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Archive for August, 2016


653714This morning Maddie asked for a book to take to school for a free period. We headed into my library and I found and old “Not Quite Human” novel. I described to her it as being like “Small Wonder” (the old show with the little girl robot- the kids LOVE that program). Maddie looked around the back room and wondered aloud “When I grow up…I wonder how big MY library is going to be?”


Good Citizen book

art showBannerWe’ve been throwing a couple extra one of these column this year just for fun and I thought this was a particularly interesting piece. It’s a good citizenship book Lydia drew for school – this is a lot of work for a little girl!

10525873_10203618715779232_538290263600832267_n 11067602_10203618715859234_690180467977231451_n 11096511_10203618717099265_8255844978960498195_n 11121111_10203618715899235_2774071036567056713_n 11149319_10203618717139266_9078158565543862379_n 11150229_10203618715819233_998534743689313720_n 11150455_10203618715699230_7517200238538802077_n

alyas batman en robin


untitledI wanted to do two of these this month so I could squeeze this post in before the years end. This is just a bizarre film for me, it’s the Filipino Batman.

It’s obviously based on the 60’s show, but it was made in 1991 to try and ride the coattails of the Burton movie…except someone didn’t get the memo that Batman wasn’t supposed to be funny anymore….

Check it out if you’re a fan of the Adam West Batman. The villains in particular are really well done in that same goofy way.


Zombie promo

13709879_1244545535558027_6438054347160083790_n14067632_1254674711243616_4076356207069503169_nThis weekend, in an abandoned corner of West Cleveland, near a burnt out factory and a desolate lot… The zombie hordes gathered and the zombie hunters banded together to take them down. I was there – it was a video shoot for our local zombie hunter group the Z.E.R.O.S., something that they could use to promote upcoming zombie walks and events.  I donned one of my quickie go-to make ups – half a skull and burst open chest, and dove into battle.

I can’t wait to see how this short comes out!

Outlook Express folder is missing

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.


A user-created folder in Outlook Express is missing, probably deleted.

I got a call the other night from a client who was extremely paniced. He keeps business files in an extra folder he created in Outlook Express. When he booted up his computer that day, the folder had vanished. I checked to make sure the folder hadn’t been moved into another folder or hidden, but no luck. It was GONE.

I opened up Tools/ Options/ Maintenance to find the path wher ehe was storing his data files and checked it out. Odd. In addition to the normal .dbx files (where the data and emails are actually stored) there was a .bak file. No sign of the missing folder’s dbx, but that bak file was indeed the right one.

I headed back into Outlook Express and recreated the folder, using the name from the .bak file. Then I closed OE and went back into the data folder, made a copy of the bak file and renamed the extension to dbx.

When we opened OE back up, the files were all back. No data loss whatsoever.


The Amityville Horror

remakesI seem to have some unusual opinions of the Amityville Horror. The original is hailed as the classic in the remake is of course reviled as a pariah. I’m not sure why. The original I don’t find that scary, perhaps it’s the lackluster effects or the lack of commitment in some of the scares but I see nothing in this film that really should cemented in history as a classic. The remake on the other hand is much slicker much scarier with far more horrific effects and bizarre situations. I think it’s a scary movie, indeed a better movie and yet neither of these films really manage to succeed for me. It all comes down to one thing, I have to wonder did any of these producers ever actually read the book? I’ve read this book twice now and it is one of the most terrifying reads I have ever experienced. I don’t think I can ever pick it up again to be honest. There is more to this situation and more going on here unlike anything we’ve ever seen on the screen, because nobody has ever bothered to do the BOOK. There is nothing to compare to the absolute horror in that novel and I for one would just like to see one person try and faithfully adapte it. I think you would get a film that was scarier than anything else that it ever bore the name Amityville.

NEO ComicCon 2016

Conman13900058_1248729585171462_8641836058654792124_nYou can tell by the flyers and artwork that the promoter of NEO ComicCon  tries hard to keep a fun and light atmosphere for his show. It’s kept that same atmosphere from it’s inaugural year in 2015, yet in some ways it feels like it’s taken a few steps back.

