odinsblog

fiftyshadesofdebauchery:

kvotheunkvothe:

Animal fun fact: Chinchillas can’t get wet. Their fur retains too much water and will start to grow mold. So they bathe by rolling around in dust.

Chinchilla fun fact: Chinchillas have around 20 hairs per follicle; unlike humans who have 2-3 hairs per follicle. Because their fur is so dense, they cannot get fleas or other parasites. The bugs will suffocate in their fur.

Chinchilla fun fact: Petting one of those awesome little guys feels like touching a motherfucking cloud.

Chinchilla fun fact: Their newborn babies are like little pieces of fluffy popcorn. You could easily just toss a handful in your mouth.

Chinchilla fun fact: Don’t toss a handful into your mouth.

calamityjonsaveus

calamityjonsaveus:

FREE SKETCHES!

I’ve had this project in mind for a while now, and there’s a few reasons I’m finally pulling the trigger on it today. For one thing, it’s my birthday, and I like to do nice things for folks on my birthday, so … free art, right? That seems nice.

The other reason is I’ve been sitting on this useless P.O.Box for a year now. When my dad died a while back, I was made the executor of his estate. I set up this box to handle all the necessary correspondence, and my trips to the post office were just the most depressing parts of my week - it was all bills, notices, legal documents, subscriptions I had to cancel, porn (my dad sure loved porn!), mail from his lawyers and accountants and such. All of these reminders twice or three times a week that my dad was dead, which kept making me miserable even months after he passed away.

That poor P.O.Box was just brimming with depressed negativity, I figure, and I wanted to do something positive to clean out all the bad juju before I gave it up and let some other poor sap have it. So now I’m inviting everyone from anywhere in the world to send a postcard to that address and get a free sketch in return! It’ll be a cleansing exercise … you know, for the post office box, y’see.

Feel free to share this post and spread it around!

Oh man, this is great!

comicartistevolution
comicartistevolution:

Bill Sienkiewicz 1985: New Mutants Poster
Somehow I overlooked this piece when I was posting Sienkiewicz’s stuff from 1985. Gah! Here is now because it is not only one of the more awesome pieces Sienkiewicz has done, but there is also a great story behind it, courtesy of former Marvel EIC Jim Shooter.
Shooter refers to Sienkiewicz as one of those "big guns you can’t aim."

I love Bill. Great guy. Brilliant, amazing, world-class artist. One time, back in my Marvel days, we needed a New Mutants poster. Bill was the obvious choice. We described to him what we wanted, a classic group shot, the definitive, iconic image of the New Mutants. Man, we could just picture the poster image we’d all agreed upon painted by the amazing Bill. When he brought the finished painting in, however, it was nothing like what we had proposed and he had agreed to execute. Completely different. Brilliantly painted, yes. Actually, it was a collage.  It had some radio parts glued onto it. Not what we had intended.
Publisher Mike Hobson’s reaction was “I’d love to have this hanging in my office, but it isn’t what we commissioned.”
Still a pretty good poster, though. We went with it. Sigh.
…
I chose these three gentlemen not because I have any ill will toward them, but precisely because I don’t.
And, as far as I know, that goes both ways. We’re friends, or friendly, anyway.
Bill Sienkiewicz and I worked together for a long time on many things. Aside from that New Mutants poster, Bill almost always delivered what we expected, better than we deserved. The exceptions, of course, are the projects where we encouraged Bill to do his own thing, explore, invent, experiment and revolutionize comics—the New Mutants comic book series comes to mind. We never knew what to expect, but we enjoyed the surprises. Maybe Bill was confused and thought the poster fell under the same swing-for-the-fences parameters that the comic book did. Whatever. I know that Bill has done some commercial art since those days, and therefore, must still be able to take direction when required. You don’t survive in the commercial art field ignoring the client’s instructions. When he was working on the Arrow Collar account, I’ll guarantee you that J.C. Leyendecker didn’t deliver illos of wingtips because one day he decided he wanted to draw shoes.
So, genius Bill could go either way. I’d give him a high likelihood of success as an independent author/creator under the new business model. But, if for some reason he chose to work on staff on Spider-Man—let’s say the company made it worth his while—I have no doubt he would do well. 

