Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

So… Youtube Looks Like Crap Now.

Pictured: The "new" youtube.

A funny thing happened today.

As I was rummaging around Youtube in search of potential clips to use on this blog, I noticed that the interface and iconography of the site had changed.

Not only that, they changed A LOT.

Seriously man, I don’t know if it’s just me and my extraordinarily inflexible ways, but I took one look at the new landing page and said to myself:

“Goddamnit, now I have no fuckin’ clue where anything is.”

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I don’t have much of a beef with the new layout… Other than the fact that it seems extremely Hulu-esque:

Pictured: An example of the Hulu interface.

Even so, the whole thing is very clean and decidedly “web 2.0” in nature, however it’s hard not to look at the landing page and feel it’s more than a little too cluttered.

Such is the nature of the “look at me/my shit matters” age of social networking.

In the eyes of one such as myself, who has been fortunate to have witnessed the rapid evolution of the internet since the early 90’s, design such as this seems loud and oversaturated with content.

To someone who fucks around with their Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Southpark Studios, and World of Warcraft accounts all at the same fuckin’ time though, I’d imagine the new Youtube layout seems plain and/or simple.

Like I said, honestly, I’ve not problem with the new design scheme.

Mostly I’m just upset that the new landing page seems to feed me nothing but “trending” shit and sponsored videos.

I’ve always liked Youtube’s recommended videos on their landing page, but as of now, I’ve yet to find that feature in the layout.

All I see is a recommended topics section, and from what I can tell, using said feature requires visiting individual pages dedicated to extremely broad search topics, resulting in more results being yielded, but with less relevance overall.

Again, having 200 loosely relevant videos shoveled onto your plate might do it for some people, but personally, but not me.

As in most cases when familiar things are given major overhauls, my negative opinion of this new layout will likely pass with time.

I can remember feeling uneasy behind the controls of basically every single game in the Fight Night franchise, and yet with every successive release, I find myself acclimating to the mechanics to the point of being unable to go back to the previous iterations of the game.

My greatest hope this will end up being the case with the new Youtube, as recently I’ve had a pretty good system going for mining the site for blog worthy content.

For now though, I’m about 5 minutes from pulling one of these:

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Got Bored. Made T-Shirt.


As the heading of this post would suggest, I did in fact get bored, and yes; I did “design” the pseud0-artistic mess you see above.

I really don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to put this one together, but one thing’s for sure; I probably won’t be printing it anytime soon.

If I were to somehow become successful or some shit, then yeah; I could see myself printing off a few of these for fun, but until then, this is just a stupid “art” project that took far too long to complete.

Maybe I’ll print one just for myself, y’know; as a conversation piece.

If you know me, don’t worry, I won’t expect you to take photos of yourself wearing one of these on or anything.

I will however ask you to not laugh at me if for whatever reason I happen to wear one out in public.

Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t steal my “art” and what not, though I totally understand if you want to be a douche-rocket that profits from other people’s hard work.

Check back tomorrow, maybe I’ll write something for a change.

 

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Early Avengers Poster Makes Me Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside

Photo courtesy of Toplessrobot.com. Hope they don't mind...

It’s funny, even though this is nothing but a (official) photoshopped mock-up of what a real poster for The Avengers might look like; it actually looks kind of good to me.

These days I find myself actually consciously trying harder to be excited/positive about things; and it’s quality products like this one that make said task just a little bit easier to manage.

Probably the coolest part about the poster, at least to me; is that it serves as my first real look at what all the live-action versions of the Avengers look like next to one another.

While I have no idea whether the art design for all the Avengers tie-in films has been directed by the same crew/individual, I must say; the character designs gel together quite nicely.

With the exception of maybe Thor, the costumes all bear a weighty, leathery, almost utilitarian feel to them that gives them that always appealing combo of being “ornate, yet plausible.”

Much unlike anything seen in Final Fantasy, which tends to throw "plausible" out the window.

Hell even Hulk, with his more streamlined Incredible Hulk look; seems to fit in quite well.

Hawkeye’s digs seem perhaps a little too subdued for my tastes, however I can definitely understand why Marvel would want to turn down the guy’s purple quotient; as much like Jem, in the comics it is truly outrageous.

Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous!

On a side note, Iron Man’s design appears to have been altered since Iron Man 2, as evidenced by the gray patches on his collar.

Though it may just be an artist’s flub, the shape of the glow on his chest emblem looks more round than triangular to me; leading me to assume that either:

A): Tony Stark decided to reshape his new element core into a circle for aesthetic purposes.

B):  Severely inebriated and desperate for a way show the world how fat his cock is, Tony Stark decided to outfit his newest armor with one of his old and HIGHLY TOXIC palladium cores.

C):  I’m wrong, and his chest emblem is in fact triangular.

or D):  The poster artist isn’t as OCD as the average comic fan and/or hasn’t seen Iron Man 2.

My vote would go to option A, though if you’re going by some of the comics, option B is equally plausible.

Option C is of course a statistical impossibility, and was only suggested in jest.

"I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

Anyway, I know it’s cheesy, I know it’s childish; but for whatever reason, this poster pleases me.

It’s exceedingly well designed, the colors have been tweaked to vivid perfection, and seeing all of the characters posing together makes me believe the movie could work.

Now let’s just hope Captain America doesn’t drop the fuckin’ ball next month and kill my buzz…

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Don’t “Get” Fashion…

So many douches... I can't tell who's douchiest!

Seriously man, what the fuck is all that supposed to be!?

I swear, they look like a bunch of snowboarding trust-a-farian hipsters or some shit.

Though all of them look like epic douches, personally I find the dude in on the left to be douchiest.

His big floppy hat/leather jacket combo are less colorful, and therefore more “low key” than the other 2 guy’s outfits; but to me it just seems grossly uncoordinated.

I suppose it doesn’t help that he has some sort of gaudy yellow sash/phallus hanging between his legs…

Anyway, if you thought those guys looked bad, take a look at this shit:

... Holy shit, I think I'm blind.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

Wow, words can’t describe how nasty that all looks.

From left to right we’ve got a gnome-hat and life jacket wearing trust-a-farian, a argyle pants-ed hipster doofus, and… Man I don’t even know what’s up with that last guy.

I don’t “get” fashion, but based on the designs in these photos; I really can’t say that’s a bad thing.

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Optimistic About Captain America

I’ve posted a few times regarding my thoughts on the upcoming Captain America movie.

In those posts, I expressed apprehension regarding both the casting of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, as well as Joe Johnston’s role as the director of the film.

Looking back, I also took time to thoroughly dissect (read: shit on) the design of the Captain America costume.

Yeah... Still not a big fan of this design.

In all, based on the content of the teaser trailers, as well as Joe Johnston’s notable, but severely bipolar filmography; I’d be lying if I said I was expecting much from the finished product.

Ever since I caught word of the Captain America movie, the one thing I was hoping for from the movie; was that it wouldn’t shame the character of Captain America.

I happen to like Captain America.

Some people take offense to the boldfaced patriotism inherent to his character, or his cheesy “old-timey” sensibilities; but personally, I kind of like that about Cap.

While I’m far from posting an American flag out on my porch, in a cynical age; I can’t help but admire the straightforward nature of Captain America’s values and symbolism.

Anyway, the real reason I’m making this post; is because, after viewing the newest full-length trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger, I can honestly say my impression of it has improved.

Well okay, that kind of had a hand in raising my spirits too.

While the trailer itself is far from brilliant, there’s an intangible element to it that appealed to me.

Hell, even Chris Evans seemed closer to being Steve Rogers than I felt previously.

In short, the trailer gives the impression that the movie is far more cohesive and well put together than I initially thought.

I know of the dangers of creating expectation from promotional materials, but for whatever reason; this new trailer has drastically changed my expectation from “hopeful” in the sense of hoping it won’t suck balls, to “hopeful” in the sense that I hope it’s as fun as it seems.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me that’s a pretty big leap.

Anyway, take a look for yourself HERE; I think you’ll pleasantly surprised.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thoughts On The New Spider-Man Costume

Pictured: Andrew Garfield wearing the new Spidey suit.