NEO brings some great vendors to the show, people like Fear’s Confections and the TRACE Doctor Who Drama. There’s cosplayers like Knightmage and local fan favorite comic talent like Dan Gorman, Ted Sikora, Marc Sumerak and Tony Isabella. Even Jason Fitch and Rick Lozano were there to promote their upcoming American Knight. It’s a fine guest list with plenty to see here and a dealer’s room big enough to take a bit of time to explore. In particular I found the booth with a TON of vintage Star Wars to be fascinating (and I have a couple friends who spent more than a little of their time there!). There’s deals to be had here to, though you have to dig just a bit more than just trying to spot the .50 bins. I found two of Checker’s Gold Key Star Trek collections for $3 each (originally $23 each) as well as a couple of issues of the Solution that I’ve never seen. I grabbed art cards for the girls at 13906613_1248729938504760_7067345602641988159_nGorman’s table and was sorely tempted by some of the creepies at Straw Dog’s booth.

The big problem however, was the dealers room was all there was this time around. There was no programming, no panels, no screenings, nothing. Last year I praised NEO for taking some time to actually do some panels in addition to everything else. This year, they sacrificed the programming for more dealers room space. And indeed, while it was SO much easier to get around this year, the lack of programming was sorely missed. Like I said, a step backwards.

What NEO ends up as….it’s more than a Bazaar, but slightly less than a full fledged convention. I had great fun today, meeting up with friends, taking photos, playing Cards against Humanity in the bar. However, if I’d have come alone, I would have done the dealer’s room in an hour and left. It explains all those cars I saw leaving again as I drove in. There was nothing to keep them there. I’d liek to see more going on here, and perhaps the move to a different location (down the freeway a bit in North Olmsted) will help facilitate that. I like NEO and the philosophy behind it, and I only hope it moves forward next year at NEO 3.0!

Geekfest 2016

Conman13962718_10208201314848594_7279551393247332504_nThis year marks the third time we’ve attended Geekfest at the Akron Canton Library it’s grown and changed every year and has always been a fun show… But one of the smaller cons we go to. It was actually one that I was intending to drop this time around– until Maddie specifically asked to go to it. I can’t really say no to that face.

So I pulled out my Apocalypse costume – it’s an outfit I had built for the premiere of the movie, but then a family emergency kept me from attending – this was its debut. I’ve never been entirely happy with the suit though, and Maddie and I hatched a plan to do something very different.

13902698_1242129529164801_3217902076110587464_n13902769_10208201319568712_3781085851439025846_nInstead of going as just Supergirl, and just Apocalypse – we decided we were going to show up as hero clix,  complete with dials and cards. This also allowed Maddie to actually compete in the costume contest – there is no costume contest category for her age at this show, the kids just do a costume parade, and she is starting to get a little bit by the competition bug herself! it was a little quirky and awkward but so much fun to take the stage as game pieces and throw the dice to show Maddie’s attack hitting me.

13962719_1242128632498224_5384249158409158302_n13907076_1242128572498230_5777644878861227020_nThe overlord media group and their drama is always a fun time – this time of course they were mixing up genres… throwing Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and Attack on Titan all together. The problem is it’s a bit of a one note joke, and I’m not sure that it really hangs together for a full hour like they were attempting to do. But I always enjoy watching them, it’s the only place and really good to see this sort of lunacy performed live – it be a great fit with the Cleveland CONcoction

13876342_1242128279164926_7430050654836883339_n13900350_1242129012498186_5609667721775681367_nAnother thing that seems to to be growing is the vendors room – really more of a dealers hallway… there never used to be a lot of vendors at the show and it seems to quietly be creeping up more and more… I’m not sure how I feel about this. I always enjoy that this was really a show where it was just about fun, Comicon through the eyes of a library – not so much profit driven. On the other hand the vast majority of the vendors are crafters and Artisans, and I have to admit I do enjoy seeing that kind of stuff. These knit characters are really becoming popular, I may have to look into the craft myself!

