Friday, December 7, 2012

Frank Cho's Fantastic Simian

I came across this picture a week or so ago, which I presume is an alternate cover to Fantastic Four, but really don't care where it came from. I just wanted to share it with you. Frank Cho really does have a beautiful line.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Picture From Japanese TV Series OF POTA

I'm really just posting this here because this is one of the greatest things I never knew about, and I love this picture. A Japanese TV series inspired by The Planet Of The Apes. I have to see this.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mecha Photography

I went to Supanova today, and it some what sucked with a paucity of guests I wanted to listen to, crappy weather and far too many cosplayers who I feel like I would never actually see in a comic shop, but maybe I'm being judgemental. Anyway, Zombster were giving away these free model kits to get you hooked and hopefully make you buy one more advanced. This was the most basic model, with very limited articulation and no real flourishes to it. But I liked it, and took some photos at home because I had nothing else to do tonight.
Enjoy.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Try Clapping To This Work In Progress

video

I need to do a lot of work to finish this, and I've let it sit for ages now, but I just had a quick look at it again today, and really like the potential of it. Hopefully I'll dedicate the time to finishing it off soon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Two Faces of Tomorrow

I bought this cheap at the second-hand bookshop. Just bought it because it was cheap, hoping it would be good, and it's turned out to be one of my favourite things I've read recently. Based on a book by James P. Hogan, it was adapted into a manga by Yukinobu Hoshino, neither of these two names mean anything to me. I don't know if it was serialised in monthly issues, or if it was just published as this big one honking book, though I suspect it might've been.
Anyway, this is a straight-up hard sci-fi story, and a fascinating one. We're at the point in our future where a central program is running a huge amount everything pretty much, and an incident involving clearing some mountain on the moon brings to light some inherent danger in this situation. Also, the system is about to undergo an upgrade to a more intelligent system, but the worry is, what if the system rebels and tries to kill us? So much of everything is run by the system, flight, cars, water, etc, you know,pretty much all we depend on.
So an experiment is put into place to run a simulation. A huge space station is built and the upgraded system is left to run the place, and, the experiment begins. And things go a little crazy there. It's a really good story, and really well told. I thought it was totally believable. It almost seems a little dated, but it also still feels quite relevant.
The art is is a more mature style, not aimed at teenagers or young men, which what most of the manga we see is. I'll just show you a page from the book, since it's easier to show than try talk about it.


So fairly realistic backgrounds and technology, but that stylised or simplified character work, but without the larger eyes or geometric heads.
I'd like to keep talking about it, but I want you to read it yourself, so don't want to spoil it anymore than I have, but it's got real science, it's destruction, it's got subtle soap opera, it's got it all, go read it!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CHOPPER Lives!!

I was scouring the internet to see if I could find an image of the CHOPPER graffiti I mentioned in my review of the new Dredd film, but I couldn't, but I did find this, which made me smile.


 Apparently it's not real (you can read the story here), but it is cool. Maybe not if you aren't familiar with the story or character, but I guess you owe it to yourself to get familiar.

 Also, just because I liked her, a picture of Judge Anderson (Oliva Thirlby).
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

