Thursday, April 28, 2011

Where did the time go?

Wow, three whole weeks since my last post. Honestly, I'm sorry. The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs have been getting in the way, Game of Thrones and Doctor Who started up, Easter, final school projects approached, and I keep putting off my post until "next Thursday." But not anymore. In fact, I'm writing this yesterday, during the Montreal/Boston game, to make sure it gets posted. Then hopefully I get back to my normal, uploading self.

To make it up to you, I'll give you a big week. You'll get three weeks of comic reviews, I'll throw my opinions on Game of Thrones and Doctor Who premiers, some work-in-progress, and some finished(?) art (I had to colour a sketch, so it is what it is, but also Cowboy Mummy). So, let's get this off and running, shall we?

Comic Reviews (No Pull List, No Other News, Pure Reviews)
Amazing Spider-Man #658 - 3/5 - I gave this a three as soon as I finished reading it. Now, I remember it not being bad but I don't remember anything at all about it. So I must have been right in thinking it was just really average. I don't have the issue on me so I can't go back and re-read to try and remember. The only thing I can do is say this issue was apparently super mediocre.

Amazing Spider-Man #659 - 4/5 - This was much more fun than #658. A lot of humorous lines and self-referential quips on what was happening. Enough so that it almost made the book feel like Deadpool, but since I just recently jumped into Amazing Spider-Man, it didn't really hit me wrong. The cliffhanger reveal at the end has me pumped for the next issue and the villain reveal was absolutely great. The only thing that bothered me was side story focusing on Carlie Cooper, it was just obnoxious to read as she went through her drunken, angst-y revenge. The Infested teaser was mediocre. I guess it teased and it was a teaser, so I can't fault it too much. The Ghost Rider Team-Up was still fun and is at least an enjoying read. The main story was great at the end though, enough for me to forget about some weak parts in the middle.

Deadpool #35 - 2/5 - Daniel Way has once more chance before I drop Deadpool. When he was going into space I was wary but hoped it would be self-referential to the "jumping the shark" nature stories like these usually cause but it was just uninspired, boring plot progression. I honestly didn't care what happened to Deadpool's fat, alien, space wife nor frankly did I care about much else Deadpool was doing. There weren't too many jokes that I didn't think were forced or that just fell flat. In all honesty, I'm used to Deadpool ongoing doing this to me. The Vegas arc made me consider taking it off my pull list, but the Dracula arc restored my faith. It's just a roller coaster until Way doesn't redeem himself, I guess.

Deadpool #36 - 5/5 - Alas, my love/hate relationship with Daniel Way's Deadpool series continues. It's like he knows I give him one more chance so he does something awesome. The humour, the action, the thought, was all here and at full stride. Daniel Way explores Deadpool as a character by the interactions he as with his "friends" and it works incredibly. The humour at the beginning started to make me think it was getting better at just how funny it was, but then it got to an incredible action scene only to end with an in depth look who Deadpool actually is. If the story continues with this line of thought, I'll be happy to keep picking it up.

Elephantmen: Cover Stories #1
- 4/5 - I love all art that goes with Elephantmen. Moritat, Ladron, Cook always produce top notch illustrations whether it be interiors or covers. In an attempt to gather more inspiring art books for reference I figured this was well worth the price of admission.

S.H.I.E.L.D.: Infinity (One-Shot)
- 3/5 - S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing has been a great read. Seriously, pick it up if you haven't read it. I can't really explain at all what goes on in it but it is undeniably awesome. As for this One-Shot, it doesn't really do anything worth going nuts about. It shows some crazy match-ups, like Archimedes using the Colossus of Rhodes (which is basically now a giant robot) to fight the Kree Sentry, but ultimately doesn't deliver anything really needed. The four short stories aren't long enough to dive into something more, but at the same time aren't "bad." It's something that is acceptable if you need everything tied to the S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing, but unneeded if you're fine without any side stories.

Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker #1 - 3/5 - It's certainly entertaining. A friend of mine picked it up and I gave it a read. I can't see myself adding it to my pull list but I'm absolutely in love with the outstanding, free range art style of Mike Huddleston. The story is just too outrageous, and to an extent, juvenile. That's not to say I can't enjoy a fun story (I'm working on Cowboy Mummy) just it's not something I normally read. Gratuitous sex and vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity. I'll keep going as long as my buddy keeps picking it up even if it means I just look at the art.

Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker #2 - 4/5 - This one was more than just enjoyable and it has everything to do with the villains. I love them way more than Butcher Baker. The designs, the characterizations, the identities, they're absolutely great. They brought much more to the story than Butcher Baker's parts, and even when the villains started to talk about their encounters with Baker, my enthusiasm started to fall. It'll be interesting to see how I react to them meeting up regularly since they've been split up until, I assume, the next issue. Which I'm actually looking forward to.

Super Dinosaur - 1/5 - I was going to pick it up, read some bad things before I left for my comic shop, decided to wait a week to see if anything went better. Lucky for me, a buddy of mine picked it up so I just read it off him. It was terrible. Now, I guess I'm not necessarily the target audience but I thought it was bad no matter who was reading it. The story was stupidly put together and Kirkman's world doesn't seem to be fully understood by anyone. The writing was almost amateurish by having the main character greet his dad by name then giving me a caption box explaining that he's the character's dad, and plot devices just didn't work. While a lot happened in the story it felt like nothing was important. I"m surprised Kirkman's capable of something this poor, even if it is a kid's comic. I read Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! by Mike Kunkel and I was able to enjoy that and feel it was written well. I can't say the same with Kirkman's Super Dinosaur.

