Sunny Jhanna

Bienvenidos a Sunny Jhanna, el sitio oficial de Las crónicas de Dae y Ruled by Spiders. ¡Gracias por visitarnos y regresad pronto!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Experimentando

El otro día estaba aburrido, así que cogí un dibujillo que tenía por ahí, lo escaneé, y me puse a hacer tonterías con el Photoshop. Lo único que quería era darle un poco de color, pero sin que pareciera un dibujo terminado. Dado que el dibujo es bastante sencillo, sólo quería añadir un poco de color, pero conservar un aire de boceto más que de ilustración. Además, lo cierto es que nunca antes me había puesto a colorear con el programa (excepto en una ocasión), y la versión que tengo es Elements, con lo que tampoco puedo hacer mucho. De todas formas, y dado el tiempo que le dediqué -como veinte minutos o así-, estoy contento con el resultado. El problema, evidentemente, es que el tontear con el programa me hizo empezar a tener ideas... Pero no digo más!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Reading List: March

Here you have the third installment of our Reading List section. You'll notice the scarcity of graphic novels this month. I ordered a couple on Amazon two months ago, but I guess they're having issues finding them, because the items haven't even shipped (I've just gotten one so far, and it was days after I had actually written this post). Maybe I should reread some of the ones I already have to quench my thirst for panel-to-panel stories. Anyway, here's what I've read in March:

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Book I)
A whopper of a volume by George RR Martin, I've already told you about it here. So, to sum it up, I'll just say it's amazing.

How to Draw Caricatures
A disappointing book about, well, how to draw caricatures. It's drawn -duh!- and written by Lenn Redman, but I didn't think it was very good or very useful. What a shame.

Cartoon Animation
Drawn and written by Preston Blair, the book is interesting, entertaining, and very informative. I was not interested in the animation techniques per se, but rather in the character design, body language and facial expressions. This one might be useful...

A Secret Atlas
I reread this book by Michael Stackpole because the third volume in the trilogy, The New World, comes out this summer, so I thought I'd read it again so I actually remember what the story is about before I keep reading. Not Stackpole's best, but a more satisfying read than I remembered. Maybe I didn't like it as much the first time because I was expecting another DragonCrown War Cycle, which this clearly isn't, and now I knew it was not. Maybe...

The Inhuman Condition
My first book by Clive Barker, TIC is a collection of 5 short stories that I really enjoyed. They're all weird and somewhat creepy, but they're very enjoyable… if you are into weird, creepy stuff, obviously. I especially liked The Body Politic, in which a couple of hands decide to sever themselves from their owner, and they start a revolution to free their brethren. Bloody fantastic! (pathetic pun sadly intended)

La sombra del viento
A terrific novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafón that deserved a post of its own. So I'll just tell you that everybody should read this book, simple as that.

Lullaby vol. 1
A disappointing read, the first volume of Lullaby collects the first four issues of the series. The pictures are quite good, and the colors are extraordinary; but the story is so ludicrous that manages to kill any pleasure you could get from the artwork. Definitely not worth buying, let alone getting the second volume of.

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
Bill Bryson narrates his road trip across America in his quest to find the perfect American town. A laugh-out-loud book that I really enjoyed, even though it became quite repetitive and sensibly less fun during the second half.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Menguados al descubierto



Una de las cosas que menos tolero son los aprovechados y los caraduras. Y cuando estas lacras se llevan al mundo del arte, la cosa todavía me enciende más. Creo que a muchos de vosotros os he regalado ya con lo que pienso sobre el "arte" moderno y los espabilados sinvergüenzas -ni habilidades- que pueblan el citado campo. Por no hablar de los insoportables intelectuales que piensan ser lo más sofisticado desde El coche fantástico, cuando en realidad no son más que fantoches cantamañanas. Por eso no sólo me he alegrado sobremanera sino que me he reído a mandíbula batiente al ver este vídeo que mi querido Molo me ha mandado por correo. Está sacado de un programa de la televisión española, con lo que tal vez ya lo hayáis visto. Pero, si no es el caso, prestadle cinco minutos de vuestro tiempo, y decidme después si no os parece soberbio.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cárceles de palabras

Probablemente hayáis oído hablar de La sombra del viento, novela escrita por Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Básicamente, lo único que tengo que decir es que si no habéis leído este libro todavía, deberíais dejar lo que estéis haciendo ahora mismo -leyendo este post, presumiblemente-, y salir para la librería más cercana para haceros con una copia. Vamos, que por si no había quedado claro, os lo pongo transparente: este libro es increíble.
La sombra del viento contiene entre sus páginas una historia de misterio, amor e intriga excepcional, con unos personajes realísimos y unos diálogos magistrales. Incluso las descripciones, que por lo general me aburren en cualquier libro, son acertadas, ocurrentes, y llenas de un lirismo y una originalidad sorprendentes. Y si a todo esto le añadimos un sentido del humor de lo más guasón que he visto en mucho tiempo, el resultado es la novela extraordinaria que todo el mundo dice que es. Y mira tú por dónde, tienen razón.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Funny Ha-Ha

I've been reading Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent recently, and I thought I should write a post about the author. I've read other books by him (A Walk in the Woods, In a Sunburned Country, The Mother Tongue, I'm a Stranger Here Myself), and all I can say it that the guy is hilarious. He usually writes about his travels, be it in England, where he lived for at least a decade, in Europe, or in the US, when he came back and had to rediscover his native country. The best book out of the ones I've read is, hands down, A Walk in the Woods, in which Bryson decides to hike the famous Appalachian Trail and then tell us about it. And I think at this point it'd be important to note Mr. Bryson is not exactly young… or exactly thin (check out the picture). You can imagine why the ensuing adventure is riotous.
My recommendation is that you read anything you want by him, but especially A Walk in the Woods. A word of advice, though. I don't know if I'm weird or if this has to do with humor or what, but I wouldn't read two of his books in a row (or in a short period of time), 'cause you won't find the second one anywhere near as funny as the first one. I think this is because his style, the kind of things he talks about, and the way he narrates are always very similar, so the first book is a riot, and then the next one… Well, not so much, because it feels repetitive. And I say this might have to do with humor instead of his particular style because the same happens to me with another wonderful humorous writer: Terry Pratchett. I love his DiscWorld books, but I never read two in a row, even if they belong to different storylines (if you read the series, you know what I'm talking about), because the first one is always great, and then the second one feels like "been there, done that". And I think Pratchett offers some more variety than Bryson when it comes to the way he studies and presents things. So, as I said, maybe reading humorous books in a row is not a good idea. Then again, maybe I'm just weird. Or -a third possibility-, maybe A and B are both true!

