crazy colored glasses

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brubaker Blues

I learned recently that Ed Brubaker (one of my favorite writers) was leaving Daredevil (one of my favorite titles)... this immediately saddened me... what saddened me even more was the appointment of Andy Diggle as new writer.

Now, I can honestly say I don't know a lot about Andy Diggle as a writer. The only story of his I ever read was his Adam Strange (which I loved). Besides that his resume is that o a mostly Vertigo superstar, Hellblazer and Swamp Thing being the two biggest titles on his resume. That is entirely going to change now.

Diggle is taking over one of the flagship titles for Marvel. A title that has been handed down from Bendis to Brubaker. Both had proven pedigrees when taking over the title and shot through the roof once on the title. Now either guy can write his ticket in the industry. Anything they touch turns to gold.

For the past decade Daredevil has been the best comic Marvel has produced. Brubaker's 3 years followed the great run by Bendis (4+ years) who inherited the title from Joe Quesada who in turn became Marvel's Editor in Chief. I'm cautiously optimistic Diggle will be good, I just worry that based on his previous writing he's not exactly the right fit.


Monday, March 23, 2009

World Baseball Classic

For the past few weeks well-played, important, meaningful baseball games have been going on. Yet the general public really has no idea.

Most baseball fans are more interested in what's happening in spring training, or getting ready for their fantasy drafts. Few "real" fans are watching some of the most enjoyable baseball on TV in years. The participants are thoroughly enjoying themselves, and it shows in the high quality of baseball that is being played. Yet, it seems no one is paying attention.

Early round games played in Puerto Rico were met with nearly sold out crowds of boisterous supporters. Second round play consisted of nearly half empty stadiums in Florida, followed by semi-finals (and todays final) played in front of a large Asian crowd in L.A.. Where are the American fans? Are we so caught up in the Fantasy world of baseball that we can't show a little national pride and support a group of players who are putting getting ready for the season on hold to represent their country.

Where else can you find an infield of hated rivals (Youkilis, Pedroia, Jeter and Wright) all playing together. Only in the WBC, yet the tournament is barely a blip on the sports radar. The tournament seems to be a great source of pride to the Asian and Latin American teams (although the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rican and Venezuelan teams all were eliminated), but not so much for the U.S.. Could it be that these other nations cultivate and develop more home grown talent than the United States. It's pretty regular to see baseball academies (usually funded by big league players, Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Ichiro) outside of the United States. This helps cultivate a passion for baseball on the grassroots level. It's not something we see in the U.S.... why?

Here in the United States its been widely reported about the lack of African Americans in baseball. It used to be that the best black athletes would become baseball players (Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Dave Winfield each lettered in multiple sports in school and each chose baseball) that is definitely not the case anymore. MLB has taken great strides over the past few years by developing R.B.I (Reviving Baseball in Innercities) but the two biggest names I see supporting it are Torii Hunter and Jimmy Rollins. Frankly put, American MLB players must do more. They have to reach out to the fan and bring them back to the game (especially the younger fans). We have to do as much nationally to cultivate the next generation of talent as they do around the world. Until then there will be no national pride in America's Game.

I think the WBC can be summed up in two moments. First you have Yadier Molina (of the St. Louis Cardinals) who claimed his game winning hit against the Netherlands was the most meaningful hit of his career. This is someone who has hit a homerun to send the Cardinals to the World Series a few years ago, yet advancing the Puerto Ricans to the second round was more meaningful. The second was the jubilation in the United States teams celebration when they came from behind with a 9th inning rally to beat the United States. Mets, RedSox, Phillies and Yankees, all putting pro-team difference s aside to celebrate as one team... Americans. Hopefully America starts to notice what the rest of the world already seems to know, baseball is still the greatest sport on the planet.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Who Watches The Watchmen

I did (according to second week box office though, it seems like only comic fans have though) and I loved it.

I'll post a longer review when I'm done with a piece of art to honor this great comic and film. For now, I'll simply say that the movie was as faithful a comic adaptation as has ever been presented on screen. Quite possibly the best comic film of all time.

More to come...

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Along Came a Spider

After trying to figure out which character I should draw next, I realized that I hadn't drawn a comic book icon... The Spider-Man. (BTW... I have a ton of holiday and assorted art to also put up.)

In quickly trying to rectify the fact that I had omitted the Spider, I ran through the comic database that is my mind to come up with my favorite spider artists of all time.

No spider artist list should ever start anywhere other than with Steve Ditko. He started it all and provided the perfect template for everyone to copy. John Romita Sr. and John Buscema then changed the spider look to a blockier look. Buscema continued way into the 80's until Marvel put the book in the hands of a rising penciling superstar... Todd McFarlane. Todd's Spider-Man provided the modern age template that has been used for years since. His Spider-Man was a contortionist of the highest order with arms and legs everywhere. Todd was followed by Erik Larsen, who continued Todd's look, but added his own cartoony spin. Then came a long run by my favorite Spider-Man artist, John Romita Jr.

