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Francis, you can finally have Pee-Wee’s bike!

July 23, 2013
The well-known auction house, Profiles in History will be holding a rather impressive auction this coming week.  On July 28th – 29th you have the chance to bid on some amazing pieces of film history, including:
  • The original Charlie Chaplin “Tramp” cane from Modern Times
  • A Judy Garland screen test Dorothy dress from The Wizard of Oz
  • A mid-grade type 2 Phaser pistol from Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Harrison Ford’s signature fedora hat from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as well as the iconic whip from all three films of the original trilogy.
But, the item I’m interested in is this next one:
 Pee-wee Herman’s elaborate custom bicycle from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!The catalyst that set in motion a crazy cross-country adventure can be yours for an estimated  $15,000 – $20,000!!!!

MONDO Makes Monster Movie Magic at SDCC

July 11, 2013
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My gateway prints…

I stumbled upon Mondo a few years ago, when a friend brought Olly Moss‘ art to my attention.  I was so blown away by his minimalist style as he applied it to what I consider to be cinematic masterpieces that I needed to own one immediately.  I googled and googled until I found Mondo.  That very week, I was lucky enough to get a set of Moss’ Star Wars prints.  You know the ones. They sold out in what seemed like seconds.  So after acquiring those beautiful prints, I was infected with the collecting bug.  Since that time, I’ve put together a nice little collection of about 15 Prints. (Shaun of the Dead by Jock, Dark Knight Rises by Olly Moss, Rear Window by Kevin Tong, Iron Giant by Mike Mitchell, and a few others)

Why did I feel compelled to purchase these prints though?  That’s easy.  Mondo, along with the Alamo Drafthouse theaters have endeavored to keep us looking into and respecting the past even as we barrel into a future full of 3D HD CG craziness.  They consistently remind us that movies are meant to be enjoyed again and again in the comfort of a theater.

This Year at San Diego Comic Con  (SDCC) Mondo will be releasing a collection of prints inspired by Legendary Pictures’ Pacific Rim from director Guillermo del Toro, which will be in theaters on July 12. The Mondo booth will be set up on the main conference floor in booth #936 Wednesday July 17 through Sunday July 21.

  Below are the gorgeous Pacific Rim prints that will be available for sale on preview night, Wednesday, July 17th when doors open.  If you are there and want one, you better grab it quickly.  They are very limited.

 

PACIFIC RIM by Kevin Tong

Size: 24″ x 36″

Edition: 375 Regular, 200 Variant

Price: $45 Regular, $75 Variant

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Regular

Variant

Variant

PACIFIC RIM (Kaiju) by Ash Thorp

Size: 24″ x 36″

Edition: 350

Price: $50

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PACIFIC RIM (Jaeger) by Ash Thorp

Size: 24″ x 36″

Edition: 350

Price: $50

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PACIFIC RIM by Vania Zouravliov

Size: 24″ x 36″

Edition: 145

Price: $50

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Finding the Time to Be Creative, a Parent, and still Provide for my Family

May 29, 2013

scene cardsAs a semi-new parent (my son just turned 2), I’m constantly faced with a dilemma; how do I find the time to pursue my creative endeavors while I have a 9 to 5 job which pays our bills and I want to be the best dad I can be?  The answer(s) are never really simple, but the following are a few fairly obvious tricks I use to continue to live my life in a creative manner.

1. Talk to your spouse.  Let them know that this is important to you.  Work with them to find the time, because if you are happy with yourself, it will be evident in your parenting, your marriage and will undoubtedly rub off on your child.  The act of pursuing goals that are important to you will encourage your child to be optimistic, happy, and pursue their own dream.  Facing challenges head-on will make you an inspiration to your child.

2. Give up sleep :)  If you want to be there for your child and take part in their life, then you can’t be on the iPhone, tablet, or computer during the soccer games, the school concerts, or the doctor visits.    That would be cheating.  You might as well not go if you’re not going to pay attention and cheer your child on.  You need to be present in whatever you are doing.  When you are parenting, be a parent.  Leave the project at home.  When you are creating, do that.  Sit at your desk.  Go to your workspace, your garage, wherever it is that you do what you do, and go create.  I’ve found that the time that I can sit for the longest period of time and really immerse myself in my work is when everyone else is asleep.  So, if you can handle the vampire life, and you don’t need a lot of shuteye, you could work nights on your projects.

