Monday, February 26, 2007

Go, Speed Racer, Go!

I'm kind of being indoctrinated into the whole Speed Racer thing. Well, maybe indoctrinated is a strong word, but I'm definitely getting the toes wet, for what it's worth. I never watched the show as a youngster and never formed any sort of attachment to it that lives on in my addled adult mind but I'd heard so many things about it, and it has achieved such iconic opop culture status that when I saw the first DVD collection from Artisan for $5.00, I figured I'd try the thing out, maybe watch it with the kids.

Shortly after buying the DVD I ran across the Tommy Yune mini-series at the public library and I thought it might be a good idea to read it and get up to speed, as it were, before diving into the episodes. The book was meant to be a prequel, and matched with my existing but limited knowledge of the characters and show, it should have been a good primer - which it was.

In fact, the comic book kind of surpasses the show in many, many ways. Tommy Yune did a masterful job of crafting the story and the art is superb. I particularly liked the annotations and the DVD style bonus features located inn the back of the trade - something I've long been a supporter of but haven't seen nearly enough of in the comic industry. Based on the strengths of Yune's Speed Racer mini I think I'm going to follow it up by checking out his sequel mini, Racer X. It really managed to leave an impression and got me excited to watch the series.

Needless to say, it was an experience making the transition.

I do understand that the show is, like, 40 years old but it has been hard for me to watch that style of Japanese adaptation since I got out of Robotech around age 13. They still maintain a lot of their charm, but the quick talking and the matching of American voices to Japanese mouth flapping, they tend to give me a headache now, more than anything else. I'd rather watch it in the original Japanese with subtitles, I think, but those are not available, as far as I know.

When I discovered that the Robotech episodes that I was watching as a kid were an 'adaptation' with heavy edits and story changes rather than a translated Robotech show that was actually being produced overseas and imported, I was crushed. It made me curious to see the originals but I never bothered. That was probably more a result of my feelings of being burned than anything else, but thinking about it now I may yet go back and explore Macross more thoroughly through the DVD releases.

Anyway, the show is primitive and noisy but we'll see how it goes. I never judge anything based only on its first two episodes so we'll see how things shape up with the introduction of racer X into the mix.

Onwards and upwards!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maybe a Little Less Cock and a Bit More Up

I've been transcribing the interview I did with Tad Stones over the last couple of days and I'm not feeling quite so bad about it now. It still has horrible audio quality and I'm definitely going to explore a new link between phone and recording device, but the questions and answers are actually pretty decent. I never got to finish the interview over the phone but Tad was nice enough to answer the remainder of the questions via e-mail and even said he enjoyed the chat and was sorry to bail (what can I say, duty - or the editing suite - called).

Anyway, I probably overreacted a bit in my last post. Considering my last few interviews have all been problematic for one reason or another, most of them never getting properly completed, I was genuinely disappointed with how the chat with Tad turned out at the time. With a little work, though, it should be a decent little Q&A to read.

Back to work now.

Onwards and upwards!


Friday, February 16, 2007

What a Cock Up

Man, could I have been more amateurish?

This afternoon I interviewed the Supervising Producer/Director of Hellboy: Sword of Storms, Tad Stones, and conducted what was probably the worst interview I've done in some time. Tad showed up and brought his A-game but I, for some reason, despite much preperation, stammered and lost my place through most of the proceedings.

It just infuriates me because this is the sort of thing I can do in my sleep. To cock it up like I did just puzzles and confuses me. It actually bothered me so much it totally tanked my day from about 4:30 on when Tad had to leave to go back to work (on Hellboy: Blood and Iron, I'd assume).

Add to that the fact that I went to the bother of upgrading my equipment this morning (it's all digital now) and it's turned out to be just as disappointing as my interviewing skills. I was picking up some crazy kind of noise/snow on the line, too. I could barely hear Tad and when I did I had to concentrate really hard to follow what he was saying. I thought I was going to have clean audio, stereo output, and an overall experience that was easier than what I was working with before.

Unfortunately not to be so.

Now I sit and try to transcribe the interview, attempting to filter out the white noise and yank out Tad's comments regarding working on the Hellboy animated films.

I should just hit the sack.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Be Kind, Please Rewind

I got a bit of a giggle when a coworker showed me this site for a DVD Rewinder.


You gotta admire it.

Onwards and upwards!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Who You Gonna Call on Valentines Day?

I wanted to give a shout out to all the lovely people in the world who are celebrating or are anticipating celebrating Valentines Day today. It has never been a 'holiday' that I've been able to give much focus to since having kids, but we moved into our house on February 14th seven years ago so there's always been that to celebrate if nothing else. I'm not sure what's in store for me this year, though, but I know Jen and I will be without children for the first time we might get all romantical for a change. We've been hanging out and watching Veronica Mars lately so we may continue doing that. We even just saw the Valentines episode from Season 1 last night so there's some nice synchronicity there, I think.

