Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WONDERCON will rock you!

Thousands of sweaty fanboys and geeks lathered up for movie previews and genre stars pressing madly towards a bazillion cool things tends to do that.

And I'll be at the center of the madness, Wondercon San Francisco, artist alley space 76.

Exhibiting all things SRGrpahics, including the wildly popular undead call girl graphic novel, ZOMBIE TRAMP, and offering a new limited edition Alcatraz themed print along with it...
Plus of course my own wares, like my new book YETi
All things SUPER REAL, and fan art prints, and sketches, etc etc.
Hope to see you at the show!



XLRender renderfarm - SOUL MAN Teaser from xlrender on Vimeo.

If not a bit much like Honey Brown, but that's the way it goes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

YETi remixed

I posted briefly a couple weeks back leading up to Emerald City Comicon about a new book I'd created, but I didn't have much of a chance to preview or talk about, so I thought I'd go ahead and do that now.

As I mentioned, it's actually a short story that I created back in 2007 for the Josh Howard Presents SASQUATCH anthology, published by Viper Comics. The anthology featured many comic creators working from stories inspired by Sasquatch, Bigfoot, The Abominable Snowman, etc, and mine was simply titled, YETi. There was no editorial mandate for style, tone, or scope, each artist had free reign to do anything they'd like story wise, from comedy to horror, sci-fi or whatever. So I took advantage of that and did something that on the surface appeared to be fairly in line with the Sasquatch theme, but was actually only very loosely tied to it (without giving away too much of the story). It was a decidedly sci-fi, and cartoony approach, and about 180 degrees from what I was doing with Super Real. So I had a lot of fun with it, and always intended to do more with the concept and story.

Fast forward to 2011, and I felt the time was right to work on Yeti once more, if only to update the work and make it available in stand alone form, as I'd only previously had it available in the anthology, which while that was a great book, it was quite sizable and had a cover price of over $20. Since I only had 10 pages in the massive book, I really wanted Yeti to have it's own little book to offer along with all my other work at shows and online. However, as the artwork was created in quite a different fashion, I also wanted to take the opportunity to rework it somewhat, and get it more in line with what I now envisioned stylistically. So we have the new book, with the original 10 page story intact, but with completely reworked colors, and other minor updates.

A panel from the original (top), and the new updated ("remixed") version (bottom)...

The book now is brighter, and more graphic, two elements I can't seem to keep away from with my art... and by graphic, I mean graphics based visuals, not tone of content... and though my work does tend to delve into graphic story content, YETi does traffic in some graphic violence, but it's decidedly more cartoonish!

With the change of tone, and focus on a cuter and cartoonier style and character, the book received a good amount of attention from the fairer sex in it's debut at Emerald City con, something I'm happy to find, because while I love to create good girl and pin-up style artwork, I don't always enjoy the fact that that can be off-putting to a good portion of the potential audience. However, if you're a fan of that aspect of my work, Yeti isn't quite devoid of those things either. Again, without giving away too much, as the first story has a bit of a twist/reveal aspect to it, Yeti does have more to offer than just a cute furry Chewbacca-Schmoo-Mogwai-vinyl mash-up creature aesthetic... I've always loved the big furry sidekicks of sci-fi and cartoons, so this is my love letter to those, a fun and vibrant blast of comic book joy!

So, that should be enough teasing and peeking at the book. If you want to know just what it's all about, you have to pick up a copy and read it... and now you can do that! If you'd like your own copy of this full color 12 page book that I hand make on nice shiny 8.5x5.5" paper, you'll have to send me $5 (shipping included - for the US). The books are pretty limited, but as each pressing sells out, I'll make a new one (with the pressing noted in the indicia). That means if you want to get some of the first batch of Yeti's, you better act fast!
Digital copy, or upcoming second pressing cover

I've also created a PDF file you can download, if you prefer to go digital for your YETi consumption...

Here's the PayPal info/link for those:

Choose ship to

PDF download - $.99

You can also check out more on YETi at it's brand new site (with more to come), where I plan to offer other goodies like prints and t-shirts etc. Just click HERE

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SUCKER PUNCH review... beautiful images, furious sound

