Saturday, 20 December 2014

Editorial: An Old Fool...

Well, it finally happened. That moment where I stopped and said, "shit, I am old". So I was enjoy a quite Friday afternoon, drinking a coffee at my local Starbucks and drawing in my sketchbook. When around a certain time after 3 PM, I noticed a lot of high school kids coming into the cafe. Loud and noisy bunch, even with my headphones on, I began to notice more and more things that were bugging me. I noticed, hey, they haven't bought a coffee or even a bagel, 20 damn kids and not one of them bought something. Keep in mind, where I live by Royal York and Bloor is a pretty classy neighbourhood and none of these kids looked underprivileged. Then I noticed all of them going to the bathroom, together, and drinking booze in the bathroom. I just thought, shouldn't you kids be doing something useful with your life? Homework? Studying? It was embarrassing to see 16 year old kids stumble drunkly out of the bathroom. I thought, shit, we are a world at war here and all you kids can think of is drinking in a bathroom and trying to get your dicks wet?! And then I really thought hard, what about you? Don't you remember when you were that age? I wasn't on the honour roll. I wasn't a good kid, but that's not to say I was a bad kid by any stretch. I was troubled, I think. I am not sure. To my readers, I must confess, I don't have a good memory. I remember big moments, events and times, but details and little things, I tend to forget. I want to remember more, I want to know what kind of blocks I was laying down, the blocks that became me. I think sometimes, maybe I hurt people, maybe I wasn't as good as I thought I was, and maybe I have a life ahead of me to make up for all my mistakes. But that's what got me thinking about those kids, and what could I do to help.

I think it's easy for all of us to judge. We do it all the time, all of us, in some way or form we are constantly judging the world around us. And let's be honest, because f*ck me if I feel that we can all be way more honest with one and other, even if it hurts. I think of how little time we all have and man, I get scared, I worry on how dishonest we can be.  And hell, I get shit from my family from this a lot, and you know I can admit sometimes I may come off as an asshole, but I don't want to sugar coat things. Am I worried about my finances? Absolutely, I fear Visa is going to send a hitman and murder me. Do I need to find another job or more work? Yes, yes I do and that may involve working overnight to pay off my debts and to be able to look into getting my own place. Do I feel alone sometimes? More like most of the time, I just can't see a future with someone in my life. I hate my body, I want to work out. I want to be a better artist, I want to see more of the world and I seriously want the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup before I kick the bucket. This is me just being as open as I can be without me showing my browsing history. I am saying all this because I know that I can do more for the present and for the future, regardless of my past. 

I feel a bit like both of these characters.

I know people and programs in this city that are doing and trying to do a lot of good, especially with the youth of today. And knowing that, I know what I need to do next. I want to do something for the youth, I want to help out, make a difference. And why not? What I wouldn't do to go back in time and tell my younger self to focus, to pay attention to the big picture, to realize how much more your worth. I am no saint and I don't think I am trying to be, have you seen how many times I used "I" in this blog alone, it's extremely self help in a way. At the end of the day, we all have the ability to make a difference and to be a difference, we can be pretentious or self righteous, we can tell our selves that we are always doing good and can do no wrong. Or we can just open the door, and go outside. The world is out there, we have to give a chance.

So I guess to close this off, I wanted to apologize about being a grumpy old man. It's so easy to complain and point out the flaws in others, but I think taking the step back and looking at your own imperfections, looking at what you can do to make the world a better place, that's the first step. I am not sure what I am going to leave behind in this world, but I am going to try and leave something worth talking about, something that can inspire courage and compassion to love without question. Okay, the sap is dry from this maple tree, I will see you guys later, thank you for reading and remember to keep chasing the storm. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Squirrel Crazy Good...

Not going to lie, really was looking forward to my indy review this week and a lot of them coming up, hell maybe I should just do indy book reviews. But it's exciting for me to share with a large potential audience the incredible work of friends who inspire me to keep pushing forward and bust my book out. A lot of the books that I will be plugging here, I know the creators have been working away for years and I definitely feel like they deserve way much attention and fan attention. So it's with great excitement that today I get to share the work of Dave Bishop! So this one has been a long time coming, and I've got to admit being at fault for being extremely disorganized, still working on that and I plan to keep all things more in order. But I got to meet Dave about two years ago or so, and man, his work is really good! From a very disturbing and psychologically haunting zombie tale in Stranger to some epic out of this world setting in Of Stone and even the underwater thriller, Deep Sea. Dave has created some incredible worlds, as a writer and as an artist you can see it all come to life. One of my personal favourites of his work though, was a very early work of his and it's a short story, simply titled Squirrels. A one shot story on the secret lives of squirrels, and holy f*ck does it get dark really fast, and I love it! I wanted to hit up Squirrels first because I will be looking at all the other books I mentioned earlier as well, so I figured start at the beginning of his work. Not to mention I am blown away at how engaging a short story about squirrels could be. 

