New Hobby

September 20, 2012

There is something very interesting that I’ve come across in my readings.

(That makes it sound like I’m a research scientist that commonly reads peer reviewed articles all the time. Or it makes me sound like I could be a wizard that reads old tomes for new spells in my arsenal. Or maybe I’m just a nerd for pointing this out.)

In some of the comics I’ve been reading lately the writer has decided to do something very interesting with changing the perspective of the story between two characters.

The comic is called The Unwritten. (It’s fantastic by the way and you should be reading it) Somewhere around issue 30 the author decided to speed up the story by releasing a new issue every two weeks. For comics, every two weeks is insane. Once a month is the standard throughout the industry (and still even popular titles get delayed from meeting this goal from time to time.) So what’s happening here is insane on some level involving logistics and timing.

But the story-driven purpose behind this move is to see the story through two different characters’ eyes. These two characters are the protagonist, a reluctant hero thrown into a situation not of his own doing, and the main antagonist, a very evil man that is immortal and relentless in reaching his goal. On issues with a whole number we learn what happens next to our hero. On issues that have a “.5” after the issue number we get to see more of the baddie’s story.

I don’t think I’ve ever read something like that before that also managed to flow quite so nicely.

While I won’t be able to do exactly the same thing I think I would like to give something like this a shot for my NaNoWriMo novel. I think I’ll incorporate the antagonists story as well. Could be a lot of fun. (I also recognize it could be a massive headache.)

With that said, I think I already have laid the foundation for a story that could potentially work out on this. My short story The Man in Blue could be fun to try and expand upon. I think there’s a whole lot to be said for our poor hero. I think there’s even more to said for our mysterious antagonist.

This is not an official statement on “this is the story”, but it’s a thought that I think could work. I’m also leaning toward my story about that one guy waking up in his underwear and traveling to another dimension. Or I could just totally come up with another idea that will haunt me forever.

Alrighty…that’s all for now.

Sleepy time she comes,

D.A.

 

 

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The Fifth of May

May 4, 2012

For some this is a wonderful day. Many celebrate the day with cheers and fireworks. Some celebrate it because they were married on that day (some personal friends I know). And some people celebrate it in the coolest way possible.

Free Comic Book Day.

All around the country comic book retailers are giving away comic books to help boost the cause of leotard wearing heroes. They will be supporting the growth of one of the most American and genuine forms of visual media that exists today. Also, they will have people dressed up in some pretty sweet costumes that are likely to make me jealous. (Yeah, I want to be a stormtrooper…so what?)

I also may get to see an actual TARDIS. Now that would be pretty awesome. If I do come across a real one (as is implied by the email I receieved) then soon history will change because I will travel through time and will likely insert myself into some pretty significant moments in history. I might even have a presidential portrait. (Spoilers).

The point is…if I post tomorrow…it may not have been posted tomorrow. It may have been posted by me, but the me from the future. And not the me of the future that is the tomorrow me, but the 2186 me. I could also end up being the same person from the 2186 version as I am now because I could have traveled through time to get there, then realized how I forgot to post on this Saturday nearly 200 years earlier.

Are you still with me?

I know it’s complicated. But that’s time travel for you. It’s all wibbly wobbly timey wimey…stuff.

You too should also visit a comic book store so they continue to stay in business as well as provide the public with free services like TARDIS tours and stormtrooper marches. You know, cool things.

D.A.

Into The Fire

April 24, 2012

Occasionally, the world seems to crash down around you. Other times it seems to put itself on your shoulders like an ugly sweater made of lead. And sometimes the world just keeping poking you until you yelp out in pain, then it keeps poking.

Different people deal with stress relief differently. Some people have to surround themselves with friends. Sometimes people need to be alone.

Most of the time, I’m the person that needs to be alone.

Even if I got in an argument with somebody or I had to make a very heavy decision, I would need to chill out.

Actually, I would need to look into the fire.