JayJay Jackson, who works with Shooter on his blog, chimes in from another angle as well:

When I was working as the art director of advertising for Marvel my first choice to do promotional paintings was Bill. I’m a huge fan of his work and I’m awed all over again every time I see something new of his. I love the way his work feels unconstrained and wild, but is executed with an incredibly high level of skill. Truthfully, I didn’t think I could get him to do the paintings for our department, but he agreed. I was ecstatic. Bill painted the Spider-Man wedding poster and when he brought it in, it was the most beautiful, creative thing I’d seen. It’s still one of my favorite posters of all time. When we needed a poster for the New Universe, of course I asked Bill. I lucked out again, he agreed to paint it, too. Bill came in to meet with Jim and I and he worked up a rough sketch on the spot. Late one evening or maybe over the weekend, I only remember I was alone, I got a call from Bill and he sounded upset. He said he had decided to change the layout, had started the painting, that Jim was going to hate it and he didn’t want to do the job. As I struggled to hide the heart attack I thought I was having, I asked him to describe the changes, reassured him that it would be fine and said I was sure Jim would love it. I was pretty sure. I mean, it’s Bill. A couple of days later, when my fingernails were almost bitten down the bone, Bill brought in the painting. When I saw it, I couldn’t even remember the sketch. It was incredible. Exciting. It made me want to know who these characters were. And Jim loved it. Who wouldn’t?

You can read Shooter’s entire column here, where he also discusses other “big guns you can’t aim,” Mike Kaluta and Walt Simonson.

comicartistevolution:

Bill Sienkiewicz 1985: New Mutants Poster

Somehow I overlooked this piece when I was posting Sienkiewicz’s stuff from 1985. Gah! Here is now because it is not only one of the more awesome pieces Sienkiewicz has done, but there is also a great story behind it, courtesy of former Marvel EIC Jim Shooter.

Shooter refers to Sienkiewicz as one of those "big guns you can’t aim."

I love Bill. Great guy. Brilliant, amazing, world-class artist. One time, back in my Marvel days, we needed a New Mutants poster. Bill was the obvious choice. We described to him what we wanted, a classic group shot, the definitive, iconic image of the New Mutants. Man, we could just picture the poster image we’d all agreed upon painted by the amazing Bill. When he brought the finished painting in, however, it was nothing like what we had proposed and he had agreed to execute. Completely different. Brilliantly painted, yes. Actually, it was a collage.  It had some radio parts glued onto it. Not what we had intended.

Publisher Mike Hobson’s reaction was “I’d love to have this hanging in my office, but it isn’t what we commissioned.”

Still a pretty good poster, though. We went with it. Sigh.

I chose these three gentlemen not because I have any ill will toward them, but precisely because I don’t.

And, as far as I know, that goes both ways. We’re friends, or friendly, anyway.

Bill Sienkiewicz and I worked together for a long time on many things. Aside from that New Mutants poster, Bill almost always delivered what we expected, better than we deserved. The exceptions, of course, are the projects where we encouraged Bill to do his own thing, explore, invent, experiment and revolutionize comics—the New Mutants comic book series comes to mind. We never knew what to expect, but we enjoyed the surprises. Maybe Bill was confused and thought the poster fell under the same swing-for-the-fences parameters that the comic book did. Whatever. I know that Bill has done some commercial art since those days, and therefore, must still be able to take direction when required. You don’t survive in the commercial art field ignoring the client’s instructions. When he was working on the Arrow Collar account, I’ll guarantee you that J.C. Leyendecker didn’t deliver illos of wingtips because one day he decided he wanted to draw shoes.

So, genius Bill could go either way. I’d give him a high likelihood of success as an independent author/creator under the new business model. But, if for some reason he chose to work on staff on Spider-Man—let’s say the company made it worth his while—I have no doubt he would do well. 

JayJay Jackson, who works with Shooter on his blog, chimes in from another angle as well:

When I was working as the art director of advertising for Marvel my first choice to do promotional paintings was Bill. I’m a huge fan of his work and I’m awed all over again every time I see something new of his. I love the way his work feels unconstrained and wild, but is executed with an incredibly high level of skill. Truthfully, I didn’t think I could get him to do the paintings for our department, but he agreed. I was ecstatic. Bill painted the Spider-Man wedding poster and when he brought it in, it was the most beautiful, creative thing I’d seen. It’s still one of my favorite posters of all time. When we needed a poster for the New Universe, of course I asked Bill. I lucked out again, he agreed to paint it, too. Bill came in to meet with Jim and I and he worked up a rough sketch on the spot. Late one evening or maybe over the weekend, I only remember I was alone, I got a call from Bill and he sounded upset. He said he had decided to change the layout, had started the painting, that Jim was going to hate it and he didn’t want to do the job. As I struggled to hide the heart attack I thought I was having, I asked him to describe the changes, reassured him that it would be fine and said I was sure Jim would love it. I was pretty sure. I mean, it’s Bill. A couple of days later, when my fingernails were almost bitten down the bone, Bill brought in the painting. When I saw it, I couldn’t even remember the sketch. It was incredible. Exciting. It made me want to know who these characters were. And Jim loved it. Who wouldn’t?