DVD Review: TNT Jackson

I didn't really know anything about this, but based on the cover, I took the risk, and thankfully it paid off. While this film isn't going to set new standards for you, I found it entertaining, so I consider that a win.
Basic story is, TNT Jackson comes to Hong Kong to try find someone, the reasons for which she keeps to herself. It's probably that guy we saw get killed in the opening scene, so it's safe to assume she won't find him. She does meet some other people along the way though, a white girl being chauffeured in a Rolls named Elaine who offers her a ride, Joe, the owner of a club which is the last point of contact for the man TNT is looking for, and Charlie, another black American who takes a liking to TNT and seems to be working for some local gang. Oh yeah, we also saw him kill the guy TNT is looking for in the first scene, so no surprises where that's going to end up. And even though I'm suggesting the film is obvious, it does actually have a few turns in it that keeps it developing, and not just being a straight forward revenge tale.
The cast is good, in that it doesn't totally suck, but it's about what you'd expect from this kind of film. Jeanne Bell and Pat Anderson, who play the female characters in this film are both attractive, which doesn't hurt. Stan Shaw who plays Charlie might be recognisable if he wasn't so young, he's been working steadily since. He was in Rocky, but I recognise him more from Daylight. The other cast members are generic bad white guys who might be more familiar to connoisseurs of these films, but I don't know any of them, or the Filipino cast either.
So I guess the reason to watch this film is for the poor kung-fu. Jeanne does what she can, but it's obvious she has no real training. Smae with Pat Anderson, so it's great when they fight each other in a cemetery. Another great scene, though a bit more risque, is when some bad guys attack TNT in her room. She's just wearing a flimsy white nightgown, but she takes it off and turns the lights out to fight them, saying "You wanted black, you got black." The bad guys keep turning the light back on to try see her, but she keeps turning it off to beat them up. I thought it was a imaginative way for the usual exploitative nude shots to get in there, and like I said, it doesn't hurt. Another thing I enjoyed was the character of Joe, a very modest man who walks int the dark room, and gets embarrassed when he turns the light on to see TNT nude, then quickly turns the light off again. He has another double take when he walks into TNT in a bubble bath, but there's no nudity there, but he's always a gentleman. Another aspect I like, though it is smaller, and that is the moments of over the top violence, like when TNT breaks some guys arm in half, or the final battle when she dispatches Charlie. There's not a huge amount of bloodshed in it, but it sprinkled in there, like a seasoning in a good meal. It's certainly an enjoyable film, and not just to laugh at, though that is part of it, but I genuinely like the story and it's pretty competently directed, so I recommend it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DVD Review: Who Can Kill A Child?

This came in the mail yesterday, I watched it last night, and I'm recommending it to you today. Who Can Kill A Child? is a Spanish horror film from 1976, directed by Narciso Ibañez Serrador, and starring Lewis Flander and Prunella Ransome; none of whom I have ever heard of before. Which is a pity, since this is definitely a film worth knowing about, and so I would hope that the names associated it would also be known, but alas no. But that is a mistake we're rectifying now, isn't it?
I'd heard mention of this film, so I was peripherally aware of it, so when a new DVD was being released I thought I'd give it a shot, since it was meant to be somewhat of a classic. It's always a risk doing this, you're never sure what you're going to get, as some people's classic is another man's Transformers (also known as the worst film ever made).
I guess this is a fairly simple film, in terms of plot. A holidaying couple, married and expecting their third child, are traveling in Spain without their children. The husband wants to take his wife to an island where he had visited 12 years ago, an isolated bit of paradise. They hire a boat and travel the 4 hours to get there, where they are greeted at the docks by smiling kids. They go off in search of the boarding house, only to discover something is amiss. I don't want to say too much more, but I think you can get a sense of what might be happening by the poster art.
The film was really effective at building the tension, it's a genuinely creepy film. There isn't much blood or violence in the film, but what there is shocking due to the context and escalating dread the film creates. If you read other reviews of this film, a lot is made of how the majority of this film is shot in daylight, the opposite a typical horror film. That's true, it is beautifully shot, the village looks like a Mediterranean idyll, and you can imagine wanting to visit there, which is why it's so unsettling. Such an innocent setting for a horror film, and such an innocent horror as well. As one of the island inhabitants says as he's explaining what's happened, who can kill a child?
I thought the casting was pretty good. The couple look like a couple, like real people, not models turned actors. I loved Prunella's freckles, they made her more real, not covered up by make-up. The kids all seem to give natural performances, though they're not really called upon to do too much. Basically have fun. I'm not sure I'll look at a piñata the same way after watching this film.
The film opens not with the movie, but a collection of archival footage from various wars, inter-cut with the credits.  The footage shows us the innocent children who suffer when adults go to war, with accompanying text giving the statistics of those who died in the conflicts, with the number of children often representing half the number. It was an interesting way to start the film, framing it in this way. It kind of dampens the mood when you're just after a bit of a fun night in front of the TV with some exploitation cinema, but it does give a context for what's happening in the film. In the extras on the disc, there is a small interview with the director, and he says he wishes he had ended the film with the sequence rather than opening with it, and I agree with him, but I guess it's too late now. But apart from the odd way for the film to open, it doesn't really make any other missteps. There's nothing that really stands out as bad or weak, it was all pretty good, with the standouts being the way it's shot and made, it's an incredibly well-crafted film, I think, and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Best Cover: Life With Archie #23

