Sunday, June 4, 2017

DC Superspectacular 11 (or Flash 214)

I was originally inspired to re-draw the wrap-around cover to DC Superspectacular #1 (also listed as Flash #214) in 2007. As I recall, I was gearing up to commence work on the Fogtown graphic novel for DC Comics/Vertigo Noir and wanted to do something fun and mindless, a palate cleanser as it were, before starting such a major undertaking. 

I wanted to “correct” one of the “mistakes” I perceived in the original Nick Cardy version: all the figures are running directly “at camera” even though the perspective lines on the low-angle ground plane radiate from a single (one point)  perspective in the center of the composition. I thought it would be cool and fun to subtly alter the angle on each character to conform with the radiating lines.

I also thought it would be fun to imitate the style of whichever artist drew the characters in the book’s interior. In the case of Flash and Kid Flash, I decided to cheat and imitate Murphy Anderson inking Carmine Infantino instead of the actual ink-artist reprinted there-in, Joe Giella. This was strictly a matter of personal taste on my part; Murphy Anderson is one of my all-time favorite comic-book inkers; Joe Giella is one of my all-time least favorites. The Golden Age Flash story was drawn by Infantino in his Caniff stage, so I imitated this for my re-draw, as far as the design for the character’s face is concerned. I don’t think the Metal Men figures look particularly like they were drawn by anyone but me, let alone the interior artists, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. And that goes for all the other figures as well.

I am in the process of assembling material for my upcoming on-line portfolio site. Last weekend (Memorial Day Weekend, 2017) I came across my 10 year old drawing of this piece and decided it would look good as a part of my on-line portfolio. Originally I wanted to color and letter it in Photoshop but was too intimidated by that computer program to try. In the intervening 10 years, I’ve gained some chops so I decided to honor my original concept before putting it on my site. I’m including my original drawing and a scan of the original wrap around cover.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Rules of Engagement

These are rules I have formulated for meaningful conversation, both on social media and in real life. 

1) If one dislikes aspects of another’s behavior or manner of speaking, don’t replicate those aspects.

2) One should avoid criticizing others for doing what one also does or has done. In such cases one should say “Turn about is fair play” and suck it up.

3) Be tactful when pointing out that someone’s actions don’t measure up to their ideals, as this is a fairly universal condition. This does not mean that ideals aren’t necessary; we need to hold ourselves accountable to them, hopefully leading to improvements in all situations.

4) Don’t state one’s opinion as though it were fact. Being sure of something does not make it true. Disbelieving in something does not make it untrue.

4A) Surety doesn’t equal correctness. Charisma is not righteousness. Membership does not make one correct and outsiders incorrect, or vice         versa.

5) Be aware of the possibility that you are, at least, partly wrong, or not it full possession of the facts. In this age of information overload and fake news, this is especially necessary. It is as likely that one’s own sources are suspect as those of one’s opponents.

6) Don’t take other people’s inventories, i.e.:
    5A) Don’t tell other people what they REALLY think.
    5B) Don’t tell other people how they REALLY feel.
    5C) Don’t tell other people what their motives REALLY are.
    5D) Don’t tell other people what or who they REALLY are.

7) When confronted by an assertion with which one disagrees, re-state it until its maker agrees that’s what they actually said (or meant) before offering one’s rebuttal. Demand that they give you the same courtesy before giving THEIR rebuttal. This, hopefully, will insure that each party truly understands what the other is saying. It will also guard against one opponent purposefully mischaracterizing an argument to defeat it.

8) When interjecting one’s comment into other people’s conversation stream, be prepare to get specific in parsing the other’s statement point by point (as to whether one agrees, disagrees, or will have to think about it). If one is unwilling to do this, one should refrain from commenting. Don’t dump and run.

9) As with a physical altercation, just because one “wins” an argument or gets in a pithy last word doesn’t make one correct, any more than “losing” makes one incorrect. Be aware that, if you “win”, it doesn’t mean that you’ve changed the opponent’s belief. You may have only momentarily silenced them. This relates to “The Manufacture of Consent” (a phrase coined by Noam Chomsky). Those who are out-of-the-mainstream might feel publically constrained against stating their beliefs, but still have them. Undesired consequences can arise when these suppressed beliefs bubble to the surface.

9A) Screaming loudest, interrupting, breaking into tears, claiming “That’s MY reality” doesn’t make you correct, it just makes you an asshole.

10) Avoid certain pronouns and adverbs when describing the prevailing sentiments or actions of a group:
     1) “every time”
     2) “never”
     3) “always”
     4) “everybody”
     5) “nobody”
These descriptors cannot be accurate except (perhaps) in the smallest groups and seem designed more to silence dissent or antagonize than to produce clarity.

This is especially true in regard to large groups such as “Democrats”, “Republicans”, “Americans”, “America”, (or “Germans”, “Russians”, “Blacks”, “Whites”, “Asians”, “Gays”, “Straights”, “Men”, “Women”, etc). These words create the false impression that members of such groups are united in goals, fears, beliefs, etc., and are unvarying in their choices and actions. 