So off the bat, you don't even have to open the book to start the story, it begins right away on the cover. A squirrel runs onto a road and gets run over, splat, dead. That's odd? Why would it run on the road and accept it's fate, the squirrel stands and looks directly at the oncoming vehicle. It's an acceptance of ones mortality, welcoming the fate of death head on. An acceptance or even a protest if you will, die on your feet instead of living on your knees. And this does add up especially by the end. You end seeing how all the squirrels have a secret society and a certain code of conduct that they must obey or be casts out, which you could directly tie to the world we live in today, your workplace or hell even your family. A world where curiosity is shunned, defiance is punished and jealousy runs rampart. All of these elements take place in this short story in the world of squirrels and holy crap, that's nuts...pun totally intended. As a writer myself, I was blown away by this, here we have a short story that drops all these elements, and it's not like everything is given to you, there are a lot of questions on how that world works and what are the rules. But the concept being that hey, you know how sometimes when you drive down a long road to the city you may happen to run over a squirrel, ever wonder what life that little creature lived? We don't think that, we never ask that. I mean most humans have a "boot to ants" kind of mentality, we just walk where we want and take what we need. 

This comic was created as part of the twelve hour comic book challenge, which I've done myself and it's really hard to make a story that makes any sense at all and gives you something. I wanted to try to do the same with Part Timer and I hope it works, but I am bot sure. I was totally inspired by Bishop's work here with Squirrels, his ability to tell a lot with the small amount of space is pretty incredible. And you get a sense of bigger and greater settings in his other books as well, which you will be seeing here as well. The only thing is, I am not sure how many copies of Squirrels are left or even available, being an early work of his and all. But hey you go to a show or convention and find Dave's table, pick up anything that is available. If you are looking for comics that challenge it's readers and tell a deeper story, get his books. And also something that needs to be said, Dave is an absolute blast, so talk with him and get to know him, really really cool guy and one of the many guys working that I look up to. 

Dave and Ricky working away.
So there you have it guys, another indy book and creator that you guys should check out for sure! I highly suggest you guys take a look at his work in Deep Sea by checking out the link over here for the Facebook page. And also be sure to let me know, should I look at and review more indy books? Or do you know of a small book that I should be looking at? Let me know in the comments below and I will take a look for sure! Got an editorial coming up for the weekend, so got to plan a rant about something, going to think that one up at work today. Until then guys, keep chasing the storm! 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Diary of Glass: Entry 6

I finally got around to scanning the pages for issue 0, taken me much longer then I thought it would. Then again working on this book alone, it has taken me longer in general. I never accounted for life, work and all the other little things in between. But finally scanning the pages, I can start to clean them up on Photoshop and get to lettering as well, all the steps until I get it done and send it out there. And I mean that in of itself is going to be a new learning process for me, so I am learning and working as I go on this, I just hope it can still be a good presentable product. The thing is, looking through the pages I realize, and I will consider this especially moving forward, I need to work on panelling better. Maybe I am being critical or picky here, but while I like how each page looks on it's own, I don't think there's a good flow in general. But live and learn, I need to pay more attention to all these different elements, I mean especially considering the amount of comics I read and analyse.  

So since I did get a chance to scan the pages and all, let's take a look at one of the pages that will be in Glass Prison #0. Consider this like a backstage pass into the making of Glass Prison, a commentary of sorts, except your reading, so sound excited or something like that. I am not sure if I have a good voice for commentary of sorts or anything like that.

So first up, this is a straight up scan, I didn't clean it up at all. The raw presentation of it all, from pencils to inks. With this page, it plays with the idea of Jason, the main subject of the story, going in and out of reality and the nightmare world of his own sub concious.One thing I want to play with as an artist and as a story teller is distortion, warping the world and the characters around however I see fit. Playing with limbs and the faces is a lot of fun and through the shapes I am looking to present different elements to the panels and pages. In time I want to master the idea of distorting even the panels, melting them or as you see here, broken glass panels, telling the story of a broken man. The idea here is having Jason hold his hand for help, as if he was drowning and needed a hand to save his life. The only thing he gets is another bottle of nameless beer, another drink. The other hands reaching out are the "warden" demons, I wanted to have it seem like they are the ones getting Jason a new bottle to refresh his addiction. A few the hands stand out a bit better than some of the others, I need to make sure to flesh out all the little details on these monsters, especially considering how important they are to the story. In the last panel, I wanted to have Jason look pissed off, his anger at his own weakness and inability to quit, to be able to be free. In the story, the alcohol and drugs play out as the walls to Jason's prison. I know that Jason wants to be free, he wants to clean up his life. But at this point in the story and early on, he needs to honestly look at his life and be ready to face his past if he wants any chance at a future. He wants someone to save him, but he is unable to take it upon his own to do anything. I need to work on my backgrounds more, especially on the top panels, I couldn't think of an appropriate background, so I decided to leave it alone for now. 