Monday, March 26, 2007

April Never Looked Better

TMNT opened on Friday and I, needless to say, was there for the event. I used to watch the cartoon on TV when I was little, and even though I had only seen the first movie (one was enough to realize how horrible they all were), I was excited about the new one. The reason was the visuals, of course. The whole movie was CGI, and the previews looked great. I was wary, though, because, let's be honest, I had a feeling the movie was going to be awful. I thought it was going to be campy beyond description. But I was prepared. I was ready. And I was surprised: the movie was actually… good.
Don't get me wrong. The movie's not great, but it is also far better than anybody would have expected (and that includes you, dear reader). The visual aspect is stunning. The designs are great, and the cartoony look of the characters is terrific. The bad guys look awesome (the statues are amazing), and Karai looks beyond cool. Casey Jones rocks, and April O'Neal looks hotter than ever. In a cartoony, big-eyed, pencil-thin waist sort of way, but hot nonetheless. Those eyes! That hair!) And the fact that Sarah Michelle Gellar was providing her voice didn't hurt, either.
But let's not forget the turtles themselves. With different shades of green and cranial structure, each turtle looks distinctive regardless of their mask color. And after noticing their big hands and feet (certainly bigger than expected), I nodded in understanding when I saw Jeff Matsuda was credited as the visual designer. It made sense.
The animation is outstanding, and the story is entertaining, with little camp. There is some, though, but it's kept to a minimum so as not to interfere with everything else. Some jokes fall flat, but, all in all, the story is okay. And the reason this is so is probably because of the "family" storyline, as opposed to the "gotta save the world" plot that can also be found in the film. If it was only about saving the world, the movie wouldn't be good at all. I think it's the dynamics between the main characters than make the film strong. But saying anything else would be spoiling parts of the movie, so let's leave it at that.
The music is also good, and even the pop songs that combine with the score didn't make me cringe. And talking about the score, there I was, sitting at the Rave, thinking how remarkably familiar the music was. Then the credits provided the explanation: it had been composed by Klaus Badelt, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame.
In conclusion, the movie is perfectly crafted, and entertaining enough to deserve your attention. And, if nothing else, you can always try to spot what character Kevin Smith provides the voice of. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

GMeP: LL - El De Las Madres Distintas



Para acabar con la serie limitada e interrumpida de tres Grandes Momentos en Pantalla dedicada a ese maravilloso grupo cómico argentino que han sido, son y serán Les Luthiers, hoy pongo uno de sus números estelares. Todos son buenos, pero éste está sin duda en mi Top Five de favoritos. Su título, "Las Majas del Bergantín (zarzuela náutica)".

Sí, en efecto, Les Luthiers interpretan un fragmento de una zarzuela ficticia compuesta, por supuesto, por ese gran compositor ficticio que fué, es y será Johann Sebastian Mastropiero.

Si, una vez visto este vídeo, querido lectorvidente, siguen sin hacerte gracia Les Luthiers, tienes definitivamente un problema. Búscate un buen psicólogo, o algo. Y si es argentino, mejor que mejor. Apuesto a que te dirá que sigas viendo espectáculos de Les Luthiers hasta que te hagan gracia, cosa que no tardará mucho en suceder. Porque estos hombres son inimitables, pese a que mucha otra gente lo haya intentado. Si no logran conquistarte con "La Payada de la Vaca", "Lazy Daisy" o "La Comisión", lo harán con "A La Playa Con Mariana", "Kathy, La Reina del Saloon" o con "El Negro Quiere Bailar" y su amerengado preludio. O con el resto del casi un centenar de desternillantes números cómicos que pueden llamar suyos. Tarde o, mas bien, temprano, caerás en sus redes. Y entonces estarás perdido para siempre. En el buen sentido de la palabra, si es que lo tiene.

Por cierto, estarán actuando en Madrid hasta el 20 de Mayo. ¿A qué esperas para comprar tu entrada? Yo ya (casi) lo he hecho.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cuatro

Noticias cinema-
tográficas relacio-
nadas con tan insigne número…

Tobey Maguire dice no a Spiderman Cuatro. ¿Será éste el fin de la franquicia?

Los productores de las arácnidas películas quieren, por supuesto, continuar con el filón, y le han propuesto tomar el relevo a Jake Gyllenhaal en una hipotética Spiderman Cuatro. Al menos Gyllenhaal se parece a Maguire, pero el actor está estudiando protagonizar Shazam, peli basada en el personaje que casualmente comenté el otro día...

Cuatro es el número de tortugas mutantes que protagonizan la peli que vi ayer. Crítica pronto…

Cate Blanchett se ha unido al reparto de Indiana Jones Cuatro. ¿La búsqueda del geriátrico perdido? O, bien pensado, a lo mejor buscan un anillo mágico. Tal vez el de los nibelungos…

Después del último bajón de audiencia, es más que probable que la temporada cuatro de Veronica Mars se quede en tan sólo un bonito sueño…

Una película (para TV) de dos horas enlazará las temporadas tres y cuatro de BattleStar Galactica. Las malas noticias son que hay rumores de que la cuarta será la última, y viendo que cierta actriz ya ha firmado con otra serie...

