Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Teddy and the Yeti trading cards by Jeff Lafferty!

A little while ago, I posted the black and white version of the above image by the great Jeff Lafferty.  Now I'm happy to show the colored, final version and shed a little more light on the future of this art.  As I mentioned, I'm going to make this a connecting, two-card set.  I've decided that I'm going to have these printed out to give away for the first time at the San Diego Comic-Con, which is just a little over a month away.  I'll still have the standard promo card by Antonio Crespo, but this one will be a little bit special.  Once the show dates get closer, I'll reveal just what purpose these cards will serve.

In the meantime, check out how awesome this is!!  I'm pretty excited about it.  Jeff is mailing the original art, and oh man, I think I'll have to make some room on the wall for it.  It's really something.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Once again, my students present terrible drawings of the Incredible Hulk.

About a year ago, I gave a final in some of the classes I taught that facetiously offered bonus points to whomever drew the Incredible Hulk on his or her greenbook.  Even though I made it abundantly clear that I would not actually be handing out points based on such a dumb concept, many of my students did it anyway - just in case.  The results were so astonishingly bad that I decided to try it again this year, and as I had more students, I got more Hulk drawings (and, supposedly, I shattered more dreams).

When marveling at the horrid nature of the following drawings, let's keep in mind that these are coming from college students, and not little children.  For my own part, I am not an artist and don't claim to be able to put together a half decent composition of Bruce Banner's alter ego.  Even so, WOW, I got some bad ones.  Let's check them out, starting with the one at top and its interestedly placed nipples.

What is this, a German Hulk?  Okay.

Honestly, I'm just happy that this person spelled "incredible" correctly.

This one's not too bad, even thought the Hulk looks a little goofy.  I wonder why he's apparently pantsless.

This one, I'm fairly certain, was drawn after the student took out his iPhone and looked up a "how to draw the Hulk" tutorial on YouTube.  A couple people did that, and since the final was long over by this point, I let them go ahead.  This person didn't bring a greenbook and apparently hates the environment.

I like this one.  The Hulk is perhaps leaping, perhaps falling.  But he looks pretty carefree in any case.

Jose Canseco?  Really?  I'm surprised that my students even know who the guy is, seeing as most of them were born in the early 1990s, when Canseco's heyday was beginning to wind down.

This one's a little deformed, but probably the scariest of the bunch.

An Antoine Dodson reference!  Classic.

I contend that the "Hulk" at bottom is actually the Thing, which my student couldn't help but draw since the Thing is a much better character.  She even drew his Fantastic Four shorts!  Good job, student.

I like the King Kong-esque nature of this one, and the use of the globe in with the rest of the composition.


This one didn't even try.

Another drawing that looks more like the Thing!  This person even captured the Thing's positive nature.

This one's just weird.  Do you want me to hand you something, Hulk?

I have no idea how Scarface ended up in this one.  Did the person watch the movie the night before?  Pay attention to the faux instructions and draw the Hulk!  Or the Thing.  The Thing is acceptable.

It's all relative.

The Hulk is so happy here!  It looks like he's taking the globe for a walk.

Another baseball reference!  The Pirates have enough good pitching this year.  What I want to know is can Closing Pitcher Hulk get on base?  Seriously, we'll take anyone.  Look at this graphic!

Can you hit a curve, Hulk?

This Hulk seems to be a mix between the Hulk, Charlie Brown and Doug Funny.

These last two were drawn on bluebooks.  Bluebooks?!?  Ridiculous.  Here we have proof that people will never forget the Ferrigno/Bixby TV show.  Also, it looks like the Hulk got chunks torn out of him.

Lastly, we have our footless, noseless Hulk.  This was fun!  We should do it again next semester, assuming that I don't get fired for posting student artwork online.  There's very little chance of that happening.  I hope.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pictures from X Con Myrtle Beach 2012

It's been a little while since I posted.  I've been a little busy with a few exciting projects.  Plus I took a trip down to Myrtle Beach last weekend.  Did I mention I was going to XCon again this year?  I never did?  Oh.  Well, I was there.  I was.  And here is some proof!

Sometimes, even Superman takes a cab.  He's a paragon of responsibility, people!!

Here's a random shot of the convention floor.  They had video game tournaments going on the entire weekend, with games like the new Capcom/Marvel one set up.  I didn't see the Thing in there once!  Come on.

Another shot of the floor.  The show moved to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center this year, and I think that the change of venue was a very good thing.  XCon is a small show, and maybe it always will be, but I see this as a necessary step in the process of increasing attendance.  Last year, the show was in the basement of a local hotel; this move adds a little more awareness and a little more legitimacy to the whole deal.

In the middle of the convention floor was a wrestling mat.  It was odd, but there were people beating on each other the entire weekend, so I guess that's okay.  At one point, one of the wrestlers circled the ring and started to heckle the crowd, almost Andy Kaufmann style.  "Hey, comic book nerds!  Come and watch me wrestle!"  Whatever works, big guy.