So I didn't see this one in the catalouge, otherwise I might've tried to order it, another classic cover by Francessco Francavilla. (You can see the one I did get here). I don't think this has anything to do with the inside of the comic, just a nice parody cover, but boy, what a nice cover. The proper title of the comic is "Life With Archie", but "Afterlife With Archie" sounds more like the kind of comic I'd want to read.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

DVD Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

So I just watched the new DC Original Animated film, based on Frank Miller's classic Batman tale, and I got to say, it's pretty good. I think the biggest problem is that these films just aren't given the budget I think they deserve, so sometimes the animation just looks like a animated kids show, a bit stark and not very atmospheric, but mostly, it does the job, and does it pretty well.
It's a pretty faithful adaption, they were smart to split it into two films. It would've been a lot to cut out to try squeeze it into one film. As it is, I miss some of the smaller character moments, or even secondary and tertiary characters, like Merkel, who was always in the background with Gordon, but is missing from the film.
It's pretty cool to see some of the iconic images from the comic translated tot he screen, it gives you a buzz. Batman looks cool. They've done a good job of bringing Miller's design into the animated world. Miller has a bit of a shaky line, a bit loose maybe. That doesn't work in animation, as far as production goes anyway, so the design is not as sketchy, but he's bulky, angular, definitely reminiscent of the comic. So are the rest of characters, from the TV reporters and vox pox constantly popping up, to Gordon and Robin, they all look like an animated version of The Dark Knight Returns should.
One other thing I'm not sure is working for me is Peter Weller's performance. The problem is we're pretty familiar with the comic, and the way we've been reading it in out heads all this time a certain way, so when he doesn't give a line reading like you've imagined it, you feel it. For me, it's a little too understated, and there was once where I was reminded of Robocop, which I don't think is the right feel. Batman is human, driven by passion, I think that needs to come across.
Also, there was a little interesting thing that they did, which is kind of dickish move. In one scene where a convenience store is being robbed, there are some comics on display. They are clearly seen, and they are all early Alan Moore comics, published by DC. Considering DC and Alan's relationship, it seems like a kind of childish move to show them, unless it's a metaphor for Alan getting robbed, but somehow I doubt it. Maybe it was just the creators wanting to give props to some classic comics, but whatever it is, it's a bit hard to see it any other way than rubbing his face in it.
So while it's not the greatest thing in the world, it's still pretty fun for fans of the comic. I'm curious if the average person would enjoy it as much, but I wonder if the limits of the animation might just make them think it was just a kids show thing, when it's clearly not. Oh well, I'm looking forward to part 2, and think this is the best of the ones I've seen from DC Animation.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

B.P.R.D. Variant Cover

I usually buy B. P.R.D. in trade (as in trade papaerback, when a collection of stories are printed in one volume), but this image by Mike Mignola struck me so much, that I had to buy this issue, even though it is more expensive due it being a variant cover, with a lower print run, thus making it rarer, and perhaps more valuable to collectors. I'm not really interested in it for that, I just like it because it's Mike Mignola drawing a '50s kind of space invader in a cool tripod suit. For me, that is worth the extra money.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Supanova Gold Coat 2012


