crazy colored glasses

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Best 4 of All-Time

This is something I've mentioned in this blog before, but I think more and more people are starting to see the light. I truly believe Tim Duncan is the greatest power-forward in the history of the NBA. He has something my 2nd (Karl Malone) and 3rd (Charles Barkley) greatest power forwards of all time do not... rings. He has 3 already and is well on his way to a fourth. No team from the East is beating the Spurs.

Tim is absolutely the model of consistency. Look at his stats from his first season and compare them to this season. Not a single drop off. He just gets better, smarter and more efficient with age. He doesnt waste a single move. Every pump fake, dribble or bank shot is perfectly planned. He is also an underrated passer. He is the main cog in the Spurs engine, the unquestioned leader of that team, and its no secret that he is the reason the team has won 4 titles in his 10 years.

As for the East, I'd love the Cavs to win out. I'm tired of the Pistons. I think seeing Lebron in the Finals would be David Stern's dream. Plus a year after D-Wade carried the Heat to the title, he gave hope to all teams with a hot superstar (although I'll say again, no one is beating the Spurs). The Spurs will win the title in 5 games against either team and for the 4th time in his career Tim Duncan will be Finals MVP.

How blessed have we been as basketball fans (folks my age that is). We got to see some of the best basketball players of all time at their positions. I mean every player in my greatest starting five is of the last 30 years. We have been truly blessed. For the record, my starting 5 would be this:

PG: Magic Johnson
SG: Michael Jordan
C: Shaquille O'Neal (yes Kareem is argueable, but no one was as physically imposing as Shaq)
PF: Tim Duncan
SF: Julius (Dr. J) Erving


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Space Ghoooooooooosssssssttttttttt

Now i know most people are only aware of Space Ghost from his Adult Swim Space Ghost Coast to Coast days. I remember Space Ghost from his original cartoon and always loved his costume, designed by the great animator Alex Toth. Not only that, but DC released a badass Space Ghost mini series drawn by Ariel Olivetti that gave an origin and back story to this incredibly mysterious character.

Hanna Barbera released a line of action figures a few years back based on their Saturday morning cartoons. Luckily Space Ghost was among those. It came with changeable hands to pose as an action hero, or talk show host. Truly one of the best figures of all time.


The Incredible Hulk

Inspired by whats been the best run in many years (Planet Hulk/World War Hulk) I wanted to work on a Hulk piece. Hulk has been a favorite of mine for many years. I have fond memories of the Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno series... in fact I remember "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry" being a catch phrase of mine as a kid. Plus which kid my age doesn't remember the great Rage in the Cage Hulk playset... pump up the Hulk and watch him burst from the cage. Great playset, wish I still had it. In fact I even enjoyed bits and pieces of the Ang Lee directed Hulk film.

The last couple of years in the comic realm have been a bit rough for him. A series of starts, restarts and misfires had turned off many fans. I'd go as far as to say the last time the book was a must read was when Peter David last wrote it and killed Betty off. Bruce Jones wrote a couple of compelling issues, but his run on the whole left me scratching my head a bit. Then finally the Illuminati decide to take matters in the own hands and ship Hulk off the Earth. What has ensued has been nothing short of brilliant by Greg Pak and a series of artist (most noteably Carlos Pagulayian and Gary Frank... who I'm so excited will be drawing Superman, can't wait). I've been waiting for the inevitable return to Earth by a smart, pissed off Hulk since the Illuminati shipped him off. World War Hulk is gonna be great.

With all that said, I wanted to work on a Hulk piece where he looked major league pissed off and showed off how powerful he actually is. Surprise, surprise I used a Michael Turner piece as my jumping in point. The original Micahel Turner piece has more vein and detail on the arms, but that just didnt mesh well with my style, so I played that down a bit and added more shading. I also went in once I finished the pencils and inks and added more depth and tone by just graying out certain areas of the musculature.

I've draw the Hulk before (in both High School and College) but I still think this is my best Hulk ever. I feel like I've grown a ton as an artist recently. My pencils have been really crisp and strong. My inking has also been surprisingly good. After never having really inked before, inking my pages and having them turn out decent has been a pleasant surprise. My favorite aspect of my art has always been my shading, I feel like I've always been able to shade pieces well. An example of that is the detailing I've included from the Hulk piece below.


G.I. Joextravaganza... Part 1: Barbecue

This weekend my superstar photographer fiancee had set up her studio lighting and power packs and wanted to test some of the photography equipment she had bought. In looking for subjects I found some of the things I know best. My toys. It ended being an endless parade of my action figures.

