Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Excuses Excuses, Muppets and Bones

Yeah, I am lame.  No posts for months.  I can only assure you I have been creating artwork, but only for jobs that I cant share any cool pics from yet.  June and July brought a few storyboard projects from a Burbank movie studio working on a new action thriller.  I've no idea when the movie will be out, but I will be sure to plug it when it arrives.

The card series I have been working on is almost wrapping up.  I think they will start shipping after the new year, but you will definitely know when they do.  Its been a long time since I have been this excited about a project, so I hope it is received as well as I think it should be.  Its educational, entertaining and involves lots of exquisitely rendered characters, so there is no reason it shouldn't be a great success.  Again, once I can talk about it I am sure I will do nothing but.

The biggest news is I've got a gig working at Award winning visual effects studio, Look Effects.  These guys put the shine on Green Lantern, shield throwing special effects in Captain America, as well as cool little bits and pieces on Avatar, The Life Aquatic, Little Miss Sunshine, the Kings Speech.  Their biggest claim to faim is all of the awards and accolades they received for doing all of the effects work on Arranofsky's Black Swan.  All of the mind bending goose flesh, swan feathers and sensuously shifting tattoos were done by the guys I am sharing desk space with.  Its a very exciting time.

I am there as a digital compositor, working in AfterEffects and Nuke.  Currently I am working on a few final shots for the upcoming muppet movie cleverly entitled 'The Muppets'.  Its pretty awesome.  My inner child gets excited every time I sit down to work on a shot with Kermit the Frog or Fozzie Bear.

The studio also does some effects for a few television series.  One of my favorites was Pushing Daisies, but they also did the effects for Lost and currently Bones.  This coming week I get to add Bones to my resume as they have me working on some exciting gun effects.

So, there it is.  There will be some art up soon.  Maybe even some of my writing.  Who knows?!?  I make no promises.  I just got a new apartment in Sherman Oaks and next week my wife is finally joining me permanently out here in LA so I will be preoccupied for the upcoming week or two.

Godspeed fellow scribblers!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Xmen: First Class Movie Review

x-men-first-class-movie-logo-01

As anyone who has spent 3 seconds looking at this blog can tell, I am a geek.  One of the facets of the geek diamond Claunch would be my love for comic books.

 When I was young I dug the spandex super powers, but these days its the character driven titles that draw me in.  However, I have always read at least one X title.  I love those multi-powered mutants.  I was excited with all the other fanboys when the first Xmen movie came out, then slightly disappointed with the second (although Nightcrawler being in it helped) and only enjoyed the third because Beast said 'Oh my stars and garters', and Iceman went full glacier.  My requirements to call a movie 'good' are fairly low by most standards.  However, that cinematic abortion called Wolverine: Origins pushed low standards right off the edge of a roof.

At any rate, my biggest pet peeve with comic book films tend to be the studios unerring need to mess with the comic book history.  Make this guy a woman or a different race to balance demographics.  Delete characters, merge them with others or create all new team members.  Anyone who has read an X-title for more than a month knows there is a character in there for every power, need or persuasion, so the only reason to make up someone new is because the creators were to lazy to do their research.

The X-men: First Class trailers hit and I swore a little.  It seemed the most base fact for this team was ignored. The first class in the comic book throughout its 50 year history has always been as follows:  Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Beast, Angel and Iceman.

xmen_first_class_poster

However, in the First Class Movie you get: Beast, Mystique, Havok, Angel Salvadore, Darwin, and Banshee.  So, one out five.

x-men-first-class-cast-large-01

To add to my nerd rage there was rumor early on that they establish Havok as Cyclops's dad (they are brothers).  Then they make Mystique the same age as Professor X and Magneto. Why?  So its not weird Magneto is sleeping with her I guess.

'Calm down, geek,' I can hear people say.  'Its just a movie.'

Quiet, you.

I was going to be watching the movie in the historic Chinese theater in the heart of Hollywood, and still I was prepared to be disappointed.

I was eating crow within the first 10 minutes.

It was like a James Bond film written by Stan Lee with a splash of the Cuban missile crisis thrown in for flavor.  It was glorious.

The script was tight (I do not mean that in the way young kids do these days).  All of the primary characters had a decent amount of development, the pacing was dead on and I was left hoping it wouldn't end. 

There were no mustache twirling villains but fully realized motivation for every nefarious deed the black hats perpetrated.  The good guys were valiant and the guys in the grey area in between were intriguing to watch as they labored over which path to take.  

Kevin Bacon played an incredibly suave Sebastian Shaw.  This really felt like it could be something of a comeback role for him as his presence filled the screen every time he stepped into frame. He was assisted by the red skinned teleporter and sword wielder Azazel (who in the books fathers Nightcrawler with Mystique).  He had some of the most entertaining action scenes in the film.  Emma Frost (sporting her diamond secondary mutation) along with her telepathy and constant lingerie wearing kept the Hellfire club from being a boys club, but in my mind was the least 3 dimensional of all of the primary characters.  And then there was Riptide.  Alright, he was the least 3 dimensional, but give a third stringer a chance.

