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Podcast Update

December 16, 2009

It’s coming along. The podcast that is.

As I work on this podcast I’m more and more realizing how much I love to talk and write. Mostly, I like taking ideas and airing them out regardless of whether I ever conclude the argument. Sometimes it’s good just to argue so that I can get a better understanding of something.

I would say that the problem with writing the way I do for this blog is that the reviews limit me to just reviews. I unwittingly put myself in a box for a year (minus the month or so recently that I’ve been on and off here). The podcast is a way for me to infuse fresh ideas and blood into this. There is a will to do this blog but as far as digging through web comics and my own collection goes I need something else on top of that.

For example, I have a collection of comics that I haven’t reviewed but I’m somewhat afraid to really dig into them. With my lack of income that would eventually lead me to web comics (which I’ve done quite a few reviews of, I know). I don’t want to just be a web comics guy. It’s even worse with animation as my DvD collection only contains maybe 4 series (Batman: The Animated Series, Family Guy, Ghost in the Shell ┬áThe series, and Endless Waltz — a one-off from Gundam Wing). Now that that actually helped because I was forced to dig around to find interesting shorts but I want to watch more. True, despite my lack of income I’m sure I could have found new things on both the comics and animation front anyway, but before starting this I didn’t really know anything else that wasn’t the five or six web comics that I read or comic shops. My apologies that was a ridiculously long sentence.

One of the biggest reasons that I locked myself into this “review” box is that I did absolutely no research before I started the blog. Literally, one day I decided to start a blog about comics and I did. What I knew how to do was look at one thing and give an opinion of it. I read movie reviews voraciously as a high schooler. The A&E section of The Oregonian was my Friday reading material every week. The “review” box didn’t matter as much when I started out because I had lots of stuff too look at. I wasn’t yet at the barrel hoping for another bucket, even a quarter full one.

I didn’t want to be locked in on the podcast. I knew going into it that I couldn’t just review comics and animation. Hell, I couldn’t even allow myself to stick to just comics. No, this won’t become a catch-all “nerd” culture thing but knowing how I operate I have to allow the greater culture in. This means things like Star Trek (or Wars), video games, games, etc. have to have a place. This doesn’t mean that the focus won’t be on comics but I need to allow myself to branch out. Otherwise, you get the past three months. Uninspired schlock with no end in sight and a writer constantly expressing concern about the schlock but not doing anything about it. Hopefully, I’ve got it now.

One thing that I did differently with the podcast, as compared to the blog, is that I researched. I listened to other podcasts, I downloaded some programs to help me produce (I’m still learning some of the ins and outs of Audacity, hence the wait), and I wrote ideas upon ideas for the first few potential episodes.

I think that going into the podcast I’ll be much better prepared. In fact, in the first episode I do plan on talking about what I did to get ready for it and some impressions I took away from other comic podcasts (of which, surprisingly there are many).

For anyone who has actually read this thing and is continuing to read it, I profusely apologize to you for the crap that I’ve put you through, it’s no way to treat you. And if you’re still willing to follow this then I profusely thank you. Hopefully, it gets better from here and I think it will.

Scyo.

Maybe not back

December 2, 2009

Okay, I posted week before last that I was back. That was something of a lie considering that I haven’t done anything on here since.

Mostly that’s because I’m working on an idea that I came up with during my month long hiatus when my mac died for good.

People make video blogs (no, I’m not calling it a vlog, blog is stupid enough as is). They also make podcasts. I’m thinking of doing something inbetween. 1) I don’t have a video camera so a video blog won’t happen (also, I don’t want to do it). 2) I’m not sure about just a podcast.

I’ve been mulling over the idea of a comics podcast for a while now but I don’t really having a starting point or a what should I talk about kind of thing. Also, me for just 15 minutes or more? I dunno. It’s a big step.

What I was thinking about doing was starting with maybe some five to 10 minute reviews of comics. Set up through programs like Soundslides, I could incorporate photos or comic images.

