An Assorted Selection of Sapid, Saporous Sciolisms June 6, 2011 – Posted in: A Picture's Worth, Blog, Featured Columns – Tags: , , ,

Okay, in order to keep these things moving, I’m going to freestyle it here and throw several things at you at once. Pick those you like or dislike the most and comment. My ego needs reassuring that someone besides Craig is actually reading these things. (Not even my chained-up wife does! Take pity.)

1) No spoilers: X-MEN FIRST CLASS

In short, great flick. I’ve not read a current X-Men comic book in over 20 years so keep that in mind. There were even a few characters I’d never seen nor heard of, but still I was able to follow and enjoy the movie.

Positives:

  • Acting (especially the two leads) and casting.
  • Tying in all the characters, names, powers, situations, origins, relationships and most everything else. Overall it was extremely well done, like a giant jigsaw puzzle that came entertainingly into place. Granted, I have no idea how it fits with the comic-book continuity, but as a film-goer, I was pleased.
  • January Jones (the macromastic ginger in MAD MEN) as Emma Frost. All I’ll say is: hubba, hubba, hoo-haa. If I were a teen again, she’d start puberty all by herself.
  • No Stan Lee cameo (that I saw) due to being shot on the East Coast, but there are two cameos that were simply BRILLIANT–and hilarious.
  • Makeup and SPFX. A few minor quips but overall excellent.
  • Considering four guys worked on the script (and two more on the story), the multiple cooks refreshingly worked together for a most palatable mutant soup.
What is Xavier thinking? “I see this movie being a huge hit…And some jerk posting this photo on his blog…”

Negatives:

  • Hank (The Beast)’s language was dumbed down for the modern “dumb” audience. Part of his appeal, and a large degree of his individuality, is his erudition and eloquence. To the movie-makers and fans who think audiences wouldn’t relate or understand a character with a large vocabulary, I have two words: Sheldon Cooper. (Ever hear of a show called THE BIG BANG THEORY?)
  • Fashions and hairstyles were supposed to be circa 1962 but strayed. I often forgot it wasn’t set in current times until I saw the cars or old footage. (Nice ’62 Caddy and Ford, though!)
  • One major behavioral gaffe with The Beast, one major physics issue with Kevin Bacon, and a bizarre “out-of-nowhere” costume alteration–but spoilers would be needed, so more on that later.
  • I did not see one single comic book creator credit–no “based on characters created by”, “stories created by” or anything of the sort. I hope I just missed it, because that is inexcusable and unethical BS.

Overall, a solid B plus or A minus in terms of superhero flicks. I enjoyed THOR more, but my wife thought X was better. Both of us thought it was up there with the best of the X series.

 

Art by Chris Wozniak. Courtesy of the CAF gallery of P. Fisico. (Thanks, P.!) From Marvel’s EXCALIBUR #22.

2) In the News: HELP THE WOZ, NOT YOUR CAUSE

Former Marvel and DC Comics artist Chris Wozniak (aka “The Woz”) almost died in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado a month ago. They lost their home and more. (video here). A kind soul on the Yahoo! Comicart-L group was thoughtful enough to post a link for donations from fans and anyone else to help out by donating whatever they could.

Some folks were kind and generous enough to chip in. (Please consider if you can help–every little bit does some good.) I’ve not met Chris, nor am I familiar with his work, but as a fellow pro (and homeowner/human being), I sympathized with his situation. As a fellow collector, I empathized as I know what it’s like to lose some valuable mementos due to water damage (even though I was insured, some I’ve still not found to replace)–I cannot fathom losing all of one’s possessions in a single event–insured or not.

Several people posted messages of hope, encouragement, prayer and support for Chris and his family. Then at least one guy decided to use it as an excuse to lecture the group on “Global Warming” (capitals his), and urging members to “smell the coffee and change things”, whatever the hell that means. (He also killed the thread.)

Bad move.

First, whether you believe in the term or not, such a group is not the place to foist one’s sociopolitical views upon others, nor is it a place to proselytize. Second, it’s plain selfish to post such a thing on a thread about someone else’s personal tragedy. Third, it doesn’t help the individual afflicted.

At the very least, have the courtesy to change the friggin’ subject line! It’s a few seconds but makes a big difference. Good grief.

I only hope the misguided ipsedixitist had the decency to donate to the fund.

Pencils by Chris Wozniak, inks by Mark Farmer. Courtesy of the CAF gallery of Nick Fatica. (Thanks, Nick!) From DC’s SPECTRE #17. (Global Warming on an art list? Liar, liar, hair on fire!)

3) Adam Hughes News: BEAR THE BULL MARKET

There were two very interesting developments concerning artist extraordinaire Adam Hughes (and his equally extraordinary better half, Allison Sohn).

First, apparently for the last few (or several) years, fans of questionable scruples have asked to be put on Adam’s convention drawing list only to turn around and sell their artistic booty on eBay the millisecond they return home–often for a large profit over what they paid Adam. Some of these “flippers” have actually (gasp, choke) lied about being fans or offered fake tales of woe to obtain such a coveted spot and equally coveted piece, to the apparent surprise of the artist and his artistic manager.