3. Find motivation in your life – The day I decided to write a comic was the day my son was born.  I’ve always enjoyed the medium as a fan.  I had been assembling a library of my favorite books inscribed by their creators with words of encouragement to my son about embracing creativity in life.  I began the collection a few months before he was born, but when I saw him face to face I realized it wasn’t enough to gather words of wisdom from other people.  I want to impart those words, so I decided I’ll create a comic specifically for him.

4. Avoid distractions – Twitter is fun.  Facebook is good for keeping up with friends.  You can tumble through tumblr all day, but don’t.  Social networking can be a great tool for exactly that, networking.  Just don’t let it suck you into never-ending conversations about the social ramifications of an individual scene in the latest Star Trek film.  You may feel the need to get your two-bits out there into the twittersphere, but just do it and get out.  There is an inherent danger in social networking; it never closes.  It’s not like a bar that shuts the doors at eleven.  It’s always open, and there are always conversations to join, but you don’t have to.   You have a choice.  You can argue about Game of Thrones, or you can go write your own Fantasy epic.

These are simply a few of my techniques.  I need to be inspired, an inspiration, a loving dad and husband, sleep deprived, and wear social networking blinders.  Maybe you agree.  Maybe not.  Maybe you have very different ways of going about it. I’m going to go write something now, and leave you with a fun two panel comic example of how my son and I like to have fun and be creative together.

Darth Yoga

Pull Yourselves Together. Damian Wayne is not DEAD!

April 28, 2013
DamianWayneDeath

Just give him a second. He’ll be fine.

Well, maybe he’s dead in the literal sense, because he did have a sword driven through him and he did cease living due to horrific injuries, and he did die. But that is without a doubt not the end of his story.  Grant Morrison still has three more issues, and if there is one thing that is perfectly clear about his career other than that he is a pretty amazing writer, it is that he cares for his creations the same way that a parent does their children.

Through a series of precedents established in other Morrison books, I will hopefully convince you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Damian Wayne will live again before the last page is turned in Morrison’s epic Batman run.

I present my case:

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“Are you my dad?” “Yes. Yes I am.”

Exhibit 1 – Buddy Baker’s family is brutally murdered in Animal Man #19, leaving the character depressed and shattered.  Morrison’s next few issues feature explorations of what reality actually is, in a revenge fueled trip through the limbo of forgotten characters and abandoned story-lines. Ultimately Buddy actually crosses over into our reality and meets and converses with Morrison tête-à-tête.  Morrison explains the whys and wherefores of the torture that Buddy has gone through, and how it is all for the sake of drama.  His last act as the writer, whether it be an act of kindness to Buddy or to the next writer who took over the book, Morrison resurrects Buddy’s wife and kids and erases all memories of his crazy trip through the backstage of reality, comics, and both of our universes.  Morrison can be a brutal man to his creations, but he can also be very kind and nurturing.

Exhibit 2 – All Star Super Man – the entire story hinges on the looming DEATH of Superman, which never comes to pass.  Yes, he disappears into the heart of the sun, seemingly for all time, but he’s alive, and where there is life there is hope.

final crisis batman

uh-oh

Exhibit 3 – Batman in Final Crisis issue 6:  Batman is seemingly killed by Darkseid’s Omega beams and experiences the “Death that is life!”  BATMAN IS DEAD!?! Yes.  For one whole issue Batman was dead.  At the end of issue 7 Bruce Wayne turns up in Prehistoric times drawing on the wall of a cave.  (I’ve heard that Morrison didn’t want to end it that way, but don’t recall where, but the fact is that the ending took back the death, and Batman was alive.)  Morrison let the character cool off for sometime before penning the Return of Bruce Wayne, in which the character actually fights his way back home through time and space.

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You can’t keep a miracle down!

Exhibit 4 – Mister Miracle in 7 Soldiers:  Shilo Norman, super escape artist, seemingly dies more than once over the course of 7 Soldiers.  The first time was when trying to escape an artificial black hole.  The second, after surrendering himself to Darkseid in exchange for the ancient hero, Aurakles.  BUT, once again, at the last moment, Morrison can’t help but offer the audience a last sliver of hope with an image of Mister Miracle clawing his way out of his own grave, escaping death itself (again) in the last image of the series.

photo(3)Exhibit 5 – Zauriel in JLA:   Zauriel is killed in JLA #38  (page #21 Which I own the art of!) when the watchtower is destroyed by a series of nuclear missiles launched by Lex Luthor.  Zauriel remained dead for less than half an issue.  His story picked up immediately in Heaven, where he hoped to enlist divine assistance in the fight against Mageddon.  He was denied and offered the option to stay or return to Earth.  He returned to Earth and had a few more adventures before fading into obscurity and is probably now a resident of character limbo.

