Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Final Cut and other thoughts

I haven't had much of interest to write about lately and haven't had a lot of time to devote to coming up with semi-interesting topics to write about anyway. So, in lieu (spelling?) of anything which is actually interesting, here are some bullet points of random things running through my mind.

I've heard through the rumor mill that my childhood favorite soap opera couple, Patch and Kayla, have returned to the town of Salem on Days Of Our Lives. Yes, I admit that I used to watch Days religiously in my late teens/early college years and still maintain a loose knowledge of the goings on in Salem. I might have to start tuning in again, especially since the rebroadcast on SOAP makes it more convenient to watch at different times.

I'm going to see SUPERMAN RETURNS tomorrow night and am keeping an open mind. Early word from industry friends who have seen advance screenings is that they like but don't love it. Honestly, I'm most jazzed about Marlon Brando's return to the silver screen. I was fascinated by Brando for years and years and years and this is probably the last time I'll ever see a 'new', albeit manufactured, performance from him on the big screen. Being dead will do that to a fellow.

I'm also the world's most faithful Superman fan and I don't need the film to be perfect in order to love it. I just want it to be good and respectful to the characters. I will say before going in that I really wish Lois Lane had been cast older. Even in the previews, she looks like a kid next to everybody else and I already don't buy that she's a single mother of a five-year old. But like I said, I'm keeping an open mind and have my fingers X'ed.

Never in all my life did I imagine there would be so many mixed martial arts cards to watch in such a short span of time. Between the UFC running three full cards in two weeks as well as Pride's fantastic card taking place in Japan this weekend, it's almost an MMA overload. It's a golden age for fans of this little sport.

Finally, I watched a film called The Final Cut with Robin Williams (currently the leading choice to play The Joker in the next Batman film) the other day. I remember when it came out in theaters, taking note of what I felt was an intriguing premise: That a biological camera installed in our heads would record our lives from start to finish and that those memories would be assembled into something like a film for our loved ones to keep for generations on down the line.

The movie itself was a jumbled mess but there was one small scene tucked into it that genuinely touched me. Early on, Robin Williams' character shows his girlfriend a short 'film' he's assembled (he's what's known as a CUTTER, basically an editor of these life films) of an old man at the end of his life, shaving in his bathroom mirror. The film then flashes back 10 or 12 years and we see that same man, younger, in the mirror. These flashbacks continue and the man progressively gets younger until we finally see him at the age of nine, still a boy, trying to shave for the very first time.

I'm not sure what exactly touched me about that sequence except that getting older is one of the main themes I constantly play with in the back of my mind and in my writing. I'm simultaneously fascinated and scared by the idea of aging, losing my youth, and becoming an old man. Seeing an entire life, even a fictional one, condensed into a thirty second span somehow spoke to me. To see where and how a person ends up in life and then flashing back to the beginning of that life, where every door is still open and the future is unwritten...to me that's powerful stuff. Poignant even.

Or maybe it was just the sentimental music playing over the scene. What do I know?

That's all for now.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wizard Awards

Do you like me? I mean...really, really like me? Then go vote for me in the Wizard Fan Award Nominations. Here's the link:


I'm listed under the category of "Favorite Inker" for my work on JSA. Also, my Image series Armor X can be voted for under "Favorite mini-series." It's not hard to find, it's the first book on the list because it's all alphabetical. If you're feeling particularly warm and fuzzy towards me lately, you can also write me in under the category "Favorite break out talent."

From how this process was explained to me, this nomination ballot is put out there to cull the herd, so to speak. The top vote getters in each category then move on to the actual awards ballot later this summer. I don't realistically expect to win in any category but I would consider it a victory just to be listed on the final ballot along with some really amazingly talented people.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Late to the party

OK, I'm coming into this one a couple of months late (and if you don't know what this means, you're even more behind the times than I am so get with it, people) but can I just say...

There's motherfuckin' snakes on the motherfuckin' plane!!

I'm there opening night and every friend I have in the world better motherfuckin' be with me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

RIP Tim Hildebrandt

Well, twice in as many weeks, it's eulogy time again.

I found out this afternoon that Tim Hildebrandt passed away at the relatively young age of 67 due to complications from diabetes.

Tim and his twin brother Greg are both internationally renowned fantasy artists. Their most famous works are the original Star Wars poster and the hugely popular series of J.R.R Tolkien calendars they produced in the 70's. Technically, they worked side by side, easel next to easel for most of their professional lives. Occasionally, one would finish whatever painting the other was working on.

