Tuesday, September 30, 2003

"Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot..."

I hate drawing Batman. I can't get him right. Or rather, I can't get him to not look absurd. I think something snaps in my brain, and I somehow bring out the silliness inherent in the character. When Batman succeeds as a visual, it's because he's a brooding, menacing figure. His reputation, his presence, his personality all go to distract us from what is really a very silly visual. He strikes terror into the hearts of criminals, but blue and grey spandex and a cape just won't do that. Heck, the only reason the Punisher gets away with his in-comparison-sensible outfit is because he's usually carrying a chuffing great machine gun.
I have to draw a Harley Quinn picture for someone. Meg suggests that I should put a brooding Batman as/in the background. It's an obvious choice that I was also considering, but my inability to do a non-silly Batman has given me second thoughts. The person receiving this picture also likes Spawn, so I could just use him as the backdrop, and I can certainly do a half-decent Spawn, but I suspect my brain will snap there too, this time because Harley and Spawn should never be in the same picture together...

Friday, September 26, 2003

Be the next M. Night Shyamalan!

Here's a new game. Imagine a film, any film. Now imagine the last shot in that film in which you can see a person's eyes. Now imagine those eyes turning bright, glowing red for just an instant. Voila, instant last-minute plot twist!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

"Oh, you like to draw? Well can you do this for me..."

Now that the comic page (page fourteen) for Spooky's Dungeon has been done, I'm reminded that I have a stack of requests to go through. While it's flattering to an extent, I just wish that people would realise that I'm not that talented.
Or perhaps I am. Meg has pointed out that I have an inflated opinion of other people's abilities in certain fields. The way I see it, there's no such thing as a bad artist or a good artist, because in my opinion, anyone could turn out a lovely piece of art, and that it's just that the "good" artist gets there quicker. Take your time, pace yourself, and you'll be able to do anything. I mean, it's only drawing after all. What could be easier?
Meg says that of course I would think this way, because for me it is easy. I don't know...just makes me seem arrogant, and I have nothing to be arrogant about.

The new season of The West Wing premiered last night. I wasn't going to watch it, because I dropped out of the show a while ago, feeling that it was a bit too smug, artificial and arch for my liking. Plus, it was often actually quite dull, which no amount of clever scriptwriting and top-notch acting could hide. However, with current world events and an insane presidency, the writers have a real-world backdrop to let loose a little bit and last night delivered an exciting political thriller. There was a real sense of the whole thing falling down around the ears of our favourite characters, and the clincher was that it was all their own fault. Tense, exciting and emotional, I wonder how long they can keep it up?
(I have no idea when this will make it back to Britain. All the information I can find seems to point to E4 being half way through season four, which seems like an awfully long delay...)

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Happy birthday today to Kevin Sorbo.

(It's a long, and not very good, story)

I've really got to get this page for Spooky done today, then I have one of my favourite films ever to watch.

Yesterday, I found myself watching the first episode of the new series of NYPD Blue. This was more due to me not wanting to get off the sofa than any desire to watch the show. The last time I saw the programme was about six years ago, and I didn't like it back then. I noticed that the programme, apart from some cast changes, is exactly the same as it was the last time I saw it, and I wouldn't have bothered watching if it wasn't for the fact that one of the cast members looked annoyingly familiar. I knew him from somewhere, but I couldn't place him.
Then, about halfway through, I realised, and what was a badly written, gritty, issues-based crime drama suddenly became an exercise in stunned confusion and disbelief.
To be fair, he's a pretty strong actor, and did a good job even though the episode gave him little to do, but still, what is Zack Morris doing on NYPD Blue?

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"Are you a Mexican, or a Mexican't?"

Meg and I went out for dinner and a movie tonight ("Hey, that sounds like a date! You're married now, you don't have to go on dates, especially with your wife!"), and the movie was Once Upon A Time In Mexico, which I've been looking forward to for a while now.
It's loud, stupid, audacious and absurd. And I loved it. It's absolutely brilliant, harking back to the classic westerns its title references and putting a modern spin on things all at once. There's some surprising political comment in there, there's a villain wrapped in bandages, there's a blind gunfighter with a kid sidekick, there's touching emotional flashbacks, there's absurdly audacious stunts, there's good characters, bad characters, and ugly characters, and there's a remote-controlled exploding guitar case.
One of the reasons that the Hellboy comic is so successful is because Mike Mignola puts together all of the ideas that he thinks are fun (like Nazis, Rasputin, aliens, demons, etc), shakes them up, and delivers them with some nifty visuals. This is the filmic equivalent of that (and hopefully, so too will the Hellboy film!).
If I have a criticism, it's that there's almost too much going on, so some of the cool stuff isn't played with enough. Hopefully though, that means there'll be a special edition dvd packed with goodies.
Next up, Underworld.
(And no, that's not Catherine Zeta Jones in the picture...)