And to spread even more love across the information superhighway I also wanted to link to this little tidbit before I lost the bookmark. Apparently there is going to be a third Ghostbusters movie with the participation of Aykroyd and Murray. Granted they're saying it's going to be CGI, but I'm beyond the point of caring. I just want more Venkman, Stanz, Spengler and Zedmore in my life and at the rate 88MPH Studios is going it won't be in comics.

Silly post overall, but there you have it.

Onwards and upwards!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Oh, The Things I've Seen

One of the really great things I've discovered about being a part of the Nominations Committee for the Joe Shuster Awards is getting to go through all the fantastic (and some not-so-fantastic) work done by Canadians this year in comics. Not only are there a ton of great English works but some of the French albums I was sent to review are quite amazing to look at (alas, not knowing fluent french I find the actual reading of these books somewhat challenging). The works of Loisel & Tripp and Pascal Blanchet, to name a couple, have certainly caught my eye while on the english side I've just discovered Rob Walton's Ragmop. It's nice to get that injection of new books that you would never have found yourself every once in a while. Keeps things lively and fresh.

I've included a YouTube clip of some guys discussing Loisel & Tripp at Angouleme and a video done by Blanchet to give you an idea of what their stuff looks like.

Loisel & Tripp

Pascal Blanchet

Onwards and Upwards!


Monday, February 05, 2007

Some Nice Editing Here...

They always have to bring in that third party in these homemade jobs. You'll know what I mean if you watched it through to the end.

Subsequent parts are available by clicking through to YouTube.


Didn't See This Coming, and Yet...

I just read over on SciFi Wire that Joss Whedon is off he Wonder Woman movie. I can honestly say that I really didn't see this happening considering his clout with the fans, but after a moment of reflection I remmbered that Joss and projects that aren't his from birth tend to have problems if not outright fail. I generally believe that the studios want someone to come in, pump something cool out and get the ball rolling quickly. You can't blame them for wanting that, it's their money, right?

Anyway, it's too bad. I was interested in seeing what Joss would have done with the character.

Onwards and upwards!


Paperback Writers

According to this test...

I am:
Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)
A quiet and underrated master of "hard science" fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.

Which science fiction writer are you?

...or possibly...

I am:
Isaac Asimov
One of the most prolific writers in history, on any imaginable subject. Cared little for art but created lasting and memorable tales.

Which science fiction writer are you?

...depending on how I answer the 'glass is half-full or half-empty' question. I think I can live with either of them.

Onwards and upwards!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Abbey Road Thoughts

While being a lover of The Beatles for many, many, many...many years, I have woefully few of their actual albums on CD. Part of that is because they've always been at a relatively high price point and I'm a bit of a bargain hunter when it comes to my media, but I also think my familiarity with the music is/was also a factor. It's often hard for me to buy something that isn't new or that I don't own in another format. Still, when I saw 'Abbey Road' at the local Future Shop for $10 I couldn't resist not picking it up. It's always been one of my favourite of their albums and the price was certainly right.

Anyway, I've sort of been rediscovering the music since then. Sure I know all the songs, but lately I've been really listening to them and letting them soak in. I've also been doing some reading on the making of the album and have run across a few quotes from the band on what they thought of the songs and the project. The band and the music has taken on an almost mythic quality over the last 30 years so it's a bit jarring sometimes for me to look at it as just four guys and a studio recording some songs at the end of their career as a group. The historian in me, however, is a big sucker for that sort of stuff, so I grounded myself and got over the awkwardness pretty quickly.

It's interesting to find out that John and Paul split the album, in a way, with John's desire for single tracks being used on the first side and Paul's desire to construct a medley being used on the second. Reading some of their thoughts on this was illuminating. Paul said some flattering things about John and the others while John was downright snarky when speaking to some of Paul's work. I did note that most of John's comments were from 1980 and I'm not sure what kind of a headspace he was in at that time so that may be a factor, but it disillusioned me just a smidge. I love the medley and always viewed it as a fond farewell by the band - a love letter, almost, to the end of an era, a partnership, and the fans who supported them for as long as they did. It always had great weight for me so it was just a bit surprising to hear John poo-poo the whole thing, including his contributions to it.

Snarkiness or not, it doesn't diminish it any in the end. I still think it's some of the best 16 minutes in music history, so I guess that's all right.

So, to close off, I'm going to link to the quote site that I took some of my info from as well as the Wikipedia entry I checked out. Click through if you're interested.

To close off in the words of Mr. McCartney, 'And in the end, the love we take is equal to the love we make'.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

I Could Do a Lot Worse

You are Superman

The Flash
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

I'm thinking that my 'yes' answer to the flying question may have defaulted me to big blue, but seeing as Spidey is second on the list followed by Robin and the Flash (pretty much four of my favourite heroes of all-time) I'm thinking that not only is this the most acurate personality currently available on the Web, but I now know why I'm continually drawn to these characters.

Onwards and upwards!