A few days ago, we got our first glimpse of actor Andrew Garfield wearing the new Spider-Man costume for music video director Marc Webb’s upcoming reboot to the film series.

Pictured above is a promotional image I snagged from the most awesome of film news sites, Twitchfilm.com (Sorry/Thanks!).

While I honestly can’t say anything as to Garfield’s acting ability, as he’s yet another one of those up-and-coming “young” actors that I don’t know a thing about; my initial reaction to seeing him in the Spider costume were almost 100% positive.

To be fair though, I’ve always had a thing for Spider-Man’s costume, in all of it’s iterations; so me being happy with this really isn’t that big a deal.

 

Tee hee, John Romita Sr. Spider-Man looks like he's wearing pajamas...

Anyway, Garfield’s trim and straight body type lends itself well to the “nerdy everyman” nature of the character, but more importantly; the design of the suit is quite striking, and more than a little original.

The etching and fine details in the texture of the suit are truly inspired, and while the “web” pattern is significantly downplayed from previous iterations of the suit; in some ways I view this as a plus.

As with the “web” pattern, the spider emblem in the center of the chest seems more thinner, more splindly, and ultimately less impactful; a design choice that works well given that it matches the narrow frame of the actor wearing it.

While I’m on the topic of the chest emblem, I feel it’s also worth noting that the bottom legs of the spider emblem, that is; the ones that angle straight downward, seem weak to me.

I think it has something to do with the fact that the other 6 legs on the emblem are all angled or curved, but that pair of straight legs just looks silly to me.

I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with the fact that they’re pointed at the guy’s crotch:

Jus’ sayin’ is all…

Anyway, probably my favorite design element of the suit is the unique detail put into the forearm and hand portions of it:

If you look close, there’s a few neat little deviations from the norm to be found, like streaks of blue running through the top portions of the forearm area and along the thumb joints range of motion.

Also, the “web” pattern seems to fade out completely in the hands; making for a seemingly more “practical” spider suit.

I really like this design, though the lighting (and bloody makeup effects) in this promotional image feels a little “dark” for my tastes.

Though, my worries could very well be for naught, being as the previous Spider-Man films also featured these elements in it’s aesthetic, albeit only in small doses.

Here’s hoping this proves to be the case in the reboot as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a regular reader of Batman and The Punisher, so “dark” is something I’m very much accustomed to dealing with (and enjoying); but when it comes to Spider-Man, “dark” is not the design aesthetic that comes to mind.

Same goes for "Emo"...

Spider-Man, to me; has always been about celebrating the “gee-whiz” factor of the comics of old, y’know; the more colorful and zany stuff as opposed to the dark and brooding.

For this reason, I found that I really liked Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, particularly the 2nd one.

The Train Sequence: The Best Spider-Man Fight EVER

The storytelling could get muddled at times, and Raimi’s insistence on diverting the story in favor of silly asides (see “Emo Spider-Man” above) could get tedious, but from a visual and casting standpoint, I found the film’s look and frenetic energy to be well-suited for bringing Spider-Man to the big screen.

He kind of dropped the ball on 3, at least in the second half anyway; but nobody’s perfect.

I don’t know anything about the new Spider-Man reboot, other than the fact that one of my favorite villains, The Lizard; once again might be in it, but my biggest hope is that it retains the “fun” that has always made Spider-Man a standout among superhero franchises.

Really, that’s all I ask from a Spider-Man story.

Fun, action, and a little bit of heart, nothing more.

They’ve got the costume down, now let’s see if they can make a decent movie around it…

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Collaborative Comic Project

A Far Side favorite of the Azn Badger's.

As you might have guessed based on the subject of some of my previous posts, I love comic books.

Though I’m almost exclusively a reader of superhero comics of the DC and Marvel variety, ever since I took a class in “Sequential Visual Narrative” in college; I’ve found myself enamored with the story-telling capabilities of the medium.

That class, with it’s impossibly epic instructor, Jim Blevins; was almost 100% responsibility for getting me back into comics.

 

Pictured: Jim Blevins, on any given Thursday.

