Sunday, 30 June 2013

What's HSDS?

High School Dance Syndrome. 

No, this isn't an official scientifically certified term, but I am making now. So what is it? Well you remember back in High School those really lame dances that you said you'd never go to (and hats off to you if you never did end up going, you didn't miss much) but then realized you were going cause all your friends wanted to go to, yeah those one, super lame DJ and disco ball included. I remember always seeing a lot of my friends stuck to the wall, all night, afraid to dance or interact with anyone, even one and other. Now granted, I have no shame, so I was doing my best of what I think would be considered dancing, just to have fun. We are here, might as well have fun with it. Now I know social experiences aren't for everyone, hell I find myself in a cold sweat in large crowds without any of my well known elements; the guy in the two sizes too small Superman shirts, comic book cosplayers and a guy in a bear suit. Sometimes it takes a while for me to break the ice, but I do what I can, whenever I feel like I probably don't belong in a place or situation, I leave. Simple as that.

I bring up HSDS, because I want to get to know more fans, more artist and creators, I want to get to know you! Yes, you. As much as I write, draw and do videos on the things I like, I want to get to know who you are and what are your likes and dislikes. Yeah I am screaming out into the darkness of space that is the internet, looking for signs of life, but we are in the social media age are we not? And things can only be social if we interact, got a comic I should read, let me know. Got an art page, let me know. Think I am doing it wrong, then by all means please let me know. Especially for us freak and geeks, we need to stick together and interact way more, this isn't high school anymore, you are among friends. So please by all means, talk to me, I won't bite. 

I am also starting a Vlog series right now on my YouTube page, but I will be posting them here as well, here's the first episode of Storm VLOG...

So these will be quick little updates with what I am doing in the day, unedited straight from my phone and sent to all of you. Going to need some subscribbers and comments to let me know how I am doing. And I want to see what you're doing, got a blog or channel, please tell me, I would love to see all the different content and communities out there for comic books and artist in general. So let's kick the HSDS bug out the window, hope it falls on a car and blows up to pieces. This our world and our universe, let's take control and make it what we want it to be. 

That's all the time I got today, going out to enjoy some Pride festivities! Be happy with who you are, gay, straight, trans, bi-sexual; whatever you choose for your life, live that life to the fullest and love with all your heart. <3

 art from yazzdonut 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Superior Superman

Hype in comics is a funny thing, it usually involves taking the best writer, someone known for writing a book that brought characters to life and made you read as fast as you could to solve the plot. And then teaming him up with an artist who's style is known worldwide, who has inspired thousand of others and can keep your eyes glued to the pages for hours on end. You take these two elements and combine them with a hero or a team who have a legendary status in the world of comics, and you got yourself quite the anticipated book on hand. Fast forward to a few weeks from the highly anticipated summer blockbuster, Man of Steel, and DC comics releases the dynamic team of Scott Snyder and legendary comic artist, Jim Lee to take on the tasks of brining Superman Unchained to life! But with great hype comes great pressure to deliver, some books have risen to the occasion and others have crumbled on that weight. But how exactly did Unchained go, well I will break it down to you what I thought of the new man of steel adventures. 

As with a lot of these reviews be aware of potential spoilers. 

So the story begins with a scene that takes place in Japan during the war, a bomb is seen drop from an American plane. The bomb is then revealed to be something else, or someone else. I loved the classic lines being used to describe what was in the air, a twist on the lines especially considering its a sign of doom, as opposed to hope. Tip of the hat to that. The story then zoom out to space, with Superman coming back to the planet, but not before crashing through a falling space craft to save the crew inside. This of course is the pullout page, which is an interesting take on the layout, a huge shot of Superman going through and on the back an up and close shot of him rip through all the steel. Call it a gimmick if you want, but I thought it was a really neat idea, not to mention seeing the pencils of this large shot is something to stare in awe and wonder. This is the power of Jim Lee, giving everyone a reminder of his pencil power. And to that degree, I am not complaining, this is what I love to see in comics. As soon as he makes sure everyone is fine, Superman goes to confront Lex Luthor, who is seen to be possibly attempting to escape with other inmates. Although you couldn't tell cause he is seen to be reading and not paying any attention to the chaos around him. Lex is accused to be behind bringing down the space station but denies any involvement, saying he only wants to do good for Metropolis and the world. I loved seeing how calm and cool Lex is, especially when talking with Superman, his life long enemy. After sending Lex back to the authorities, Clark Kent is working away on writing about the rescue, we get to see the classic characters of the Superman world; Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. The characters play well with Clark, especially the interaction between Lois and Clark, the classic back and forth. From his news report, he then realizes something missing from the days event, another space station that collapsed in orbit was placed down on Earth, but not by him. When looking for the answers, he is at the ocean floor when he is attacked by an American submarine. We find out, the military is trying to keep something a secret. What that secret is an alien life form, who is said to be capable of defeating the man of steel. But what and who is it?

So of course it goes without saying, the art was absolutely incredible. Jim Lee has the power to work on any book and make it absolutely eye popping, so it's a no brainer he is able to bring to life Superman with no trouble. That being said, I wished we had a few more large page spanning panels, but a story needs to be told, so we may have to wait for some of the later issues. As for the story, I liked the fact that this felt like a Superman story we know, but adding new elements as well. You have a collection of characters from the past like Lois and Lex, and you have a new and unknown threat as well just over the horizon. The characters we know, including Superman, stay very true to the stories we know and love, which is a good thing. No one seemed darker or edgier for the sake of being darker and edgier. As the first issue, Superman Unchained was really good in my opinion, I was never too big on Superman, so this book felt like a good spot to start following the stories and adventures. And honestly, if you wanted a good book to start collecting Superman comics, this would be the place to be. And the team behind this book is as talented as they are devoted to bringing you the best Superman book that they can, so I can't wait to see what exactly they have in store for the next issues. 