In climbing up closets to pull figures for MS to shoot I found my bag of Joes from the 80's. Then I started reminiscing. I remembered how Footlose and Monkeywrench were the two first Joes I ever got. How every birthday, christmas or special occasion was met with the arrival of more G.I. Joes. It was a passion that everyone in my life supported. Brothers, sisters, my mother even friends. They all helped contribute to my growing army of Joes.

I started pulling out Joes for MS to shoot, lining them all up on the coffee table, when I came up with the idea that I would make a list of my Top 10 G.I.Joes. Anyone who really knows me already knows who the top Joe will be. Thats not really a surprise. I expect some will be surprised by some of these selections, but for my purposes they were my favorites. I will post one pic a week with a brief description of the figure and the reason they are on.

He was released in 1985, but I didnt get him until 1987. I always loved Joe's that came with lots of accessories. He had a really original body sculpt and came with a axe... how cool was that. As a 10 year old, this figure was killer. It was always one of my favorites. I loved Barbecue on the cartoon and in the comic as well. Plus his filecard talked about how much a family man this guy was and how heavy a partier he was as well. Two things I try to be to this day. What wasnt there to like. The only negative was that he was from Boston... yuck. Great sculpt, great color scheme, accessories, and a well written filecard.


The Punisher

Here is piece 1 of the 2 pieces I promised to have posted by the end of this week (I've been busily drawing, so I may post 3 if not 4 this week).

Growing up I had a 5 favorite Marvel characters. Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Daredevil and The Punisher. Now, while I was younger I was heavily influenced by my brothers opinion and fell in love with the art of John Romita Jr. (who I still like to this day). I tried to mimic his art on The Punisher War Zone as well as his Daredevil look. His Punisher was among the best if not the best of all time. Right up there with Mike Zeck, Jim Lee and Steve Dillon. In fact some might say it is the defining look for the Punisher. So in being a big Punisher fan, I tried to draw him constantly. I redid some Zeck and Romita pieces, and was always happy to make my big brother happy, so I tried to draw more and more like Romita Jr.

Now as an adult, I've realized that although Romita Jr's style is great, it doesnt fit me perfectly. I've been drawing more in the Michael Turner, Aspen Entertainment style. I had hard time finding a Michael Turner Punisher. The only thing I could find was this variant Civil War cover. It's leaner, more athletic and fluid. His art also has heavy outlines with lots of shading.

The pencilling took me a little over an hour and a half. The inking took me a little longer than that. After finishing inking The Punisher and Spider-Man I realized the picture was a little flat, so I decided to add the background. I really like the detail of the piece, especially the background. I think it could still be helped by adding in color (although thats not my thing) to really let the water pop. I really like the heavy black punisher in the center of the piece. I think it really draws your eye to him. Its a strong piece that I am really happy with.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

No new art... zoinks (and everything else going on)

So, another week came and went, and not only did I not draw anything, but I still havent finished putting Nightwing together. I had a feeling I would slow down a little bit once MS finished class... I didnt realize I would stop completely.

I'm making a vow that I will have 2 new pieces up by the end of next week. I want to draw The Hulk for myself (I'm really enjoying Planet Hulk, and World War Hulk... me enjoying a Marvel comic, I know, rare) and a request for my brother of The Punisher. I plan on doing both in my now preferred style of Michael Turner.

As for everything else on the comic front, I'm about 5 weeks behind in my reading. I must say I was extremely happy with 52. I hate the fact that the multiverse is back, but the series as a whole was well written. I loved the last issue of JLA and JAS, love the team up and the Legion spots. I also picked up the first issue of the new Madman series, which I really enjoyed. Mike Allred has always been a favorite of mine. Was slightly disappointed in the finale of Girls, it was a lot to try and wrap in the final issue. No other comics I've read have been that memorable lately.

TV and Movies, loved Heroes and The Office (finally Pam and Jim) finales. Both were smartly written, cwell acted and thought out. Heroes was a great wrap to this season as well as gave us a few clues to next season. Hiro in ancient Japan during the Eclipse... could he be the cause of all the evolution in the future? The little cerebro type girl talking about the man worse than Sylar... perfect lead in to next year. Loved it, yet it wasn't the highlight of my NBC viewing. That honor goes to The Office. The final two episodes of the season were absolutely brilliant. From Pam finally confronting her feelings and telling Jim how she felt to the interviews in New York, nothing disappointed. The Office continues to be my most anticipated weekly television viewing. On a different note both Legion of Superheroes and The Batman were great. Ridiculously looking forward to High School Musical 2.