While I fancied myself a fledgling pen and paper artist at the time, Blevins taught me how to use some basic techniques and tools that I still use to this day.

Since then, I’ve kept largely to writing most of my story ideas, (of which I have many) though thanks to the artistic confidence/competence I gained from the Sequential Visual Narrative class, I have tried every now and again to make comics of my own.

The problem with making comics, at least for me; comes from managing the workload.

I’m a sketch artist, and a very detail oriented one at that, so when it comes to drawing panels for a comic, each one takes me an ungodly amount of time to manufacture.

In other words:

I think I have it in me to make comics, but I don’t think I could ever do so with any sort of deadline attached.

To date, I have never finished a comic that I set out to make.

 

Pictured: A cover to an unfinished comic.

That being said, in the world of professional comics, the pencillers, inkers, and writers are rarely ever one in the same.

It’s like the movie industry:

With the notable exception of the indefatigable Robert Rodriguez, nobody makes a movie entirely by themselves.

That’s where my buddy Mencius comes in.

As of last week, my buddy Mencius of Another Sunny Morning fame came to me with an idea for a comic.

Though he’s always in the mood for a creative collaboration, I was massively surprised to hear from Mencius that he wanted to make a comic.

The project he had in mind was of the more personal and “indie” variety, much in line with his taste in comics.

While the basic plotline would involve humorous and fairly genuine depictions of ourselves, much of the story would also have a fantastical, hyper-real quality involving exaggerated versions of our desired selves that will likely come across as being somewhat akin to superhero comics.

*Cough!* "Residual Self Image."

While it goes without saying that I was immediately on board for the project, I couldn’t help but feel that this was going to work.

2 creative and motivated friends, with very different artistic and creative styles, working in tandem to write and draw a comic.

While our artistic differences may very well result in the comic book equivalent to a Frankenstein’s monster, (when was the last time you saw characters in 1 panel, drawn by 2 different artists?) I can honestly say that I wouldn’t care.

Working together with friends is fun.

Making comics is a painstaking labor of love.

Put the 2 together, and you have the makings of a project that will drive me nuts and bring me great happiness all at the same time.

It may take awhile to get started on this one, but chances are I’ll start a new website to accommodate the project materials and updates.

Here’s hoping this doesn’t end up like my ill-fated movie project that never so much as reached the pre-production phase…

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thoughts On Tron Legacy

I went to see Tron: Legacy in theaters today.

No, I didn’t watch it in 3D, and no; I was not at all excited to see it.

The original Tron was a movie that I never really had any sort of love for.

Sure, it was an astounding technical/visual achievement for it’s time, but that doesn’t mean it was all that good a movie.

To be perfectly honest, even as a kid I found the original Tron to be a muddled, confusing, and downright boring film.

“Boring” is a powerful word when used to describe a film consisting entirely of flashing lights and pretty colors.

As I sat in the theater today, I couldn’t help but feel that this Tron for the new generation; seemed to share many of the problems of it’s predecessor.

The film wasn’t bad, it was just sort of mediocre; and horribly paced to boot.

If ever there was a film that lost it’s way in the second half, it would be Tron: Legacy.

The basic plot of the film involves Jeff Bridges’ character from the previous film, Kevin Flynn; becoming trapped inside the digital realm of his own design, The Grid.

While doing whatever the fuck he does in there, he creates a digital program copy of himself, named Clu; and instills within him a “simple” directive of creating a perfect world.

As seemingly all computer-to-man exchanges seem to turn out, Clu ends up obeying this command to a fault, going so far as to usurp his creators position of power to achieve his goal.

It’s a fairly interesting set-up, that sadly is introduced to us far too late in the game to garner any significance to the audience; nor does it amount to any sort of dramatic pay-off.

Make no mistake: Tron is not a writer’s film.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, the little tidbit of the plot I just gave you is not something made apparent to the audience right off the bat.

Instead, we get treated to an introductory segment wherein our would-be protagonist, (he kind of gets shoved to the side… As does everyone else once THE PLOT gets dropped on us in the second act) Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam, (Garrett Hedlund) shows off for the 3D cameras through a series of EXTREME activities.

