Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reading List: December

Welcome to the last Reading List of the year! Apparently, I haven’t read too much this month, probably because I was too busy watching DVDs (like the seventh season of Scrubs and the first season of Deadwood) and killing Locust in Gears of War 2. At any rate, December’s books bring the total count to 55 books and 57 graphic novels. That averages a little bit over a book and a graphic novel per week, which I guess is not too bad. This is what I read this month:

Alice on Deadlines, vol. I
A manga by Shiro Ihara, Alice on Deadlines tells the story of Lapan, a retriever of spirits who travels to Earth to catch one of the aforementioned rogues. He is supposed to inhabit a skeleton during his time on Earth, but he ends up in the body of a hottie, Alice, while Alice’s soul ends up trapped in the skeleton that was intended for Lapan. And did I mention Lapan is a pervert? You don’t need me to tell you what happens afterward, and how not in a hurry Lapan is to return to his plane of existence. The book was entertaining and the artwork is good, but I doubt I will continue with the series.

Lorna and Her Robot
This Lorna book by Alfonso Azpiri seems to collect his earliest Lorna adventures, and I found it weaker than the other Lorna books I read this year, both in artwork and story. It was still entertaining, though, but, once again, the person who translated this book into English only thinks he speaks Shakespeare's language.

Hogfather
In this Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, the Hogfather has disappeared, and it’s up to Death to bring toys to children all over the disc this Hogswatch Day. Plus a lot of assorted mayhem. The Death books are not my favorite in the Discworld series, but I did laugh a lot with this one.

The Outlaw Demon Wails
The sixth installment in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, The Outlaw Demon Wails finds good old Rachel Morgan getting into more and more trouble. There are also some stunning revelations and unexpected events, and the sum of all its parts makes this book the best one in the series so far. I can’t wait for White Witch, Black Curse next year!

Thunderhead
Another fun book by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Thunderhead finds archeologist and recurrent character Nora Kelly looking for a lost Anasazi city in Utah. What begins as an adventure book takes its time to turn into something else, and it makes for a fun read.

Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator
I reread this book because I was missing an issue that I got over the summer, and it really made me wonder what the hell I was thinking when I bought it. The artwork by Nick Bradshaw and Sanford Greene is good (especially Bradshaw’s issues), but the script is just horrendous, my friends. And the one liners end up feeling lame, forced, and stale. Don’t waste your time reading this book, let alone rereading it!

The Book of Shadows
What started as a fun, intriguing book by James Reese dealing with witches, nuns, and succubi in 19th century France started to drag on and on and on and I ended up losing all interest in the book. The first part of the novel shows you the main character’s life in a convent, and that section of the book is great. Shortly after that, though, Reese interrupts his narrative with a hundred pages devoted to the backstory of certain supporting characters that, while not completely out of place, did destroy the pace of the story, an accident from which the book didn’t recover. Even worse, when the story was becoming interesting again, another extra long backstory for a different character (the infamous Greek supper several Amazon reviewers mention) made sure I couldn’t enjoy the remaining pages of the novel, which only serve to showcase the historical events taking place in France at the time. (Actually, that’s not accurate: it’s yet another flashback to that time, since some characters are sharing their memories of those events.) I doubt I’ll get the other two books in the trilogy.

World of Warcraft, vol. I
I actually read the thirteen issues I had been buying for a year but hadn't read (except for the first two), and I have to say this series is a great read. The script by the legendary Walt Simonson is very entertaining, and I love Ludo Lullabi's artwork. This graphic novel collects Lullabi's issues (0-7), so this is the best looking part of the series. The two guys that came after Lullabi are not bad, but they're merely competent. I wonder if I could get some of Lullabi's original pages somewhere...

Sí, dibujo tebeos. ¿Y qué?
A book by Spanish cartoonist Jesús Martínez del Vas, the author recounts his professional life: how he broke into the business, where he draws inspiration from, and what a pleasure self-publishing is. It's an entertaining read, with some funny and cute parts, and, if nothing else, it made me want to keep drawing.

Kade: Sun of Perdition
I came across this graphic novel by Sean O'Reilly and Stjepan Sejic while looking for something else, and decided to buy it. Big mistake. The pre-Witchblade artwork by Sejic is good, but it's not as good as it got later (understandable). The paintings are good, but the narrative flow is kind of choppy. However, I have a feeling the writer is to blame for Sejic's difficulties to translate the story into pictures, because this book is so poorly written so as to be barely coherent. I had no idea what was going on most of the time because the narrator either didn't explain it well enough, or simply didn't explain it at all. The concept was hazy, the plot non-existent, and the dialogue somewhere between bad and ludicrous. I don't mean to be a smartass, but no wonder he had to create his own studios to publish his book. Avoid this graphic novel at all costs!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Top 10 Movies Redux

Tras leer la lista que Fel posteó hace un par de días sobre los mejores films del año, me dí cuenta de que no había visto muchos de ellos. De hecho, vaya, en realidad ni siquiera era capaz de nombrar al menos cinco películas de las estrenadas durante 2008 que hubiera visto. Así que me dediqué a indagar sobre ello. ¿Cuántos films había visto en total? ¿Me daría para hacer un Top Ten? ¿Tendría que hacer trampa y meter películas que han sido estrenadas en España este año pero en los USA vieron la luz en 2007 (como es el caso de The Mist, Juno, 3:10 to Yuma o No Country for Old Men)?

Mi investigación dió sus frutos, y el resultado fue una corta lista de películas que, sí, me da para hacer un Top Ten. Eso sí, uno sin reservas, por eso de que alguna de las películas titulares se lesione. Y es que diez fueron en total los films que he visto de los que fueron estrenados durante este año que se acaba. Muy triste, lo sé, pero más triste es robar.
En fin, aquí tenéis las diez películas no-ganadoras, en orden y sin concierto:

1. The Dark Knight
La última entrega de las desventuras del hombre-murciélago se merece sin discusión el primer puesto de mi lista. Y es que TDK es de principio a fin un peliculón que no alcanza la perfección pero la roza muy de cerca. Le doy un 9 sobre 10.

2. Be Kind Rewind
Soy consciente de que si hay una película en esta lista con la que no puedo ser objetivo, es con ésta. Pero es que esta historia protagonizada por Jack Black y Mos Def, que empieza siendo una comedia ligera, poco a poco se va convirtiendo en un film que me tocó el alma. Le doy un 8 sobre 10.

3. Get Smart
Como bien dijo ya Fel, impagable comedia protagonizada por el hoy archiconocido Steve Carell, que encaja como un guante en el papel que ya inmortalizara Don Adams en la pequeña pantalla. Igual que su hermana televisiva, Get Smart la película posee alguna de las escenas más hilarantes que recuerdo. Le doy otro 8 sobre 10.

4. Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. me cae simpático y me parece un actorazo, así que hace meses me planté en el cine para ver esta película en la que, por otro lado, no tenía depositadas demasiadas esperanzas. Y contra cualquiera de mis pronósticos, me llevé una muy agradable sorpresa. Le doy otro 8 sobre 10.

5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Tras mucha expectación llegó al fin la cuarta entrega de las aventuras del Doctor Jones. Enorme trabajo el de todos los implicados (dirección, actores, sonido...) empañado por un guión demasiado pobre. Indy se merecía algo más. Le doy un 7 sobre 10.

