Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday of Batman, Bane and Olympic Scary, Fairy Tale Dreams

(Photo removed for reasons of copyright.)
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I just got back from seeing The Dark Knight Rises. It was awesome! I'll admit that I liked the first and second of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy better, especially when I prefer the Joker much more over Bane since he's Batman's arch enemy and the most grotesquely psychotic of the Batman villains. Even so, out of all three of the movies, I like Batman Begins (the first in the trilogy) best simply because I'm one that believe's no sequel or remake can beat it's original (with very few exceptions). But Dark Knight Rises was good. It went further into Bruce Wayne's character and his interaction with the other characters, including Alfred the butler, Salina Kyle/the Cat Woman, and Commissioner Gordon. And Bane's character was chilling especially with that mouth mask that he wears which looks like a pair of an alien monster's jaws but is really an oxygen mask of some sort.

I was never really into the Batman  comic books that featured Bane since they came after 1985 sometime. (I can't remember the exact year or decade Bane made his first appearance). I wasn't as impressed with the post 1983  Batman comics as I was with the ones before that, especially of the '70s when Batman's character returned to its dark appearance with darker stories after being eclipsed by the campy craze that the preceding decade's TV series brought on. Not that the post 1983 Batman storylines weren't dark; they most definitely were dark. It's just that for me the Batman storyline headed too much in a different direction than the storline of the earlier decades. Post 1983 Batman stories turn Robin into Nightwing, bring in a new kid to take up the Robin role, and Batman becomes too romantic with the Cat Woman/Salina Kyle and so she loses her villainous appeal. But I have to admit, I did like Bane with that Mexican wrestler's mask with the huge red eyes in the comics; it was very menacing looking adding to Bane's destructive and evil appearance. But the mask he wear's in this movie definitely makes up for the one in the comics.

I'll do a review of the movie either during the upcoming week at or next weekend here. Right now it's nearly the witching hour and though I normally don't go to bed until way later (too much later, actually) tonight I have to turn into the coffin earlier because I have to be up early for a planning meeting for a sci fi/fantasy convention that comes to Sacramento a year from now: WesterCon 66, the West coast region's annual convention and I'm proud to say it will be held in my home area next year! Right on!

I still have to squeese in tonight some highlights of the Olympic opening ceremonies that I taped that I didn't get a chance to see last night because a writer's and artist's work is never done. I'm not a big sports fan, but the Olympics is one of the few sporting events I'll watch, Summer and Winter. And I especially like the opening ceremonies because all the nations' teams come together and bring all kinds of diversity to the spectators. I especially like the ceremonies because of the dramatic performances that depict the host nation's culture and history, including their folklore and mythology in which England did very well with these performances. One that I saw on NBC's website was a kind of fairy tale dream a little girl has which first starts off as a nightmare with black cloaked spirits and a giant evil sorcerer then ends with Mary Poppins, several Mary Poppins that is. You can see it at the link below. I was so impressed.

I'll leave you with that. Until next time . . .

(Photo removed for reasons of copyright.)
A convention attendee dressed as Bane from the Batman comic books, at WonderCon 2012.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, July 22, 2012

'The Dark Knight' to Blame for the Aurora Shootings?

As we all know, the premiere night (early Friday morning) of The Dark Knight Rises really was a dark night for an auditorium of movie viewers in Aurora, Colorado. My sympathies go out to the victims, including the wounded, and their families of the attack.

Many headlines have been indicating the shootings as movie fantasy having become horrid reality. Sadly, those headlines are true. Along with this, there have been fears of people wanting to blame movies with violence such as "Dark Knight Rises" for these killings. But the majority of media hasn't even been likening the gunman to the star character of Christopher Nolan's third and supposedly final installment of his Batman movie series.The media's been likening the shooter to the Joker of the previous film. Batman has never even used a gun, perhaps save once or twice in all his crime fighting career. He has been known to prefer fighting without fire arms. Batman is a symbol of justice, though in a very grim way and even though he appears to be on edge of his own sanity when fighting crime, he always holds back and brings the criminal to the justice that is fit. Perhaps the concern with Christopher Nolan's Batman movies leading to these shootings has more to do with the villains. But we can't forget that it's a hero that thwarts the evil deeds of those villains. Heroes are the mythic characters who represent hope in a violent and corrupt world.

