Sunny Jhanna

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

Friday, July 31, 2009

At the Gate

Here you have a picture I drew at the Atlanta airport while waiting for my connecting flight to JFK to fly to Spain. I had been reading for a while (David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames), and I wanted to do something else, so I broke out my sketchbook and drew for a while while listening to SModcast. Life is good...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reading List: July

I didn't think this was going to happen, but I ended up reading a lot this month. I doubted this would be the case because I spent July traveling, first to Spain and then to San Diego, and I was surrounded by people all the time. However, I managed to find some time to read while hanging out with friends and family in Spain, and then books came in handy in San Diego when I had to wait in line for hours to get into the notorious Hall H. But let's see what I read this month.

P is for Peril
Yet another outstanding Kinsey Millhone adventure by Sue Grafton, I can only recommend P is for Peril the same way I've been doing with every book in the series. Go Kinsey!

When You Are Engulfed in Flames
This collection of essays by David Sedaris is very funny and kept me entertained on the plane while I was flying over the Atlantic Ocean. If you're looking for some humorous nonfiction, give Sedaris a try. I don't think you'll regret it!

Bringing Down the House
This book by Ben Mezrich became the movie 21 last year. The subtitle of the book, The inside story of six MIT students who took Vegas for millions pretty much says it all. The book tells the story of the MIT Blackjack Team, and what happened to them. Needless to say, I rented the movie on DVD immediately after I finished this very enjoyable book, but I think I'll save those comments for another day. I know, I know: I'm shameless.

Territorio comanche
The Arturo Pérez-Reverte novella that made the Spanish author several enemies, Reverte uses Territorio comanche to tell the reader what it feels like to be a reporter in the middle of a war. The author spent countless years as a war correspondent, and you can see there is no fiction in this book but true stories instead, several tales and events and musings and horror Reverte got to experience first hand. There is also I movie I've never seen, but the book is all sorts of good.

Corazón tan blanco
Spanish author Javier Marías explores marriage and secrets in this great book. He talks about what could have been, what will never be, what could be, and what will be. He talks about knowing when you'd be better off not knowing, and how the things we don't know about people are as important (if not more) as the things we do know. Sounds confusing? Well, Marías tends to pack lots of ideas in his novels, and he does so with pervasive symmetry, melancholy, and beautiful prose, and I usually find it difficult to summarize his stories. Therefore, instead of reading what I have to say about his work, go ahead and buy one of his books. Or three. Or seven.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite
I had read all sorts of positive reviews about The Umbrella Academy, a comic book written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Ba. I had kept away from the book because the artwork looked very Mignola-esque, and that is a style I don't particularly care for. However, a friend had bought it and insisted I borrowed it, so I read the whole thing in one sitting, and came to the expected conclusion: while I enjoyed the story, the artwork simply didn't speak to me. So, if you like this style of illustration and you enjoy retro-flavored sci-fi, do not hesitate and check out this book. If, on the other hand, you don't find the pictures all that appealing, find a friend who owns the book and check it out. You've got nothing to lose, right?

20th Century Ghosts
A collection of short stories by Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts is packed with excellent tales by the New Englander. There are some scary stories, some melancholy stories, some unexpectedly touching stories, and some weird stories, but I didn't find a single tale I didn't like. Reading this book felt like watching a season of Amazing Stories: you knew you were going to find something off-kilter in every single story, but you never knew exactly what you were going to find. Would it be dark and creepy? Humorous? Plain unsettling? Check out this book and find out for yourself!

Mortadelo y Filemón: ¡… Y van 50 tacos!
This comic book came out last year, and it celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the incredibly popular characters created by Spanish cartoonist Francisco Ibáñez. I hadn't read anything by him in a really long time, and I found this book truly hilarious. A great purchase!

I Love You, Beth Cooper
Larry Doyle used to write for The Simpsons and then decided to write a humorous novel, a book which has just been turned into a movie starring Hayden Panettiere, of Heroes fame. ILBC takes place on graduation night, a night that keeps making unexpected turns, especially if you are Denis Cooverman, the main character of the book and the one who professes his love for Beth Cooper in his graduation speech right in front of hundreds of people. This declaration will keep coming back to haunt him all night long, and will bring with it other, more lethal friends. I read most of it on the flight back from Spain to the JFK airport, and I laughed so much I can't wait to see the movie, which will almost certainly disappoint me. I'll keep you updated.