Got to see a preview screening of SUCKER PUNCH late last night (not since Ghostbusters had I been forced to sit this close to the screen though... front row, left side, sore neck). Here's my review... (with only very mild spoilers)
Sucker Punch is ambitious.
As you may know, the story has layers, and the dream within a dream is where all the action takes place... or rather parallels in a hyper-real fashion the action in the second layer (which may or may not happen in the first layer).
Got all that?
Basically, it's this dream within a dream (because I don't want to call it a world, it's more like a limbo, or dream-scape) where all the epic visual shit we see in the trailer takes place. If you've heard about the movie, or seen much of the previews, I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't know going in.
It's all of these layers that allow for the fantastic action and costuming etc.; the steam zombie Nazis, the giant rail-gun wielding samurai, the dragons, etc, and the outfits, the costuming gone wild, all the cool stuff. All the stuff everyone wonders if it will all work together. So that's the big question, does it?
The short answer, no.
All of these levels, and the fantasy worlds tend to disconnect you from the story and the sense that any of this is really happening, or means anything. The characters feel too much like cut out dolls, or puppets, who rarely ever breathe... okay, well, actually, there's lots of breathing, but just on a surface level (as Snyder likes to decompress scenes in his trademark bursts), and not in a way that makes them lived in or brought to life in any realistic fashion. Oh sure they want to get out from under their oppressor, and they'll tell you that in flat line reads, of cookie cutter dialogue, repeatedly, as they stare at you with dead eyes (because they’re dead inside from their shackled existence). And they’ll use words like freedom, and fighting, or fighting for freedom… or their mystical guide, Scott Glenn, will pop up at each dreamland juncture, and dryly outline their objectives in the basest of words, punctuated by intentionally hokey cliches (yet it doesn't feel like it's played as tongue and cheek as it reads).
Not to mention, the PG-13 rating, on a film that already traffics in some mature subject matter and themes of abuse (sexual, physical, psychological), as well as giant action set pieces centered around war and excessive killing, means it's all watered down, or sanitized. You have multiple sequences where these girls are fighting armies, with blades, semi-automatic guns, grenades, bombs, you name it, but with virtually no bloodshed (because the enemies are all conveniently non-human automatons).
I imagine it goes something like this. Zack Snyder directs 300 (an R rated bloodbath of a film), sets box office records, gets a blank check to do whatever... okay, Watchmen, full on, true to the source rated R adaptation. It stinks up the box office. Studio, "Okay Zack, you've still got some house money, but this time you play by our rules." And we get the homogenized studio treatment we have here. (Not really a good formula for a visionary work by a director, Snyder practically does everything here, soup to nuts.)
And because of this, you don't really get too invested in any of it. It's just pretty pictures, put together in what's meant to be a clever or mind-bending way, but it all collapses without the special sauces (actual character, gore, blood, or anything with substance).
Then there's the music.
Zack Snyder should not be allowed to have anything to do with his own soundtracks or scores. He's terrible. Sure he can cut together a kick ass trailer to Silversun Pickups, or Nine Inch Nails, but Watchmen and now Sucker Punch are beyond laughable in their song selection. He goes out of his way to use music that's been used to death elsewhere, or here, using the brilliant idea to literally "cover" that up with cover songs, of songs that have been famously used, or used to death. A third remake of Sweet Dreams anyone? Or how about the Pixies "Where Is My Mind", you know, the same song that famously plays, to great affect, at the climax of Fight Club. Worst of all, it's a trippy Matrix style themed flick, so yep, White Rabbit is used. Stop, you're terrible. We all need to prey that he has nothing to do with the Superman soundtrack, I fear for what will become of the Superman theme, and what "clever" tunes ol' Zack has cued up for Supes. (Now, I have no idea, but perhaps this reeks of studio involvement, I don't think so since he likely had carte blanch with Watchmen and did the same nauseating shit (All Along the Watchtower anyone? Ever heard that in a movie?? Maybe that should be the climax… ugh), but either way, it's just as lame and disturbing).
So, song selection rant over, what's even worse about the soundtrack/score, is that the music is part of the visual/thematic formula that the movie settles into, and it's very distracting. Each action vignette is prefaced with the latest blaring cover track, which eventually fades to score, and the back to a reprise to tie up the scene. Nothing wrong in theory there, but the problem is they take the focus, there's too much emphasis on the music, it overrides the visuals, and again, the music is terrible. Zack's on record as being a Heavy Metal fan, so I'll assume that includes the movie, which is probably inspiration, to some extent, for this movie, as well as the soundtrack, the difference being, that was a really good and very contemporary soundtrack... again, this is neither.
I know I rant at length about soundtracks, but folks, think about it, sound and music are a HUGE part of good movie making. Name any classic or blockbuster film, 9 times out of 10 they have a great piece of music or score at the heart. Think Star Wars, think Jaws, or Psycho, etc etc, most likely you immediately think of their soundtracks, or at least tie those to your thoughts of the movie. Try and imagine Star Wars without John Williams’ score, if it had some lame synth space music of the era, it may still be a classic, but it’s an entirely different film. Go out of your way with the sound and miss, and you severely damage your film.
So, that's the bad stuff.
The good stuff?
It's pretty, and there's lots of cool stuff to watch (arguably most of which is in the trailer).
So, if you're really stoked by all the cool stuff that's teased, go see it on the big screen. There’s more of it, and it’s some damn cool stuff. Otherwise, Zack needs to stick to adapting strong source material, because Nolan he ain't.
You'd think by all my thoughts here I hated this film, and I didn't. I kind of liked it, but only with qualifications, and I really wanted to like a movie that's built around all this incredible shit a lot more. I get what Snyder was going for here, I mean most any geek does, Sucker Punch does indeed have a lot of cool shit going on, the hyper-reality of the dreamscapes and it's elaborate combat sequences, with multitudes of weapons, where you see and feel the action in exaggerated concussive force, or super-slo-mo, with shell casings falling at the camera, or characters flying 100 yards and collapsing into eruptions of earth and stone, it's visual candy, expertly rendered and staged from killer angles. And maybe, with all the cool it does have to offer, it's quite possible I'll like it better with repeat viewings, when I can just turn off all my hopes and expectations and enjoy it for what it is. I just might not be rushing back to the theater to do so.