13872711_1242129519164802_4328410292115861384_nWe managed to catch a good chunk of the panel “writing the unreal “which featured three female authors. Maddie frequently talks about wanting to become an author when she grows up and I thought this was a really important panel for her to see. I like this kind of stuff, it really allows you to feel connected to The kind of creative world that seems to be hidden around here in the Cleveland area.

We turned a corner only to discover the sounds of battle! This was a great addition… One of the local medieval fair groups had full contact sword fighting going on in the hallway – padded weapons of course, but still amazing to watch. I love how 13873060_1242128479164906_2650997931369026188_nsomething new pops up at this event every single year! Indeed, they had so much going on upstairs that they had to relocate the craft room to a downstairs classroom and the children’s library where there were some very interesting lightsabres  been made down there. Maddie declined to create one herself (my kids just never connected with Star Wars)  but we did have fun seeing  the others around the show. One particular little Jedi Joker was absolutely adorable.

We do still love this mini-comicon, it’s a wonderful free event that I cannot recommend enough that it already sounds like you’re making plans for next year so make sure you get up for year five when it comes around next summer!


Conman13900360_1236902909687463_3652102892324898472_nIt’s been a week and I still haven’t talked about Monsterfestmania!

I’ve spoken at length about Akron Comicon here, and how much I love that show so you can imagine when they announced they were doing a horror show with a heavy Monster Bash theme that I was thrilled.

It was a good first year effort. Bringing in Wednesday Addams and Cousin It were good choices as guest go. There’s more space to stretch out here than there is at bash or at Cinema Wasteland, with tons of interesting stuff to see and genuinely good panels to attend. I like the heavy horror host influence here and I’d love to see this become the mecca for Horror Hosts that 13934944_1316042531756348_8801405844742764575_nHorrorhound seems to be.

For me the highlight was doing a screening of House on Haunted Hill, complete with Emergo effects, just like William Castle did. I’ve always wanted to do this and I was invited to participate in creating the interactive spooks that would fly out during the show. we went the extra mile, not only doing the skeleton but also the old woman and the hanging lady. Five emergo effects in total, and the audience got life insurance policies from the Cowards Corner. It was magical.

It was a lightly attended affair. A respectable crowd for a first year, but with the RNC just having left Cleveland (the show actually was moved back a week to accommodate this) and Wizard World Columbus going on the same weekend I can see how the crowds might not have been as big as we had hoped. I’m really interested in seeing what happens next year, with all the kinks and scheduling worked out.

Turns out Maddie and Lydia had a little something to say about it too!


Florence Foster Jenkins

Movie bannerI caught an advance screening of a new film last week. It’s the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.  Jenkins is a classic socialite, and we get the impression that she is very involved as a patron of the arts. We’re told her passion is music, and she’s always wanted to sing opera. She even trains.

She is of course, terrible, but still performs and her husband sets the dates, making sure only the RIGHT people are there, those who will keep the secret and shield her from the fact that she is the worst singer ever.

I’m not sure how to take this. It could have easily been a comedy – but then again, you can only stretch that one gag for so long. The film doesn’t shy away from it, we get the joke in the inspired reactions of Simon Helberg (playing a VERY different character that what we are used to seeing from him in the Big Bang Theory, timid and shocked rather than brash and overreacting) who looks like he’s just happy to be sharing the screen with luminaries such as Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. But make no mistake, this aspires to drama. You can see it reaching for an Oscar award when Florence declares “They can say I can’t sing, but they can’t say that I DIDN’T sing!”

I spent twenty years in the theatre. There’s a certain idealized high society of the 30’s and 40’s that it feels like 90% of all plays are set in. It’s the place we go for Agatha Christie mysteries and social musicals. It’s a comfortable place, that smells of tweed and sealing wax, and this movie brought me right back there instantly. It doesn’t matter that the film is based on actual events, the BBC creates not just that period but the epitome of that period, then improves on it, and Meryl Streep seems to fit perfectly, as if she belonged there.