El club Dumas
I had actually read this novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte when I was in High School, and I had such fond memories of the book that I made the potential mistake of reading it again. Fortunately, I loved it as much as I did the first time, and I can therefore recommend it to everyone. El club Dumas mixes reality and fiction, The Three Musketters with different characters and events, and keeps the reader guessing as to what's going to happen next. The main character, a book hunter named Lucas Corso, is tremendously appealing, and his efforts to figure out what's going on and how the many different pieces of the puzzle fit together are great fun to read about. Besides, this book kept me company while I was in line at the San Diego Comic Con for hours on end, so I have that extra something to be grateful for. Go buy this book!

And that's it for July. Come back in a month to find out what I read in August!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Carpenter Child

Here you have a picture of Molly Carpenter, the first character from The Dresden Files I've tried to draw. I don't want to say too much about her so as not to spoil anything if you still haven't met her, so suffice it to say that I like her and I'm interested in seeing how she evolves. If you've read White Night, you'll recognize the clothes she's wearing, and if you haven't, well, they're just clothes anyway. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Denizens VII

This spidery guy was in the subway on page five. He was standing right next to Dhraya, who seemed to be freaking out a little about all his limbs. I'm going to guess he's probably a climber or a runner, definitely an outdoors sort of guy. As for the color, I'm going to go with dark blue or purple, because he reminds me of an action figure I had when I was little. (I think his name was Webstor, from the Masters of the Universe series.) At any rate, I hope you like the picture!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Denizens VI

We saw this guy in the background on page two of Worlds Collide. If you remember, Halagan guessed what his shirt said, even though we could only see about three letters. I really like this guy's face, and the hair also works for me. I have no idea who he is, and I only know he likes sports. Still, he was a lot of fun to draw, and I wouldn't mind exploring his personality in the future. Now there's a thought…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dead Indeed

El juego que me ha tenido entretenido durante el último par de meses es Dead Space, publicado por Electronic Arts y del que os hablé el pasado septiembre, cuando estaba a punto de salir. De momento sólo me lo he pasado en fácil, así que me quedan normal, difícil, e imposible, modo este que está disponible después de haberte pasado el juego una vez en cualquier nivel de dificultad.

En Dead Space el jugador controla a Isaac, uno de los tres miembros de la tripulación de la navecilla que encuentra a la USS Ishimura, una nave enorme que se haya orbitando un lejano planeta y en la que parece que algo ha ido mal. Tras el requerido aterrizaje en el hangar que va peor de lo que debería, Isaac y sus dos compañeros de viaje se adentran en las profundidades de la Ishimura y descubren, como a nadie debería sorprender, que algo ha ido espectacular y letalmente mal. En vez de tripulantes hay sangre por toda partes, las luces de emergencia están encendidas, y unos extraños monstruos hacen acto de presencia e intentan merendarse a los intrépidos rescatadores.

A partir de aquí, una serie de misiones separan a Isaac de sus compañeros, que, a través del sistema de comunicaciones incorporado en los trajes, le van dando instrucciones sobre los nuevos objetivos: reparar esto, buscar la sala tal, encontrar la llave para acceder a cierta cubierta, etcétera. Todo con el objetivo de reparar la Ishimura y ver si queda alguien vivo, aunque, ni qué decir tiene, al final lo único que importa es lograr escapar con vida del infierno en que la Ishimura se ha convertido.

Dead Space pertenece, como supongo habréis ya intuido, al estupendo género del survival horror, en el que, como su propio nombre indica, hay que sobrevivir al horror que te rodea. En este tipo de juego los gráficos, la ambientación, y la música y/o efectos de sonido son importantísimos, y Dead Space es fantástico en cada uno de estos apartados. Los gráficos están más que bien cuidados, y tanto tu animación como la de la infinidad de bichos que quieren ver a qué sabe tu brazo es estupenda. El diseño de las horripilantes criaturas sigue la tradición de bichos que parecen estar hechos de carne cruda (lo que supongo se puede decir de cualquier criatura, ahora que lo pienso) con extraños y afilados apéndices para sacarte las tripas con facilidad. Estos amables personajes parecen medio zombies, medio experimento genético fracasado, lo que sin duda explica sus malas pulgas y peores intenciones, y la mecánica del juego te obliga a desmembrarlos estratégicamente (sangre a borbotones) en vez de disparar a todo lo que se mueva. Cuando les cortas una pierna (o las dos), las dulces criaturitas se siguen acercando a rastras para degustarte, y en más de una ocasión, cuando les disparas en el estómago, la tripa se les abre para expulsar un montón de parásitos intestinales que, como ya habréis adivinado, no pierden tiempo en echarse sobre ti. La próxima vez, apunta a la cabeza.

