Monday, April 16, 2012

Art of George Perez thoughts...

Received my hardback copy of "Art of George Perez" in the mail recently, really nice book from the same IDW folks who previously came out with the great "Art of Jim Starlin: A life in Words and Pictures".

From Amazon, it's a steal...but definitely an interesting contrast to the Jim Starlin (and definitely the Jim Lee book previously mentioned)- and, in fact, there's a rather odd foreward by Jim Starlin as well in it- (In which Starlin himself muses, of all people, why he was even asked to write the foreward. Not horrible, but just a little odd.)

One thing right off the bat is just how many years Perez has been at it. Definitely makes me feel old. The choices of art pieces- like the Starlin one before it- are mostly very nice, although there are others that are just 'meh'... but that's how it goes, I suppose with these things. For sure, it's on great paper, great artist's views on his evolution of his own work, and is a nice weight and size that you definitely feel like you've got your money's worth. (Well, at least from Amazon)

With Starlin's book, much of it was dedicated to sections of his greatest comics' work- in contrast to the Perez book that breaks things up in decades (70's, 80's, etc.)

Perhaps it's appropriate, as Starlin was a writer/artist for much of his career, whereas Perez was known mostly for his art--- ((*Outside of his writing/drawing the Wonder Woman reboot and his co-plotting credits on the Crisis on Infinite Earths/Teen Titans stuff with Marv Wolfman. (His current writing on the Superman reboot has been pretty savaged by fans everywhere- and hate to say I don't see being able to defend it myself, but that's another story.)

But, anyhow- not a session on bashing Perez, as I'm not a professional artist peer but a hobbyist/fan discussing thoughts and differences between the two contributions by Starlin and Perez.

Anyhow- back to talking about the book- Perez has a lot of great insights as to what he was thinking, and his own personal feelings of his evolution during the many decades (wow) that he's been in comics.

I think I may have detailed before my suprise at the story of how Perez fell into a bit of a creative funk for awhile that got him (temporarily) a bad rep at completing deadlines that led to him getting 'blacklisted' from comics work at the two majors for awhile-

But more suprising to me were two bits:
#1: Perez talking about the importance of health insurance, looking ahead to physical limitations slowing down, and the business side of things (as opposed to Starlin's financial windfall with the novel he and his first wife wrote that got optioned by Spielberg at one point)-

#2: Perez talking about his self-published venture "Crimson Plague" and how it was just killing him financially to do the self-publishing and the lack of discipline that was implied with doing the book.

Later on in the book, it's also interesting to read about Perez's other passions- theatre and fetish videos (though I would be neglectful to also mention much press about Perez's generosity in doing much work for charity as well).... but, on a visual level- it is odd to read that Perez constantly talks about detail vs. clutter, but the further Perez's work goes- the more I feel like there's MORE clutter and more 'sameness' to his work than anything else, despite his talking about progress in his work.

I still feel that Perez's work in the 70's were perhaps his strongest material, but in the end, I question what is the 'it' that makes some images burn in one's skull (for some reason, I LOVE many of Michael Turner's covers even though I'm not all that crazy about his interior work), even when it's not as detailed or is more cartoony than I usually like.

Anyhow, still enjoy the book, and love that it helps complete a picture of the artist behind the art.

But- it also makes me question quantity over quality--- it looks like Starlin may have had less output, but his best stories still get mentioned by high profile folks like Joss Whedon and Grant Morrison- whereas Perez's art is dazzling, but has its limits.

Not sure if it's too much detail in some of his work, or too much clutter.
Sometimes less is more, but finding out what should be the 'more' and what should be the 'less' is tricky.....

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Quickee status update

Pencils mostly done on "Faith", damned if likenesses aren't a pain to get right... and I know I didn't exactly, but I put in a lot of time trying my best. I recently came across the "Game of Thrones" comic adaptation and was a bit irritated that the art didn't seem to have the effort that it could have had.... I think I really got spoiled by George Perez's "Logan's Run" adaptation--- while the likenesses aren't exactly there, either, I could see the blood/sweat/tears (and enthusiasm) of the adaptation. I tried to do the same.

But then again, I doubt the publishers wanted to wait years for an assignment to be turned in.

Anyhow, really turning my attention on inking now. I have a few pretty interesting books on comic book inking that I'll share more about next time. But, oddly, one of the things I'm also 'studying' is/are old issues of Dick Giordano's run on "Wonder Woman" and how he drew hair.... VERY interesting on how he uses big black blotches for her hair, and yet is able to get it to work. Hmp.

Hopefully will be able to post the work next time--- by the way, God bless "Comic Life" for comic book lettering software. I LOOOVE it. Man, it makes things look much better than they have any right to be. ;)


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Catching up on March 2012: update on the art stuff-

March has been filled on the side with meetings and catchups with friends- writingwise and drawingwise...

