Irony in Culture
I saw this article on Salon a long time ago. I was reluctant to show it before as Salon often posts a lot of socio-political stories, and I try to avoid spreading the polemics around. I only now decided to go ahead and share it.
Basically, the article linked below argues that irony in art has become little more than intellectual posturing, empty fashion, and thinly-veiled nihilism. What comment do I have? You might have already read about how I wish to build up my skills in drawing and writing so that I can eventually show and spread beauty, truth, and love on behalf of God. Perhaps you can pray that I may cultivate a genuine piety, a genuine honesty, a genuine compassion, and a genuine desire to build.
Impression of Fables
I’ve been spending between an hour-and-a-half and two hours at the gym almost every week. Sometimes I’ve taken along my tablet for some reading in between some series of exercises. During this week’s visits I’ve read the first volume of Fables.
Characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and romances live in New York City, most of them disguised as normal humans. Long ago they had been driven from their mythic homeland by the armies of an entity called the Adversary. In this first story arc, one of their own has been murdered, rocking their community, and the Big Bad Wolf, a private investigator, takes on the case.
The necessary exposition is mostly handled well, but it’s not always smoothly integrated into the narrative. The dialog is sometimes awkward as a result. Usually, though, it does well in establishing the characters. Many of the characters are memorable. The plot here does devolve into a generic murder-mystery in spite of the efforts to liven it up through “lampshading”. The artwork is of good quality and it does its job done. I hear that the series becomes more engrossing as it goes on—can anyone reading this confirm one way or the other?
Say Hello to Jessica
I have cultivated many close friendships in a virtual world. There are quite a few who have called me brother and several more who have called me their best friend. I decided that I’d introduce you to one such friend who has been building an elaborate personal website on Wix (and she still makes fairly frequent changes). If you look through her gallery and her “closest friends” and her “special” slideshow, you might even find me! I thought that I’d give her more views by directing my followers and viewers towards her. You can even contact her and leave a greeting if you want. *hug* Jessica, may God continue to guide you and care for you always through all your trials and sorrows and joys in life.
Impression of Mouse Guard
First of all I want to thank all of you who have suddenly started following me over the past couple of days, especially those whom I couldn’t thank individually without the “ask” feature enabled. I really want to thank those of you who have committed to following me (instead of removing me right afterwards). This was such a nice surprise! I’ve tried to plug my blog on TumblrFind before, but for some reason I’m drawing in lots more followers. Were those fake-movie posters a hit or something? If you really liked them, I’ll make efforts to create more full-color drawings in the future (though you should also expect all sorts of things, including a grayscale comic that I plan on making after the last poster is posted here). I hope that you will enjoy the White Rose Weblog and the things that I create. Again you’re all welcome to see my secondary blog on Tumblr under brianshares as well. Furthermore, please feel free to write to me if you want a short talk.
Now then, imagine this high concept. Imagine anthropomorphic mice living in medieval Europe. These aren’t mice like in Looney Tunes cartoons or in the furry subculture. These are otherwise normal mice who happen to have opposable thumbs and the ability to speak. That’s the high concept behind Mouse Guard.
More specifically I read through the first collection, which is subtitled Fall 1152. The story is a fairly typical and somewhat predicable swashbuckling medieval adventure. There’s a bit too much exposition and not quite enough show-instead-of-tell and fairly thin character development to boot. The very premise, though, gives this comic personality. You see mice wielding swords and axes (with fairly realistic resulting wounds, in fact, preventing this from being cutesy, not to mention the wounds inflicted by predators), storming forts, and training bees. The naturalistic drawings also give a richer sense of presence to the mice, the snakes, the bees, and the crabs. The mice that this comic centers on, however, look similar enough that keeping track of who is who can be tricky unless they have really distinctive outfits.
Overall I’d say that this comic is average. I’ve seen worse though. If you happen to be a fan of Game of Thrones and have adolescent children whom you don’t want seeing the show, you might consider sharing the comic series Mouse Guard, which may pick up in later volumes.
