Me gusta leer y ver la tele

Thursday, June 29, 2006

L’idraulico più famoso del mondo

Probably one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in my life. A really original performance in Gordon College (wherever that is). If you were born between 1975 and 1985, you’ll probably find it as funny as I do. If you weren’t… well, you just don’t know what you missed.

PS. - That guy should get an Oscar

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Island

A very good movie carried without problems by Ewan McGregor and the spectacular Scarlett Johansson. And it is probably the first worthy movie directed by Michael Bay. I can’t count Armageddon or Pearl Harbor, you must understand. Spoilers coming…

Not so many years in the future, a corporation has secretly built a huge complex in which they, against all laws of genetic treatment, can have under control a population of conscious clones with the mental maturity of fifteen-year olds –I felt very identified myself, I must say-. Two of them manage to escape, and are merciless pursued to death by a special agent –Djimon Hounsou- and by the president and creator of the Merrick corporation itself, role played by Sean Bean –it would be good to see him someday playing the good guy, for a change-.
A movie that deals with very complex issues, just like the ethic treatment of genetic engineering, the all-seeing and manipulative Big Brother, or even the right to live. Sadly, the movie soon falls into a frenetic pursuit mode and forgets all of those issues. Like on all the other Bay’s films, the more explosions, crashes and frantic camera movements, the better.

Unreasonably Ageless

I’ve just finished reading The Shadows of God, the fourth and last installment of the great steampunk fiction saga The Age of Unreason, by J. Gregory Keyes -aka Greg Keyes, yuuzhan vong depicter-. That, BTW, has been one of the many main reasons for my not-so-sudden disappearance from the blog. My utter lack of self-discipline played an important role, too. Who am I kidding?
Well, the point is that, after hearing to anxiety finn5fel’s innumerable speeches of the “oh-so-great-this-saga-is-you-have-to-read-it” kind, and after his most appreciate birthday gift –the books themselves, that is-, I finally decided myself to read it. And what a great decision that was! All the virtues that finn5fel assured me were there, there they were, and much, much more.
So, if you like a historical background with a slightly sci-fi touch, or if you like character development, or if you like excellently-written dialogues, or if what you like are great battles and world-changing events, or if you simply want to have a great time with a riveting story that, actually, is good literature too, then the choice is obvious. A saga that goes directly to the top ten of my favourite readings.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Wordless Story

Curious about the weird chick and the even weirder creature she's riding? Just go to the next post and all your questions will be answered... Weeell, maybe not all questions, but definitely some of them.

Terra Inkognita 1

This is the first page of Terra Inkognita, a fifteen-page story with no words. This was an exercise I did for the heck of it to practice my storytelling. I tried to draw a story that would be understood without any text. I'm happy with the way it turned out, but I guess it's up to you, dear readers, to judge and decide if it's effective, or if it doesn't work at all. As I think I said on a previous post, ignore the stupid remarks on the side and just focus on what's going on. Then drop me a line and tell me what you think. Please be honest: I can handle criticism (I hope, hahaha). Tell me what you like, and what you think sucks!

Terra Inkognita 2

This is one of my favorite pages. I really like the idea of using the words to separate the panels, and, at the same time, they're adding to the story, because that's what the weird retailer is doing: babbling and babbling and babbling. I guess the tongue is mightier than the pen.

Terra Inkognita 3

This was probably the trickiest page. Or, at least, it took me some time to figure out how to show what I wanted to show. I drew inspiration from Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo, and they way they do their storytelling. A friend of mine said the whole scene was overexplained, and he might be right. However, I tried to make absolutely sure the reader understood what was going on.

Terra Inkognita 4

Our wonderful protagonist realizes she's been scammed. I guess she'll have to politely ask for a refund. However, I have the feeling things aren't going to be that easy. (And, let's face it: it wouldn't be fun if they were, hehe.)

Terra Inkognita 5

A splash page that would probably look better in color, since you can barely see the weird magic blast the reptile guy is shooting. But I like her butt, hahaha.

Terra Inkognita 6

The fighting scene continues, and the backgrounds are nowhere to be found. Maybe they were scared and ran away...

Terra Inkognita 7

And the last page of the first scene, for everybody to enjoy.
The second to last panel would look better and much, much clearer with colors, though...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Beware of Letters

I just finished reading Dispatch, by Bentley Little. I had never read anything by him, hadn't even heard of him, until Stephen King recommended a couple of his books on last week's Entertainment Weekly. I've read some other recommendations by King in the past (Case Histories, The Liars' Club), but none had impressed me as much as they seemed to have impressed him. (They're still good reads, don't get me wrong.) But this one just blew me away. The first 150 pages are unrelenting: they grab you and just don't let you go, no matter what other pressing business you need to go take care of. The middle part was not as gripping, I think, but it was still terrific fun. And the last part (I'm making these parts up as I go, but I think those divisions make sense, and if you've read the book, you'll probably know what I'm talking about) is very good too.
Regarding the actual story, it's about this guy, Jason Hanford, who, at a very early age, discovers he has this knack to write letters. Only, that is not all there is about it. The thing is that, no matter what he writes about or whom he writes a letter to, he gets what he wants. Through his letter writing, anything he wants actually happens. And then things just get weird(er) from there. Sounds nerdy, you say? Just think of what you would do with such a skill, and what you'd try to get.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ryld Revisited

On May 6th (a truly great day for many reasons --well, actually, for just one reason, but that's a totally unrelated story) I entered a comic illustration contest organized by the owner of the cool comic book store B&M Amusement, Buddy. Needless to say, I didn't win, but I'm happy with my entry. For those of you who read this blog avidly (that is, nobody), you'll recognize the picture as that of Mezoberranzan's Weapons Master, Ryld Argith. I decided to redraw the picture and ink it this time, so the pictures are actually different, and now I have a pencil version, and an inked one. Enjoy.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gil Elvgren

Last night I read a Gil Elvgren monography, and my jaw is still stuck open. I used to say that after the Renaissance, and with the notable exceptions of Baroque and Neoclassicism, the world of Art just went down the drain, in a downspiral of BS and hacks pretending to be artists. (Of course, I'm not including comic book artists in this "sucky" category, since many of them are truly superior artists rivaling (and often surpassing) what "the experts" call "real artists". Anyway, this is not supposed to be a rant, but a post praising the Golden Age of American Illustration. And one of its maximun exponents (Norman Rockwell aside) is, of course, Gil Elvgren. Yeah, you might be thinking (or somebody would, if anybody actually read this blog) that I like him because he paints scantily clad hot girls, but that's only partially true. I've seen nudes by alleged artists that are, I'm afraid, crap (and I'm being nice). Just take a look at any painting by Elvgren (or Sundblom, or Buell, or Leyendecker), and be amazed at the level of artistry, the mastery of the brush and the painting technique these people display. This is not random stains of color. This is not "investigation". This is not "revolutionary" (even though it kind of was). This is honest painting. This is somebody who has a ridiculous amount of talent. This is art.