You can read Shooter’s entire column here, where he also discusses other “big guns you can’t aim,” Mike Kaluta and Walt Simonson.

calamityjon

calamityjon:

Header image by Ron Salas

I’ve been a fan of Superman since I was practically an infant, and as this year marks the 75th anniversary of the character I wanted to put together my own personal recommendations for the essential Superman stories of the last three-quarters of a century.

I’ve divided my list into four parts, for every level of fan from beginner to advanced. It’s not a short list, it doesn’t cover absolutely everything worth checking out (THAT list would be three times as long) and not everything is easy to find, but if you get all the way through it you’ll be as informed on the matter of the Man of Steel as any diehard Superman aficionado.

(And here’s my chance to mention my blog, The Chronological Superman, which covers Superman’s first twelve years, appearance by appearance …)

===
Superman 101
Introduction to Contemporary Supermanica

For the beginner!

So you’re completely new to Superman, ’you’ve never read a single Superman comic and you’re rarin’ to go – but where to start? These three books are routinely listed as “personal favorites” among contemporary readers and – even though DC has since “revamped” Superman with a new costume and backstory - will get you up-to-speed with the character’s personality, origins and motive.

Superman:Birthright by Mark Waid and Lenyil Yu
Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immomen
Superman For All Seasons by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Also cut from the same cloth as these books is Superman:Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, a book which isn’t any better or worse than any of the above suggestions but which never ends up on anyone’s “best of” list, for some reason. So read that, too.

Video extra credit: DC is investing heavily in its direct-to-DVD animated features, the most recent Superman-centric title of which is Superman:Unbound.  Largely adaptations of material which first appeared in the comics, any one of them is about the same quality as the others, so you may as well jump in with the most recent.

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Superman 220
Essential Foundations of 20th Century Supermanity

Now that you’re out of your freshman year, it’s time to dive into research! Superman has seventy-five years of history to catch up on, so even this curated list is going to end up being pretty dense.

No era had a greater influence on the Superman mythos than the Silver Age – Brainiac, Bizarro, Supergirl, the Fortress of Solitude, all those different colors of Kryptonite, they all came from the 1950s and 1960s! DC’s line of DC Comics Showcase Presents provide inexpensive black-and-white collections of these years, including:

…Superman: There are four volumes, covering the years of 1958 through 1964, and is your most essential reading (at the very least, read #2 and/or #4, which typifies the both the joyful weirdness and occasionally phobic atmosphere of the Silver Age)

…Superman Family: Four volumes, containing reprints of Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane adventures from their respective books. From the second volume onward, all volumes are split evenly between the two characters (volume one is practically all Jimmy). Jump on at #3 for typical Silver Age adventures in full swing.

…Supergirl: Two volumes, plenty of Superman guest appearances, either one will give you the gist of the character’s Silver Age adventures.

…The Legion of Super-Heroes: Four volumes, the adventures of Superman’s boyhood friends in the 30th century.

You’re doing yourself a massive injustice if you neglect to read Superman’s debut adventures from the late thirties, which is where The Superman Chronicles comes in. Ten volumes to date and an eleventh apparently planned, volume one is absolutely essential as it covers Superman’s first year – most importantly, the first five issues of Action Comics, which are a whirlwind of activity.

Likewise, in the world of print, regular Superman scripter Eliot S! Maggin is responsible for a pair or prose novels which have their feet firmly planted in the Bronze Age Man of Steel mythos, but with some wild and entertaining extrapolations: Last Son of Krypton and Miracle Monday, both highly enjoyable.

Video extra credit: There are six Superman films, but 1978’s Superman:The Movie remains the gold standard for superhero films in general, and Christopher Reeve’s performance went on to define the character in the public eye for thirty years. Meanwhile, in the world of cartoons, Superman’s first animated adventures remain many fans’ favorites, so you’ll want to watch the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons (they and their related Famous Studios cartoons are now in the public domain, so you can find cheap copies anywhere, including free copies online.) Lastly, the Dini/Timm/McDuffie version of Superman from Superman:The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons remains the definitive version for a generation of fans. If you can’t invest in the 100+ hours required to watch them all, try S:TAS’ The Last Son of Krypton (parts 1-3), World’s Finest (released on DVD as “The Batman/Superman Movie”) and the touching “Apokalips … NOW!” two-parter, as well as Justice League Unlimited’s adaptation of “For The Man Who Has Everything


===
Superman 363
Comparative Supermythology

Now that you have a solid foundation in Superman’s past and present, here are the books that bend the character’s rules.

All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, arguably the greatest Superman story ever told, simultaneously a recap and a reconstruction of the character right down to his essential themes.

