April 19th, 2003

smokin'

Odds and Ends

I'm about to (hopefully) get into a crush of work, so I thought I'd drop in a round-up post to keep things going in case I don't pop up here for a few days. Of course, of work goes well, I'll have time to check back in. Since work never seems to go as smoothly as you'd like, well, that's why I'm hemming and hawing. Anyway - here's a few things to throw out there for your possible interest.

Sarah and I are set to do a library talk on May 10th, in Tom's River NJ, if I remember correctly. I don't have all the details before me, but we'll be there along with Christine Norrie (Action Girl Comics contributor, author of Cheat, recently released by Oni) and Marvel editor (still working on my two projects, at least)/marketing guy/Oni letterer etc Andrew Lis, who set this shebang up. If anyone's in the area and feels like coming by, I assume we'll be talking comics, how we make 'em, and all that stuff. I'm hoping to bring freebies of some sort. I'll post more when I have it all nailed down.

Sarah and I sold several gag panels to Nickelodoen magazine the other day, which was neat. I really like when this sort of thing happens not so much for the dough or the exposure but because of the romantic feeling of being able ton say we sold some gag cartoons to a magazine. When you read old accounts of cartoonists lives or the usiness, I always loved the idea of pounding the Manhattan pavement, trying to sell gags to all the magazines, high, low and no-brow. These days there are very few avenues for gag panels, and even if that weren't the case, this is the only one we have any "in" with, so it was a nice bit of news. We did a strip and a panel for Nick a few years ago, and I assumed that well was dry for us, so again, nifty doings for a change. We also have some strip and script pitches in that they requested from us, so we have our fingers crossed about doing some possible further work with the magazine.

Speaking of work, I've just had it confirmed that I am going to be writing a limited series for one of der major publishers. The artist involved is one you've certainly heard of, hopefully we'll be able to put together a nifty little series sometime later this year. More on that when there's more on that and the publisher allows us to start rumbling about it.

Sarah and I finally got to see Spirited Away, in the theater, right before it disappeared. Knocked me right the hell out.


We both went to the docotr for physicals, kicking off our health coverage. next we have creepy "we're getting odler" blood work, and I have to go to a neurosurgeon for x-rays and possibly an MRi to finally get to the bottom of the chronic pain in my neck/shoulder/arm and drawing hand. is it a herniated disc? A pinched nerve? Degenerative arthritis? Stay tuned for the fun. At least now I'll (hopefully) find out what's been plaguing me for the past ten years or so. If it is something that can be treated it could possibly lead me to get more work done. At the moment, I'm going through a bad patch, where I'm having trouble holding a pen or pencil after a few minutes writing or drawing. I actually had trouble filling out the medical forms, which was pure suck considering I have to ink those Nick panels asap.

Recent trivial mishaps: The lens on my glasses got cracked. A part on the water heater got busted when the repairman worked on it so now we have to have someone else come in for that. Our bathroom plumbing is still all backed up like a horror movie. The fridge is leaking like a stuck piglet. The cats have decided that they don't like newly cleaned litter boxes, we'll piss on the floor, thank you.

Birthday presents received so far: A check from mom (spent on the water heater repair). A Booska vinyl figure from Sarah as a prelim gift. Two DVD's from the Lawgiver - the original Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and the second volume of Something Weird's Starman collection.

Recent movies watched while drawing/bored with existance:

Dragonfly - Dumb dead wife sends dumb doc husband Kevin Costner maddeningly obscure messages from beyond so he can uncover a dull,foregone conclusion. Why can't spirits just say, "Joe, go to this address, find this plot point". Why do they have to say, Joe, go to the place where the bullshit runs wild, where the contrivances are plentiful, etc" Oh, because then the movie would be over. More annoying than the dying murder victim who blathers obscure clues and scrawls symbols in blood but never simply names the killer. At least dying guy's in shock, maybe. Dead guy has lots of time to say, look for my body here. Stupid movie.

