June 2001 Archives

New comic line based on Xena finale?

I've been searching fruitlessly for the Xena comic book numbers 5 and 14, illustrated cover editions, for some time now--and have had no luck finding them online or off. Now that I've seen the final episode of the TV series, I wonder if some comic company might be interested in reviving the line with a new title: Xena, the Headless Warrior. I'm sure it's difficult to come up with new ideas for comic heros/heroines since so many special powers and attributes have been tapped already. This could be really fresh.

Witchblade arrives on TV

Last night I watched the 2 hour TV movie of Witchblade, which is already beginning to get buzz from the lesbian community as a woman warrior series in the Xena:Warrior Princess vein. I was skeptical of the show because I had bought and read the first several issues of the Witchblade comic way back when it first came out. Although the lead character was strong and independent she was also clearly and persistently represented as an object of male desire.

However, I was much more impressed with the TV show then I was with the comic. It was very moody and atmospheric and I was impressed with the video editing overall. I'm skeptical that it's going to deliver on its lesbian promise, but I guess I'll wait and see. Or not see, because unfortunately the series is on cable, which I don't have.

I need a gaming 10 step program

In the spirit of today's Microsoft ruling, I bring you this message of contrition, from the Book of GameGeek 3:7-9,

And the TechnoLord spake, and the words were heard throughout the Geekland thusly, "If thou lovest me, do not covet those products that are of Microsoft, neither shall thou promoteth the products thereof."
And thus the Geeks went out and bought products from Apple, and they developed alternative operating systems and software, and thus did they come to hack and steal code. And the TechnoLord spake warmly of their efforts, and it was good.
And then it came to pass that certain Geeks ignored the heedings of the TechnoLord, and began to play excessive amounts of "Bejeweled" and "Atomica" at the MSN Gaming Zone. And the addiction it was unholy, and there was much gnashing of teeth, and many that were once steadfast in their resistance were sorely tried.

There it is my friends. Thus do the righteous fall from grace.


Cartoons are having an influence on auto design, according to this fun article in Slate.

Tinkering with a store

I've added a new store to my site that includes some of the items I've weblogged recently, as well as some other things I either presently own and enjoy or else would like to own in the future. The selection is not large so it is easy to browse. I hope these items will be of interest to my readers and that maybe they'll even spark some new passions. Enjoy!

Ebert on Tomb Raider movie

Roger Ebert has reasonably positive things to say about Tomb Raider, for those of you who missed his review last night's. I believe he called it "good trash." I feel I can trust Roger; after all, he uses a Mac.

Online comics commentary

Wired is running an informative story about online comics, with some good links as well as commentary by Scott McCloud.

Commenting issues

I removed the "Discuss" feature from my weblog because BlogVoices, which hosts the commenting service, is having some problems that don't look they're going to be resolved anytime soon. Feel free to e-mail me with comments or questions instead. I'm going to be looking around for another comment system that will work with Blogger and run on BlogSpot.

X-Men fave missing from movie

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I broke in my new DVD player with a copy of "X-Men," which I had not previously sees in theaters, despite a high interest level. I had heard good things about it beforehand but I have to say I was disappointed in the movie. I thought they did a pretty good job with casting--especially with the critical role of Wolverine--and of course Patrick Stewart can appear in any movie and its fine by me, but the story just didn't have much momentum. I think that's often true when there's a large cast that needs to be introduced one by one--the "Phantom Menace" fell prey to that, for example (as well as many other problems).
I'm not an X-Men aficionada, but I thought the character Storm was more important and more powerful than they made her out to be in the movie. But perhaps her leadership role comes later on in the timeline. My favorite character has always been the blue-tiful Beast, who was not in this movie.
"Tomb Raider" opens today and I've already heard two bad reviews. I don't think that's going to stop me from seeing it, though. I've already resigned myself to having one of those hate-yourself-the-day-after movie-going experiences, like I've had with almost every one of the Batman movies. I was in Toys'R'Us the other day and even Angelina Jolie's action figure looked totally hot, so I think I can bring myself to check my mind at the door and watch her jump around in black leather pants and a tank top for two hours.

Aardman's pacing

I had the pleasure of introducing my girlfriend Kazi to the Wallace and Gromit films produced by Aardman Animations. She fell in love with the characters just as I did when I first saw the shorts.
What I continue to notice each time I watch these three films is how unhurried they are, especially when compared to American animation. If there can be a temporal equivalent to dry wit--dry pacing, perhaps?--then these films have that. There is never any reaching for jokes--they simply roll past assuredly. It is in part that unique pacing that creates the world of Wallace and Gromit, just as much as the precise clay modeling and deft characterization.
I spent some time on the Aardman site and found a cool little device called the Animatic-o-tron, an animated storyboard for the film "A Close Shave." You can also watch several of their other films online, including one of my favorites, "Creature Comforts."

Fantastical etchings

I recently went to a gallery showing of work by the artist Peter Milton, whose work includes both drawings and etchings. I had never heard of him before and apparently he's considered an underappreciated artist because his work is hard to classify and it has thus slipped through the cracks a bit. In terms of content, his work could be described as fantastical or surreal, and I think it may be that "fantasy" moniker that has kept him at the sidelines. His early drawings are mostly pencil and seem influenced by Victorian imagery of fairies and nymphs. For example, there was a series of drawings on exhibit revolving around the theme of "Beauty and the Beast."
The later work consisted of etchings and was truly remarkable to see in person. Unfortunately, it does not reproduce especially well digitally but I have done my best to find some samples on the web. This site has a side-scrolling gallery and captures some of the complex tonalities of the work, though the images are somewhat difficult to make out at that size. In their exploration of light and dark, the etchings bear a resemblance to photography, but the subject matter is definitely anti-realistic. "Haunting" I think is the best word to describe his pictures. One image that I found myself returning to throughout the evening showed the inside of a room and through the window the murky eye of an enormous whale could be seen looking in--as though the creature had just floated up past the building.
Milton was at the gallery speaking that night and he said something that really caught my attention. He said he intentionally created his etchings so that at a distance the viewer would see one thing--mostly contrasts of light and dark--and up close, something else--small details, visual jokes, meaning. He claimed it was this movement of the viewer, or the interactivity of the viewer, that created his work, that made an experience out of viewing his work. It is by engaging viewers in this back and forth motion with his etchings that Milton interacts with his audience. One could say that Milton and the viewer collaborate in creating a sequence of views from each individual etching, a visual dialogue of sorts.

Comics for cel phones

Wired is running an article on the distribution of comics through cel phones. The article also reproduces a few sample strips from the Flip and Mick comic which have been adapted to the wireless format. The Wired author claims the strips look horrible but actually I didn't find them to be that bad. My god, I've seen independent comics that look far worse.
Although I was skeptical that the technology was really up to snuff, it seems that short form media such as film and comics have indeed found an audience on handheld and wireless devices. The real problem--which the Wired piece addresses--is how the creative producers of such work make money off of developing content.
Case in point: there were a few sad examples of content companies going belly-up in the news today--both Suck and Feed have reportedly run out of money.

Gallery of games

The New York Times has a brief article on a museum exhibition devoted to "game structures and themes in art," including a section on computer gaming.

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