I haven’t quite pieced it together but it’s coming along. I’m in finals mode for the fall term here but I should have some time during the holiday break in a couple weeks.

I’ll try to keep you updated about this as it comes along and hopefully I can create something that kind of works.

One problem is that I’m a wing-it kind of person. I do some planning but I like to see where the flow takes me when it comes to writing, presentations, etc. With this kind of project I may need to start writing scripts, something that I’ll need to teach myself.

If I were a betting man, I would expect some kind of product come January.

Until then, I’ll try to come in here and do the usual but I’m really focused on this new project and excited to try some new media.

I am back

November 16, 2009

How long has it been? A month? Maybe more?

I finally replaced my p.o.s. Mac with another one. I know, I should have gone back to PC considering how much Mac has broken my wallet over its knee but everything that I have as a digital record was in Mac formatting. I figured that it would be easier to just re-do Mac and someday, maybe, get a new computer while this one still works.

I don’t have anything to share today really, outside of the “I’m back” news. No, I didn’t work on anything for this blog during my hiatus. Still, I do have a couple of comics that I plan to continue reviewing like the Y series.

In the meantime I found this French coffee animation. Well, it’s not an animation of coffee, it’s…it’s French.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1901152

I couldn’t get it to embed. For some reason WordPress only likes youtube, dailymotion and google. The hosts didn’t have a youtube version up. Anyway, just click the link. I found the video very interesting and a little humorous.

Indefinite Hiatus

October 16, 2009

So my computer got killed last weekend. Hence my lack of posts. In the mean time I’m waiting for some checks to come in so that I can get a new one.

Which, of course, means that I will be indefinitely out of service on this blog here. It’s unfortunate but it’s probably a good thing that it happened. My stupid Mac was giving me fits from almost day one. I’m glad that the little bastard is finally dead. Maybe I now I can form a healthier relationship with a new computer, a better one, a more caring one.

Here’s to hoping and til I see you again,

Scyo.

Y: The Last Man

October 7, 2009

One of my favorite contemporary comic writers is Brian K. Vaughn. I currently own two of his series in trades and I’m curious to read his third one, or at least the other one that I know about.

Normally this is the part where I do a little background info on Vaughn but I don’t think I will for this one. Maybe I’ll save it for the last review I do of this particular series.

A little background about the actual series though.

Background: Y: The Last Man has been collected into 10 trades, each with between 5 and 7 issues collected in them. The first book, Unmanned, features issues 1 – 5.

The book is by Vaughn and artist Pia Guerra. Guerra is a great artist by the way. If you have a chance to pick up other books that feature her art I highly recommend it. According to her website Guerra has also done voice over work on cartoons, trading cards for Wizards of the Coast and various comics projects. But whatever, the point here is that her pencils are awesome.

Back to the background. The first trade was released in 2003.

And enough of that.

The Comic: Issues 1 – 5 focus on the immediate aftermath of a “plague” that killed every male animal and human on the plant save Yorick Brown and his Capuchin money, Ampersand.

For some reason every male on the planet is dead. Through his mother (a Democrat Rep. from Ohio) Yorick is sent on a mission to find a biology researcher Dr. Mann. He is accompanied by his Ampersand and an agent of the Culper Ring #355. His sister is involved as well but I’ll leave her plot line alone for now.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Secretary of Agriculture is made President due to everyone ahead of her in the line of succession being male. Also, a terrorist group calling themselves the Daughters of Amazon vow to destroy all things male, eventually this comes to include Yorick. Also, for whatever reason two Israeli military women come to America to find Yorick.

Yorick and 355 travel to Boston where they meet Dr. Mann and find out that they need to travel to California to get her research.

For an opening book Unmanned does a good job of giving you characters to like, and hate, and opens up their world for the reader. Yorick is easily likable so far, 355 is a cold assassin bitch but what do you want from a secret agent, the moneky is a little hellion, and Dr. Mann blames herself for the plague.