So there you have it fans of the big blue and red, if you haven't picked this book up yet, I highly suggest you to make it part of your collection. They released a series of alternative covers for this one as well, which I am sure many collectors have gotten there hands on, the covers each done by various different artist shows Superman through different iconic moments in 75 year history. If I had the money and the chance, I would totally get the Bruce Timm cover, love his work from all the DC animated series. But these are limited to a few numbers to each store, so if you can by all means pick one up.

That's all the time I got right now, thanks for reading and remember to subscribe to this blog to follow all kinds of comics news and reviews and inside look at the world of comic books. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, by following @ChileanStorm. I am also on YouTube, doing Time Well Spent on the Maddsketch channel and also doing my own Storm VLOG videos. And be sure to like the Spent Pencils page on Facebook, one like goes a long way. I am ChileanStorm, and remember to embrace the storm and keep running forward. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

July Going to be Spent!

Episode three is here! Watch it and love it! 

But yeah, here it is, on this episode we look at Jim Carrey being weird about Kick-Ass 2, Jim Lee will paint on your wall for 25K, and on the Spotlight I suggest people to give Luke Cage Noir a read. And remember I have an in depth review here on this blog a few posts back, so go check that one out as well. On the Reviews, we take a look at the Young Avengers! Me and Tiff were really happy to do this series, it's a lot of fun and it's got great characters, so check it out if you haven't. But yeah, check out the episodes and subscribe and leave some comments below, don't be a stranger. We want to hear from you, what do you want to see from the show.

And also big news for the month of July, take a look at the picture below and you will see what I mean...

There you go, Silver Snail comics is hosting Spent Pencils in store every Wednesday and Saturday for the month of July! So come on down to Younge and Dundas location and meet three different members of the Spent Pencils crew.  We got an event page on Facebook, so you can keep track of all the different artist who will be drawing during these days. But make sure to come by all the days, say hi and get some cool original art work! Your time will be well spent! 

Thanks again for reading guys, stay tuned here for all comic book news, reviews and all that good stuff.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Oh My Vlog!

Hey there party people, just giving a quick little update here at the studio, finishing up on the latest episode of Time Well Spent. I am also taking this opportunity to let everyone know about my YouTube channel and my new Vlog that I will be doing now, still thinking up a name for it, probably something to do with storms or being Chilean, I don't know. The idea though will serve as a backstage pass of sorts, so you'll get to see what I do on my time off and stuff, you will laugh and you will most definitely cry, but you will get view everything that's going on with me. So please by all means, subscribe and leave comments below and you know, let me know how I am doing and stuff, going to need all the feedback I can get so please help a blogger out. 

And so for the first episode, watch it here...

Yup there it is, really hard not to bust out laughing, Tiff and Madd made it here not laugh my ass. But yeah, what did you think? And also a lot more videos coming up in the near future so be sure to check it out. And also, be sure to stay tuned for the new episode of Time Well Spent, Doodle Tuesdays and Madd Vlog, all on the Maddsketch channel, so give it a look if you haven't already. 

Anyways that's all the time I got for today, I will be back tomorrow and be sure to check out my Instagram, I am asking what character to draw on an Age of Ultron blank cover. So leave a comment and I may choose  your character to draw, I will let everyone know who will be drawn. Alright everyone, I am out, embrace the storm and chase the future! 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Royal We3

First off a big thanks to my spent sister, Tiffany, for letting me give this book a read. And how I went all this time without ever reading this book is totally beyond me, I can't believe it took me this long to even hear about this book. And I guess today, I wanted to reflect and take a look at some of the themes and components that make We3 incredible. This isn't going to be a review, cause lets face it this needs to be read if you haven't already done so. This is going to be more just me trying to make most sense of what I just read. And of course, super mad spoilers, so make sure you've read the book before you continue on...


Theme 1: Mortality

Death is a huge theme within the book, hell it might be the driving force for the whole story. At the very start we see a black ops raid going on against what we can only assume are a terrorist cell. Everyone in the house is annihilated by the animals, the We3, and in quite the bloody format, the head of the group gets blown to pieces by a rain of bullets. The thing is though, you don't know who killed them, cause it looks like it was done by robots or cyborgs of some sort, it's then revealed that there were pets inside; the dog, the cat and the rabbit. Also at the story is beginning we are introduced to one of the main researchers on the project, Roseanne Berry, who seems to be mourning the loss of her father and is in a very lonely state in her life. Again, death is used to frame the importance of life to one and other, what is left when one is taken. Once the call is given to exterminate the We3, them being prototypes and all, it's Roseanne who decides to release them and give them a chance to live and fight for their lives. She acknowledges that these creatures were once loved and had a life before they were taken and made into government weapons. She realizes that she had helped in stealing away their lives. In contrast, the government and the rest of the facility see things differently, that these three were weapons and now they need to be discarded at all costs, that in the wild these animals are a threat to human life. The interesting thing here is how these are viewed as two different entities, human life and an animals life. The swift and cold command to discard the We3, but the concern at the threat to any human is handled with a completely different feeling. Never is the animals life even considered, only by Roseanne who releases them. During their run and escape, the animals are looking and trying to find "home". They all once had a place they called home and a family who loved them, they just don't remember it. These creatures had names and were loved, had a life if you will, but now they are doing their best just to try and stay alive, unaware of the threat they can be, clueless as to why they're being hunted. Why does simply being human entitle us to be the ones who decide what counts as a living life? What about wild animals? Fish? Insects? Trees? How do we define what's alive on this planet?