6. Cloverfield
Aceptable película que tuve la suerte de no ver en pantalla grande, porque no sé si hubiera aguantado el mareo. Lástima que pertenezca a un subgénero que, lejos de ser ya original, apesta a sobreutilizado. Le doy un 6 sobre 10.

7. Hancock
Esta película presenta una premisa interesante, y la historia empieza a tirar del hilo de ésta hasta que se pierde por el camino y acaba siendo otra cosa muy distinta. Le doy otro 6 sobre 10.

8. Vantage Point
Película con un planteamiento muy interesante al que se le podría (o debería de) haber sacado mucho provecho. En lugar de eso, nos encontramos con una compleja historia, tramposa por momentos, culminada por un desenlace demasiado predecible. Le doy un 5 sobre 10.

9. The Oxford Murders
Álex de la Iglesia me parece un director de lo más competente, pero sin lugar a dudas (y siempre en mi opinión) ésta es su película más floja hasta la fecha. Y es que no me trago que cada tía que Elijah Wood se encuentra se enamore perdidamente de él sin tiempo ni razón para ello. Le doy un 4 sobre 10.

10. Jumper
Desde luego no es la mejor película del año. Personajes planos y que actúan a impulsos, una trama desaprovechadísima y un guión plagado de problemas son las señas de identidad de esta historia que, de nuevo, tira una premisa excelente por la borda. Le doy otro 4 sobre 10.

Feliz Año Nuevo a todos, y esperemos que 2009 nos traiga muchas más películas. Y que yo las vea todas.

Bonus: no-tan-casualmente, hoy, víspera de Nochevieja, es un día señalado para uno de mis queridos co-blogueadores. Sirva este vídeo para recordárselo a él y a todos nosotros.




¡¡Y que cuumplas muuuchos maaaaás!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Witchblade #122

Sara Pezzini and Detective Gleason are back investigating the violent murder that kicked the Crown Heights story arc last issue. The lab finds some unlikely information, and more and more details related to the homicide are revealed. Plus, look at that cover by Stjepan Sejic. If you read ish 121, you will be wondering if the artist just thought it would be cool to have a cover that looks like a newspaper, or if there’s something more to it. I, of course, will reveal nothing, other than what you should know by now: Witchblade might just be one of the best comics on the shelves right now. Ron Marz crafts both interesting stories and formidable dialogue, those two elements coming from amazingly vivid and compelling characters; and Stjepan Sejic is as gifted an artist as they come. Witchblade is a book showcasing mystery, the supernatural, love relationships, and overall, humanity and what happens to people when both natural and supernatural evil strike. So go to the store and buy this series, which you can also get in trade (there’s five out already, I think—isn’t that convenient?). You will not regret it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Top 5 Books

To prevent Halagan from claiming I cheated, let’s establish the rules of this particular list right now. I wanted to make a Top 10 Books list, but I was planning on counting entire series (or almost) as one entry on the list, and I could picture him complaining and calling me names. And, truth is, even I would argue that’s cheating. So, I might still count entire series as one entry, but I will limit this year’s list to only five entries instead of ten. Sounds fair? Well, even if it doesn’t, that’s the way things are. Let’s see what books I enjoyed the most in 2008:

1. Duma Key
Stephen King’s novel is, perhaps not surprisingly, my pick for book of the year. I really, really liked the story and characters in this book, and I hereby encourage everyone to read it.

2. The Hollows series
This year I read the six books in The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, and I loved them all. My favorites might be The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, and The Outlaw Demon Wails (numbers two and six, respectively), but every single one of the Rachel Morgan books is a terrific read. See the characters evolve and get knee-deep in trouble! See the alternate world Harrison presents in these novels grow and become more and more complex! See secrets revealed, plots twist time and again, and surprises shock you on a regular basis! Read these books!

3. The Alphabet Mysteries series
Sue Grafton’s private eye Kinsey Millhone is as memorable a character as they come. As a matter of fact, it is Millhone’s personality and way to describe things that keeps me coming back to this series. I have read up until letter J, and so far, F is for Fugitive and J is for Judgment are my favorites. But C is for Corpse and D is for Deadbeat run a close second!

4. Cuando fui mortal
One of several books by Javier Marías I read this year, Cuando fui mortal is a collection of short stories that will shock you and delight you at the same time, written in wonderful Spanish. If I had more than five slots, I would also include Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, but I don’t.

5. Just After Sunset
Another short-story collection, this time by Stephen King. I think it’s rather appropriate I begin and end this year’s list with the master from Maine, isn’t it?

And since I can’t help myself, I’ll cheat and mention three runner-ups: The Ridiculous Race, by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran, Making Money, by Terry Pratchett, and The Kingdoms of Thorne and Bone (all four of them, but especially the first two, The Briar King and The Charnel Prince), by Greg Keyes.
Let us know what you liked the most this year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Top 10 Movies

Llevo práctica-
mente todo el año pensando qué hacer con esta lista, cómo ordenarla y cómo justificarla. Como ya debatimos aquí reciente-
mente, hay infinidad de variables que afectan el juicio de una película, y lo que a uno le gusta a otro puede parecerle execrable, y no me refiero a cráneos transparentes necesariamente. En mi caso particular, necesito disfrutar la película para que me guste. Necesito estar un par de horas sentado en la butaca completamente ajeno al resto del mundo. Quiero una historia que me absorba, que me haga preocuparme por los personajes y la situación que se me presenta, y, a ser posible, que me haga sonreír en vez de deprimirme, recordarme lo depravado de la naturaleza humana, las tragedias globales, etcétera. Y aun así, a veces la fórmula no es tan matemática como podría parecer. ¿Por qué –por ejemplo-, me encantó The Dark Knight, pero no tengo maldita la prisa en comprarla en DVD y verla de nuevo, cuando no pude esperar a echarle el guante encima a Hellboy II en cuanto salió a la venta? ¿Por qué la disfruté más? Tal vez porque hay más humor, otra de las razones por las que consideré seriamente hacer dos listas separadas este año, comedia y no-comedia (no llamaría drama a esta categoría necesariamente). Es verdad que tiendo a disfrutar la comedia más que otros géneros, y tal vez eso explique lo extraño de mi lista. De todas formas, no estoy tratando de convencer a nadie de la legitimidad de mis preferencias, así que, sin dar más la lata, y apuntando que aún no he visto ni The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ni The Spirit pero probablemente ambas caigan la semana que viene, éstas han sido mis películas favoritas este año más o menos en orden de preferencia:

1. Hellboy II
Sorprendente pero cierto. Una película cuya primera parte me dejó indiferente y que fui a ver por ver, Hellboy II cautivó mi imaginación y me hizo disfrutar como un enano (deforme y siniestro, claro) tanto en el cine como en DVD. Mi crítica original.

2. Iron Man
Otro superhéroe más, esta vez le toca a Marvel subirse al podio. ¿Por qué es mejor esta película que The Dark Knight? No lo sé. ¿Tal vez por la fenomenal actuación y carisma de Robert Downey, Jr? ¿Por la belleza de Gwyneth Paltrow? ¿Por el sarcasmo que desprende el film entero? Otra película que no esperaba me gustase tanto. Mi crítica original.

3. The Dark Knight
La película favorita de todo el mundo, la segunda más taquillera de la historia, el último papel completo de Heath Ledger, etcétera. La película es impresionante, sin duda, y merece estar en el podio de honor. Mi crítica original.

