Thursday, September 1, 2011


Movies today are just padding for action scenes. They dont have to act, write, anything. If they think a little and have a neat visual design, they can sell it even to geeks who think they know better. You dont know better geeks, you are being suckered in by the nerd things. Suckerpunch was literally three fight scenes, nothing more. Inception was a heist movie that barely wanted to sit still before it made some effects go PCHOO SHOOSH LOOKIE WOO. Scott Pilgrim, reportedly the most character-focused geek movie to come out, I dunno, in a while, was dull and simple. They hoped you were distracted by the pretty effect explosions and hot damn you were.

I thought, well, maybe I dont like movies at all. Maybe they're just too short, and I prefer the length and detail of a good book or comic. A lot of books and comics are just trying to be action action kabam whee fwoosh, but whatever. You cant do that shit well in a book, so a lot of it is actually made up of stuff.

But I'm in a film class now, and I have been taught. There were once movies that actually had.... actors. And, and, extended story sections that werent fucking exposition.

These days, movies are all spectacle, light and sound. Maybe its because they cant compete with TV or whatever when it comes to story and characters. Two hours is a short time. Or maybe hollywood is a soulless machine that presses the thousands of people involved into hotdogs. Whatever.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art Update: Done!

Ha, so I say I'm almost done with the comic, and it really takes me about ten more days to finish it. Granted, I've moved back home in that amount of time.... But its done. 32 pages of brightly-colored glory.

Dont feel nearly as exceited as when I hit the halfway point. Maybe thats because I'm not sure what to do now... I have sites I was looking at, dreams too, but now, like any artist, I look over my pulp and wonder if it really is any good. I loved making it, and I want to keep doing this. But jeez, what now?

It'll be up, somewhere, in a week or two. Probably will work on drafts for the next two chapters while I figure some things out. I've learned a lot from these first chapters, what looks good and what doesnt, how to layout my panels, whats needed in every one. Lots of stuff I have to figure all out again.

Thanks for existing, internet!
I hope someone remembers me.
Maybe someday it'll have its own website, but one step at a time here.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I'm in the home stretch of this comic, very close to finishing the entire first chapter. It, and some video games, have distracted me from making blog posts. Not like anyone’s reading BUT ANYWAY.

I don’t like to visit forums anymore, or keep in contact with a lot of my skype contacts. It’s for a couple reasons. I don’t feel like I have anything to add to conversations, most forums get cluttered with dumbasses, and whoever's not a dumbass is usually fourteen.

Now, I'm almost 22, and I hesitate to keep talking to someone who tells me they're still in high school. I've seen the accusation of ageism being thrown around, hating on people younger than you simply because they're younger. I'm going to state my argument against them in this lonesome corner of the internet, away from flame wars.

I when I was fourteen, if someone told me that I'd be hanging out with eight-year-olds, I'd probably be confused, if not annoyed. They can be the most well-spoken and polite eight-year-olds on the planet, but I'm in high school, and they're in third grade. I think I still played pretend in third grade. I can play with those eight year olds, but it’s not going to be something I do with a peer.

So, at 21, when I'm told people are still in high school, I hesitate to really make friends with them. I remember how I was at fourteen... what my problems were, my likes and dislikes. I make Evil Inc at age fifteen, I can just read through those to remember what it was all like. I don’t want to hang out with old me. I won’t call myself dumb, but I just don’t think I could find much to say or relate to. I liked Naruto and Bleach back then, while now I read Black Jack and Skip Beat. My big problem in high school was unrequited love, my big problem now is getting a job and an apartment. We could talk, but there’s no way I would treat 14 year old me as a long-term friends, just as I wouldn’t treat an eight year old as a peer.

Plus there's just the added barrier of eighteen years old... are you a pedophile for making friends with a bunch of fourteen year olds? I mean, just think if a twenty-year-old wanted to do that in real life. If you're lucky, you can feel like the cool older brother/sister. If you're not, or if everyone is treated as a peer... well, you don’t feel like you are. You feel out of place. Its only six years, but it feels like a generational gap. Hell, I don’t understand my own siblings likes, and my sister is only three years younger than me. My brother, six years younger, likes Hannah Montana unironically. They still watch Disney Channel. Even when you're acting open-minded, it’s not like you can talk about the same things, the same problems.

Its not ageism to want to avoid or exclude those younger than you. It’s just pesky real-world issues and awkwardness bleeding over into this perfect, amorphous internet blob.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Art Update: There was a lens flare... AND MOTION BLUR

Objects in motion... difficult to do for a still picture. Um, so I've heard. There's a lot of tricks... including MOTION BLUR. Dont you just love not being able to see what the heck is going on in a picture? You do? Then motion blur the crap out of it. If I have to use motion blur... I try to use it sparingly. If I can avoid it, I do so. Its wonderful to look at all the time and effort spent by an artist to make a clear action, a realistic movement, without resorting to cheap shortcuts. throwing in computer-generated motion blur is one of those cheap shortcuts that doesnt look bad I guess, but its not like it looks amazing either. When drawing, a few quick lines can portray all the movement you'll ever need.