Emma Frost

The acting from the heroes was solid as well, but since there were more of them you didn't get enough of anyone beyond Xavier, Magneto and Mystique to call them primary.  What little you get of them was good, funny without being ridiculous and endearing with the exception of Angel Salvadore. However, she was a weak character in the comics and I have a feeling putting a stripper with dragonfly wings in the movie was just to up the sex appeal quota.  Tickets must be sold, after all.

The actors playing Mystique, Xavier and Magneto were nuanced and a joy to watch.  Magneto was definitely my favorite, a man seeking revenge for the atrocities of the holocaust suffered by his family.  The scene in an Argentinian cantina was amazing, I wanted to watch those few minutes again and again.

As a slight word of warning, considering an F-Bomb dropped and a lot of death I would make sure you're cool with your kids seeing that before bringing them in.  The entire movie seemed incredibly grown up.  Its hard to imagine a toy line going along with this film, but I am sure they will make them anyway.

The biggest surprise of the film for me was Mystique.  Completely colored by my minimal time with her on the set of Winters Bone, Jennifer Lawrence just didn't strike me as the sort of actress to play the sexy future mercenary that I expect Mystique to be.  I also was dubious of the her talents being able to match those of the likes of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender.  However, if you look at shear frame count I think she was on camera more than any one else and I'll be damned if she wasn't fantastic...and sexy.  Like a fine wine she seems to be getting better with age.  I look forward to future projects she graces with her talents.

Of course, there is one over arcing thing that made me happy with this film.  Prior to First Class I was four degrees from Kevin Bacon.

degrees of bacon1

Now I am only two.

degrees of bacon2

I'm coming for you, Mr. Bacon.

degrees of bacon3

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some incredible TMNT portrait art by Dave Rapoza

The subject pretty much says it all.  This guy has been cranking out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle portraits for a gallery showing in Philadelphia.  If you hurry you can buy some pretty epic prints from his website.  He is only making 25 prints of each character and considering how swank these are you will want to order them fast. If someone wanted to order me a Metalhead or Baxter Stockman for my birthday, I would love them forever.

The gallery page is here.

The artists page with ordering info is here.

The glory is below.

Wingnut_process_daverapoza_2

Bebop_Dave_Rapoza_3

Wingnut_DaveRapoza_TMNT_2

Slash_DaveRapoza

Splinter_Dave_Rapoza_TMNT_2

Rocksteady_Dave_Rapoza_

Casey_Jones_Dave_Rapoza

Shredder_Dave_Rapoza_TMNT_2

April_DaveRapoza

FootClan_DaveRapoza

Baxter_TMNT_DaveRapoza2

Metalhead_TMNT_DaveRapoza

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UI design

Here is a recent UI menu screen I put together.  Enjoy!

DClaunch_UI_Test2

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ManTech

I spent months trying to figure out what line an action figure of mine belonged to.  It was a favorite from childhood, but I don't think the line was very popular considering other than my cousin I never knew anyone who had any of them.
Mantech_aqua_box_crop

Anywho.  It was ManTech.

Mantech_laser_crop

Yup, this bald dude is known as LaserTech.  Their creative department wasn't apparently all that creative.  There was a short lived comic book line tied to these guys, and each figure came with a miniature comic that is somewhere in my mothers basement.

EDIT: Here is the commercial for Mantech!

In other toy news, I have spent a lot of time on the hunt for the perfect vintage smell/texture slime.  Its an elusive creature for unknown reasons.  I will post an update as soon as my last candidate comes in.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smore-puft

An incredible bit of sculpture, I want one.

Smore_puft

Icollector sale of things I want but never would need.

Once every couple of months I torture myself with thoughts of what I would do with an unlimited bank account and a large display room.  This month has a ridiculous treasure trove of screen gems up for auction.
Chitty chitty
Road worthy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

crypty
Cryptkeeper on his throne.
star wars story
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Storyboard pages.
identity disk
Tron Identity Disk
tron guard
Tron Gladiator Costume
starcraft shuttle
Full scale shuttlecraft from Star Trek Enterprise
golden calf
This one seems like a bad idea to keep in your house.  The golden Calf from the Ten Commandments.
chamberlin
Chamberlin Skessis head from Dark Crystal.
gozer
Gozer costume from the first Ghostbusters
watcher
Watcher from Big Trouble in Little China.
hoverboard
Hoverboard
puppet master
Reanimation Syringe kit from Puppet Master.
chain saw
Chain Saw victim from 2004 Dawn of the Dead.
rapheal
Complete Raphael costume from TMNT Secret of the Ooze.
Gremlin
Gremlin Puppet.
robocop
Robocop Costume.
phaser
Star Trek TNG Phaser.