Theme 2: Roles

I thought it was interesting the theme of "roles" that was in the story, an interesting concept especially when using animals as the main characters, the way each animal interacted with one and other as well. And as government weapons as well, the dog acted as the tank, the cat as the assassin and the rabbit as a stealth bomb expert. They were programmed for these roles, something I am sure many of us have felt in the past through different constructs of society. The animals act like one would imagine they would; the dog is extremely loyal and wants to help and keep everyone safe, the cat is a lot more selfish and self invested, and the rabbit is a more curious kind of creature. But just as they have these roles, the animals act on their own and break out and do things on their own accord. The dog  losses his cool and cuts loose, the cat helps out its friends and the rabbit displays courage like no other. The element here is free will, an action to displays they are not just weapons or simple animals, regardless of the settings that we are faced with in life, it's our choice to choose who we are and what we will do. The We3 want to be able to choose what they will be and what they will do with their lives.

Theme 3: Home

One of the goals for the We3, was to find "home". Although they had no idea what it meant, were was "home"? Cause they only home they remember was the one that turned them into weapons and decided to flush them out, that couldn't be home could it? A journey with no destination can get you anywhere. The We3 are thrust into a strange and dangerous world, a world of fear and hatred, so were exactly do they fit in? Each of them do have a home though, they just don't remember it, which is one of the most tragic elements of the story. Lost creatures with the answers in lost memories. By the end they do find a home of sorts, they are taken care of by a homeless man. The unity and shelter becomes the "home" that the We3 were looking for.

Man, didn't expect to take that long on this one, but I hope I got my ideas across here, that within the story these animals deal with many real issues that all of us deal with on a daily basis; confronting our own mortality, being labeled into classes and roles, and trying to find a place we can call home. The use of animals to portray these themes should remind us that as smart and advanced as we are, we can't forget and disregard any other form of life on this planet. We are all in this together. Well that's about sums it all up, let me know what you thought of the story and what did you get from the story, leave a comment below and get the discussion going, always looking to hear from different opinions. Also be sure to subscribe to the blog for more in depth look at your favourite comics and graphic novels. A lot of things are coming your way this week and as well as next month, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading guys and as always embrace the storm!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Time Well Spent (Episode 2): Spider-sister and Black Holes...

So episode two is here! 

Oh man I am so pumped to get this one out, cause I had a blast shooting this episode with Toby. I had a lot more energy in me this week as well, so some might be taken aback by the larger amount of random craziness going on screen, and honestly it was just me and Tobs having fun, so we hope you enjoyed this episode. And by all means, let us know what you thought, we need all the feed back we could use here, so by all means please let us know what you thought of this weeks or even last weeks episode. And be sure to check out last weeks episode cause we still got the giveaway going on until the end of the month, you can walk away with a signed variant copy of BubbleGun, so by all means do check it out. 

And I am going to leave a list of the links here to all the books we recommended on this weeks show, so do yourself a favor and give these book a read! 

Stay posted here for more news and updates.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Real Steel

Going to do something for those who want the point and case of things, cause I do tend to ramble and go deep into these kind of things; Man of Steel, was a great summer blockbuster movie and a great action flick. If action is your cup of tea, go see it. If you're a comic book fan, go see it.  If you simply like strong beautiful men in blue tights, well, yeah go see it. In fact, as a stand alone movie, there's no reason not to see Man of Steel. Okay so with that out of the way, pull your pants up high and get your pen protectors, it's about to get geeky. 

It goes without saying, spoilers might be spilled, so if you have yet to see the film, you may want to hold off...

The Man of Steel was a great way to start the DC Comics movie universe, the team brought on to make the film seemed to be the kind of team that would have been poised to create something larger then one movie, something that could expand to other movies, TV and comics. Instead we get a Superman movie. That's it. No mention or acknowledgement of a bigger picture. Do they owe us that, I guess not, but who wouldn't want to make billions of dollars. And besides, I find it hard to convince movie goers to see an Aquaman movie or even another Green Lantern movie for that matter. I am taking a shot in the dark here, but I have to imagine some movie goers had a little more interest in seeing Thor and Captain America, knowing that it would have all connected to a bigger picture. I know the comic book fans don't need anyone twisting there arms to see any super hero movie, that goes without saying. But to the curious type, I am sure finding out how all the pieces connect is a fun viewing treat. Why DC Comics and Warner Bros. are still being stubborn on this is beyond me. And I totally realize this is coming from the dark corners of my geeky soul, but I can't help it, it needs to be said and it needs to be done. Do this make the movie better or worst, absolutely not, I am not going to let that make or break my opnion on the movie entirelly, but it sucks not to see this go further. But with that out of the way, more about the movie itself, which many described as being too much action.

