Monday, August 31, 2009

Gibberish News

Good Monday, everyone. I hope yours isn't nearly as busy as mine. Bleh. So many things to do...

In the meantime though, I just wanted to give you all a head's up and let you know that I am being interviewed by the good folks over at Broken Frontier. Not sure exactly when the article will drop--sometime soon, I think. But I wanted to let you all know for future reference. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I'm off to my full, full, day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Quick Things...

...as I am still ridiculously busy.

First, there have been more people--lately--reading my blog than I've had people reading my comic. Perhaps they are just reading my comic through the blog, and thus not hitting up my webcomic's official page. Either way, I'm trying to decide if I'm flattered or disheartened that people like my words over my works.

Second, read William Gay. I finished a short story of his the other day, "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" It is amazing. Track it down. (It can be found in 2007's Best American Short Stories collection.) Read it. I'm sure you will not be disappointed. And if you are, well, then there is no accounting for taste. This is my homework that I give to you over the weekend. Read this story, and comment back to me.

Otherwise, have a good weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lit Journal Submission Opportunities

Today is a day that needs to be completed while working on other things. Many, many other things. So this is simply a plug.

Poets, Short Storiests, Essayists, Comicists, Artists, Bring the Ink needs you. A lit mag is only as cool as its submissions. So please, send something cool. Cool is good. It will make people read your work--and our mag. Check it out, and read some of our current material.

Gibberish tomorrow. More busy-ness, too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

+In This Place+

Archive

Another acceptable term would be rapscallion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Less and Less These Days

It feels like it's been a very long time since I've had a film truly creep under my skin and haunt me. Back in high school, it was about every third film that I watched, I'd be thinking about it for days afterward. Now, I'm lucky if it happens once or twice a year. Yesterday, I watched such a film.

Vals Im Bashir (Waltz with Bashir) is one of the most interesting and haunting films I've watched in a long while. The style Ari Folman has given with the animation and documentary aesthetics works on so many levels. The images are stunning and burn into your retnas, the ghosts of this film flickering through your head the instant the film credits roll.

I know it is nothing short of a cop-out, but this is really a film that simply needs to be seen. It will probably have a different effect on each person. For me, it reminded me of how lucky I've been to grow up where I have, sheltered from so many horrors in life that I rarely think about and others have had to deal with on a daily basis for years. And it made me realize what my father might have experienced during his army days--and why he rarely speaks of such times.

See this film if you have any interest in animation. See this film if you enjoy something more substantial than explosions. See this film if you're like me--sheltered from so much. Maybe it will peel off a few layers of the tough skin you've grown around your heart.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Live-ing the Rifftrax

Last night, Lincoln--of all places--was one of the few venues that hosted the live feed of RiffTrax presents: Plan 9 from Outer Space live last night. I was lucky enough to attend.

It amazed me how different the feel of the whole thing was in the larger context. Not actually being in the theatre where the RiffTrax crew riffed from, it wasn't a whole lot different from simply watching a DVD at home. However, watching a RiffTrax with 100 people instead of 5 is quite a new thing entirely. The biggest difference/problem came from the fact that more people laughed over what might've been another joke. That part sucked, as I felt like I missed out on some of the more amusing moments in the Riff. Though, I will admit, that laughing alongside that many people really adds to the overall enjoyment of the thing--especially when I knew that I had friend's in another state laughing right along with us.

It wasn't really anything amazing, as I didn't figure it would be, but it improved my mood for the day, which had taken a turn for the worse (writing did not go well yesterday). I'll admit that it was well-worth the admission fee, though--something I haven't been able to say for most of the films I've seen this summer. Hopefully you have a wonderful film weekend--if not, make it better by downloading and watching a RiffTrax--and I'll see you Monday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Plugging Two Things, Then Another

As I said in a past blog, some of these are simply going to be an advertisement for things that I've found and loved.

I can't remember or not if I plugged this earlier, but it needs to happen. Since I can't remember, I'm doing it again--or for the first time. Either way, you must check THIS site out if you like comics.