This was an interesting painting.  My only problem with it is that Jake and Finn would spend their days beating up zombies, not becoming zombies.

After the show on Friday night, the folks in charge held a little party at the local comic shop, Corsair Comics.  It was pretty hip.

At one point, Space Ghost and Aqua Teen Hunger Force art director and voice actor C. Martin Croker left his booth to get a chicken sandwich (really), so I sat down and pretended I was him.  I almost sold a couple prints.  Gotta work on my Zorak voice.

Pace yourself, fella.

XCon continues to be a fun show, and you can tell that the people in charge are trying to make it as good as it can be.  It'll take some time and perseverance before this show grows to become a real destination convention.  It's right at the beach, and that's a big plus for its long-term survival.  As with many shows, this one will have to start bringing in new guests before too long, because the guest list has stayed fairly consistent for the last few years.  This is easier said than done, of course, but it's up to them to try.  I wish everyone involved the best of luck.  Maybe in another five years, the show will take up more than one convention hall!  Here's hoping.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

War of the Independents #3 now on sale!

The indy comic book crossover War of the Independents #3 went on sale yesterday, and you should, you know, pick it up.  It's got a flip cover by Todd Nauck and Chris Giarrusso and features two comic characters you've possibly heard about on this site...Teddy and the Yeti!

Our guys had a cameo in issue #1, and from what I understand, they'll also be in issue #6.  But #3 features their biggest role and they're also on the Giarrusso cover right above the Tick!  I'm gonna buy a few copies of this for sure, and if you see it at your local comic shop, I hope you'll pick up a copy as well!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Avengers Paper Heroes! New FUBAR art! A new Thing statue! MORE RANDOM NOTES!!

Today was kind of a big day for me.  How to celebrate?  Well, what about another installment of random notes?  These are things that are awesome.  You'll thank me later.  Let's begin!

- Xavier Gale-Sides has done some great things on his My Paper Heroes website, where he creates paper action figures and shares them with a grateful planet.  His latest creations are Marvel's movie Avengers, and they're looking really nice.  The group shot you see above isn't even a complete set - Xavier also has Nick Fury and the Black Widow, not to mention "maskless" versions of Cap and Iron Man.  Best of all, he's got the patterns right on his website, and you can download them for free!

A while ago, Xavier made awesome paper versions of Teddy and the Yeti!  If you don't already have them, you can download them from this site and his, also for free!

Download the Paper Hero Ted HERE.
Download the Paper Hero Yeti HERE.

- Since we're on the subject of the Avengers movie, let me share a few more random thoughts with you.

First, did anyone else catch Loki's "mewling quim" line from his conversation with Black Widow?  Perhaps not, at least if you were part of an American audience.  The only reason I caught this line - which is SUPER offensive, by the way - is because I watch (and love) the British comedy "The Inbetweeners", which is a fantastic, if not crude, program.

It's surprising that this line made it in, and it makes me wonder if it's okay to make rude and suggestive comments in movies as long as they're not part of the local lexicon.  Firefly, for instance (another Joss Whedon production), featured swearing of all sorts, but it was all in Chinese.  It's strange to think that swearing, something American audiences seem to get pretty worked up about, is allowed in this manner.  What about people who speak Chinese?  Or people who emigrated from China?  They get to hear it all.  Yet if it's in English, it'll probably get you a fine or an "R" rating.  Weird.

Next, how about that product placement in the movie?  There were Dr. Pepper sightings galore, but what stood out to me as the most forced was the, uh, interestingly placed Farmer's Insurance office during the big fight scene.  I mean, I know they're a sponsor of the thing.  But come on.  Does anyone say "I think I'll switch my insurance company!" because he/she saw the words in the background of a movie?  Also weird.

- There's been lots of progress on the upcoming third volume of FUBAR, and I'm excited to share some of the art for the first time.  Both are stories I'm luckily involved in.  Above is a clip from a story titled "Old Ghosts".  It deals with a WWI vet and features art by Daniel Thollin.  It's looking great so far.  In FUBAR volume 2, I lettered a story by Stephen Lindsay and Thollin titled "Run Silent, Run Dead".

- This art is from an as-of-yet untitled story that takes place during the Battle of the Alamo.  It's got art by Steve Becker and Jeff McComsey, and it's coming along swimmingly.  I can't give away too much about this or, really, any of the FUBAR 3 details, but things are happening, and if you liked what came before, you'll be happy with what's to come.  I know I'm excited about it.

- I got a new Thing statue in the mail!  I guess "statue" isn't the best word for it...maybe "figure"?  I don't know.  Anyway, here are some pictures of it, whatever it is:

Above and below is the tin it came in!

And inside the lid is a little pamphlet and a pin.  Both are pretty cool.