387px-New_X-Men_114Exhibit X – New X-Men: Morrison brought the merry mutants into the new millennium by discarding their silly costumes and embracing the soap opera-y aspects of Marvel’s flagship mutant book. Over the course of his run we would see at least three main characters (Some of their names rhyme with Green Gray and Lag-Neato!— sort of) seemingly perish, only to be re-born bigger, brighter, and more dangerous than ever.

Exhibit 7 – One last piece of evidence, unrelated to precedents established by Morrison’s prior work: Doesn’t anyone find it suspicious that Batman is currently telling the “Zero Year” storyline?  I’m sure Snyder and Capullo will tell a fantastic origin in the new 52, but the timing seems pretty convenient.   Maybe they’re excusing themselves from continuity for 11 issues so they don’t spoil anything, or be forced to play by whatever crazy rules and plot lines that will be established in the coming 3 issues of Batman Inc?

In closing, I’d like to point out that the trick that Morrison likes to pull again and again is convincing you that all hope is lost, and then he goes one step further and shows you that hope is never lost.  Even though it is a hard fought journey, and quite a few characters go to hell and back, when the dust settles good always wins.  And you can rest assured that by the end of Batman Inc. #13, out this July, SOMEHOW Damian will be among the living, because Morrison likes to see the good guys win.

Am I A Worker Ant If I Blog About The Latest Man of Steel Trailer??

April 10, 2013

Network mad as hellIn years past, do you remember sitting in a theater as the lights came down, and being gleefully unaware of what trailers might be screened ahead of the feature film?  I do, and I miss it.  Social networking (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) has ruined that wonderful ignorance.  There’s no room for surprises anymore.  Everything gets Spoiled.

Newsfeed when googling "Man of Steel TV"

Newsfeed when googling “Man of Steel TV”

When did the ‘dropping’ of a new trailer become news?  Why is the premiere of a TV spot for a movie that won’t be in theaters for six-months news?  Isn’t the trailer publicity enough in itself?  Why does every blogger on the planet jump when the next trailer for Star Trek, Star Wars,  or Superman  is released and provide millions of articles, Facebook posts, and tweets all over  the internet stating  the same thing “Click HERE to see the new trailer for (Insert Film title here)”

Why do we allow them (The Entertainment Powers that be) to do this to us?  Because we (myself included) are all looking for the same thing, recognition for being the first cool kid to realize it’s been released.  We really just want to be liked, and we camouflage that need with our incessant articles, FB posts, and tweets  as we gather our followers, and link to official YouTube feeds showcasing the big budget film trailers, video games, and next big thing brought to us by the global conglomerate marketing machines that tell us what is cool.  We are worker ants getting the word out for Hollywood films, and they don’t even ask for the help.  We willingly provide it free of charge every day via our social networking platform of choice.

In a world where the majority of us have already  drank the Kool-Aid, I ask what about the little films? Small press comics? Self-published books?  Bands trying to cut their first album?   What about the stories which that need to be told, which are ignored as we all discuss the latest Tom Cruise vehicle?

Let’s switch gears!  Rather than continue whining, I’d like to take a step in a positive direction and offer an alternative to giving more free advertising to films that don’t need us.  If you ever find yourself “Mad as Hell, and not willing to take It ANYMORE,” then there are places you can go on these inter-webs which provide the opportunity to support some truly independent artistic endeavors:

kickstarter_300x283www.kickstarter.com – “Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.  We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, more than 3.8 million people have pledged over $559 million, funding more than 39,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.

indiegogowww.indiegogo.comEveryone should have the opportunity to raise money. Now everyone does. People all over the world use our industry-leading platform to raise millions of dollars for all types of campaigns. No matter what you are raising money for, you can start right now with no fee or application process.

www.rockethub.com – “You want your crowdfunding project to be successful. Period. You want your project to be where it belongs, and you want it to be noticed. You’re busy and you need this to be worth your time. You want to do nothing less than to dazzle your supporters.

http://www.pledgemusic.com/ – Is a crowdfunding site entirely dedicated to assisting new emerging talent which seeks to break into the music industry.

Now go help an artist that needs a boost up.  The chances are good that he or she will even thank you, while unfortunately Warner Bros.  will never  thank you for re-tweeting their latest Superman trailer.

Deconstructing a Tweet: The Middleman!

April 8, 2013

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Who?  What?  Where? When? Why?  And (W)How?

