Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Familiar Story, Retold

A young lad was trapped in a bubble
Which cracked and he woke on the double
He was saddened when shown
That he'd lost all he'd known
But a cute girl was worth all the trouble.

A sarcastic kid from the south pole
Had meat-eating as his main goal
But you should cut him some slack
Boomerang always came back
And his jokes were often quite droll.

A girl with loops in her hair
Kept an eye on this wacky pair
She was talented and smart
And she stole the bald kid's heart
But watch out for her withering glare

The bald kid was sought from afar
By a kid with a topknot and scar
Who said, "When that kid's a goner
I'll get back my honor."
His hair got ever more bizarre.

Following that kid out to sea
Was his uncle, wise and carefree
His love for brewed drink
Is so well-known that I think
You can guess what this last rhyme should be.

They meet a girl dressed in green
Who can be prickly and just a bit mean
She's totally blind
But she'll kick your behind.
She's cute, but lacks any hygiene.

A princess who grew up quite rich
Tried to put them in a ditch
She had a heart full of ire
And could wield lightning and fire
That said, she was a bit of a jerk.

"That last line didn't rhyme."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Any interest in my friend's chapbook?

One of my friends from Utah State, Shanan Ballam, is trying to publish a chapbook of her writing. To do so, she has to pre-sell 55 books before Nov. 30. I haven't read this particular collection yet, but her poetry tends to be dark and disturbing, and it is definitely not for the squeamish. She definitely knows her stuff and most of all she has a talent for creating a strong reaction in her readers. Here is her description of it:

Title: "The Red Riding Hood Papers"
pages: 16-26 (I won't know for sure until I see format and go through edits)
themes: the Red Riding Hood Story is interwoven with another narrative about a woman and her abusive ex-husband. It's pretty dark.
cost: between $12 and $14

If anyone's interested, let me know and I'll send you her contact information. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll either answer them as best I can or pass them along to Shanan.

Some Additions to Recent Posts

First, an addition to my post about Binwin Bronzebottom and Scott Kurtz:

It seems like Scott Kurtz realized what a jerk he was to Wil Wheaton, and he contacted Wil afterward and made it up to him. I still think SK was quite rude, but it's actually quite classy of him to call WW afterward and comfort him on the death of his character.

Second, I completely forgot to mention in my APE post that we met Spike, who does Templar, Arizona. She was very cool and friendly, and the only reason I forgot to mention her was that I neglected to take any photos of her. I don't know why, as she safely fit into the "good-looking nerd" category that APE was so full of. Here is another picture of her that I found using Google Image search. Anyway, she was awesome and signed & sketched in three Templar, Arizona books that we bought. In fact, of all the people we talked to, she was probably the most relaxed and talking to her felt the most like chatting with someone you know.

Rock on.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Alternative Press Expo, or, Can My Camera Flash You?

I'd like to start by saying that my digital camera is actually quite good in most respects. The pictures it takes are huge resolution, and I have found it very easy to take pictures and download them to my computer. The one thing it can't do is function in anything less than bright lighting without the flash. In even normal lighting, like at the Alternative Press Expo, I have a decision to make: take pictures with flash (which are annoying to the people I'm taking pictures of), or take pictures without the flash and end up with a blurry photo.

I should also mention that this post links out to webcomics. If you're not familiar with webcomics, you should know that a lot of webcomics have the latest page on their homepage, so if you'd like to avoid any spoilers, click the "Archive" or "First" button as quickly as you can.

With that out of the way, let's get started.

First impressions of APE: comics are a legitimate art form. Also, there are tons of good-looking, nerdy people here. Single nerds take note.

We started off wandering separately and getting a feel for the place. It was pretty packed, as the picture above shows, with two wings and a lower main area. One cool thing about APE was that most of the tables were by comic publishers and artists. At many other cons I've been to, a lot of the tables are local comic book stores selling their wares. I noticed one of these at APE, and there were probably more, and there were also a few art schools trying to peddle their classes to would-be artists, but for the most part it was comics being sold by the people who made them, and that is awesome.

The most popular table at APE was shared by Dylan Meconis and Kate Beaton. I didn't know Dylan Meconis's work at the time (which I've been working on remedying since I got home), but I am a fan of Kate's Hark! A Vagrant, and my lady is a big fan of both of them, so we headed over.

My lady had already gotten Dylan's signature on Bite Me!, her off-the-wall graphic novel about vampires in Revolutionary France, so while we were waiting for space to clear up around Kate Beaton I asked her if she would mind a picture with my lady. I'm so sorry for using flash in your face, Dylan Meconis, but otherwise the picture was too blurry to see anything:
Remember what I was saying about all the good-looking nerds at APE? Plus, Dylan Meconis had a pile of stickers that read "Real Vampires Don't Fricking Sparkle," and how cool is that?

When we got through to Kate Beaton, she signed my lady's copy of her book and also drew us a sketch of Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe (based on this comic of hers).