Alright, so I thought I’d try give a report of my weekend at the Supanova Pop Convention, held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
Friday night, got stuck in peak hour traffic on the way to the Convention Centre. This was to be a regular annoyance, trying to get there. Got there eventually. Didn’t bother going to the opening ceremony or anything else, I was mainly there for the Masterclass with Brian Michael Bendis. I can’t remember too many details about what he was saying, and it was mostly beginner kind of level stuff anyway that I would’ve heard him discuss on podcasts. But it was good, I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it. I thought he spoke well, and when I asked a question, he gave a pretty in-depth answer, though I think he misheard me, and when I clarified it, he gave an even more in-depth answer. And so we got to see some examples of various people’s scripts, though we didn’t see the one I wanted to. He had an example of Mark Waid’s, but didn’t show it. I also learnt that Warren Ellis is his favourite comic book writer, so I guess he’s got good taste in that regard. After the class, I was hanging around the foyer trying to decide if I was going to hang around for some animated Thor film. I eventually decided against it, but almost changed my mind when the pretty blonde lady smiled at me as she walked back by. But I was tired, and I’m never going to speak to the pretty blonde lady who smiles at me, so I went back home.
Saturday morning, the crowd was huge. Traffic sucked trying to get there, parking seemed almost full, and the line to get in the main hall stretched all the way outside, down the steps and into the park next door. I had originally planned to get in early and get in line for a Carlos Pacheco sketch, but there was no way I was going to line up in that que. So I just hung around the anime screening room for a while until about midday when I decided to go the Tom Taylor & Colin Wilson: Invading Star Wars panel. I didn’t know the names, but figured it was about comics, so I may as well. It almost didn’t happen, as I was the only person there for a while. The problem is with these early panels, people are trying to get into the main hall, and so aren’t making it to the panels, and also they were being held in a kind of out of the way place. But eventually more people came and we were able to have the panel, which was a pretty intimate discussion with the creators. Turns out Colin Wilson started drawing for 2000AD. Then it occurred to me that I did know his work from Rouge Trooper, so I was pretty excited about that. I think maybe he was my favourite illustrator of that strip, and told him so, but I need to double check. Anyway, I decided right there and then that I was going to get a Rouge Trooper sketch from him. After the panel, I asked him if he was doing sketches, and if he had room in his schedule. He said yes, and to swing by his booth later. I was considering sticking around for the next panel, and I kind of wish I did, but I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, so headed down to the main hall. (The panel I didn’t go to was the Alan Dean Foster: Literary Legend! panel. It’s a pity, but we have to live with the choices we make.) So I headed down to the floor and checked out all the stalls. There was an amazing amount of weapons vendors, catering to the Cosplay crowd. I made some purchases later, but first continued waking around until I found Colin’s table. Commissioned my Rouge Trooper piece, then went back to roaming the hall, checking out the Cospalyers and the Wacom Cintique, 12WX. I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy one, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. The feel of it isn’t as natural as pencil and paper, but I really like what you can do with it, so figure I’ll get used to using it and won’t mind the difference, as long as I use it regularly, which is the plan. I went and grabbed some pizza from across the road, which was a mistake. I spent a lot of money on the weekend, more than I’ll tell, but the only thing I regret buying is that $4 slice of pizza. It was ok, but it was so oily it affected me well into the small hours of the morning. I won’t go into graphic detail here, but if you want to hear the gross bits, ask me sometime, maybe I’ll tell you. Came back for the Marvel Comics Q & A featuring Brian Bendis, Carlos Pacheco & Billy Tan (who was a no-show). Another good panel. I got to ask Carlos a couple of questions, one about Arrowsmith and if we’ll get to see more of it. He appreciated the question, but said it depends on when he gets time in his schedule. He’s just too busy at the moment to finish it, but really hopes to be able to. I can’t remember what else I asked, but I thought they were good insightful questions. After that I went to listen to Jim Kelly at his panel. Got there a little late, so they’d already started, but it was cool. He still looks pretty good. You know, we talked a bit about his past, his films and his martial arts. He’s not very good at answering questions or holding the microphone up to his mouth, but I liked him. The most memorable thing was when he was remembering something about Bruce Lee. Someone asked him about jokes or pranks on the set, so he told the story about Bruce calling him over to show him a picture of his new car, a Rolls Royce of some kind. It was going to be shipped over, so it was going to take a while, but it was the car he was going to get. But he never got to drive it, as he died shortly after finishing Enter The Dragon. Even though he had been discussing Bruce and his death earlier, it was telling this story where his emotions got the better of him a little bit, and he choked up as he told us Bruce never go to drive it. So you see what I mean about not answering questions. That had nothing really to do with the question, but still, it was a real moment. Bruce was badass, Jim wanted us to know that. He was fast, the fastest man he knew. He told another story about how Bruce called him over and gave him a nickel, telling him to hold it out and Bruce would snatch it out before Jim could close his hand. So Jim did, and he could feel the nickel still in his closed fist. He’s thinking, I got you Bruce, when Bruce asks him for his dime back. He not only snatched the nickel, but swapped it for a dime. Anyway, after that, I didn’t have anything really worth sticking around for, so headed home. I tried to find that pretty blonde lady who smiled at me the night before at some of the panels, but couldn’t see her. I saw her once more during the day, but didn’t feel like it was an appropriate moment to try make some kind of contact. Anyway. Oh yeah, also picked up my Rouge Trooper sketch of Colin. He hadn’t inked it, because someone had asked for just the pencils, and he thought it might’ve been me. Maybe I would’ve liked it to be inked, but I was pretty happy with the result all the same. It had that kind of atmosphere that I remember from the comic, though I think I need to go double-check to see if he is who I thought he was. (He was)



