Friday, 30 August 2013

Rebel Angels Poster: Diving into the Phlegethon before DIs


Behold, mighty Balthazar leaping into the River Phlegethon, before the City of Dis.

Image from the Rebel Angels, the upcoming satirical graphic novel by James Turner, of Nil: A Land Beyond Belief and Rex Libris fame, about the beginning of a counter-revolution in the Infernal Realm. Find out if Hell really is other people in this instant classic comic book. The first 70 pages are available right now for FREE from Comixology here.

Available next spring from your local comic book shop.

Fridge Chess Set

Packaged set of button magnets, including board and turn indicator to remember whose turn it is between trips to the fridge.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Second Printing reviews Max Zing


Graig Kent over at Second Printing give Max Zing, my latest book, a gander.

"His Warlord of IO characters are perfect fits for the three and four panel template giving a quasi Peanuts-meets-Calvin and Hobbs-meets-Flash Gordon feel."

Exactly what I was aiming for! Very gratifying. This calls for a drink on a patio.

Take a look at what else they had to say while I'm gone.

Russian artist flees to France after painting Putin in drag.

Russian artist Konstantin Altunin fled to Paris to escape persecution after painting Putin and Medvedeve in drag.

The style reminds me of Max Beckmann.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

4Panel


Carousel Magazine presents 4Panel. Promoting Canadian comics four panels at a time. Check out the site. It's cool.

Fan Expo 2013: Ninja Turtle mosaic

Wasn't sure what it was at a distance, but when you get close...


It's LEGO. Never made murals out of it. Neat. And probably expensive.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The work of George Barbier

Great stuff from the Age of Deco. Reminds me of Erte, but then the whole era does. Worth a look.


Monday, 26 August 2013

Cell phone: deadly weapon?


A Detroit police officer took a camera from a woman to prevent it from being used 'as a weapon'.

Doesn't mention what kind of phone it was, or what weapon features it has. Lasers? A taser function? Grenade app?

Stapler?

Cell phones are getting better and better.


Saul Bass Poster Collection

Great collection of Saul Bass posters, including many I'd not seen before, over at the Saul Bass Poster Archive. The man was prolific, as well as a genius. Take a gander.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

130 of the best FREE fonts

It's a fun collection. Always on the lookout for great, free fonts. Amazing the quality these days. Head on over to Creative Bloq and take a gander.



TED talk by Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?


They do if they churn out future factory workers.

Sir Ken Robinson decries the censorious nature of mainstream schooling and the crushing of eccentricity.

School is often a conformity factory, shoving round pegs into square holes, pushing until they fit.

Instructors have a my-way-or-the-highway attitude, and they're up front and belligerent. Do it their way or get out. Others take it upon themselves to 'cull the herd' by being as vicious and discouraging as humanly possible. They even take pride in their self-appointed role of eliminating the weak.

Thank goodness for open minded teachers, who try to excite and encourage students, rather than blinker them. Schools note aberrant behaviour (too active, too eccentric, too this, too that) and suppress it.

Robinson's talk presents some excellent reasons why this can be counter-productive.

There are many ways to go about things. People think differently and approach problems in a multitude of ways and from wildly different perspectives. You have to leave people room to 'breathe' mentally, as it were. Humans vary to such an extent that a one-size-fits-all education system will never be able to accommodate the breadth of human diversity.

The question, I suppose, is how can discipline be imposed and costs kept within reasonable limits without stunting the intellectual growth of students or neglecting their potential.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Kick-Ass 2: Threat or Danger to Civilization?

"Kick-Ass 2: Unpleasantness at its worst," blares The Globe and Mail's Adam Nayman. "It’s a big story that Jim Carrey withdrew his support for Kick-Ass 2 based on its violent content. One wonders if the actor – whose role in the sequel as a star-spangled sociopath is really just an extended cameo – was ready to stand behind the scene where high school girls projectile vomit after being zapped with cattle prods. Or the one where a super-villain comes up short in his attempt to rape his nemesis’s lover due to a case of erectile dysfunction."

New York Post critic Kyle Smith writes, "Twenty-five years ago a film like this would have inspired sober op-eds and congressional hearings. Today we realize the fall of the Republic is not going to ensue, but that doesn't mean the movie's frantic lunges at the inappropriate don't become tiresome at times."

Moviefone's Sandie Angula Chen claims "the extreme violence and that one sexual assault joke are inexcusable."

'One of the stupidest sequels ever, ' adds Susan Granger of SSG Syndicate.

Apparently she's never seen Batman and Robin, Superman IV, or The Phantom Menace

Whatever.