So, what do you think?

Please let me know, any kind of comment or suggestion, I am all ears. As a new comic book artist and storyteller, I need to listen as much as possible. So let me know what you think, I need all the help I can get. And hopefully you are enjoying this process as well, I want to try and update every week and as I am going I am trying to write up five blogs per week, staying up late and drinking a lot more coffee. Be sure to check out the previous entries in my Diary of Glass series, you can see how I wanted to rush this out and how I decided to just do a good job and see the process along the way. Thank you again for reading and until next time, keep chasing the storm. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bright and Scary Future...

So I guess y'all wondering why I am doing one of the DC Comics "Futures End" issues, now in December and all. Well if you don't know, I review any book at any time, that's never a problem for me, I mean I generally pick up my books every two weeks, so half of those would be brand new. Also it has come to my concern, maybe, that I might have too many bats on my brain. I've got five series and they all deal with Batman in some way or form, so practically all my reviews for DC books would be Batman based, and I don't know, part of me feels like that would get a bit boring. Another thing I wanted to mention before I get started on the review, I was thinking about blasting Batgirl #37, but I don't think I am the guy to do it. I am really upset with that issue, considering everything that series has done in taking progressive steps forward, this feels like a massive fall. But the writers did apologizes and I hope it is legit, because I did enjoy the first two issues of this new team. However any time anyone or any group is shamed or portrayed in poor taste, you can't sit by and accept it. The Trans community is doing everything it can to break into society, to become an integrated and important piece to the evolution of the human race, to educate many who have no idea on what it means to be a transgender individual. I have a few friends who are trans, including my best friend, these are people I love dearly and for them I won't stop in educating and spreading the word on these issues, because they matter. If you want to read a good review, click the link here and check it out, you will get a better understanding on how this issue came off as an insult and more importantly as a disappointment. And if you need to educate yourself more, and I highly suggest you do, go here and learn more on this topic.

Okay, comic book review time. 

So today I wanted to review Futures End: Sinestro, which gives us a story that takes place in a possible future of the current ongoing Sinestro series. All of the Futures End stories in all the different books shows us a possibility that is yet to come, events that take place based on moves made in the past. Of all the ones I have, I really enjoyed this one though. Sinestro has always had a Magneto feel to me, while cruel and cold blooded, I don't think the character is by any means a true villain. I will say this, both characters have done some terrible and horrible things, but these guys won't deny that or try to sugar coat things. Too often I feel we try to find excuses and reasons on why we may have hurt others or did something wrong, Sinestro knows why he did it and would do it again if given the chance. Needless to say after reading Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern, it was hard not to fall in love with this bad guy. Not to mention his main power stems from "fear" and he has teamed up with my all time favourite DC Comics bad guy, the Scarecrow. Those two need to team up again soon. 

The story begins in a future with Sinestro caught and locked up in a prison for the worst of the worst in the galaxy, down but not out we find out Sinestro has got a plan. And while his main power source has always been the yellow light of fear, we get to see him tap into another source of power. And always trust in this guy when he says that he has a plan, as you see as the story progresses, everything needed to happen and everything needed to be in the right place. The pay off is the end, and man, it's a good one.  I highly suggest all Green Lantern fans check this one out, an excellent read for a great and classic character. And considering this is a one shot issue, the narrative is really good in telling us a story on this possible future. It ends and begins, a well structured story of redemption and revenge. And while he is no Ivan Reis, Igor Lima should be given plenty of credit for bringing the story to life, a lot of great details and plenty of action on the pages, great presentation for this book. And while I could complain on how everything eventually works out for our main character, it's nice to see the bad guy win every now and then. 

As a stand alone book, it's worth a look at the very least. But if you are collecting GL books, if this isn't in your collection, pick it up and get started on the Sinestro series in general. In a world of thousand different Lantern characters of all the different colour spectrum, it is easy to see why Sinestro stands out as the greatest of them all...according to him of course.

Well there you have it, DC Tuesdays has come and gone, but remember we will be seeing more and more Batman content, but I will see if I could start something, not so Batman-ish. It will be hard, but I can't make any promises. But I asks you guys, which of the Futures End books did you like the most? I've got a few more as well, so I can do another next week as well if you guys want. Also anything good from DC Comics that isn't tied to the six degrees of Batman? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr. Bonus points for messenger pigeons. That's all the time I've got for now, until then, keep chasing the storm! 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Everybody Time Travel...