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Remember China Drum? No? Can't say I blame you, but they really did do a marvelous cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights. Rock, and indeed, on!

I've just spent a long evening pencilling the next page of the comic you can find at Spooky's Dungeon. This page almost looks like a real proper comics artist drew it, rather than the epileptic gibbon renderings I usually produce (and which you can see in the first twelve pages at Spooky's Dungeon). Two years of artistic improvement there folks!

Sometimes, I almost convince myself that I could do this professionally.

I've also been plotting the comic, taking it into exciting post-apocalyptic territory. All this to a soundtrack of late-80's/mid-90's MP3s, hence the China Drum reference above.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Ten weeks it's been out, and Pirates Of The Caribbean is still in the top five at the box office! Deserves it too. I'm looking forward to seeing El Mariachi 3/Desperado 2/Once Upon A time In Mexico 1, and Underworld (even though I've seen it before), but I doubt I'm going to have as much fun as I did during Pirates until Christmas comes around.

This is utterly insane, but fun, as all the best things are.

Remember the spinning logo in between scenes on the old Transformers series? It would change from the logo of the robots featured in the previous scene, to the logo of the robots in the next scene, and sometimes (redundantly) spun around, but didn't change, because the same robots were in both scenes. Well, I dreamed of that last night. Now, I know that we tend to forget most of our dreams, so I could have dreamed about other stuff and have just forgotten it, but I'm pretty sure that all I dreamed of last night was that logo spinning endlessly. Which makes it officially the strangest dream I've ever had, even if I am a pathetically obsessed Transformers fan.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Meg's been very ill this weekend, which has led to me not blogging as often as usual, and has also thrown my sleep patterns out of whack. but at least I've got a decent book to read. The British edition looks much better, by the way, than the fantasy trash cover of my copy.

Meg's feeling much better now, by the way, thanks for asking.

How English are you? This is my result:

The epitome of Middle England, you prefer your Hovis to ciabatta and believe that England can win the cup this time round. You still feel frequent stirrings of patriotism, but deep down you know the world has moved on from the Empire and warm beer on village greens.


I don't know the lass very well at all, but I'm still sending nice thoughts to Eloon. You should too.

Finally, for every stupid announcement about how scientists have wasted millions of pounds of research money on working out which side is up when a slice of toast is dropped, there's something like this which awakens the geek in everyone!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Thousands of characters, hundreds of storylines, and what is DC's response to Marvel's movie success? Another Batman movie.
So, what's that? Five Batman movies, plus this new one, plus countless others in development hell. Four Superman movies, plus an unofficial fifth, and another in development. A Batman Vs Superman film. There's definitely a feeling of desperate stripmining here.
Marvel's approach is almost completely opposite. They seem to have sold the film rights to every character they've ever created, whether it'd make a good movie or not. Still, I suppose they've already had success with one D-list character.

Oh well, at least Hellboy's coming out next year.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Ha! I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Okay. I have $33-30 of vouchers left for Barnes and Noble. What do you folks suggest I spend the vouchers on?

Over at Tom's blog, he discusses a previous birthday of mine, the state of current rap, how rubbish The Darkness are (a growing sentiment it would appear), and quite possibly the strangest description of a football game ever.

Hope all the other September Tenthers had a good day!

Well, on the whole that went well. We went out in the evening to spend my birthday money/vouchers, and I was struck with a bizarre guilt and ended up buying only one small, cheap, book. Hm...
While in Barnes and Noble, I encountered something quite impressive. Outside the shop, they have this sign that says "Listen to any CD in the world". I scoffed at this, but when we went to look at the music/video section of the shop, we found something fun that I've never seen before.
They have these listening posts, which look like any other, except they have a little touch-screen thing attached, and a barcode reader too. You can scan any CD in the shop, and it'll recognise it and play it through the headphones.
But this still isn't the thing they claim at the front door. The little screen thing has a keyboard, and a search function. Enter the group or song, or album, then search for it. The screen will bring up information on the title/group/song in question, and will again play it through your headphones. Wow.
As is the way of humans when faced with what appears to be an all-ecompassing system, I tried to find holes. It hadn't heard of Caution, but I wasn't too surprised. It had information on the Prodigy's Poison single, but had no actual music stored. That was the closest I got to fooling it.
This may not be as impressive to you as it was to me, but I'm easily impressed, me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

