AKIRA

TETSUOOOOO!I watched AKIRA fairly recently with the kid for the first time and he was delightfully blown away. It was an influential movie for me and, to be honest, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t hold up. It had been ages since I watched it and it was the kid’s first time so I wondered if the 22 years since it unspooled in front of my eyes colored my opinion of it.

Turns out it did.

It’s still great and there’s moments that are undeniably cool – FLYING PLATFORMS! – but it is dour and there isn’t any levity and/or joy to be had in there. After a steady diet of evolving pop culture and the guiding narrative hands of Whedon, Pixar, Sorkin and Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan shows that there’s always room for humor. The juxtaposition of levity against tragedy. I imagine the drama masks are always in full view of Joss Whedon when he joyously scribbles down yet ANOTHER death of a beloved character

(that poor dino. why do you do that to me Joss, WHHHHHYYY!?!?!).

My grousing of the movie adaptation aside, AKIRA the manga is 100%, unfiltered perfection. The bike gang, i.e. CHILDREN, are just bratty, lunatic children. The government officials are slippery and stony and the espers are lost and broken, shifting pieces on a board. Otomo does a great job of building a living, breathing, complex world and characters and then he stuffs it all into a meat grinder and tosses the meat grinder into a paint shaker… then out of a moving car. What I’m saying is shit gets (un)real.

If you haven’t read it do yourself a favor and pick up the the collected black and white editions up here (or preferably at your local comic book shop) and get your nerd on. As of July 16th it’s been 26 years since the anime was released in Japan, it’s high time you read what started it all.

 

what would you do…

… if a friend was left behind?

i love video games and movies and comics. i was weened on them pretty steadily as a kid all the way to this morning probably. as a boy, military stories of honor and glory held my attention like nothing else. from the spartans at thermopylae and the parts of the iliad and odyssey that i could get through to the 101st airborne in the ardennes to the Blackwater team tasked with riding Route Irish, the stories of friends and colleagues fighting for each other, getting each others’ backs appealed to me endlessly.

so now i’ve been putting pen to paper for my own story. just sort of throwing every punch and hoping that it means something to anyone else. i simply asked what would you do if a friend was left behind?

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i didn’t want to do a war story. i’m not skilled enough to write some fictional narrative to do anybody that served justice. that’s not a creative playground i’ve earned the right to spend anytime in. the stuff that i do know is my friends, my family, our collective childhoods that we had and the childhoods we wish we had. so the book, the papercut kids, is exactly that. creating the childhood my friends and family would’ve daydreamed about.

at its core is, when you’re little and you find out that the world is actually much bigger and scarier and more fascinating and dangerous and twistier than you had ever imagined, what would you do if a friend was left behind in it? in the dark? and alone? because if i remember correctly kids have a near infinite capacity for loyalty and compassion. also for mind-boggling stupidity and fear based numb-skullery.

so coming soon-ish… fear based numb-skullery and infinite capacity for loyalty in a suburban fantasy.

NYAFF

Congratulations are in order to Jerry Ma for curating a successful art exhibit for NYAFF. I never know what to expect when having to do a public “thing” but by my humble estimation it looked like it went great! The organizers that I met were gracious and appreciative, the staff were attentive and helpful, and the guests all seem to have arrived with enthusiasm and support aplenty…

“support aplenty”? who the hell writes like that? ugh.

It was a great night is what I’m saying. I had my family with me and a few friends showed up to poke around and ogle the art, catch up and show love.

So thanks to Jerry as always for letting me in the playground, the organizers of NYAFF for creating a great venue to showcase our art, the other artists who put better things to see into the world, and for anyone and everyone that showed up. If you’re interested in taking a look in person the show is up until July 14th.

Here’s a look at a poster that didn’t make it onto the show walls…

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Hello again

It’s been a good long while since I last posted. Holidays, birthdays, seasons have passed and in the middle of high temps and sunny days here I sit posting for no other reason than to say hi. I figure after so long away it’s the polite thing to do. So to no one in particular…

Hi!

A couple things are coming down the pike not the least of which is an original graphic novel by yours truly. It’s been in the works for years in a sort of perpetual nascent state. More on that at a later date but in the meantime a teaser image…

 

blog_preview_06242104_01To more immediate endeavors, I was approached by friend and fellow SVA graduate Jerry Ma about contributing a couple of posters to the NYAFF exhibition he was curating. Always down to draw for the Secret Identities crew, I find myself once again in great company. Some of the usual suspects, namely Larry Hama, Bernard Chang, Sooj Lee & Jef Castro and of course Jerry Ma, but also another SVA alum Ken Knudtsen and John Jennings.

You can check out the posters through here, but go check them out in person and meet some of the artists at the NYAFF art exhibition this Saturday, June 28, 7:30pm-8:30pm in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at Lincoln Center. That’s located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway.

 

A babies vs X babies

so one day i was doing all of nothing, easily translated to poking around on the internets, and i came across an adorable illustration by the incomprehensibly-talented-it-makes-me-want-to-weep Skottie Young

so i sent the link off to the lady because who doesn’t want to procrastinate by looking at comic art? instantly she wrote back, “you should do something like that!” which developed into a multi-email exchange. the scope of the piece went from cute jam illustration of characters we liked, to a poster, to a poster that can get chopped up into iPad skins. that resulted in this…

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 8.51.53 AMso for the uninitiated the rundown of characters, not including zombies, daleks and cybermen, goes like this left to right: Kaneda (AKIRA), the Hulk, Dr. Horrible, Captain Hammer, Tennessee (our dog), Wolverine, The Iron Giant, Daisy Steiner (SPACED), Stabuck (BSG), Jess, three Vipers from BSG, Nightcrawler, the 10th Doctor, the Medic (TF2), Coach and Ellis (L4D 2), the TARDIS, Tim Bisley and Mike Watt (SPACED), Jules, the 11h Doctor, Olive (our new puppy), Megaman, the Scout (TF2), me, Bruce Lee, Batman, the Punisher, Spidey, Tetsuo (AKIRA), and the Nerdist guys, Jonah, Chris and Matt.

so that was fun!

enjoy!

-g