Todos los niveles del juego (excepto uno) transcurren en el interior de la Ishimura, y gracias a que los creadores del juego han creado una grandísima variedad de camarotes y salas y secciones en la nave, los escenarios no se hacen repetitivos. A esto contribuye también la iluminación, con varias secciones en penumbra o pasillos en los que, de pronto, se va la luz por espacio de unos segundos, y lo único que oyes son ruidos de patas sobre metal caminando a tu alrededor. Como para tomárselo con tranquilidad, vamos.

Algo que también añade variedad a las misiones son las partes de la nave con gravedad cero. Moverse en gravedad cero es bastante irritante hasta que te acostumbras a ello (consultar el de otro modo utilísimo mapa en estas secciones es una pesadilla que os aconsejo evitéis), y hace que ciertos puzzles resulten más interesantes. Y a lo mejor es porque no soy muy inteligente, pero en más de una ocasión acabé, tras caminar por techo y paredes y dar vueltas y más vueltas, "llegando" a la escotilla por la que había entrado, y con mis reservas de oxígeno bajo mínimos.

El tanque de oxígeno es algo que se puede recargar en distintas estaciones, pero también se puede comprar en la imprescindible tienda cerca del principio de cada nivel. Es allí donde se pueden comprar packs médicos, munición, y nuevas armas, siempre y cuando hayas encontrado la tarjeta de datos correspondiente y la hayas llevado a la tienda. También aquí puedes ir cambiando de traje para mejorar tu protección y aumentar el número de objetos que puedes llevar contigo, algo que a priori puede parecer tonto pero que en más de una ocasión (y de cinco, y de diez) interfiere cuando menos te lo esperas. Afortunadamente, puedes vender lo que quieras en la tienda y guardar cualquiera de tus pertenencias en la caja fuerte que allí se encuentra, con lo que con un poco de planificación y paciencia puedes sacarle partido a prácticamente todo lo que te encuentres.

Otro aspecto importante son los bancos ("bench" en inglés), estaciones en las que puedes mejorar armadura y armamento utilizando los nódulos que hayas encontrado por ahí o adquirido en la tienda. Cada arma puede mejorarse hasta un máximo de aproximadamente unos diecisiete nódulos, y cada vez que haces esto debes decidir si prefieres decantarte por maximizar daño, velocidad de recarga, o cuánta munición cabe. En mi caso, me concentré en mejorar mis dos armas favoritas y mi traje, pues aumentar la resistencia y la capacidad del tanque de oxígeno es literalmente vital.

Ya que menciono salud y oxígeno, debo comentar que la forma en que las tradicionales barras de energía y demás están incorporadas en la pantalla me parece muy ingeniosa. Dead Space es un juego con perspectiva en tercera persona, con lo que siempre ves a Isaac desde detrás, y es ahí, en la armadura, donde se puede ver cuánta energía te queda, cuánto oxígeno has gastado, y un par de cosas más. De la misma forma, cada arma tiene un pequeño contador al lado de la mirilla que te dice cuánta munición te queda y lo rápido que la estás gastando cada vez que te toca luchar por la supervivencia del más apto.

En lo que a entretenimiento se refiere, me lo he pasado en grande con Dead Space, y sin duda volveré a pasármelo en distintos niveles de dificultad al menos un par de veces más. Cada nivel (hay doce) me costó "oficialmente" una hora y media aproximadamente, pero creo que el sistema no cuenta las inevitables repeticiones tras diñarla o cuando cargas una partida salvada, con lo que creo que decir dos horas o dos horas y media por nivel es más adecuado. Además, el nivel de dificultad (al menos en modo fácil) está bien medido, pues el juego no me resultó ni fácil ni difícil, y no me desesperé e insulté a mi pobre 360 más que dos o tres veces.

