I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Time online review of independent comix

Andrew D. Arnold of Time online reviews the independent comix scene. He's also done a piece on Chester Brown and Derek Kirk Kim in their archives as well as an interview with Will Eisner.

Like the video revolution in cinema, the wide availability of photocopy machines completely changed the direction of comics. Anyone could make and distribute "mini-comix" outside of the old-guard publishing system. Without the editorial demands — or benefits — of the top-down system, the Do It Yourself movement created its own aesthetic. The form lent itself to deeply personal, even solipsistic, stories and a punk-rock aversion to "craft" in favor of raw, expressionist artwork. Over time that outsider style has been adopted (co-opted?) by traditional, established publishers. Three recent works, available in regular comicbook shops, typify this style with their autobiographical stories rendered in immediate, rough graphics: Allison Cole's "Never Ending Summer," James Kochalka's "Sketchbook Diaries Vol. 4" and Jeff Brown's "Unlikely."

The archive of articles is formidable and I'm just about to delve into them. It offers a continuing look at an independent movement that probably serves as the conscience of comix today.

(Thanks to Jeff Pidgeon for the lead)

Monday, May 17, 2004

A daily dose of bombshell drawings

David Alvarez serves up a lushious treatise on babe drawing in "Yenny," the misadventures of a latina babe who wants to be a supermodel with the glaring handicap of having enormous feet--a drawback in Barbie world fer sure. I'm guilty of visiting the site every day because, well, he draws Yenny so gosh darn SEXY! Designed to hit all the obvious cues of babes to populate a rap video Yenny's proportion is best seen from the knees up but is not spared the cartoon treatment of the trademark Warner Bros wild takes. She has an equally sexy mom and a pet pest lizard along with a revolving door of cast members worthy of Scooby Doo. Daphne was never drawn like this, though. The sundays are colored in not too impressive fashion or intentionally done to suit the strip, I'm not sure. There are ads to trip over so bear with it. I would advise you to visit the stip a few months back and roll forward to get the full Yenny treatment.

(I had to clip the sample strip above. My blog cuts off wide images. Apologies to the author for mangling the gag. You can see the whole thing in Mr. Alvarez' site)

Supermodel personals--A good chuckle with lifted visuals

Supermodels are people too. Well, not exactly. Men tend to drool over the pictures and have the countenance reserved for cutting red or green wires on ticking bombs while women can guffaw on the obvious caricature of man-lures. That's the idea here--a woman points out the glaring funny to us men about those lush photolayouts in glossy fashion mags. It smarts a bit but the pretty pictures...uh...well...duh...you were saying?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Photoshop: Orange girl

Just been doing a batch of painting studies at work and had some left over...energy?..to paint this.

McDonalds locks up phrase, "I am Asian" (TM). Or six degrees of burger patties.

How this elbow joint of far-fetched reasoning was ever arrived at is astounding. McDonalds seems to be declaring on behalf of Asians and Pacific Islanders (please let us not forget these distinctions lest we confuse everybody) how asian it is to eat their fast-food burgers? AND going out of their way to patent the phrase means that you may be in trouble if you make this declaration without it somehow being in the service of the Ol' Mickey D.

We're Asian and Pacific Islander Americans "living on the rim," where our diverse cultures and the everyday American lifestyle become one. We're hanging on to our great traditions while we move to the beat of the times. We honor our heritage - but we love being Americans. From high fashion to high tech, from Asian Pacific American hip hop to haute cuisine, we're weaving the threads of our culture into the fabric of everyday American life. Whether we're sipping green tea or enjoying a Big Mac® sandwich, we're helping make the magic mix called America become even richer. And McDonald's is right there with us, everyday!

There may be nothing wrong about all this other than being in poor taste. Rather fitting for a corporation pushing food.

Found through Xeni Jardin/Modesty Verve

Monday, May 10, 2004

Changing Templates: Needed a change

Just trying out the new Blogger. Apparently it has its own commenting
feature now. All the other customizations I've done are gone. The
links to Paypal are gone. Maybe never to return until I can incorporate
them into the main page for more clarity. Please bear with the changes
as I'm trying to learn how to make this work.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Do you have a Gorilla blind spot? Experiments in "change-blindness" -- the brain's refusal to take note of changes in our visual field. Read this excerpt:
Working with Christopher Chabris at Harvard University, Simons came up with another demonstration that has now become a classic, based on a videotape of a handful of people playing basketball. They played the tape to subjects and asked them to count the passes made by one of the teams.

Around half failed to spot a woman dressed in a gorilla suit who walked slowly across the scene for nine seconds, even though this hairy interloper had passed between the players and stopped to face the camera and thump her chest.

However, if people were simply asked to view the tape, they noticed the gorilla easily. The effect is so striking that some of them refused to accept they were looking at the same tape and thought that it was a different version of the video, one edited to include the ape.

This made me want to read the whole thing. So, check out the link below. Then I chased the eventual link to the experiment website itself to see if they have the video. They did. And I can't imagine what sample of people they were showing this clip to that they got those results. I imagined that it was a shot of the ball court from the stands but it was as stark as a Sesame Street skit. Okay, but then take a break and watch it again. Remember the instruction is to count the number of passes made by one of the teams.


