Archive for August, 2007

Draw Boobs the Tom Nguyen way!

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

A big congratulations to my buddy Tom Nguyen, whose art instructional book “Incredible Comics With Tom Nguyen: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Kick-ass Comic Art” debuted today.

I heard that Impact, the publishers, brought 50 copies to Comic Con and they were snapped up in an instant. Tom had only one copy left to show at his table throughout the con, and many pros who stopped by to leaf through it said that it was one of the best instructional books they’d seen in years. (And they said it BEFORE Tom slipped them the $100 bill, so you know it’s on the up and up.)

I actually did not buy this today. The reason being that there’s only one copy on the “New This Week” shelf at Jimmy Jams and I want some other patron to see it and buy it. Next week, the replacement copy would just be amongst the art instructional books. So I’ll hold off and get it later, after giving this one a chance to find its way into the hands of someone else.

But I did look through it. When I flipped it open, it went right to the page about drawing boobs correctly. (Prurient content in a Tom Nguyen book? Say it ain’t so!) Granted, that sounds funny, but given how many wanna-be artists (and working artists, sadly) have no idea how to draw breasts, or how fabric interacts with breasts, or how breasts move, or (probably) what they feel like, it’s worth doling out some instructions on the matter. This is why Tom has made it his life’s mission to study them in great detail every hour of every day.

Nice work if you can get it.

All kidding aside, it was a thrill to see Tom’s book on the stands today. I know he’s been working on it for quite some time; it’s nice to see that it’s out and it’s a hit. Way to go, Tom!

(Look for a review…with more honest appraisal and less friendly taunting… when I get my review copy in the mail with the $100 bill.)

“Punisher: War Zone” sequel; new star

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Punisher: War Zone will be the name of the sequel to The Punisher movie. Replacing Thomas Jane will be Ray Stevenson, who portrays the Roman Legionnaire Titus Pullo on the HBO series “Rome”. (I just watched the entire season 1 box set this last weekend while I was canning spaghetti sauce – what better use for a day confined to the kitchen?) and I can easily see him as Frank Castle.

Thomas Jane left the project back in May, after two years of prepping for the role.

A rabbit’s foot isn’t always good luck

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

The bunnies reenact Saw in 30 seconds.

Kid Nation. It’s like Lord of the Flies, except as a reality show

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

I just heard about this. They send 40 children out in the middle of the desert, where they’re expected to run a community WITH NO ADULT SUPERVISION. That is, they’re in control of water, sanitation, law enforcement, who gets food, EVERYTHING.

Check it out:

It looks like this show already has a cloud of controversy with labor unions (child labor) and children safety groups.

I don’t know about you all, but I think reality TV’s gone too far.

Yet a THIRD film wants Kistler! Sweet! :-D

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Just some fun personal news I thought I’d share.

So LevaFilmWorks (who’ve done wonderful documentaries and that really hilarious mockumentary “R2-D2: BENEATH THE DOME”) is doing a documentary on certain DC Comics characters and they want me to be in it as a comic book historian.

Good times! Let’s hope I sound like I know what I’m talking about and don’t come off as just a huge trivia freak. 🙂

And seriously, thank you to all the Monitor Duty bloggers and readers. Because of you, this site is here and this site is talked about and if that were not the case, these people would never have heard of me. So thank you all.

Todd McFarlane Producing Wizard of Oz ACTION FILM!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Yeah. Imagine a remake of THE WIZARD OF OZ with Dorothy as an ass-kicking, hard-edged heroine.

Oh, dear lord.

The full story is HERE.

Fan Expo in Toronto

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Fan Expo Canada was held this past weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, in the shadow of the CN Tower. That is, it would have been in its shadow if the sun had been shining, but it was an overcast and occasionally rainy day. The Convention Centre itself seems to be mainly underground anyway.

(more…)

Legion of Super Males at McDonalds

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Please allow me a moment to gripe about the Happy Meal Toys at McDonalds. The current toys are characters from the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon. The promotion has gone on now for several weeks and is nearing its end. I just got Bouncing Boy today, though he doesn’t actually bounce. Somebody missed an opportunity when they didn’t make him out of that rubber that super-balls are made from. That would have been cool. In fact, not only does he not bounce, he can’t actually stand independently at all. He is in a pose that makes it impossible. Of the “good guys,” only Brainiac 5 has the capability of standing on his own. They seem a bit ridiculous that way, but that’s not what I’m complaining about.