En resumen, Dead Space es un juego fantástico que hará las delicias de todo aquel al que le guste matar monstruos, y más aun si le gusta la ciencia ficción. También es requisito casi indispensable que te divierta ver sangre salpicando por todas partes, ya que el jueguecito es sangriento a más no poder. Pero vamos, que si lo que os he contado os resulta interesante, os garantizo que el juego os parecerá formidable.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Denizens V

Here you have the old lady we saw at the spaceport in Worlds Collide. She seems to be as unhappy as she was when we first met her, and she was also as much fun to draw as she was the first time around. Plus, today we discover she smokes! Anyway, I hope you like the picture!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Awake but Weird

It took me ten years, but at last I got to watch Eyes Wide Shut, the last movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. I wanted to see it for obvious reasons (i.e. Nicole Kidman with little to no clothes on), but it turned out to be more of a Tom Cruise movie than a Nicole Kidman one. But since I found the movie quite interesting, that didn't bother me in the slightest.

I know people make fun of Tom Cruise for a variety of reasons, but I think here he proves he is a good actor, and all those Tom Cruise vehicles we've been subject to in the past have done the actor quite the disservice. I loved him in Tropic Thunder, and while his role as Bill Harford is way more restrained than his profanity-prone producer in Stiller's film, I found him completely believable in his struggle with infidelity, his emotions, and the weirdness that surrounds his life for a couple of nights.

The movie is very slow paced, but the pervasive strangeness and the disturbing events that take place one after the other made it very intense at the same time. I wasn't bored for even a minute, and we're talking about a two-and-a-half-hour-long movie here. This is very interesting, because I watched EWS the day after going to see Transformers 2, which was also two and a half hours, and it's amazing how differently time went by. T2 was at least two hours too long, and it bored me out of my mind. EWS, on the other hand, kept me guessing the whole time, and I was invested in the story and the characters, and the movie didn't feel long at all. And I know this is hardly an epiphany, seeing as we're comparing one of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time with one of the most reviled directors ever, but it's nice to stop for a second and realize why one is sung as a hero and the other one is derided as a disgrace to the industry. It's good to find out things by yourself instead of just get your lines fed and accept them as indisputable truth.

As I said, EWS came out in 1999, so you guys have probably seen it already. What did you think? Did you like it? Maybe you thought it was too long? Not one of Kubrick's best efforts? (I haven't seen many of his movies, so I don't really know.) In any case, leave us some thoughts and comments!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Denizens IV

Here you have the French-looking guy from the subway panel on page 5. I think he's really snooty and full of himself, but it was terrific fun to draw him the first time, and I couldn't resist to take a shot at him again. I imagine him being greenish, but let me know if you think he should be a different color. Blue, perhaps? At any rate, I hope you like the picture.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Word I'm Looking For

I was curious to see this western adapted from a Robert B. Parker book and directed by Ed Harris, and while I liked it, it was nothing to write home about. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen star as a couple of marshals hired to capture the guy (Jeremy Irons) who killed the previous Appaloosa marshal and his deputies. The movie is very slow paced, but the acting is really good, and the relationship between Virgil Cole (Harris) and Everett Hitch (Mortensen) is definitely the best part of Appaloosa. Harris and Mortensen display a riveting old camaraderie, and it is impossible not to believe these two have known each other for years, and they know exactly how the other one thinks. Great acting, really.

So, if you want to watch a western with little to no action but with solid performances, rent Appaloosa. If, on the other hand, you're looking for lots of revolver action, then you should look somewhere else.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Denizens III

These happy fellows are Dhraya's classmates in her Virtual Environments class. As we all know by now, that class was an elective Dhraya was taking as part of her majoring in engineering, and it brought her a lot of grief. The first one on the left is Brenna, Dhraya's best friend, who is majoring in Computer Science and, I suspect, was the one that talked Koori into choosing to take this class. Will we see her again? Perhaps, perhaps.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Other Side