Gorilla video here

Pidgeon Stuff. One man story army Jeff Pidgeon once put Japanese Arachnid Superhero as a limited edition t-shirt. And that was the problem right there. It was limited. I personally witness many a casual encounter that starts with, "Hey, Jeff! Do you have anymore of that Spider guy shirts?" Jeff had to say that alas it was a product of the moment. There was sadness and it knew no relief. But no more! Follow this link and you'll find said Spider guy along with other Pidgeon goodies unearthed from his vaults slapped on a myriad of products . My personal faves are the Three Beavers. Just because they are eager and handilly colorful to match any mood.

Boys and Girls from Brazil.

These guys sent me a link to their blog and it was refreshing to see drawing after drawing of what looks like fun about poking fun. Marcelo Braga, I'm guessing, is the lead man in Diburros, a two-month old studio (archives reveal nice office digs) of a group of illustrators making a go of it in Brazil and while they make their deadlines or killing time they kid around by doing gag cartoons for and to each other (mostly in Portuguese I'm guessing but a funny drawing is funny everywhere).

Master Baker. Jamie hates it when I call him that out loud at the studio. Anyway, I swear I'm not just shilling for friends who've got online stores...actually, I am but I am genuinely very happy to because, well, their good guys who make me laugh with their drawings. Jamie is that and the most even tempered artist I know. He can give you the other side of any argument (even evil can have extenuating circumstances) and you lose your taste for bile. His drawings are fun and carefree even better if its on a bag or a mug to make sure you don't get glum. Nerve Bomb Store

Monday, May 03, 2004

The Annual Bruce Timm Norcal Meet. I meet Bruce Timm twice a year. Once at Wondercon and then at San Diego Comic-con. Up here we hang around the con at Albert Moy's or at Eric Larsen's and we catch up. Mostly I try not to buy what Bruce is buying--he has that effect on people, "Morbius drawn by Frank Robbins, ya gotta!" I miss having another huge comic book geek to, well...geek out...about comics. When we were doing Batman the Animated Series we used to gab an afternoon workday away talking about artists' mannerisms--from George Tuska's Iron Man hands that would never splay to Rich Buckler's rictor claws holding imaginary guns. Good times, good times. This year he sports a goatee and a sharp haircut with the customary dark shirt. Fitting for the father of the emblematic Batman of our times. He had with him to show the first part of "Starcrossed" a Justice League Unlimited movie due out middle of this year. It was projected in a small screen and the sound bounced around the huge function room but it probably worked to give me that old time movie going experience because I loved it. Friends Butch Luckic and Dan Riba directs and I must say that they did an amazing job.

It was also good to catch up with another pal, Paul Dini. He tells me many good things are coming up movie-wise for him and his snow doll Jingle Belle. And we would have gabbed on but he had to do the panel for Justice League with Bruce and Alan Burnett. Alan seems to have his own Lazarus pit since he looks the same as when I left the studio back in '95.

A con would not be complete without a visit to Stuart Ng. The event horizon around his booth sucks me in and I'm awash in Searles, Tennegrens, Dedinis and Blairs. Can't resist. It's futile. And you could not meet nicer people than the brothers Stuart and Steven. Karen was there to add more ebullience to the whole procedure but making me buy more books is not that hard to effect. I saw Michael Chabon mosey in with his kids in tow to see what goodies he can find.

Barron Storey was in the Vanguard booth looking like the original man in black. We had a nice chat about his days teaching at Pixar U. and he complemented the Fragments book Enrico and I made. After all he was in it. I drew him as he was teaching us the technique he used in painting that legendary Lord of the Flies cover. A good teacher passionate about his work of teaching. You can't ask for more.

Ragnar was there fronted by these two dubious looking fellows. This book is amazing and you all should check it out. I should get on the ball and think about making one. Sigh. I wish I can tell you more about my Wondercon afternoon but as fun as it was to connect with these old chums there was little else to be excited about.

Wander Con. Unfortunately, that's what I did of the few hours I spent this past Saturday at the Moscone Convention Center, wander. I can't put my finger on it but it was as tepid (if not more) than last year. I had high hopes for this location, now it's second year here in the city. It didn't bode well that I didn't encounter any fans walking Fifth Street holding the freebee bag (sparser than years past, I think) nor many outside the entrance. Okay, maybe it was because it was a Saturday afternoon and Union Square is just up the street and the Metreon is just behind the Moscone. The MOMA is around the corner and the Cartoon Art Museum as well. What could go wrong? By any regard just being around all these foot traffic heavy targets should make this con go through the roof. Instead it was leaden and not even the presence of Toby Maguire making an appearance pulled the Spiderman movie crowds to proportions worth mentioning. I didn't see Toby's appearance but judging from the dealers' floor if they were there they left soon after.

"It's so boring!" one pro chimes in. "We didn't expect this," says another. "We were running on the high of APE, so we signed up to do this con. But look at this!" I was at APE myself as an exhibitor and that was infiinitely more lively than Wondercon has been. There was a questionaire passed around at the end of APE asking if the numbers would bear out adding another full day to the the two-day affair. Judging from the crowds we saw there it was a resounding YES! I wish the organizers all the luck on making next year better. It's an adequate convention and could sure use a shot in the arm. I have a hunch that the upscale location left the market that was grown across the Bay Bridge in Oakland and those fans couldn't be bothered to pay toll, parking and the entrance fee. And maybe its the nature of this convention being so similar to the granddaddy San Diego Comic-con and happening just two months apart people think that they can just save their money for that trip instead. Convolutions upon convolutions.