Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why Am I Linking To A Yearbook Page?

You ever get to the point where you have a lot to say, but no time and no ability to articulate it properly? Welcome to my blog lately. Sorry.

So, why am I doing what the title of this entry promises? Well, it goes back to an unexpected discovery I made last night on Facebook. But if you need a hint, look at the tag for this entry.

More of this revelation one day.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Art Deco Cars

No, I am not dead. This is not for lack of today trying to kill me.

Meantime, peep out this article on art deco cars. I originally found this via Tumblr, and the photos are pure eye-candy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Robot Keiji!

In a link courtesy of August Ragone, we learn that a NEW manga of Shotaro Ishinomori's ROBOT KEIJI is coming in 2014. It's an amazing promotional video, and while I don't know if I will be following the comic, I salute whoever put together this video!

Monday, January 20, 2014

It Is Indeed

I espoused a belief to someone last week, and it was a thought worth sharing. She was worried about being "over the hill" and I cautioned that it has nothing to do with a chronological age. As soon as your memories become more interesting than the present or the future, well, congratulations - you're now old.

I'm all about embracing nostalgia. I think a quick survey to this blog will prove that statement. But I don't want to live in the past. It's a dead-end, and it means there's nothing to look forward to, nothing to anticipate. And to this idea, I say "Balderdash."

I see people from time to time who seem to want nothing more than to relive the "old days" which they perceive to be better. I've been guilty of wallowing in my memories from time to time. Yet, I look at a world filled with possibilities, and I wonder why I would want to hide away in the world as I knew it when I was 15. Or 35, for that matter.

I've had a lot of time to mull over my successes and failures through the years. I am sure that I always will think about those things. But right here, in this moment, I can say that I would much rather look ahead than behind. I guess I am finally at peace with the fact that there are just things that can never be recaptured, no matter how much I might wish for them. I am OK with that, and am setting my sights on the horizon.

For reasons of my own, today seems an especially appropriate day to affirm that to myself.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Deviant Art All Stars 2!! by Lordwormm

Deviant Art All Stars 2!! by Lordwormm on deviantART

I've been blessed with several pieces of fan art by Lordwormm the last few years, as his (still a work-in-progress) tag here will demonstrate. I didn't feel right about reposting the pictures he did that were "jams" with other people's characters back in the old days. Ah, but now, I'll just embed it and call it a day!

Amazing Girl is part of this vast assemblage of awesome. I am honored that Lordwormm chose to include me, especially since I've been pretty light in doing anything with my characters the last couple of years. He's a talented fellow and a nice guy, and I'm proud that he likes my work so much!

It occurs to me that I should go ahead and embed some of his older multiple character pics with Owariverse peeps. I think I will do just that in the next few days!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Best Part of Superfriends

As someone who grew up watching SUPERFRIENDS, I can assure you it wasn't very good most of the time. That doesn't mean it couldn't be entertaining. But one part that was always good and entertaining was the opening of the show. It was uniformly epic, usually thanks to the stirring music and narration.

Some thoughtful soul has strung together all the openings for all the incarnations of SUPERFRIENDS in one handy video. They even threw in the unrelated late 1980s SUPERMAN series. It's a collection of animated justice so stirring, you may find yourself compelled to don a pair of tights and go out to fight crime yourself.

...OK, maybe not. But watch anyway.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So, It's Come To This - In Defense Of Rob Liefeld

The other night, I got involved in a spirited Twitter discussion about Rob Liefeld. This surprised me, because I am on record as not being much of a fan of his work. I've also been known to make fun of him, as this ably demonstrates. But as I more or less said on Twitter, Liefeld-bashing is old and tired. Most of it doesn't even rise to the comedy genius of my own effort there, and that's not me saying my work is brilliant.

No, Liefeld's work doesn't seem to merit anything more than childish, simple-minded snark when people choose to critique it. I tend to think that's because it's the sort of "critic-proof" output that causes reviewers to just throw up their hands. Understand, I find most (all?) of it to be terrible. But people who are going to buy a Rob Liefeld comic know what they are getting by this point. A Rob Liefeld fan will most likely not have expectations dashed, because his output has been pretty consistent over the years.

So, why the hate? Well, it's easy. Liefeld's books are clearly poorly-drawn. Yet, he is very well-known and has a loyal fanbase. He seems happy and successful and has made plenty of money in the comic book industry. Though he has been known to make statements that got people aggravated at him, he has always been very polite and appreciative of his fans (unlike some comic book creators). That gets translated into an unreasonable level of anger and scorn from a fandom that steadfastly refuses to leave adolescence behind in terms of people skills.

What makes it even easier for overgrown children to hate Rob Liefeld is that he is the Fun House mirror reflection of themselves. He is a fanboy who is Living The Dream. He has a seemingly endless array of characters at his disposal, and some of them have become pretty popular (Cable, Deadpool). You could say that he's recycled more than a few of them, and that's of course true. But he's far from unique in that respect. His boundless enthusiasm for what he is doing is obvious, and compensates to some degree for the shortcomings in his work.