It’s an undignified role.  Something that allows Streep to flex her muscles and show off her range, from being a batty old ditty to moments of quiet introspection. It works. I believe every moment of it.

Hugh Grant doesn’t fare quite as well. He’s still playing the same character type he always has, though he’s trying to play things off a little more straight, he continually falls back into the charmingly befuddled persona he’s become so known for portraying. The problem is, what worked for him at 20, 30, even 40 comes off far less as charming and far more as creepy, possibly lecherous. He looks much older than his 55 years (don’t let the promotional photo fool you, someone has gone nuts with an airbrush on that thing ), and it affects the

performance. Robert Downey Jr. may have been a better choice for the role, while for Grant, it may be time to investigate different types of characters (I’d really like to see him take on Alfred in a Batman movie about ten years down the road).

I watched the crowd as the the theater emptied. It was heavily female in demographic, and I heard a lot of complementary words about the film as they left. As the credits rolled I got a better impression of what I had just seen. This is a date movie for married people. It doesn’t quite reach the “Triumph of the Human Spirit” levels for me but it’s a cut above any Hallmark film out there, and a nice way to spend some time in that forgotten era.


Suicide Squad

Movie banner13892229_1241366962574391_4816180486414748227_n13900330_1241366639241090_8916467670430048044_nSuicide Squad made me nervous.

No, it’s not the conventional wisdom that DC dosen’t make good movies (but we’ll get to that later….), it really started with the casting of Will Smith as Deadshot.

See, I’m a fan. I remember being intrigued by the ads for SS in the back of my Superman and Star Trek comics in the late 80’s. I remember grabbing nearly half the run out of the fifty cent bins at Astonish! around 1990. I remember buying the Deadshot mini series off the rack at the drug store in 1988 (how did that pass the comics code anyhow? I can’t believe there’s no Mature readers warning on it…) I read both revivals, and it was one of the few titles I actually jumped on board with when the new 52 came around. So what it came down to was if they would capture the feel of the comic – the dynamic that made it work.

Thank God. They did. It’s TOTALLY Suicide squad. It’s chaotic, people die, things go 13906951_1241367802574307_3319605859012466586_nhorribly wrong, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a SS movie. Even Will Smith almost made me forget he all wrong for the role – played it surprisingly low key. HQ was dead on. There was JUST enough Boomerang….I want more next time though. In particular I want to see more squabbling between him and Deadshot – a staple from the comics. The pink Unicorn thing was strange. I wonder if that was part of the reshoots…an afterthough by the producers when following a screening od Deadpool?

El Diablo was surprisingly well developed. Waller was dead on (actually better than her portrayl in green Lantern. I was surprised). I loved EVERY moment of it. But even more astonishingly – my daughter loved every moment of it.

13880216_1241366782574409_5859117813386446360_n13938399_1241366602574427_92859555906020074_nShe thought it was one of the most exciting things she’d ever seen. She was a little peeved about Katana only speaking Japenese, but was still stoked to see her on the screen. She immediatly got the connections to BvS and was super excited to catch that. She though Harley was hilarious. As soon as Enchantress came on the screen she gasped and demanded I make her an enchantress costume.

So why do I feel this sense of Deja Vu?


Listening to SS critics is a lot like standing too close to Black Canary when she screams….

I’ve spent a great deal of this weekend rolling my eyes at the constant negative reviews. I can’t believe these people saw the same movie as I did.  I do think there is some element of Marvel vs DC – particularly on the Critics side. Once again, Rotten Tomatoes is showing high marks on the viewer score and low on the critic score. Interestingly, while a lot of that managed to thoroughly label BvS a flop (despite making well over 800 million – that three times it’s budget folks!) and a bad movie the same stigma isn’t managing to stick quite as well to SS.