La versión original del 77 que compré en DVD de Star Wars es realmente tan original que, al principio, no pone Episodio Cuatro: A New Hope, sino que empieza directamente con It is a period of civil war...

Tras ver ayer un episodio suelto de la segunda temporada, recordé lo mucho que me gusta Scrubs, y que la temporada cuatro salió en septiembre. A ver si me la compro, y a ver si escribo sobre la hilarante comedia aquí, que nunca lo he hecho...

Friday, March 23, 2007

HEROES



Esta serie es una de los grandes exitos en los USA acaba de llegar a España, en los canales autonómicos, y es realmente una pasada. Esta enganchando a todo tipo de publico. La serie tiene una historia bastante solida, con un buen guion, no es la tipica serie semi infantil, es mas bien un mezcla de generos entre el policiaco-suspense, con el genero de super heroes. La trama se centra en varios personajes que empiezan a descubrir sus poderes y como intentan evitar una masacre nuclear, mientras tienen que lidiar con todos sus problemas personales...por que desde que se creo spiderman o batman la gente con poderes al parecer no puede ser feliz, tienen que tener todo tipo de problemas familiares, de adiccion, pscologicos o ser politicos que eso de por si ya es un problema. Los principales protas son una animadora que se regenera como el amigo lobezno, por cierto las animadoras en los USA van siempre con el uniforme puesto en clase???, un pintor drogadico que en sus cuadros se ve el futuro, Un joven que como picara absorve los poderes de los demas mutantes, su hermano politico cabronazo que vuela, un japo, para mi el mejor personaje y el unico que no tiene problemas, que es capaz de detener el tiempo y viajar por el, una rubia que se desnuda por internet con deudas hasta el cuello y perseguida por mafiosos con doble personalidad con un marido convicto que tiene super fuerza, el marido de esta que tiene los poderes de picara y el hijo de ambos que no se por que si juntas a una super tia fuerte y a picara sale un hijo con poderes informáticos, Un pobre poli que lee la mente y que su matrimonio es un desastre, un tipo radiactivo que por sus poderes mata a su novia, y un investigador indu que sigue el trabajo de su padre asesinado buscando a toda esta gente con poderes, y el malo maloso que se dedica a matar a gente de manera realmente desagradable. Los episodios estan muy bien dirigidos, te dejan siempre con ganas de más y con muy buenos efectos especiales y os encantara a los coblogeadores por que todas las protas son rubias con los ojos azules.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm Back, I'm Back From The Future!

It's been like a month since my last post, so I thought I'd drop by and help finn5fel carry the heavy load that is the daily updating of this blog. And, because it's also been like a month since I finished one book I promised I was going to talk here about, it's only fair that I'm reviewing it now.

The Plot to Save Socrates, written by Sunny Jhanna's first Guest of Honor Mr. Paul Levinson, is a very fast-paced and entertaining book. If I needed two months to finish it, that clearly wasn't because of the book itself, but because of my own problems to maintain a comfortable and satisfying reading schedule.
The Plot..., IMHO, is very well written and, to me, the plot is very intelligently crafted. Since the story centers around a bunch of different characters that are able to time travel, and all through it they meet and part and meet again, it would have been completely understandable that the reading process were confusing and misled the reader into a tangle, forcing him to reread entire chapters time and again to understand what's going on. But Paul Levinson designed his book not to be an indigestible account of facts, but a comprehensible and appealling story. So, he tells this story through a lot of micro-chapters that compel the reader to move forward and flip pages like a maniac. And this chapter disposition also achieves one more thing: it eases and empowers the reader into the sensations of time travelling and of being immerse in a circular never ending story.
It even may be difficult for the reader (i.e. me) to not run into a lot of loose ends that thicken the plot in the first few chapters, but when the end of the book is near, they magically start to reveal themselves, and everything fits perfectly into place, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. That, for instance, is the case of the unexpected final revelation of the book. Spoiler-free as this post is, I'm not going to give it away, but I'll say that I really didn't see that coming. And, this is the best part, it makes perfect sense into the story and almost forces the reader to a second reading.

I only have two little objections to make, if they can be called that. The first is that it seemed to me that in the first chapters all the characters bought very easily the time travel thing. Nobody, that I remember, was suspicious about any person claiming to be a time traveller. Not even the first time they met. And not even in ancient Athens. Then, I saw that it all had an easy and satisfying explanation, but I will not say more, again because of my spoiler-free politic.
And the second thing... Why is so important to save Socrates? Until the very end is not properly explained why the characters do what they do, but I really would have liked some more light regarding that on the first chapters. But then again, that's the book I'd have liked the most, not the book everyone would have liked the most. So my opinion here, I understand it, is worth less than naught.

I'm going to finish saying how much I really enjoyed the book. It's about time travel, so, what's not to like? And it deals with the countless paradoxes and consequences of it, but not too thoroughly. Because, from my point of view, this is a book aimed to entertain the reader, not to instruct him. Or, at least, it does both things, but the former is its main and more important goal.
So, as old finn5fel would say: this is a very compelling story and, in sum, a wonderfully crafted book that you could do worse than checking out. Go read it, and thank me later. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Décimo aniversario

Nada mejor para celebrar nuestro día de posteo consecutivo número 200 (post número 299 en total, mi post consecutivo número 28) que una pequeña revelación, relacionada con el post de ayer. Por estas fechas, en 1997, el abajo firmante estaba preparando su entrada en un concurso de comics. La cosa tenía su importancia -para mí, claro-, así que, tras mucho pensar y cavilar, acabé creando un personaje y lo que sería su primera aventura (la primera en ser creada, no la primera cronológicamente). Y fue así como, en marzo o abril de 1997, nació la guerrera más maciza y bocazas que el mundo de fantasía jamás ha visto: mi buena amiga Dae, también conocida como Dae de Antharesh, pues de ese reino es nativa la morena aventurera. Lo que hace diez años comenzó como un comic de cuatro páginas, se convirtió, en los años posteriores, en una trilogía de novelas (o un libro largo, si así lo preferís) que, como no tengo otra cosa que hacer, escribí en español y en inglés (no a la vez, obviamente). La trilogía responde al título ayer mencionado, Dae Chronicles: The Eiram Affair, y me parece increíble que mi querida Dae haya estado haciéndome compañía desde hace ya diez años. ¿Cómo ha pasado tanto tiempo tan rápido?