(Horrors! There are people in comics of dubious ethics?! Next thing you know, there will be gambling in Casablanca.)

Therefore, to combat this problem, they decided to have Adam only do quick head sketches at shows and sell the more detailed con pieces via eBay, at a recent winning bid of $3,000 for a single figure rendered in markers. (An aside: these were labelled as “archival” but even Copic markers aren’t so. The winner should still keep the art out of most light.) Following this news, several collectors blasted the decision and criticized Adam and Allison for it. The main point of their vitriol was, “how dare Adam price me out of obtaining one of his drawings.” Cries of “greed”, “outrageous prices”, and negative comparisons to more seasoned veterans followed.

Oh pleeeeez.

Let’s look at it logically and reasonably.

Newsflash A: A professional artist’s duty is to make a living from his art. No more, no less. It is not his obligation to make his work affordable to everyone who wants it–especially someone as popular as Hughes. If he were to create a drawing for everyone who wanted one, he’d have no time for professional assignments (nor time to spend with his family. Or to sleep. Or eat). And if he can command what you or I consider sky-high prices, more power to him! Fame is fleeting. If someone living in a capitalist society can take advantage of it to do well for themselves, why shouldn’t they? And remember, that means they can also contribute more money (and high-priced art) to charitable causes, so there are many others who can benefit from the increase. Leave him alone and let him benefit from the fruits of his labors and experience.

Newsflash B: I don’t know what planet these “fans” live on, but here on Earth, there are scores of artists whose work is out of my price range. Get used to it! Rather than gripe that I can’t currently afford original finished paintings or covers by Hughes or Frazetta, Kirby, Colan, Wrightson, Ditko, Wood, Barks, Elder, Jeffrey Jones, Kubert, Neal Adams, Heath, Cole, Ingels, Jack Davis, Wyeth, Lyendecker, Cho, or whoever, I am grateful for what I can afford. I am also grateful that if/when I do have $3k to spend on an Adam Hughes piece, it’ll be ridiculously cheap compared to those by Van Gogh, Rothko, Kandinsky, Lichtenstein, Pollack and others whom I consider to be lesser talents and whose work I have no interest whatsoever in owning (other than to sell).

To fans of Hughes, I say be thankful you like him and he’s not in the same league as the so-called “fine art” types whose prices are typically in gross opposition to their talents and abilities.

Newsflash C: Adam is not the only source for Hughes artwork. You can check weekly or daily on CAF (ComicArtFans.com), eBay, Heritage, Comiclink, various dealer sites, as well as conventions, stores, and even local estate sales, craigslist and classifieds for opportunities. You never know what will come up, and the joy of the hunt makes the “kill” of the acquisition that much sweeter.

Examples of the gorgeous $3,000 convention art offered on eBay from Adam Hughes. (They call these “sketches” but they’re drawings.) Worth it? To some yes, to some, no. Welcome to the world of collecting! ©2011 Adam Hughes.

Want to know how you can automatically afford a Hughes piece of your own? Start your own private Hughes Art Fund. Instead of buying that overpriced Starbucks, ice cream, glass or bottle of wine or booze, stripper dance, action figure, dessert, candy bar, fast food-meal, comic book title you don’t read anymore, character T-shirt or other knick-knack, drop that cash into a box or bank. Even if you can only save $10 per week, eventually you’ll have enough to buy the piece you want.

Or spend the dough on one of Adam’s lower-priced imitators. Or hire an unethical artistic ape and have them do a piece in Adam’s style for a fraction of the price. (See? Another benefit to AH’s price-raise: more competitors get work!)

Better yet, broaden your aesthetic horizons and grab a creative commission from one of the capable imaginators here on Wednesday’s Heroes! If you turn around and sell it for three grand, I’m sure Craig and company won’t make a stink about it. (For commission details, click here.)

Lastly, regarding the X-MEN film spoiler points, scroll down to the postscript. Otherwise, just skip to the COMMENTS section and fire away with your thoughts. I’m pleased to peruse!


 

 

 

 

Thanks,

Mike

P.S.       (SPOILER ALERT!)

Here are the three biggest buggers regarding X-MEN FIRST CLASS:

1. When Hank injects himself with his supposed “cure” and it backfires, he would have and should have gone back to Mystique’s room and warned her not to inject herself. Considering how much he liked her (and that he was just a nice guy), it was way out of character and made no sense. (And if it was cut for time, it could have easily been explained in a single sentence.)

2. When the submarine crashes onto the beach and breaks apart, Kevin Bacon’s character is shown unmoved from his stance and still holding the nuclear rods! Ridiculous. He was always affected by gravity. At least show him falling/jostling and getting up again–two to five seconds, tops.

3. When Bacon is wearing the Magneto helmet, notice that the pointed tip of it actually touches his nose in several shots. Yet when the real Magneto (who has a longer nose) dons it, that part’s been pushed out. One may argue that he used his metal-bending powers to accommodate his more impressive proboscis, but if that were the case he could have also removed it during the confrontation made the battle much easier. Gotcha!

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