At times McDonald’s offers two sets to choose from- the “boy toys” and the “girl toys.” I won’t begin to suggest that this practice is very un-PC of them. It’s been my experience that my daughters really do want Barbie toys over Matchbox cars, and I’m sure parents of boys experience the opposite. You can argue that we’ve programmed them that way, but that’s not my point either.

Somewhere along the line, some executive decided that superhero toys must be “boy” toys, so the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon tie-ins are promoted as such. The counterpoint to the boy’s choice now are stuffed animals tied to the Build-A-Bear Workshop stores. I think it could be argued that both the Legion and the animals could have been designed and promoted in a way to appeal across the genders, but there’s more that bothers me.

Since the decision was made that the Legion was going to be for boys, only the male members of the Legion were manufactured. Thus, we have Superman, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Timberwolf, and Bouncing Boy, but there is no hope of getting a Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, or Triplicate Girl. They are also offering three villains- Mano, Tharok, and Validus. It seems absurd that their packaging identifies each one as a member of the Fatal Five, but there are only three of them. Of the two that are missing, I’m guessing the Persuader’s axe looked too violent for a Happy Meal, but the Emerald Empress was almost certainly left out merely because she’s a girl. Girls are too icky, apparently.

More mountain bike madness!

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Sounds like the location of these scary tracks is Vancouver’s north shore.

I have one question: how smart is it to have such dangerous track and such wild stunts in a place that is maddeningly inaccessible to an ambulance? You’d better hope your fellow X-gamers feel like portaging your busted butt back to civilization.

Thanks to Steve Czaban for both of the links.

Insane downhill bike track

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Scary!

I never even liked going over a curb on my bike. As for this path…I wouldn’t even want to play a video game of this path, let alone attempt it on an actual bepedaled conveyance!

Hackers Take Out Estonia

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

The country of Estonia, which is south of Finland and borders Russia and Latvia, suffered a heavy onslaught via rogue hackers. It had a lot of significance in that it brought up several issues to light concerning a country’s security and what the proper protocol was in dealing with such a situation.

The full story looking back on this event is on WIRED.

Is Tony Bedard this sloppy?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

SPOILER WARNING: Slight, unimportant spoilers from the splash page of today’s “Birds of Prey” #109.

I respect Tony Bedard. A lot. I wouldn’t say I’m a devotee who buys everything he produces, but I have found that most anything with his name on it will be a solid comic book that is totally worth the cover price. Bedard writes comics that I enjoy re-reading, which isn’t something I say very often. His “Negation” was one of the highlights of the sadly-defunct CrossGen comics. I say all this to make it clear to everyone that I do not consider him an incompetent, a hack or a lame-ol.

Which is why I’m stunned by the blunder in the opening of Birds of Prey today. In it, Green Arrow in his classic uniform is facing off against a Batman villain when Batgirl arrives. Green Arrow puts the moves on her and then realizes that she is a lot younger than he thought she was.

Barbara comments in voice-over that the costume made her look “at least twenty”. So she’s NOT twenty yet in the flashback. This must be occurring in the early years of her career. That would make sense; maybe Green Arrow is acting like such a cad because he isn’t yet in a serious relationship with Black Canary (for our purposes here, I mean that as in living together, being a recognized “item”, etc.).

We can surmise that this is happening in the early years of the Bronze Age, roughly concurrent with the comics published in the early 1970s. The JLA has their satellite H.Q., maybe they’ve recently added Elongated Man and Red Tornado to their roster, etc. Robin (Dick Grayson) is probably still in high school, given how young he is in Batgirl: Year One.

So…WHO is the Batman villain that is facing off against Green Arrow on a rooftop? It’s not important to the story, really. Could be any of three dozen Arkham inmates. Bedard probably threw a dart at random, which is the only explanation I can come up with as to why he would use THE VENTRILOQUIST!