Most people have a problem with the squareness of Romita Jr's Spidey, I on the other hand love it. It harkens back to the Buscema and Romita Sr. era. My Sipdey pic above is a clear homage to the square look of JRJR.

Pencils on the piece took about 45 minutes. Inks on the other hand took almost two hours (damn webbed costume). Sorry I took so long to add you to the collection, Spidey.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

The End of an Era (Error)?

It's been way over a month since my last post. Work has been busy, home has been busy, so the CCG has been neglected. But with breaking Cowboys news, I decided I had to jump online and weigh in...

3 seasons ago the Cowboys brought in what they believed to be the final piece to the puzzle, Terrell Owens. He was going to be the game breaking receiver the Cowboys sorely lacked. I instantly had visions of Drew Bledsoe tossing it up to TO and deep playoff runs. TO opposite Terry Glenn, Jason Witten clearing out the middle, and Julius Jones and Marion Barber ponding defenses into submission. I was sure he was the last piece.

Then slowly but surely it started to happen. The whispers and locker room back biting began. Bledsoe doesn't get me the ball enough. he throws to Terry Glenn too much. He takes too many sacks. Parcells was almost forced to make the switch to Tony Romo our potentially lose the whole season. Incredibly, it turned out very well. Romo and Owens clicked, the Boys started winning. Romo and Owens giggling on the sideline seemed to be a match made in heaven. The Boys made the playoffs that season and were a botched hold away from winning their first playoff game in a decade. While disappointing, the thought of Romo and Owens over a full season elicited many happy mental scenarios to Cowboys fans.

Season two started out with a bang, a huge Sunday night game against the Giants had Romo and TO firmly entrenched amongst the best QB/WR duos in the game. That second season was a huge statistical year for TO and Romo both. Romo posted the best numbers ever for a Cowboys quarterback. Owens had arguably the second best season of his career (over 1,300 yards and 15 scores). All seemed right in the world, the Cowboys won the NFC East and were poised for a long playoff run. In the playoffs, the Giants aggressively covered TO and made Romo utilize his other weapons. The Cowboys lost, and most people remember TO's breakdown to the press... "that's my quarterback" as he sobbed.

Coming into this season, great things were expected. Huge numbers and lots of wins should have been the norm. Unfortunately that was not the case. A clearly frustrated Owens was often seen sulking on the sidelines. The Cowboys lack of a second receiver (sorry Patrick Crayton) meant lots of double coverage for TO. All of this while Jason Witten continued to flourish working the middle of the field. When Romo got hurt these weaknesses were exposed even more. Owens grew more and more frustrated as the weeks and the losses mounted. When Romo finally returned, Witten seemed to have taken over as the go-to-guy (deservedly so, as he has a great pair of hands and is easily the toughest player on the squad). Owens then started to get more vocal with his complaints. So much so that it tore the team apart. You had players taking sides, talking more and more to the press. What should have been the stretch run to a playoff spot turned into a complaint media circus courtesy of TO. Needless to say the team was a mess and missed the postseason (which was a shame for a team that talented).

With the debacle of the last month of the season, everyone knew things had to change in the offseason. Jerry Jones issues a team gag order to stop the stream of false information. Then the other shoe dropped and the Cowboys (not so) shockingly cut Terrell Owens.

I personally must admit to being a little surprised. Jerry generally loves the drama, and TO provides plenty. I figured Jerry would wait until the season got under swing and see if this uber-talented receiver could shut his mouth enough to play good ball. I'm sure the fact that TO's numbers were down last year made the decision a little easier.

It will be interesting to see how easily the Cowboys address their new void at WR. Is Roy Williams the answer... he only caught 19 balls the second half of the season. There are no other viable top flight receiving options on the team, so free agency, the draft or a trade are the only options. The results to the offense could be catastrophic. What happens to the offense with Witten if he is now being double covered because you don't have to double any wideout. There could be a negative trickle down effect to an offense that struggled mightily in the second half of the season...

or, with the new and improved team chemistry, the Cowboys sing Kumbaya to a playoff spot. With or without Owens, there is enough talent here to make the playoffs. When you look at this years squad, a lot of blame can be placed on the lack of production and the overall distraction TO brought to the squad. This is a classic case of addition by subtraction. Who knows, maybe a happier Cowboys locker room will result in less distractions and more victories.

All in all, I must say I think this was a move that had to happen. The same way I thought bring him in was a move that had to happen. I supported the move that brought him to the Boys. I thought they had to take a shot at ading this enigmatic superstar. Unfortunately it didn't work. This year proved it. They took a big step backwards. The Boys went from contender to pretenders really fast. Was it all his fault, no. Did he contribute negatively, yes. It was time.

Luckily my big bro gave me a Witten jersey for Christmas this past year so I can now retire my TO jersey (next to my Keyshawn, Galloway, Deion and Irvin).