I mean this both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, starting into fire is a comforting thing to do. Almost any fire will work but most of the time it should be a campfire. A fireplace would suffice as well. As long as it has an orange flicker and wiggles as it destroys something it’ll work.

Why fire? Well, it’s pretty simple. Men like myself have always stared at fire. Way back in the day when humans were wearing loin cloths and banging rocks together men still stared into the fire. It’s a beautiful thing. The flames seem to draw you in. It’s relaxing.

It also means I can focus on the fire. I can let it cook my thoughts away. Not permanently however, only for a short period of time. As soon as that flame goes out, I focus back on the situation that put me there.

But at least I was able to take my brain off the topic for that little bit.

Metaphorically, looking into the fire could be a way of refining or cleansing my mind. It burns away all the underbrush so it will prevent a much larger fire from starting. Inside of just being a small fire in a confined area, it would spread to the entire forest. This is like a little disturbance messing with my head but later spreading to insert itself into my heart and personality.

We all need to let things burn away every now and again.

If some of these thoughts made you say something like “Wow, this guy’s really saying something here.” then you probably need to stop. I’m not really saying it. It sort of stolen from this couple who writes books for couples and relationships. The book I’m referencing is called Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Read Maps. The people who wrote it are Barbara and Allan Pease.

No, I didn’t read this book, only heard some people today talk about the subject of it. And it sort of makes sense to me right now.

Sometimes I just want to get away from everything, not just people, but from my brain as well. And just like a child being distracted by shiny keys I get distracted by fire.

Of course this doesn’t HAVE to be fire. It could be working out in a wood shop or just browsing the clearance section at Books-A-Million. Either way, I don’t have to talk to anybody, I can just focus on the pretty colors of the covers and move on to the next.

I think this explains my weekly ritual of going to the comic shop every Friday after work.  I unwind by just looking at the same comics that were on the wall last week. I don’t call anybody after work and ask them if they want to take the 25 mile drive just to got buy 8 bucks worth of comics.

And nobody in the store really questions why I’m there. They know I’ll talk when I’m ready.

It’s good to know what my fire is.

D.A.

 

Hey, it’s Friday!

Would you like to have a peek into my real life?

Why are you making that disgusted face? No really. Can I share something with you that is sort of my unwinding ritual from the work week?

WHY ARE YOU GETTING READY TO CLICK AWAY?!

Come on! I’m serious!

And it’s nothing weird. I promise.

Every Friday, when I get off of work, I decide to treat myself to driving out Comic Central. Ahh yes, my “local” comic shop. (It looks really creepy when I use the quotation marks there. It makes it seem like I fly in from Venus or something… Just ignore them and pretend that I put them there for comedic effect.)

Here is the place where I pick up my subscriptions, chat it up with some of the local geekery, and generally just waste a lot of time.

I usually walk out with spending 7 to 8 bucks in picking up subscriptions. Sometimes, when I’m feeling crazy, I pick up a trade paperback of something that I think I would be interested in. Then is just awesome to go off and have a conversation with an adult and talk about things that don’t totally matter.

Most of the time I spend there is chatting it up with one of the employees. Mostly we just shoot the bull, but sometimes we get into some really good discussion about what makes comics so… good. This always perks me up after a hard day/week.

I think social things like this really help to reset my clock and help me prepare for the whole next week.

It’s one of those things I look forward to during the week. And I’m happy I’ve got one of those things. I don’t really know how I would survive without something in it’s place.

But the time has come where I’m caught up on all my comic readings and I need more.

That’s where you come in. Tell me what to read next!

I’m pretty surprised in myself because I don’t recall having asked for this advice on here before. But, if my memory serves me correct, I recall many of my fellow internet friends (that’s you) have read plenty of comics.

This is your time to shine. I will take any and all suggestions. You want to suggest a comic about sharks that do martial arts and combat an army of sea bass? Cool, I’m with that. You want to suggest a comic of teens dealing with middle school drama and vampires? Alright, I could give it a shot. You feel like suggesting a black and white comic with no dialogue about flowers that are actually ultra powerful demigods in Norse mythology? I guess I’m good with that too.

