Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Blues Brothers

I watched The Blues Brothers for the first time this past weekend.

I've seen the church scene close to a dozen times over the years. It skates so close to the edge ... but it always gets me, and chokes me up. I've seen the Aretha Franklin scene where she sings "Think" probably a half dozen times ...

When Chris realized I had never actually SEEN the whole movie from beginning to end, he insisted we watch it this weekend. Holiday weekend fun!!

It was great to see the scenes in context.

I watched Elwood pick up Jake from Joliet. Then as they drove away in that crappy car, I felt inspired! And I suddenly so wanted to make movies!


I have a short list of movies that have inspired me to want to make movies.

The first one to do that to me was Time Bandits, directed by Terry Gilliam. And most of what Luc Besson has directed has done that. I watch the movie and I am inspired!! This is all probably a blog post unto itself ... but I am meanwhile basking in the happy inspiration ...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Then Free Comic Book Day Only Got BETTER ...!

The inking on this cover is beautiful.

It was so great to go to one of our local comic book stores for Free Comic Book Day. I have less time for the casual visit nowadays since I've had to prioritize completing certain things for school ... so having FCBD to set aside a specific time to catch up in person is really nice.

Usually we'd go to Rick's Comic City over in Donelson. For a store focused on All Things Comics, the location is clean, family-friendly, has an incredible range of GREAT comics choices on hand and is a flat out beautiful shop. And Rick (yes, there is a real Rick!) usually plans fun events and artist signings and some customers even dress up in costumes. It's pretty cool to go.

But I had a meeting in midtown that Saturday, so we decided instead to go visit The Great Escape on Charlotte Avenue. If you want to nerd out on old-school comics and All-Things-Collectible -- like vinyl records, posters, DVDs, and toys -- this is your place.

We went later in the day which was really helpful, since by then the line had thinned out. We also got our choice of 5 comics each, which was reeeally nice. It bummed me out that they were already out (no surprise) of the Sponge-Bob and The Tick comics, but we got a whole lot of other good ones: the Doctor Who comic, Scooby-Doo Team Up and Bongo Comics were my favorites out of the pile.

All trades and HCs were also on sale, so we wandered around looking to see what was available and maybe worth getting. What caught my imagination and eye was a volume of Roy Thomas Presents Planet Comics Volume 7 hanging out on the new(ish) side of the comic book shelves. The cover art by Joe Doolin was just gorgeously inked. Doolin's interior art -- he draws different stories depending in the issue -- isn't as pretty, but it's solid. What fascinated me was just the really simple layouts and the really simple coloring -- everything is the old style flat coloring. And it was super-interesting to observe that of the flat coloring there were clearly some that was bad and that was good. It all depended on how skilled the colorist was (but they were all uncredited!). I haven't painted in years now, so I thought it might be an interesting (as well as simple) study as I foray into coloring again. I've tried reading the comics, but I must admit, it's just not a great enjoyment. I have contented myself with simply flipping through and examining the artwork and coloring several times so far. Maybe over the summer I will try again to read certain stories.

Yay! My very own copy!!

The day only got better and more chock-full of comics, because when we got home waiting at the doorstep was our copy of Matthew Bogart's The Chairs' Hiatus GN, which we had bought through his Kickstarter campaign. He did SUCH a beautiful job packaging this book! The story is still on his website and can be read online for free -- and he has copies of the GN available for sale as well.

Comic Book Happy Dance!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

I love LOVE LOVE Avengers: Age of Ultron! Yes, better than the first Avengers movie. (Yes, I said it.)

I think the first Avengers movie introduces characters and sets things up really wonderfully -- but then Avengers: AOU really carries it through and you get to start to know and truly care for the characters -- ie., they are not one-dimensional. This past week to prep seeing Avengers:AOU a SECOND time (!) we watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. re-watched the first Avengers, then re-watched Captain America: Winter Soldier and then went to re-watch Avengers: Age of Ultron. Oh my gosh, you just get your socks knocked off.  The T.V. show is GREAT -- and what an amazing bunch of films. Each film is successively better! They've truly made the best of these characters in translating them from comics into film. Wow.

That opening scene was stuffed full of gorgeously laid-out shots that looked JUST like comic book panels -- that was SOOOO exciting! LOL That director Joss Whedon would do that was just so special!! I was absolutely geeking out looking at it -- I was completely delighted by the visuals. I felt like I was 17 years old again -- relishing my first Marvel Comic ... Wow.

Look, I loved it so much we went to see it a second time in the theater -- and we've flat out never indulged in seeing a movie in the theater twice since we've been married, and that's over 13 years now. So this is a huge deal to me!

I love Joss Whedon's storytelling. Once Chris introduced me to Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel T.V. shows, we have since really done our best to see the TV shows and movies he makes (okay, but I didn't watch his horror one -- The Cabin In The Woods -- because I'm just not a horror movie fan.) Whedon's a brilliant man, and blessed with the ability to have pulled these projects together (loved Dr. Horrible and I'm really enjoying the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV Show!).

Looking at the enormously long credits reel at the end of Avengers:AOU (& I'm a total production nerd: I stay until the very, very end of movie credits regardless of whether there's a tag scene at the end, just to see the sheer scope. Plus I wanted to double check that it was opera singer Maria Callas that Banner was listening to on his headset -- and it was!! YAY!) I know it must be so hard to wrangle all the logistics necessary to have pulled this off and done it SO incredibly well! Between that and for the Marvel Comics guys to oversee all the movies to make them a cohesive Universe/whole ... Thanks to all of you ladies and gentlemen, for teaming up and making it all work out for the greater good and our great enjoyment!

Y'know, there came a point where I was just suffering comic book burnout. You can only go so dark for so long in a comics universe that's supposed to be made of heroes .... until it just burns out your desire and enjoyment to even read them.

I mean, heroes should be heroes. That's why we dream of them and of being like them and make stories about them so constantly and consistently. Do they have human flaws? Sure, of course, but they're striving to be bigger than the flaws, better than the flaws, and they're trying to survive and overcome the flaws. We so need to see that!

Thank you, Mr. Whedon, Mr. Feige and every single one of you ever named on all those Marvel movie and TV Show credit reels -- all of you for keeping the Marvel heroes truly heroic. Ya'll have done a beautiful job!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 2!!

Tomorrow, Saturday May 2 is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

If you haven't been to a comic shop in a while -- or ever -- Saturday, May 2 is a great day to stop in to a shop near you, and sample a few free comics provided to you by your local comics retailer and loads of comic book publishers!

Go Go GO!!!