You know it's funny, or is it sad? Or both? But since the Marvel Now relaunch of the X-Men series, the main theme has been time travel. And they make it seems so matter of fact and convenient. Like hey, you know what would be great if I brought young Cyclops here and introduced him to old Cyclops, just because old Cyclops is a dick...and a poopy head. I don't know why Beast thought that was such a grand brilliant idea. But everyone knows if you mess time up, there are going to be some massive repercussion on existence. What kind of world would we be in, if we went back in time and took out evil dictators or the guy who invented the hamburger, would someone else rise to power and would we have something better than the classic cheeseburger? I am not sure. But I am not quite sure why Brian Michael Bendis feels like a time wizard, writing up these crazy stories. Bendis is a funny writer, and his reception is quite polarizing. Those who like him, swear to the great book of comics about this guy. Those who hate him , probably want to paper cut him to death with copies of Avengers: Disassembled. I take him with caution, he doesn't always write the best stuff out there, but I did enjoy the build up he had to Secret Invasion and how it all played out, but I do wonder how a story reveal can simply be, cause she was crazy. And with that being said, today we are going to be taking a look at Uncanny X-Men Annual, part 1 of 2, the second part will be in All New X-Men Annual. Both parts written by Bendis and tell the story of the new mutant, Eva Bell, the time manipulator from the cool mutant team, Cyclops and his rebels. Being an entirely new character, I liked her mutant power. She was able to capture the Avengers in a time bubble, that's pretty freaking powerful! Although her costume is a bit of a head scratcher, she wears a really short skirt, like anime otaku kind of short. But other then that, she's pretty darn cool. So in recent issues, we see now that Eva AKA Tempus is a lot older, after training to control her powers, she comes back older and wiser. But what happened, where did she go? That is this story, and its two parts, so it's got to be good...right?

So one thing to keep in mind off the bat, this book has a different artist then the ones we have seen so far on Uncanny X-Men, so it does have a fresh feel to it, which is welcome. And I will say, it's nice to see an Annual issue actually mean something, the Amazing Spider-man Annual was pretty lame aside from the great back stories, especially the mini Aunt May comic, pretty great stuff. But I've been so used to seeing Annuals just be small short stories, that you don't need to read to progress the series. So it's very cool, to have a hanging question in the story get answered. A lot of this book is saved by the art from Andrea Sorrentino, it's a very unique style and it plays extremely well with Eva going through different time periods and slowing down time, not to mention her take on a future X-Men member is absolutely stunning. I wanted to see more of that. To be honest, the book gets a bit crazy for me with the writing and the pacing of the story, but that's what happens with time travel, you get some really messy stories and a lot of unanswered questions. I understand what is going on, but there is a time jump moment here and you don't get any details on what went down, you just know that Tempus has been there, but you don't know what she learned and who she met and all this other stuff that would happen in time. And it's important especially considering how this part of the story ends. Basically I feel like I wasn't given enough information to care enough about her new life, but hey, maybe this will be revealed in the second part? I doubt that, because a bigger reveal took place and I am pretty sure that is going to be the main meat of the story in part 2, and that stuff is pretty interesting, I am curious to see what's going to happen there.

But reading this, I will say, given more issues I feel like we could've had a greater story being told. But I guess that's what happens with time travel. Sometimes I really wish they didn't touch it too much, I mean other worlds and universes makes sense to me, you can do anything there and have no repercussions on the main time line. When you go back and forth though, you know something has got to change and it has got to be a big change. I don't know, I guess it doesn't matter seeing as Marvel is ready to blow everything up and restart all the different books and series. Damn it.

So that's my Marvel Monday review, this might be a thing now. I was thinking about looking at AXIS #7, but it's crap. I don't want to give it any attention and in my books, Magneto will always be the father of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. I don't want to beat a dead horse, seriously disappointed in Marvel with this move and I won't be picking up Uncanny Avengers when it comes out, it's all a silly ploy for movie rights. Not worth my time or yours, seriously don't get that book. I will be back tomorrow with a DC Comic for Tuesday, but if you guys have any comments or questions or anything, feel free to drop a line below. Much love and remember guys, keep chasing the storm! 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Editorial: Excelsior to the Nuts

Why do you do it Marvel?

You create some incredible characters, an amazing legacy, hire the best artist in the industry and even give us an incredibly detailed movie universe. And we thank you for it with tons and tons of our hard earned cash. No one needs to buy comic books, we want to buy comic books. So then, why are you so quick to give your loyal fan base a constant kick in the groin? The big dump you took on us this week was the big reveal in AXIS issue 7, with Magneto and his kids, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Apparently Marvel wanted to pull a Maury, because Magneto is not the father! Wait. What? Are you meaning to tell me that House of M means squat now? And what about Tommy (Speed) and Billy (Wiccan)? The Children's Crusade was one of my favourite stories Marvel ever released, the idea of these characters all coming together to create a family was a beautiful moment. So does that even matter anymore? At this point I am waiting for the kids to be revealed as an imaginary essence of Wanda's psyche, the knife is already in the heart, you might as well finish the job. And I am honestly puzzled as hell about this. Because Marvel is destroying a lot of comics in an effort to have all the movie rights back in their hands, but it is us, the loyal comic book fans who get to suffer for it.