Anything. I’m willing.

And if possible, try to sell it to me like a used car salesman. I would think would be fun as well.

D.A.

Gee Willikers

October 13, 2011

It’s been another rough week.

At least I haven’t taken any cell phones from students this week… (he says before Friday)

I know you ravenous followers of this blog have been wondering, “What did D.A. do this weekend that was so cool that he couldn’t come and chat with us?”

I’d rather just show you.

 

That grainy photo is a photo of my bedroom wall and what hangs from it in peaceful splendor.

What do you mean you don’t know what it is?

I’ll tell you what it is! It’s actual, glorious, magnificent, lovely, genuine, bona fide, autographed memorabilia. Autographed from a Mr. Frank Miller.

Yeah, THAT Frank Miller.

A true legend. And I have a poster that has been signed by his hand. The same hand that wrote The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. The creator of the 300 comic and film. The man behind Sin City, Ronin, and reviving Daredevil from the ashes. The man known for his hard scowl and his preference of fedora hat choices. 

And gee willikers does it look fancy. A fanboy’s dream come true. And it’s alllllll mine!

How much would you say something this incredible is worth?

$200? $300? $1000?!?!

$10.50 plus tax.

Yes, it’s real. Yes, it’s pretty cool. But it’s not all that awesome when you think about it. Allow me to ‘splain.

The poster was free. I got it from one of my awesome cousins who managed to attend Comic-Con San Diego this year. She was smart enough to have him sign a few posters as well as put them safely in her room while she attended other festivities. She talked to me and said, “Hey, you like comics, you will probably like this.” And she was right, I did.

Since this was my first autographed piece of … something… I then decided I should try my hand at making it presentable as well as preserved for any future plans.

So I bought a big frame from Ikea and a sheet of red poster board.

Voila! Magic.

The poster board is the exact same red that is used in the poster. The black frame is just classy enough to look stylish as well as collective. It’s well done if I do say so myself.

Is the poster/signature worth anything? No, not really. It’s a poster of Mr. Miller’s most recent release called Holy Terror. He was signed a butt-ton of them at every event he’s attended for the past year.

The comic the poster is for? It’s gotten some pretty bad reviews because it’s designed to offend almost everybody with a conscious that reads it. I don’t plan on reading/owning this graphic novel, but it’s history is just strange enough to be of some mild interest to some die hard Miller fan. Apparently this was supposed to be called “Holy Terror, Batman!” and it was to feature the Caped Crusader battling Al-Qaeda. Turns out it was too bloody and too heartless to be a Batman comic, so Miller dropped the idea and gave it to a whole new character named “The Fixer”.

Now that you’ve had your fill of useless comic book knowledge allow me to also declare that I have made myself very proud in my ability to dress things up more than they are worth. I think this poster looks like it belongs in some office with black leather furniture and a big sexy desk. (I don’t know why I used the word sexy right now, but it seemed to fit.) It should also feature a life sized replica of an Imperial Guard in the corner.

So, there it is. The reason I couldn’t get to all of you this weekend was due to my shopping experiences and construction of this project. (And yes, it did take some time trying to center and mount this silly thing.)

Now, as for why I haven’t posted during the week… well that’s another issue entirely.

I never got around to dumping a whole lot of posts on here and then setting them up to post throughout the week. That would have been really smart of me. But, that’s soooo much work. And I already work a lot during the day. So…. yeah.

Anyway. I hope your time perusing around here was enjoyed.

D.A.

 

 

 

I’m Just Going To Warn You

September 5, 2011

Now that I’ve been working like a big boy for a few weeks I come to realize something.

Vacations are really really nice.

No, I haven’t taken one. But this long weekend was just so darn wonderful that I wish I had more time to do just this. Not only is it nice to have a whole extra day off, but it’s also really nice to have a short work week coming up.

So what is that thing that I love to do when I get free time?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It just feels good to not get anything done.