Creo que, después de tanto tiempo, le debo tanto a ella como a su mejor amiga Erin (también maciza, también bocazas) el tratar de publicar sus aventuras. Algunos de vosotros habéis leído los tres libritos, algunos sólo el primero, y otros ninguno. Pero realmente eso no importa. Lo que importa es que escribo para pasar el rato, para entretenerme, y para hacerme reír a mí mismo con mis ocurrencias y con lo gracioso que soy (también sabéis que me entretengo con cualquier cosa, pero bueno). Lo demás -que otros lo lean y les guste, que alguien decida publicar el texto y yo gane obscenas cantidades de dinero- es secundario. Lo cual no quiere decir que no me guste lo primero o me gustaría -y mucho- lo segundo, por supuesto.

El caso es que 2007 marca el décimo aniversario de algo que, para mí, es muy importante. Tanto, de hecho, que aquí estoy poniéndome mushy y trascendental (y para eso ya tenemos a Halagan), cuando de lo único que estamos hablando es de una montón de historias de tías buenas con espadas pasándoselo en grande. Y en esto estaba pensando cuando me di cuenta de que hacía mucho, mucho, mucho tiempo que no dibujaba a mi personaje favorito, y que había que remediar tan lamentable situación. Así que, dedicado a la mejor espada que Sanya jamás ha visto, ahí va el post de hoy. Enjoy (and freaking read my stories!)!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Copyright Notice

I just got the letter. It is, of course, no big deal for the rest of mankind, but I am pretty excited. I don't know if you've noticed how I usually try not to give titles and names of the characters I create or the tales I write, and I usually only use them after one of you names them first (and still, I try not to). Or how (except for my graphic novel) I never post pictures of my characters. The reason is that, even though my stuff might never be published, I'm terrified somebody will try and steal it. I don't think it's good enough to be stolen, but you never know.

However, as some of you know, a couple of months ago I started to seriously think about submitting some of my stuff to Spanish publishers to see if they might be smart enough to like my book… I mean, if they'd be interested in publishing my drivel. As I said before, I don't trust them, so I didn't feel comfortable sending them anything without copyrighting my work first. Yeah, once you write it down you automatically become the owner of the work, sure. All that is fine and sounds good, but how would you prove it is your work if somebody stole it and published it first? That's why I decided spending money on copyrighting my book would be worthwhile.

Obviously, you can kind of guess what's coming next. I submitted a copy of my manuscript in January, sent them the check, and today I got the letter. As of today, Dae Chronicles: The Eiram Affair is copyrighted under my name, and a copy of the book resides at The Library of Congress in Washington, DC. I mean, how cool is that?

The next step is, of course, sending it to a few publishers in Spain so they can reject it. But the cool thing is that reject it they might, but steal it they cannot. So now that I have nothing to lose except for money on postage and my self-esteem when I'm rejected, I am at last ready to send my friend Dae out there to fight her way to a printing press. And on the subject of Dae, stay tuned for tomorrow's post. Have a great day!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Roachbot

I really have no explanation for this picture. I was sitting here, and all of a sudden my mind came up with this robot, so I had to go and draw it. As I said, there's nothing to it, so there's nothing for me to explain. The media is pencil, ink (for the black masses), and Prisma markers (gray and red), and the background I did with Photoshop. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Carismático incluso con sólo un ojo

Ayer dije que hoy hablaría del número 1 de la nueva serie de Buffy, que nuestro querido Joss Whedon nos vende como octava temporada de la serie. La verdad es que nunca he leído ninguno de los comics de Buffy o Angel que se han ido publicando durante los últimos años. La razón es que, aunque me gustan los personajes, los dibujos de las distintas series siempre me han parecido mediocres. Esta vez, sin embargo, tenía curiosidad, pero no quería albergar demasiadas esperanzas por si acaso. Sí, vale, las portadas que nos habían enseñado eran fantásticas, pero todos sabemos cómo se las gastan las editoriales: portadas excelentes, interiores execrables. Pero después de la publicidad que le habían hecho a esta nueva serie, quería pensar que las cosas iban a cambiar.
La historia, escrita por el mismísimo Whedon, está bastante bien, y si no es espectacular en este primer número, al menos promete. Respetando todo lo sucedido en las siete temporadas de la serie, Whedon nos muestra a qué se dedican algunos de nuestros viejos conocidos -no todos salen en el primer número-, con la acción, el humor, y los buenos diálogos que caracterizan la obra whedoniana -o whedonita, que hay académico debate a favor y en contra de ambos términos-. Guiños a Angel, referencias que conocemos, y sospechas que, por supuesto, no desvelo, componen una historia que se promete interesante.
Los dibujos, obra de un tal Georges Jeanty, son otra cosa diferente. Sin ser aberrantes, lo cierto es que el aspecto gráfico del tebeo me ha dejado bastante frío. Podrían ser peores, sí; pero podrían ser bastante mejores. La portada de Ju Chen mola mucho, seguro, pero el resto deja bastante que desear. O a lo mejor es que soy demasiado exigente.
Sinceramente, creo que voy a esperar a que la serie termine, y entonces la compraré en tomo super rebajado en Amazon, pues es sólo la historia lo que me parece interesante, y prefiero leerla de un tirón en vez de tener que esperar cuatro semanas (si no se retrasa) entre entregas durante dos años. Veredicto: historia 3.5/5; dibujos 2/5.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Plenty of Panels