Is Mirrors a bad movie? Well, yes and no. Overall, it kept me entertained for an hour and a half. It was pretty intense, and while it was not scary, there were a couple of scenes that were tremendously shocking. (Think of the jaw, if you've seen it.) The movie, directed by Alexandre Aja, was suspenseful enough, and Kiefer Sutherland was likeable enough as Ben Carson to make me wish him well and see him extricate himself from the grim predicament he is in.
On the other hand, Mirrors is not exactly a breath of fresh air, and most elements in the movie were not very original. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and Sam Raimi just proved that in Drag Me to Hell, but Aja is no Raimi, and the movie suffers from it. Some of the special effects are quite bad, which really surprised me. There is a scene in which Kiefer Sutherland is apparently engulfed by flames, and I swear the fire in Gears of War 2 looks more real than that. But the worst offense, in my opinion, is the fact that Mirrors vaguely sets a series of rules for the world the story takes place in, and then violates them when it's convenient to move the story from point A to point B. In other words, the internal logic of the movie only holds true when it's convenient, and it is cast aside when there's need for something flashy or unexpected. You could argue that maybe I missed something, but I guarantee you I did not. I watched the movie with a couple of friends, and I asked them a bunch of questions regarding particular events and situations, and it took the three of us to kind of come with some semblance of a theory to somehow explain some of the developments of the film. The reason why we were having such a hard time wasn't because we're dumb, but because sometimes things happened without rhyme or reason: the plot demanded it, and it had to happen-- simple as that. Unfortunately, that's poor writing and lazy storytelling, and that is the thing that bothered me the most.

To sum it up, I would recommend that, unless you want to see Amy Smart's butt (not too unpleasant a prospect), go ahead and skip Mirrors, unless you are a scary movie buff. If you are, I think you will be entertained and little else. If you're not, though, this movie will probably come back to haunt you, and for all the wrong reasons.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Denizens II

This strange owlish creature is one of the aliens in the subway Dhraya rides to school on page five. I think she is half owl, half valkyrie, and I have a feeling this is not the last you'll see of her. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

You probably know about The Bucket List, the film directed by Rob Reiner that came out last year. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play a couple of guys who, according to their doctors, only have six months to live. Since Nicholson has a lot of money (ironically, he owns the hospital in which he is being treated), they decide to go and do everything they always wanted to do before they died.

The acting is great, and the movie is both funny and deeply moving, with one solid scene after another. We all know how the story is going to end, but there are a few surprises waiting for you nonetheless, so go ahead and check it out if you haven't already. You will not regret it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Denizens I

You know I like to do things the wrong way, and this is just another example of this strange mentality. After drawing lots of weird creatures in the pages of Worlds Collide, I realized I wanted to explore some of those characters a little bit more, so I started to draw several of them. Therefore, instead of designing a character and them having him show up on a panel, I had them on the panels, and then I went back and drew them individually as if I was designing them. Strange? Maybe a little. At any rate, here you have the waiter from The Meeting Place, where Dhraya takes Koori for dinner. I guess all those arms would come in handy (no pun intended) for a waiter. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Boring Mama

I rented this movie because I thought it was going to be really funny. I mean, since both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are funny, the movie would be funny too, right? Well, not really.

Baby Mama was amusing, and I chuckled a couple of times, but it wasn’t nearly as funny as I was expecting. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t funny at all, except for Steve Martin’s great performance. I only laughed out loud when he was onscreen playing a New Age CEO, but unfortunately he only has a very small supporting role, so those laughs were few and far between. Other than that, I actually think American Wedding might have been more entertaining. Oh, well…

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Assembly Line II

I was hesitant to draw something else on this page because I really liked the way Grimlock turned out, and I thought that, unless I did as good a job with the second robot, I would spoil the picture. So no pressure, right? And all that on top of what I mentioned yesterday: how difficult it is for me to draw Transformers because they feel like buildings and technology all rolled into one neat package, and drawing both buildings and machines is something that I find incredibly hard to do.

The process was the same this second time around. After deciding I wanted to draw Wheeljack, I went online and found a bunch of pictures of the character I could base my drawing on. Fortunately, the different variations of the character don't differ too much from one another (as opposed to Grimlock's), so it was relatively easy to settle on Wheeljack's final aspect. Still, it also took me over three hours to go from pencils to markers to inks, but I am also reasonably satisfied with the results.