So I think I’ve been making a few plans in my head to help me plan a good summer vacation. Yes I know that Labor Day is generally considered the last day of summer vacations, but I guess it’s never too early to start planning.

I’m contemplating making a trip to Comic Con in San Diego. I have a cousin who recently asked me if I would be interested in going with her. She went this past year and said it was incredible (minus the long hours waiting in line to see a cool panel). I said I would be interested.

Would it be expensive? Yeah, a little, but the benefit is that there would be no charge for staying in a hotel. I have family over there and they live very close to the area.

So that could be happening.

Also, I spoke with my grandmother that lives in Missouri. She asked if I would be coming up any time soon. I said that could totally happen. So why not? Why couldn’t it happen? Hey, I could even go there after I go to Comic Con.

Yeah it would be a long trip. But I mean, it’s going to be the summer. Why not? Right? I would rather get tired of traveling and doing fun things than worrying about grades and lesson plans.

So that could be happening as well.

But if I ended up not going anywhere or doing anything, I would be totally fine with that too. Just the idea of kicking my heels up on the coffee table and vegging out for a few hours seems like it would be a great thing. And keep in mind, making sure that I didn’t have any lesson plans or grades to worry about would be a delight.

Now you’re probably wondering about the title to this post. My warning is that I could end up making plans and then not following through with them. Case in point, my reading list and lamp project are dead in the water. Maybe I could reassess my goals and finish those one day, but for now, they are relics of my past.

Now I’m making plans for next summer, but I’m not really free to make any of those plans. I may not even have a job after next summer. So what if I need to spend the summer looking for a new job?

Hey, for now, I’m just going to try to survive the weeks as they come. After that, I’ll have a better idea of what I am and what I’m dealing with.

So what about you? Do you already have plans for next summer?

D.A.

Who doesn’t love interesting characters in stories? Characters are the whole point of every story. Even if the story is about a whale that saved his sea shell money to buy a dolphin a new golf club for his birthday, the story is still about the whale.

Atticus Finch. Forrest Gump. Luke Skywalker. All great characters.

Interesting characters make us relate to the stories and make us interested to find out what happens next.

For me, the best place to find great characters is in comic books. (Or trade paperbacks/graphic novels, whatever you poison)

Now, I read many different kinds of comics. You can find a much more comprehensive list of what those are in my about page, but right now I would like to talk about the “Super Hero” genre.

I’ve dabbled in reading comics among the big two publishers, Marvel and DC. And I’m a much bigger fan of DC. I think the big difference between the two is this:

Quality vs. Quantity.

Marvel has some really popular (and fairly interesting) characters, but mostly they have just made so many different characters (mostly mutants) that they haven’t really had the chance to invest in characters the way I would hope they would. DC, while still having many characters, manages to add real depth and feeling to them as well. DC also does a great job in taking a more mature approach to the whole comic book thing in general.

They also have something else going for them as well…

Batman.

When I was three years old the Tim Burton film Batman came out and I decided that I knew what my career was going to be. I was going to be the Masked Vigilante. I knew how to recite many lines, even though I had no idea what they meant. I wore a costume. I begged my parents for a Batmobile Powerwheel (which I never got). The tree in my front yard became my Batcave and at 7 a.m. I would rush outside, in full Bats regalia, and protect the world from certain doom.

I. Was. Batman.

Flash forward nearly twenty years and I still wish I was Batman.

Why?

Back then I wanted to be the Dark Knight because I just thought it was cool. He was a good guy beating up bad guys. That’s what good guys are supposed to do. But today I love him because he’s SUCH a good character.

There is something to Bruce Wayne/Batman that is unlike any other super hero.

He’s NOT a super hero.

Batman is not super strong. He has not been bestowed with any abilities that allow him to do anything unnatural. He doesn’t run super fast. He can’t regenerate. He’s not the world’s smartest man. Does not have super speed. Can’t mutate into some other form. Will never be able to talk to animals. He’s not capable of growing a beard that can stop bullets. And he’s certainly not immune to lava.