A lot happens in the first five issues but it feels well paced and the moves make sense. It’s not like Last Blood (reviewed last June) where a lot happens but the pacing was way too fast, things felt crammed into the story, and certain plot lines deviated wildly enough to hurt the main story.

Again, it should be emphasized that Guerra’s art is great. Normally I describe art as fun to look at or it really carries you through on its whimsy. Generally, especially with web comics, this is the case. Guerra’s art is not like that. In fact, I would dare say that it is serious. This is a style that’s down to business.

The people, the world, and the action feels realistic. While her backgrounds, and bodies are compelling what I think makes her stand out over other comics that I’ve read is the facial expressions that Guerra gives her characters. Without words you can generally feel what the characters are feeling just by their faces alone. It’s something that really boosts Vaughn’s story.

Y is one of the best series that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Of course, it has it’s flaws Yorick and 355 are cliched arch-types, the story gets a little vague at times, and some plots are dropped without a good reason but Vaughn and Guerra make it work in an engaging way.

My Recommendation: If you couldn’t tell from the previous words, Fucking Read It. End of story.

Scyo.

This Side Up

October 5, 2009

Found this one over the weekend.

Too tired to actually write something worthwhile.

Scyo.

The Cleveland Show

October 1, 2009

I didn’t sit down to watch The Cleveland Show until last night. Surprisingly I hadn’t heard a thing about it between its premiere on Sunday and yesterday.

It might have helped had I heard something about it.

Everything about this show was bad.

The reasoning for Cleveland leaving was quick and almost painful. So was his unnecessary marriage at the end of the show.

His reason for staying in his old hometown of Stoolbend, VA was about the same.

Everything about the show just felt forced. The jokes didn’t hit on any level and none of the characters presented themselves as likable.

Cleveland was annoying at best, contrived at worst. And his son? What happened? In the early seasons of Family Guy his son was an ADD jerk who flitted around the show like a hummingbird. Now…now, he’s a fat bastard who eats creme cookies.

Cleveland’s replacement friends are the worst of the lot though. One is a redneck racist, another is a 40 year old douche who lives with his mom, and the last is a Russian? bear. The bear…I don’t understand the bear. What’s the point? Do all of Seth McFarlane’s shows need a talking animal of some kind?

Family Guy has Bryan. American Dad has Klaus the German Fish and if you want Roger the Alien. Now Cleveland has a russian or something bear. The bear is a waste despite that.

Like Family Guy is a thinly veiled excuse to be a more “wild” the Simpsons, and American Dad is a thinly veiled excuse to let McFarlane’s personal politics into a show (though he does it more with the Griffins than the Smiths) The Cleveland Show is a thinly veiled excuse for McFarlane to be racist.

Despite Cleveland being an upstanding businessman and a well (sort of) rounded character all of his interactions with everyone in his show came through stereotypes.

His friends are clearly an example of that.

However it’s his “family” that is the worst about it. The wife is a large-assed woman who falls in with an abusive drunk (also black). The two kids aren’t as bad but there are undertones. Really it’s the wife that kills it.

It comes across that if the show references the racism by using bits that tell you it’s racist then it okay for them to do so. Literally there’s a bit where the daughter character says something about white producers making awful shows that they think black would like. Ooh-ho-ho Mr. McFarlane aren’t you so clever with that little ruse.

It’s out in the open the show so it’s okay if it’s racist.

In the end, it’s more uncomfortable and not just because of the obvious racism. The jokes were terrible and Cleveland is not a character that makes me want to watch the show. He’s boring at best and annoying at worst.

On the other hand, I do plan to make a drinking game out of this show so drunk Sunday nights here I come.

Scyo.

P.S. My recommendation? Save yourselves the agony and watch something else, like I don’t know…the Simpsons.

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