So in an attempt to separate the twins from the X-Men universe, Marvel thought it would be great to have Magneto not their father and now we will find out the twins will possibly not be mutants. Because instead of House of M ending in self sacrifice, we will now have Wanda commit an absolute hate crime of pure genocide. Hurray. But why do all this? For the movies, duh. Because you can't have a guy who might be mildly interested in buying comics after watching Avengers 2, pick up the books and not understand how these two could be mutants but not be on an X-Men related team. Because his possible three dollars is worth more then all the Young Avengers fan base. Absolute horse shit. Who gives a fuck if the movies and comics are different worlds? In the ultimate universe they made the twins with hints of incest, but whatever it's another universe, they can do what they want. But not anymore, Marvel is going to try and create a prime universe. I am slicing my wrist with excitement. The idea of resetting all the books is an absolute nightmare. But think about all the new readers? What new readers? What about the loyal fan base that made you? When I started collecting comics for real I was about 12 maybe 13 years old, not sure, but my first book was Daredevil issue 323, part five of the Fall From Grace story. My point is, this wasn't Daredevil issue one. I really loved the DD episode in the Spider-man cartoon, the idea of a devil kicking ass and doing it while blind was so badass for my young mind, I wanted more of this guy. I started Daredevil in the 90's, it took me a few years to go back and find the classic work from Stan Lee, then the incredible work by Frank Miller and so forth. My point is no one was waiting on me to reset books so I could start on #1 and be able to understand what's going on, tons of comic book fans just started because they loved comics, the heroes and the villains and everything that comes with comic books. The fans who have dedicate so much are the people Marvel and DC Comics should be concerned about.

Because recently this relationship has been a very poisonous one. You give us an incredible and unique series that a lot of us fall in love with, but since it doesn't make Avengers kind of money it's not worth keep it around. She-Hulk, Elektra and New Warriors are just to name a few, and these were series I really liked and enjoyed. New Warriors was a fresh new and young team of super heroes, it was extremely refreshing from the main stream super hero team. You finally had a place that made sense for Scarlet Spider and had Nova back on the team, what more do you need? Apparently to make sure it sells like bottled water in the desert. And don't get me started on Elektra. This is the best looking book in comics today. There, I said it. And it is hard to argue, Mike del Mundo doesn't just draw a comic about the red assassin, he brings it to life in jaw dropping panels, with dream like progression through each page, Elektra is one that I always look forward too. Seriously people, get Elektra now and just look at the incredible pages. Mike better be on a new book as soon as possible. And while I am on the subject of artist, a show of hands, who here has bought a new series because of a particular artist was going to be drawing it, only to find out three issues in that they have already changed the artist to someone else, hands up? Thought so. Who wouldn't be hyped to know Joe Mad would be drawing Inhumans or Coipel on X-Men. And damn it, they even got someone else to draw Rocket Raccoon! No offence to that artist, but I bought that book for Skottie Young art! He's my favourite artist, and I have been waiting since his New Warriors run to see him back on a Marvel super hero comic run. Seriously you can have Young draw any book and I would buy the crap out of it! Now listen Marvel, you can't keep doing that, give the people who they want, not what you think they want. You guys make enough money to pay the artist who we want to see and to give the up and coming guys their own books to show their skills as well. What Marvel is doing here is like setting up a concert where Metallica opens for the garage KISS tribute band, how do you think the crowd would handle that? And also listen to your fan base, because I know at times we can be extremely needy and confusing bunch, but listen, take the good and filter the nonsense. Not everyone is a crazy 40 year old who is legally married to a Jean Grey mannequin, you've got fans who want better comics that reflect this changing and different world that we live in today. And you know Marvel, you've done it right with characters like Kamala, the new Ms.Marvel or even with Prodigy, an openly bi sexual character. You've got Sam Wilson as the new Captain America and the new Thor is an absolute step in the right direction. So don't ruin all the good you do for a few more bucks from the movies! Those movies will make millions regardless of the comic universe, you don't have to force the two together, it doesn't make any sense. Please, do what is right for the loyal fan base that has always been and will be there.

So that's what I think, and I really hope someone at Marvel, even an intern or something takes the time and reads this, just hoping this will make some kind of noise. And I suggest everyone to let Marvel or DC Comics know how you feel about the current state of comics, by letting your opinions be known and/or by purchasing power, which many would say is the best way to go about it. But what do you guys think about everything that is going on? Let me know and let the big two know as well. That's all the time I've got for now, thank you for reading and keep chasing the storm! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Black Holes Over A*#holes!