Obviously this film has ruffled the feathers of critics; it currently averages 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Ouch.

Yet I enjoyed it. 

What gives? 

Am I  a tasteless, uneducated, plebeian boor too unsophisticated to know I should be in a state of perpetual, sanctimonious outrage?

Well, probably, but that's another issue entirely.

Make no mistake: Kick Ass 2 does aim to provoke, shock, and transgress. It's excessive and far from perfect. But inexcusable? Unpleasantness at its worst? Stupidest sequel ever?

Really?

Is the film in poor taste? Frequently.

Savagely violent? Repeatedly.

Vulgar and offensive to Bourgeoise sensibilities? Definitely.

Some of the opprobrium directed at Kick-Ass 2 may be out of fear that it will inspire copycats in the real world. That I can understand, and it seems to have been Jim Carey's concern. The film will mostly be watched after theatrical release on DVD by male teens too young to get in the theatre.

It's R-rated, and appropriately so.

Yet Kick-Ass 2 has more heart than the by-the-numbers Wolverine or Man of Steel, more emotional resonance than the ponderous, turgid Pacific Rim, isn't as clunky as the earnestly didactic call to class war Elysium, and makes more sense than the senseless Star Trek: Into Darkness. Those films all felt like they were churned off the same studio assembly line, just painted in different colours. 

Action in the Kick-Ass franchise proceeds from character, as it should. Some blockbusters forget this. It's not always easy to do. Remember Prometheus

Dave (also known as Kick-Ass) is secondary this time around; the real standout is Mindy (Hit Girl). Dave's eager to get back out and play superhero. Mindy, on the other hand, really is one, but struggles not to be. She tries to fit in, to be normal. She isn't: she's superlative. It makes her one of the more compelling female characters this year. 

These two kids, in spite of everything around them, seem more like actual people than anyone in Wolverine. 

Dave, for example, behaves abysmally towards his own father, exhibiting selfishness that gives him greater depth and horrible regrets. But he comes across as a teenager, not a demigod.

Even the villain is, comparatively, well rounded. Chris, The Mother•cough•, is the pathetic, wimpy antagonist who aspires to be a super villain and is entirely unequal to the task. His desire to be bad-ass is well founded and motivated: he's out to avenge the death of his dad at the hands of the hero. Frustrated by his own inadequacies he proceeds anyway, out of sheer determination, anger, stupidity, and narcissism.

In a drama, his inadequacy as a villain would be a flaw. Here, it's a feature. He's a more interesting villain than, say, General ZZZZod or that inconsistent guy whats-his-face in Wolverine

Anyone actually find ol' Zod compelling? And I'm not talking about Terrence Stamp. In Man of Steel Zod's a cardboard cutout, there to punch and be punched, so constrained by movie structure that he couldn't do anything unexpected or even interesting. At one point I thought he was on the verge of doing something different, of breaking the mold, before sinking back into the same old, same old. 

The villain in Wolverine is so forgettable I don't remember his name. He didn't have a single memorable line. Chris 'The Mother*cough*'? He's got several, including a great one: 'Like an evil Jesus.' That got a laugh out of me.

Going to Hell, yeah, I know.

The highly controversial rape joke emphasizes how inadequate Chris is as a super villain. It fits with his character. His imprisoned uncle calls him 'special', and not in a flattering way. He tries to box and gets his ass whupped. Ultimately he realizes his superpower is being super rich, so he sets about buying his way to infamy.

Chris is the flip side of the flawed, wannabe heroes. All these people are striving to be something they are not. Except Hit Girl. She's the real deal, the only one who is, at heart, a superhero, and the only one trying hard not to be.

Adam Graham of Detroit News claims "Kick-Ass 2 is and joyless exercise in brutality dressed up as a Comic-Con fever dream... How’s this for fun: In one scene, 10 police officers are brutally murdered on a suburban street in broad daylight by a costumed villain known as Mother Russia. Each is disposed of in an increasingly intricate way, capping off with a pair of cops being chopped to death by a lawnmower that smashes through the front windshield of their vehicle."

Quelle Horreur! Over-the-top deaths in cinema. Unheard of! How odd I seem to remember Steve Buscemi being shoved into a wood chipper in the critically acclaimed Fargo. Not enough? The entire Saw franchise is built on torture porn. Six Feet Under began every week with a gruesome death; one man was shredded to bits in a dough mixer. James Bond films feature innovative, macabre deaths accompanied by a flip quip. Death played for laughs precedes Kick-Ass.

And what about Game of Thrones, one of the top shows on television? 