See, light, little lines that dont obscure what I want to show. The knife is blurry though. But its hand drawn motion blur, so that makes it okay.

This computer generated motion blur... it doesnt that good. Its not ultra obscuring, but I take one look at it and wonder if the picture's gone out of focus.

mmm... little better

So yes, in the future, know that I'm a cheap artist who has to resort to tricks to make her art seem better. And quick little lines are better than cheap tricks.
Except in the case of my comic, where the quick little lines of pencil or pen are crazy hard to duplicate. I could spend an hour on those lines and still not have them look right. Plus, they might clash with the style, which is very exact and clean when it comes to characters. What am I to do? Here's about what I went through.

So here's normal Ken running... ignore the wierd position his legs are in. 

I dont even know.
 Motion blur... get the hell offa my picture.
 I've added a background as contrast, because some of the lines are rather light. This looks pretty good in places... but awful in others. This would take way longer to make than what I want to spend on it.
Grey. Stop throwing on motion blur. It doesn't fix anything.
 Both of these are a little bit better, but its still no masterpeice. Certainly portrays movement, but it doesnt look all that spectacular. Maybe because its because its just a generic, line-y blur. Maybe with a little
 NO, I wasnt going to say with motion blur!!!! Did we just put motion blur on top of motion blur?!

Now, Steve says that this is the best. And I'm just sitting here and gnawing on my lip. Its servicable, thats all it is. It works, but its not particularly artistic or fancy. And it doesnt fit my cartoony style all that much. But in cartoons it would be all like...

I think I like it.

Good GOD is this silly.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

20th Century Boys

There's two different ideas behind releasing serial content, be it a TV show, manga chapters, or webcomic pages. Are you writing for its full release, be it on DVD or in volumes? Are you writing so that once its all done, it comes together into one solid emotional arc? Or are you writing so that each serial peice has an emotional impact, each chapter or episode leaving you to want for more? The former way means you have to wait a long, long time to get the full feel of a work, and sometimes leaves the individual episodes dull. The latter means when you're re-reading or watching the work in its completed form, it becomes mind-numbingly exausting to have each and every chapter try and build up for the next one.

This is exactly my feeling as I'm reading 20th Century Boys. Not the band, a manga released by Naoki Urasawa. It ended about six years ago, and I'm reading through it for the first time. After an amazing fifty chapter setup (yes, five volumes, seinin manga really take thier sweet time) the story suddenly skips forward about fifteen years and you start to hear the drums. The drums in the background that slowly get louder and louder and louder and louder, each beat saying "getting intense now, GETTING SO INTENSE!" They go on for so long you stop being into the expeirience and just wonder how fast the drums will go until it just gets silly. And you know, I've hit the 130th chapter, and with another 100 chapters to go, this manga has really overworn its welcome.

It just feels like each chapter was written solely to perpetuate its existance. Its not about telling a good story and having it come to a timely conclusion. Its going to soap opera route where it just piles on more and more bullcrap drama and twists. While you're reading serially you might go "holy shit holy shit hooooly shit!" But when you step back and look at it as a whole, there's really nothing to this manga. The only moment in this entire manga I really felt touched me was the release of Kenji's song, which isnt even in the dang manga. Yes, a bonus track is more touching than this entire dang manga. Maybe its touching because I have context for it... but shouldn't that kind of impact be in the manga itself?

The other major flaw with this work is that its just so dang silly. Even if you took away the constant ramping up, the major twists are just laughably ridiculous. The story is literally trying to take dumb kid's ideas and make them into a legitimate threat. No, really, some kids in 1970 think up a plan to save the world, and some dudes find it and decide to really reenact it. The villains do feel threatening and unstoppable, even post-setup. But what are supposed to be major dramatic turns just wind up being freaking ridiculous. I've laughed more than this dumb story wanted me to. Here's a moment from the part I really liked, the fifty chapter setup. We're about to see the villain, Friend's face for the first time.... oh my goodness its.... ITS.... a dumb mask. A really silly looking mask. And I just laughed. Every time that mask turns up... well, they're trying to make the mask threatening in its childlike appearance. Like that Laughing Man thing from Ghost in the Shell. When you see the Laughing Man's logo after its been set up, you flip a shit, even though it doesn't look all that threatening. When you see Friend's mask.... well, yeah, you know its the villain's thing, but whatever, its a dumb mask. Can we just see who the hell this guy is, please? We saw Johan's face, Urasawa, and we were freaking intimidated by it! Stop dragging this nonsense out!