Let's stop for a moment and consider Shaft, the archer from Youngblood. For some reason, it never occurred to me until yesterday (or I had forgotten) that he is blatantly derived directly from Speedy, Green Arrow's former sidekick. This is likely due to Youngblood having been a Teen Titans proposal at one point. Heck, Shaft even has red hair like Roy Harper!

Shaft interests me for another reason besides his obvious ancestry and name possibly inspired by the Richard Roundtree movie. It's because Rob Liefeld created an archer character, but had no apparent interest in researching archery. I don't think Shaft has ever held his bow correctly. But that's OK, because his bow famously doesn't have a string either! So how does Shaft fire his arrows? He just does.

Shaft is a microcosm of the Rob Liefeld Appeal. Superhero comics by their nature are exaggerations. Reality is distorted for dramatic effect. While I don't know how much art training Rob Liefeld has had, it seems pretty obvious that his fundamentals are weak. No matter. He takes the exaggerations of superhero comics, processes them, and exaggerates them further. It doesn't have the slightest connection to reality, but that doesn't interest him. He just wants something cool.

I have to admit, I found Liefeld's early 90s work sort of appealing on a theoretical level. He had lots of intriguing ideas, and a boatload of character types. It was just in the actual execution that I was always disappointed, and as he went even further afield, my minimal interest waned. However, there were plenty of people who got a lot of joy and inspiration out of those comics that always left me wanting more.

Rob Liefeld has done something really extraordinary, when you think about it. He was never a talented artist, but he made up for it by being creative and enthusiastic. He carved out a place for himself in a comic book industry that desperately wanted to show him the door more than once. He made a long-lasting impact through his ability to make up characters that connected with people. And he's still beloved as a person by his fans, in contrast to some comic book creators who seem determined to alienate everyone who ever loved their work.

Rob Liefeld is Every Fan. He's the guy with too many comics, a notebook full of original characters, and the dream to make those two things meet. Unlike most fans, he succeeded. And whether they realize it or not, that's reason enough for many people to think it's funny to try to tear him down.

Critical appraisal is fine. Disliking someone's work is fine. But the "Rob Liefeld is a hack" joke stopped being funny at least ten years ago. Let it go. Because if the best thing you've accomplished in your life is making fun of Rob Liefeld, guess what? He wins.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Your Guide to Return of Jetman

As I promised, here are navigational links to the main pages for Return of Jetman now that the sites has switched URLs.

Episode Guide

Profile Guide




Legal Page

I haven't decided yet if I will link the individual episodes and profiles here, especially since they are all listed on these pages. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Five Years

When I celebrated the fifth anniversary of the fanzine OWARI in 2000, five years felt like a lifetime. Today, five years feels like nothing at all.

Yes, five years ago this evening, I launched this blog to pretty much no fanfare whatsoever. It has grown in ways I couldn't have imagined that night, and this is a good thing. Certainly, it has gotten the word out better than I ever did before.

Posting has slowed down a little in recent months. That is at least partially by design. I have found my enthusiasm for this blog has occasionally gotten the best of me, and I have spent almost too much time working on it. I've tried to temper that enthusiasm and mix in shorter posts and even more breaks in posting. The hope is that will ensure that most entries have at least SOME value.

Alas, I know there are still plenty of times when I strike out here and don't meet my goals of quality. That is why I appreciate those of you who have stuck around and continue to favor this blog with views that, while modest, still surprise me every day.

Thanks for five years of Christopher Elam's OWARI.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cigarettes and TV Phones

Though I am no fan of cigarettes, I kinda enjoy the strange parallel world posited in Viceroy commercials of the late 60s/early 70s. Oh, if only the cigarettes tasted good all the time!

Bonus points for the futuristic "TV Phones" in this ad.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Packet Man

I was listening to my Digital Underground collection today, and marveled at something that's not immediately obvious unless you know the story of Digital Underground in any depth. I wrote about that over here, so go read it if you need a refresher.

Back? OK, "Packet Man" here basically involves two members of the Underground interacting with each other for most of the song. Shock G is the titular "packet man" (with the "sex packets"), while Humpty Hump is his new "client." Their back and forth dialogue is seamless and they obviously have a lot of chemistry with one another.

Shock G and Humpty Hump are the same person.

I defy you to listen to this song and tell me it is anything less than uncanny. Digital Underground is really terribly underrated in this regard.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year, A New Phase for Return of Jetman

Well, I promised it would happen today, and so it has. A few hours ago, I cancelled the last few days of the Return of Jetman domain name. Now, the site should be accessed via http://returnofjetman.blogspot.com/.

Despite the advance notice, I am sure there will be people who will find the 404 error at the old address and believe that it's gone. If you encounter them, could you point them in the right direction? I'd owe you a solid.

I still think I'm gonna post individual page links, too. But that can wait for now!