It is stuff like Ramon Perez's Kukuburi that makes me want to give up my Gibberish endeavours, write me a "real," story oriented comic and try my hand at, you know, layouts and stuff. However, as I do not have the time to work on such things, I have to live vicariously through people like Perez. This comic is simply amazing, from the art to the story. To use a Hollywood film cliche: "It fires on all cylanders." But what makes this quote even MORE amazing is that Kukuburi has NOTHING TO DO WITH CARS. (Honestly, I don't know what I'm going for here, so go check this comic out. It is awesomeness rolled up, then mashed into the interweb like a banana in a VCR--or should I say DVD?)

Number two thing is new music. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker is fantastic stuff here. I've been rocking out to their newest album, Questimation, for the last few days, and I can't seem to get enough of them sweet, sweet sounds. They've got a good thing going, mixing a whole lot of playfulness with a bunch of catchy beats, lyrics, and sounds. Do yourself a favor, check out their music on Myspace, then buy their album.

The another thing is that Bring the Ink is still looking for submissions for Issue 1. Read up on Issue 0 if you haven't already, and then submit something. The theme for Issue 1 is "Connections" but that can mean just about anything. And if it's really good, theme doesn't matter. Send it their way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

+Cyclops Jr.+

Now serving Odysseus burgers.

Monday, August 17, 2009

As Promised, Two Reviews

I saw both District 9 and Ponyo this weekend, and both were stellar films. Here's why.

District 9 has such a wonderful new take on how sci-fi/action films are made that injects a breath of fresh air into very cliched territory. Neil Blomkamp's documentary-esque mixings into the film give it an air of credibility and realistic approach that is quite different from other films of this type. Instead of trying to create and make his audience believe in another world, Blomkamp constantly reminds us that this is as similar to our world as it possibly can be. And he does this by not making a big deal of all of the special effects. While very integral, and it is chock full of them, the effects are integrated into the film in a much more natural way. The best way I can put this is rather than having a film with special effects, District 9 is a film that just happens to have special effects in it. Does that make any sense? Well, too bad.

Really, this film's biggest downfalls are rather nit-picky--and when you start to nit-pick, it means the overall film is a good time. These nit-picks included: the score, some sterotypes in the characters, and an often-used plot arc. All of these are forgivable, because of Blomkamp's style. Even when we know what's going to happen--either from the trailers or from the fact that this film follows a familiar story line to things we've seen many times before--we'll still be entertained, if not outright amazed at what we just witnessed.

Lastly, what I appreciated most about the film is that Blomkamp didn't forget about humor. Dark as some of it may be, Blomkamp doesn't forget that the idea is somewhat absurd. The humor not only lightens the mood, but it too adds credibility to the film because it isn't out to be a "serious" film. It often makes the more brutal sequences feel that much more horrific and intense, because we aren't laughing at this point--and have no reason to.

So, yes, see this film if you have even the slightest interest in it. It is an interesting take on stale ideas. And quite entertaining to boot.

Ponyo is equally worth your time, but for very different reasons. Really, if you're into Miyazaki's other films, you'll like this one too. If you don't know or like Miyazaki, then I'm not sure this one will win your fandom. It's as whimsical as his other films and equally bizarre, however, it doesn't quite have the "intensity" of films like Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, or Spirited Away. Ponyo shares its similarities with Miyazaki's other films like Porco Rosso and My Neighbor Totoro.

If you're an animation buff, this is a gorgeous film with a wonderful look/feel, and has some of the most intricate hand-drawn animation I've ever seen (some of those shots have SO MUCH going on--I can't even imagine all the time and effort that went into those underwater shots). Also, this is just a fun, light-hearted film. You feel good after having watched it. You had a good time--however silly and bizarre it might have been.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Don't Think I Could Do This

You have to wonder about things--especially films--that are given away for free. You'd think that either the film is terrible, or the filmmaker is crazy, or both. Nina Paley is doing just that. While I rented her flick, Sita Sings the Blues, through Netflix, you can watch the entire thing for free online. And if you don't want to stream it, Paley gives you permission to download the film.