4. Zack & Miri Make a Porno
Vale que tengo debilidad por Kevin Smith, y es una lástima que el pobre se deprimiera cuando su más reciente comedia no alcanzó las cotas de recaudación que todos los expertos de la industria le auguraban. Aun así, Zack & Miri me hizo reír a más no poder, y no sé ni por dónde empezar. La escena de Justin Long y Brandon Routh es antológica, pero es que cada chiste, cada comentario, cada situación embarazosa es hilarante. Mi crítica original.

5. Quantum of Solace
Los críticos se quedaron bien a gusto diciendo que Quantum of Solace no es Casino Royale, y que ya podría el señor Craig sonreír de vez en cuando. Ambas críticas son ciertas, y, aun así, la más reciente aventura de James Bond me dejó más que satisfecho. Mi crítica original.

6. Get Smart
Otra comedia impagable que necesito comprarme en DVD urgentemente. Steve Carell y Anne Hathaway resultan ser una pareja cómica excelente, y no dejé de reírme de principio a fin. Mi crítica original.

7. Wall·e
La última película de Pixar, Wall·e continúa la tradición de excelencia a la que el estudio de animación nos tiene acostumbrados. Da igual que haya diálogo o que no, que se trate de una escena romántica o de sátira brutal: Wall·e es una gran película. Mi crítica original.

8. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Más que hemos debatido sobre esta película en este blog no se ha debatido en ningún sitio. Se han mentado muertos frescos, blasfemias, barbas, y demás atrocidades, y no voy a defender más esta cinta de Spielberg. Pero aquí está, en el Top 10. Mi crítica original.

9. Yes Man
Ya os comenté el otro día lo mucho que me reí con la nueva comedia de Jim Carrey. Si os gusta el cómico, os encantará la película. Si sus payasadas os resbalan, pensaréis que estoy enajenado al incluirla en mi lista de favoritas. Mi crítica original.

10. Wanted
Ésta es una de esas inconsistencias que señalaba antes. Partes del guión de Wanted son ridículas. Las leyes de la física en esta película no funcionan como en la vida real. La cinta no aporta nada nuevo al séptimo arte. Y aun así, disfruté esta película como pocas. No sé si fue por el personaje de Angelina Jolie, porque me daba lástima el protagonista, por The Little Things de Danny Elfman, o simplemente por la cara que los creadores le han echado a la hora de hacer la película (las teclas del teclado saltando por los aires son impagables), pero ahí está: la cuarta película basada en un comic que entra en mi Top Ten. Mi crítica original.

¿Dónde están Burn After Reading, The Other Boleyn Girl, o How to Lose Friends & Alienate People? ¿Estoy loco? ¿Tengo un gusto lamentable? ¡No seréis los primeros en aducirlo! Dejadnos vuestros sesudos comentarios y decidnos por qué Indiana Jones jamás debería haber vuelto.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Vaya si tenía razón

Witchblade es, sencillamente, espectacular. Vale que baso mi opinión en sólo dos de los últimos números de la serie, el #120 y el #121, los cuales, por cortesía del viejo Fel, he tenido a bien leer hace poco. Vale que dos números son un bagaje muy pobre sobre el cual basar tal afirmación. Pero es que es espectacular.

La verdad es que sabía que tarde o temprano iba a acabar leyendo Witchblade. Los continuos elogios de Fel a la serie lo hacían inevitable. Pero, curiosamente, eran esas mismas buenas palabras las que constituían mi principal miedo a la hora de afrontar su lectura. Porque estaba claro que Witchblade me iba a decepcionar. No sé a vosotros, pero si a mí me hablan maravillas de una obra antes de poder verla, nueve veces de cada diez me acabo llevando una desilusión. Me pasó con la segunda parte de El Padrino, con Ciudadano Kane y con Independence Day (vale, el que me cantó maravillas de esta última ni siquiera la había visto). Y es normal. No todo lo que le toca en el alma a otras personas tiene porque apasionarme a mí. Ni viceversa.

En fin, podemos llamarlo como queramos, casualidad, buen gusto o GMTA, pero el caso es que Witchblade es espectacular. Los dibujos de Stjepan Sejic son simplemente maravillosos, y bailan sin esfuerzo sobre ese delgado hilo de funambulista que es el equilibrio entre unas despampanantes ilustraciones que en ocasiones rozan el fotorrealismo y un dinamismo que no permite al ojo del lector descansar en ningún momento. ¿Y qué decir de los guiones de Ron Marz, que han conseguido que me enganche salvajemente a una historia y a unos personajes que conozco desde hace apenas unos días? Sus cuidadísimos diálogos son deliciosos de principio a fin, y durante estos dos números nos va desenvolviendo una historia interesante a un ritmo pausado pero satisfactorio.

En definitiva, Witchblade es el resultado de la suma de unos personajes inolvidables y unas ilustraciones arrebatadoras. Witchblade es espectacular. Fel lo ha proclamado, y, ahora que ha pasado la definitiva prueba de las expectativas superadas, yo lo proclamo también. A leerlo todos se ha dicho.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Live Free or Laugh Hard

A Threevening With Kevin Smith is the third Q&A session the director from New Jersey has released on DVD. I loved it, and I laughed out loud, but I think this is the weakest in the series so far, and this is why.

The first one, An Evening With Kevin Smith, collected different questions and stories from different shows, and for that it was the best. It was like a Best of, instead of one whole show, and the editor could choose the most entertaining stories from the different performances. The second DVD, Evening Harder, was also hilarious, but it offered just two shows: one in London and one in Toronto. As I said, it was still lots of fun, but since the material was limited to those two shows only, a "best of" selection was out of the question, and you could kind of tell. And now, this third installment is a further step in that direction, as it only collects one show: Smith's performance in New Jersey on his birthday. It is funny and a great watch, but I have three problems with it.

One, like I just said, is the fact that with only one show there's not too much wiggle room: you get what you get, and you can't choose from too many things.
Two, that the main stories on the final cut are so long we only get about four. There are plenty more in the Extras, fifteen or so shorter stories that I would have liked to see as part of the final cut and not just extras. But at least we still get them on the DVD, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
And three, that the first story (the Shecky story) is not only entirely too long, but I already knew all about it because he pretty much told it in one of the first SModcasts. Yes, I understand this is my problem and that maybe lots of people in the audience hadn't heard the story, and just because I knew it it doesn't mean everyone else does. However, I would argue that the people buying this DVD are going to be Kevin Smith's die hard fans, and chances are those people listen to SModcast as well, which means they will be familiar with pretty much a third of the material on the final cut of the NJ show.

Still, I don't want you to think this DVD sucks, because that's not true at all. Threevening is painfully funny, and Smith's story about Live Free or Die Hard and his interaction with Bruce Willis as he played the Warlock in that movie is truly epic. I actually watched the movie on DVD after listening to this story, and I felt I had some insider's information that made me enjoy the Warlock scene even more than I did in theaters. So go ahead and check this out: you’ll laugh for a solid four hours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

San Francisco Mutants

I decided to go back to collecting Uncanny X-Men for one reason: the artwork. However, that's actually two reasons. Let me explain.