Here's the thing, I want to defend the choice to make this movie a lot more action based. Does anyone actually remember Superman Returns? This movie practically killed Brandon Routh movie career. This movie was supposed to be the definitive Superman movie, you had Bryan Singer drop the X-Men franchise for it, so it must be the must see super hero movie of the ages. It wasn't. Actually it was no where close. And see here's the thing, the biggest thing about this movie to me, was that it wasn't exactly awful or bad in any sense, the acting was fine (maybe Kevin Spacey was having too much fun as Lex, but whatever) and the effects were fine as well, classic score, no big deal. This movie's sin was boredom. It was really boring, think long highway drive with the family kind of boring with no entertainment but your Aunt's hilarious vacation stories...that you're hearing for the third time kind of boring. I didn't get it, how could a super hero movie be boring? Even the really bad ones are at least laughable, and if anything they got car crash syndrome; no fun when it's happening to you, but hell of a show to watch. Superman Returns is a lesson to future comic book related in films in what not to do as far as storytelling goes. This is Superman we are talking about, at what point in the film do you get the sense that this guy is a God among men? So it was nice to feel that kind of power with Man of Steel. You see what he can do, and basically know that any normal human being isn't going to be able to withstand a punch from this guy. And I thought it was great to see that balance with Clark holding back many times, knowing his power is to great to unleash when he's faced with a small time problem. And when is able to be "unchained", you know this guy means buisness. This is the Superman that we all imagine in our heads, the guy who can blow away a galaxy (this actually happened) or pull the planet on his back (sh*t you not, this also happened). And really after five films, it's about time you get to see this on the big screen. So too much action maybe some form of Superman venting over the years of holding back in Hollywood. You want a character study, wait until the fall for Oscar movie season, the summer is all about the action, and action you will get.

And it's not like you don't get to see Clark Kent grow as a man and as a hero for the planet. The interesting piece was seeing Clark doing the right thing and being a good person without using his powers, being the better man at times. It's something to consider cause this is something that makes Superman stand out above and beyond, the fact that we can all be a Superman in these regards, to help out and stand up for what is right and to a bigger man in situations. I loved seeing the influence his foster parents had on him, the contrast of his raising with that of General Zod, a character who was bred to destroy. Going back to Jor-El's theory on the flaw of having babies bred into different categories, and using free will as proof of the potential in each one of us. As a villain, I felt that General Zod was decent. Not the best, but nice to see someone who can go toe to toe with Superman on screen. His purpose and plan is laid out a lot during the film, reminding us, that this guy had a mission and he's going to see it to the end, he fights for his people and his lost home. The fact is he never had any other choice but to be the ruthless general that we see, he just wants to save his people, not matter what. Again, not the best villain to date, but I want to see what they will do in the next film, will we see a new Lex Luthor and team him up with Brainiac, Bizzaro or Doomsday? This geek here would love to see Bizzaro...but that's a pipe dream at best. Prove me wrong Hollywood.

Anyways, compared to the many comic book films that are out, Man of Steel does stand on it's own. It's a great action movie and really it does Superman justice, I mean let's call a spade a spade, this isn't the Green Lantern movie. Everything from the Superman universe is held properly together, with a few elements such as Luthor and Jimmy Olsen missing, but overall it's an awesome time at the movies. Yes I would have liked to seen a big movie universe start from here, but the fact that I didn't doesn't make this movie any less awesome. For what was done, a big thumbs up on my part. But what about you? What did you think, cause honestly for all my opnions on this film I could be wrong and I could have missed somethings, so let me know for sure, love a good movie talk. Looking forward to hearing what y'all think.

I will be back tomorrow, so stay tuned and subscribed to this blog and enjoy the ride.

Noir Caged

Today I will be reviewing and going through another comic book graphic novel that I recently got the chance to read through, this one is another in Marvel comics Noir series. The Noir series takes all the well known heroes of our time, like Spider-man and the X-Men and places them in the backdrop of the 1940's with many familiar theme of films and stories of the time. I decided to read one of the lesser known heroes in the Marvel universe, Luke Cage the Power Man. I thought it would be an interesting read, after all the Luke Cage stories I've read have been Daredevil or New Avengers related stories, so it interest me having him here as the stand alone hero in this story. Luke Cage Noir is a collection of all four volumes, the book also has character concepts and the variant covers as well. To catch everyone up with the story, this is the description here...

"A lot can change in ten years. And rarely for the better. Local legend, Luke Cage, invincible, unstoppable, unflappable, finds that out the hard way when he returns to the mean streets of Prohibition-era Harlem after a ten-year stretch in Riker’s Island. All he wants is to be back in the loving arms of his woman, but certain powerful men have different plans for Cage. Willis Stryker, Cage’s childhood friend turned Godfather of Harlem, wants him on his crew, and under his thumb. And wealthy white socialite Randall Banticoff, whose wife is now very dead, murdered in a Harlem alley, wants Cage to investigate her death. Cage is about to learn that coming home is never easy, and to survive he might just have to kill a whole lot of people

It's been awhile since I've read a detective kind of thriller, let alone read one. I thought it was great taking a big character who relies on strength and being indestructible, and instead make him uses his street smarts and knowledge to solve the mystery at hand. Instead of Hulking the crap out of the city. This gives a lot more depth to Luke Cage, as he pieces everything together and sees what was being hidden from him after all the years in prison. But that doesn't mean he doesn't kick some ass and takes some names as well. A lot of "holy crap" moments go down in this book, especially in the last volume. You realize that the mystery becomes a lot more personal to Cage, and soon it becomes a tale of revenge, and boy is revenge served hard. 

