Archive for January, 2011


link love

Now this is a good way to end the year 2010:  I got linked to by The Daily Cross Hatch!

Right here.

Not only am I pleased with the mention, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with the fantastic company I’m in.  Ruben Bolling, Tom Gauld, Toby Jones, and Matt Bors!  I’m not sure how I’ll top this feat in 2011.


tiny reviews

MOVIES

The Expendables– Sylvester Stallone and Zooey Deschanel star in this quirky little romantic comedy, directed by Rob Reiner.  Lots of explosions ensue.  Look out for the glorious (and totally not gay) fist bump at the end of the movie.
Nightmare on Elm Street (the remake) – How can a horror movie about a burned dude who goes into teenagers’ dreams and murders them be so boring?  The director took all the fun out of the original.  Slickly produced bloodbaths are not interesting.

Get Him To The Greek – Jonah Hill really needs to lose some weight.  We’re getting worried about him.  Seriously, don’t turn into the next Chris Farley.

Scream 1 – I know I saw this movie before, but I barely remembered any of it.  Neve Campbell has awesome bangs.
Scream 2 – Surprisingly, much better than the first.  Better chase scenes and a somewhat less convoluted backstory.  After the first Scream was such a hit, part 2 was a parade of celebrities.  It might have been distracting had the whole series not been so dedicated to being “meta.”

Scream 3 – Darker than the second installment.  Somehow they manage to keep a consistent backstory through all three movies, filling in more sordid details as the series goes on.  Courtney Cox has a weird haircut in this one, and she bears an uncomfortably close resemblance to Skeletor.  Hollywood is not kind to aging women.

True Grit (2010) – This is how you do a remake.  Might be one of my favorite Coen brothers movies.  I only wish they had filmed Jeff Bridges’ beard in 3D.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead – This is my top recommended movie from 2010.  It’s just your average Shakespeare-mixed-with-vampire love story.  This indie was funny and surprising.  If you love vampires and hate what Twilight did to them, consider this a palate cleanser.  With a soundtrack by John Lennon’s kid (Sean, not Julien).

BOOKS

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke – A tale of two magicians doing real magic in the early 19th Century.  I listened to the audiobook, and narrator Simon Prebble is one of the best readers I’ve yet heard.  Funny and tense, literary and breezy, chock full of historical detail and character and mythology.  I’m so glad I finally got to this one.

The Corrections and Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen – While The Corrections managed to be a comical tale of tragedy, Freedom was just depressing.  I can’t recommend Freedom, even though I appreciate how well-written it was.  The Corrections, on the other hand, had a dose of unreality that tip-toed towards magical realism.  Franzen should go further in that direction.  It was hard to read Freedom because I didn’t like any of the characters, and the realism was served up hard and cold.  Instead of reading Freedom, go rewatch It’s a Wonderful Life.  Same deal, but with Jimmy Stewart.

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in it to win it

I’ve been drawing Falling Rock comics a bit differently this season.  For my big fifth year I knew I had to “step it up” and “bring it” unless I wanted my readers to yawn and shuffle off to some other corner of the internet.

My template for comics success is, obviously, Bill Watterson.  The problem with emulating Bill Watterson’s process is that he is a genius and I am not.  His methods don’t always work for me.  Case in point: he rarely did much penciling. When I saw some original Calvin & Hobbes strips at the Ohio State Cartoon Library & Museum, I quickly realized how much Bill left to inking. He certainly did the foundational stuff in pencil – panels and lettering. Otherwise, he drew light circles in pencil roughly where he wanted the characters’ heads to be and got right down to the final draft.

Until this season, I tried to follow that method. I drew rough character shapes in non-photo blue pencil, leaving details to be filled in while inking. This often resulted in less than satisfactory compositions. Characters’ legs got cut off more than I wanted, and occasionally I had to white out and re-ink Ranger Dee’s head because I drew it too big for her body. The last thing I want is a balloon-headed Dee.

This season, I’m trying what I call the Richard Thompson method.  Richard’s art style is much looser than Bill’s.  Richard does a lot of sketching, then tracing. I’d never thought of trying that before, so I gave it a shot.

Turns out, I like it a lot. I draw, in a very sketchy way, almost every panel on copy paper. Then I trace, using non-photo blue pencil, onto my Bristol board. That gives me a pretty exact drawing, which I ink. Not including the original sketches, I draw each comic strip three times. This has helped me refine the drawings that much more; so far I’ve been happy with the results. Below is an example of two strips on copy paper.

boogeyman-comic-sketches
January 19 and 21, 2011

Inking has become more brainless, which is fine, because I can have a movie or podcast playing and so keep up on pop culture while I make my contribution to it.






friday robots: shouts from the desert

This week’s Friday Robots comes to you from the desert, a noble and sacred place long believed to be incorruptible.  The robots will do their best to overrun the native plants and animals, and only a fierce and efficient Lizard Army will be able to defeat them.  Backed by funds from the Quail Mafia and supported in secret by arms traded from the polar bears up north, Lizard Army finds its greatest threat not from suburbs but mechanical monsters.

Should be a doozy of a weekend.  Stay tuned.friday-robots-1-7-11

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congresswoman gabby giffords

It is unlike this blog to post on breaking news, but I must post this unfolding story of Tucson Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot this morning at a public event outside a grocery store.

The link.

As of this time I’m not sure what her status is, but the link above should be updated regularly so keep checking in.

Awful, awful.