Uncanny X-Men recently hit its 500th issue, a book that was supposed to be a milestone for obvious reasons. So they got Greg Land on board to draw the book. And I love Greg Land. But, in order to avoid an acute case of Campbellitis, they also got Terry Dodson to draw the book. And I love Terry Dodson. So you can do the math yourselves: Greg Land + Terry Dodson + a new direction for the book = something I'm interested in.

SFX, the story written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction that starts on Uncanny #500, finds the X-Men relocating to San Francisco, a big and unexpected change that will certainly prove to be interesting. All throughout the SFX arc (issues 500 to 503), Fraction and Brubaker tell a compelling story about racism, hatred, and taking care of your own, all beautifully rendered by Greg Land's amazing artwork (Terry Dodson only has a few pages on issue #500, but he draws #504 in its entirety –more on that soon).

Land and Dodson have very different styles, but I love them both, and I will keep buying this book for as long as they decide to stay on it. I think having a rotating creative team is a great idea, because that way both delays and horrible fill-in artists can be avoided. One could argue their styles are not a perfect match, and it's true they're very different. This time, however, it works to my advantage, as I'm a big fan of both of them. Also, from what I've seen, the artists might tackle different story arcs instead of both illustrating pages of the same issue (like they did with #500), but I'm in either way. So, if you had been thinking about giving the X-Men a chance, issue 500 is the perfect jump in point!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Yes Man was the second part of last Friday’s Movie Extravaganza, and it couldn’t have been more different than the first show in our program, the dismal Seven Pounds. For one, it was actually enjoyable!

Yes Man is Jim Carrey’s latest comedy, and I must confess I’m partial to the actor. Then again, I also love Will Smith, and look what he did to me, so I guess liking the star of a film doesn’t actually guarantee squat. However, Yes Man delivered the goods, and it was also because it was the opposite of Seven Pounds. While Smith’s movie is a departure of sorts of the type of movie he usually makes, Yes Man is Carrey’s return to the kind of movie that made him a star in the mid-nineties. The comedian goes back to what he does best, and he shines in this hilarious movie that made me laugh until I cried.
The plot, if Yes Man can be said to have one, is so simple it’s more of a concept than an actual plot: Carl, a very negative man, is somehow forced to say yes to every single request he gets in an attempt for him to embrace life instead of deny it. You would imagine that, with such a premise, a world of trouble is waiting for the guy. And you'd be absolutely right.

The female lead in this comedy is the super cute Zooey Deschanel, an actress I never get tired of looking at. Not only is she gorgeous, she is also very talented and proves to have great comedic timing in this movie. And she also sings! And looks adorable in that red and black coat she wears toward the end of the movie! And… Okay, I guess you get the idea.

So, while Yes Man’s script is no award-winning material, the laughs-per-minute ratio is high, and Jim Carrey’s joy at playing this character is impossible to miss. Therefore, if you’re tired of all the seriousness and heaviness and gloom of pretty much everything else showing at your local multiplex right now, do yourself a favor and say yes to this silly comedy. I am certainly happy I did!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Preaching to the Uncaring

Both Seven Pounds and Yes Man opened last Friday, and my friend Michelle and I decided to have a Friday Movie Extravaganza and go see both. Why choose, when we could watch both films, right?

Seven Pounds, Will Smith’s latest movie, was the first one we saw, and the more I think about the movie, the more issues I have with it. Smith’s performance was excellent, no question about it, and so were Rosario Dawson’s and everybody else’s. The problem I have has to do with the story and how it is presented.

If you have seen the previews for the movie, you were probably left wondering what the hell the film was about. This was part of the allure of the film: to figure out what was going on. However, I pretty much figured it out one fourth into the movie, and believe me, I’m not that smart. After I figured out what was happening and how the story was being told, all I was left with were two things: a slow, sad, overly melodramatic movie, and I feeling of disbelief that went something like “I can’t believe this is really what the movie is about and that things are going to end that way”. Unfortunately, that was what the movie was about, and that’s how things ended up being.

Now, I admit to disagreeing with the moral of the story, with the values the movie presents, so it would be near impossible for this film to please me. And still, I think it’s safe to say that the motivation of Smith’s character is suspect, and what he decides to do and how he sets himself to doing it is a bit on the ludicrous side. It’s not only that I don’t agree with what he does, but his reasoning and his way to accomplish his goal are quite lame. In fact, the only reason I can see for the film being the way it is, is for the director to have a Big Bad Drama, a Serious Tearjerker, a Tale of Morality. Well, if that’s the film you want to make, knock yourself out, but I don’t go to the movies to be depressed. And I don’t mean I don’t like to watch dramas, or that I only want to watch comedies, but when the “lesson” to be learned is so obnoxiously in-your-face obvious and you feel you are being not only spoonfed but forcibly so, then I have a problem with that. As a matter of fact, I think the gimmicky way of presenting the narrative of the story serves one purpose only: to somehow disguise the fact that this is a pretty straightforward story. That, and to be artsy, especially with all the Oscar bait opening this month. Well, I, for one, don’t really care about this type of moviemaking, so I doubt I will ever watch this movie again, and I don’t think you, dear reader, need to bother either.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mysterious

Who is this mysterious swordswoman? Is she good news for Dae, Erin, and Nordesson? Well, you'll have to read Dae Chronicles: Clockwork to find out. And yes, I know you want to read what promises to be a most enthralling story, but you'll have to be patient. Meanwhile, just enjoy this picture!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Everyone's a Critic

Check out this hilarious skit from SNL starring Paul Rudd and Andy Samberg, and thank me later. Oh, it's about art, just in case the title of the post (and skit) didn't give it away. I guess that's how modern "art" makes me feel. Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Arqueros silvanos

Estos dos arqueros son del ejército de mi primo Gonzalo, porque no sólo de demonios vive el Warhammero. Los silvanos son los elfos de los bosques de Warhammer, tipos bastante escurridizos, con muy buena puntería y con bastante mala leche cuando entras en sus bosques sin permiso. Estas dos miniaturas representan a los forestales, los arqueros de élite, y son de las más bonitas del ejército. Las pinté con tonos verdes y marrones dando un tono de camuflaje primaveral, con mucho césped y musgo en las peanas para representar que están en mitad del bosque esperando agujerear a cualquier orco, demonio u hombre insensato que se cruce en su camino. Espero que os gusten tanto como las anteriores.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Broken Trinity

Broken Trinity was Top Cow's main even this year. And before I go on, I must congratulate Marc Silvestri's company for doing things the way they do. Instead of having a hundred books be part of the crossover, they just kept it lean and mean, like they did with First Born last year. Thus, Broken Trinity is a three-issue miniseries, and those three issues are all you need to know what's going on.

Like last year's First Born, Broken Trinity involves the Witchblade, the Darkness, and the Angelus, but this time the publisher promised us one of the three wouldn't walk out of the story alive. Knowing who the three characters were, I made my predictions, and, what do you know, I was right. This doesn't mean Ron Marz's story wasn't great, because it was lots of fun, but I just wasn’t surprised by the end. Also, Marz used this book to introduce a few of the famous Thirteen Artifacts we had been hearing about for a while but hadn't actually seen, adding more characters, elements, and power relationships to the Top Cow universe that promise to be very interesting.

Regarding the artwork, all I need to say is that Stjepan Sejic illustrates the three episodes of the series. Therefore, the book looks beyond amazing.