Nobody has recently explained the mythic role of Batman better than NPR's Glen Weldon in his article "Catharsis In a Cape: On Comic-book Hereoes and Real-World Violence". I suggest you read it. You can also read my article at that speaks about the role of fantasy in life. I wrote it in response to the Aurora tragedy.

Until next time . . . 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Friday the Thirteenth and 'War of the Worlds'

Photo Credit: Thayne Multimedia Productions/Wikimedia Commons

It looks like a lot of you liked my final concept sketch for my book cover. Thanks, all of you who left me those great compliments/Facebook Likes. Now that I've finished the final concept sketch, my next step is to make the final drawing, complete in full colour and detail. I really want to get this book out and available to you. There may even be a contest where you can win a free book cover promotion poster for The Fool's Illusion! So stay tuned!

If you're in the Sacramento area, then I suggest you take a look at my "This Weekend" schedule of sci fi/fantasy events going on in the area this weekend of the 13th to the 15th.  Speaking about the 13th, "Are you superstitious" as Stevie Wonder sings in his famous song? I'm not superstitious, but this past Friday the 13th wasn't a very good day for me. And 13 is my lucky number! (Yeah, right. I just said I'm not superstitious, didn't I? Duh!) Okay, it's just a very nice number to me. Nice because it's so infused with so many mythic elements, which are used in horror and other types of fantasy a lot, and being a writer of horror I have to like it and so do. How did the so called curse of Friday the 13th get me? I had to screw around with a lot of technical issues with my computer at home (but they're taken care of now).

About a week ago, I saw a really great "War of the Worlds" film. No, it was not Steven Speilberg's; it was not even the 1950s original (though I always go for the original with almost any movie first and foremost). It was one that was made by two great indie filmmakers who I had a great time talking with after the screening (which they presented live) at the Crest Theatre last Saturday. You can read about this out-of-this-world flick in my new movie review!

Well, that's it for this week! Until next time . . .

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Completed Concept Sketch for "Fool's Illusion" Book Cover

Here's my final concept sketch of the cover illustration for The Fool's Illusion with the lettering. Thanks to those people who gave me their feedback so far, much of it very positive (including Facebook likes). Feel free to give me feedback on this finished version in the comments box below. Again, never mind the Linux Penguin in the background, that's Larry Ewing's that accidently got in there. (Please see last week's post.)

I'm aware of the title coming too close to the right edge. I will center it correctly on the final drawing, of course. I may move the byline (my name) closer to the title since it appears to be too isolated from it. Because the title looks to be drowned out a little by the illustration, I may enlarge it or may move it closer to the illustration. Again, please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments box. Please include any of your own personal suggestions you may have. It doesn't mean I'll use them, but I would definitely consider them and they would be greatly appreciated.  
Photo Credit: Steven Rose, Jr. (Linux penguin credited to Larry Ewing, put in there by mistake but no fault of his own.)

Until next time . . .

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Concept Sketch for "Fool's Illusion" Book Cover

Here's my concept sketch for my upcoming fiction collection, The Fool's Illusion, that I promised you centuries ago. It's only the illustration itself; I have not put the lettering in yet. I plan to have the lettering in by next weekend. You can see the title in its font, "Twisted Roman", by itself by clicking here. Let me know what you think of the illustration (or the font, or both) by leaving your comments in the comments box.

Until next time . . .

The Fool/magician will be coloured black and white (especially his costume) and the background will be solid black. I'm trying to give the surreal effect of a magic show (gone wrong?) performing in an eternal black space. The spotlights are to be the only signs of grounding (if any). The black background will be included behind the title and author's byline once the two are put in there. Never mind the penguin in the upper right hand corner. That's Larry Ewing's that got in there by mistake (see credit note below); he is in no way at fault for it.
Image Credit: Steven Rose, Jr. (Linux Penguin in upper right hand corner credited to Larry Ewing but Rose had no intention of putting it there so it is not part of the sketch. In other words, ignore it as far as looking at the sketch goes. The sketch was done on scratch paper  that happened to have Mr. Ewing's penguin on the back and therefore the penguin showed through the photo scan. So don't expect to see a penguin on the cover when The Fool's Illusion is released. Rose doesn't waste paper and so acknowledges that trees give their lives [or their lives are taken, if you prefer] for it.)