Monday, June 25, 2012

The New 52

DISCLAIMER: I just finished writing this post and realized that it is pretty random and filled with my opinion so read it at your own risk.  I just wanted to rant about the new 52.

Its been almost a year since the new 52 began. Several books form the original launch failed other thrived.
Here are my thoughts on the new 52 I started reading and whether I'm reading them now.

I read every single issue 1 & 2.  After that though I couldn't bring myself to pick up, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman, Nightwing, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Superboy, Supergirl, Green Lantern Corps, GL New Guardians, Red Lantern, Teen Titans, Blue Beetle, Legion of Superheroes, Legion Lost. All Star Western, Deathstroke, Stormwatch, Grifter, Voodoo, JLD, Frankenstein Agent of Shade, I Vampire, Demon Knights, Mr Terrific, Static Shock, Hawk and Dove, OMAC, Blackhawks, Men of War, JLI, Captain Atom, Resurrection Man, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Firestorm, Green Arrow & Savage Hawkman.

DC Presents - I started reading this because I like Deadman. The book however didn't hold my intrest past issue 3.

Suicide Squad - I wanted desperately to like this book too.  I like the idea of Harley and gang being used by the government for dirty dozen type missions.  The writing to me just wasn't very good. Lets face it you pick the book up for Harley but what you get is a bunch of characters that only make it an issue or 2 before they die & Harley is pushed to the side.  

Animal Man - I got pretty hyped on for the first 6 issues or so but didn't see it going anywhere.

Superman - I despise the new costume. i don't like the writing and I am pretty unhappy with the art. I can't understand why DC wouldn't put a heavy hitter or popular artist on Superman of all things.
The nano tech suit irks me no end. 

Action Comics - The art in Superman really never did it for me so while I still get it every month so far Grant Morrison hasn't wowed me with it.
I wish they would have based the new 52 in Morrison's All Star Superman universe.

SwampThing - I have enjoyed Swamp Thing for the most part. The writing is good the art is mediocre but kinda what I expected for yet another launch of one of my favorite characters.
     I wasn't thrilled with Alec starting out as Alec again, although I did dig his decision to become SwampThing again. I can only hope that the "Green" is finished as a major character. It bothers me slightly that Snyder undid what Moore had done. In so much as durring the Moore run (which is the best SwampThing run EVER and thats fact) Moore established that Alec Holland was dead and the SwampThing was comprised of flatworms and other swamp life that had eaten and absorbed the consciousness of Dr Holland.
     This is in my opinion represents the biggest problem of the New 52.  The way DC cherry picks their continuity for the new books.
    Some things that happened in the old continuity stuck around and other stuff was dismissed.

On a side note I wasn't happy at all with his redesign. I don't need wings or antlers on my Swamp Thing thanks.

Red Hood and the Outlaws - I love Kenneth Rocafort's art, Love It! So even though I'm not wild about the story I still pick it up.

Batman - My favorite of the New 52 books. I love the art first off and then the story has been pretty fun. Even though I don't love the court of Owls being tied into Batmans origins with a ridiculous retcon  storyline subplot. 
I like the ideas of the Court but I  just don't buy the idea that they have been around Gotham since Gotham was formed without Batman the worlds greatest Detective would miss it.
Same with Dick Greyson's connection to the court.
Still the art is great so I'll stick around.

Detective Comics - Started out awesome but has leveled off to just ok for me at least.  Still don't know if the Joker lost his face or not.

Batman the Dark Knight - I dig this book, nothing really bad to say about it.

Batman & Robin - My favorite of the Batman story lines.  Really dug the first story arc with Damien's "Mistake"

Justice League - Art is great but trying to set it n a world where the characters were first meeting feels forced.  Plus Cyborg, really?!? Cyborg?

Aquaman - Close second to the Batman books as my favorite book of the new 52.  I like that the company restored him to his regular iconic look.
The first issue was spot on perfect and it hasn't dropped much from there. Just a solid book.

My big problems with the New 52 are
1) Continuity
2) Pointless character redesigns
3) Back up stories.