Of course, it helps if you are already familiar with the Darkness and the Witchblade to enjoy this book, but I would encourage everyone to check it out just the same. A fun read!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Indiana Campbell

We all know Jeff Scott Campbell is both the greatest comic book artist out there as well as the slowest creator on the planet. But every time I see new illustrations by him, my jaw drops open and drool starts coming out and pooling on my lap. (Disgusting, I know.)
That's pretty much what happened to me when I saw his drawings for the new Indiana Jones trading card series. I already knew Campbell could draw a mean Indy, but his depictions of some of the most iconic scenes in the trilogy (Kingdom of the what?) left me breathless all the same. So check them out and let us know which one is your favorite!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pues toma dos tazas

Como ya os podréis imaginar, este dibujillo va dedicado a nuestro querido Halagan. Que si siempre dibujo cuatro dedos en la manos, que si ya me vale, que si a ver cuándo dibujo cinco, que no va a pasar nada por hacerlo una vez, y que si bla, bla, bla. Pues bueno, querido Hal: aquí tienes no una sino tres manos pentadigitales, ¡y todas en un mismo dibujo! Espero que atesores esta pieza como se merece.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Italian Flavor

I got the Ms. Marvel Storyteller one-shot for two reasons. One, because the cover is really cool, with Ms. Marvel in a pirate costume; and two, because this comic book is drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli, the artist that will be drawing X-Infernus, whose cover I spotlighted last month. But the truth is the book is neither great nor awful: it's just okay, one of those meh books that you don't mind reading but you wouldn't miss anything if you didn't. The story by Brian Reed was sort of cute, but I didn’t really relate to any of the characters –or cared too much about them, to be honest. The artwork by the Italian team of Camuncoli and Lorenzo Ruggiero (inks) was somewhere between cartoony and classic superhero, so I liked it but it didn’t blow me away (and I might actually get X-Infernus). So, if you have nothing else to do and you know somebody who bought the book, go ahead and read it, but don't waste your money on it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Keyboard for Blondes

I think this is one of those posts in which the title is pretty much self-explanatory. Check out this funny keyboard for blondes, a keyboard specially designed to help our flaxen friends figure out what’s going on on their screens. Among my favorite keys, we have the “Oops!” key (formerly known as “backspace”, and the “Yes! I Want It!” key, which our smarter readers will no doubt identify as the “Enter” key. Other gems include the “Any key”, the “Useless key”, the “Somewhat useless key”, and the “Warning! Size XXL letters” key. Now the cutest creatures on Earth won’t have any trouble using this wonderful tool called computer. Good luck, dear blondes!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No Wonder It Wails

Parece que últimamente me encuentro con enigmas impenetrables generados por la estupidez humana y que, pese a resultar molestos o desesperantes, al menos me dan para escribir entradas en este vuestro blog.

Resulta que mi querida Barnes & Noble, uno de los tres o cuatro sitios donde no tengo reparos en gastarme toda la pasta que se tercie, cambió de ubicación el mes pasado. La cosa ya se sabía desde finales de octubre o principios de noviembre, pues incluso el bibliófilo menos avispado no podía sino percatarse de que múltiples estantes habían desaparecido (en la moqueta, enormes marcas de ésas que dejan los muebles cuando no se mueven en meses o años), y de que había un nada discreto cartelón anunciando la inauguración del nuevo local el doce de noviembre.

La última vez que había comprado algo en la tienda vieja me habían dado un cupón de descuento para la nueva que caducaba a finales de año, y, por supuesto, me moría de ganas por ir a comprarme varios cientos de páginas de letra impresa. Pero –artero que es uno-, en vez de ir rápidamente a visitar la nueva tienda el mismo día doce y hacerme con lo que fuera que me encontrara, pensé que podía esperar hasta el veinticinco y usar el descuento en The Outlaw Demon Wails, la sexta entrega de las aventuras de Rachel Morgan, que salía en edición bolsillo ese día. Además, el martes era el último día de clase antes de las vacaciones de Acción de Gracias, y qué mejor forma de empezar tan merecido descanso con buen pie. (O con buena espalda: la que se me iba a quedar de estar tumbado en el sofá leyendo.)

Por unas cosas y por otras, al final acabé yendo el miércoles por la mañana, no sin antes cerciorarme de que el libro había salido a la venta sin retrasos o cosas raras. Si Amazon decía que el libro estaba disponible, entonces tenía que estarlo. Y eso es en lo que iba pensando de camino Hamilton Place, el centro comercial donde está la librería.

Una vez aparqué y entré en Barnes & Noble pude apreciar que la nueva tienda es exactamente igual que el resto de emplazamientos de la cadena que he visto por todas partes, algo que noté con presteza dado que la tienda vieja era diferente a las demás, algo en lo que siempre reparaba cuando visitaba algún Barnes & Noble en otra ciudad. (Y paro ya, que esto empieza a aparecerse al remake de El coche fantástico que os contaba ayer.) Así que, tras comprobar que me lo habían cambiado todo de sitio –el desasosiego, la inseguridad-, me paseé por la tienda tomando notas mentales de dónde queda todo ahora para saberlo en mis múltiples visitas futuras.

Durante esta fase de reconocimiento iba también prestando atención por si veía el libro que buscaba, cuya portada tenía memorizada tras haberlo tenido en mi wishlist en Amazon durante meses. Así pues, eché un vistazo a los libros en la sección New on paperback, y New arrivals, pero del libro no había ni rastro.

Pensando que debía estar entonces en la sección de fantasía, culebreé por los pasillos hasta personarme frente a la H de Harrison, Kim, pero, una vez más, la esquiva novela seguía escondiéndose de mí. El mosqueo creciente, miré la sección de New arrivals de fantasía, y la de Featured Books de fantasía también, mas el libro parecía haberse esfumado sin dejar huella. Asegurándome a mí mismo que en algún sitio tenía que estar, empecé a dar vueltas por la zona, comprobando distintos estantes, mesas, y lugares donde maldito el sentido que tendría que el libro estuviera. Y donde no estaba.

Viendo que la chica de atención al cliente estaba de lo más bien, pensé que tal vez lo más fácil sería ir y preguntarle, pero no quería quedar como un imbécil que no ve el libro que tiene delante suyo, así que recorrí la tienda de nuevo, esperando que tal vez el libro se materializara mágicamente en esta segunda vuelta. Estando en estas, descubrí algo nuevo que la tienda vieja no tenía: portátiles estratégicamente situados para que el cliente busque lo que le apetezca (probablemente libros) y pueda encontrarlo en la tienda él solito sin molestar a las guapas empleadas. Pensando de nuevo en no quedar como un gañán, me decidí a buscar en la base de datos antes de hablar con la chica, y tecleé el nombre de la autora. Lo primero que me salió fue el nuevo libro y, junto a la foto de la portada, unas letras que me aseguraban que tenían el libro en la tienda. No sólo eso, sino que el práctico mapa de al lado del texto me señalaba exactamente dónde encontrar la tan ansiada novela. ¿Y a dónde pensáis que me mandó el ordenador? Si habéis respondido “a la H en la sección de fantasía”, habéis ganado el premio (un libro de Kim Harrison que tendréis que encontrar vosotros solitos, faltaría). Como un imbécil, me desplacé de nuevo hasta la sección de fantasía, letra H, y comprobé –sin mucha sorpresa, debo decir-, que el libro que el ordenador me aseguraba estaba allí no había aparecido por arte de magia. Vaya.