I had also considered drawing a third robot, which would have been either Blaster or Jazz, and I spent some time trying to fit him in the background, but it just didn't work. In the end, I settled for just drawing the last part of the picture: a screen with text, since this picture was, from the very beginning, intended as a personalized birthday card for a friend who loves Transformers.
And that's it for this picture. I hope you like it, and that you enjoyed reading about the creative process. Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Assembly Line I

Transformers was the first comic series I started collecting, back in the '80s. At the time, I would draw the main characters all the time, but I was little and the pictures were not exactly award-winning material. Then the series was over, and I moved on to other comics. A few years ago, Dreamwave started putting out new Transformers books, and even though I never read any of them, the artwork blew me away. I remembered the what I considered just serviceable artwork from the original series, and the stuff Dreamwave was putting out was incredible. Here you had robots that actually looked like complex machines instead of a bunch of boxes put together. Then the IDW Transformers books were released (and they still are being put out by this publisher), and the artwork was mindbending. Artists like Don Figueroa, Guido Guidi, and EJ Su seemed to have been born to draw these characters. Never in a million years could I draw anything remotely like it. Never. So, of course, I decided to give it a try.

It's funny because, as I've said here on a number of occasions, I find drawing buildings and technology extremely difficult. And, to me, drawing Transformers is, by their very own nature, pretty much like drawing buildings and technology combined and turning the mixture into a character. I knew it was going to be hard, but I really wanted to have a go at it, so I looked up pictures of a couple of my favorite Autobots and decided to draw them together in a picture.

The first one is Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots, and it took me over three hours to finish him (original pencils here). I was looking at the photo references measuring distances and trying to make sure nothing was too big or too small. I was also difficult to decide on what he should look like because there are so many different versions of the character, and I wasn't sure which one to choose. In the end, I went for the traditional G1 look, and I must say I am quite happy with the results. I think he looks like a machine and a living creature at the same, and I think I got a reasonable enough resemblance so that Transformers fans would look at the picture and know that it is, indeed, Grimlock.

But as I said, this is only half of the picture, because I went on to add a second character to keep Grimlock company. If you want to see who it is, come back tomorrow and read us again!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cult Classic

I recently got a chance to watch Heavy Metal, the cult-classic animated feature from 1981. I only know the Heavy Metal magazine in passing, and knowing the kind of stuff they put out I had a reasonably good idea of what to expect. As it turned out, I was right, but I don't mean that in a bad way.

The movie was okay, even if the animation was terribly dated and quite strange at times (like the credits at the beginning), and it was true to what little I know of the magazine. There was some fantasy, some sci-fi, lots of nudity (and I mean ladies with boobs bigger than their heads), monsters, robots and spaceships. Such variety can be explained through the structure of the movie-- a collection of short stories with a common element: a powerful orb that everyone covets. This premise allows us to experience different tales, ranging from the crime noir to the aforementioned more standard sci-fi and fantasy portions of the movie, with the last tale being my favorite.

The movie wasn't great, but it was enjoyable, but one thing kept nagging at me throughout the whole film: that the stories would look much better on the page than they did on the screen. Maybe it was the animation that made me think so, but I honestly believe these tales would benefit from a panel-to-panel presentation, as this seemed to be their origin and kind of looked like a goofy attempt at translating the comic book sequentials into film. But maybe things would have been different had Heavy Metal been made last year instead of twenty-eight ago. And now that I bring it up, I hear they want to make another HM movie, and directors such as David Fincher, Gore Verbinski, Kevin Eastman, Mark Osborne, and James Cameron are interested in directing some of the different segments. I have a feeling that one is going to be way better than this campy romp!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hobo

Aquí tenéis un dibujillo que hice en clase el otro día, y que pensaba que había puesto en el blog pero resulta que no, que se me había pasado. Este dibujo lo hice durante mi Cartooning Club, un día en que una de mis niñas decidió dibujarme para burlarse de mí, aunque siempre con buen humor y sin malicia. Ni qué decir tiene, me puse manos a la obra inmediatamente para dibujarla a ella de vagabunda, aunque al final no llené el carrito con todas sus pertenencias (o viejas latas vacías) porque no tuve tiempo. De todas formas, creo que el dibujo quedó medianamente gracioso, así que ahí lo tenéis para vuestro disfrute personal. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Bite

Here's a movie that could have been so much more, but it turned out to be dull and rather boring. But let me tell you about the concept before I discuss my problems with the film.

Teeth tells the story of Dawn O’Keefe, a girl who has made a purity promise and therefore won't have sex until marriage. Or so she wants to think. At some point (I'm not spoiling anything, believe me) she finds herself in that situation, only to discover what the "teeth" in the title are a reference to: the myth of the vagina dentata.