This is a great figure.  It's funny, because Dark Horse is responsible for this series, which features the rest of the Fantastic Four as well as other Marvel characters.  The figure itself is pretty small, solid, and hand painted.  Obviously it's going for a retro look, and it succeeds in pretty much every manner.  It's a cool new addition to the collection.

- If you have a blog with Blogger, chances are you regularly (perhaps obsessively) check your stats.  I am certainly no exception.  I had more monthly page views than ever before in April - my first time over 4,000 views in a month (thanks, folks)!  This number was no doubt nudged along by the above oddity, where I apparently got over 500 views all at once.  How did this happen?  Online flash mob?  I have no idea, but I'm not complaining.

- Here's another fun stat.  People are finding this blog by searching Google Images for the UHF logo!  I've been hoping for this ever since I posted the UHF Six Panel Cinema and thank goodness at least three people took the bait.  The below image is currently on the second page of Google Images if you search for "UHF movie logo".  Maybe one of the searchers is even Weird Al.  I can dream, right??  Let's bump up those odds by posting it one more time...

There.  Great.  Have a good one, everybody!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Teddy and the Yeti strip by Fred Hembeck!

This has been brewing for a little while, and it's been difficult not sharing until now.  I got in touch with the great Fred Hembeck after seeing another of his strips appearing in current IDW books, and somehow I convinced him to create one of his famous comic strips for Teddy and the Yeti!  The comic is above - I'm looking to have it colored and will include it in the up and coming Teddy and the Yeti #4 (out pretty soon!).

If you're a comic fan, you're probably aware of Fred Hembeck, or at least his work.  Fred is a comic book historian and satirist of the highest degree, and he's got published work in each of the last several decades.  My favorite of all his work (before this comic strip, of course) is the Fantastic Four Roast, which you can see here:

The best news is that this is not the last strip Fred is doing for books that I'm working on.  The next one won't be Teddy and the Yeti, but it is for something I've been involved in a lot recently, which should be a pretty big clue.  Regardless, I'm sure it'll be awesome, if this strip is any indication.  Thanks, Fred!

Here's the website: http://www.hembeck.com/

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why does the ship from Prometheus look just like the ship from Serenity?

As I mentioned yesterday in my super awesome Avengers review, the trailer for the Alien prequel Prometheus was shown in advance of the movie, along with other sci-fi and comic book films like The Dark Knight Rises and Amazing Spider-Man (the Battleship trailer might have also played, but I tend to put all instances of that abomination out of my head, so I can't be sure).  It was the first time I had seen the trailer after hearing a little bit of chatter about the movie.  What I saw, seconds into the showing, really threw me for a loop, as lo and behold, Serenity, the wonderfully designed ship from Firefly and the followup movie, Serenity, descended upon some alien world.

"This is it," I thought for the most fleeting of moments, "a new Serenity movie that I've been longing for these many years."  My thoughts quickly turned, then, to something akin to "Wait, how have I not heard about this before right now?", and finally to "This isn't a new Serenity movie!  WHO WOULD PULL SUCH A CRUEL, HEARTLESS JOKE ON ME?!?"

It seems to me that the ship from Prometheus looks a heck of a lot like Serenity.  Enough that it made my heart skip a beat at first glance.  I took a few images from the Internets and Photoshopped 'em together to illustrate my point.  In each instance, the Prometheus ship is on the left, and Serenity is on the right.

I'll admit that I'm not the most impartial judge in this regard.  Firefly is, without a doubt, one of the best shows to grace television sets, and Serenity was a faithful, beautiful adaptation and continuation.  What Joss Whedon put together in one brief season plus a feature movie was nothing short of a masterpiece.  So when I see something remarkably similar to the iconic ship from the show in another movie, I take notice.

It must be said that Whedon and the Alien franchise are not without their connections.  Whedon was one of the writers on Alien: Resurrection, though I don't believe he had a leading voice in that film's direction.  I will also say that I'm not the most familiar with the Alien movies in their different incarnations.  Even so, it seems like this similarity is the result of one of three things:

1) The ship from Prometheus is a blatant ripoff of Serenity.
2) The ship from Prometheus looks like Serenity as a loving tribute to Whedon and his contribution to Alien lore and sci-fi in general.
3) This is all a big coincidence.

Chances are, I understand, that choice #3 is the most likely, but wow!  What a coincidence if that's so!  I realize that there are only so many ways of designing a science fiction space ship, but I wish that there was at least a little more distinction than there is.

Of course, this could all be remedied in one fell swoop by simply renewing Firefly or making another Serenity movie.  Come on, Hollywood.  Make this happen.  I said do it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A short, spoiler-free Avengers movie review

If you are one of the apparently six people who has not yet seen the Avengers movie, do yourself a favor, buy a ticket, and watch this film.