From real people, There’s a couple of things I’m hearing consistently. One is about the Joker. I do get this. I really do. I still hate the facial tattoos and the grill on the teeth. But you know what? I actually dig the performance. I said it way back in January “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”. Turns out, that is indeed what we got. 13901335_1241369232574164_7802550710776368507_nLeto’s Joker is creepy and ratchets up the crazy, finally hitting the level I’m used to seeing in the comics. I think a lot of people are holding on to Heath Ledger’s performance. I really do. It’s considered one of the definitive Jokers ever. The fact that I hate it personally, probably helps me let  got a little easier. If the anarchist is what you’re looking for, then yeah, you’ll hate this. If you can’t get past the tats, you’ll hate this. I was skeptical about the cloths myself. In that same article I also wrote “The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. ” It took a moment, but I realized that this Joker really WAS a dandy. Flamboyant, in a mid 2000’s way – yet just as uninterested in actual fashion as his comic counterpart. In short, he works. I really do encourage you too look past some of the superficial here. There’s actually a LOT to like about this Joker.

T13921087_1241366902574397_8634667013700967366_nhe other main complaint I consistently hear is that it’s too confusing. I have a problem with  this because I wasn’t confused at all. I liked having a couple of quickie short films at the beginning to introduce us to the skwad as Waller flips through the files. In fact, I like it WAY better than taking up half a movie with an origin story. I couldn’t understand how this was confusing. Sam Stutler suggested to me that “maybe it’s  because the story was so enmeshed in the medium. (like say, Watchmen)”. I’m not sure I agree with this. While the tone really did skew close to SS (this is NOT a superhero movie guys. It’s not Avengers on with bad guys – it’s something else entirely), it’s not t13891969_10155054742585744_4761113129915353450_nhe comic book. You can see the writers read the comics though….there’s a great moment with Captain Boomerang and Slipknot that is pulled STRAIGHT out of one of the earliest issues. It’s nearly word for word and uses the exact same characters. I squeeled like a little girl.

I think my friend Jen put it into better perspective for me.  She claimed there seemed like too much you were expected to know going in. “There’s too many mones where it’s just like ‘you know…’. No! I don’t know!”. It could be that my familiarity with the characters blinds me to this. We’re living in an age where Harley Quinn is univerally known, and Deadshot isn’t far behind. But she may be right. I’m used to this story structure. Do the mission get time off, or get released outright. Squad is

This scene does not appear in the film. BUT IT SHOULD!

This scene does not appear in the film. BUT IT SHOULD!

expendable. Wander off get your hand or later on head) blown off. I got the visual ques right away, maybe some of this stuff wasn’t spelled out enough. erhaps that stuff should have been in the commercials instead of the quirky music and “worst heroes ever” tagline.

Still, despite the confusion, a lot of those folks seemed to like the movie just on the strength of it’s bright chaotic action strenghts alone – and that’s a good sign that DC is on the right track, no matter what the critics say.

As far as I’m concerned, this was the best film I’ve seen all year.


Oh by the way, John Ostrander – the creator of Amanda Waller and writer on that original run of SS in the 80’s as well as Writer of Stuff Peter David and director/comic writer Kevin Smith  all thought it was pretty dope as well…..
(warning, strong language abounds)

100 days 100 years

art showBannerAt school there’s usually a project for the first 100 days of school. It usually has to involve 100 things, but Maddie decided on something diffrent. This is a person that is 100 years old. The hair is whit cotton, but what’s REALLY cool is the skin, made of paper bag paper and wrinkled up. It’s just such a great idea and I love that it was hers and not mine.




My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

Would you believe I was never that big a fan of Deadpool?

my main experiance with him was in the pages of X-Force where he was just another standard issue Leifield character, and a fairly bland one at that. It wasn’t untill much later when I started playing Heroclix, that the judge, Jesse got me to take another look.

Deadpool is fun, but not one I’ve been drawing for years. Still I foiund him popping up in Violent Blue and here on the blog and quickly developed my own take on the character.  Not a lot of details, I do try to keep to Liefields interesting tendency for short gloves and boots, but most important to me are the eyes. They need to be big and round, not narrow.  I want him fun and goofy, not sinister.

deadpool pencils deadpool inked deadpool color