Impressions of More Comics Given by Jason
Jason had some other comic books that he finished reading and decided to give to me to use however I see fit. He even said that I could sell them for all he cared. I thought that I would slowly work on a text to describe them.
He gave me four issues of an anthology series called Open Space. I haven’t been able to dig up any real information other than that it was a short-lived series from Marvel which paired known science-fiction prose writers of the time with different comic artists. It was an anthology of different short stories loosely connected by settings, entities, characters, and motifs.
Obviously, given the inherent uneven nature of genre anthologies, some stories are bound to be better than others. The artwork is similarly varied; sometimes it looks off-kilter and cartoonish and sometimes it looks painterly and lush. Still I have to respect that Marvel tried to put out straightforward science fiction that makes real efforts to examine human nature and society.
A more distinctly pulpish bit of sci-fi is Martha Washington Saves the World. This isn’t like Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter—this comic features a very different Martha Washington, a captain in the distant future. This comic is written by Frank Miller (the same Frank Miller whose recent turns in writing and personality have been well-documented) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons (who is best known for illustrating Watchmen).
The plot deals with a worldwide artificial intelligence that goes rouge and attempts to enslave humanity. There isn’t much to say beyond that without spoiling any of the plot’s details. It’s a basic pulp sci-fi adventure anyway. However, I’m sure that many of you might like to see a black heroine, a surprisingly respectfully written one given Frank Miller’s current reputation.
Next up is Terminator: the Burning Earth. As the title implies, it is connected to the motion picture The Terminator. This comic is meant to tell the story of John Connor’s final battle against Skynet’s machines. Actually, I didn’t see much of a story aside from a ragtag group of rebels going into an archenemy’s hideout before said archenemy destroys everything. The characters feel like a bunch of ordinary stock characters. The comic is much like a stereotypical big dumb action movie. It is notable, however, for having the first published work of the respected painter Alex Ross; even this very early work shows a solid painterly style.
An old adage warns us to not judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, however, a cover can give us a clue of what to expect, such as in the case of E.V.E. Proto Mecha. The cover features a woman in a very impractical metal and vacuum-sealed-for-freshness-tights outfit drawn in a wild boobs-and-butt pose in a wonky pseudo-manga style. Indeed, the comic is a bit of rather cartoony sci-fi about an elderly widower scientist who builds a feminine cyborg, given life by a spiritual entity, who is soon turned into a destructive assassin.
The story feels like the product of an anime-addicted fourteen-year-old who tries too hard to throw in all sorts of super-duper-cool tropes and thingamajigs with little regard for how well they gel together. Even the attempts to real give substance to the characters and plot come off as just plain trite, with the possible exception of one very small moment between the scientist and his captured “daughter”. As mentioned earlier, the artwork has a very wonky style (I plan to scan some pictures and then submit them to Escher Girls, a blog for poking fun at odd drawings and renderings of women), though the detailing is nice enough and the hyperactive action scenes are competently drawn. I found even less information for this one than for Open Space, which should tell you how forgettable this comic is.
Jason, it was a very nice thought. I really do appreciate the thoughtful gesture. I honestly didn’t care much for these. Still, they were worth a look if only to see more of the variety of comics out there and ponder what I might do better as a writer and storyteller. I’ll go ahead and try to hock these and make a bit more money at my family’s garage sale next month.
Album for Gen Con 2014
As part of the festivities for my coming birthday I went out to Gen Con. Granted, my enthusiasm started to wane after a while, considering that this convention isn’t anywhere near as large as San Diego Comic-Con and there were no panels that truly interested me. Still I got plenty of nice pictures. Instead of putting them in the order in which they were taken, I grouped like pictures together where feasible.
If you’re expecting to see more of my drawings soon, I ask that you be patient. Tomorrow I plan to start doodling the thumbnails for the pages of Matron Paladin Lux-Luna. I will try to get smaller drawings in here too.