Okay, you must be thinking this sounds horrible, and that of course the movie was bound to suck (or bite), but I disagree. I thought this was the perfect setup for a funny dark-humor comedy, a great mix of laughs and horror, kind of like the hilarious and underrated Idle Hands. I mean, come on! A high school girl with teeth down there, surrounded by horndogs who just want to get in her pants? Cue laughs, right? Well, not quite.

The main problem with the movie is, I think, the tone of the film. It takes itself too seriously, and it somehow aspires to be a drama. A drama. Really? It's a movie about a girl with teeth in her unmentionables, and you're going for serious instead of funny? What a horrible mistake that is. Who would take a movie like this seriously? Well, only the creators of the movie, as it turns out.

The second issue I had with the film, and almost as important as the first one, was that Dawn was an incredibly unlikable character. There she was, finding out she was a freak of the worst kind, and I just didn't care! She had proved to be so bitchy and narrow-minded, such a holier-than-thou bible beater, that I am almost ashamed to confess I thought she deserved pretty much all the grief coming her way.

So we have an unrelatable main character I wish the worst to in a movie that should go for the laughs but spectacularly miscalculates and goes for the angst and religious virtue instead. A movie that should be full of jokes but turns out to be one. A movie that I encourage you to give a wide berth. As if you weren't doing that already.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tharkay

Here you have a picture of Tharkay, the mysterious character from Naomi Novik's Temeraire series that makes his first appearance, if I remember correctly, in Black Powder War. I like Tharkay because he is cool and shrouded in mystery, and you never quite know when or where he's going to pop up. I also like his personality, and how he seems to be the exact opposite of Laurence when it comes to grabbing the dragon by the horns, so to speak. He is honor- bound... to himself, which makes for an interesting interaction between him and Laurence.
At any rate, I hope you like the picture!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Yawn

Today I'm going to talk about Children of Men, a movie I had been interested in for a long time. This film, starring Clive Owen, introduces us to a near future in which humanity has been rendered infertile and therefore has its days numbered. Needless to say, a pregnant woman emerges, and it's up to Clive Owen to protect her.

The premise was interesting, and the movie got all sorts of praise and good reviews when it opened back in 2006, so I was somewhat surprised to find out it was one of the most boring films I have seen in the last few years. It was The Hulk boring, Van Helsing boring. It was The Matrix Revolutions boring, Revenge of the Sith boring, minus the presumptuousness and delusions of grandeur. I lasted for about an hour or so, and then I went to get my laptop. Forty minutes later or so, I heard somebody shooting somebody else, and I looked at my TV screen, but all I saw was the logo: Children of Men. The movie had just ended, and someone had ostensibly died, but I didn't know who it was. And perhaps not surprisingly, I didn't care enough to push the rewind button and find out. So, if you guys have seen it, let me know how it ends. Or not.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cover Girl

Here you have the finished cover for Worlds Collide. If you remember, I showed you the original sketch a few days ago, but this time I did something different with it. Instead of just looking at the sketch and reproducing it on a bigger scale, I blew up the original sketch using a copying machine and then I traced it on the bigger sheet of paper. That way, I made sure I kept the exact background/figure ratio I had in the original layout. Once I had that done (it only took a few minutes), I started redrawing the whole thing and adding as much detail as possible. It took me about two and half hours, and after that I broke out the markers and technical pens and just inked the whole thing. I hope you like it!

Bonus: Check out the original pencilwork!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Witchblade #127

If last month's issue ended with a great (if not completely unexpected) cliffhanger, ish 127 knocks it out of the park. Come on, guys! Read Witchblade! I want somebody to talk about this book with! Why aren't you buying it? Maybe you don't like superb writing and spectacular artwork? Sara and Dani get to talk to each other about the Witchblade, and their little chat quickly becomes something else entirely. Like a flurry of accusations and blows, of punches and kicks and bloodshed. And then we get to the end of the issue and… And you'll have to buy it to know what happens next. I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on ish 128. I need to know what happens next!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Creepy Kidman

It's taken me eight years, but at long last I got to watch The Others, writer/
director Alejandro Amenábar's moody picture starring Nicole Kidman. It is very surprising that I managed to avoid spoilers for such a long time, but I'm glad I did. Otherwise, the surprise ending wouldn't have packed the same punch.

You've all probably seen the movie, but I still won't spoil it for you. Suffice it to say Nicole Kidman lives in a house with her two kids, and ghosts seem to also be part of the package. The kids can hear them and claim to be able to see them, and mommy doesn't believe them at first. It sounds like a trite story, but it is everything but.