Plus it looks like Tim Burton and the Walking Dead special effects teams cleaned out their closets and put in lots of stop mstion puppets and zombie makeups.  If you have the free time or the cash (most of the things I wanted started bidding at three grand) then check it out.
Icollector Auction Page

Saturday, April 30, 2011

LA Literature festival

One of the cool things I have discovered about life in LA is the constant number of events going on.

Today I went to the LA Times Literature Festival being hosted on the USC campus. There were several hundred authors in attendance, such as the guy who is currently writing the Madeline series, RL Stine, Ted Danson and Jamie Lee Curtis to name a few.

Madel-egs.
She will eat your children.

My main goal was to meet RL Stine, as his writing was one of my primary influences during my middle school years (although our school was enough behind the times it had no middle school, just elementary to jr. high).  I had all of the first 50 books of the Goosebumps series, as well as several Fear Street and other such spin off books.  Welcome to the Dead House is still a favorite of mine.

book201ra

 It featured a town of zombie like ghosts and a kid all on her own.  I blame this book for my early fear and later fascination with the walking dead.  Then there was The Dead Next Door (notice a naming trend?) which was another favorite, featuring a nice reversal of expectations.

goosebumps_the_ghost_next_door

After an hour in line I got my book signed and shook hands with Mr. Stine.  I had to buy one of his newer books since all of my Goosebumps collection is sitting on a shelf back in Missouri, but it featured the evil ventriloquist dummy, Slappy, from the original Goosebumps line so it wasn't a terrible secondary option.

RL Stine

Definitely worth the wait.

RL Stine Signature

There were several cool booths with a lot of authors and artists I need to look up when I get the chance.  One of the more interesting booths was inhabited by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  They had several comic books and prints that could be purchased with a donation to the fund.  There was a nifty autographed Lauren K Hamilton print from the comic adaptation of her first Anita Blake novel and several signed Scott Pilgrim books, but the one that got my cash was a Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes graphic novel signed by the great Neil Gaiman.

Sandman signed

One day I am gonna shake that mans hand.

In closing, Geek Nation, I give you this glorious window decal sighted outside the Golden Apple comic store.

RoboCop

Mattel SDC comic con Exclusives announced!

These comic con exclusives are always a big factor in my want to attend the San Diego comic con.  This year Matty has outdone themselves with some swank ghostbusters and heman special figures.  Check em out in the link below.

http://www.mattycollector.com/store/matty/ContentTheme/pbPage.2011_SDCC-Products

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Hello, Geek Nation.
  I am looking at you from tail end of the busiest week I have had since going full freelance.  A storyboard art test over the weekend, an art test for a game studio (hopefully I get the gig so I feel safe to mention which one), more trading card artwork and a contract for another kids DS game.  Its nice to have the work, but considering the past has taught me that they are usually followed by a long dry spell I just wish the jobs could pace themselves a bit.
  LA is still continually more interesting.  I am couch surfing with a friend while looking for a steady job, which is currently the lynchpin on which a apartment and my wife moving out here hinges upon.  So hopefully I will get that job ASAP.
  I came across a couple of interesting things today.  One is that R.L. Stine, the author of the wildly successful Goosebumps series of my youth, will be signing at the LA Times Literature Festival.  There will be over 100 authors there and admittance is free so I hope to get the hours free to check it out.
Read more about the event here:
http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/program-schedule/




Also, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival is coming up and they have a nifty intro video up on vimeo.  I recommend checking it out.

favorite tool

Lastly, I will be going back to Springfield for a week from May 6th through the 13th so hopefully I will see a few of you while I am in town.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Xmen: First Class Trailer

The new trailer looks much better. Banshee and Sebastian Shaw, plus in the comic the red tailed Azareal as shown in the trailer is NightCrawlers dad and Mystique his mother so perhaps there will be some decent backstory there. But still, if Havok is Cyclops dad in the movie I am gonna punch a mutant.
http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/4/22/new-x-men-first-class-trailer-shows-off-sebastian-shaws-powe.html

The power is yours!

In celebration of Earth Day, I give you Captain Planet (intro)!

Friday, April 15, 2011

find your place in the grey

Hello Geek Nation!  Sorry for the lack of worthwhile posts, still getting my bearings here in LA.  Thankfully, I have found a cool comic shop nearby AND the nearest In-N-Out Burger, so I am close to being settled.

I found these pics when cleaning out my desk in preparation for the move.  They were concept drawings for my second feature, Black and White.  Obviously, it was a noir. These two are the stalwart detective and the femme fatale, played by actors Nathan Shelton and Lydia Mann respectively.

Joe

Lynn