On a personal level, I didn't know Tim well but he was my painting teacher in my third year at The Kubert School. I remember him as an easy going fellow, very laid back in his approach to teaching. If you approached him for information, he would gladly share from the reservoir of knowledge he had accumulated over a lifetime of work. If you didn't want to learn, he wasn't going to force it on you. He didn't waste his time with people who weren't interested.

Tim would often come into class and set up 10 or 15 original paintings in the front of the room at the beginning of class, usually whatever he and his brother were working on at the time. They were always gorgeous. Being broke at the time, I used to half-heartedly wish that I could steal one and sell it.

The last time I saw Tim was at the San Diego convention in, I believe, 1994 or 1995. He was signing autographs at the Topps booth next to the Barbi Twins of all people. He graciously pretended to remember me and smiled, shook my hand, and listened politely as I updated him on what I was doing at that time.

I always found the way Tim described his relationship with his brother to be...charming? Beautiful? I don't know the word. They were best friends, creative partners...and they had that psychic twin bond thing you hear about from time to time. It was sort of fantastic and otherwordly and it seemed to fit their roles as fantasy artists.

My heart goes out to his brother most of all.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Hildebrandt.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My friend Dave Baldy(the fellow who is not Burt Reynolds in this picture) recently paid a visit to the set of a film he did some quick rewrite work on. Appearing in this fine motion picture is none other than the legendary Bandit himself. Luckily, there was a camera on set to capture the big moment for all posterity. What are the odds of finding a camera on a movie set? It's almost a miracle.

Not only did Baldy meet Mr. Reynolds, he also lost $200 in poker to Shannon Elizabeth, best known as 'the girl with no shirt on' in several fine feature films, including the first American Pie. Why he didn't charm her into playing strip poker, I'll never know but...to each their own.

I'm pretty sure Baldy is in six foot territory (that's 72 inches for those of you who subscribe to the Metric system), I know he's a couple of inches taller than I am. I was surprised that he absolutely towers over Burt Reynolds in this picture. While it's common knowledge that the magic of movies can make people seem taller than they are, I would also assume that The Bandit has withered with age.

I got a kick out of this picture because let's face it...it will always be cool to meet Burt Reynolds. The only thing that could make Burt Reynolds cooler is if he had made a buddy movie with a monkey at some point.Burt Reynolds + Monkeys = MONEY!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Keeping the pimp hand strong

Because I have this strange compulsion to try and pay my bills in somewhat of a timely fashion, I put up a large auction of JSA artwork on Ebay last night.


OK, I admit I'm just raising extra money to feed my addiction to gambling, pills, and whores. But don't let that stop you from from bidding often and generously.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Royce Gracie

So Royce Gracie returned to the Octagon and fought Matt Hughes a little over a week ago.

The fight was stopped late in the first round after Hughes took Gracie's back and started raining down punches. The referee stepped in and called a halt to the action in order to save the basically defenseless Royce from taking any permanent damage.

In the aftermath of the fight, many critics now have validation that the newer breed of martial artist is superior to the old guard represented by the fighters of Royce's generation. The almost unanimous consensus going into the fight was that Hughes would dominate, that Royce was behind the curve, that the fight game has changed in the eleven years since Gracie won the first 3 of 4 UFC's.

I still don't know if I agree with that. It's true that father time catches up to all fighters eventually, boxing is riddled with examples that prove that. For whatever reason though, I sort of feel like Royce chose a poor strategy going into this fight. It seemed like he wanted to start slow and wear Hughes down before going for a submission in the later rounds and was caught off guard and overwhelmed early. In a rematch...not that there will ever be one...I might consider putting money on Royce.

I don't have any specific reason why I would still bet on him except that I spent a few hours on Saturday at a jiu jitsu seminar with Royce and about 49 other Gracie Jiu Jitsu students. I'm just awed by the sheer amount of technical knowedge he has locked up in his head, and how clearly and easily he can explain the finer points of different takedowns and submission holds to achieve maximum results. The guy knows his shit, plain and simple. I would speculate that a fighting style founded in Jiu Jitsu, which relies on technique and leverage more than anything else, is something that won't cease to be effective the older the fighter gets.

Youth, speed, strength...these are all things that fade in time. Knowledge though...that never goes out of style and technique can always be refined and built upon, no matter how old we get.

I just realized that I have no real point here. I'm just trying to post something up here to keep the masses placated.

Talk to you soon,