You know…the Ventriloquist: the only truly noteworthy addition to Batman’s Rogues Gallery from the late 1980s until today. (Okay, yeah, Bane, I suppose.) And that’s the problem: his first, classic introductory story was published in 1988.

What else happened in 1988? Oh, just that Commissioner Gordon’s ex-Congresswoman librarian daughter got shot right around then, losing the use of her legs. And by that time, Green Arrow has been living with Black Canary for ages, had suggested marriage, and ditched the feathered hat and trick arrows, all in 1987’s the Longbow Hunters.

Of all the villains Bedard could have used, he uses the one whose appearance at the time is impossible. Look, I’m not some nitpicky fanboy who demands that a untold earlier origin of the JLA be invented just to explain why the publication date of Green Lantern’s first appearance doesn’t gibe with the JLA’s origin story. (You do know what I’m talking about, right?)

I’m just saying that I’m baffled that Tony Bedard made this kind of error. Even more confusing, I can’t believe editor Mike Carlin missed it!

I realize that DC will just now announce that Ventriloquist, like all good Bat-villains, will now have his backstory retrofitted to occur in Batman’s first year.

Didja miss seeing Stan Lee?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Here are all of Stan Lee’s Marvel movie cameos (well, except for the too-ostentatious speaking role in Spider-Man 3).

Where no Spam has gone before…

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Star Trek meets Monty Python,

And they said it couldn’t be done…
(Well, I did anyway)

Also, check out the latest log on my LiveJournal. While searching YouTube for info for my trip to Korea, I found some, well… INTERESTING videos from their northern neighbor.

behold! The lost Seinfeld episode!

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

For adults only. I love it!

You’ve never seen Wonder Woman???

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

My buddy Rob says he’s never seen a live action Wonder Woman. I boggled… then remembered that hey, I barely caught Wonder Woman myself. I wasn’t even ten when it was on…and Rob’s a decade younger than me.

Still…with DVD box sets, there’s no excuse to not at least watch it sometime. I mean, aside from the dumb plots. But here’s what Rob is missing:

Yeah, it’s dumb, it’s dated, the robots and aliens are lame, and Debra Winger as Wonder Girl doesn’t even know how to spin…

But there’s one main reason to watch Wonder Woman. (And no, I won’t even make the “okay, two” joke. It’s disrespectful to the awesomeness that is Lynda Carter.)

So, okay, Wonder Woman is basically the 1970s version of Baywatch. I was about to tell Robert that, when he sends me this message:

[16:46] Rjbav: So, WW is like Baywatch from the 70s?

Sometimes I’m not as clever as I think I am. (Sometimes? Probably most of the time.)

She was made to wear the starred shorts. (Heck, she even wore striped shorts when she was Miss America.)

So, no excuses. If you haven’t seen it: SEE IT!

30 Rock, the best new sitcom from last year

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

I almost missed getting into 30 Rock because I can’t stand “Scrubs” (the “Wings” of the new millennium), the show which came on before it. If NBC smartens up, they’ll put it on in the same hour as “The Office.” If you haven’t yet been won over, check out The 10 Best Moments from 30 Rock

Here are a few of my faves:

Movies That Were Never Made

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Ever wonder about those projects that could’ve been but were never filmed?

Don’t be stupid, of course you do.

Follow this link then to a list of awesome ideas that were never actually made.

Mike Wieringo (1963-2007)

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Mike Wieringo died on Sunday of a sudden heart attack; he was forty-four years old. I met him once– same time I met Todd DeZago– and both of them were warm and friendly gents, very enthused about the form and the fans.

When I first started reading Wieringo’s work, I didn’t “get” it; it seemed– and this was a common charge– too “cartoony”. But I’ve gotten smarter with the passing years, and I can honestly say he’s one of the greats. His work can be beautiful– like Tellos– but it also goes beyond that: he was able to successfully tell stories in the form of comics. His page layouts, his sense of timing from panel-to-panel– it was impeccable.

There’s a book that came out a year or two ago, called “Panel Discussions”– that featured a lengthy interview with Wieringo, in which he shares his working methods and his thoughts about the comics form. I highly recommend it, and all of the man’s work.

Rest in peace, Ringo.

More Marvel Vs DC

Monday, August 13th, 2007