He’s flawed.

He is obsessed with trying to avenge the deaths of his parents. He works tirelessly until exhaustion. He uses the money from his parent’s estate and business to allow him to continue his one man war. He has a secret identity. He neglects making meaningful relationships in order to work toward his goal. He goes to sleep many nights wondering if it’s all worth it. He ponders if his job will ever be complete.

Despite this, he was invited to join the Justice League. And he still hangs with real “superheroes”. And many even fear him.

He seems to overcome adversity on a regular basis as well. Even one of his many enemies, named Bane, broke the Bat’s back in a well renowned issue. And even after being overwhelmed and broken, he recovered and kept up the good fight.

But, as Bruce Wayne, he keeps it all hidden. To everybody else he’s just a rich dude doing his thing. Being rich. Making money. Living the life.

But it’s all just a facade. His real identify is behind a mask. He real love is his work. And he wouldn’t change that for the world.

Despite all his faults. His mistakes. His pain. His weaknesses. His regrets. His obsessions. His conflicts.

He still tries to do the right thing. He wants justice. He hopes.

He’s a lot like all of us.

We’re all flawed. We all have our secrets. Every day each one of us has to get out of bed and fight our battles. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Sometimes we feel like our back is broken and there is nothing left. But we keep at it. We persist. We strive for better. We try to not fear what’s around us. We fight.

 

Now, let’s look at another DC character that I’m not really a fan of.

Superman.

He’s faster than a speeding bullet. Can fly.  Has X-ray vision. Has super hearing and likely super smell. Can travel in space at will. Can pick up just about anything and spin it on the tip of his finger. He can’t get sick. He can’t get hurt. He can’t die. And he only has one weakness.

Even as Clark Kent he’s too good. He always manages to be polite. Does what’s asked of him. Doesn’t force his way into conversation. Kept a cordial relationship with Lois Lane for forever and a day. Even manages to show up to work everyday, shaved, showered, and peppy, to help with the paper.

Even if these are really great qualities for a person to have, it’s still inhuman. We all can’t do this all the time. We all slip up, but not him.

It helps to portray him as too impersonal. Not real.

He’s basically a god on earth.

I am no god, and can’t really relate to one. (This is also one of my issues with Thor).

Now, as a hero, who would I want to sweep in and save the day?

Come on, of course it’s Superman. I’d have him on speed dial. He’d probably get the job done lickety-split. Batman would take time, not to mention, isn’t even guaranteed to show up. And I’d probably have to wait until nighttime and when his third shift begins.

But who is a better character?

Mr. Bats wins it. Clearly.

Yes, yes. I know my scope of both of these characters is quite narrow. And I’m not considering all the different things that have happened in the DC Universe as a whole. I’ll admit, I’m not too familiar with it. I’m just speaking in basic terms here.

I should also note that there are a few different versions of Batman (and Superman). Frank Miller in particular was known for putting a very gritty (and non-cannon) spin on the Man in the Cowl. Batman was mean, driven, ruthless, even vicious in his pursuit of vengeance. He was even old in some cases.

He perfectly fit the mold of an anti-hero. And still, at the heart of the matter was his desire to do good, despite all those shortcomings.

Now I’m not going to blather on about who would win in a fight for too long, but…

Batman has “defeated” Superman before but he needed help and he really didn’t kill Superman. So how can I really say “defeated”? And we all know that Superman, in the blink of an eye, could rip Batman apart like a train hitting a cow. But he hasn’t. Probably because he’s too good to do something like that. And Batman probably didn’t kill Superman because he knew that the world would be much less safe without Superman flying around.

Since I don’t want this post to blather on more than it already has, let me just make a few more than a few bullets about different reasons why I like Batman more than any other “super hero”.