So Sunday I decided I was going to get there early and make sure I hit up Carlos Pacheco first, see if he could squeeze me in. There was already a reasonable line, but nothing ridiculous. I may have slipped in to a break in it I wasn’t meant to, but I justified it to myself saying I had been there earlier, I just had to duck off to the ATM. This is why I need a girlfriend who loves comics as much as I do, so we can hold each others place in the line while we go get money out. Got in the doors pretty much just after 10am. But Carlos wasn’t there yet, and likely wasn’t going to be for at least a half hour. Turns out it was around 11am they were turning up, so I just chilled and waited. Carlos turned up and again thanked me for asking about Arrowsmith. I asked him if he could fit in another sketch, he said maybe, took my detail and request, and I wondered off. I assumed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were ubiquitous enough that he wouldn’t need reference material, but he asked Tristian Jones, who was writing TMNT for a comic to look at, and said he could do it. I didn’t have anything lined up till after 12:40, so went to Nandos across the road for an early lunch.  Still had some time to kill so went to the animae screening room again. Another episode of Squid Girl, which I don’t think will set the world on fire, but it’s kind of cute and funny, enjoyable fluff. Plus I also saw the first episode of some kind of magic girl series, full of that GothLolita imagery that seems so prevalent these days. Went to the Carlos Pacheco: Master Artist panel, which was again a small number, so I was able to ask a lot of questions. Turns out his style when I first saw him wasn’t his natural style, but something he was doing to appeal to then current flavour of animae/manga inspired fusion art. As he moved from project to project, he dropped the trapping of it and moved back to his original old-school style, which I found quite interesting, because it was a noticeable difference from project to project in those early days. I then went to the Jim Kelly panel again. Didn’t learn much new, but he did have some different stories, of which I can’t remember any examples, but it re-enforced my desire to see him on the big-screen again. And then it was off to the Brian Michael Bendis panel, which again was an interesting and informative panel, of which I’m hazy on the details. I swung by Carlos’s table to see if my sketch was ready, but it wasn’t. Hung out for a bit and decided to line up for the Cosplay competition, as a spectator, not participant. Saw the first few entries, decided to duck out and see if my sketch was ready. Carlos was just finishing one of when I arrived, but it was getting late in the day, so I asked if he still had time, and he said he did, so off to work he went. I decided to stick around and watch the process. I wish I could have filmed it, it was great stuff to watch. His first lines on the paper were quite broad, and I was a little worried his unfamiliarity with the characters might bite me in the bum, but he knew what he was doing, and it was a joy to watch. It’s beautiful.


