gwalla: (comics code authority)
Psylocke. Not the most flattering photo of this particular cosplayer, I'm afraid.

I wonder what he's an interpreter of? Grunts and growls? Dogslobberese?

Spike of Templar, Arizona and R. K. Milholland of Something Positive

That Psylocke again, with a few others. We have here a Deadpool bunnygirl of some kind (Deadpoolina?), Harley Quinn, Lady Gaga, and a female Punisher. And a couple of dudes I do not recognize at all. I didn't even notice the fortuitous placement of that CD character's face until uploading these photos.

Tried to get a better shot of the Deadpool girl, but some asstard stuck his head in front of the camera. Tried to salvage it as best I could. Yes, she has grenades in her Easter basket.

Overall I wasn't really feeling it this year. I think it may be partly be because I haven't been following anything very closely since scans_daily got shut down, and especially since having to stop at home to pick up my bogu before Kendo practice means I can't hang around downtown and browse Comic Relief. Plus there just wasn't a whole lot that was new to see. The only sketch I got was of Terra's head, by Amanda Conner.

I only went to a few panels. I got there too late for the big Disney/Pixar panel on Saturday, and for Andrew Farago's panels today. Yesterday I saw the Gail Simone panel (fun) and the CBLDF Art Auction (fun, and some sweet art, though I didn't buy anything). Sunday I went to one of the Comic Art Conference panels, but the one presenter whose talk sounded like it would be interesting (on urban environments and the cyberpunk they inspired) never showed, and the first guy's talk was so completely dull that I ended up walking out. It seemed like a case of signing up for a talk with a specific thesis in mind, then discovering during the course of research that the thesis wasn't really supportable, and just never coming up with anything interesting in its place.

Bought a bunch of stuff, of course. Con haul:

  • From the overpriced out-of-print soundtracks booth: soundtracks to Willow, Big Trouble In Little China, Labyrinth, and Robotech
  • Gunnerkrigg Court vol. 2 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152
  • a set of six art nouveau-inspired robot mini-posters from a guy in artist alley
  • a poster of Power Girl giving someone a sock to the jaw, by Amanda Conner. Also, got my copy of the PG trade signed by her.
  • Lackadaisy Cats
  • Richard Stark's Parker: The Man With the Getaway Face, adapted by Darwyn Cooke

Also, I re-upped by Comic Book Legal Defense Fund membership.

I thought I might check out Bamboo Blade in the anime room, since one of my coworkers has been going on about it since I started doing Kendo, but I was a bit late.

That was pretty much it. Pretty busy but not crazy crowded. Not a bad con, I had fun, but I dunno. Something was missing, and I think it may have been something in me.
gwalla: (nerds)
gwalla: (evil mickey)
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I don't usually do these things, but this one was just crying out for it...
gwalla: (wryyyyyyyyy!)
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Mar. 26th, 2009 10:04 pm
gwalla: (quantum superstate)
I saw Watchmen in IMAX last night. Overall, I enjoyed it. As an adaptation, it didn't capture much of the nuance of the original, but it could hardly be expected to. It was a fairly shallow reading of the source material. However, plot-wise it was pretty faithful to the original, and overall it was an entertaining and well-made movie.

The opening fight in the Comedian's apartment was a bit overlong. But the movie swiftly go onto a better foot with the alternate-history montage showing the initial promise of the masked crimefighters and how things started to go very, very wrong. It was very effective.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was dead on as the Comedian, reprehensible yet magnetic. He was one of the best things about the movie, and I didn't mind at all that his part took up a greater proportion of the movie than it does in the book.

Jackie Earle Haley did a good job as Rorschach, too, although his performance was more emotional than how I interpret the character when reading: I "hear" his voice as an affectless gravelly monotone, and he only shows visible emotion in two instances in the comic. He comes across as more sympathetic in the movie, while in the comic he's essentially a sociopath, a serial killer who happens to kill criminals.

I was pleasantly surprised Patrick Wilson's Dan Dreiberg. The previews and costume design made it looks like they were going to make Nite Owl II more of a conventional action hero type, but they actually kept him a bit of a pudgy, out-of-shape nebbish. I was less impressed by Malin Akerman's Silk Spectre II. Some of her line readings were a bit flat.

Dr. Manhattan was fair. He came off as more just soft-spoken than out of touch. Also, I think they could have stood to put him a little deeper into the uncanny valley; despite the CGI, he mainly looked like a guy with blue makeup.