Habiendo agotado todos mis recursos, capitulé y me acerqué a la atenta chica del circular mostrador central. El libro nuevo de Kim Harrison, le dije que quería. Que o soy subnormal, o no está donde debería, le dije con mi sonrisa de dientes torcidos.

“Sí lo tenemos,” contestó la chica.
Eso me gustaría verlo, me callé yo, asintiendo en su lugar.
“Está en la sección de fantasía. En la letra H.”
“Lo que tú digas, corazón.”

Encantado con la vista, seguí a la voluntariosa asistente de clientes hasta la sección de fantasía (letra H), donde, fíjate tú, el libro no estaba. No queriéndose dejar vencer, la chica empezó a mirar los otros libros de Kim Harrison que sí tenían allí, a lo que no pude sino hacerle notar que ninguno de aquellos era el que buscaba, pues esos ya los tenía. Qué raro, qué raro.

“¿Y dices que es nuevo?”
“Salió ayer mismo. A ver si es que no lo habéis recibido.”
Tras un rápido viaje al ordenador, la chica me confirmó que sí lo tenían.
“Tenemos veinticuatro copias.”
“En serio,” afirmé más que pregunté.
“Vamos a ver en New arrivals.”
“No es por decirte cómo hacer tu trabajo, pero ya he mirado tanto ahí como en New on paperback. Y en New in fantasy. Y en todas partes, vamos.”
“Pues tenemos veinticuatro,” me aseguró.
“Si no es que no me lo crea…”

Total, que fuimos a New arrivals, New on paperback, New in fantasy (no sé para qué digo las cosas), y para sorpresa de la chica –que no la mía-, The Outlaw Demon Wails siguió probándose de un escurridizo inusitado.

“Pues qué raro, oye, si tenemos veinticuatro.”
Creo que fue entonces cuando empecé a reírme a carcajadas, y la confianza de la chica empezó a desmoronarse.
“Te juro que llevo toda la mañana igual. Viene la gente buscando libros, ninguno está donde debería, y yo como una idiota paseándome tienda arriba y tienda abajo.”

Tras asegurarle que no era culpa suya y que le agradecía mucho que me ayudara (y que no le importara que caminase detrás de ella, jejeje), pasamos al plan B, que aparentemente consistía en preguntarle a una cajera rubia si había visto el libro por ahí. Huyendo de los clientes, o algo. Tras hacerme repetir el título varias veces –sintiéndome más y más estúpido cada vez que decía The Outlaw Demon Wails, que anda que el titulito no se las trae-, la rubia sugirió llamar por teléfono a algún sitio misterioso (el almacén, presuntamente), desde donde nos aseguraron que había veinticuatro copias de la novela en la tienda (sorprendente). Concentrándome en lo importante (ciertos atributos físicos al sur de la espalda de mi compañera de búsqueda), seguí de nuevo a mi perdida guía mientras daba una nueva vuelta por la tienda (comprobando la pantalla de su ordenador cada vez que pasábamos por el mostrador de atención al cliente, temerosa tal vez de que el resultado de la búsqueda en el catálogo hubiera cambiado de “veinticuatro libros” a “te estamos tomando el pelo”), todo para acabar de nuevo donde habíamos empezado.

“Deja que les llame otra vez.”
“A ver si es que se ha agotado,” probé yo.
“No. Imposible. Tenemos veinticuatro copias.”
Veinticuatro golpes en la cabeza os daba yo, callé de nuevo.

Tras una breve conversación telefónica, la chica me anunció que el tipo de la trastienda iba a mirar si lo tenía por allí, y sin quitar los ojos de la pantalla (posiblemente memorizando la para entonces odiada portada para quemarla en cuanto la viera) me preguntó de qué iba el libro. Fue entonces cuando me puse a monologar, cantando las excelencias de la serie, urgiéndola a leer tan estupendos libros –no tengo remedio-. Y entonces llegó el tipillo de la trastienda, libro en mano, sonrisa en rostro.

“Ahí está,” dije yo, reconociendo no al empleado sino la anhelada portada.
“Recién salido de la caja,” dijo el chico. “El tuyo es el primero.”
“Pero si dice que tenemos veinticuatro,” se aferró la chica a su historia.
“Sí, y están todos en la caja que nadie había abierto.”

Tras darme el libro y asegurarme lo contenta que estaba de que lo hubiéramos encontrado, la chica volvió a lo suyo y yo me fui a la caja para pagar. No es que sea un experto en libros ni nada parecido, pero yo pensaba que para vender libros había que sacarlos de las cajas. O para contarlos, que ésa es otra. Al parecer, el paquete llegó, se contaron los libros sin abrir la caja (¿rayos-X? ¿Magia?), se metieron los datos en el inventario, y finalmente se arrinconó el paquete en el almacén. ¿Para qué sacarlos, si sabemos que tenemos veinticuatro copias? De hecho, esto podría suponerles un ahorro considerable en tiempo, estanterías y mano de obra, ahora que lo pienso. ¿Por qué no poner las cajas tal cual en la tienda, y el que esté interesado que las abra y mire lo que hay dentro? Qué emocionante sería comprar libros de ser así el sistema, ¿verdad? Como un sobre sorpresa de esos rojos que hacían nuestras delicias cuando éramos pequeños. Unos pioneros es lo que son estos chicos de Barnes & Noble. Pioneros.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Laberinto de imbéciles

La entrada de hoy es corta pero no tiene desperdicio.
¿Recordáis la nueva serie Knight Rider basada en el clásico de nuestra infancia? Pues parece que el coche fantástico no es tan fantástico, o a lo mejor es que los productores no saben o lo que ellos quieren o lo que al público le gustaría ver. Resulta que han dejado de emitir la serie que empezó en septiembre, y que era, por si os habíais olvidado, una mejora/actualización/lavado de cara/puesta al día o como queráis llamarlo de la película de dos horas que estrenaron en televisión en febrero, y que se suponía era una mejora/actualización/lavado de cara/puesta al día o como queráis llamarlo de la serie clásica protagonizada por David Hasselhoff. Pero la serie no ha sido cancelada, sino que vuelve pronto para terminar la temporada
-preparaos- después de que la sometan a una mejora/actualización/lavado de cara/puesta al día o como queráis llamarlo CON RESPECTO A LA PRIMERA MITAD DE LA MISMA TEMPORADA, que ya era de por sí una mejora/actualización/lavado de cara/puesta al día o como queráis llamarlo de la película que era una mejora/actualización/lavado de cara/puesta al día o como queráis llamarlo de la serie original.
O sea, que aquí alguien es gilipollas, y no somos ninguno de los aquí reunidos.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tooth Fairy

Hellboy II is such an enjoyable movie. I was watching it on DVD (I recommend you get the special edition with the second DVD full of juicy extras), and I was thinking how cool the different creatures in the movie are. Among my favorites are the tooth fairies, which look nothing like you would expect. Then again, this is a Guilermo del Toro movie, so maybe you could have guessed the tooth fairies were going to look rather on the demented side. At any rate, I decided to draw a picture of one of these tiny but lethal guys, and it turned out to be lots of fun. I like their big heads, sharp teeth protruding. I like their insectoid bodies, their powerful wings, and their psychopatic love of calcium. They're terrific fun to watch, even though I wouldn't want to face them myself. Anyway, I hope you like the picture!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lara Croft Speaks

Check out this interview with Alison Carroll, the super cute gymnast/
model/
actress who is the latest incarnation of Lara Croft. Alison talks about how she got the gig, what her experience has been so far, and what her plans for the future are. Also, you get to see some behind the scenes footage as well as some cool acrobatics, all performed by the beautiful model. Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Witchblade #121

I'm really going to try not to gush like a fanboy, but I already know my noble attempt is doomed to fail from the beginning. I want to tell you about Witchblade #121, analyze the book so you know what to expect, but I can only say that if you're still insisting on not reading this series --well, you're not very smart. Either that, or you don't like great stories with amazing dialogue and eye-popping, jaw-dropping artwork.