Back up stories is a big one too. To charge $3.99 for a book and then only give you a handful of pages for the first story and then pad the thing with a pointless secondary story seems like a rip off. Especially in the Justice League where Jim Lee does copious splash pages that while they are beautiful still don't seem to drive the story. 
I hate the back up stories and find myself wanting to torrent those books rather than pay extra money for less "A game" content. 

DC had a good idea, making a jumping on point for all their books at once.  It got me to read books that I never thought i'd like again. It has actually kept me coming back month after month for certain titles. 
So in the long run I guess they win

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Been doing a lot of portraits lately for various people.  Several for Canadian friends of mine I met thru Instagram.

Thought I'd post a couple recent ones real quick.

First off is Priscilla O'conner of Windsor, Ontario Canada.  She is an attractive woman with amazing hair and she is a heck of an artist to boot.  I had done one for a friend of her and she inquired about me doing one for her.

Next is a local friend of mine, Lindsay Scrivener.  She works at the local theatre and she was kind enough to be a hand model for me last week for a piece I did.  People seemed to like my portraits so I decided to do one as a surprise to thank her and as part of my sketch a day challenge on instagram.

So there you have it.  If you are interested in getting me to do a portrait just drop me a line. I am doing them for $20 via paypal.

Thanks for reading.


iPad 3

I've been squirreling away a little money to add to birthday money and get myself an iPad 3 (technically called the New iPad).
Now that the day to buy it is closing in rapidly i feel bad.  I start to find myself worried that work will dry up or something will go wrong with a car.
There are so many things we could use it on or we could just put it in the bank.
Then I start missing having a tablet.

I had an ipad for a while back last year. Actually almost exactly a year ago.  I got it a few weeks after my birthday.
I had it for several months and used it everyday for everything form sketching to reading comics.  Reading comics was the big thing though.
I read a lot of digital comics partly due to back issues available on torrent sites. The iPad made it possible for me to from reading on my tiny phone screen to reading comics from my childhood almost full size.
It's mind boggling to me to be able to rebuild my collection from child hood digitally at such a low cost ranging from free to $2.99 and issue for newer stuff.

I have 59 gigabits of comics stored on my external hard drive right now.  It's a great thing.

I sold my iPad 2 last year when money got tight.  i feel bad owning things when money dries up.  I feel like Lin is looking at me funny cuz I had this high dollar piece of equipment and im working from home. So I sold it and did all right. I missed it but i had my iphone so it was a little easier.

Then I got the Kindle Fire.  I thought it was the bees knees for a long time too.  Until money dried up again and I sold it to try and show Lin that I was trying.

I missed it more than the ipad I think.  Not because it was a better machine but because I got a ridiculous deal on it and i could read my comics again on a bigger scree.  Sliding from panel to panel is a pretty crappy way to read a comic especially anything in the DC's New 52 because of all the splash pages.

I decided then to start saving for an iPad again.

That brings us to date.  Now I am debating on getting one or not.  I want too but then if things get tight I don't want to sell it again.
I have a bad habit of that.  I have had 7 iphones since they were originally released and i didn't get my first one until they had been out a while.

Geez, I  feel better after typing all this.  I gotta admit I am probably going to buy it and see what happens from there.

Thanks for reading


Classic Artists

Here is something I have been too ashamed to say since I was a kid.

I do not like the art of a lot of the classic comic artists.  Not saying I can do better. There are just so many artists including some contemporaries of a few of the "masters" that personally I think are better.

Jack Kirby for instance, he revolutionized what comic art can be and I am eternally grateful for that.  Without him comics just wouldn't be as dynamic.  However if you compare the quality of his work to a modern artist the art just isn't as good to me.

If you say that around a collector you get treated like a freak.

Next Frank Miller's the Dark Knight Returns.  I LOVE that book.  LOVE IT! Unfortunately the art is terrible.  Besides the iconic splash pages I find the art distractingly bad.
Not until Sin City did I personally think that FM's art was worth looking at.

That goes for a lot of Frank Miller and Alan Moore's work.  While I love the writing they are almost always partnered with an artist that is sub par.
Dave Gibbons comes to mind.  The art in Watchmen is decent not as bad as TDKR but still not as good as it could have been.
Batman Year One is another example.  I can't stand the art in that book.  To the point i don't own it.  I bought it read it and gave it away.