The writing is an absolute treat, with a lot of dialogue properly taken from the time and place, giving it a very authentic feel to it. I enjoyed greatly the narration and the pace, everything coming full circle in four volumes and I didn't feel as if anything wasn't explained or any missing links. A lot of themes and ideas on race and class are also explored through out the tale, which gives the story a lot more substance. I like the fact that this story was properly handled, this could have been a write off but writer team, Mike Benson and Adam Glass, took great care of this tale and made it work on my different levels. To say Luke Cage fits well in the Noir universe is an understatement, it feels like he was made for this world. The art is very complementary of the time as well, very bleak and dark tones used to give the story great setting and atmosphere as well. The city looks authentically 1940's Harlem, and plays a great importance as the backdrop to the entire plot. Shawn Martinbrough, handles all the character designs and revisions really well, a great job on Tombstone especially. One look and I knew exactly who it was. And a lot of great covers for each volume, and especially some of the variant covers by Dennis Calero. Makes me want to find these in store for the covers alone. 

Of course if I had to complain about one thing here, is that it is very short all things considering. The fact is they didn't know how well received the Noir stories would be, but I felt that being only 4 volumes felt way too short. Yes, the story from start to finish makes sense and everything is wrapped up, but he could have taken another job or teamed up with the Noir Daredevil or even Iron Fist. It's a shame that there isn't more, and I wish Marvel would take more chances with these interesting concepts as well. Also, something in the end through me off, but I can't spoil that for you, so you got to read it to find out. But other than that a great collection and a step out of the regular comic book thing we read on a weekly basis. It won't cost you an arm and a leg, so if you find this book or the volumes, pick them up and give them a read, it's a great new flavour that needs to be tasted. Going to be looking for more these Marvel Noir books for sure.

Well that was the review for this week, got more coming soon in the near future. And by all means, if you have a good suggestion on a book to read send it my way in the comment section below. Going out to watch Man of Steel tonight, going to see how that goes and I will be posting my feelings on that tonight as well. Also we got a new episode of Time Well Spent coming up this week as well, so stay tuned for that. Until then, I will see you guys later!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

One for my Dad...

Happy Father's Day!

A big shout out to all daddy, dads, grand dad, and of course, baby daddy's and sugar daddy's. Those count as well...I think. Anyways, I wanted to do a little something special here for my old man. Who is my old man? Good question. My old man is none other then Jose Maria Cruz Fernandez AKA Pepe, as most friends and family calls him. My dad is the youngest of 8 siblings, that's right 5 older sisters and 2 older brothers, the runt of the litter. At a young age my dad was always fascinated with building and crafting things, he also enjoyed drawing out blue prints for future homes and houses. My dad is a pretty jolly guy, though he likes to be seen as a tough and strong man, but deep down and big softy. I was always taught to be strong, hide any kind of weakness. He wanted me to be someone who would go down fighting, instead of someone who runs away in fear. My dad actually spent most of his life in Canada, working hard to support the family, which meant I didn't get to see him as often as I would have liked, and after the divorce, well it was even less. I wish sometimes, that we could have all kept it together, that I could've had both mom and dad at home, but I can't be thinking of what could have been. Growing up, my dad would see things like video games and comics as silly little things that would disappear in time, something with no money or future in them. I am not going to lie, I love reminding him how wrong he is; the take over of Hollywood from comic book sources or the crazy success of video games and how it has evolved from the old Sega and Nintendo days. The best thing is though, is hearing him say he had that one wrong. I love my dad, maybe a lot more cause I just wished he was there more often, but my life gave me a different hand and I just had to play with what I was dealt. It's never been the most normal kind of relationship between us, I am the blackest sheep of the three, not being daddy's girl or dad's proud athlete. But I've always seemed to surprise him, the fact that I am very headstrong with what I want to do and I am going to do it, no matter what. And I am pretty sure I got that from him.

Today I gave my dad a call to Chile, to wish him a happy Father's Day and all, but I also decided to see how much comic book related knowledge I could get from him. I gave him the heads up that I was going to blog about this, so he knew in advanced, although I don't think he even knows what a blog is in the first place. So this is my comic book questions to my old man...

1.What's your favourite super hero?

Growing up in the old days, my dad was a big fan of Superman and Batman, the classic heroes of the golden age of comics. And this was back in the day when you could get a comic for 100 pessos, which isn't a lot but I am guessing back then it was a lot more. My dad would read these and trade with friends other stories, back in the simple days of comics. Also my dad was really into the Batman TV show, yup the Adam West one of course. He told me that kids would get together and all watch it at the one house with a TV. It would inspire all the kids as they played out episodes at school and in the playgrounds.

2. What's your favourite villain?

The Joker. Yeah, I didn't see that one coming. But keep in mind my dad never read or saw the sadistic murdering psychopath that we all know as The Joker. The last Joker my dad saw was in the Tim Burton Batman movie, although I thought as a kid he was pretty creepy. My dad thought he was still a little silly, I can see that a little bit. He was also a fan of Cesar Romero as The Joker. This was the sillier kind of Joker though, one that was more clown then psychopath. And my dad has yet to see The Dark Knight, I wonder what he would think of Ledger's take on the clown prince of crime.

3. One super power?

Super sight, my dad hates having to wear glasses. He said he would love to have Superman's kind of vision, to be able to see far and through walls. I asked if he wanted to have the heat rays as well, he said he wouldn't mind but it's more just to see better in general. I joke to him, saying that at least with glasses on, he looks trendy and smart.

4. Do you know how big my comic book collection is?

Maybe 5 books or something.