As promised, these are the comic books I bought on Wednesday when I went to my beloved B&M Amusement. And this time there's no bad books, so I should count myself lucky. Let's see…

X-Men #196. Probably the weakest book of the lot, this is the third and last part of the Primary Infection arc, which means I'm not getting more issues for the time being. Humberto Ramos's artwork is, I think, a bit better than in the previous two issues, but not as good as I know it can be. Regarding the story, Mike Carey's tale is nothing remarkable, but I don't feel like ranting, so let's just say it could have been better. If nothing else, now I want to draw a picture of this unlikely X-group, which would mean drawing a bunch of characters I've never drawn before. Maybe tomorrow…

Wetworks #6. Whilce Portacio is getting digital inks again, and it just doesn't become his pencils. The story's only so-so (Carey again!), so, as I said before, it might be about time to stop following the series…

WildStorm Fine Arts Spotlight on: Jeff Scott Campbell. Following their Spotlight on Jim Lee, WildStorm gives us this Campbell-centered book with some of his favorite illustrations commented by the great Campbell himself. The pictures rock, and the comments are funny and sometimes insightful. Cool stuff.

Witchblade Takeru #1. Since Witchblade is a successful comic book, Top Cow made a deal with the Japanese Gonzo Animation Studio to adapt the American property for the Japanese market. The result was twofold: a Witchblade anime TV show, and a Witchblade manga. The former will arrive to the US soon, and the latter, Takeru #1, is available this month. WT tells the story of, well, Takeru, who discovers she is the bearer of the Witchblade. The thing is, Top Cow's made changes to adapt the manga: for the US version, they've colored it, flipped the artwork (so it reads left to right), and made it American comic-book size. This achieves a strange effect, because you can see the lines and crosshatching and shading of the original drawings, which were conceived to be presented in black and white, and then the cool computer colors too. But the Cow is really smart: they're publishing Witchblade Takeru in comic book format, but they'll release the original true manga version (black & white, digest-sized, right-to-left) over the summer. The story is cool, and I like the artwork, so, after having tried the first issue, I think I'm going to wait and get the B&W version in a few months.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #2. Maybe I'm biased, but this book is amazing. The story, which takes a lot from my favorite book in the series, Wizard & Glass, is fantastic, and the artwork is breathtaking. Every single panel boasts beautiful composition, magnificent colors, and extraordinary pencilwork. Everybody should be reading this series.

Buffy Season 8 #1. At last, the long-awaited "eighth season" of BTVS is here! But you didn't think I would waste a potential full-fledged post by summarizing the book here, did you? I guess you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if this baby is worth your money or not. I'm evil, I know. But you know you like it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Books & Novels

Yesterday, after enjoying a terrific meal at The American Café that I won't try to describe because I'm not nearly as good as Lori when it comes to describing delectable ambrosy, I found myself at Barnes & Noble. Shocking, I know. That meant money was about to be spent, but other than the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I didn't really know what I was going to get. As it turned out, though, I had nothing to be afraid of, for when it comes to me and B&N, there's always something ready to grab my attention.
I ended up buying four books. The first one is the aforementioned second book of GRRM's series, A Clash of Kings. Even thicker than the first volume, I hope it's as good as the first installment. The second one is The Inhuman Condition, by Clive Barker. I had always wanted to read something by him and still hadn't, so I decided to fix that. Let's see what happens… And the last two books are by the same author, the hilarious Bill Bryson: The Lost Continent, and A Walk in the Woods. I read the latter years ago, but I didn't own it, so I thought it was time to purchase it and re-read it; and then I saw the former and thought "what the heck", and got it too. If nothing else, I'll be rolling on the floor with laughter.
So yeah: expect these titles to pop up again on the blog when I read them and review them. Stay tuned for more books, and for tomorrow's list of recently-bought comic books!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

En voz alta

Hoy la cosa va de diálogos. Como ya sabéis los que leéis el que podría ser el blog más famoso de la red de redes, de un tiempo a esta parte vengo escuchando los podcasts que la editorial de comics DC cuelga en su página, en la sección de descargas. La mayoría de estas grabaciones -si no todas- tienen lugar en charlas y presentaciones en distintas convenciones de comics, y podemos oír a los autores hablar de su obra y contestar preguntas de los asistentes.
Ayer estaba escuchando el podcast sobre Jeff Smith, en la que el creador del famoso Bone habla sobre dicha serie, y cuenta en qué se inspiró para dibujar paisajes, edificios y personajes, y cómo incorporó distintos aspectos culturales de diferentes naciones y creencias en su muy entretenida y altamente recomendable obra. Hasta ahí todo bien. Pero después, Smith se puso a hablar de su nuevo proyecto, una serie limitada de cuatro números sobre Shazam, un antiguo personaje de comics. Y tal vez es el hecho de que sea antiguo lo que influye en los diálogos de la serie, no lo sé. El caso es que Smith enseñó diez páginas del número 1 de la serie, y leyó en voz alta los diálogos de las mismas. Y no sé si la ausencia de imágenes afectó a la palabra escrita, o si, como ya he dicho antes, el autor ha querido rendir homenaje a los comics originales del personaje; pero los diálogos son atroces. Es el típico diálogo malo, cutre, expositivo y que suena más falso que un billete de tres pesetas. El típico diálogo que lees (u oyes) y sabes que nadie habla así. Mientras lo escuchaba, sentí vergüenza ajena, de verdad os lo digo. ¿Cómo puede la persona que escribió Bone escribir Shazam?
Todo esto me lleva a pensar que leer diálogos en voz alta es una buena forma para que el escritor -o equipo creativo- revise su trabajo y pueda juzgar la calidad del mismo. Algo que en papel puede sonar bien o "real" -aunque no me explico cómo los diálogos de Shazam podrían sonarle bien a nadie al leerlos-, puede cambiar completamente cuando se lee en voz alta, cuando el diálogo escrito se convierte en diálogo real. Un buen método para asegurarse -o, al menos, hacer más difícil- que nadie se va a burlar de ti cuando escuche tus palabras. Es una idea.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Somebody Call Sid Meier!