WhoJavier Grillo-Marxuach, creator of the Comic book the Middleman and former writer of Lost!

What? There will be more Middleman!  For those of you unfamiliar with the Middleman, it was a short lived show on ABC family, and prior to that it was a comic book series created by Grillo-Marxuach.  The Middleman tells the story of the eponymous character as he saves the world from precious-gem-eating-aliens, Alternate reality doppelgängers gone bad, ventriloquist dummy vampires, Lucha Libre wrestlers, etc. etc. with the assistance of his faithful sidekick Wendy and his A.I. the Haydar.

Where?  On Twitter!  Keep up!

Why?  Because the Middleman TV show and comic were “Sheer elegance in their simplicity.”

HOW?!?!?!? “It will not be a movie like VM (Veronica Mars).”  Veronica Mars, the mid-aughts  cult favorite TV program, recently raised over $2 million over night on Kickstarter.com for the purpose of creating a one-shot Veronica Mars film.  This will not be like that.  What could it be though?

Another Comic book series?

A Web Series with the original actors?

A web series of the Middlemen of the past?

A TV Pilot?

What else can be gleaned from this post?

“There may be a kickstarter involved.  Figuring it out”

There may be a kickstarter involved.  He is figuring it out.

There is still the most important question though, WHEN?!?!?!?!?!?! He signed off with a simple “Stay tuned” which is brilliant in its simplicity.

The Importance of being PSYCHO

March 18, 2013

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hitchcock with truffautIn his time Alfred Hitchcock was never accorded the respect as a filmmaker that we bestow on him today.  He was a genre director who simply shocked and scared us all.  He wasn’t a director to analyze or respect.  Few critics saw any redeeming qualities in his work.  One of his biggest fans and life-long friend was Francois Truffaut, who was not just a fan of Hitch’s, but of all cinema.  Truffaut was on a constant hunt to be entertained and find new ways to communicate story through celluloid.  Truffaut opened my eyes years ago in his book Hitchcock/Truffaut, to the importance of Hitchcock simply being Hitchcock.

Amongst Hitchcock’s vast catalog of Films and TV accomplishments a handful of films stand out as true classics; Notorious, North by Northwest, Vertigo, Rear Window, and of course PSYCHO.  Psycho was released in 1960 to a fan frenzy, and quite frankly, it changed cinema forever.  Below I list merely a few ways in which this disturbingly wonderful film changed everything.

1. Psycho changed how we went to the movies.  Up to this point it was generally accepted to walk into a theater at any point in a film.  If you missed the first half, you could stay in your seat and wait for it to replay.  Hitchcock put his foot down and declared that there would be no admittance after the film had begun.  All theater-goers needed to see this film from the start.

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2.  Psycho and Hitch ignored and even challenged the Hollywood formula by literally slashing through the cookie cutter conformity of the 50s. To this day, not many filmmakers would have the guts to do what Psycho did, which is a complete transformation 47 minutes in.  What began as a Crime/ Love on the Run story, suddenly through a single act of violence is transformed into a new kind of horror film.  That horrific act also serves as a catalyst within the story to shift the focus of the film from the suddenly deceased main character protagonist over to the murderous antagonist through an eerie series of dissolves and transitions as one dies and the other reveals his/her true voyeuristic murderous nature.

3. The depiction of Norman cast a terrifyingly realistic light on mental illness.  Up to this point a psychopath in film was often portrayed as a foaming at the mouth irrational lunatic with no control over his actions who would KILL KILL KILL!  Norman Bates presented a new type of killer.  He was methodical.  He was nice.  He was polite.  He was innocent.  Wait, what?  Yes, I argue that the last scene exonerated him.  He is the poster boy for an insanity plea.  He hears his dead mother. I rest my case.

As much as I love the film Psycho, Bates Motel  on A&E might be a massive mistake.  Exploiting Hollywood classics to make a buck is common practice, unfortunately for A&E though, most of Hitchcock’s material works because of what happens off-screen.  He was a master of suspense, which involved not what he blatantly showed us, rather what he didn’t show.  The allusions to Norman’s younger years through a few  brief statements about Mother, and the really freaky image of the fetal position-body-shaped  dent in the bed of the master bedroom were all I needed for my imagination to run wild.  I don’t necessarily want someone to tell me that this is how Norman grew up.  I think Norman’s childhood is best left to our bad dreams and imagination.  It is way more frightening that way.

Then again, who am I kidding.  I’m going to watch it.  But, I can’t help but wonder, would Truffaut find something redeeming about this exercise in story?

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