11) Most individuals are members of more than one group. It is best to bear this in mind, because one may be in sympathy with one of those groups and antipathy with another during the course of interactions with said individual. This is especially true when membership in one or more of these groups isn’t immediately apparent.

12) These “rules”, when broken, become “tactics”, which can be used purposefully or unknowingly to provoke and insult. Since they are mostly tacit (unspoken and unacknowledged) it is unwise to react angrily, as the purposeful user can then claim one is unreasonable, hypocritical, cannot be worked with, etc. The clueless user will not know why one is angry and draw the same conclusions.  I’m unsure, at this point, what one SHOULD do in response. How does one fight against an opponent that doesn’t fight fair?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Psi-Kix", My On-Line Portfolio #7

I worked on this series between 2004 and 2005. It was produced by Krislin, a South Korean studio. Kent Butterworth was my director. He made up for the low pay rate by being extremely enthusiastic about my work, giving almost no changes. I enjoyed working on it; the scripts were good and the voice acting was top notch, really giving me something to play against with the acting. It was a CGI (computer graphics images) series, so it was almost like storyboarding for live action (or so I’m told; this is supposition on my part since I’ve only storyboarded one live action TV episode.) I don’t know if the series ever aired, either in South Korea or the U.S.A.; there’s very little information about it or its producing studio on line. Has anybody seen it on TV?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Miguelanxo Prado Signed My Book

Miguelanxo Prado was lead character designer on the first season of “Men in Black” (the animated series based off the hit movie based off the independently produced comic book). I was a storyboard artist on that series. Mr. Prado was living in the USA for at least part of the time he was designing on the series, and I prevailed upon him to sign my copy of one of his graphic novels. I am posting both his drawing for me and the cover of the g.n.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Men In Black, My On-Line Portfolio #6

This portfolio sample is evidence of my difficulty in assembling my portfolio: I really like the storyboards I did for the Sony Animation series, “Men in Black”, starting in 1997. The problem is finding a small chunk I can break off to show as a sample. I don’t think this is it, but it will do until I come up with something better.

I worked on MIB for the first and second (I think) season. My director was Mike Goguen, who I’d worked alongside on season of of The Batman Animated TV Series. The producer, Rich Raynis, hired Spanish graphic novelist Miguelanxo Pardo as the primary character designer. Frank Paur was also involved, as he hired me onto the project. Perhaps he was the producer under uber-producer Raynis. I don’t think Frank was a mere director; after “Batman” he had graduated to producing on “Gargoyles”.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"The Greatest Escape", My On-Line Portfolio #5

This storyboard is from a never-produced DRD called “The Greatest Escape”. I worked on this feature in 2009, between the cancellation of “King of the Hill”, and my next staff project, “Neighbors From Hell” for the newly formed Bento Box Entertainment. 

“TGE” tells the story of Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus’s escape to Egypt following Herod’s death sentence on all male children. It is told from the p.o.v. of Herod’s daughter, Cleangela (pronounced “Klee-angela”, not “Clean-gela”). She has been assigned by Daddy to visit Jerusalem and rat out the newborn king. The sequence I’ve chosen shows her as she follows the Star of Bethlehem which acts as a beacon, leading her directly to her quarry.

I was raised by an Atheist father and an Agnostic mother. My Higher Power is silent when I pray for details about its nature. I have no particular interest in the subject matter of TGE. That said, I’m a whore who’ll do practically anything legal for money, especially when the director/producer Is (was) Kevin Altieri, who I’d greatly enjoyed working with on many projects, including “Batman”, “AlfTails”, and “Stripperella”.

Most of my research for this storyboard was gleaned from “The Reader’s Digest Life of Jesus”. I providentially discovered this book on the shelves of my hotel room at “The Majestic Valley Lodge”, in the mountains of Chugach, Alaska, where my family and I were having a re-union celebrating our mother Maxine’s 80th anniversary. This outrageous synchronicity would be enough to cause me to see divine guidance in the genesis of TGE. Except that the project was eventually cancelled because a member of the financing congregation absconded with the budget.

I’ve heard it said that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Congratulations, Lord; I’m mystified.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Gargoyles "Puck" Sequence, My On-Line Portfolio Pt #4

As with my ‘Batman’ storyboards, my ‘Gargoyles’ material is extremely difficult to cull, resulting in arbitrary choices. I have chosen (for now) this sequence. It is from episode #18, “The Mirror”, first aired in September, 1995. The production company was Disney Television. 

The episode introduces the character “Puck”. I really got into the acting on this faery trickster character, doing “Tim Curry-as-Dr.-Frank-N’-Furter-meets-Paul-Lynde”. playing up his fem, fey qualities. I was really nervous about doing so, expecting to have catch shit for doing such an “out” character (though I had been “out” on the job since 1988), but the director/producer, Frank Paur, kept ALL of it. Further, I enjoyed playing Puck’s fem mannerisms off Demona’s much more “butch” body language, a sort of gender reversal. Again, this was all kept by the director.