Archives For Comics

Foundations in Comic Book Art: SCAD Creative Essentials (Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists)
by John Paul Lowe

I have the privilege of reviewing this from a semi-professional view in that I used to work in the comic book business. Recently I have craved to get back into comics and illustration so when I saw this book come up in a list of books for me to review, I grabbed it.

Lowe is really good at communicating and visually the book is of higher grade than most books of it’s kind that are out there. Materials and techniques are covered and what is nice is that while it has an emphasis on comics it also covers the gamut of visual art.

It covers so many topics and techniques and is rich with content. It is not a how to draw book which is also nice. So while it is basic to intermediate in nature it also has value for people who have been drawing for years.

Being a guy who went from classic pen and ink to pretty much all digital, I was glad the topics covered software and techniques that could be used traditionally or with a computer.

I would recommend this book for anybody interested in visual art but especially for those who love sequential art. This is one of the better books on this topic that I have read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from bloggingforbooks to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

{spoiler alert}

Last night, after waiting for 17 years, I went to see “Watchmen”.

It was 2 hours and 45 min.
I had my pretzel and coke in hand. I was ready to be super happy or super disappointed.

I of course read the book. and while the movie stands alone I do believe that having read the book it changed my feelings about the film.

Let me start with the opening of the film. It was perfect. I mean it was like panel for panel with the graphic novel. I was completely floored by how much in this film matched up to the book. The details were amazing. Down to the last drop..and I mean that literally. The people they cast look so much like the book it was wild.

This was a fanboys dream and it lived up to in in every way, but….

The director decided to take liberties with violence that really bothered me. As an example there is a scene in the book where Rorschach finds a child killer chains him in his house and then burns it down. In the film however we got to see a change for the sake of shock value where the man is chained and then butchered in the head with a meat clever. It was very disturbing to watch.

There was more of that kind of stuff. Some of it was in the book and some not. I don’t shy away from violence in films, but there is something to be said for leaving it to the imagination. I this film we never have to use our imagination. This was very disappointing and not necessary for the film at all. In my opinion it really soured it actually. This to me was the worst part of the film. I hate violence just for the sake of it and there were some bloody scenes that were not in the book that they added in for no reason other than to get an R rating.

Then there is Doctor Manhattan who walks around as a big blue alien naked guy. His penis is fully exposed. This wasn’t too much of an issue for me because the character to me is like watching a documentary on a tribe in brazil or something. It wasn’t meant to be crude or for shock. While this wasn’t an issue for me it will be for others and is not appropriate for kids.

There is a “almost” rape scene which was straight out of the book. The director took it a little too far with the violence again and added more then there should have been. No nudity in it.

There were some prostitutes, but I don’t think they showed anything…

As far as explicit sex there was a scene on a couch which really didn’t show anything, a dream sequence which was just like the book and was kinda artsy so it wasn’t too much of an issue to me. There is an odd scene with the blue guy and silk spectre where there are 3 of him pleasuring her. Again we don’t see anything.

Then there was “the” sex scene. In this scene two major characters have sex on a ship. This scene is in the book. However there is something about 1980’s simple line art that is a little different than real people. While it was a necessary part of the film and the book I think they chose to show way too much. It is not an artsy fartsy film. Much of that scene should have been left to our imagination. Showing kissing and a shirtless back is enough, but they showed Silk’s breasts and and showed climax. This bothered me less than the violence because at least it was in the book, but it was still unnecessary and awkward.

The cinematography in this film is breathtaking. The fighting scenes are outrageous. The acting and casting is perfect. The story is brilliant. The violence is way over the top. The sex shows too much.

I had a hard time reviewing this film because I have been a fan of this for so long.

After thinking about it here is my thought.

If you have read the book and you are a fan of it then you will want to see this film. You will also know when you should be covering your eyes because anything that is violent in the book is taken to an extreme in the film. If you are able to get away with not watching in theater then rent it and make the ffwd button your friend.

If you have not read the book I don’t think you will be lost by watching the film, but because of no emotional attachment you might as well skip it and wait for star trek in May.

If you are under 17 and want to see this…send me your phone number so I can tell your parents to lock you in your room.

This is not a kids film and it contains too much stuff for shock value, but at the same time is a brilliant film. That’s why it is so hard for me to review. While I personally loved 85% of the film. The 15% of it that bothered me makes it so I can’t recommend this film to anybody who has not been an avid fan of the book since it came out.

For a more detailed review

[Rating: 3.5/5]

the watchmen

the watchmen

I want you to read this and get a good mental picture. The year is 1992. My friend Jon and I are both huge comic book fans and are trying to break into the industry as artists and writers. Somehow we met an industry pro who just become a “christian”. So we are sitting in this guys attic.

The two of us are sitting there trying to learn everything we can from this published comic book artist. The room is full of smoke and ash. Comics are strewn across the floor intermingled with trashy magazines. He has 4 shelves full of old comic book toys and figures covered in god knows what. There are things on the floor that resemble drug paraphernalia. The room is a total wreck and on closer instection so is our “mentor”.

We sat and listened to his crazy stories of comic book groupies and drugs and fame all the while wondering if this guy was really the guy we wanted to learn from. He told us he found God and was changing so we started working on a huge Christian comic book series. It was amazing and to this day I wish we ahd finished it.

He gave me one major piece of advice.

He said “dude before you do anything in comics…read this” as he handed me a well read copy of the watchmen.

I read tons of Spiderman and Batman, but what he handed me would change my comic world forever. I eventually did get in the comic book industry. Sadly it was short lived, but a blast. My story telling and art was forever changed because of that one sentence of advice from a stoned out, smoke smellin’, lust crazed man. ” Dude ……..read this”

I have since read it at least 25-30 times. I have been waiting since 1992 to hear that a movie was finally being made of this book. There have been rumors for years and years, but below is the trailor as proof that it will be here soon. Read this book if you haven’t already. You have some time before the movie.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=R3orQKBxiEg]

That’s right I used to be in the comic book industry. I loved it, but there was absolutly no way to make a living in that business without being a bigwig so I had to move on to other things. I will tell you some of the new things I will do with art soon. Here are some of my old concept art.

Here are a few movies that are being made that I absolutely can’t wait for.

1. Dark Knight – Coming this summer. Batman with Christian Bale. There is no other Batman.

2. Indiana Jones – We have been waiting forever it seems. I can’t wait much longer

3. G.I. Joe – this one is for 2009, but great cast so far. Baroness is Sienna Miller. Nuff said.

4.  Justice League of America – This one is for 2010 and they are lining up the cast. This should be awesome

5. Watchmen – This is probably the most anticipated movie for me in the history of movies. Coming out 2009. This movie has been in rumors for like 10 years now and it has been almost made a million times. This is the greatest comic ever written and it should be awesome.

Anybody else excited about these?