  • He wears all black
  • He works in the shadow
  • He’s about as tough as a normal human can get
  • He’s surprisingly business savvy
  • His movies are the best comic adapted movies. (I’d watch Batman Forever way before I’d watch Superman Returns)
  • Sometimes has stubble for facial hair.
  • Different interpretations have him at different ages.
  • Has had some pretty cool sidekicks/allies
  • He has THE BEST VILLAINS in all of comics. (This is really really really really important, but deserves it’s own post)
  • Talks differently while he’s in his suit.
  • If the world found out who he really was, it would all come crashing down, unlike other heroes.
  • Vigilante is such a cool word.
  • Is not only hunted by bad guys but is also hunted by the police.
  • Doesn’t kill people. (Even though I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule)
  • Fights crazy good.
  • Can exit a room/scene without anybody noticing.

So there it is. 

I hope this helps explain a little bit of the childishness inside me. I also hope it sparks even more entertaining and fun to read comments like my last post did. But I’m sure you’re all tired of that subject now…

The Bruce Wayne of the the blogosphere,

D.A.

Ghandi was once quoted for saying, “Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.”

That’s right. Ghandi said “the”. I figured you should see something of value before you read this comic.

Now, prepare your brain cells to be destroyed. For it is COMIC TIIIIMMMMEEEEE! 

:::Imagine some epic reverb going on right now:::

It’s called “Straight to the Moon.”

Why are you so bow-legged?

I'll show you

Now, keep in mind, the man with the question mark above his head is NOT Jim Carrey portraying the Riddler from Batman Forever. (Even though there is a striking resemblance). This man has a question mark above his head because he is so perplexed at the situation.

If you really can’t tell, this fella on the left is inserting a randomly appearing arrow into his legs, which are, obviously, a bow.

Oh

Clearly, the man on the left launched himself into space using some sort of black magic or broken physics. Let’s call it Fhysics, because it’s Fun and Hysterical Physics.

(I know what you’re thinking, “how long did it take for you to draw this man’s hair?”. Well let me just say it took me a very, very, very long time. I lost a little piece of myself in making it. So please, enjoy this one.)

Don’t forget, you can read all my previous comics here.

Another one down,

D.A.

New comic #3…In Color

June 24, 2011

Title says it all. And I know how much you all love these things. By the way, hate mail is accepted.

Now, you’re probably wondering, “Who does this guy think he is posting these stupid comics all the time?” Well, I drew these all in one day (about two hours) and I did a number of them. I figured they were so bad, that they should be displayed for, the sake of art, I guess. Plus they are pretty funny in how bad they are. So i’m going to post them because I like them, even if it’s not very stimulating or funny for you.

I just do things sometimes. For example, I’m trying to learn how to build my own steampunk lamp right now. Thinking I can do it for around $10. That might be a little far fetched, but well see.

Oh, and I’ve got some “big” plans to announce soon. It involves that marble from my wildly popular contest I had a week or so ago. So, stay tuned.

Hint: Brazil…

This one is called “The library is for those who must escape.”

Are you reading in the dark?

The tears are pouring from your face as well as the laughter. I know, I know. Beauty has never met comedy quite like this before. Just compose yourself and continue reading.

No

Oh, O.K.

:::Click:::

What about now?

Yeah, he got put in his place.

Just in case you missed them, (or just didn’t want to make your eyes bleed), here are my first and second comics

D.A.

Another 5-min Comic

June 20, 2011

ANOTHER ONE?!!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Nope. You got lucky. Here is another high quality, well thought, completely original, taste of disaster.

By the way, by the time that I’ve posted this, I have begun my first job interview. I’m very nervous and excited. I know that it isn’t the promise of a job, I’m only getting looked at, but I do hope that I end up getting one.

This one is called “Stratosphere.”

Sup?

Nothing

So far so good…

Liar

What are you talking about?

O.K. Where’s that twist?

You're a liar. There are clearly clouds in the sky...liar.

:::Man walks off page:::

Well, I don’t know about you, but my I.Q. just jumped up 40 or 50 points…

And I know you’re wondering this, but no, these are not for sale. Unless you missed my last one it’s right here.

D.A.