Truth be told, I found myself snickering through all of this, (as well as most of the film) as I couldn’t help but feel that it was the filmmaker’s way of justifying Sam’s physical prowess during the action sequences in the grid.

We see him ride his motorcycle, WRECKLESSLY, thereby showing he can drive a light cycle.

We see him do some hood jumping over cop cars that looks curiously like free-running, showing he’s not a feeb.

And on top of that, we see him do some fancy computer hacking, showing he is indeed computer literate enough to solve the mystery needed to START THE FUCKING MOVIE.

The reason I found this humorous, was the fact that I kept wanting them to show us a scene of him playing some Ultimate Frisbee in the park, y’know; to justify his awesomeness in Discs of Tron.

I’m jus’ sayin’, if you’re gonna’ take the time to cover your bases so artificially, you might as well cover them all.

Just so we can all say I talked about the plot, (Tron has a plot?  Since when?) the whole thing starts out sentimental and heartfelt, then it turns into a chaotic mess of (decent) action scenes, then THE PLOT comes crashing down, stopping the film’s momentum dead in it’s tracks.

From there we lose any sort of affinity we might have had for any of the characters, Michael Sheen acts faggy, and the whole thing ends with an anti-climactic bang.

Without exagerrating, the story progression felt like it was written by a 5 year old with A.D.D.

People, places, and essential plot devices seem to manifest at will, all in an attempt to streamline the process of getting the characters from point A to point B.

Despite the convenient nature of The Grid’s layout in regards to the central plot, it amazes me that somehow the film is still boring, and manages to throw us in the doldrums for more than half it’s running time.

Rest assured, most of the breadcrumbs of dramatic tension that the film attempts to sprinkle in the early goings are either ignored, or… No, actually they were all pretty much ignored.

Anyway, from an acting standpoint, I felt that everyone did alright with what the script had to offer.

Jeff Bridges was “fun,” I guess.

His retro dude-isms were decidedly out of place, and therefore worthy of a smile or 2, but for the most part his character, along with most everyone else; felt anemic and devoid of any real character.

Even so, Jeff Bridges has an inherent inviting aura of gravitas to him, so it’s hard for me to say anything bad about his performance.

I will say this though:

The digital mask used to portray Clu as a young Jeff Bridges was a pretty decent likeness, especially in profile and from over the shoulder, but the lips of the damn thing just looked wrong to me.

A friend of mine and I were joking that the “Digital Bridges” bore a resemblance to Bill Maher, such that we both felt Maher should’ve been cast in the part.

It was most apparent when he was speaking, particularly when yelling, (watch out for the speech sequence, he looks like shit…) but otherwise it was a decent attempt.

Good try, but we haven’t breached the uncanny valley just yet folks.

I feel it’s worth mentioning, that Michael Sheen will likely go down in history as the foremost authority on playing faggy Brits.

Seriously man, take one look at the man’s imdb, and you’re likely to find like 20 fuckin’ listings of him playing “Faggy Brit #4.”

While it may sound like I’m making fun of him, (I am) one should also note that Sheen’s just happens to be the only real notable performance in the entire film.

Watch out for all the cut-backs to him during the nightclub sequence, his posing and dancing were truly inspired.

And faggy.

Moving on, coming into Tron, Garrett Hedlund was an unknown item to me.

Despite having just seen him as one of the lead actors in a multi-million dollar film, I have to say, the man is still a nobody in my book.

‘Nuff said.

Olivia Wilde’s performance in the film was decently entertaining, bearing a wide-eyed inquisitiveness that made her a bit more endearing than most characters; however her place in the plot was somewhat lost to me.

She was apparently of vital importance to the story, as well as to the human world outside The Grid, however the explanation as to why felt inadequate.

Oh well, maybe I just couldn’t hear it over the FUCKING DAFT PUNK MUSIC!

That’s right folks, Daft Punk did the music for Tron: Legacy!

Not only that, they’re also in the fucking movie!

Did I mention Daft Punk did the music for Tron: Legacy!?

In case you couldn’t tell, the above statements were an example of sarcasm on the part of the Azn Badger.

Daft Punk’s score for Tron: Legacy is actually quite good.