Oh dad, if you only knew. It's more like 5 boxes full of books. And I started small back in high school, I was going through a bunch of dollar bins of comics and finding a bunch of old classics and strange finds, it's what got me going. It wasn't until much later that I decided to start following a few series and now in days I want to keep track on all the series that I am following.

5. How would he feel about being in a comic?

He isn't in one already?! Ha ha, yes my dad is very cool with being in a comic book. So I am going to have to throw him into one of my books one of these days. So I am looking forward to sending him my work and show him how far I've come.

I am really happy my dad took the time to talk comics with me, I didn't think he would, so it was a real treat writing this out. I miss the old man, yes, but I am really focused right now on what I need to do to get things done and get my life going. I am not sure if I am ever going to be a father myself, but I am an SP uncle already, and that's a lot of fun and it's a learning experience as well. Cause it's one thing being raised by a father, it's a completely different story waking up every morning and rise to be the best father you can be. I think maybe one day I would like to be a dad, but I am not sure when, most definitely not anytime soon, that's for sure. But a big salute to all dad's today, it's the toughest and most rewarding job.

Thanks again for reading tonight, I know this one got a little more personal, but I love sharing with everyone. A big week ahead as far as work goes, I got a lot to catch up on and improve upon. And also be on the look out this Thursday, for the next episode of Time Well Spent. And you can catch the first episode on the Maddsketch channel on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe as well, a lot of content coming up, so stay tuned. And also, I will be back tomorrow with another blog or two, so I leave you guys for now.

Picnic on the Island:

A little update on today's picnic, a little something before I get to theaters and get started on the Man of Steel event tonight. An early start of the day for me, woke up a little bit ahead of my alarm clock. So with all that free time, I decided to read a few books I had picked up last night from Silver Snail. I even went through my whole comic book collection and made a list on all the current books that I am following and which issues I am missing. I met up with the Wolf Fist team and we made our way to meet up with the rest of the group. After a little bit of waiting and a boat ride across we got to meet with the rest of the team and let the eating begin. 

It was great to see practically the whole team together, being a 20 person group and all, it's a little hard to organize all of us together in one spot, but this was pretty close.  A big thanks to everyone who could make it today, it was a blast! And so much amazing food cooked perfectly by Joanne, that was really really good. It was great to sketch trade with Mark, going to post up that CM Punk he drew for me. And a big thanks to Arnold, for getting everyone together in the first place. A team is only as good as its leader, and there is no better then Arnold! 

Also remember to check out my new video, on the Maddsketch channel on YouTube! There's a giveaway going on, so be sure to check it out and get some freebies. Also subscribe to the blog here and be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Instagram, @ChileanStorm! And give a like on Facebook to both Maddsketch and to Spent Pencils page. Also stay tuned for later tonight, I am going to try and interview my Dad on comics, a Father's Day special! 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Step by Sketch: Shazam

It's a funny thing isn't? The first blog I did in this format, a step by step tutorial on my process of going through a sketch card, I was drawing Black Adam. I am back again doing another one of these and the character I chose is none other then Captain Marvel, better known as Shazam. So I am taking care of both the magical titans of Shazam, which is has been a lot of fun to draw both these iconic characters. A lot of great stories with these guys, especially the DC comic classics Kingdom Come and Justice. I highly recommend you pick this up when you get the chance. So without further adieu, let's get sketching...

Step 1: Just sketch, pencil to paper and start drawing. I want to give the feeling here of Shazam being a big and strong hero but with a very happy and cheerful attitude, his inner Billy Bastion if you will. He had to be big though, like larger than life kind of hero, the storm in the background just solidifies his power. Whenever you approach any of these kind of works, you want to have an idea of what you're going to be drawing, it doesn't have to be exact and you can change things up as you go, that's why we got the eraser. 

Step 2: Now this is me trying something a little different, I am just experimenting with this. For this one I wanted to try colouring it first, before I inked. It usually goes the other way around, and I highly suggest to stick to that routine. I went with the classic colours on Shazam, the red and yellow, but I wanted to throw in a little bit of gold in the mix. I chose a dark navy sky instead of an entirely black sky, cause I felt that Shazam is a bright happy go lucky kind of hero, he's not exactly the dark knight or anything like that. Again nothing to out of the normal here in regards to colours, but always be open to experimenting with colours and characters, you'll never know what you will create, so be creative.

Step 3: The final step here, the inks. Again I wanted to try something different, so I went over the lines with the ink after the colour, but it's highly suggested to stick to usually format. I wanted to bring out the bolt on him more then anything in the picture, as well as the bolts in the background. 

And that is final piece, hurray! 

So what did you guys think? Let me know in the comment section below. And remember guys to check out my new video and subscribe to the Maddsketch channel on YouTube. Also check out his Facebook page, give it a like and don't forget to like the Spent Pencils page as well. We also got a giveaway going on, so watch the video to see how you can get some free comics as well, and a lot more giveaways to come, so stay tuned. Also subscribe to this blog and follow me on Twitter and on Instagram through @ChileanStrom. 

Thanks a lot guys, tomorrow I got a big SP picnic and the Man of Steel event going on, so stay tuned. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

What Time is it?

Hey y'all, quick blog post here for everyone, been up late tonight and last night working away on a few projects. I am really proud to say that we have finished our first episode of Time Well Spent, which is a comic book and geek based show with yours truly and Tiffany as hosts for the show. A big thanks to Maddsketch for helping us out and editing this bad boy all day, we couldn't have done it without you, and be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel, a lot of content is coming in the next few weeks. This is the first time I have ever tried anything like this, so I was a little nervous, but I am really glad to be working with good friends on this, makes the whole process a lot easier. I just want to get better and better, so by all means keep watching and enjoy the show.