Now what I'm sure will be a highly unpopular opinion. I hated Spider-Man 3. I was really looking forward to it, and was disappointed. It didnt deliver on any level. Hated how emotional they tried to make the film. Every character had to rip off his mask to speak. Spidey had his mask off almost as much as he had it on. Venow never spoke without revealing Eddie Brock. Marvel has to go back to the drawing board on some of these movies. I mean seriously, what was the last good Marvel film. Spider-Man 2? FF, Punisher, Elektra, Ghost Rider, and X3 have all fallen flat. The last truly good film was X2, at least in my opinion. I hope if Marvel makes another Spidey they don't fall into the same multi-villain traps that plagued the Batman franchise during the Joel Schumacher age. I haven't really seen anything else worth noting.

I've been spending lots of time watching both the NBA playoffs and the Yankees. The Spurs have to be considered among he best teams of all time. What Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan have done together is nothing short of brilliant. Not only is Tim Duncan one of the best players in the game today, he is one of the best of all time. In my opinion the prototypical power forward. Better than Barkley and Malone. He makes his teammates better, he's a fierce defender, and one of the most efficient basketball players I've ever seen. The Yankees are still a little flat, starting to show some signs of life... they've won 3 out of the last 4 against the Mets and RedSox. Besides that I've got to say I'm proud of my video game team scrub... theyve won 3 in a row to pull over .500. Prior and Wood are both hurt (big surprise), Willy Mo Pena is hurt as well, but Eric Hinske and Matt Murton have been crushing the ball, and Scott Proctor is just blowing people away in the bullpen.

I know this post is long, but I haven't posted in a while and wanted to just catch up.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Rocket

This weekend marked the return of the Rocket (Roger Clemens) to pinstripes. I am an admitted fan of Roger Clemens. The last uniform number I wore was 21 to honor the man. Plus unlike most (if not all) Yankee fans I know, I didn't feel betrayed when Clemens left the Yankees to pitch for his hometown Astros... after doing what he came to NY to do... win a title.

Now I find it intersting that there are legions of RedSox (hate em), Astros, and even some Mets fans crapping all over this move. Saying how happy they are that he didnt sign with them. Saying how its inevitable that at 45 Clemens will break down. How much money the team is saving... blah, blah, blah. Had Clemens signed with any of the above mentioned teams, they would all be splashing on their websites and newspapers how happy they were and how they were now in position to win the world series. Look at those hated RedSox, are you telling me Clemens isnt an upgrade over Julian Tavarez or Tim Wakefield, or the Mets with Pelfrey, Perez and soon Brian Lawrence (who the pitching starved Rockies just dropped), or the Astros who roll out Oswalt (a true pitching star) and a bunch of nobodies.

Its completely ridiculous to think that there will be a huge drop off between a 44 year old Rocket (who was 7-6 last year with a 2.30 ERA) and a 45 year old Clemens. The Yankees have a much better offense then the Astros, and although we can probably expect a half run increase in his ERA, that will still probably be the lowest ERA on the staff. Clemens is an upgrade to the rotation of the Yanks. No matter how you slice a rotation that includes Wang, Pettitte, Mussina and Clemens is one of the best in the league. Those four guys will be tough to beat in a short series, and thats exactly what the Yankees wanted. You have 2 Hall of Fame starters as well as two guys who have been runner up for Cy Youngs. In a short series I like having the proven track records of these guys. Yeah they are a bit old (except for Wang) but no one has a better proven rotation heading into the post season.

The offense is perfect. The aches and pains of Johnny Damon are concerning, but I love Melky and the energy he brings to the team. Everything else is working out perfectly. Now that Mientkewicz has started hitting the team is even more dangerous. There are no holes in the lineup.

Just to recap, I'm ridiculously happy with the retun of the Rocket, and will gladly enjoy watching a parade in November after the Yankees win the World Series.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Nightwing... Step 1

I've talked for months about wanting to put together a redesign of the Nightwing costume to send to Project Rooftop (where hopefully they will review it positively and it will be a huge stepping stone to a very lucrative comic career... um, yeah). Its been on every to do list of mine since October, and yet has never gotten done.

Now, as anyone who reads this knows, I've been making a very conscious effort to draw more. So why the hell not give Nightwing another whirl. Here was my thinking behind updating one of the plainest costumes in all of comics. After One Year Later, DC moved Dick Grayson to New York, my thought was that I needed to redesign his acrobat costume for a real world city. I would add a slightly thicker kevlar outershell as well padding for his knees and elbows as well as side padding for the ribs. I also added a utility belt that puts him more in line with Batman. As well as a side pouch for his fighting sticks (I've always hated the dumb notion that these would just stick out from his back as they currently do). It felt more like a design for movie version of Nightwing.