Right, this is by the man who wrote Monster, which despite it's serial feel, the work felt like it was actually going somewhere. On the other hand, this is the same guy who wrote Pluto, which is cohesive in volumes, but just so dang silly. Take that as you will... but I'm done with 20th Century Boys. Maybe I'll keep reading, maybe I wont. It might be worth a look at, faceless internet, but don't go into it expecting a classic.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Art Update: Card Win, Troll Fail

I am done with the first seventeen pages of The Devil Dreams of Card Games. No, wait, let me say that in a more elated voice. Ahem HALF THE FIRST CHAPTER IS DONE AUG I FEEL AWESOME. It only took um, a month, once I got focused. Average time spent per page is um... eight or nine hours. For something that looks slapped together in MSPaint... I feel goddamn badass. Only 15 more pages and chapter one is done! And since 30ish pages updating three times a week is 10 weeks... spending two months creating a chapter is perfect!

Here's a sample of the work I do. And kinda how a major part of the world works.

I have NO IDEA why I feel so elated over something that takes so much freaking time! Must be those five CocaColas!!!

So, um, mt other work! The Trollmance Fanfiction! Yeah...

Why did I try to write a fanfiction again? It became more about fanon of the adult world, rather than an exploration of relationships.
Incomplete, but I like the style. Sorta NSFW? One panel of a silloetted butt, does that count?

Monday, June 27, 2011


When I was growing up, Pokemon and Digimon were my bread and butter. The most awesome, coolest shows around, my stalwart favorites. I had this bunny I dragged around and pretended to be a Patamon, I dreamed up a million ways how they could make a Pikachu real. I made up my own worlds based on them, imagined a bunch of fanfiction about Ken Ichijoji and Eevees... um, not at the same time. I never imagined a cross over or anything. But there was something wonderful about having cute little superpowered pets that were my loyal friends.  These were beautiful shining worlds away from adults, where you could romp around in forests and just... be. And then I got into Dragon Ball Z and I forgot all about those silly shows. There was manly things to watch, dangit!

Even though I had grown past watching the Pokemon show, I still indulged in its other media. Especially the card game... god I was a card game addict... But thats not what I'm talking about here! I read and enjoyed two Pokemon comics, Pokemon Adventures, which paralleled the games, and The Electric Tale of Pikachu, which paralleled the anime. Even though I was past thinking how wonderful it would be to have a Pikachu, these two manga captured that special feeling about the world. A world of adventure, and of friendship. Were fantastic creatures are everywhere, and will be your friend if you reach out. A world to wander in without worry, or maybe small trivial worries. The Electric Tale of Pikachu had a bit of "crap, where are we gonna get the money for this???" but most of the time, it was just a big, bright world.

And this brings me to what I actually want to talk about. Mokepon.

Mokepon is... well, it's okay, but it has the feeling of the amateur writer that I cant shake from page to page. The art is amazing, but the characters feel stiff, like they're only a step up from talking heads. The story is interesting, but the execution is... well... it goes up and down, it took a chapter or so to really get into it. And the main character, jeez, I feel like I've seen this guy a million times. Heck, nobody really feels like they have depth to them.

But I'm telling you, read the dang story, all none of you who read my blog. While I was reading it, I got that same feeling. I got the feelings I had when reading Pokemon Adventures. This is a bright, colorful world of adventure! A world of cuddly pals where kids can have fun without fear! And the main character knows he lives in this world, he just doesnt care for it.

I have read dozens of Pokemon fancomics at this point, and none of them can really seem to grasp this same wonder. Most respectful approaches seem more interested in cracking wise than really getting into the mood. Any comic with a cynical approach usually just strips out all charm to the world, which I feel is missing the point.

But Mokepon gets it right. Any feeling of artistic immaturity I get from it is stifled, because this author understands that childlike awe that makes up Pokemon. Just because you've grown up past the Pokemon world doesnt mean the Pokemon world has grown up with you. Just because you dont buy into friendship, battles, and all the other tiny little Pokemon details, it doesnt mean that they change. It feels like, as an adult, you pick up the Pokemon games again, and you are just so frustrated with how insipid it all is. Your feelings arent going to change anything, you're going to go through with the ridiculous exercise anyway.

In that sense, I can understand Atticus, the main character, perfectly. He is wonderfully suited to this comic because he has very little variation to him. And his Charmander, or Dragonthing, is there to try and bring him back to his younger mindset, to care about the world. Dragonthing doesnt succeed right away, of course he doesnt. But you can see the journey that's in front of the two of them, its the journey you see a million times, of friendship and teamwork. But its interesting, because that part's not glossed over in the first chapter, its the entire point of the comic, the developing bond between Pokemon and Trainer. I wouldnt be surprised if they become much stronger friends than any of the moony-eyed children, because they had to struggle to connect, to see eye to eye. Um, maybe, this is just me guessing.... but see? Even though I think the craftsmanship is a little shoddy, this comic gets Pokemon. I can get into the world just as well as I could with the two professional comics. And this one's free!

In a final word... Pokemon Adventure is for when you're ten, when the world is new, broad, and without problems. Electric Tale is for when you're fourteen, when you know there should be a few issues here and there that call for explanation, but you're still into the idea. Mokepon is for when you're eighteen, where you've grown up past the ridiculous aspects, but Pokemon will always have them anyway. If only to make it hard for you.