Let me know what you think of the video and by all means subscribe, like and comment on the video, and share with friends and family. Going to be doing another sketch card step by step tomorrow after work and then on Saturday we got a family picnic during the day and we are doing Superman at night, so stay tuned for more blogs and updates. Also be ready for Thursdays, with new episodes of Time Well Spent. Thanks again for the support, and I will see y'all later! 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Double Bubble Trouble:

I want to start by saying a big congratulations to both Oliver and Paul on getting this cover out and for doing a fantastic job as well. If you have still yet to see the exclusive Gotham Central Comics cover, I posted both the pencils and finished colours on yesterday's blog post, so be sure to check it out. It was great to see lots of people drop by and pick up the book, a lot even bought a few more books as well, which is great to see. We got there at around noon time, and the boys even did a few commission pieces and sketches as well, so if you missed out be sure to keep checking out our event page and stay tuned for all of our different events. We got a busy summer ahead of us, so stay tuned for all SP news. 

I also wanted to take the time to share with everyone to take a look at all the different covers for Bubblegun, to give everyone a look at all the different covers that are available for issue 1...

So there you have it, also remember that the 10 for 10 event is still going on during the summer, so be sure to keep track on which comics will be released next and with which stores will be hosting exclusive covers. Remember these are all limited and exclusive covers, so be sure to get them when you have the chance. And also be sure to stay tuned for the chance to win one of these signed covers, I got a few to give out to a lucky few, so stay tuned and find out. Also be sure to follow all of us on Facebook and give us a like, also follow me on Twitter and on Instagram by going to @ChileanStorm and don't forget to subscribe. Thanks again for reading everyone, be sure to come back.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Reload the Bubble

Tomorrow is a pretty big day for comic book fans across North America, a lot of stores, especially in the GTA will be hosting different kind of Superman Man of Steel kind of events in store. So go down, get a free All-Star Superman comic, a free poster and also be sure to check the all new Unchained Superman, by the creative team of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee. However with that out of the way I wanted to bring your attention to another really cool release going on tomorrow as well, which is part of Aspen comics 10th anniversary event during the summer, 10 for 10, in which every month Aspen will be releasing a new series with the first issue being only $1! A neat feature with this line of comics is stores across the country are encouraged to find different comic book artist and get them to draw unique store only covers. Here at Spent Pencils, we've had the chance to have some of our artist draw up a few of these covers. The very talented Vince Sunico and Daniel Wong had a chance to do a few of these covers for Stadium Comics! And now Oliver CastaƱeda and Paul Limgenco will be working together to bring a unique cover for Gotham Central Comics, for the Aspen comic series, BubbleGun! And the best part is, this comic will be available tomorrow at Gotham Central, and both artist will be on site for signing! I will post links for this event and the one that is taking place at Stadium Comics, and they will also be having a unique cover for BubbleGun, by the very talented Toronto artist, Adam Gorham.

To bring everyone up to speed with tomorrow's release, here is the general idea behind the plot for BubbleGun...

"They like the tech, but live for the high stakes! Sisters Molli and Devyn, along with teammates Roman and Kyo—and a stockpile of cutting edge, cyber-punk technology, form a confident team of mercenary thieves able to take on the most formidable jobs around. Yet, when one cyber heist turns out to be more than they bargained for, as a mysterious package and its contents threaten to unravel the group to its core, the menacing worlds of corrupt industry and deadly espionage is unleashed upon them! "

So if this does sound like a pretty cool story that you want to get into, be sure to check it out. And if that doesn't get you going, got a few exclusive images here that will get you going in no time. Here is a sneak preview of the cover from Oliver and Paul. The first image is the pencils only and the second is the coloured finished image.

So there you have it, so if you live anywhere in the GTA, no reason not to go down and get a copy of these covers! There are limited in numbers, so act fast and get yours today! Also I got a few plugs and links for everyone reading today, the first one is for an awesome web ongoing web comic series, Tales of Lost, by the very talented Tiffany Medeiros. And for any Sailor Moons fans out there, be sure to check out, The-Kid36 website and DA page, he is going through the whole casts of characters. Also be sure to check out and follow me and all my updates on Twitter and Instagram by going to @ChileanStorm for all art, Spent Pencils and comic news and updates. Thanks again everyone, and stay tuned. This storm is only growing. 


Niagara gets Spent...

So a long delay since my last update, I just happened to fall onto one of those stretches of days were everything happens at once. And honestly it's going to be nice to get home and rest for a little bit, and wake up tomorrow morning and get to work harder then ever. After finishing a long week of work, it was time to meet up with the SP crew and get to work on some potential new art for the upcoming convention in Niagara that took place this weekend. I stay up literally all night try to get some prints done for the weekend, but I couldn't colour them up in time and honestly I don't want to half ass it, if I am going to do anything I want it to be the best kind of work that I can do. But it's two more possible prints that I want to have finished and ready for Fan Expo, the more the merrier. I also had to meet up with my old friends from high school, one which is getting married (congratulations Murray). So I had to go get suited up, by the time I got home, I just crashed and fell asleep, having to be ready for the next morning.