There are some fairly inspired themes, particularly in the film’s quieter moments, and the whole score gels well with the aesthetic of the movie quite nicely.

My only real issue with the soundtrack, is probably more the fault of the editor and the director than Daft Punk, and that’s the fact that, like Inception; I felt the soundtrack held too large a presence in the film.

Much like anything in this world, if you pollute your film with too much music, no matter how beautiful; it will end up being detrimental in the long run.

Anyway, let’s get to the one part of this review that I’m sure everyone is here for:

The visuals.

Tron: Legacy is a very handsome film.

The artistic design is striking and beautiful, as well as imaginative and inventive to a fault.

The color palette is decidedly bleak for the most part, with black (as opposed to white in the first film) being a constant in most of the designs, and other colors being used as a highlight.

Rest assured, in classic Star Wars fashion: Red = Bad, Blue = Good.

To the credit of the digital artists, I found myself genuinely at a loss when it came to determining which props and sets were real, and which were digital.

Unlike in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, wherein the sets bore an artificiality to them that made the actors “pop” out from them, many of the railings, floors, and walls in The Grid were lit/rendered with such attention to detail and texture, that I honestly couldn’t tell if they were real or fake.

Speaking of texture, I want to thank the design team of Tron: Legacy for going the extra mile to design actual costumes for virtually all of the characters in the movie.

You all probably know how I feel about the upcoming Green Lantern movie, and how silly the digital Lantern suit looks to me; so it comes as a surprise to me that Tron would contain actual physical costumes, and quite good ones at that.

Everyone sort of looks like Dark Knight Batman/ninjas in The Grid, and while that doesn’t really do it for me personally, I have to say; they were stunningly well-designed.

On that note, the whole film has a very cohesive look to it that was clearly meant to reflect the orderliness of a computer system, however the metaphor seems to have stopped there.

Many of the design choices, while all wonderful to look at, are a little bit silly; even by sci-fi/fantasy standards.

In the world of The Grid, there are drunk hobo “programs,” (in the form of people wandering the “streets”) and there are dance clubs.

The streets of The Grid are perpetually covered in puddles of “water,” and programs carry umbrellas to shield themselves from “rain.”

Not only that, planes in The Grid show a tendency to stall when pushed too hard.

They’re little things, I know; but purposeful oversights to an imagined world’s continuity for the sake of art always make me giggle just a little.

In summary:

Tron: Legacy is a fantastical visual experience, just don’t expect any sort of depth to it… Or any entertainment value above the level of “mediocre.”

Well designed and imagined, the film is simply lacking in the one area that usually matters most in any film:

Writing.

That being said, if you do go see Tron: Legacy, make sure to look out for shades of Star Wars in Jeff Bridges costuming, as well as some of the events during the films final act.

When Jeff Bridges told his son to hop on the gun of their escape craft, I nearly cracked up waiting for him to tell the kid, “Don’t get cocky!” while he was shooting down TIE fighters, er, I mean “Tron Planes.”

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thinking Of The Green Lantern Movie

So, last week I finally got the opportunity to view the trailer for the new live-action Green Lantern movie.

As a huge fan of the comic series and mythos, I must admit; my expectations for this film have been exceedingly high, especially given the marquee names (hint: not Ryan Reynolds) involved in it’s production.

Seriously man, take one of my favorite comics, attach Martin Campbell, the director of GoldenEye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino fucking Royale to it; and I’m in like fuckin’ Flint.

That being said, despite all the hoopla surrounding it’s release, as well as my aforementioned schoolboy-esque giddy excitement; as promotional materials have continued to emerge for them movie, I’ve found myself growing weary of it’s potential suck-itude.

While it may be unfair of me, especially given the very limited amount of footage and stills that have been released at this point in time, but I can honestly say I don’t really care much for what I’ve seen of Green Lantern thus far.

The art design is flashy, and stunningly well rendered, (Kilowog looks pretty awesome) however it has a realistic quality that doesn’t really gel well with the technocolor sci-fi schlock that we’ve all come to expect from the Green Lantern comics.