I just thought I'd draw a pirate, and this is how he turned out. Again, this is just pencil on paper (my favorite medium, just in case you haven't noticed). This one also took 40 minutes or so because of the details and all that hair. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ready for Battle

Consecutive day of posting #192. My 20th post in a row (if things stay like this, I'll break my previous record -21- on Thursday!). And the question is, like usual, what the heck could I write about? TMNT doesn't open until next week. I haven't read anything worth posting about since A Game of Thrones. The Buffy comic book comes out tomorrow. So what's left? I guess some artwork will have to do.
I drew this picture last week. She's not supposed to be anybody. I just started to draw, and this is what came out. It took me around fifty minutes because of all the stupid detail I thought it might be a good a idea to add. While I drew it, I was listening to some DC podcast I can't remember right now. I think it was the Brian K. Vaughan podcast, but I'm not sure. But it doesn't matter. The medium is, obviously, pencil on paper, with no fancy stuff. Just my old friend 2B. Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2007

DVDs varios

Ayer tuve a bien pasarme por la sección de DVDs de Walmart a ver si tenían de oferta alguna de las temporadas de las series que sigo o que quiero empezar, pero no tuve suerte. Sin embargo, encontré algo que no esperaba: la segunda parte del fantástico DVD An Evening with Kevin Smith que se editó en 2002. Como el primero, An Evening with Kevin Smith: Evening Harder ofrece cuatro horas en las que el famoso director se dedica a contestar preguntas del público asistente y contar anécdotas varias relacionadas con su vida y películas. Cuatro horas (ocho, si contamos ambas entregas) de carcajadas garantizadas.
Y en segundo lugar, por fin me compré las películas de la trilogía clásica de Star Wars, que aún no había comprado porque sé cómo se las gasta Lucas. La versión que he comprado es la que siempre he querido: las películas originales tal y como se estrenaron en 1977, 1980 y 1983, sin presuntas mejoras post-nueva trilogía. Por supuesto, cada peli viene con la versión original y la nueva versión post-Special Edition que jamás he visto, y con la que no pienso ni molestarme. Y la razón por la que las he comprado ahora en vez de cuando salieron como "novedad" hace varios meses, es porque ahora están baratas, tal y como corresponde a películas de su antigüedad. Así que, por fin tengo tres de mis películas favoritas de todos los tiempos, y ya no necesitaré comprar ninguna otra versión jamás. Ya puede ir haciendo "mejoras" y versiones 3D el Lucas de las narices, que yo soy lo suficientemente inteligente como para comprar una película una sola vez. Ja!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Se acerca el invierno

El momento que Nash lleva esperando desde hace mucho tiempo ha llegado: hoy, con este post.

Mi querido co-blogueador llevaba meses diciéndome que tenía que leer A Song of Ice and Fire, serie de libros de fantasía escrita por George R. R. Martin, o GRRM, como él mismo se acronimiza. (Pregunta hasta cierto punto justificada: ¿su nombre real incluye esas erres, o se las ha puesto él para emular a Tolkien?) Como todo el mundo que lee esta página sabe, si hay algo que hago constantemente es leer, pero la verdad es que no quería empezar la serie del rugiente -o gruñente- autor por una buena razón. La serie consiste -consistirá- en siete libros, de los cuales hay publicados cuatro de momento. O sea, que faltan tres por publicar: uno en el que lleva trabajando desde hace cierto tiempo (desde que terminó el anterior, asumo), y dos más que aún no están empezados. Pero el motivo por el que no quería empezar la saga todavía no era que aún no estuviera terminada ("Bien que te lees Harry Potter," me recriminaba Nash), sino el desastroso ritmo de escritura y publicación que Mr. Rugiditos lleva. Aquí tenéis la lista con los cuatro libros aparecidos y sus fechas de publicación (sacada de esta sección de su página oficial):

A Game of Thrones, 1996.
A Clash of Kings, 1999.
A Storm of Swords, 2000.
A Feast for Crows, 2005.

O, en otras palabras: cuatro libros en once años. Algo más de la mitad de la serie en once años. Y no me malentendáis: viendo la longitud de cada libro (864, 1040, 1216, y 1104 páginas respectivamente en las ediciones en paperback; y estamos hablando de ediciones de ésas sin apenas márgenes, separación mínima entre renglones, y letra casi pitufil), no culpo al autor, aunque también es verdad que podría escribir un poco más rápido, pero bueno. El problema es que, al ritmo que lleva (y el quinto libro, como el autor dijo en febrero, no está terminado, y a saber cuándo lo estará), no me parece exagerado en absoluto decir que no vamos a ver la conclusión de la saga hasta, como mínimo, 2011. Como mínimo. Y eso si el hombre no se muere antes, que veinticinco años no es que tenga precisamente. Vistos los datos, y dado que leo tantos libros al año que me resulta imposible recordar los detalles (o los personajes, o los finales, o lo que pasa excepto por la más general de las ideas) al cabo de tan solo dos meses de haberlos leído, decidí esperar a que el final de la saga se divisara en lontananza para empezar a leer la serie. Porque claro: con lo gruesísimos que son los distintos volúmenes, no está uno como para leerlos ahora e ir releyéndolos periódicamente para refrescar la memoria antes de que aparezca un nuevo volumen.

