Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Hey people. Well, Strad's been looking a bit bored in his crabitat, so Saturday I got him a friend. Her name is Claudia. Isn't she pretty? She's the one on the right with the symmetrical claws. I have to say that bringing her home reminded me a bit of the Bride of Frankenstein. I was just hoping they would get along. As soon as he saw her, Strad started knocking on the driftwood and doing this weird Tai Chi/Semaphore thing where he waves his big claw around. Showoff. I can't tell whether Claudia is impressed or not. She spends a lot of time shoveling sand in her mouth. She can do that twice as fast as Strad because she has two claws for it. So far, they seem to be getting along quite well. Crablings? I don't know. Jena thinks they won't because they are in captivity, but she bases that on her experiences with aquarium fish. I think they might, based on my experiences with fruit flies. Either way, Strad seems to have a new zest for life, and Claudia occasionally lowers a stalk eye in his direction, which I am choosing to interpret as a wink. So long!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Fantasy, sci-fi and horror movies, when they are done right, are allegories for the time in history that produced them. If you want to learn about the Iraq War, don't go to a war movie. Watch 28 Weeks Later. At one point in that movie, the military can no longer distinguish panicked citizens from infected zombies, and they are ordered to shoot into the crowd.
The Dark Knight is a product of the post 9-11 Bush administration, and it is a very, very dark picture. Batman's crime fighting methods become increasingly amoral as the Joker grows more menacing. The people of Gotham City are put to tests that the people of the United States have already failed. The Joker and Batman stand in for Bin Laden and Bush, and vice versa. And now, presenting the elephant in the room: Heath Ledger. One might suspect that all the praise for his performance as the Joker comes from his untimely death. This is not the case. This performance is incredible, terrifying and funny. Director and co-writer Christopher Nolan deserves some credit as well, of course. They have created a villain in the mold of the boogeyman of this decade. A man who kills for no understandable reason, who happily sacrifices underlings, who seems to have no values at all except for the intense desire to corrupt other people's values. It's chilling even if the metaphor gets lost. Also, in the tradition of Hannibal Lecter, it's perversely fun.
So I liked it. That's all for now. Until next time, I'll see you Down In Front™!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Hey folks. I was reminded recently that it's a good idea to keep putting random illustrations up on this thing. You never know what someone will see and like. I just got a job from the Down In Front™ logo. Who knew? Anyway, I did this for Barron's a while back. I forget what the article was about, but the image above was apparently appropriate. That's my hand. Bye!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The teeny tiny illustration community is coming to the defense of Barry Blitt for his controversial New Yorker Cover that just came out. Being a member of this community, allow me to jump into the fray. I know Barry Blitt. He was actually my thesis advisor at the School of Visual Arts. He's a heck of a good illustrator and a very funny guy. I've looked around on the blogs and it seems that some fellow illustrators feel that the great unwashed masses are too stupid to understand the brilliance of this image. That this is satire in its purest form. I would love to hear from anyone out there who might be reading this. Opinions?
One thing I will say is that I hope Barry doesn't have too hard a time as a result of this. At worst, it's a joke that didn't work. Comedy is hard! Write in. I want to know your opinions.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Hey people. I just found out that Hollywood is remaking the 1951 Sci-fi Cold War classic The Day the Earth Stood Still! This is great news for those of us who detest original ideas! The original (I hate having to say that for every decent movie) is a great film, and my second favorite Jesus allegory (behind Cool Hand Luke). For those of you who haven't seen it (see it!), it's the story of an alien named Klaatu (then unknown British stage actor Michael Rennie) who descends into Washington D. C. in a flying saucer with his giant robot Gort (pictured above, death-raying everything in sight). Klaatu has a message of peace, so everybody keeps shooting him over and over until Gort totally freaks out. It's great. Somewhere in the middle, a widow played by Patricia Neal (also one of my absolute favorites) falls for Klaatu and calms Gort down a little with the old robot lullaby "Klaatu Barada Nikto."
Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe you should just see Hud instead. That one's got Patricia Neal in an Oscar™ winning performance, and Cool Hand Luke himself, Paul Newman. That one is about a cattle ranch plagued with Hoof and Mouth Disease and is really good in spite of the lack of robots.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah. The new The Day the Earth Stood Still stars Keanu Reeves as Klaatu and Jennifer Connelly as Patricia Neal. I don't know who plays Gort. See you next time, Down in Front™!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Hey people. Back on the blog after an abrupt deadline last week. I was working on Superhero School, one of my book projects. I had to do a bunch more sketches really quickly, so I decided to lay off the blog for a few days. I have to admit, I kind of like unreasonable deadlines. They are very motivating. It's amazing what you can get done when the adrenaline is pumping. I think I came up with some pretty decent ideas regarding the Ice Zomie Lair. More about that later. The thing above is something I did in the middle of all that for the Wall Street Journal about small businesses trying to cut down on energy costs. Hope everybody had a good Independence Day. We watched the fireworks from our rooftop after an all-American meal of tacos and guac!