The closest example I think of to cite in regards to my feelings on this subject, is that of the design work from the American Godzilla film from 1998, and the live-action Transformer films.

While brilliantly designed, and realized on the screen; the Transformers of the Michael Bay films simply weren’t Transformers as I knew them.

Similarly, the Godzilla of the Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin, while also hideous; failed to capture my interest due to it’s inability to capture the “spirit” of the character I loved so dearly.

The designs for the Green Lantern movie feel too literal and too organic for what comes to my mind when I think of the comic franchise.

In particular, the design of the Green Lantern “suit,” just seems off too me.

While I understand that the Lantern “suit” is in fact a construct of the Green Power Ring, and for all intents and purposes should appear otherworldly, however it has never appeared this way in the comics.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not denouncing the art design of the upcoming film because it is straying off the beaten path; I’m simply scrutinizing it because I honestly don’t like it.

I know, I’m being overly critical; but that’s what happens when you’re as attached to the source material as I am.

As I mentioned earlier, Martin Campbell’s name attached to this movie makes a world of difference, to the point in which it’s difficult to imagine the movie being anything less than stellar.

Seriously man, the dude has a track record.

That being said, while I’ll agree that Ryan Reynolds certainly looks the part of Hal Jordan, and will probably do well in the role; the marketing department made damn sure to make him look like utter shit in the recent trailer.

Speaking only from what’s been shown in the trailer, Reynolds’ Hal Jordan seems just a little bit too much like, well; Ryan Reynolds.

In that sense, I feel it’s worth pointing out that Reynolds’ sharp tongue and particular brand of wit, honestly seem better suited for Deadpool than the Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan’s a dick sometimes, but he’s a dick with a passion for doing what’s right.

In other words: he’s not fuckin’ Van Wilder.

On a closing note, I’d like to point out that I sincerely approve of the casting of Mark Strong as Sinestro, as his powerful voice and cold stare fit well in my mind for the character, but the use of Peter Sarsgaard’s Hector Hammond as a potential main antagonist in the film, just doesn’t seem right to me.

Sarsgaard’s consummately even-tempered demeanor, and downright creepy speech cadence make him a good pick for the role, but it’s the role itself that bugs me.

Green Lantern is a film that challenges CG artists to take the concept of a man that can create anything within the capabilities of his willpower.

In my mind, taking a character with this kind of potential, and casting him opposite a jealous dude with a big head and psychic powers just doesn’t sound all that appealing to me.

Maybe it’s me just wishing we could skip all the origin story bullshit and get right to the cool stuff, like Emerald Twilight and the Sinestro Corps War, but Hector Hammond just doesn’t really do it for me as an antagonist at this juncture.

Here’s hoping they find a way to put Sinestro front and center as the villain, albeit in a sensible and dramatically satisfying manner.

Oh well, this entire article has just been me venting my concerns over what will very likely end up being an excellent movie.

Take everything I said here with a grain of salt, as nearly all of it is just me being a worrywart more so than a dick-faced hater.

See you at the movies when this one comes out!

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Venom’s New Look

I’ve always liked Venom.

While many comic fans dismiss Venom as a gimmicky, over-exposed, and somewhat one-dimensional element of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery; I for one have always enjoyed reading him.

Maybe it’s the 90’s comic fan in me, but the savage, hulk-ed out, part-time anti-hero aspects of Venom’s character have always appealed to me.

I found the original Eddie Brock version of the character to be a menacing and effective counterpoint to the typically colorful antics of most Spider-Man stories.

When Mac Gargan (The Scorpion) took over as the new Venom, I found myself impressed by the pathetic and almost pitiable aspects of the character that was seemingly at the mercy of the symbiote.

Despite the ridiculous amount of hosts that the Venom symbiote has occupied over the years, one thing that I’ve found myself looking forward to with each new iteration, was the artistic design of the character.

The original Todd McFarlane take on the character, is ironically one of my least favorite.

Pictured: Venom showing us his pedo-face.

The bulk of the character’s build was a good design choice, given the more direct and less finesse oriented nature of Eddie Brock compared to Spider-Man at the time; but the teeth and lack of tongue action were something that the character would benefit from immensely in the coming years.