And what did she charge us for this AMAZING sketch? How about FIVE BUCKS? Kate Beaton, you rock! Also, apparently my camera was feeling braver by this point, because I managed to get some pretty good pictures of Kate Beaton without having to use the flash.

The next part of our journey was seeing several examples of "it's the guy who does..." such as Matt Boyd, "one of the guys who do Mac Hall and Three Panel Soul:"
and Chris Hastings, "the guy who does Dr. McNinja:"
I basically did a walk-by photographing of those two, since I didn't have anything to say to them, or, more accurately, any money to give them. Hence, another photo safari, like my time at Wondercon.

I read Der-shing Helmer's comic "The Meek" and totally dug it. For those of you who haven't read it yet, the art is amazing and the storytelling is delightful. I'd even go so far as to say that it's "Miyazaki-esque!" Der-shing also did "Snowball in Hell," about a fluffy cat who ends up in Hell. While I haven't had a chance to read much of it yet, I love that there's a story out there called "Snowball in Hell" about a fluffy cat in hell.

At the same table we met Johane Matte, who did "Water Tribe." Now if I were to tell you that it's a fan comic of Avatar: the Last Airbender, you'd probably think that it's some earnest, enthusiastic, and terrible work of squeeing fandom. While it's definitely earnest and enthusiastic, it's also excellent. I read some of the mini-comics they have for Avatar on the Nickelodeon site, and Water Tribe is magnitudes better than them. That's right: the fan comic is many times better than the official stuff they put out. The art, the storytelling, the feel of it is perfect. If you like Avatar, you should check out Water Tribe. I could spend an entire blog post talking about "Water Tribe," and I haven't even finished the first volume yet.

Here's my lady meeting "the guy who does Rice Boy," which I haven't read yet, but it looks good:

My lady and I also met Brandon Graham, "the guy who does King City."
He drew us a sketch for free. I was going to ask him about the part of King City that didn't make any sense when I read it, so I picked up his copy and started to leaf through it, and I realized that the whole thing didn't make sense! But I really liked it. It's about a guy who has a cat that gets superpowers when he injects it with cat-juice. The art is great, and I absolutely love the way Brandon Graham does sound effects.

Which brings us to the end of APE. So, to wrap up, here are some miscellaneous observations about APE:

  • Cute is the new scary - so much of the 'dark' stuff being sold was annoyingly cute. There were at least two Satanically-possessed fluffy creatures, as well as cute dead animals, cute scary little girls, etc.
  • Zombies are the new superhero - there were sexy zombies, ironic zombies, high school zombies, crime-fighting zombies. In fact, just about every kind of zombie except for the flesh-eating, mindless zombie (but who likes THOSE?).
  • Irony is the new badassery - why write about a grim monster hunter when you can write about a grim monster hunter who's a school janitor?
Until next time, then. I had a fantastic time and I highly recommend APE to anyone who can make it out. It's lots of fun if you bring your own cute nerd to spend the con with, but if you don't already have a cute nerd, you may find one at APE!

Wil Wheaton Agrees about Binwin Bronzebottom

WARNING: Spoilers for the PVP/Penny Arcade/Wil Wheaton D&D Podcasts

In the latest episode of the PVP/Penny Arcade/Wil Wheaton D&D Podcasts (link) Wil Wheaton voices his beliefs about Binwin Bronzebottom and Scott Kurtz. This follows a particularly poorly-timed comment from Kurtz, who was probably trying to be funny but really picked the worst possible time and way to do so.

I shouldn't go into too much detail, despite my spoiler warning above, because a) I don't want to take away from the profanity-laden moment, and b) Who pays attention to spoiler warnings, anyway?

Next: Memories (and photos) from the Alternative Press Expo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Ultimate Chronicle Gets Better and Better

If you're not reading The Ultimate Chronicle yet, you should know that the latest chapter includes this line:

“Know this, Rasputin,” said Lincoln. “I cannot dedicate. I cannot consecrate. I cannot hallow.” He put on some sunglasses. “Because Space/Time Lincoln only has one setting today: ass-whoopin’.”

So what are you waiting for? Go read it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Ultimate Chronicle

Follow the adventures of Space/Time Lincoln and the preserved head of Nikola Tesla as they fight Rasputin and the forces of Mecha-Hitler. Perhaps even contribute to the story... 1024 characters at a time!

Click here already!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First Squad Russian Trailer

This is amazing! I couldn't wait to post it. It's in Russian, which sounds awesome, and features guns, swords, crusaders, zombies, Soviets, Nazis, and all sorts of combinations of those elements.

The animation looks to be about the same quality as your average modern anime series, rather than a full-length movie, but the plot is so relevant to my interests that I don't care.

Kyle Talks About Ninja Pirates and Pirate Ninjas

If you're curious, you can read my friend Kyle's thoughts on ninja pirates and pirate ninjas here.