Let's get my position on this.  I went to the midnight showing hopeful, but not expectant.  I'd watched all of the tie-in movies and had mixed feelings about them as a whole: the first Iron Man was a great movie.  The sequel was pretty dull and predictable.  Both Captain American and Thor, I thought, were good, but not great or groundbreaking in any way (and can we even count Edward Norton's Incredible Hulk in this grouping?).  I'm also a gigantic fan of several Joss Whedon properties, notably Firefly/Serentiy.  Dollhouse, on the other hand, was bad enough for me to stop watching during the first season even though I wanted to support Whedon.  What I'm getting at here is this: a lot of people were convinced that this was going to be a fantastic movie before seeing the first trailer, but I had my doubts that a movie with such huge ensemble cast and some fairly goofy cinematic concepts (Thor?  Really?) could pull together to create movie magic.

After watching the movie, I'm not entirely convinced that it did, but it came really close.  Really, really close.

As I mentioned, I went to the midnight showing for this movie.  I went to the Waterfront in Homestead, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  Before the show, I went to Dave & Buster's with your friend and mine, Larry.  We played the new Pac Man Challenge game.

I now have Pac Man fever, even though it was a fairly simplistic game that ended quickly.

From what I heard, there were five sold-out theaters for Avengers this night, and the place was packed. I tried to take a couple pictures of the crowd, but none of them really did any justice to the amount of people who were actually there.  There were a number of people dressed up as various Avengers.  I wonder if dressing up for movies has always been popular or if it's just because of the recent Harry Potter phenomenon.  I certainly don't remember seeing it as much outside of the last ten years.  Here's a picture of Larry looking...great...

The crowd was enthusiastic, to say the least.  I've heard that it's an American occurrence to clap and cheer before, during and after movies.  If this is true, I'm just not sure as to the why of it.  Are we appealing to the movie gods?  Are we trying to prove that we are just as big of fans as the guy sitting next to us, or four rows down?  It's a curious circumstance.  I don't look at movies being so interactive, per se, and prefer an empty theater to a boisterous, crowded one.  Those are the perils of showing up at midnight, I suppose...though it was odd to hear the reaction that even the previews were getting.

Speaking of previews, there were a few noteworthy ones to be seen this night.  The first was the newest (and supposedly final) trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.  It was just fantastic.  Take a look!

I see you in there, Hines Ward.  Woo!

There was also a new Amazing Spider-Man trailer.  I don't know what to think about this movie.  When the teaser came out, I thought it was going to be awful.  The first full trailer, though, was pretty good, I thought, and it made me think twice about skipping the movie when it comes out.  The newest one, though...I'm not as excited about that one.  Who knows what the movie will be like, but I'll probably eventually see it - just maybe not in a theater.

I was dumbfounded when the trailer for Prometheus, the Alien prequel, came on screen.  Mostly because the ship in this movie is almost identical to the Serenity ship from Firefly.  My heart jumped when I saw it, and for a moment I thought that there was a new Serenity movie coming out that I had somehow just missed up until this point.  I'll probably write an incensed (incensed, I tell you!) blog about this a little bit later on.

If you went to see the IMAX 3-D version of the movie, you got a mini poster to, I don't know, commemorate(?) the event.  Since I saw the regular-ol' 2-D version, I missed out on my chance to snag one...at least until after the movies let out.  I popped into the IMAX theater and found a few that others had left in the aisles.  Is this the theater equivalent of dumpster diving?  Oh well.  I also found this comic:

It's a promotional Avengers comic put out, apparently, by Marvel and Wyndham.  There's a short story inside and a handful of pinups.  In the story, the Avengers fight Ultron and...stay at various Wyndham hotels.  It's a goofy story, but I guess that's to be expected.  Here's a clip from one of the pages!

Oy.  Anyway.

Overall, the Avengers movie deserves much of the praise it's getting.  There's action galore, humor, and great character moments that I've come to expect from most Joss Whedon productions.  Now that the movie is breaking records and bringing in all kinds of money, it's inevitable that we'll see another spike in comic book movies.  X-Men, which launched twelve years ago(!!), ushered in a new era of movies, one that is still going strong.  Twelve years - that's astonishing.  What other specific genres can boast a record like that?

That's not to suggest that Avengers was perfect.  There are plenty of action cliches, and the henchmen-style villains are not my favorite choice (but perhaps they are necessary in a movie like this).  But it does what it set out to do - tell an engaging, fun, over-the-top superhero action movie.  In this regard, it succeeds in almost every area.

My greatest hope to come out of this movie is that movie studios will finally see that Joss Whedon can helm a movie or series of movies that can be successful when you just let him see his vision through to the end.  Hey, Fox!  Bring back Firefly!  Make another Serenity movie!!  Whedon has proven that it can be done, and it can make lots of money.  Seriously, do it.  It's right there for the taking.