Tim Sale is a rare case for me.  I love his style and his work is technically sound but it doesn't seem as clean as a McFarlane, Lee, Rocafort, or Silvestri.
Still when i see a Tim Sale comic I buy it cuz I know i am going to enjoy the story.  Usually due to Loeb's story not that he exclusively works with him.

Rick Leonardi is another artist who's art I started out really not liking but thanks to his work on Spiderman2099 I grew to dig. I was so involved in the story that Peter David was telling that I looked past the art I didn't care for.

one thing I hate is the bait and switch.  You see a new comic on the shelf at the store.  maybe its a new book or just a new storyline in an old favorite.  You buy the book because of the amazing cover and when you open it up the art is just abismal.

This happened to me in the 90's with Star Wars: Dark Empire from Dark Horse.  The covers are beautiful paintings and At the time DH had put out several fully painted books so I had no reason to think that inside this book would be a totally different artist. One that was unfathomably different than the cover artist.
I couldn't keep the characters straight because they all looked alike.

I know art is subjective and I am cool if you like someone I don't but just leave the people who disagree alone.  We don't all have to like Kirby.

Thanks for reading


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Queen of Hearts 2

The pose of the first Queen was not what the client was looking for.  So they had me try again.
A big thanks to Lindsay Scrivener for being an arm model for me.

First is with a texture and the second is clean.

Fathers Day

I'm a big fan of Mothers Day.  I like the idea of a day just for Moms.

I do not however celebrate Fathers Day.  I'm ok with a "Happy fathers day" from the kids or wife.  I just don't want a day of praise.  I'm a Dad, I do what i'm supposed to do and i don't often feel like i do that very well.
I love my family and I appreciate them thinking of me but we can just leave it at that.

It could be partially due to me not knowing my own Dad (my parents divorced when I was wicked young).  It just seems like a pointless holiday.

This isn't long enough to be a blog really but it's also too much to tweet.

Thanks for reading


Friday, June 15, 2012

Roll Sound, ACTION!

One of my closest friends Trevin Satterfield and his writing partner both attend college at the University of Missouri in Columbia or Mizzou as its most widely called.

They entered one of their scripts into a contest and it was picked to be filmed.  Along with getting to film their movie they got to teach a class last year on fim making. This summer they are filming the movie and were kind enough to ask if I and my friend Stew would come be in a scene.

What follows is the story of our trip to Columbia to shoot our scene.


Trevin had talked to me about us doing it.  My friend Stew owns an army surplus and gun shop in Lebanon so he would have access to free props for the "Space Marine dream sequence which is our scene.

That was a s far as my knowledge went. Some time this summer we would film in Columbia.  Sunday I got the day confirmation from Trevin. We were going to film on the following Thursday around 10am.

Double checked with Stew so we would have the day saved for sure. Stew however thought the 14th was the next week so it was a bit of a surprise to him when I saw him Wednesday and mentioned our trip being the next day.  He did a great job fo getting props and costumes ready so we could look reasonably authentic.  As authentic as space marines could at least.

Stew then had the big idea that we would drive up the night before and spend the night at the apartment  Trevin shares with another really good friend of mine named Steven.  Unfortunately they already had crew staying there so I decided to get us a hotel room.
I went on to find the cheapest room I could.  It turned out to be a "suite" at America's Best Value Inn.  I got a room with 2 queen beds, satellite tv, large shower............ & bed bugs all for $35 a night.  Granted I didn't know about the bedbugs until the next morning when I woke up with the bites.

I started out behind the wheel of my little Ranger but soon lost that right after I missed a turn off and got us about 30 minutes of course. Stew took over at that point and promptly almost drove us drectly into the lake.
after much mocking me Stew takes the wheel
Stew shortly there after almost drives us into the Lake
We got to the hotel about 9:30 and checked in.  When we pulled around to park at the hotel. We were greeted by an man in the lot just standing & smoking. He was wearing a shirt with no sleeves, jean shorts and a backwards cap covering a really greasy mullett.  As we got out of the truck he reminded us to lock the doors because his stuff was stolen from his truck the night before.  Needless to say that was the plan anyway so we thanked him locked up and went to our room.

Got settled in, and texted Steve and Trevin to see about getting a bite with them.