 The convention was pretty much closing by then, but I swung by one of the shops selling weapons, and bought a sword, pretty much just for the hell of it and because I’ve always wanted one. Oh yeah, I also bought a SWAT type vest as well, a bit earlier in the day. So that was it I think. Spent a lot of money, didn’t mind a bit, I had a really good time. Looking forward to November now. Where else can you see a a horse playing Rock Band?


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

New "Expendables 2" Posters

Over at IMP Awards, they have a whole bunch of the new Expendables 2 posters, a bunch of character sheets, which seems like a very popular trend these days. I think it's to try make the appeal as broad as possible, rather than focusing on one particular person. You don't like actor A? That's ok, we got Actors B, C & D here for ya!
Anyway, these are my favourites.






Sunday, April 22, 2012

Carlos Pacheco Convention Sketch- Raphael

Man, I got so much stuff this weekend at Supanova, I can't wait to show you, but I'll just start with this, because it fits in my scanner. A sketch of TMNT Raphael by master comic artist Carlos Pacheco. This is a big deal.


He said that at the last convention he was at, someone asked him to draw a TMNT, so that was he first time he had drawn one. So I guess this makes mine the second one he's ever drawn. Pretty cool.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

PacNorris


Sorry, I don't know the source of this, so can't give credit where credit is due, but I'm sure we can all agree, it's pretty cool.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Work: Jesus Defeats Satan

A couple of Friday nights ago, I was walking through the Valley with Brad and Nadia, and we passed a shop that was selling those 3D lenticular pictures, and one of them was Jesus arm-wrestling Satan. It was both one of the most fantastic things I've seen, and truly awful in it's kitschness. If the store was open, I probably would have bought it. But the big problem I had with it was the theology it was expressing, of an equal fight between good and evil, between God and Satan. The fight is over, Satan has lost, so I wanted to do a painting that conveyed that theology, but still was that wonderful mix of awfulness and fantasticalness that the original picture had. These are my first sketches, playing with the idea.


I wasn't quite happy with the first sketch, the one above, so I made it closer to 3/4 profile, and I think that's the pose I'll go for. I'm thinking of having different bodies in the foreground, to represent different heresies or false religions, maybe like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, and various other Hindu type gods or Buddha, but we'll see. Ooh, controversial!


Updated
Actually, below is the first idea I did, but I did it in another sketchbook, so I forgot about it with the move to the crucified Jesus in the above pictures. The one below is supposed to be in that traditional robed dress that we see in a lot of representations, and which the 3D picture portrayed. I think I'd like to try do both, the robed peaceful Jesus and the loin-clothed, crown of thorns wearing, bloodied Jesus.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Films Look Better When They're In Japanese

I wanted to show this movie poster of the upcoming Pixar movie Brave a while ago, but never got round to it. It's obviously the Japanese edition of the poster, and I can't help but feel there's a deliberate similarity to the feel of it to a Miyazaki film. I'm sure it's a fine film, but I have to admit, my interest is heightened thanks to this poster, rather than any of the others I've seen.


I think the upcoming film Battleship looks to be about one of the most uninspiring films to come out of Hollywood for some time, and most of the posters have reflected that, but this Japanese one actually makes me interested. I'm not sure I'm interested enough to go see it, but still it's more interest than I've had before, despite the obvious comparison to Transformers. I think it's something about the scale of the threat to human figure that captures my interest.


So you can see that, at least from these two examples, films look better when they're for a Japanese market. If you want to compare the two films to the other posters, you can find the Brave ones here, and the Battleship ones here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

BIRDKILLER (Finished)

This'll do for this one, I reckon. I'd like to try make a frame for it, but I don't think there's really too much more I can do for it. I don't have the skill to work with the materials I have to do finer detail, so time to walk away from it.


"B I R D K I L L E R" (detail)