Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 4/15/2011

Shhhhh...hush now.  Let's not spoil what we have with needless, idle chitter chatter.  That's right, that's better.  Just lay back and relax.  I have something important to share with you, but first, I must say...I look tremendous in this moon light.  Don't I?  See how the light hits the guns just right, accentuating every muscle?  It's not easy sculpting a body like  Oh look, there's a little wine left.  Don't mind if I do.  Speaking of which, are you going to finish your dessert?  Thanks, really, I mean it, baby.  Let me just get this Kenny G bumping...yeahhhhhhhh...that's the ticket, that's what Donist World is all about.  Smoothness.  Now that we're in the mood, let me tell you about...

Friday Slice of Heaven

What I started with.  Criminy!
My brain hurts looking at this.
Comics Experience Intro to Coloring Course - I just finished the sixth and final week of Comics Experience's Intro to Coloring course as taught by Chris Sotomayor, colorist of Avengers, Captain Marvel, Batman, and one of my favorites Supreme Power.  The class was fantastic, difficult for someone who has never considered coloring comics before, but well worth the time and money.  Chris Sotomayor was an outstanding teacher, not just in explaining the technical processes, but also touching on color theory and the  properties of color.  Classes met once a week on Mondays for six weeks at two hours a session, but sessions usually went on well past the two hours for additional instruction for those who wished to stick around.  
The learning curve is steep and I would recommend that someone not overly familiar with Photoshop buy some instruction books and put in some time using the tool before signing up for the class.  Expect to hit the ground not so much running but sprinting.  Thankfully I have quite a bit of experience with Photoshop, so I only had to focus on the multitude of things to consider when pushing the storytelling of a page further than the writer and artist can do alone.  
My final coloring page.  Still
needs some work...
One good/bad aspect of the class is that I now not only look at comics differently, but at the world in general as well.  Just sitting here at my desk I've noticed how the light of the lamp reflects off of the glass surface of the desk, and how it behaves differently when it strikes the couch, the floor and the dog.  The negative aspect of this is that while walking the dog I nearly walked into a sign post as I was focusing on the effect that the coloring of some bushes had on some flowers that were intermixed in front of them.  
Lastly, the community of the other students was nice to have around as some of the students are working comic book colorists who wanted to brush up their skills.  It was admittedly somewhat daunting when comparing my project to some of their beautiful works of art, but that just meant I had to step up my efforts.  
Now I'm considering completing some of the other Batman pages and I will definitely be coloring one of the scripts that I recently had illustrated.  An informative and fun class, but one that is not for the feint of heart.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...but only if you are serious about comics, their processes and improving your storytelling capabilities through the use of color.

Echo Volume 1: Moon Lake
Echo Vol 1 - Moon Lake
Echo - Everythinged by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio.  After an explosion in the sky over Moon Lake, mysterious metallic droplets rain down upon estranged photographer, Julie Martin, both the government and a local contracting company send the confused woman on the run.  Dillon Murphy is a park ranger whose girlfriend has gone missing and he discovers that her disappearance has something to do with the explosion at Moon Lake.  He meets Julie who now has a dangerous metal plate affixed to her chest that has formed from the liquid metal and cannot removed.  It seems as if everyone wants them both dead.
I have to say that I am absolutely loving this book and regret not buying it in issues, but then again there is only one more issue left before the series finale, so I should be able to read the entire run in short order.  I am a big fan of Strangers in Paradise and this drastic change in direction towards science fiction is every bit as worthy of attention as Moore's original masterpiece.  I immediately sympathized with all of the main characters with the exception of agent Ivy Raven, but only because she is currently supposed to be an unknown.  The main strength of the series thus far is the incredibly well-paced and realistic interactions of all of the characters and their behavior when they are alone.  Sure there are some action sequences--they are exciting to say the least--but the steady build of the story coupled with the wonderful characters is where this story shines.  
I'm already almost through the second volume and have the third queued next; I need to order volumes four and five immediately.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

THUNDER Agents #6
Thunder Agents #6 - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Cafu, published by DC Comics.  Extracting Raven from the clutches of SPIDER (I know, sounds kind of silly, but trust me on this) was no easy task.  Everyone is shellshocked after the battle and for some, like Toby, the future does not look that bright.  Also making an appearance in this issue is The Iron Maiden, and it's not the one that sings "Two Minutes to Midnight."
Another great issue that draws the first arc to a conclusion and one that firmly cements this book as my current favorite offering from DC Comics.  Spencer writes another smart, inventive and complex book that begs rereading now that the first arc has completed due to the many intricate twists and turns in this exemplary spy/superhero series.  Cafu, the sole artist on this issue, continues to deliver beautiful, crisp art that kept the story flowing at a quick pace. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Infinite Vacation #2
Infinite Vacation - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Christian Ward, published by Image comics.  Mark continues to search for the truth as to why versions of himself in the Infinite Vacation are being murdered left and right and in this issue he comes into contact with three alternate reality versions of himself that have managed to make it through the bloodbath.  When the beautiful deadender Claire Reynolds shows up on his doorstep, things become even more confused.
Another great issue in this rich, complex series that goes to show why Spencer is such a hot commodity in the comics world.  Also worthy of much praise is Christian Ward's beautifully unique watercolored art, with the double page splash being one I would love to have blown up and framed on the wall.  Also of note is the intentionally jarring, live photo interview portions that interrupt the flow of the story in a way that shows the "real life" marketing portion as being soulless and...well...fake.  I loved this.
I hope that despite signing an exclusive with Marvel, that Spencer continues work on his great creator-owned properties (Infinite Vacation, Morning Glories) and also his out-of-Big-Two-superhero-continuity title (Thunder Agents)...with the exception of the phenomenal Jimmy Olsen one-shot, which I could stand to see more of.  If you are not reading this series you should pick it up and stretch out them 'ol brain muscles on something that is unique, different and worthy of your attention.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Slice Into the Woods

Superboy #6
Superboy #6 - Written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Marco Rudy, published by DC Comics.  First of all, this is going to be brief, but I like how Superboy has stayed out of the crossover craze going through DC...up until now.  I hate to see the words "To be continued in"and the remainder of the plug not having the word "Superboy" following thereafter.  Why not put out a mini for this "Reign of Doomsday" storyline and avoid the risk of losing readers who are uninterested in crossovers and purchasing issues of books they intentionally do not purchase (nothing against Action Comics).  I know, I know, marketing and sales research generally shows bumps in sales for events, but I make sure I am outside of those numbers.  Hopefully issue 7 goes back to form.  


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