It was great to see both of them.  I see Trevin more often than Steve. Trevin comes back from college occasionally to see friends and family.  Steve is pretty busy with work various plays, musicals, film roles, work and girlfriend so he hardly comes back.
Steve recommended a restaurant called the Flat Branch and it was fabulous.  We had great food great atmosphere and fun conversation on the patio.
Steve bought our dinner which was unexpected.  He's a great guy, and he didn't have to so if you read this Steve I know I thanked you that night but thanks again.
Steven, Myself, Stew and Trev at the Flat Branch
After dinner it was about 10:30 and Trevin took us back to the the production office to show us where the editing, planing and brainstorming takes place.  It reminded me of a scene from a Beautiful Mind. I say that cuz there was writing and clippings on the wall and one side of the room was covered in script pages.  It was hectic but you could see that they knew the flow was and it was working for them.

After seeing a couple shots from the previous days, Stew said we ought to get back to the room and get some sleep.  It was about 11 or so when we left, made a stop at Walgreens and headed to the hotel.

I wasn't really sleepy but Stew isn't much for staying up.  He laid down on his bed and I surfed the web for a bit then we watched Storage Wars.  Stew seemed into it then it went to commercial. Before the 3rd commercial was over I could hear him snoring.  I thought it was a joke.  he had just spoken right before the commercial break and I thought there was no way he could go from talking to sleep in less than 3 minutes but he had.

Part 2: The SHOOT

We had decided durring dinner to meet Trevin for breakfast the next morning before the shoot at 7:30 our call time technically wasn't until 10:30 but were were anxious to see how it was going to be set up.

We got around ate and followed Trev to the warehouse that was our sound stage for the day.
There we met Chris, Trevin's writing partner and good friend as well as the rest of the cast and crew for that days shoot.

SIDEBAR: WE MET A CRAZY MAN (with an apparent penchant for pins)

We were waiting at the warehouse for the rest of the crew to show up. To be fair we were way early they were not late.  While we were standing the this dirty man in a faded white t-shirt came up to us and started talking about politics.  Well what made sense was about politics the rest was about not eating corn cuz it was covered in agent orange and at one point he got me to feel his arm skin for the bumps caused by agent orange. Ironically it felt like corn on the cob.
Then he proceeded to talk about his days as a marine sniper.  He ended his monologue by saying God gave him poor vision and his squint later in life as punishment for "The things I did."  I assume  for all the lives he took but I didn't want to really engage him in more conversation.
the shirt he wore it turned out had a picture of him on both sides and was touting his current run for Governor of Missouri.

Back to the story....

First up was stage dressing.  The scene is basically a dream sequence of an inebriated writer.  He gets hammered and writes what at the time seems like pure gold only to find out he wrote the scene we are in.  It is Space Marines vs Vampires fighting in a floating warehouse in space.
Remember in the story this scen was written by a drunk so its not supposed to be good or make sense. Hence the cat poster and the snowman

We suited up and did our parts as the Space Marines.  Stew did battle with a large vampire and I covered his and Chris' advance with suppressing fire from behind a stack of pallets.

Stew was to repeatedly stab this vampire with stakes. the guy had a piece of cardboard to protect him but Stew had overzealously punctured that by take 2.  The vampire didn't complain though. 

We had a break for lunch and upon our return we discovered Chris being dragged by the foot behind a golf cart to create the appearance that he had ran and slid and was firing at vampires while sliding.  it was a pretty cool shot.  My favorite part came a couple minutes later though when I saw the shiny spot on the floor where they had dragged Chris through multiple takes.

After being there about 7 hours they called it a wrap for the space warehouse and we went to get a drink with Trev at McDonalds.

It was a really great experience I can't thank Trevin and Chris enough for letting us be in it.  I'm anxious to see the finished film. 
It certainly wasn't what I expected.  I've shot skits and shorts since high school and this was so different. 
They knew what they were doing they had professional equipment and a crew that knew what they were doing.  Stew and I were by far the most unprofessional people on set.

At one point Stew said "Wow, Trevin has really found his place" and I have to agree.  This goofy cut up friend of mine one of the 2 funniest people I have ever met really commanded the room.  The crew listened to him and you could see he had a vison.  From the jargon to the way he carried himself on set it was impressive to see.
It's going to be a good film and I can't wait it see it on the big screen.  They are going to enter it in some film festivals and go from there.  It was eye opening.
Again thank you to Trevin and Chris for letting us be in it.

