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Posts Tagged ‘dc comics’

batman-v-superman-trinity

Sorry about the clickbait-y title, guys; I couldn’t resist

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theatres this weekend, and love it or hate it, seems like everybody’s talking about it. Whether it’s Vox’s piece on Nineteen Things That Don’t Make Sense coming down on the Hate It side, or articles about the film’s impressive box office returns being used as evidence for Team Love It, everyone has an opinion.

And here’s the shocking bit. Are you ready?

Love it or hate it, that’s your opinion.

I have friends who adored it, who will probably go see it fifteen more times. I have friends who deplore it, who have written at length on why they think it is so terrible. I also have friends who haven’t seen it yet, or don’t plan to see it at all, who are indifferent, or who were genuinely unaware that this movie was happening. (Me, I don’t have an opinion; I haven’t seen it, and likely won’t until it hits Netflix.) But the thing is, whether you think it is the best thing since individually wrapped cheese slices (let’s face it, those things are amazing), or a big steaming pile of terribleness–

That’s okay.

It’s your opinion.

You can like what you like, or hate what you hate.

Think on the old Latin saying: De gustibus non est disputandum. Roughly, “Guys, we shouldn’t argue about matters of taste.”

It’s not just that you can like what you like, or hate what you hate: my opinion of a work of art (which BvS arguably is) in no way diminishes or counteracts your opinion, even if we disagree.

When it comes to matters of taste, we shouldn’t fight. Certainly I’m the last person who can throw stones; one of my favorite movies of all time features two hours of giant robots punching giant monsters, and I’ll happily argue its excellence to you if you have the time and patience for it, but if that’s not your cuppa, that’s cool too.

Opinions aren’t objective, no matter how pleasing to our egos it might be to pretend that we ourselves are the Final Arbiters of All Aesthetic Goodness (or whatever your yardstick is). Now, whether or not the thing you like is objectively good or terrible is a separate question, and one people smarter than me have been tackling for many and many a year, and outside the purview of this little blog post–but even if it is terrible (as many folk said about Pacific Rim, and are saying about BvS), it’s still okay to like it. Something in it feeds your soul, or fires your heart, or sparks your imagination. It’s downright cruel to try to take that away from a person.

So, guys, let’s not fight about matters of taste.

(Although, if you think Pacific Rim is terrible, you’re just wrong, and that’s a fact! XD )

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Warning: Spoilers for Arrow seasons 1 & 2

As a lifelong geek, when I became a mother I didn’t have access to many good examples of motherhood in the stories I enjoyed. Most of the moms in stories are absent (died in childbirth is a popular one), clueless, or vaguely benevolent (and then murdered by bandits or demons or time travelling killer robots, probably). And mainstream media is probably not much better. (I say “probably” because I frankly don’t know.) You’ve got the psycho Mommy Dearest types, or the Heroically Dying of Cancer moms … what else? I’m sure I don’t know.

Sometimes the moms don't even get names!  Sleeping Beauty's mom is "the Queen"

Sometimes the moms don’t even get names! Sleeping Beauty’s mom is “the Queen”

My own mother is an amazing woman (hi, Ma!) who raised me under challenging circumstances while building a business from the ground up, and it goes without saying (but I’m gonna say it anyway) that I admire her extremely. However, she’s a milder and probably kinder person than I am, and since I was a kid when she was dealing with some of her particular challenges, it’s safe to say I wasn’t really paying attention to how she did it.

So what’s a geek mom with a yen for stories to do? Who do you model yourself after? Because one thing stories do is get into our hearts and souls and show us how to be.

(Side note: I am a Catholic, and that means I should probably be modelling myself after Mary, mother of Jesus–but I admit I find her baffling and inaccessible, because other than storing things up in her heart and having that same heart pierced by a sword also, I’m not really sure what she did or how her example is useful in the day-to-day trenches of motherhood. Further note that this is a problem with me and not at all a problem with Mary.)

Enter Arrow‘s Moira Queen.

Mom of the Year?

Mom of the Year?

When the show began, I’m afraid I didn’t pay much attention to Oliver’s (i.e. the Green Arrow’s) mother. She seemed like she was going to be Evil Mom, or maybe Ruthless Businesswoman First and Mom Second, neither of which are tropes that interest me. As the series progressed, however (and the writing improved), I began to take notice.