Well, let's take a looksie:

A character is tortured for an entire season in one of the most prolonged examples of on screen sadism and torture ever filmed. It culminates in the victim's member being lopped off, which segues to a scene in which his tormentor eats a sausage before him, hinting that that's no sausage. 

A sadist forces a prostitute to torture her peer. With growing horror, she's forced to escalate from spanking the girl to striking her with a horned implement (and worse); she's later killed by the same sadist, slowly, with a dozen carefully placed crossbow bolts while she's tied to a bed.

A fellow has a hand cut off and then hung around his neck to torment him. He's then given piss to drink.

A father has sex with dozens of his own female children, who give birth to further inbred, grandchildren; he gives the boys away to monsters for likely unspeakable purposes.

A young girl brutally stabs an adult in the neck repeatedly with a knife.

People are decapitated, burned alive, abuse animals, engage in sex with siblings, their own children, murder their guests, prostitute out their own sisters to warlords, have orgies, curse, graphically give birth to nightmarish shadow creatures that crawl out of their wombs, are given molten crowns, kill prisoners by letting starving rats eat into their chests, and generally behave deplorably. 

Kick Ass 2, ''the year's most unpleasant movie,' pales by comparison. 

And what about Boardwalk Empire? Or the neck-snapping sex scenes in True Blood? 

Or STARZ's Spartacus: Blood and Sand?

Spartacus: Blood and Sex
How about some choice Spartacus dialogue:

"A gladiator does not fear death, he embraces it, he caresses it, he fucks it. Each time he enters the arena he slips his cock in the mouth of the beast, and prays to thrust home before the jaws snap shut."

"Tit size and cunt all appear to be without disease or deformity, which tells me the fault is not in the flesh but in the bitch."

"The gods have seen it fit yet again to spread cheeks and jam cock in ass."

Charming.

And I'm supposed to get worked up over Kick-Ass 2? Seriously?

TV has worse language.

KA2 will not appeal to everyone, not by a long shot, but if you enjoyed the first film, you'll likely dig the second. I did. And I'd rate it higher in entertainment value than the majority of this summer's blockbusters.

No, it's not politically correct. Very much the opposite. And it does indulge in gratuitous violence. 

Chloe Grace Moretz was excellent in the first film but I'd be hesitant to let her watch it at the time.

It's an adult film that pushes buttons and which, ultimately, will be mostly viewed by male teens on DVD.

But that doesn't mean it's an abomination. The kids are already watching cable.


ComicSpectrum reviews Rebel Angels Issue One

Great review by Ian Gowan over at ComicSpectrum of the first issue of Rebel Angels, including a pull quote to die for: "The comic Rebel Angels is as if 15th century's Hieronymus Bosch came back to life today to do a horror/humor comic strip."

Heironymus Bosch reference up front and centre.
Aim high, I say. And Hieronymus is pretty up there in my book.

There are a few caveats, of course, but Gowan got a lot of laughs out of the material and has some very high praise for the artwork. Satire, action, comedy, demons, and mind blowing architectural set pieces. What more could you want? A story? Got that, too.

Check it out.

Find out the truth about hell at your local comic shop next spring when the paperback is released.

Friday, 16 August 2013

AtomicSam reviews Rebel Angels Issue One

Sam Aguirre over at AtomicSam takes a gander at Rebel Angels and likes what he sees. He notes that the book "deals with many of the hot-button issues that plague our world today. Immigration reform, civil unrest, and a disillusioned populous are all touched upon in the first issue of the series."

"Turner's work in Rebel Angels is clever, and sometimes poignant."

High praise indeed!

Regarding the art, Aguirre says, "Just about every page could be a print, worthy of framing and hanging in your living room. The kind of art that your friends would look at and say, 'Wow look at that! Where did you get that interesting work? Clearly you have good taste when it comes to these things."

Nice.

He has some caveats, but honestly, I couldn't hope for a more positive review.

Rebel Angels will be released online via Comixology this month.

Graphic Policy reviews Rebel Angels Issue One

The verdict?

Rather lukewarm endorsement.

Sean A. Guynes didn't dig the story much (at all), but did enjoy the art work, comparing it to Craig McCracken's (Powerpuff Girls).

Check it out.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

WIRED's 101 Signals: the best writers, thinkers, and reporters on the net

Well, so they say. I am conspicuously absent. But it's a great collection of links; no matter what you're into, there's something here for you.

The net reduced to 16 pundits.

Check it out.



Spin VFX Game of Thrones Effects Work

Great video showing the 3D and compositing work Spin VFX do for Game of Thrones.