Ozymandias bugged me a bit. He had an unplaceable accent for some reason, which I found distracting. Obviously they played up the hint that he may be homosexual (with the Village People/Studio 54 bit in the montage, and the "boys" folder later), while in the comic it's only Rorschach's suspicion, mentioned offhand once.

Here be spoilers! for both comic and movie. If you haven't seen one or the other, but think you might, move along. )

Before the movie, they showed a Kid Rock "music video" slash recruiting ad for the National Guard, and it was absolutely the most redneck damn thing I've seen in a long while. I'd assumed that Kid Rock must have died of a meth overdose or something by now, but no, apparently the talentless bastard is still breathing and allowed near microphones. The video switched between shots of the National Guard doing guard stuff (mostly patrolling somewhere in Western Asia, but also fighting a fire) and scenes of NASCAR racing with Dale Earnhardt Jr., punctuated with Kid Rock "performing". Somehow I don't think they were trying to say that people should join the National Guard to dominate Arab countries so we can have plenty of oil for NASCAR, but....

Also, one of the lines in the chorus is "Freedom makes us free". Seriously.
gwalla: (question is a geek)
As usual, I am ridiculously late with a Con report. Actually, this is going to be a bit short on report, and mostly just photos, since I spent most of my time on the dealer room floor.

Technical difficulties precluded taking any photos successfully on Friday.

I started off Saturday taking pics of cosplayers. Here are the highlights I saw on Saturday:

More photos under the cut: Lackadaisy Cats! Graphic novelists! '80s wrestlers! Artists! EEGAH! )

My cat, just because )
Cobra )

I also attended Pixar's panel promoting Up. The clips were pretty funny, but the movie looks like it's going to be pretty weird. There's a huge bird that reminds me a bit of the Dodo from the old Warner Bros. cartoon, and a bunch of dogs who talk using electronic collars. Right before that I caught the tail end of the panel on Tim Burton's new 3DCG movie, 9, which looks pretty cool graphically and has an interesting premise (a group of little robot rag dolls after the end of humanity), but also seems to have some badly clichéd dialogue ("We've awakened something." "Something horrible.")

Merch haul:

  • From the Archaia Studios Press booth, I got Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Gunnerkrigg Court vol. 1: Orientation. I also got a Mouse Guard poster at David Petersen's booth, and he signed both it and the book. He told me a bit about his workflow: he first sketches each figure, prop, and background on a page separately, scans them in and composites them (shrinking or enlarging each as necessary), prints out the composited sketch, inks that by hand, then scans that back in and colors in the computer (despite the watercolor look, the coloring is all digital); this means that a single mistake (like drawing a figure out of proportion to a prop) doesn't scrap an entire page of work, but he also gets the hand-drawn feel that he wants. I can't argue with the results; Mouse Guard's art is gorgeous.

  • A bunch of retarded back issues, bought for the lulz, and to post bits from on [ profile] scans_daily. Of course, when I got home, scans_daily had already been killed. Oh well.

    • DC Special Presents: Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas — The title says it all, really.
    • DC Super-Star Holiday Special — the cover has Superboy, the Legion, Abel & Cain, Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, and Batman following the star of Bethlehem!
    • DC Special Presents: Strangest Sports Stories Ever Told! — "Who was the mysterious worlds' series team that couldn't be seen? Which planet will win the Olympics of the future? What was the secret of the phantom prize-fighter? How and where will championship golf be played in the 24th century?"
    • Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves — The titular thieves, Fred (a short alien guy with a black visor and a mohawk) and Bianca (a brunette), are press-ganged by the time police into recovering the stolen formula to Classic Coke, the loss of which would cause an interstellar war between soft drink companies and force everyone to drink New Coke. There are references to Alf. Can you tell this was made in the '80s? I only got this because I recognized it from an ad in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles "ninjutsu guides" that Solson put out. It's pretty awful.

  • A couple of self-published comics from booths in the small press area.