The best way to describe the current relationship between comic book fans and the two big companies in comics is a pretty simple one when I think about it. You ever remember threatening your parents that you were going to run away from home? You would grab the box of cookies, three juice boxes and your favourite toys and tell them you were done with their crap and you were going to live a life free of their oppressive state. In most case, the parents would tell you to cut the crap and wash your hands for dinner, but if you were brave enough to leave and play in the park for an hour, your parents knew you would be back home in no time. That is what we have here today with comics. And you can see this from both Marvel and DC Comics, they can cancel series at a whim and/or completely destroy any beloved character you hold dear to your heart, you know why? Because you will be back. I f*cking hated DC Comics for relaunching everything, but I own at least five #1 issue of several series. And I absolutely despise Marvel for what they did to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! And for what? A movie that is going to make millions even if they left these characters alone. Going to get more on that tomorrow. My point is though, we keep coming back. It's a very abusive relationship we have here, for the little they give, they are allowed to take anything they want from us. And where else can we go? Where you ask? Indi-f*cking-pendent! Seriously guys, there is tons of incredible comics that you have no idea about, go to artist alley and find these books, go online and follow these great stories. But you have to be willing to change the channel and take a chance on all these artist and writers who deserve you time and money.

"But you always review big two comics?"

...point. And I am going to change that today! 

So I decided to do different books everyday, and in that rotation will be indy comics as well. So you will get some classic or old stuff from Marvel and DC Comics, and I can mix that up with Image and Dark Horse comics as well, but then always do a new indy book or series. To represent from those who really deserve the spotlight. And today I am going to start with one of my current favourite series that is going on, the sci-fi adventure, Black Hole Hunters Club! 

The latest issue of Black Hole Hunters Club is issue 5, and with the first four you get to meet the entire cast of BHHC, a wide range of strange and down right gross looking aliens, all working together on a common goal and an overdue space bar tab. You always see what has happened to the father of Lars and Hector, a character who had a really good build up in the first issues, so it made an impact when he finally showed up and well...he was kind of a dick. But why? Well that is the question. But in issue 5, we got the brother and Liliam trekking through a forest when Lars suddenly finds a really kick ass bug. Like the coolest little dude ever, seriously. But then they get caught, shit. Not to worry though because the action isn't far away and we get to Lars use his transformation powers again in a really awesome way and we see Hector fry the crap out of some dick head frog, wicked stuff. 

While the issues aren't big, they get to the point. And why not? Who cares how much Trevor has been drinking on his way to the space supermarket? The story doesn't drag on, the pace is steady with plenty of humour and action, it's extremely refreshing to see this in a comic. If I have to make a complaint though, I still feel even with the larger cast that Hector and Lars (especially Lars, he's fucking awesome) steal the show. The others characters haven't really stood out as well yet, but there are plenty more issues to come and fix this problem anyway. And I guess one thing also, I wish the bad guys survived a little bit more to be developed, but hey you can always have magic zombies from outer space. Seriously bring back a stitch headed Prince Human from issue one, that would be sick! Aside from that, I can't stress how badly you guys need to start reading Black Hole Hunters Club! If you see Ricky Lima or Shane Heron at any of these shows, get the books! If you get a lot of them, Shane will draw you anything. And I hear he enjoys drawing a lot of the characters from My Little Pony. True story. 

 Down below I will give you some links to see more of both these guys and also where you can find these guys next. 

So there you have it guys, now you know one series and creators to start following. It is about time we take back control of our hobbies and of the things we love, comics is no different. We have two guys here who work their asses off to make some great unique comics and will continue to do so, they have tons of other stories and comics as well. Both helped out in the Monstrosity anthology comic and Ricky just released Deep Sea, with art from one of my favourite guys in the scene, Dave Bishop. Honestly if I can be anywhere near as good as these guys I will be happy, all of them inspire me to be the best comic creator I can be. But that's all I got for now guys, got to get some sleep. Been pretty consistent though eh? Until then, keep chasing the storm! 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Diary of Glass: Entry 5

It's been a long time since I've been able to talk about anything related to my pet project, Glass Prison. I was working away on both issue zero and issue one, then life happened and it took a back seat to practically everything else, which was my fuck up. I want to blame this on having a lot of different birthday celebrations  and picking up more hours at work, lord knows Visa is still looking to murder me (I think), but the cold truth of it all, it's on me. I haven't found the time to sit down and finish it up, but issue zero is practically finished, I just have to but some finishing touches to it and send over to the scanners. At which point I still need to clean it up on Photoshop, letter it and put it all together. But God damn it, this is a lot of work! And look I am going to slay this fucker one way or another, this book will happen, but the reality is I am an out of shape guy who gets home drained from his job after 8 hours of service and cleaning. And I still got tons and tons of things I need to learn as an artist and as a comic creator, I still look at my work and think and know I could have done things differently, better. And I still got to draw out issue one, which I need to get more paper and actually I might have to remove a page, I may have written 25 pages for this 24 page comic. So plenty to do, and I think I know what I want to do to improve these current problems...