The first thing that attracted me to Mrs Queen was her courage. In the Season 1 episode The Odyssey, the Hood–Arrow–Vigilante guy–confronts her in her office; she pretends terror and helplessness–and then grabs a gun and shoots him. (Of course, she doesn’t know she’s shooting her own son, but hey. Nobody is perfect!) Now, we could talk about the difference between moral courage and physical courage–but the fact is, Moira has both.

That doesn’t mean she’s perfect. This is a woman with a history of making seriously bad decisions. To list a few: she had an affair with (ewwww!) Malcolm Merlyn, bore his child, and lied about said child’s parentage. She collaborated on “The Undertaking,” and was complicit in the earthquake device’s completion and implementation. She betrayed a colleague to save her own skin (and her kids’). She made shady business deals. She was way too comfortable telling lies. Some of these acts are mistakes, and some of them are deliberate decisions–and either way, her moral compass definitely does not point True North.

Don't mess with moms, that's all I'm saying.

Don’t mess with moms, that’s all I’m saying.

However, her flaws are part of what draw me to her. (I admit, I have a Thing for ruthless and amoral characters; f’rinstance, my favorite characters on Heroes were Nathan Petrelli and Adam Monroe.) After all, I am a flawed creature too–horribly imperfect. The Blessed Virgin can show us perfection within purely human parameters, but characters like Moira show us how to be great in spite of our brokenness.

Because Moira is great. When the revenge-bent, psychotic murderer Slade kidnaps the entire Queen family and demands that Oliver choose whom Slade shall kill, his mother or his sister, Oliver is horrified, but Moira steps forward with magnificent courage and volunteers, thus saving her daughter from death and her son from a cruel and impossible choice. Unhesitating, unflinching, she lays down her life for her children. Even Slade admires her. (Not that the admiration of Slade is something to be desired!)

Moira doesn’t jump off rooftops or punch bad guys in the face, but she is a hero nonetheless: an imperfect mother who is willing to sacrifice herself (and anyone else too, but like I said, she is not perfect!) for the good of her children. Although kidnapping, assassination, and bribery are probably not good things to be involved in, a geek mom like me can still be inspired by her example of selfless love.

Also, she's gorgeous.  Seriously, I hope I look half this good when my kid(s) are grown.

Also, she’s gorgeous. Seriously, I hope I look half this good when my kid(s) are grown.

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2012 was a pretty jam-packed year for sketch cards*,  my busiest yet.

*A sketch card is a special kind of trading card; instead of using pre-printed artwork, the art is drawn directly on the card stock, and the finished cards are randomly inserted into trading card packs.

Nevermore Alice

(Marty and Boo)

Nevermore AliceMy main memory of this set was working very fast, late at night, marathoning Jericho on my mini-DVD player while the kiddo slept. It was the first official set where I tried out inking with colors instead of black; it worked really well, and gave me confidence to try out the technique on other, bigger sets.

Classic Myth

(Perna Studios)

Classic MythologyBasically the opposite of Nevermore Alice; instead of going forward in the dynamic, animated look that seems to be my wheelhouse, I tried for a more painted, “artsy” look, with very mixed results.  I really long, even now, to be able to create beautiful paintings, and maybe at some point when I’m not completely swamped, exhausted, overwhelmed (a constant state of existence since October 9, 2010) I can take the time to learn how to do it properly.  Even though I wasn’t happy with my cards, though, a lot of other people seemed to be.

Marvel’s Greatest Heroes

(Rittenhouse Archives)

AvengersI wasn’t going to do this set, believing I didn’t have time, but the Art Director bargained with me, and I agreed.  I’m so glad I did!  This was the most fun on a card set I’d had in a long time: note the colored lines and minimal, cartoony shading are back.  I really challenged myself to do beautiful art and more detailed backgrounds, and it mostly paid off.

Contenporary Pinups

(Galan’s Sketchcards)

Contemporary PinupsFor whatever reason, I decided to be all feminist and rebellious on this set, and even though it’s called “Pinups,” most of my cards are pretty far from pinup-y.