Picked up a few art books in March, one "Classic Human Anatomy" by Valerie Winslow, who turns out to be a bay area art teacher--- and marveled/sighed at the level of detail that I probably will never be interested enough to know all the names of the parts of the human body that she lists, but should-

Picked up: "ICONS- Jim Lee", which, by comparison to the first book, in retrospect, feels a bit silly in its title. With all due respect to Lee- (and I hear he's a great guy in person to pros and fans alike--- not always something you hear about those in the biz)--- It's a nice fluff book, but in comparing it to the first one- it feels so lacking by comparison. (I've been recommended a Bruce Timm book by my cousin that supposedly outdoes it by far)

Drawingwise, I've finished pencils on "Faith", but inking has sucked--- so I'm deliberating what to do on that, for the moment.

Black Canary-wise, just haven't had time to complete the story in comic book, animation, let alone live action form.

Anyhow, oddly that hasn't stopped me from still trying to multitask and plant other seeds as well...

* One collaboration may be for a startup - more details later...

* Another collaboration is for self-publishing with a great writer that I'm meeting with in a couple of weeks, big hopes that it can work out...

* And--- there's still 80 hours of footage to edit.

So, for anyone curious about the stats on those projects, it's (sadly) still on 'SLOW....but not DEAD YET', mode...


Catching up on March 2012: Game of Thrones love

Ok, so soon after really enjoying John Carter, bought the bluray of "Game of Thrones", which had gotten a lot of buzz, and...

Short review: WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! I'm in BIG love with a tv series again.

Slightly longer review: This has been called an 'r' rated version of "Lord of the Rings", but I think it's underselling it. (Although I recently revisited the extended versions of those films and was amazed at how much I wished that Peter Jackson had directed "John Carter" instead of Andrew Stanton- but then again, Jackson never had to deal with Disney over his shoulder...)

In times past, my 'big love' for tv has been: ROME, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, SIX FEET UNDER (although with some weak slow episodes in season two), ONCE AND AGAIN, FREAKS AND GEEKS (easily the best work Apatow has ever done- on network tv on a family show, go figure)---

There's been some romance with TRUE BLOOD (But season two then three weakened the love greatly), DEXTER (Not interested in the supporting character storylines and each season except for the last one has had some major flaws), CHUCK (Seasons 1-3 are fantastic with Anne Couffel Summers as story editor, then afterwards, it takes a giant dive in quality), WALKING DEAD (uncertain about following season 2 after Frank Darabont got screwed out of a job) but I have high hopes for this series based on season 1.

The nice thing about the series is that it's following more/less an actual series of books that already had acclaim with a showrunner that's an author himself (25 Hours)... and - like ROME - I like that all sides of the social class are represented, and the facination comes from how each of the players stuck in social classes negotiate with the rules of their society and one another to get the things that everyone wants in their lives- self-esteem, love, respect, family (in one form or another), and/or what extent they would go to protect anything that might threaten it.

The heart of the story (rightfully so, imo) is the conflict between two main family units: the Starks and the Lancasters. The Starks are (almost) the ideal family, that gets splintered and torn apart by outside forces as the father tries to live an honorable life--- and the Lancasters- a powerful and rich family who are cruel and unmerciful in their pursuit of domination.(except for the drunken, cynical but most decent youngest dwarf brother, Tyrion, who is played by the brilliant Peter Dinklage who rightfully won an Emmy for this role).

Anyhow, the players in the first few episodes is a little tricky to follow, but once you get who they are- then it's incredibly easy to fall into this show, that hits every mark just right- if Star Trek: The Classic Series was groundbreaking for scifi/fantasy for the 60's, and Trek: TNG (and its extensions) broke even more ground decades later for the quality of scifi/fantasy--- Game of Thrones breaks it again, with supernatural elements to a minimum (there's very little, and very little necessary, thank goodness) but human elements to a premium.

Game of Thrones I should say, also doesn't mind killing off characters the audience falls greatly in love with--- and (so far) there are no magical 'resurrections' or 'time reversals' that only make mainstream fans (rightfully so imo) groan or dismiss fantasy as something unrelatable to daily living.

Game of Thrones--- kinda like an updated English HBO version of "Legend of the Eastern Condors".

That's as a high a praise as I can give it.

Catching up on March 2012: John Carter of Arizona

Short review: I REALLY ENJOYED IT!
Slightly longer review: BUT....

Peter David put it best- Andrew Stanton was sort of in a lose-lose situation.
If he was 100% faithful to the books, then the movie adaptation might have felt extremely dated.

If he updated/reinvented things to compete with all the scifi/fantasy movies that have come after that have already been influenced by the John Carter books- then,loyalists would have felt betrayed.

So--- given that- it's a pretty amazing tightrope that he walked. The movie is very enjoyable.

The script adaptation itself--- it introduces a world that's not going to be all that easy to begin with to relate to (the civil war era) and take us to another world that's not all that easy to relate to, nor is all that magnificent to look at (MOre on that later)... so we're introduced to many characters and many situations but without too much confusion nor exposition. That's a task in itself.