There are many books teaming Superman with Batman, but when DC was looking to rebuild the relationship between their flagship characters, they used Dave Gibbons and Steve Rude’s atmospheric World’s Finest:Worlds Apart to draw lines distinguishing and contextualizing the two characters in contrast with one another.

For The Man Who Has Everything and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, a pair of stories written by Alan Moore and illustrated by (respectively) the up-and-comer Dave Gibbons on one and the veteran artists Swan, Schaffenberger and Perez on the other. These are available in The DC Stories Of Alan Moore which will also include a brooding, atmospheric meeting between a dying Superman and Moore’s recently reinvigorated Swamp Thing, all of which beat at the emotional core of the character’s considerable mythology.

Superman: Red Son, illustrated by Dave Johnson and written by Mark Millar, though Grant Morrison had some considerable input (most notably in what I honestly feel is a slightly bungled conclusion). Set in a speculative world where Superman’s rocket lands in Soviet Russia, it explores what would happen if Superman did use his powers to rule the world, and how it’s simultaneously for the best but still morally wrong.

Superman vs Muhammad Ali, technically a mainstream Superman story by industry giants Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams, the character is lent particular additional pathos by his close association with the beloved boxer - and the actual scale of the book adds tremendously to the impact (and speaking of which)

Superman: The Power of Hope, part of a series of tabloid-sized, fully painted books by Paul Dini and Alex Ross which examines the limits of Superman’s might and the strength of his human limitations.

Jimmy Olsen: Adventures by Jack Kirby vols 1 and 2, where the Superman-adjacent Fourth World mythology was begun, Kirby’s “hip dad” Superman and the complete reinvention of his “pal” Jimmy was the most dynamic change in Superman’s chronicles since the Silver Age.

Lastly, DC made an effort to Marvel-ize their big players during the Eighties, and their initial attempt was in 1982’s The Phantom Zone, a tense and atmospheric story by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan. In 1986, the Marvel-ized Superman was declared the mainstream interpretation of the character, and its genesis was John Byrne’s six issue Man of Steel series, which revamped the character and provided an at-a-glance summary of the new continuity’s particulars…

Video extra credit: Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. Although cobbled from archive footage and cut scenes, this recent edit of the classic sequel comes closest to Donner’s partly controversial vision without much of director Richard Lester’s slapstick and vaudeville additions. It’s hobbled by a reused ending and a misplaced coda, but Donner’s Phantom Zone villains are more gleefully terrifying and his Lois-and-Clark occupy the emotional spine of the film.

===
Superman 407
Explorations Beyond Conventional Superparameters

Liberated from strict corporate oversight, some creators have crafted alternate takes on Superman and his mythology

It’s Superman by Tom DeHaven sets the Man of Steel mythos back in the Thirties that birthed him, and mixes him with equal parts Grapes of Wrath, To Kill A Mockingbird and Hollywood Babylon. It’s a whole new origin for everyone from Luthor to Jimmy Olsen (although there are problematic elements to this version of Lois Lane), well-written and gripping, manages to recast the story in a realistic light without sacrificing the sense of wonder.

Supreme - Alan Moore’s Supermagnum opus, referred to often as the greatest Superman story not about Superman ever told. It’s hampered by uneven artwork, although when artists like Sprouse or Veitch take part, the book reaches remarkable heights. A near-retelling of Superman that covers every inch of the character with heart and wit.

Lastly, currently a work in progress, Chris Roberson’s and Dennis Culver’s ongoing comic Edison Rex looks at Superman-like myths from the perspective of his greatest foe, asking what would Lex Luthor do if liberated from Superman’s shadow? 

Video extra credit: Disney’s Hercules; at the time of its development,  the rumor surrounding this motion picture product from the House of Mouse was that Eisner’s Disney was planning to take advantage of the ever-rumored lapsing of Superman into the Public Domain to produce a Disney-style Superman film. That rumor was all kinds of wrong, BUT the actual story - a young man with incredible powers must rationalize his divine origins with earthly responsibility - is familiar. Additionally, future Batman Ben Affleck’s turn as TV Superman George Reeves in Hollywoodland humanizes a tabloid sensational death and addresses the human cost in portraying a character larger than life.

===

And that’s it! If you track down and drink in all of these books and films, you may consider yourself a graduate of the school of Superman! Your diploma and Kryptonian headband are in the mail, try not to let your acquired authority go to your head.

If you get this far and you’re still hungry for more, well, good news! There are literally hundreds-if-not-thousands of other great Superman stories out there, in the form of tv shows, comic books, comic strips, cartoons, and more. You’ve entered a nearly-endless whorl of entertainment!