Day One: 

6 AM? Why am I awake at 6 AM? 

7 AM wake up call from the boys, I totally slept in. Have I mentioned in the past that I am not a morning person? So I get up and grab whatever I need and all my materials, a quick bagel and a banana and I am out the door and ready to hit the road, ready for whatever may come! We meet up with the rest of the crew and we grab some coffee to get the day started and make our way down to Niagara. Traffic is pretty tamed all things considering it's a Saturday morning and all. An hour and half or so later and we are at our destination, we get in and we set up and we pass out. The first hill we get over is just getting there right on time and setting up, Spent Pencils, always making an entrance. The team for this weekend; ArnoldVinceDanielGerardPaulKevin, Rico, Oliver, Maddsketch, Tiffany and me, the ChileanStorm. We start drawing right away and the crowds line up, a lot of prints going and a couple of commissions as well. I decided to try something new, an experiment if you will. I placed a free sketch card on the table and see how long it takes for someone to notice. Took about 20 minutes for someone to see the card and use it, I drew a pretty cool Scarecrow and they seemed to enjoy that. It pays to look is essentially the idea here, and I will be doing this at different shows and cons, so come on by and take a look, you could be getting some free art. I had a few sketch cards and postcard sales, but still haven't been able to sell some of my sketch covers, but in time, plus it gives me time to post them online. I really do need to get prints done and ready for conventions, it's what really sells. I am also trying to figure out different ways of getting my art to more people at these shows, maybe stickers or smaller prints. So any kind of suggestions, by all means throw them my way. 

So after a long day of drawing, sketching and candy apples, we headed back to our hotel room. Here I thought it would be a night to relax and kick back, but you know how we do it, we decided to go out and see the town. And also use this chance to congratulate our soon to be married pencilneck, Gerrard. And if you haven't been to Niagara Falls before, it's a tourist trap kind of city, with the best and worst of both worlds, the states and Canada. But a lot of bright lights, different attractions, and stores are open really late. Needless to say, photo opportunity are plenty in the falls. From one attraction to another, just taking plenty of pictures and making tons of silly faces. We hit up one of the bars and had a couple of drinks, no big deal. And of course what would any reasonable person do after a few drinks, hit up the haunted house. But thinking back, I don't think it was that scary, but it was still a lot of fun and shenanigans to be had by all, in other words a night well spent.

Day 2:

After a late night, it was an early morning for the SPC, but no day can get truly started without a hardy breakfast. So we hit up a breakfast buffet, and well, we truly did have all we could eat. So much bacon, I didn't even know where to start. I even went with the black coffee challenge in the morning, I am not really a black coffee drinker, but it's really damn strong. After breakfast, we made our way down to the convention and get ready to do it all over again. A lot of drawings and plenty of donuts and coffee, a long day of drawing. But its great being able to meet and connect with all the fans of comics and arts, seeing the smiles on all the faces, that makes my day. And also being able to see all of the other talented artist in the artist alley, we are all on the same boat and it's a great community to be part of. A big thanks to everyone who came by this past weekend, to con for being a great shows and to all the stores in the GTA that supports us along the way. Thank you.

Luckily we didn't go home on an empty stomach, a big thank you to Oliver and his family for inviting all of us for an awesome meal. It was a longer drive back home, but not on an empty tummy.

And now I am back home, finishing this up and just looking ahead to what's next. And the amount of work that's ahead of me is plenty, so stay tuned, I am going to update as much as I can, be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Instagram, @ChileanStorm for both those sites. The rain is still pouring out here, so stay dry and stay cool Toronto.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Be Brave:

It's been a long time coming and I was due for a visit, so tonight I decided to get my tools and go down to Rhino bar, to take part in the Toons On Tap life drawing sessions. For those who are unfamiliar with Toons On Tap, it's a life drawing session that is open for all artist in the city, and they get to draw models who are dressed up as well known comic book or cartoon characters. Tonight's session was Merida from Pixar's Brave. And these models really do look the part, you need to see it to believe it.

Life drawing is one of the many different aspect of my art experience that I need to improve upon and spend more time with, and this is the perfect chance to do just that. It's something I haven't had the chance to put much time in to this practice and tonight I made sure not to miss out. I did get there a few minutes late, little did I know it would be such a full house, which is awesome to see. I am honesty blown away and so happy to see a very strong art community here in Toronto (Crack-head mayor and all). If I can saying anything about drawing, it's always fun to do, but it's great with other artist. A lot of talent in the room as well, from different styles and different methods, an awesome variety in the room.

Needless to say after three hours of drawing I got a lot of work to show, so it goes without saying here are some of my studies from the night...



Another cool idea that takes place at the end of the night at Toons On Tap, the character model gets to pick out her favourite drawing from the various artist and that artist gets to take home a prize. So at the end of the night you present your best work and see how it goes. The model tonight, Merida, was so amazed by all the work she had asked if she could keep the art if the artist didn't want them. I thought that was a very cool idea, so I gladly gave my piece for her to keep. It looks like she really liked it, and I am very pleased to share my work with others.

An awesome night that I highly suggest other artist in the city of Toronto check out, and for those in other cities, I am sure there are many different similar practices taking place in your city, so by all means find them and get drawing. A big thanks to Toons On Tap for organizing these events, to tonight's model, Adrianna, you were fantastic. The  next session for Toons On Tap is on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 and it will be back at The Rhino Bar. I will be posting links below as usual, so if you are interested by all means check it out. Also let me know what you think of gesture and life drawings, what do you do for practice? Let me know in the comments below. And don't forget to check out Spent Pencils page and like our Facebook page as well, to keep track of all SP related news. Another page in a very artsy life, thanks for reading guys and gals.