The results are amazing.

Feature film quality every week.

Check it out.







Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Demon Statues

Buer
Bronze ones based on the etchings of Louis Le Breton, and resin ones of Bosch's creations.
Belphegor







Just in time for Christmas.


Map Heaven

Literal Chinese translations of nation names; map by haohaoreport.com

Twisted Sifter has compiled an absolutely awesome collection of maps. Here are just two. There are 38 more.

We don't need no stinking elevator!


Apparently the Intempo skyscraper in Spain has no functioning elevator, after being expanded from 20 to 47 stories.

No worries.

I'm sure they'll be able to sell this as a fitness feature.

Roll with the punches.

Stereo

Friday, 9 August 2013

A Loving Lord

For The Globe and Mail

Best of the Top 50 Highest-Grossing Films of All Time


The top 50 highest-grossing films of all time includes such eyeball pummeling fare as Transformers, The Hobbit, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

It's no surprise that franchises with pirates, superheroes, spaceships, dinosaurs, or wizards dominate. They're either huge action adventure flicks or 3D kids films.

Does this mean the ultimate blockbuster would pit evil space pirate dinosaurs against an adopted superhero wizard?

Or is that a jump too far?

The one oddball in the group is The Da Vinci Code. It really sticks out.

But there are some gems. Out of the top fifty, these are the 10 best, the ones I'd take to a deserted island that inexplicably has a widescreen TV, power, and a DVD player:

1) Star Wars (Episode IV)
2) The Lion King
3) Jurassic Park
4) Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
5) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
6) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
7) Finding Nemo
8) The Dark Knight
9) Shrek 2
10) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Warlord of Io Promo Video Number Deux

Another silly promo video for Warlord of Io. Whut can I say? I like silly. Warlord of Io is a graphic novel by James Turner, of Rex Libris fame, about a rich kid who inherits a planet, but he only wants to play video games. Can the space empire survive? The book merrily mushes and stomps together sci-fi tropes into a fine wine of bubbly retro-future goodness that hits the palate with delight, humour, and a touch of oak. Check it out. Published by SLG under the fearless leadership of Dan Vado.


Hell Lost Wraps Up

Hell Lost: Book One is done. Finished. Written in virtual stone with an emboss filter. Give it a look, a like, a tweet, a blog; thanks to all who gave it a read.

Now it is time for a vacation.



As a door closes, new ones open...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Hell Lost: The Penultimate Page

Check it out. Thermidor lies in ruins as the War Party (BYOB) dies down. Lots of elements to linger over, and a few references. Can you spot them?


Friday, 2 August 2013

Broken Frontier Interview

Levi Hunt interviews yours truly over at Broken Frontier about my new graphic novel: Rebel Angels.

Check it out, give it a read, a pin, a like, a tweet.

Pick your social media poison.

There are pictures!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Movie Rating Mania: This is the End, Iron Man III, and Haywire

Affable, comedian doofuses try to survive The Apocalypse. It's a plotless, self-indulgent home movie pumped up with blockbuster quality effects, but also intermittently hilarious in a juvenile, crude way.

Better watched with beer, pretzels, and some buddies. That's how they wrote it. Well. Plus pot. And maybe some coke. Not sure if prostitutes were involved, but it is Hollywood.

Cinema Worthiness: 3
Character: 6.5
Story: 4
Action: 2
Costume Design: Whatever was on hand
Production Design: 5
Visual Effects: 7
Plot holes: Just add to the fun
Funny: 7.5 



Where The Avengers was two thirds punching and one third wit, Iron Man III is two thirds wit and one third punching. Robert Downey Junior owns the role and elevates this effects-fest above the competition almost single handedly.

He excels at being a charming, brilliant, flippant dick.

Cinema Worthiness: 7.5
Characters: 7 (Robbie 9)
Story: 5
Action: 7.5
Costume Design: 7
Production Design: 8
Visual Effects: 8.5
Plot holes: Large but you can weave between them
Funny: 6.5 (Mostly Downey, but others get some precious lines)


Bare bones revenge plot serves as an excuse to serve up fight scenes. You get plenty of them, and lead Gina Carano is convincing as a tough, sexy, female assassin. When she beats someone up, you can believe it.

Stylish but forgettable.

The material doesn't give Carano much chance to act, but if she can, she'd be a great Wonder Woman.

Cinema Worthiness: 5
Character: There were characters?
Story: 3.5
Action: 9
Costume Design: 5
Production Design: 5
Visual Effects: 7.5
Plot holes: There was a plot? Oh yeah...
Funny: 3