One, me and my brother are going to sign up for a gym. We figure it's a good time to meet up and work together, he is already in shape though, me, I've got a gut to slay and roll out some rolls. That's the reality of things, and not to mention you can get pretty inactive sometimes in the winter, so best work it off. But it's also something I want to add to my daily routine, after or before work, something to keep me going with stronger energy. And then by the summer time, all the selfies! Maybe. Most likely. I apologize now in advance. 

Two, I need that drafting table and a good chair for work. My current set up right now has my computer and whole bunch of other things, mainly different collectible blind bag figures. Coolest one being...hmmm...I've got to give that to the Mega Man helmet (Red variant)that I got from Loot Crate. But yeah, while this spot is great for digital work and for blogging, I need to make space for a work table, a place I can go to and attack any project I got. That and I want a board to see what I have to finish and all that jazz, organize myself to a greater scale. I want to be an artist, I got to start taking this shit more seriously. With this work space, I can also study more techniques and practice more and more.

But there you have it, that is what is going on with me so far and the Glass Prison. I have not forgotten this project and I will not stop until this done and finished, this is something I have to do, come hell or high water, I need to do this. And thing is, here in Toronto, we got guys doing some absolutely incredible work, a lot of guys who I want to be to hang with, to be able to say that I am part of that collective. Because now, I can't say much to my name, I am invisible as far as the world of comics is concerned. I want to change, I want to be known and I want to tell my stories. So if you've been following me and my work so far, a big big thank you to you and continue to do so you incredible wonderful person, thank you! Until then, will see what I get done when the next update rolls around, which I am going to try and make sure is once per week. So until then, keep chasing the storm! 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Game Ender...

I think everyone has their own version of a devil and an angel on their shoulders, appearing in times of making a big decision, when you have to do the right thing or something to that degree. Whenever I sit down and decide to do a comic book review, I generally go to my Marvel collection and try to find a book that I want to share with everyone. But then I hear it, the little voice of DC Comics. A small whimper, a plea that says, I've got great comics to you know. You do? Sure. Really? Batman. You can't go wrong with the Batman. It actually surprises me a bit on how incredibly successful the Batman franchise alone is, that series and all the characters to come out of that world are an absolute gold mine. I love the Detective Comics series, I enjoyed the Dark Knight series, the new Batgirl is shaping up and a lot of the different Batman comics just kick ass. So I decided I would do some Batman today, and we are going to be taking a look at the next big event for this flagship series from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, End Game. 

First off though, I want to make something perfectly clear here, there will be massive man boob spoilers here. But I think at this point everyone knows what's up.

It's issue 35 for this run of Batman and so far we have seen Batman go through the Court of Owl and the Year Zero event. Not to mention the big event that was, Death to the Family. And I wanted to address my feelings on that event in particular before I talk about this issue. While the story was an interesting idea, looked great and had some pretty kick ass moments, the sum of it all was...not much. Maybe I missed something here, but after all the issues and the crossover issues as well, he gets everyone together for a dinner and makes it seem like they all got defaced permanently. And the only "death" happen after the whole event. Joker came, Joker went. I was just wondering what was the point of it all. 

So after a year long event in Zero Year, we come back to find Bruce Wayne looking for his long lost foe, The Joker. The last time he saw him was in the Batcave, when he fell down the waterfall, so he could be anywhere at this point. But be careful what you ask for, you might just get it or something much worse, like the entire Justice League in your city and ready to skin you alive. The first one into the action is Wonder Woman, smashing through the glass and forcing Batman into a Hulkbuster kind of suit, will call it Superbuster...? (Note: Superman called it "Justice Buster" that is a better name now that I think about it) You figure it's made to deal with the Man of Steel, so might as well call it something to that degree. But apparently he has something for everyone of the league members, and we get to see it play out against Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman. Then Superman arrives, and the picture becomes very clear, the Joker has infiltrated the mind of Batman's friends. Well shit.

So in general, how do I feel about this issue overall? Well, I got to say Greg Capullo has been extremely consistent in delivering amazing looking issues time and time again. Great designs on all the characters, weapons vehicles and the world in general. And he has done a lot of different theme so far with each story, and it works. He can captured the creepiness when he needs to and show the kick ass moments of being Batman. When judging this book and this story, we need to look over to Scott Snyder. My beef with this story so far, is the way Batman deals with his friends turned enemies. A rope of lies to trick Wonder Woman, okay makes sense to a degree, except the whole when did get his hands on such a legendary weapon. He brings Aquaman back to being a laughing stock by covering him in bubble gum. Legit. That's all it takes. King of Atlantis everyone. But then we get to the Flash and I am not quite sure what rules apply to him now in the New 52, because last I remember, this was a guy who can turn people into dust with one touch. He must be de-powered now, which would explain how a batarang caught up with him and took him out. I need to figure this out. But I don't get it, why nurf Flash but keep Superman as a walking God. Maybe this why I am not getting paid to write comics, I don't know. And don't get me wrong, this is a great set up and a great build up in general, I just really hope this will lead up to something. An end, a conclusive answer to the fight between Joker and Batman, something. Here's hoping though. And also it goes without saying, this is the premier Batman book on shelves, this is the series you follow. 