    • Islands in the Sky (not to be confused with the Arthur C. Clarke story) is a manga-styled sci-fi/fantasy comic set in a world of, well, flying islands. The art is quite good (and I'm not just saying that because the main character is a ridiculously voluptuous redhead who spends much of the issue naked and still shows a lot of skin when clothed)—the artist trained in Western-style animation, and it shows in the characters' exaggerated facial expressions. The writing is not so good, featuring a lot of clichés, and the main character is one of those egocentric cutesy-hyperactive lunatics only found in fiction, who is also supposedly a skilled monster hunter despite having the physique of a Playboy model and the attention span of a fruit fly. It's supposedly the preview to a webcomic, which was supposed to start during Wondercon weekend, but so far it doesn't seem to have taken off.
    • Native Drums, by Chuck Paschall and Vince Riley, is a postapocalyptic sci-fi action series set in Africa that follows a soldier (mercenary?) with a bit too much conscience for her own good. The art is really good; it's digital but has a watercolor feel. It seems like something that could fit right in as a feature in Heavy Metal Magazine.
    • FISH: Furtive Intelligent System of Havoc, by Paeng Thitaya and P. Jeep Naarkom, is a very cute little silent graphic novel about a robot living among a troop of monkeys in the jungle.

  • A bunch of DVDs, from a bootleg cult video booth:

    • The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut/Collector's Edition — This is a recut version of the failed animated movie, with scenes restored using storyboards and unfinished animation, but using the original voices (which include Vincent Price, Sean Connery, and Donald Pleasence)
    • Grindhouse Double Shock Show: Star Odyssey/Prisoners of the Lost Universe — "Sacrificed to Intergalactic Vampires!" "SEE! Psychotic Love-Starved Robots!" A pair of late '70s/early '80s sci-fi B-movies on a double feature disc. Prisoners of the Lost Universe sounds from its description on the back like a ripoff of Flash Gordon.
    • Tales of Voodoo, vol. 2: Ghost Ninja/Primitives — Another cheeseball double feature disc. Primitives looks like an Italian hunted-by-cannibals-in-the-jungle gorefest a la Cannibal Holocaust. Ghost Ninja appears to be one of those flicks slapped together to cash in on the big ninja fad of the '80s, redubbing an asian movie the producers could get on the cheap and cutting in scenes of lousy American actors fighting ninjas. I've seen one like that, titled Diamond Ninja Force, which gave the treatment to what was originally a Hong Kong knock-off of Poltergeist, of all things, and swapped stuff around so that the ghosts were "really" a bunch of ninjas using ninja magic to get back some idol for their ninja cult, and some Chuck Norris lookalike saves the day without ever interacting with the terrorized family. Great stuff.

  • A couple of cartoon series DVD sets, from another bootlegger booth: Bionic Six, which I loved as a kid (I'm a bit scared to watch it now and contradict my memories), and Megas XLR, which I never saw when it was on the air.

  • From Ernie Fosselius's booth, Hardware Wars: 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition, the original Star Wars spoof, and Plan 9.1 From Outer Space, which does the original's wooden acting (and director's name) one better by recasting it with wooden puppets, using the same sound track. I told Mr. Fosselius that I'd originally seen Hardware Wars at a public library, of all places, and he told me that since it was originally distributed on 16mm film, that was more common than you'd think.

  • CDs from the out-of-print soundtracks booth: Phantasm, which also contains tracks from Phantasm II as a bonus; a collection of Akira Ifukube's themes from the early Godzilla movies; Film Music Classics: Monster Music, which is a disc on the Naxos label of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra playing Frank Skinner and Hans J. Salter's soundtracks to Son of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man Returns, and The Wolf Man; and Danny Elfman's Music for a Darkened Theater, vol. 1. That last one they didn't have at the con, but did have in their warehouse and shipped to me a day later; it replaces a copy I had way back in high school but lost.

  • A book of hand-drawn stereograms (well, drawn on computer with an illustration prgram, but not 3DCG) by Donnachada Daly. Since they are side-by-side stereograms, rather than the speckle patterns of the Magic Eye books, and don't require color-lensed glasses, he can use full color. He does some neat tricks with color mixing between both sides, and even some impressive transparency effects. Very cool.

I also got a few sketches for my sketchbook: Matt Wagner did Kevin Matchstick from Mage, Chris Giarusso did a mini-The Spirit, Phil Foglio drew Bangladesh Dupree from Girl Genius, Vince Riley drew an anonymous girl's head (super fast; he told me that he used to work as a caricaturist and now can't help but draw at top speed), P. Jeep Naarkom drew FISH, David Petersen drew one of his characters from Mouse Guard (I think Kenzie, though it's hard to tell in black and white), Steve Leialoha drew Bigby (in wolf form) from Fables, Richard Starkings (the writer of Elephantmen) drew Hip Flask, and Donnachada Daly drew a stylized woman (though not a stereogram).

