deadshot is way more than a mask. There’s a huge amount of character there, and it’s not the character type that Will Smith plays. I know, I sound like I’m being picky, oversensitive, overfocusing. You have to understand, I’ve wanted a Deadshot film since 1989. It’s always been that important to me and now that I’m getting one, it has the worst casting since Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

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3E2ci5JThen there’s also the Joker. Yeah, I’m one of those guys that can’t get past the tattoos. Actually it’s just the ones on his face.

Now, it’s happened in the past that a person’s performance can get you past all of that. It’s what I’m very much hoping for here, because it’s indicative of there personality we are supposed to be getting from him and it bothers me a bit. The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. This appearance is a little too gansta thug and it bothers me. It’s like an itch at the very base of my brain that I just can’t quite scratch.

But again, what makes it so frustrating is how good the rest of this film and this cast looks, and how well they seem to have captured the rest of this gang, both in appearance and in swagger.

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008.jpgI dig the look they have for Harley. It’s an evolution on the kind of slutty Harley they’ve been going towards in the comics, but then again, I wouldn’t really look at this as her “costume” but rather just the clothes she basically woke up in . I can get behind that.

Capitan Boomerang. I can’t say enough about how much i love both the look and the casting. If you want to talk about a character that I’m almost as invested in as Deadshot – there it is. Digger is a bright side to look on if there ever was one.

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BronzeTiger.jpgKatana looks great here. A perfect take on the new 52 version, through I can’t for the life of me understand what she’s doing here- she hasn’t been a part of this group in any incarnation ,though I suspect she’s fulfilling Vixen’s comic book role of “trouble heroine looking for redemption”. Indeed, when I look at this picture here and think of her filling the absent Vixen’s dynamic it makes me wonder if Will Smith’s Deadshot isn’t really meant to fill the role of Bronze Tiger, also a troubled hero (once a villain, now trying to make up for his past). The way he’s right over Katana’s shoulder and the warm, almost regretful tone he speaks in the trailer really makes me wonder. Both Bronze Tiger and Vixen were core members of the original team, they were very much it’s heart and it’s conscience. Those roles are essential in a team like this, but those names are even more unknown than a lot of the rest of the team. From a marketing standpoint it would make sense to roll Tiger and Deadshot up into one character (even if it frustrates me to no end…)suicide-squad

Great casting on Croc, and even El Diablo has a very interesting look, again, not sure who is making the choices for the line up, but I’m all for the roster here.

I’m impressed with the marketing here. It looks like DC is taking a page from Marvel’s book and building this up much the same way Marvel did Guardian’s of the Galaxy. I hope it works for them. While both were fairly unknown properties with only minimal name recognition going for them, Guardians had fun and space opera working for them, where as this film has a nihilistic edge and gritty action feel to it – very different kinds of movies. At the time, Marvel also had already proven itself as a studio brand – you knew what kind of film you were going to with a Marvel movie. DC and Legendary pictures hasn’t quite established itself yet, and what little identity it has, is very serious and grim.

I’m on the edge of my seat. I really am. I don’t know whether to cheer or kvetch. But on thing is for sure, I’ll be there to see the movie in August.

 


Goodbye Angus Scrimm

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We lost one of our modern horror icons this weekend. Head over to the Kreepy Kastle for my tribute to the Tall Man; Angus Scrimm

http://kreepykastle.com/goodbye-angus-scrimm/

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Pulp Fiction! Tomorrow night at the Palace!

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5234_10153325462857218_2341443680578757472_nThis Friday come on down to The Palace as they open thier doors and The Chandelier Bar in the theater at 6PM to the raucous blues of ” The Skip Werke Band” – the house band for “Pulp Fiction”, thier first movie in thier inaugural “Director’s Series” featuring the films 21516_10153325466687218_2903273817706922549_nof Quentin Tarantino! The band will be way grooving the house out on the Box Seat Stage for about an hour prior to “Pulp Fiction” playing at 7PM! So stop on in early and stay late for this very cool evening of entertainment at the Palace! $5 entry gets you the blues, “Pulp Fiction, and the chance to buy a few beers or cocktails and a SMASH: The World’s Greatest Food Truck’s “They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? Nah, man , they’ve got the metric system.. Le Royale with Cheese Burger!” Get ’em while you can! Come enjoy the best night out in Lorain County!

Seriously, I’ll be hitting the Palace just about every weekend this month as they a present a diffrent Tarantino film each week. The opening acts in the beautiful theater give it a slightly vaudevillian feel and at five bucks, it’s definitely the best entertainment value out there. I’ll be out around 6:30 tomorrow night. Hope I see you there!

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Lego Minecraft

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Maddie has a thing for Legos, and since she discovered Minecraft, this has become one of her favorite sets. She and her sister decided to abandon the instructions and create their own Minecraft world!

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Superman

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My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

We’re going to start this net subject with my favorite hero; Superman.

I’m very influenced by John Byrne’s superman, but even more by Jerry Ordway’s way of drawing him. It’s flawed in the face, the nose isn’t quite small enough. The chin is a bit too big.

The muscles are big, yet relaxed. that’s the thing about Superman, great power that you don’t have to show off.

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