Also, I know it’s nit-picky of me to say; but the small patches of white on top of Venom’s palms were an addition to later iterations of the character that made a huge difference.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…

Anyway, as time moved on, Venom’s appearance became even bulkier, more toned, while his face became considerably more vicious and animalistic in nature.

Also, his coloration became akin to the Batman comics of old, wherein the blue highlights started to take center stage.

Pictured: The Venom I grew up with.

While I preferred the black Venom, I have to admit that the blue did a lot to improve the detail of the character from panel to panel, making his appearance far more dynamic than before.

When the host for Venom changed over to Mac Gargan, we found ourselves faced with a brand new design for the character for a new age of comics.

Pictured: Venom, as brought to you by the UFC.

Bearing a much larger “spider” symbol on his chest, as well as a color scheme that would switch from purple, to black, to even green at times; the Mac Gargan Venom proved to be one of my favorite takes on the character.

With a persona that could be described as “brutish” in nature I.E. dumb and violent, Gargan’s Venom (as well as the Ultimate version) allowed for the artist’s to go wild, often times drawing the character as more alien than anything else.

Not only that, but many writers also found ways to take Gargan’s menacing appearance, and child-like intelligence; and create some truly funny moments for the character.

While not exactly "funny," watching Venom put on a guard's helmet after eating him was just plain silly. I loved it.

It’s this versatility, at least from a design standpoint; that makes Venom so much fun for me.

The Venom symbiote itself has such a wide array of capabilities, that it really just becomes a matter of the writer and artist picking which traits and abilities they find most interesting and running with it.

Depending on the team involved, Venom can be anywhere from 6 to 15 feet tall, can change shape and bulk at will, can shapeshift to some degree, can be colored anywhere from purple to green, and can even exhibit cannibalistic tendencies.

Pictured: One of my favorite moments in Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts.

It all depends on who’s at the helm in the design department.

Which brings me to the point of this post:

While Venom has been rather quiet in the comics these days, I happened upon this article at IGN the other day that made mention of the character’s future.

The story details are still hush hush at the moment, but Marvel was kind enough to release this image of the new look for Venom:

Apparently the story has the Venom symbiote being worn by a new host, for the purpose of black ops missions.

While the government agent angle honestly doesn’t really peak my interest all that much, I must admit; the Venom symbiote is a pretty good tool for military/black ops missions.

Remember the shapeshifting I mentioned?

Well, I’d imagine that, along with the inherent superhuman capabilities of the symbiote; would be quite useful for infiltration or assassinations.

The story arc (beginning in a brand new Venom comic) is going to be written by Rick Remender, and pencilled by Tony Moore; so I expect nothing but good.

That being said, here is impression of Tony Moore’s design for the new Venom:

In keeping with the black ops angle of the story, Moore’s design is subtle and devoid of flash.

Looking very much like the ultra-modern tactical armor that seems to be so popular with the kids these days, the overall package is that of a more streamlined and “practical” Venom.

All the key elements of Venom’s previous designs are retained, with the only significant difference being a lack of a mouth, (suggesting a more internalized, if not level-headed character for the new host) and highlighted outlines for the eye area instead of filled in blotches of white.

Overall, the design is simple and unassuming, making it solid; and very difficult to hate.

I do find it interesting however, that despite the superpowers the Venom symbiote imbues it’s host with; whoever the character is that is going to be wearing it in this story arc seems to have little confidence in it’s capabilities, as he is very clearly still wearing plate armor on portions of his body.

Based on the slim figure of the character, as well as the Venom symbiote’s recently more aggressive demeanor; I’m guessing that the inhibitor that was used to force Mac Gargan’s Venom to appear more Spider-Man-like during Dark Reign is still being used on this version of the character.

Pictured: Dark Reign Venom. Yes, I do have a thing for Mike Deodato...

It’s just a guess, but if I’m right; that could probably serve as a plot device that weakens the symbiote, or specializes it’s capabilities somehow.

In any case, those are my thoughts.

The design is solid, if unexciting; a combination of traits that I hope won’t be used to describe the upcoming comic it’s being used in.

 

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