Witchblade #121 is the first part (out of three) of Crown Heights, the new story arc concocted by Ron Marz and lavishly illustrated by Stjepan Sejic. In this issue, Detectives Sara Pezzini and Patrick Gleason are sent to investigate the brutal murder of a rabbi. At the same time, Gretch, the redheaded reporter, is back on Sara's case, and she is determined to find a story for her sensationalist rag. Sejic creates an incredibly real New York City at night, a place where every shadow seems potentially dangerous. There are mysterious Jews, old and unreliable witnesses, and a killer on the loose. There are questions Sara and Gleason must find answers for, and their search is beautifully rendered both by Marz's phenomenal dialogue and Sejic's mastery of facial expressions and body language. Do I really need to keep going? Do yourselves a favor and get this issue already!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dae & Erin Sketch

Here you have a quick sketch of Dae and Erin, which I drew after watching a bunch of Slayers Try episodes in a row. As a matter of fact, the composition was inspired by one of the first frames of the show's opening, in which you can see Lina and Filia in pretty much the same position. They both look melancholy in that scene, and I thought that would make for a cool Clockwork-related picture, so I drew this. It's rather simple, but I kinda like it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dibuje y diviértase

Echadle un vistazo a estos dos vídeos (siete y cinco minutos, respectivamente) del gran Frank Cho dibujando. O enseñando a dibujar. O haciendo gracias y entreteniendo al personal, más que otra cosa. En estos vídeos, grabados durante la Wizard World en Texas hace un par de meses, Cho explica a la audiencia cuáles son los secretos para dibujar mozas tan exuberantes como las suyas, y el personal, ni qué decir tiene, se parte con las ocurrencias del dibujante. Así que aseguraos de que tenéis los altavoces conectados, y preparaos para pasar un buen rato riéndoos y viendo al gran Cho en acción. Despatarrante.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Cute Harpy?

Aren't harpies supposed to be foul, nasty creatures? Well, I guess they are, as Nash showed us a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to have my say in the matter. (Don't I always?)
Therefore, I broke out my sketchbook, got down to business, and this is the result. This harpy has no arms, as they are merged with the wings, and even though I'm not sure if that's the way they're supposed to be, I kinda like it. Anyway, I hope you like it, even if there are no nipples to be seen. Enjoy!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Been There, Done That

I would have liked The Messengers better if it wasn't for the fact that I had already seen this movie about ten times. And while I hadn't seen this particular film, I have actually seen this story on the big (and small) screen at least a dozen times, and I bet you've seen it too. Let's check to see whether I'm right or not.

There is a family in trouble who moves to a secluded old house in the middle of nowhere. The previous owners of the house were brutally murdered. The family has two kids: a cute but troubled teenager (currently uberpopular Kristen Stewart)who doesn't want to leave town and cannot be trusted because of something that happened in the past, and a little boy who doesn't speak but can see ghosts. The teenager sees the ghosts, but nobody believes her. The little boy is creepy. The girl meets a guy downtown. The family hires a mysterious traveler to help them at the farm. There is a sketchy investor/land developer trying to get the family to sell the house. There are weird sounds, flashes from the past (in black and white, of course), and the overall feeling that history is about to repeat itself. And did I mention there are creepy crows flying all over the farm?

Do I need to keep going? By now you've probably realized you've seen this movie too, and with better special effects. The acting is serviceable, the direction nothing worse than mediocre, but the pervasive feeling that you've been there before sucks all possible joy out of this movie. I know that original ideas are not an endangered species but an extinct animal in Hollywood nowadays; but still I would like to believe that movies like The Messengers would be too embarrassing to produce, and that some executive would say no, we can't do this movie again. But, apparently, I'm wrong.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

De cajunes y mercenarios

Por si no lo sabíais, la película X-Men Origins: Wolverine se estrena el próximo 1 de mayo, y mi indiferencia ante el proyecto está empezando a cambiar. Una peli de Lobezno, en principio, tiene buena pinta (algunas fotillos), pero el desastre que X-Men 3 supuso me dejó algo escéptico en lo que al futuro cinematográfico de los mutantes se refiere. Además, el que junto a la peli de Wolverine se estuviera considerando una sobre el origen de Magneto me daba escalofríos. Sin embargo, hace poco me enteré de que el hilarante Deadpool (conocido en España como Masacre) va a salir en Wolverine interpretado por Ryan Reynolds, y fue entonces cuando, a mi pesar, el interés se me empezó a despertar. (Se está considerando ya un spin-off con Deadpool si el personaje gusta.)

Y mira tú por dónde, hoy he descubierto que Gambito, uno de mis personajes favoritos y al que he echado de menos en las aventuras mutantes en la gran pantalla desde la primera X-Men, va a salir también en la película. No sólo eso, sino que hasta tenemos foto de Taylor Kitsch haciendo de cajún (arriba). No sé cómo lo hará el actor, pero al menos físicamente me parece muy acertado. ¿Reacciones? ¿Comentarios? ¿Insultos? Teclead y quedaos bien a gusto.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pegaso Cavernícola

Siguiendo la saga de las miniaturas cavernícolas de mis elfos oscuros, os presento a la miniatura que hará de pegaso. La miniatura está muy chula, pero tengo el mismo problema de simpre: que no me quedan muy bien las alas. En principio, tendrían que tener un color más claro que el resto del cuerpo para que pareciese un ala de murciélago o algo por el estilo, pero no consigo hacer ese efecto. Tendré que seguir practicando.
En la peana he puesto una roca grande para dar la impresión de que está despegando desde un saliente de una de las cuevas. Estas navidades espero sacar tiempo para escribir el trasfondo de mis elfos y que mi editor lo corrija. Espero que os guste, y ya comentáis.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Violin Player

I hadn't inked with my quill for a while, so I decided to give it a go on this picture. I drew this as a birthday card for a friend, and I kinda like the simple, straight lines the girl's body is made of. The composition is also simple, but I like the combination of curves and straight lines. Plus, she's playing the violin, which is always cool. Now you provide the soundtrack! (Preferably something like Wintersun.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Reading List: November

It looks like I’ve been focusing on books rather than comic books this cold month, but I still managed to keep some variety in my reading. Let’s see what I feasted my eyes and brain on in November:

The Cabinet of Curiosities
A terrific read by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, The Cabinet of Curiosities is the third book in which FBI Special Agent Pendergast makes an appearance, this time commanding the stage and becoming the main character (or one of them). I had already read Brimstone, Dance of Death, and The Book of the Dead, so I knew there were certain characters that were not going to die, as these books take place after Cabinet, but the suspense and the questions and the mystery were still there for the most part. A great way to start the month!