So there you have it, I will be doing every issue of the End Game plot, so be sure to come back and check often. I really hope for this to be a modern day classic. But hey, what do you think? Are you enjoying this story so far? Also, any comments or book suggestions, let me know, I love to hear back from you guys. I will be back as soon as possible and do the best I can to keep this engine running. Until then, keep chasing the storm! 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Fireworks That Work...

Let be known, that as far as comic books goes, I am a fair man. I judge the books, not the characters. So it feels like a head scratcher coming here and letting you all know that I really liked X-Men issue 4 from new Marvel Now line. It was actually a really good stand alone comic, especially considering it technically a filler issue from the first event in the first three issue and the Battle of the Atom issues that come after. It is especially weird as well because the stars of this issue are Wolverine and...Jubilee. That's right, I was impressed by "Goodbye Kitty" (Pete Holmes reference). But you know, it got me thinking, I don't think Jubilee was made properly. She was the cool kid of the 90's and in the grand scale of time and space that makes you the eat lunch by yourself kind of kid when compared with the other eras, she was given extremely silly powers and I am not entirely sure who she was being marketed to in general. Is there a scene for kids in yellow jackets and dish washing gloves? Not to mention Marvel permanently made her into a undead creature of the night, not sure if that was a "Twilight" move or not, but it does leave your brows in suspicious mode. And hell, you would think you would have heard some kind of backlash, lord knows what would happen if they decided to make Tony Stark into a vampire and have Steve Rogers as a werewolf, both fighting for the attention of an emotionless and soul deprived Black Widow. It practically sells itself. But one thing that a lot of Wolverine fans told me, they really liked the father/daughter (or big brother) kind of relationship these two had together. Moments of Jubilee learning from Wolverine, it was signs that he would eventually be a pretty good headmaster. And likewise Jubilee being a break for Logan from being a crotchety angry small man. It worked, hell it worked really well. The first X-Men movie really like that bonding they had and replaced Jubs with Rouge, because fuck you. But my point is, I get it and you know what, I think these two work really well together, especially considering most male and female comic book relationship eventually get forced into some kind of romantic situation, it's nice to see these two working together without the worry they will eventually be sucking each others face in the next issue. Save that for Stark and Banner. So let's crack this book open and see what works and also see what the other X-Men in this issue are up to, almost forgot to mention them in the first place.

The issue starts off with Jubilee and Wolverine spending some time on the beach in California, her old stomping grounds before the whole mutant and X-Men life took over, when having Bret Hart shades was a cool thing. We see she also has her adopted baby, Shogo, who was the main plot line of the first three issue in this series and who may or may not grow up to be really awesome, just saying. But the idea being here, while these two are catching up and looking back, seeing how much things have changed but also appreciating the things that haven't changed in all this time. And what will Shogo mean to her future. Then we see the X-Men team of Storm, Rachel Grey, Psylocke, Rogue and Kitty Pryde out in the skies trying to save a plane that's going down. I know it's a in between issue, but couldn't they have fought a hulked out version of Toad or something. But as you could probably guess, the really meat and heart of this issue is in the first plot, the sassy rescue team seems like it took up way too much time and space, at least in this issue. A really nice moment comes when Logan decides to purchases Jubilee's old house for her, so she and Shogo can have a safe place to live in and stay, you know in case things goes south and Wolverine dies in an extremely stupid fashion. It's moments like this that left me really enjoying the book, it was another great moment between this duo and it was really great to see it all play out. 

The thing about this issue, I felt that after reading it that this was a book from back in the day, a book you find in the old bins and realize you've got a gem on your hands. It felt right, like the kind of book a Jubs/Wolvie book should feel like, and it's from a very recent series. And even the side story, while not the most creative situation still held up. And with Logan out of the picture (for now), you get to appreciate the more human side to him and see why he meant so much to the characters in this universe. A big thumbs up to Brain Wood on this issue. I highly recommend this title for all X-Men and Wolverine fans, a great book and great team as well, the ladies of X-Men really do kick ass, it was about time they had their own books. But if you happen to be a fan of hating Jubilee, I don't think this book will change your mind, then again probably nothing will. Maybe some published Avengers fan fiction. 

Well there you have it, a new review just for you. Yes you. Thank you for taking the time for reading this, hope you enjoyed it. And be sure to leave a comment or question below as well, or even any book suggestions. I am all ears and eyes and all that other great stuff. Going to do my best to post one of these more frequently, so will see how I do, lord knows I've got a ton of books to read and go through, so yeah, plenty more comic book reviews to come. Until then, keep chasing the storm.