A very happy birthday today to Dr. D. I don't know much about the guy apart from the fact that he's Jamaican and he likes to read biLly's blog. But if you pop over to his blog, you'll find that he seems to be an interesting type of guy who definitely has his head screwed on properly. As it is the duty of all bloggers to tell all other bloggers to go and check out the blogs of a third group of bloggers, and as it is the Doctor's birthday, I urge you to go and have a look. Well, not really urge, more suggest. But you hopefully get my drift, my netsurfing friends.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Yikes! Egad! I've been paid a visit by the Blue Witch. I'm not sure what's more surprising: Blue Witch visiting, or someone besides Bill visiting!

Tom decided to visit David Blaine yesterday, and found him to not be as much of a gimboid as his TV persona suggests. Read Tom's account of this momentous meeting here.

Friday, September 05, 2003

You know, over here, they say that owning a gun is a constitutionally-protected right, and that owning and using a gun is therefore an expression of freedom.
Bollocks is it. And stories like this just go to prove that. Although it is morbidly funny.

Couldn't sleep between two and half-three, so I finished off Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I've been catching up on Gaiman's works recently, sice I've been reading his blogger. I still don't like Sandman, his most famous work, but I've enjoyed some of the other stuff. American Gods deals with ideas that will be familiar to those who've read Sandman, or have seen/read Neverwhere. It's cleverly constructed ("It's in the trunk" springs to mind, although the plot point that refers to did strike me as a bit obvious), and a very entertaining read. Gaiman shows he's adept at characterisation, which really is the book's main strength, as frankly, the plot was a bit shoddy. It didn't go in the direction a bad writer would have taken it, but it was still a bit cackling-comic-book-villain. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the first X-Men film. Really well put together, a real good understanding of the characters, and then a terribly juvenile plot to tie it all together. But I did enjoy it. Honestly.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Get ready, my friends. On the 19th of September (that's nine days after my birthday), the world will be united in International Talk Like A Pirate Day. As of 2004, it's going to be an official day too.
Which has, frankly, cheered me up immensely.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The dangers of the pizza-delivery world, eh?
Check out this story and then the follow-up. Madness.
My good friend Tom has a blog! Go and check it out. Tom is an extraordinarily talented and funny bloke, who also happens to know everything about football. Everything. Years ago, we challeneged him by asking him the postal addresses of a number of international stadiums. He knew them all. Motson has nothing on this guy.
And of course, since he knows all there is to know about football, he knows that Brighton is the team to support! He also supports (as we all should), the superb Dangerous Darkies, and the peerless Border Security.
Tom also points out a lovely story from the BBC about the impending doom of the human race. I find it funny that the scientific community has instituted the Torino Scale to measure the intensity of the catastrophe. It has hilarious entries like "7 - Close encounter with extremely significant threat of global catastrophe" which sound more like the weather reports.
"This weekend, expect rain in more central and southern parts, and viewers in the west should be aware that there's a good chance of complete extinction of all life on earth. Good night!"

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I don't like Silent Hill. I like the game fine, but I don't like the place. I don't want to be there/here anymore. Which, I suppose, is proof that the game is doing what it's supposed to do. Good stuff.

Here's an excellent psychoanalysis of Bush, which won't come as much of a surprise to those who don't think much of him anyway, but is nice to see. Unless he turns around one day and guns down his cabinet on live TV, you won't see something like this in a mainstream US newspaper. Although the NRA would probably support it.

Finally, here's a stonkingly good review of a recent Superman comic, which broadly touches on the same reasons why I detest Superman generally. It's not the character, but the way he's used. I really could write an essay on why Superman doesn't work. I may do so one day. After all, I have an empty "Writing" section at my website.

Finally, finally, I just found out that there was a Magnum PI/Quantum Leap crossover. Sam leaped into Magnum! They got as far as pre-production, and apparently got some Sam-as-Magnum filming got done too, but plans for a Magnum PI movie (which I also didn't know about, but which never got made) scuppered that idea. Wow. In an alternate universe somewhere, that crossover got made, and the alternate-K was very happy.

Original-K is quite happy today too, as the birthday presents are slowly beginning to arrive.