Richard Starkings is a writer, not an artist, but did a sketch for me anyway. The artist, Moritat, wasn't there at the time (though he was supposed to be at the con; he must have just stepped away for a bit), but Starkings gave me a Moritat Elephantmen sketchbook free of charge for being a loyal reader.
gwalla: (spanking time)
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gwalla: (batstrangle)
Anybody going this year?

It looks like I missed the hotel announcement. Anybody willing to share a room?
gwalla: (batusi)
I need to be better about updating with stuff I've done reasonably close to when I do it. It's been a week since WonderCon!

I went all three days, but only have pics from Saturday and Sunday. Oh, I brought my camera on just refused to turn on! Batteries were fresh too. I was a little put out, since I'd lugged the damned thing to work with me (I work just a few blocks from Moscone Center), and I'd just had it fixed (I just hadn't bothered to try it out since I got it back from the shop, and it'd been too long since then to just bring it back and get it fixed again for free). I borrowed my folks' digital camera for the rest of the weekend

Dr. Who, Cobra, and Girl Genius )

Art Adams, Silent Hill, and Cartoon Network graffiti )

By the gleamin' gates of funky Asgard! )

lol wut )

Street Fighter, Star Wars, Mike Mignola, Johnny Depp, and Batty bad girls )

The Dark Horse panel, plus criticism )

Violet Incredible, Dan Brereton, Halo, and MST3K )

Above ground: R2D2, Link, Cassandra Cain, and a monster )

Boba Fett, Green Hornet, the Clone Wars, Mike Royer, and ROB! VAN! DAM! )

Boba and Boushh, Gandalf, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon )

Kurt Busiek, manga maestro Jason Thompson CHARGIN EYE LAZOR, Sergio Aragones and Steve Leialoha )

I also attended the latter half of the DC panel, saw some Bleach, and saw a couple of movies. One was the 3DCG anime Appleseed: Ex Machina. The semi-cell-shaded look took some getting used to, but it was pretty fun. Although it's kind of hard to believe that Deunan is an "unmodified human" when she's pulling off crazy Matrix gun-fu acrobatics. And it's produced by John Woo, so naturally there are flocks of doves everywhere (later it's revealed that the doves are actually robots broadcasting a mind-controlling signal. At this revelation, the entire theater broke out laughing). The other was the animated Justice League: New Frontier, based on Darwyn Cooke's revisionist (but not "superhero deconstructionist") take on the Silver Age DCU. I missed most of the first half, but what I saw was pretty good (I don't think there was any need for Hal Jordan to be abducted by a UFO to find Abin Sur rather than just being led to him by the ring, because blowing up the room he was in makes his secret identity a little harder to justify, but then by the end it seems like a lot of folks, including Rick Flagg of all people, know his ID, so it hardly matters). Both are worth checking out, JL:NF more than Appleseed (unless you're up for some fairly mindless explodification).

And to sum up, here's all the stuff I got:

Con haul )
gwalla: (comics code authority)
  • Drew Weing's Set to Sea - The story of a burly poet who gets mistaken for a sailor and shanghaied. Good characterization and fantastic art. Characters reminiscent of E. C. Segar and gorgeous, detailed settings. Start at the beginning.
  • Dean Haspiel's Immortal - A pair of hard-boiled, super-powered lovers accidentally awaken a cosmic deity that doesn't know how to love anymore. Seriously. Jack Kirby space-god operatics and Frank Miller two-fisted hypernoir combined in one concentrated dose. Sample dialogue: "That dame broke her bruiser out from jail—only to crack the seal of a legend exiled eons ago." Don't expect anything so banal as naturalism. It's a one-shot (just one extended vertical strip—infinite canvas minus gimmicks), so read it all here.
gwalla: (aqua boogie)

lol japan


Mar. 18th, 2007 10:27 pm
gwalla: (stop! hammertime)
I didn't make this. I found it on 4chan. I have no idea where it comes from. But I love it.

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EDIT: it's from XKCD. Thanks, guys!


Mar. 4th, 2007 01:04 am
gwalla: (comics code authority)
WonderCon started on Friday, but I didn't go, since work and gym conflicted. I came kind of late on Saturday, but I don't feel like I missed anything—none of the early panels really grabbed me. I didn't go to any panels, actually, and just hung out in the dealer room spending money and getting sketches.