Very proud of you Trev.  Just saying im proud can't express the emotion enough.  Well done sir. Can't wait to see where you go in the future. Just don't forget about us little people like "Sultry Marine"

thanks for reading

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Queen of Hearts

My client asked me to try my hand at a more realistic pin up then i had done in the past.
I think it turned out pretty good but I haven't heard back from him yet. Hope they like it I put a lot into the piece.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Did a couple zombie pieces this weekend. One is of a friend of mine I met thru Instagram. A very talented artist. She asked if I would draw her as a zombie. It was fun and she seemed to really like it.
The other 2 say Friendly Firearms LLC on them in the lower corner.
Those were done for the local gun shop ran by one of my good friends. They were wanting to print their own targets for practice and for sale at the shop.
I took a couple photo's and zombied them up.

Thanks for reading


Sunday Morning Concert

I enjoy the choir or congregational singing portion of church. I enjoy praising God in song. I can't sing well but I make a joyful noise. It does its job it aligns you and gets you ready to receive the word.

I like the classics and a few newer worship songs.

What I don't need is a concert. I don't come to church to watch other people sing.
I'm not talking about special singing. If a person or group wants to get up and treat the congregation to a song.
What I find as the absolute height of pride is when the worship leader plays his songs as the congregational singing.
I am happy for you if you have a musical gift and if you feel lead by God to write music & praise him with original song.
During congregational singing is not the place however to debut your new album or song. It's not a concert or show.
The crowd does not know the songs they can't sing along and get the feeling you get with singing together in one voice to our Lord.
Even If you have played the songs a few weeks in a row visitors have no idea & won't want to join in. Which robs them of the experience.
How unbelievably prideful is it to assume everyone wants to learn a song you wrote.
It's vanity plain and simple.
Your job as worship leader is to inspire people to praise. To help us come together as one and lift our voice.
Your job is not to try and inspire praise for yourself.

Recently I was at a church and they played nothing but new & "homemade" (for lack of a better word) music.
As I watched the people in front & around me I noticed they were almost all restless.

You can't expect the seed to find purchase if you haven't prepared the ground properly.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Last 3 (well last 2)

Here are the last 3. Technically the "pick" design is the same design with 2 phrases. Leaving it up to the client.
My "He Loves Me" design seemed awesome in my head but I doubt my execution a little. May be tweaked in the future.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Marilyn fixes

I was told by my client that they loved the Marilyn design but worried the picture might be copyright. So they asked me to change some stuff and try to free it up just in case.
So the first one is what I originally did.
The second one is exactly the same pic I added a choker and then found an older picture of her and cut the hair out and swapped it.

John 3:16

One More Christian design today.

This weekend

I did several more Christian designs this weekend. While the Obama "Change" Parody shirts are played out I had to do one at the request of a client. 

Still I think I did a pretty decent job.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

mewithoutYou 5/29/12

Finally getting around to writing about my trip to see mewithoutYou last Tuesday.  Planned  on writing much sooner but praise God I have been pretty busy.

I debated about going and seeing them for a week or so before the show and solidified my plans the day of. Which partially explains why I went alone.  My best friend and the guy who introduced me to mewithoutyou's music now lives several states over so he was out.  Then it was just short notice or short funds for everyone else. By everyone else I mean the other 2 friends I asked.

I left my house about 4:45 pm and arrived in Springfield at the venue right at 6pm.
Doors were scheduled to open at 7 with the show starting at 8.
When I made it to the venue I noticed a few "patches" of people.  Didn't seem like a cohesive line.  I walked to what I assumed was the back of the line and stood by myself.
It was a hot after noon and the I was feeling kinda awkward being the oldest person there by quite a few years from the looks of it.
I just quietly stood and minded my own business.  About 45 min or so into my wait I noticed no one was lining up behind me. I turned to the stranger next to me and said "Excuse me, but did I cut in line?" "When I got here I thought this was the back of the line I didin't mean too if I did." The guy who's name was Zack said "Yeah but it's not a big deal."  I apologized and said I didn't want to get the stink eye from the people I cut infront of so I asked if it would be ok if I blended with them.
Zack said it was fine so thats what I did.