The Hole - UK irritant about two blokes and two birds camping out in a bomb shelter, soap opera, tragedy,and madness ensues. As does contrivance and slipshodiness A solid first few minutes setting up the mood and a semi-interesting Roshomon-style first half gives way to annoyances, inconsistancies and finally, nothing much to speak of. Two important plot points aren't explained in a movie about explaining plot points. Characters are uniformly unlikeable, which I don't always nag about, but I think it might have been nice to actually care about some of the people bad things happen to in the context of the film. Me no like.

Joy Ride - Surprisingly effective little dopey road/psycho movie. A decent little unpretentious machine with enjoyable performances, fairly credible and inventive plot hoo-ha, and a decent maniac driving the events. And you can't outguess the film at every single turn, which is nice. Main bitch (spoiler warning)-

I really hated the tacked-on ending, where they had to have a twist, as if they didn't trust their own ending or perhaps wanted a possible sequel. The "he's still alive and out there" bit was just awful and unwise. Normally when this stunt is pulled the character clearly gets away and no one knows it. Here, four characters know who the killer is, and three learn he's gotten away. So they can simply alert the cops, which undercuts the twist ending (a bad idea in the first place because the action ending works well enough --why can't people end anything anymore?). Also, DNA and fingerprint samples from the actual killer are probably everywhere in the truck and hotel rooms and on his assault victims, and even if he wore gloves throughout (couldn't tell), the kidnap victim in his rig knows who kidnapped her -- and it wasn't the body found dead in the truck that he switched ID's with. Sloppola. Anyway, I liked it quite a bit for what it was.

And god help me, I sat through Faust: Love of the Damned, while penciling some stuff, out of the sheer perverse curiosity of seeing just what kind of steaming turd whackmeister Brian Yuzna could make of the infamous god-awful sex and violence superhero/horror comic book called Faust. Well, I asked for it, and I got it. In spades. This is a mind-numbingly awful collection of images moving at 24 frames per second (I can't call it a film) made by uber-hack morons aiming their work straight at the unlaid Fangoria/Chaos Comics reader. I have a creepy feeling that the people involved might actually think they were producing some cool shit here, much like semi-literate no-talent heavy metal cretins thinking they're hot shit on the cutting edge of the dark arts. Lowlight hot shit dark arts sequence: A woman who the pock-marked Devil is mad at drowns in her expanding breasts until she's just a head in a pile of Screaming Mad George naughty bits rubber appliances. Ye...gods. Anyway, if you get a kick out of watching garbage for the sake of watching garbage like I too often do, have yourselves a beer and pizza shake your head in disbelief party with this corker. Dumber than a Kid Rock album.

Kung Fu Theatre this past Friday featured another Shaw release, The Magnificent trio. Decent build into a pretty solid, entertaining finish. Jimmy Wang Wu stands around looking dopey as usual, Lo Leih stands around looking great, as he often does. Directed by the Venoms guy, so there's some blood and torture and a touch of the homo-erotic to our costuming and whatnot. The second half of the bill was a mess called 18 Golden Destroyers, a real turkey that had good write-ups on how bad it was. Possibly the worst kung-fu ever featured in an actual martial arts film, and some sleep-inducing zombie madness to boot, as the undead Gilded Bronzemen of legend "attack" a village. Three or four people fall down before the slow-moving painted dullards, and they, uh, die. One Bronzemen cum Golden Destroyer steals a piglet. Maybe he kills it in a censored scene if this was a UK version, I dunno. I don't want piglets attacked in movies, they're cute. Anyway, this Thai or Taiwanese stinker would have been at home on MST3K. Nuff said.

I really need to start watching some actually good movies that have no magic or evil truckers or ghosts or ninjas or Starman in them before my brain rots and I forget how to conjugate verbs. Maybe someday. 2003 has been a good year for escapism overload, and bad escapism, at that.