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Monday, June 30, 2014

Weather Forecast and Birds

We've been having some dry weather since Christmas, and that's unusual.  This is the time of year somebody in the sky turns on the sprinkler system and forgets to turn it off.

Rain mixed with snow is forecast for most of the week.  This morning I thought about what happens when we have this kind of forecast.  Immediately Bob says "I've got to get gas for the car."  Why?  Knowing him, the tank is at least half full.  Besides that, where are we going?  These are the kind of days people like us need to stay inside.

While he was out getting gas he was going to go by the grocery store and pick up some things we might need, and lay in a supply of chili from Wendy's.

At 7:30 a.m. it was still dark outside.  Now it is very gray and overcast.  This adds to the angst.

I don't expect to get much snow but I do expect it to rain most of this week, the rest of the month, as well as February, March, April, May, and part of June.

It's this kind of weather that makes me long to feed the birds.  I can't imagine a bird starving here but I want to feed them for my enjoyment on winter days.  I've never been able to come up with a solution.  There just isn't a good place to put up a feeder here, but yesterday I came up with something I hope will work.

I never tire of the moss that grows here.  You can see the edge of the patio that was a lot greener before I swept it.  Off the patio is some pretty little moss.  Makes me smile.

I put out a flag to let the birds know I was open for business.

Then I went to the store and bought these hangers and the small feeders.  Note the feeders do not have a lot of seed in them.  There's a reason for that.  It's almost impossible to keep seed dry here during the winter.  My chair is just inside the door so I figure I can put out small amounts and add more as needed.  It's easy for wet seed to mold and clog the holes.

No, I'm not crazy.  That is a hummingbird feeder.  There's one breed that lives here in the Willamette Valley the year around.  Occasionally we've put out a feeder and I do remember going out every few minutes to wipe the snow off so the hummingbirds could get to it.

(Bob just called me to the window and we have a hummingbird at the feeder.  That didn't take long.)

I am under no illusion this arrangement will keep the seed dry.  My best hope is that it will help since they're hanging under a covered patio.

And I put out a source of water.

So far the hummingbird is the only customer we've had but the feeders went up late yesterday afternoon. 

Now about that nice plump gray squirrel that crosses my patio multiple times a day.  When I went to the store I contemplated getting a squirrel feeder and putting an ear of corn on it but my experience has been that they will rip the corn cob off and take the whole thing, feeder and all if necessary.

I did buy a small bag of squirrel food and will put a handful out everyday.  I'll explain to him the system of sharing, he gets his and the birds get theirs.  I'm sure he won't want to make me unhappy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


It's no surprise that I love me some character redesigns...and it just seems that video game characters get redesigned often. (But maybe that's just because that's what interests me.) If I looked for it, how many takes of Wolverine or Batman would I find? More than a few, I'm sure.

So, randomly, I was on this Krang obsession (he's even my desktop pic right now). You know, the-talking-brain-tucked-away-in-an-android's-gut Krang? The guy who was always sassing Shredder. I was finding all these legit imaginings people had come up with, and quite awesomely, I stumbled across and entire macro-blog dedicated to some wicked turtle redesign. The owner/artist of this sweet treasure, Dan, went ahead and took 17 characters from the TMNT mythos, designed them how he saw fit, and basically made me miss my childhood.

Thanks, Dan.

Clearly, Dan went one louder, and--I absolutely love when creators do this--wrote a small paragraph about his take/angle of the character.

Donatello - does machine. My favorite of the turtles. The turtles designs from the cartoon and comic book always seemed a bit too cartoonish to me, and they didn't really look much like turtles. They looked more like green tinted cabbage patch kids with shells. I wanted my designs of the turtles to actually look like turtles, and incorporate the traits of a number of different species of testudines. I also wanted the designs to be more chunky. I don't like some more recent designs where they look really skinny and lithe. I based Donatello on a tortoise. I also wanted his gear to look a bit more modern and technological.

Let's have another one.

Leonardo - leads. I based Leo on a sea turtle. I thought that the sleek shell seemed appropriate, as well as the way that it's shaped like a shield. I wanted his gear to be more traditional looking so based his belt on the way that samurais used to wear their scabbards. I also wanted his swords to look a bit more antique, like Splinter passed them down to him.