I don't honestly think I could ever do such a thing--put my welfare in the hands of my fans--but I think it's awesome that Paley has taken this leap of faith and let her audience send whatever support they can. And support it they will, as SStB is a great watch. While the animation isn't groundbreaking or very dynamic, Paley recognizes this and works with what she has, using shadow puppets (a throwback to The Adventures of Prince Achmed, I'm sure), cut-out style animation, and what look to be traditional Indian paintings. And these are animated in such a way that we can overlook the lack of movement for sake of content. Paley proves that you don't need something to look as gorgeous as Kung Fu Panda to make for an interesting animated film. Really, it's only about 80 minutes, and it is more than worth your time.

In the weekend time, I hope to enjoy both District 9 and Ponyo. I'm sure I'll be talking about them next week. Until then...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

+Funny Faith+


Even Luna believes in Nargles. That's something.

(The line work on this one was done by my good friend Abner.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

I had a chance to watch this amazing film the other day.

As some, or many of you, may know, I'm not one for anime. Usually, when someone suggests a series or film that I should watch, I--nine times out of ten--tune them out and forget all about said anime. Although I'm an animation lover, I find most anime rather trite, and I often loathe the voice work--both the original and the dubbed. However, there are exceptions. Of course, Hayao Miyazaki's films are excellent. I enjoyed Trigun, and Tekkon Kinkreet was one of the better films I watched last year. Because of my selectiveness in watching these things, I was more than a bit wary about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. But seeing as my wife was out of town and I didn't have much going on, I popped this one in. And was very impressed.

The film has a pretty simple idea at its core: a girl has the power to jump back through time. From some of the other anime's I've seen, I feared this might take a ridiculous turn, going over the top, becoming silly or too bizarre for no real reason. But, TGWLTT keeps things close to heart, following Makoto through her last few weeks of school before she has to figure out what she wants to do with her life. When you get right down to it, this is really just a coming-of-age/love story that just happens to have fantastical elements to it. And as many of you know, these are my favorite kinds of stories.

The whole time-travel aspect is handled both with maturity and makes sense. Often there are too many holes left in a time-travel story, but this one keeps things tight, slightly complex, and very intriguing.

Animation-wise, the film looks wonderful--especially as (at least until Princess and the Frog) American films have all converted to computer animation.

And the voice acting isn't too shabby either. I watched it with the original Japanese dubbing, so I can't attest to the English, but there weren't any overtly squeaky or otherwise annoying voices.

Basically, whether or not you're in to anime, you should check this film out. It's amusing, emotionally engaging, and a nice take on a coming of age tale.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

+Dream Come True+

Then the bells stopped ringing. And the music stopped.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're Back!

One thing the title of this post means is that I'm back from Colorado. It was a good, albeit fast, trip. My wife and I ate at many of our favorite restaurants exclusive to the area, saw UP for the third time, and took a zillion pictures of butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion. But now, as with last week, I'm back in the real world and expected to do things--and I have plenty of things to do.

The other thing alludes to my recent re-watching of We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. I'm a sucker for animation and even more so to ones that I watched as a child. Sometimes these flicks hold up, other times they don't. And now I understand why it took them so long to put this film out on DVD. What a lump of dino-crap.

The animation itself was actually quite good and beautiful for its time, but the story was simply awful. Granted, I think we, as general viewers, have been spoiled by the recent quality upgrade of animated films. Between Pixar, Blue Sky, and DreamWorks--not to mention Laika's addition with Coraline--animated films have gone above and beyond what they used to be. Granted, we still get our share of crap--Delgo or Battle for Terra, anyone?--but I feel like the addtion of more quality studios have raised the overall bar of animation. And really, I'd probably forgive We're Back a bit more if it hadn't been so utterly bizarre. About midway through the film, it takes quite a tonal shift and just turns plain weird. It's no wonder my mother hadn't liked this one when I was a kid. I wouldn't be surprised if the problems for this one arose from the fact that it has four different directors, but still. Tonal consistency makes for a coherent movie. Watch this one if you must, or if you have sentimental rememberances, but I would stay far away if you haven't seen it before.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Out and Away

I am in Colorado right now, hanging out with my wife after five years of marriage.