Red Sonja & Warlord of Mars

(Breygent Marketing)

breygentThese two are inextricably linked in my mind, because I did them at the same time, and they were completely different.  This was another I was invited to do by the AD, and being a huge fan of both John Carter and Red Sonja, I said yes in a heartbeat.  The card stock on Sonja was pretty … interesting, which required me to adjust the way I was working.  On Warlord I again wanted to try something different, a little more pulp-influenced, but once again being self-taught in the medium kind of tripped me up, and I’m not sure they’re as cool as I wanted them to be.

Nevermore Alice: Flux

(Marty and Boo’s Cards)

fluxI never say no to Boo when he asks me to draw for him; his designs are so clean and fun, and his pulpy, over-the-top worlds are fun to play in.

DC New 52

(Cryptozoic)

DC New 52A number of firsts for me: first time drawing DC characters, first time working for Cryptozoic: a great company to work for, btw.  I hope to do more jobs for them in the future.  This set was a blast.

Island Dreams

(Marty and Boo)

Island DreamsA set for charity that I dashed off in a bit of a rush in between other projects.

Marvel Premier

(Upper Deck)

Marvel PremierUpper Deck was the first card company I ever worked for, back in 2008, and I was flattered to be invited to work on this set, an experiment in sketch cards of sorts.  The card stock was a beast that sucked up all the ink out of my markers, and the double-sided cards took about three times as long as I had anticipated.  The work was brutal, I was exhausted and burning out on the whole thing…

And then my dad died.

This is the card I was working on when I got the news.

This is the card I was working on when I got the news.

I took a week to deal with things, comfort my grandma, arrange the funeral, all that stuff.  I returned home thinking I’d throw myself into my work as a way of dealing with my own grief (and get the work done in time for the already-impossible-before-I-took-a-week-off deadline), but it was only about 50% effective, because any waning enthusiasm I’d had for the project had been thoroughly extinguished.

I think, objectively, I probably did a pretty good job anyway; you can’t tell by looking that I thoroughly did not give a damn.

Batman: The Legend

(Cryptozoic)

Batman the LegendBy contrast, this set might just have saved my sanity.  I had initially said no (even though I really really wanted to do it), because of the Marvel Premier deadline, but about a week later I emailed the AD back and begged to be let back on it.  I’m so glad I did.  After the hell of MP, Batman was a fresh breeze from heaven.  I only had about a week, maybe two, but the work went so sweetly, and somehow, drawing angsty superheroes in a decaying metropolis was a balm to my spirit.

Nevermore Alice: Eat Me, Drink Me

(Marty and Boo)

NMA: Eat MeAnother quickie for Boo; the cards were meant to be handed out at a UK comic convention.

Britannia

(Marty and Boo)

BritanniaBritannia is Boo’s answer to Captain America; incarnated in many worlds and times, she fights to protect Britain–sort of like Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion.  This was a fun set, because I got to play with lots of different designs and styles.

Bombshells

(Badaxe Studios)

BombshellThis was a set, again, that I passed on because the timing didn’t work out for me; the initial deadline for base art was September, and I definitely had neither time nor energy back then, but circumstances made the AD push the deadline back, which worked out great for me, if not so great for him.

Spellcasters

(Perna Studios)

SpellcastersI’m working on this right now, staring burnout in the face but determined to finish all my commitments.  I actually had the chance to collaborate with the lovely and talented Lynne Anderson, which was such a blessing, as her enthusiasm helped rekindle my own.

Commissions

Femforce PuzzlesOne of the downsides of working on so many official sets was having little to no time to fulfill all the commission orders I got.  Thankfully the people who commission me are patient and kind, and willing to wait.  Next year I’m going to get all the commissions done, which will make me–and them–much happier.

In 2013 I am going to scale back the number of card sets I work on (I keep saying, “this is the last one!” and then another really cool set comes up that I can’t say no to), because I really haven’t had a break at all since March (funerals don’t count).  I’m glad I worked on all these sets; each one has been a learning experience in its way, and doing that much drawing has helped me get better and better at my art.  In the year to come I’d like to transition into comic books, I’d like to finish Steel Butterfly at last, I’d like to do something other than draw on little 2.5 x 3.5-inch rectangles.  I’m glad 2012 is over, and I’m looking forward to what 2013 brings.

How about you guys?

Anything cool coming up in 2013 that you’re really looking forward to?  Any goals or projects you’d like to get under way?

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