The dealers room was very good to me. Just about the first thing I found was a booth selling old comics, where they had a table of random issues they were selling for $5 each (not bad at all for vintage stuff in still-readable condition). We're not talking Action Comics #1 here, but there was some stuff that at the very least would be fun to post on [ profile] scans_daily. I picked up a Silver Age issue of Action Comics in which Superman goes up against a criminal made of kryptonite, an issue of Blackhawk in which the Blackhawks (a WW2 flying team) fight a magician who shoots himself into the water with a cannon, an issue of Giant Size Man-Thing (hee hee!), an issue of Dial H For Hero where Robby Reed turns into three bizarre creatures, and an issue of Where Monsters Dwell featuring Kirby art. At another booth I got some old weird DC stuff: Anthro #2 (a caveman hero), Star Hunters, and DC Super Stars of Space (a collection of reprinted adventures of Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Tommy Tomorrow, and SPACE CABBY!).

Then I found what I was looking for: most of the DC Challenge maxi-series. It's missing a couple of issues from the middle, and the last two, but I'd never been able to find any issues before (and I looked at the last Comic-Con!). I'm looking forward to reading this silliness. The samples on scans_daily are just too awesome.

Got a sketch of Nocturne by Michael Ryan. It's beautiful.

After some ships-passing-in-the-night hijinx, I caught up with Shaenon Garrity and bought signed copies of Narbonic volumes 2 and 3, and chatted for a while. She agrees that Fin Fang 4 should be an ongoing, and told me that the original pitch was for a miniseries which at one point was to involve a Stan Lee clone with hypnotic powers. God I wish they'd gone through with that. I got vol. 3 signed by Phil Foglio, too, who did the bonus story. From Phil I got a few cloisonne pins (why does nobody else sell these? I love 'em), volume 1 of Girl Genius, and a copy of Dealer's Choice: The Complete Guide to Saturday Night Poker (which he illustrated). Both books were signed, and I got a sketch of Agatha. Also, since he collects poker variants, I told him about Crosstown Traffic.

Caught up with Chuck Whelon and bought a book from him. I left my sketchbook with him while I wandered around Artists Alley, and when I came back he'd filled the page with a huge and very detailed cartoon dragon! Chuck is awesome. Read his comic.

Bought the new K Chronicles collection and the new Marginal Prophets album from Keith Knight. Got a sketchfrom him, too...of his K Chonicles alter ego riding a milk bottle (captioned "don't ask").

At the Oni Press booth I got a sketch of Pandora from Death Jr. by Ted Naifeh, and bought his comics Polly and the Pirates and Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things. Good stuff.

And one booth I got DVDs of Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death (the Rowan Atkinson parody), Wild Wild Planet (partly just to impress my dad, who still repeats his favorite line from it, "look out for those gadgets on their chests!" said regarding a bunch of buxom space amazons), and Light Years (a French animated sci-fi film directed by the guy who did Fantastic Planet, with an English script by Isaac Asimov and a whole bunch of famous people in the voice cast before that was common). At another I got a bootleg 4-DVD set of the early 1980s Incredible Hulk cartoon, which I remember watching once on video way back in the day (on Betamax!).

Con closed at 7. Got beer & dinner at the ThirstyBear brew pub/tapas bar (Golden Hallucination ale is good, Menage a Frambois not so great, tortilla española really good, fried calamari too salty, olive tapenade for bread tasty). Then home.

Going back tomorrow ( How'd it get this late?)
gwalla: (comics code authority)'s Comics Research & Such blog. It announces new journals, calls for papers, new features on the site, etc. I set up LJ syndication for it: [ profile] comics_research
gwalla: (batstrangle)
Dave Campbell on how superheroes would vote:

Batman is a true independent, a man of solid principles and baffling contradictions. This may be because he is mentally ill. Batman has an almost paranoid distrust of government institutions, yet believes in the rule of law. He’s an urban vigilante, yet he’s a proponent of gun control. Batman is anti-death penalty to a fault – how many times has he had to capture the mass-murdering Joker and return him to Arkham Asylum instead of the electric chair? Contradictions be damned. Batman follows his own moral compass, and Batman is always right. When Batman votes, he weighs all the options and chooses the best person for the job, regardless of party affiliation or whether they are actually running for office. In other words, he writes-in BATMAN on every ballot.

gwalla: (batusi)
Well, I shall be leaving for San Diego Comic Con shortly. Of course, this means I will most likely be netless (horrors!) for about a week. I'll see some of you down there, and talk to the rest later!

Try not to break anything while I'm gone!


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