Fue entonces cuando llegó mi cumpleaños, y Nash me hizo un regalo: A Game of Thrones. Para que no tuviera excusa y tuviera que leerlo. A ver si me atrevía a no abrirlo. Tras resistir un par de meses a las presiones por el General Alicantino ejercidas, decidí que no podía esperar años y años antes de leerlo, así que capitulé y me puse manos a la obra. U ojos a la página, que en este caso viene a ser lo mismo.

Pese a que las primeras treinta o cuarenta páginas se me hicieron cuesta arriba e hicieron bastante menos que impresionarme -mucha información, sucesos acontecidos, decenas de personajes presentes y pasados que aparecen y se mencionan-, en cuanto la historia específica de AGOT empezó a concretarse y los protagonistas a explicitarse, empecé a disfrutar el libro. Afortunadamente, las páginas de incertidumbre fueron pocas, y las resistí con valentía, alentado por las excelentes críticas de mi querido Nash. Y debo decir que el Terror de la Gramática tenía razón: el libro es fenomenal.

Sin revelar nada, diré que la historia, pese a presentar decenas de personajes y localizaciones, se centra básicamente en la familia noble Stark, y en lo que sucede cuando el rey de los Siete Reinos, Robert Baratheon, visita al cabeza de familia y viejo amigo, Ned Stark, y le pide que regrese con él a su palacio para convertirse en su mano derecha. A partir de ahí, conspiraciones, intrigas políticas, maquinaciones en la sombra y a plena luz del día, sucesos misteriosos, espadas, honor y caballeros hacen acto de presencia, se entremezclan, se afectan los unos a los otros, y tienen consecuencias más que tangibles.

Cada capítulo se centra en un personaje -y, aunque hay muchos, la enorme mayoría se centra en los distintos miembros de la Casa Stark-, lo que le da variedad a la novela y crea no sólo efectivos cliffhangers sino la agradable compulsión de tener que seguir leyendo, tener que pasar una página más. Así, el libro, largo como es, no se hace pesado -excepto tal vez al final, cuando las intrigas dejan paso a la acción-, y, como ya se veía venir, deja sin atar prácticamente todos los cabos, para que tengamos que ir y leer el siguiente libro. Y el otro. Y uno más.

Pero ese cuarto será el último hasta ni se sabe cuándo. En resumen: que AGOT está muy, muy bien, y vale muchísimo la pena leerlo. El problema es que es ciertamente parte de una saga, y después de 800 páginas lo que hace es parar más que terminar, con lo que si no queréis esperar hasta a saber cuándo (2011 como mínimo, según mis cálculos; os emplazo a leer Sunny Jhanna en cuatro años para ver cómo está el asunto), os recomiendo que esperéis antes de empezar la serie. Por desgracia para mí, el Azote de falsas Beldades me ha obligado a empezar, y ahora debo continuar hasta quedarme sin libros que leer, lo que me pondrá exactamente en la situación que quería evitar. Pero bueno: como él parece tener mejor memoria que yo, cuando llegue la hora de leer A Dance with Dragons, el quinto volumen de la saga, le pediré que me resuma el cuarto.

Y para terminar, dos comentarios a Nash dirigidos. Uno, agradecerle de nuevo que me regalara el libro: si todos los libros son como este, me esperan decenas de horas placenteras frente a la prosa del rey León. Y dos: que sepas que están trabajando en una serie de televisión basada en la saga. Que la disfrutemos con salud!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Badasses Being Badass

300 is finally here, and it is amazing. I had great expectations for the movie, and I was not disappointed in the slightest.
First of all, 300 is a beautiful movie. It's so visually arresting you can't help but stare at the screen, blown away, trying to take everything in. The colors, the textures, the backgrounds, the costumes: it's a feast for the eyes.
The action sequences -most of the movie- are out of this world. Perfectly choreographed and heavy on slow motion, it's surprising a movie with so much violence, death, severed limbs and splattering blood could be so incredibly gorgeous. Yet it is.
The themes in 300 are also fantastic: doing what's right, standing up to the tyrant, fighting for freedom, taking solace in the fact that you are doing what's right despite the consequences. Who could not be moved by this?
The characters are compelling and likeable, but I wish they had been developed a bit more. King Leonidas is well drawn, but I would have liked to get to know Dilios, Stelios and Astinos better. They are cool characters, and it would have been nice had they had more lines in the movie.
The monsters in the Persian army are creepy and therefore fantastic. You want them to die because of the corruption and evil they represent. But they're so much fun to behold: tusks, fangs, sores, deformities, bloodthirst… What's there not to like?
The bloodthirst, though, is not exclusive to the invaders. The Spartans are killing machines, eager to have a good and glorious death. This movie is not for the squeamish: think of all the violent, bloody movies you've seen, and multiply that times ten. Braveheart and Gladiator are movies for kindergarteners compared to 300. Then again, the movie is based on a comic book by Frank Miller, so that hardly comes as a surprise.
So go see the movie, and have a blast with it. But see it on the big screen. I have a feeling a lot of the magic is going to be lost when you watch it on DVD on your home TV. Maybe this is the perfect excuse to get one of those 140-inch screens. Now that's a thought...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Retrobot

Extraño dibujo el que hice hace un par de días. Durante mi reunión por la mañana me entretuve haciendo un bocetillo que terminó siendo algo parecido al robot de ahí al lado, y, algunas horas más tarde, decidí hacer un dibujo más acabado con el mismo personaje. La primera hoja que encontré era amarilla, así que decidí usar un bolígrafo morado para darle algo de contraste. Creo que el robot tiene un cierto aire retro que me gusta bastante, y, al mismo tiempo, resulta gracioso. O eso, o es que me entretengo con cualquier cosa. Que también.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Golden Times