The CAST is amazing. I'd argue that Stanton might have taken a short cut or two by choosing actors in similiar supporting roles in "ROME", but who cares? Well cast is well cast.... particularly the leads.

80 percent of casting John Carter I think has to be the looks. Fortunately, the guy from Friday Night Lights (fantastic show btw) works just fine. He makes a good lead, although I'm not certain how much acting is required of him in parts like this. There wasn't a second I didn't buy him, but...

More amazing casting is Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris. While she doesn't look exactly like the Dejah Thoris I've seen in the comics, she steals the movie imo- In many ways, the story centers around the relationship between Carter and Thoris (Why the marketing team wasn't fired by Disney is a complete mystery to me) and while I may have had problems with some of Stanton's other choices, Lynn Collins is a powerhouse in her performance as the Princess of Mars. (If you view her interviews, she's VERY different in person from her character).

And-- beyond being a fan of the books...I can't say I'm totally unbiased- for an outsider I'd imagine the movie works, but again, can't say for sure. (One relative didn't believe the film at all, another thought it fun.)

In any case, it certainly deserved a better fate than what Green Lantern got.
But, on the other hand....


Where the hell did the $250 million go, Andrew???? I've seen Arizona deserts! Boo! Hiss!

As a visual medium, I would think that artists would salivate over movies of this kind that are RIPE for eye candy. Where was the eye candy? For years I've heard that John Carter was the movie that George Lucas, John Favreau, Robert Rodriguez wanted to make--- but to be frank, the ultra-campy FLASH GORDON of the 1980s were far more memorable visually!

Or David Lynch's "DUNE" (Forgiving the unfortunate poster taglines, insulting one's experiences or imagination) ;p

Even the horrible Star Wars prequels didn't cost $250 million but had pretty planets! What the hell, Andrew?
(Though truth be told, as a movie, "John Carter" is better actingwise and storywise than all three Star Wars prequels combined, but still--- eye candy opportunity greatly wasted)

Also..... the sad thing is, even with what was chosen--- wasn't photographed in a particularly interesting way as "FLASH GORDON" or "DUNE". Sad because Stanton had all the resources available, (I bought the 'art' book for John Carter as well), but if it's not on the screen, it's not on the screen.

What's there is a really good movie, but why couldn't it have been a visual spectacular at the same time? Oh well.... thankfully, I have Game of Thrones for both content and style (more later)....

News clips and 'news' mob mentality

First off...
Have to remark on a recent news bit with a Korean Christian family who on-camera were still crying but forgave the killer of person who killed their sister/daughter/mother.

I know there's already background info tracing bad fortune/whatever for the shooter, but I NEVER have any real sympathy for the shooter or the choices that get made when someone takes a gun and starts blowing people away randomly. Maybe he did have a crappy life, but who doesn't?

But- enough about that a-hole who turned himself in (which is a little odd in itself, did he come to his sense afterwards? Who knows? A family member of that family mentioned that if he did have mental health issues in Korea, he might not have gotten help, either- but he wouldn't have had access to guns to shoot up everyone else at the same time...because guns are legal in the US. Good point!

Anyhow--- can't imagine what it's like to be a family member with dealing with a loss in that way, let alone forgiving them. I hear of this happening, but seeing the people uncontrollably crying right soon after news of the death, and automatically forgiving is really jarring. They see the world in a way that doesn't prevent them from feeling the pain, but extending their compassion instead as a response--- and I still can't quite get over it, but I hope that their faith gets them through having to live with the loss every day.

Me? If proven to be true, then I always thought that the shooter should be given to the family's victims, and let them decide the fate....forgiveness or not. Mainly, I think about the 4 year old without a mom because this a-hole decided to use a gun to demonstrate his manhood when he decided to act out..... I still don't know how these folks can forgive- but maybe the cost is greater to themselves not to.

I know it's something that happens in different forms every day in lower income neighborhoods with probably zero press.... but it's timing that I saw it.


In other news, that whole craziness with the kid that got shot, with nobody taken into custody. I'm not mentioning names, because the whole story isn't there, and it's kind of ridiculous to make a hero or villain out of anyone before all the facts are there.

If there's a plus side to any of it, it's how the news media is being exposed for going WAYYYY over the line, as well as people overreacting to it, and causing great damage to bystanders by reacting and not thinking first.

Thankfully nothing serious apparently happened to them, but Spike Lee tweeting the wrong address for a mob to attack--- Well, let's just say I'm glad it was a celebrity that did it, so that it can be exposed what NOT to do in the future and its possible consequences. (Not that I'm sure anyone really cares, but it was nice to see the innocent couple that Spike Lee had his followers target mention how sorry Lee was for what he did.)


On a lighter note, the new flying car looks terrible. Didn't anyone see Blade Runner for reference?