The doors opened about 7:20 and i was the 4th thru the door.  Since I wasn't there with anyone I didn't have to mingle or look around. Instead I went to the monitor on the right of the stage and posted up there.
It was about 4 feet from the center mic and what I assumed would be where the lead singer would be standing.
I turned to the stranger beside me and told him I was going to stand my ground at that monitor. It had tape on it and I let him know that I would not be going passed that point. No matter how uncomfortable, hot or smushed up against another dude I got.  He kinda laughed and said "Ok." I don't think he took me serious however until he started letting people up by him and next thing you know we were just smashed together.
 There was plenty of room to my right but I was not going to move down. My beard was on his shoulder but I would not budge.
Finally about 8:30 the first band started. Imaginary Cities out of Canada was the first band up and i wasn't super impressed but it wasn't because they weren't good.  it has more to do with the fact that I really don't care for music. I like a handfull of bands and have no intrest in hearing new stuff.
When I go to see a band I am there to see them not to be introduced to new music.

Despite my rather bad attitude for a show I enjoyed the first band enough to purchase one song off itunes the next day and I have had it stuck in my head since Tuesday night.
The song is called Ride it Out and I will embed a video of it below. Not a video I recorded by the way. I didn't realize at the time it would be worth it. Give this a Listen/Look

So Imaginary Cities finished and the next band loaded up and sound checked. That band is called Burried Beds and they had to borrow equipment from Imaginary Cities.
I have to imagine that was the problem because they were pretty terrible. They had energy and seemed to be having a good time but the levels were off and we couldn't hear lyric one.
I'm way more into lyrics than music so that added to the fact that I didn't know these fellas from Adam's house cat made me pretty miserable for their set.

At this point it was about 9:30 and Buried Beds had finished their set.  I was still on my mark and not giving an inch to the late comers all trying desperately to get up to the stage and in the center.

I had been there since 6 and there was no way I was gonna allow some hipster with an Ironic mustache come in just for mewithoutyou and elbow me off to the corner.

Also how tired are you of ironic mustaches? This being any mustache on anyone under 50 that is of the curly or pencil variety. Stop it, just stop it.

So now we are all ready for mewithoutyou to melt our faces when a  stocky man accends the stage and lets us no that mewithoutyou has had their bus breakdown and they won't be in town til about 11.

I had to much time invested at this point and even though it was incredibly hot and my beard was starting to react to the natural musk given off from the crowd I was determined to stick it out.

That was the real trial of the night. Standing right there in the middle of teens and early twenty somethings as the discuss parties and nonsense. One teen showed up and stood right behind me. At one point I sat on the edge of the stage behind "my" monitor. the dude was standing between my legs and talking obnoxiously,  He would not shut up about the song Cardiff Giant by mewitoutyou and what he would do if they didn't play it. He was so close and literally between my thighs talking to his friends.

Finally at midnight the band showed up at the venue.  They loaded their stuff on the stage themselves with the help of the good people in the opening acts.

Sound check took about 30 more minutes and finally the show began.

Me without you was amazing as I expected.  I took some pics durring the show and I recorded 3 videos.  I believe Aaron Weiss the lead singer was not a fan of my taping cuz he seldom looked to my side of the room after he saw me taping.  This could have been in my head but I saw him see me recording and the look I recieved didn't seem friendly.

They played everthing I wanted to hear them play except for The Fox The Crow and the Coookie. however they played it the last time I was lucky enough to see them and I recorded it then.

They played for 57 min and 17 seconds which didn't seem long but they were tiered from the bus breaking down and there was zero banter so they got a lot of songs in.

I picked up a 7" vinyl of February 1878, the first release from their current album Ten Stories and began my 55 mile journey home.

It was a pretty good night. A little awkward to be at a show at my age by myself but great to see the band again.

Waiting In Line at the Outland
The only guy that looked more out of place than me. At least I hope he did
Aaron Weiss
Aaron Weiss again. In my opinion one of the greatest lyricists EVER 
Aaron Weiss does a lot of squatting and singing. Often with his back to the audience
and a rag on his head
Mike Weiss

Mike Weiss's set up figured someone might find this interesting.