For my 15th post in a row (consecutive day of posting #187) I thought I'd talk about one of my favorite CDs by one of my favorite bands, since I don't usually talk about music and wanted to offer some variety in this week's posts. So if you look at the picture (taken by yours truly -and yeah, that is my hand), you'll see Gyllene Tider's latest CD, Finn 5 Fel!, released in 2004. Gyllene Tider is Per Gessle's Swedish band. They make what Gessle calls power pop, they're legendary in Sweden, and yes: they sing is Swedish. Needless to say, I don't have a clue what they sing about unless I bother to translate the lyrics (which I've done on a number of occasions, as a matter of fact); but, since it's pop/rock, you can pretty much guess what the songs are about: love, flowers, and the like. My favorite songs on the CD are En sten vid en sjö i en skog, Solsken, Hjärta utan hem, and Speciell. And even though I think Konstpaus is much better (one of my favorite CDs ever, as it happens), you could do worse than getting Finn 5 Fel! and listen to it time and again. Just like any other Gessle-created album (be it in English in his solo projects The World According to Gessle -amazing- or Son of a Plumber -not that good-, or with his band Roxette; or in Swedish with his -fantastic- Mazarin project), all the songs in F5F are catchy, perfectly crafted pop pills that could be hit singles anywhere; and even though I've highlighted the aforementioned four songs, there are plenty more in F5F that will rock your world. But hey: if you don't like pop-rock music in a language you don't understand, it's no big deal. You could always get pop-rock in a language you do understand. In that case, I would recommend the extraordinary The World According to Gessle or any Roxette CD. And if you don't like pop-rock music, well, then it's your loss.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hasta la vista, Luciérnaga

Continuing with my quest to bring variety to this week's posts, it's time to talk about TV and movies. According to The Feed (I love G4), a Terminator TV series is on the works, and it was just announced that Summer Glau (River Tam from Firefly) will be one of two terminators sent to our present. The series will be called The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and will be set after the second movie, and we can only hope it will be better than the monstrosity Terminator 3 was.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cast to my Pod!

I don't read any DC comics to speak of (and the few I do read are from WildStorm, so they hardly count), but I've been listening to their podcasts quite often for the last few weeks, and they are supremely entertaining. You can find them all here, and even though I haven't listened to them all, the few I've chosen have been thoroughly enjoyable. Getting to hear artists and writers talk about their craft, their work, the books they put out, and a million anecdotes that come up is priceless. Therefore, I recommend you guys swing by DC's site and download a few podcasts; and if you hate them, hey: you didn't have to pay for them, so it won't be a terrible loss.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Extra, Extra: Buddha Saves the Planet!

Last night I decided to watch some of the extras the Bridget Jones's Diary DVD offers, and I was rolling on the floor with laughter when I heard what I'm about to tell you. So, instead of wondering why the heck I own that movie (I also have the book, and I like them both), just read this, cause it's just too rich to keep to myself.
In the special feature called The Young and the Mateless (an Expert's Guide to Being Single), Karen Salmansohn, who the caption says is the author of Even God is Single, states -and I quote- "All the superheroes are single, when you think about it: Superman, The Lone Ranger, Buddha." I want to think this monstrosity is due to editing, but the unsettling truth is that good old Karen is ticking off fingers to go with the names, and Superman gets one finger, The Lone Ranger gets two fingers, and Buddha gets three.
Now, I don't know what's more distressing:
(1) That she claims all superheroes are single, when this is certainly not the case.
(2) That she claims Superman is single when, last time I checked, he was married to Lois Lane.
(3) That The Lone Ranger and Buddha are said to be superheroes. I don't know. I think there's something terribly wrong with this woman (she also says, when mentioning "cool people" who are single, that God is single), but at least she makes for a good laugh. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Third Talent

And yet more cool stuff coming from other blogs. In this third and last installment of great illustrators I've discovered recently, I wanted to spotlight Mark Behm and his blog. Even though I'm not fond of all the pictures here, there's a lot I really, really like, such as the Grim Reaper, the strange zombie-robot from Insomnia, the elastic Vampire, and the sexy Tooth Fairy. Worth checking out!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Amazing Artwork

I said I was going to explore the links on Todd Harris's blog, and one of my favorites is certainly Ryan Wood's blog. Just scroll down and keep being surprised at the incredible talent this guy has. The Queen of Hearts is, of course, one of my favorites, but Jakk Frosst, the robots, and pretty much everything else (he even has Sancho & Don Quijote!) is nothing short of outstanding, and you really should go and check out everything on his page. He even has a store where you can get some tee shirts and prints. I wish he had more variety, though, cause even though I like the Orange Witch, that wouldn't necessarily be the one I'd get as a print. At any rate, the illustrations here will blow your mind, so go and check it out. Enjoy!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cool Creatures

I just discovered Todd Harris's blog, and the stuff he has up there is nothing short of outstanding. I love his creatures, his monsters, and his landscapes. In fact, I like everything he has on the site, and I'm about to start exploring all the links he provides. Discovering mega talented artists is always fun and exhilarating. It's also kind of depressing, because it makes me realize how much I still have to learn. However, that negativity goes away rather fast, blown away by the incredible artwork in front of my eyes. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mother, Mother

It's time for another little picture by yours truly (read: I don't know what the heck to write about today). This is supposed to be Mother One, from Whilce Portacio's Wetworks. If I remember correctly, this is my second picture of her ever, the first one dating all the way back to when the original Wetworks was being published (94? 95?). Anyway, I just started to draw, and this is what came out. The soundtrack was some DC Comics podcast I was listening to (the WildStorm panel from last year's San Diego Comic Con, I think), so I guess it took me around 40 minutes to do it. Just imagine some wonderful colors on it, and there you have it: today's masterpiece. Or something...