Batman Incorporated #5 - 4/5 - It's really hard to say much since Comics Alliance does great annotations that make me enjoy the issue so much more, but this was fun. Morrison is able to mix a sort of camp in with the serious tone and he's able to do it well. Paquette's art is still hit and miss with me and I think he's far more suited to cover work than interiors, but they aren't bad by any means. All in all, strong issue.

Detective Comics #876 - 5/5 - I say this every month but I love this series. It's a great Batman story and it's a great detective/crime story. Jock's art and page layouts are absolutely incredible and Scott Snyder's pacing and reveals bring great tension and plot progression. This is a series people should be reading.

FF #2 - 3/5 - I'm not planning on staying with this series and, after some convincing, I bought it on the grounds that I support what Marvel and Hickman are trying to do: shake up the status quo. I'm one of the few who doesn't mind Spider-Man being in the Fantastic Four (or Future Foundation) nor do I mind the costume change and whatnot. It helps create stories with longevity and impact in the world. So at the end of FF #1, Doom shows up and made me buy Issue 2. Overall, It's not bad it's just not what I wanted and the cliffhanger reveal seemed dumb to me, and frankly, kind of predictable (to a point). At the moment I won't pick up FF #3, it could change, but Amazing Spider-Man provided me with a better Future Foundation story than FF did.

Xombi #2 - 2/5 - I loved the first one with the characters, abilities, some witty text, but this one just felt sluggish and, well, opposite. None of the characters were really able to do anything in this one and when they were faced with danger I didn't really care what happened to them. While Frazer Irving's art really helped the book, I may give it one more issue to convince me to stay on board. It just hit me the exact opposite way #1 did. Which is a shame, really.

Cream of the Crop:

Deadpool #36; Detective Comics #876; Elephantmen: Cover Stories #1
If you listen to me on anything it should be these. Out of the thirteen comics I bought in three weeks, these were the ones that stood out and were well worth their cost. I keep saying it but if you don't pick up Detective Comics, you're doing yourself a disservice. What came before and what will come after Deadpool is anyone's guess but #36 was all around fantastic. Elephantmen: Cover Stories is great reference material, inspiration tool, and all around great piece of work to look at.

Television Reviews
Game of Thrones
(S01, E01: Winter Is Coming; S01, E02: The Kingsroad) - 4/5 - Haven't read A Song of Ice and Fire (I tried listening to the audio book of book one, but failed) and the series looked interesting from an outsider's perspective as well as long time fans of the books stated it looked promising. After one episode I was optimistic after the second I was hooked. It might have been how tired I was when I watched Episode 1 but I had trouble keeping track of who was who and what was happening. It did help that most of it followed the part of the book I listened to so I wasn't entirely out of the loop. Episode 2 started to get into the nitty gritty of the characters and what conflicts would come to them. It's HBO so there's some awkward sex scenes, but the violence is tasteful and hasn't been too over the top. It does look like HBO was the best choice to go with, though. Off the bat, Tyrion Lannister is one of my new favorite characters.

Doctor Who
(S06, E01: The Impossible Astronaut) - 4/5 - I've watched it twice so far and I ended up enjoying it a little differently each time. My big problem was the prospect of new Who made me hype the episode to something I doubt anything would be able to reach so I was a little let down. On the other hand, starting out with a two part episode is a gamble, especially having to wait a week between the two parts. I am super excited for Episode 2, though, and there were some really nice things happening. The set up to the story was incredible and gripping, the Silence are a great monster and I love their execution, a lot seemed to open up to be dealt with throughout the whole season. My only downsides are a few scenes, such as The Doctor and River working the TARDIS and a small question I had at the beginning.

Most Exciting:

I'm just too excited for this series to continue. I know what Doctor Who is and I'm pumped for the series, but Game of Thrones is just entirely new to me and from what I've heard from longtime fans it's an incredible story. There's so many rich characters to get involved with and stories to follow as they go about their plotting. I can see build up after build up leading to an absolutely astounding conclusion. Here's hoping I'm right. But I'd definitely recommend checking the show out if you like medieval fantasy or not. There's enough good character that the genre shouldn't get in the way.

Work-In-Progress

Starting off with an "Art on a Grand Scale" project for my Illustration Styles & Concepts class. We just had to either design a piece of art able to be mass produced or a large mural or other such presentation. I chose to do tapestries for the CONSOL Energy Center honoring the Pittsburgh Penguins' retired numbers, Michel Briere (21) and Mario Lemieux (66).


I have three oil paintings for a series for a painting class (although I only have two on my person at the moment, the other is still in the classroom) I'll present those. My whole theme ended up being "Sneezing" so these two pieces depict a SCUBA diver sneezing in his helmet. The other depicts me sneezing ink underwater as octopus me uses his ink defense to evadea seamonster in the background (I'll get you that one some point in the future, probably next week).



Finished(?) Work
More Cowboy Mummy. Andrew and I finally admitted two weeks ago that the deadline wasn't happening. All isn't lost though as, while it's going slowly, it's coming. Once the summer hits I'll really focus on it and that's only in two weeks. But we'll self-publish when it does get done over the summer.


Finally, I'll leave off with a coloured sketch I had to do for a Photoshop Imaging class. It was maybe 45 minutes alltogether with the drawing, scanning, coloring, and saving. But, It has some charm to it. I'll take it for what it is.


Hopefully next week gets me back on track. It didn't help that one week I only had one comic out so I just figured I'd do one big update (which, ironically, ended up happening), but I should get back to a normal update schedule. So thanks for sticking around for some slow weeks if you still checked and I'll make it worth your while.

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