See what I mean? And that's just the tip of it all--there's still 15 more character studies this guy has! Unreal in a sassy sort of way.

Now this got me thinking of another artist who had his own take on the original Mortal Kombat characters. I had stumbled across it in '10, and decided to google "Scorpion redesign."

Well, I found this cool bastard, didn't I?

Scorpion as a wraith wearing the yellow blood of the demon that helped him resurrected to exact his revenge against his mortal enemy.

The guy in question is Vincent Proce, who is not only a skilled artist, but loves him some MK (who doesn't though, amiright?). Dude's come up with a (re)design for Kano (below), Raiden, Scorpion (above), Sub-Zero, and Sonya. He wants to fill out the roster with Liu Kang, Shang Tsung, Johnny Cage, and Goro--all the original cast from Mortal Kombat.

And like Dan the Man, Vincent hooks us up with character bios..

Kano, half Japanese half US military bad ass.

I appreciate this type of stuff to no end. This is the very marrow of Nerd Incarnate, and I love every single bit of it. There's so much energy, so much unabashed admiration for these characters... It's one thing to draw a piece and post it, but you're in a whole different class--a different mind frame--when you throw a bit of story up with it.

Let's tie this back to comics: It's one of the absolute best parts of making comics when you hand a character bible to your artist, and after waiting any given time, opening up your inbox and being genuinely surprised when they've come back with something that echoes what you were striving for in words, but could not have be complete or possible without their art.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Creator Owned Script Sampling

PAGE TWENTY – 6 panels

Panel 1: Okay, the entire page is a purple outline of Dusty’s body. Within his body, we have the different panels.

So...for this panel we have a ground shot of Dusty resting on his side, helpless and utterly cute.

(no dialogue)

Panel 2: Same shot but Kitsune is kneeling, scooping him up.

SOUNDFX: scoop

Panel 3: Over Kitsune’s shoulder, looking down into her cupped hands. Dusty’s eyes are big and pitiful and black.



Panel 4: Dusty’s eyes suddenly change into Kitsune’s.


Panel 5: Cut to Kitsune’s eyes--they turn completely black (like Dusty’s). Her face looks like she’s mesmerized.


Panel 6: Close in on Kitsune’s black eye. We see Dusty’s purple outline in the black. We know it’s her eye b/c of the fur surrounding it and her eyelashes.

(no dialogue)

The (Un)Mentioned Benefit of Writing Comics

Comic book writing is something, for me, that can be broken down into functioning, separate pieces. Cobbled together, they become something slightly fluid. You break a page out by panels--those panels are your bricks, and the alluded time in-between those panels are your mortar--and convey time and movement through both character actions, balloons, setting, and whatnot. I feel comfortable writing this way, because it's a--and I'm aping someone's analogy here, I just can't remember who--strobe-light effect. You get pulses of the story, and the audience subconsciously fills in the time between these pulses, thus making the comic writer's job that much easier--your audience is helping you with the story.

Also--and this is huge--you have an artist that makes you look like you know what you're doing. Which is key to comics. So you take something like this:

PAGE SIX – 5 panels

Panel 1: And it sticks in two Bug-a-Bots’ heads/through their eyes, sending them flying backwards with tremendous force. Several flying gears and guts are outlined in several separate dialogue balloons with wavy tails pointing to the damage (let’s call these “action balloons” from now on).


Panel 2: The obelisk is right in front of her, and she jumps off the back of one of the Bug-a-Bots’ heads. Other Bug-a-Bots have their claws snapping after her.


SOUNDFX: snip snip snipp

Panel 3: She lands on the top of the floating obelisk.

(no dialogue)

Panel 4: She’s crouching on the top of the floating obelisk, facing us, but her attention is focused on pulling the Orb or Ares out.

MONS (as bubble): MY, MY.



Panel 5: She stops what she’s doing to look at us. She’s in the middle of pulling her scarf down, and by the look on her face, she hates every fiber of our being.


And you get something like this:

(art courtesy of Erik Thompson)

Acid-pop. Weird science-y action that sticks with you. A book you want to read.

And, although there's no constant movement, you get the idea of what's happening.

Because you're in fact helping me tell the story.