The pace is really, really slow, something my mom pointed out as the reason why she didn't like it, but I thought the pace fit the story, the atmosphere, and the characters. Like Stephen King once said, not every story needs to unfold at double time, and even though it is true that people (myself included) seem to be put off by slow-cooking stories and tend to prefer fast-paced tales, I thought this was one of those occasions in which a slow build-up is the way to go. The movie was never boring, and I found myself wondering along with the characters what the hell was going on, but I wasn't in a hurry to get to the end of the film. At the same time, The Others is not very long, and maybe it would have tried my patience had it been otherwise. But it wasn't.

To sum it up, I really enjoyed the movie, and I would be curious to know what you guys thought about it, since I am pretty sure you must have seen it already. Let me know!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Crouching Vampire, Hidden Bloodsucker

Vampires are all the rage now, as we all know. Thanks to the Twilight books, the movie version of the first novel in the saga, and the HBO True Blood show that's based on the Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, vampires are cool. And now we get Blood: The Last Vampire, a movie based on a manga that looks like a cross between House of Flying Daggers and Bloodrayne. Anyway, check out the trailer, and let us know what you think!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Chicas

Un par de mis niñas de octavo me pidieron que les hiciera un dibujo, y como suele pasarme en estos casos, tuve cierta dificultad para negarme. El problema es que querían que las dibujase a ellas, y por más que les dije que no se me da bien sacar parecidos o hacer caricaturas, las chicas insistieron en que lo hiciera. Les pedí que me dieran varias fotos para poder hacer el dibujo, y me mandaron tan solo una en la que salían las dos, con lo que no es que tuviera demasiado material de referencia precisamente. Al final, el resultado del encargo lo tenéis acompañando estas líneas, y como no podéis saber si se parecen o no, tendréis que fiaros de mí cuando digo que "tienen un aire". Las niñas se rieron y, aunque les gustó, pensaron que el parecido era inexistente. De todas formas, y, como siempre que intento hacer retratos o caricaturas, fue un ejercicio interesante, así que supongo que podría haber sido peor. Enjoy!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Surrounded by Morons

I enjoyed this movie by Mike Judge so incredibly much I have to recommend it to everyone.
The basic premise of Idiocracy is that smart people are not having kids but dumb people procreate like rabbits, which is not far from the truth, if you ask me. After that has been established, we meet Joe (played by Luke Wilson), an army guy who is asked by the military to test their brand new hibernating technology. Joe is supposed to be frozen for a year, but for a variety of reasons he ends up sleeping for five hundred years. Joe is a completely average guy, but when he wakes up in the year 2505, he discovers a very unsettling truth: he is by far the smartest person on the planet. From there, hilarity ensues.

I could mention a hundred jokes that made me laugh, but instead I'll just tell you to rent this scathing satire of our idiotic society and have a blast. If you like it even just half as much as I did, you'll still have a pretty good time.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Comics, Hotties

It turns out that Megan Fox wanted to be a comic book artist, and she actually knows how to draw. Even better, she is a fan of Witchblade, Fathom, and Gen13, and her favorite artist is Jeff Scott Campbell. Doesn't she sound like the woman of my dreams? At any rate, check out this interview with her in which she reveals all this interesting information. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Portada abocetada

Como siempre hago las cosas al revés, supongo que a nadie sorprenderá que sea ahora cuando me estoy planteando dibujar la portada de Worlds Collide. Si alguien se percató de la ausencia de la misma cuando empecé a enseñaros el comic en abril, nadie dijo nada; pero estoy seguro que más de uno (o sea, mis dos coblogueadores) se preguntó dónde demonios estaba la portada. Bien, la otra noche me dio por ponerme manos a la obra, y éste es el boceto que me salió del lápiz. Tal vez no sea una portada magnífica que te llame la atención desde el otro lado de la tienda de comics (algo que no podría hacer aunque quisiera), pero creo que refleja, hasta cierto punto, el espíritu de la historia: la mezcla de lo cotidiano y lo inesperado, de lo familiar y la ruptura de lo convencional o las expectativas del lector. Ahora sólo me falta ponerme en serio y hacer la ilustración definitiva, pero lo más difícil, tener la idea, ya está hecho. Ya me diréis qué os parece!