As inspiration I downloaded every different variation of the character Nightwing. Everything from the Titans animated series down to the original Nightwing of Krypton. That while being heavily influenced by the hyper-realistic style Bryan Hitch has for heroes and costumes to the gritty ultra-urban look that the city has in older Alex Maleev Daredevils. Its very different than the Michael Turner style I've been drawing in lately. Its less fluid, but more realistic. Something I think you would see a real New York wear.

This piece is no where near finished, I still need to scan Nightwing have my love color him in (I suck at coloring my own art) and then compose him with a great shot my love took of a building on 8th Avenue. Once that is done, I then what to strip in this great early evening sky from another picture MS took. Then and only then will I be ready to submit for review. It should be a fun project.


The Gutless German

I'm known for making crazy predictions (i like to call myself the pro-sports prognosticator) which have a way of turning about to be pretty good. Sometimes they are completely outlandish, sometimes right on. So it was with great amazement that I watched this NBA season as the Dallas Mavericks ran roughshod over the league in the regular season, and would email my buddies and say "didnt i tell you this would happen in the finals last year". I picked the Heat to win the title last year (I always have a hard time choosing against Shaq), and even when they were down 2-0 to the Mavs, stuck by that prediction. It was doing that same final that I told my friends "You know what, the Mavs are going to destroy the league and coast to the title". I was positive this was going to happen, so I felt some what validated by their great regular season.

Then the postseason started.

Only twice in the history of the NBA has an 8 seed defeated a 1 seed. Never has it happened in a best of 7 series. So although the Mavs/Warriors first round matchup troubled me, I stuck by my prediction of the Mavs winning the title. I even got an email fom one friend asking if I wanted to ammend that prediction. I said of course not.

Then inexplicably Avery Johnson tinkers with the starting lineup that the Mavs have used all season. Why would a 1 seeded team do that. Its like he was gearing up for the inevitable upset. They then went on to play tight and uninspired the whole series... culminating in last nights Game 7... when for no reason, Avery pulls his star forward Dirk Nowitzki with about 5 minutes left in the game and the Mavs down 20. Was he worried about next season and his star players very fragile psyche (maybe), or did he just concede to his old mentor (Don Nelson).

My problem with what went down falls on Dirk. Any star player worth his weight would shake off his coach and stay in the game and try to put that team on his back and carry them to the win... or put up a good fight and lose graciously. Did the big German do that, nope... he took out his mouth piece and gutlessly sat on the bench the rest of the game. Never once tapping his coach on the shoulder and saying let me have one last go at them. As a Lakers fan I never give up on a game. I always know I'm one Kobe barrage away from winning a game.

Has there ever been an MVP (its widely thought Dirk will win this year) who would do that. Look at the other contenders, and tell me any of them would, Nash, Kobe, McGrady, Lebron... nope, they would all go down fighting. It was a gutless performance by one of the premiere names in the league. The Mavs deserved to lose. Look out Rockets and Jazz... these Warriors are for real.


It's Tuesday... I must be drawing

So here I was on another Tuesday night with Scrappy sleeping and MS out at photography class (sadly her last, I think she'll miss it), and my best bud JP had asked me to put a Silver Surfer piece together for him for a poster for a Surf competition where the very talented StuntDitch will be performing. So, I decided that it was a good time to draw this.

Although I was ridiculously tired from not having slept the night before, I was excited about drawing the Surfer. Not only did I get to help JP out, but I got to work on one of the most visually interesting characters ever designed (kudos to the great Jack Kirby). I had only ever done the Silver Surfer a handful of times. Never on a scale this large. I had done some late 80's and early 90's Silver Surfers in the style of Ron Lim. Ron was always a pretty good artist, who really hit his stride and connected with the Surfer. His Surfer in my mind is the quintessential look for the Surfer. I feel like he set the style that is still used today.

With the nature of this piece, and how it will be used I wanted to play up the shading and make a high contrast piece, while also leaving the bottom of the board blank for placement of black text with the venue name and the names of the bands. JP has done some really great designs for StuntDitch shows (plus i suck at freehanding text) so I'll leave the text in his very capable hands.

The pencils took a little less than an hour to do. The heavy work came in the inking and shading of the piece, which took a little over 2.5 hours to ink. In what is a very rare feat, by the time MS got home after a crazy cab ride (sorry my love) the piece was already done. I'm normally quite a slow artist, but this piece came together very quickly. I was extremely happy with the way the piece turned out. Its not a typical Surfer piece, because of the heavy blacks, but it fits the need of this poster perfectly.

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