Sourcery
One of the earlier Discworld books, Sourcery stars Rincewind once again running from everything. I usually say that the earlier books by Terry Pratchett are certainly weaker than later installments in the series, and this book is a perfect example of that. Sourcery was okay, but it was nothing to write home about, so I hereby encourage people who want to get started with the Discworld books to not feel they need to start from the very beginning. Choose a “thread” (witches, the Watch, wizards, Death, “the industrial revolution”) and read those books first. Sourcery gets a two out of five.

Just After Sunset
The latest book by Stephen King (Scribner has already announced that Under the Dome will come out next fall), I already told you how much I enjoyed these short stories here.

The Divine Comedy I: Hell
Dante’s classic poem and all that. Yawn.

Nightmare Inspector, vol. I
I saw the fourth volume of this series by Shin Mashiba at Books-a-Million, and decided to give it a try. It’s about a creature that eats people’s nightmares so they can sleep at night, but the intriguing horror/mystery premise didn’t quite crystallized into a good read. I doubt I’ll buy volume two.

Empowered, vol. 4
The fourth volume narrating the adventures of Emp, Thugboy, and Ninjette, I already told you how amazing this book by Adam Warren is here. A serious contender (in my eyes) to best graphic novel of the year!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Short Story Time!

Just After Sunset, Stephen King’s new short-story collection, came out earlier this month, and I (no surprise there) got it immediately and read it even more immediately. King hadn’t been writing too many short stories during the last few years, but then his job as guest editor of the Best American Short Stories 2007 sparkled his desire to write this type of fiction again, and the man got to work. And the results are (again, no surprise there) amazing.

Just After Sunset collects thirteen tales (one fewer than Everything’s Eventual, his previous short story collection), and most of these were written during the last couple of years. I liked them all, and loved most of them, my favorite stories being The Gingerbread Girl, Harvey’s Dream, Rest Stop, Stationary Bike, Graduation Afternoon, The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates, and A Very Tight Place. That is not to say I didn’t like the other six (except for Ayana, which didn’t really do anything for me), but I guess I have to at least try to keep some semblance of objectivity here. Out of the ones above, The Gingerbread Girl and Harvey’s Dream might be the most adrenaline-burst inducing, and A Very Tight Place the most disgusting one (“I even grossed myself out,” King confesses in the notes at the end of the book), but they were all very enjoyable. I could also talk about the various thematic concerns, several of which we have already seen in many of King’s books, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anybody, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

At any rate, many people seem to think Stephen King is at his best when he writes short stories, and while I don’t necessarily agree with the notion, these tales sure make a powerful argument for this statement, so go ahead and read this book!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Toothsome Rump

The fourth volume of Empowered was supposed to come out in late September, and I had been salivating for half a year or so. Adam Warren’s hilarious series is so sidesplittingly funny that September couldn’t come soon enough. Then the book was pushed back ‘til November, and I thought I would die. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit here, but I really, really wanted to read the next installment in the series. So November came, and I finally got it and read it.

And it was amazing.

Empowered #4 is, hands down, the best chapter in Emp’s misadventures, and I loved every page of it. Adam Warren’s artwork keeps getting better and better, and the facial expressions, the detailed technology, and the super kinetic action scenes are beautifully (or should I say bootbackaliciously?) rendered. As a bonus, we have a short story in full color, and it looks great too, especially the phenomenally drawn Hummer. The dialogue, also by Warren, is as witty and funny and outrageous as it’s been in the past, with neologisms aplenty, great blends of words, puns, plays on words, wordiness, verbal prolixity, and of course with the Caged Demonwolf stealing the show every time he’s in a panel. (Hell, even when he is not!) There are lots of grotesquely sublime characters: Crowquet, Wet Blanket, Mr. Maidman, Dr. Big McLarge Huge, the Felonifive… and yet what makes Empowered #4 so ridiculously awesome is the cohesiveness of the book, something Warren started to do in volume three, but that hadn’t quite gotten there until now. This time, every chapter in the book, no matter how random it might seem, builds toward the overall story, the results of this becoming apparent in the last chapter. Little by little, I realized “Oh, so that’s why he did that a hundred pages ago”. Or, “I guess that funny random chapter was not so random after all” (it was still funny, though). This book had me so grabbed by the throat that it wasn’t until almost the end that I realized the “damsel in distress” theme so ubiquitous in previous volumes was barely there at all, and I didn’t even care! Whoever thought he was reading the series because of the gratuitous sex and the bondage and the fan service was wrong. It turns out Empowered doesn’t need that to remain a terrific read. So do yourselves a favor and while you’re out there shopping for Witchblade, make sure you also pick up a copy (or several, since you must have friends) of Empowered. Even if you only enjoy it half as much as I did, you’ll still love it. Guaranteed!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sweets & Wolves

I don’t know if you should expect a movie called Blood & Chocolate to be about werewolves, but that’s what it’s about. Also, I don’t know if you should expect a movie so titled to be any good. I didn’t, that’s for sure, but the movie turned out to be –well, not too bad. Somebody on IMDB.com called it “mediocrity at its best”, and it’s something like that.


B&C tells the story of Vivian, a cute werewolf that finds herself attracted to a human who is doing research for his new graphic novel (he asks her to please not call them comic books, as if that name was something obscene or something to be ashamed of). So the guy draws comics for a living, and he is in Bucharest getting some info about le loup garou, since werewolves are the main characters in his new book. Predictably, Vivian’s clan doesn’t approve of interspecies relationships, and seeks to put an end to the blossoming romance, a sneaky act that will of course have cataclysmic consequences.

So there you go. You have your basic set of clichés and no known actors in this movie, which also boasts a very low budget and therefore low expectations, but the movie still manages to be sort of entertaining –barely. I thought I was in for a brain-numbing experience, but instead I got some not-too-soporiferous entertainment, so I guess I should count myself lucky. Still, I don’t think I’ll rush to the videostore to buy this film, but it certainly beats lots of more pretentious and way higher budget movies, and that honesty deserves to be recognized.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Montura cavernícola

Os presento una de mis últimas, y, creo yo, más chulas miniaturas para mi ejército de elfos oscuros, los "cazadores de demonios". En los torneos, es importante contar una historia sobre tu ejército que explique su historia, qué unidades lo componen y por qué, las historias de los héroes, y alguna cosilla más.
He decidido que mis elfos oscuros estén aislados en una antigua fortaleza metida dentro de unas montañas a la que se puede acceder a través de ríos subterráneos. Debido a un derrumbamiento, esta fortaleza queda aislada del resto del reino y ha de enfrentarse a los Demonios del Caos, de los cuales ya habéis visto alguna que otra miniatura. Como las batallas son muy sangrientas y sus enemigos muy pero que muy duros, los elfos oscuros tienen que reponer sus monturas muertas usando bichos que habitan en las cuevas. El primero que he creado es el sustituto de la mantícora elfa oscura, con nuestro noble elfo oscuro montándola. Como es una criatura que habita las cuevas, no tiene ojos pero sí una gran boca para merendarse a todos los enemigos, amén de lucir una piel compuesta de rocas. He querido darle un color azul pálido parecido al de los tiburones, ya que su cabeza me recuerda a estos encantadores animales. Como lo del sobre quedaba un poco cutre, he intentado mejorar el fondo, aunque creo que no lo he conseguido. De todas formas, espero que os guste.