In my absence, I leave you with the below pic of a new comic I'm developing with a few artist/writer friends of mine. It will be hosted at Bring the Ink. He is called Broken-Hearted Bear.
p.s. I'm still looking for two or three more artist/writers to join the team, so contact me if you are interested in working with this character.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

+Bird Thought+

Or... "I look stupid when I run. This is why I fly everywhere."

***

Do you have an account for StumbleUpon? Reddit? Digg? Or some other interweb share-y device? Then do me a solid and promote your favorite Gibberish. Now that we're a year old, I figure everyone has to have a favorite by now, and what better why to show the love then by spreading it around. Cool? Cool.

And if you do this, I will donate one child to the orphanage for every comic shared

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Mini Film Reviews

Had a chance to watch two whole new movies this past week, which is rather surprising given my self-imposed busy-ness. Here's my two cents on two family fantasy flicks.

Dragon Hunters (Chasseurs de dragons): My brother showed up with this dvd in his hand, saying I should check the thing out. At first glance, it looks like some failed computer animation that didn't garner enough pull to hit the theatres and instead went straight to dvd. And while I'm not sure if this is the case--as it was initially released in France--this direct-to-dvd-in-America release turned out to be a fun ride. Granted, the story is rather cliched, and the characters are archetypes that we've seen before: an adventurous princess, a kind-hearted "tough" guy, the comic relief/brains of the operation little buddy, and a dog-like creature with bad manners. What DH lacks in character originality, it more than makes up for in the design. Both the characters and--especially--the world in this film are simply amazing. So much style and imagination to go around that I'm not surprised the characters suffered as it's plain to see that much time and effort went into the creation of the world. And unlike most of the direct-to-dvd releases we get here in America, the animation for this one is quite good. Not to the level of Blue Sky or Pixar or even Dreamworks, but it is much better than the other "independant" animation studios. So check this out if you have a chance. It's short. It's fun. And it has plenty of style.

Inkheart: It hit me about two minutes into this that making a MOVIE about a book that is enamoured with books seems rather counter-productive. The only way the translation would've truly worked is if they'd replaced the book's books with films. Then it could be a film that is about being enamoured with films. Of course, this would've changed everything--though they've already done enough of that. While staying mostly true to the novel, Inkheart doesn't carry the weight and entertainment of its written counterpart. This falls mainly to some less-than-stellar direction and the utter crapfest of a score. Seriously, Javier Naverrete needs to write music for cheesy television specials. So many moments of this film were ruined by the obtrusive score. It still makes for a decent enough watch, even if you haven't read the book, but it just doesn't translate well. Plus, for fans of the book, it is rather bothersome to see a character like Mo played by Brendan Fraiser. He's just not old enough for the part. Watch this one if you like fantasy flicks and don't have the time to read the book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Graduation Back to Real Life

According to the world, I now have a master's degree. What this will do for me, I still don't have a finalized answer, but I think it's pretty cool to be a "master" of something.

Everyone keeps asking me if I feel any different, but of course, I don't. After working on something for two years and growing on a daily basis, it's nothing more than changing from 15 to 16, or 20 to 21--the feeling doesn't change, simply the opportunities. Plus, my former (though I will forever clam her as mine) mentor demanded that I send my novel back to the agent by the end of the month. So, perhaps sometime in December there will be some more news on the novel front. Until then though, you can kill some of your time over at Bring the Ink, reading all the gloriousness it has to offer.

Of course, my day job and regular obligations won't wait for me to--you know--ease back into real life. Work is already at full force and will continue to be so until Thursday. Bleh.

As this is the case, I don't have much time today, but I'll try and have a few mini movie reviews on Wednesday, and there will be Gibberish tomorrow.

But before I go, I just want to take another moment to thank all of the Gibberish Guest appearances. Gregg Paulson, Aaron Stueve, Byron Rempel, Scott Aleric, Matt Stout, and Erik Jagger, you are all super-cool folk, and I enjoyed working with you and seeing your take on my oddball comic. Hopefully we can work together in the future.