Go and see it, have fun with it, just don't expect too much beyond the visuals.
Dance Baby Doll, dance! (SPOILER - she never does!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Internet, you're silly...

The Beat linked to this webcomic, BATTLE PUG by Mike Norton, and it is indeed inspired fun that's only just begun... with talking pugs, storytelling barbarian princesses, and giant village destroying baby seals!!!

Check it out HERE


I'll be going to a preview screening of Zack Snyder's SUCKER PUNCH tomorrow night... I'm stoked!!

So, here are a couple cool Sucker Punch tidbits...

First up, here's a cool animated short that ties into the movie...

Next, Bleeding Cool is hosting a Sucker Punch art contest... hmmm. I planned to do a fan art... we'll see how I feel after the movie tomorrow night!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ARTWORK: Sheena sketch card returns

Here are the cards I have available from the SHEENA: QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE sketch card set for 5FINTIY.

I'm asking $50 each, please email me if interested.

UPDATE: cards are now listed on eBay for buy it now/make an offer, right HERE

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ARTWORK: Sheena sketch cards

A little bit ago I did a few cards (I was a rare artist) for the SHEENA: QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE sketch card set for 5FINTIY that just released on February 28th.

Here are the cards I worked up for the set:
I'll also have a few artist exclusive return cards available shortly... stay tuned.

Friday, March 04, 2011

New book! - Emerald City Comicon this weekend!!

Also in preparation for this weekend's Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, I went into the vault and updated to make more available a short story I did four years ago now, YETI.

Yeti was a short story that I contributed to and was published in JOSH HOWARD PRESENTS SASQUATCH April 2007. The book was one of many stories that were somehow related to Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti, etc, and had everything from horror, to comedy, sci-fi, and everything in-between. My story took a decidedly different approach to the subject, and was a fun cartoony sci-fi flavored departure, with a bit of a twist ending. I also took the gig as a chance to work the opposite of what I did with Super Real, and use all actual media (well, mostly). I always really liked the story and intend to revisit it for Pulp Girls (more on that later), and since I was out of copies of Sasquatch to offer, I felt it was time.

Since the work was a bit old, and simplistic, I took some time to spruce it up a little and play with some new artistic styles I'd been wanting to work out. So I'm really happy to offer the book again, for the first time!

You can get a copy at the show, I'll have a very limited amount, all hand made, full color, ash-can size bursts of fun. But plan to make more upon my return, which I'll offer online at that point.

Here's a look at the book...


I will be at the always amazing Emerald City Comicon this weekend in Seattle WA, in artist alley at space B-21!!

The ECCC is my best show now, and one of my faves. A really tremendous show, very well run, that has the most amazing artist alley bar none, and this year they're moving to 3 days. Should be a good time. I'm looking forward to the show, and catching up with old friends!

Also along for the trip riding co-pilot is my ZOMBIE TRAMP creator, Dan Mendoza. Dan's hanging out at the Super Real Graphics compound and making his first appearance at the show. We'll both be signing and sketching all weekend, with copies of all my stuff, and of course the recent ZOMBIE TRAMP graphic novel!

See you there!

ARTWORK: Brock/new Venture Bros fan art - WIP

Here's another stage of the new Venture Bros/Brock Samson fanart...
Nearly finished, but had to go with this version for this weekend's Emerald City Comicon.

But wait, there's more! (see next post!)