Artist. Designer. Awkward wad of nerd. Fights off existential terror and self-loathing with Godzilla films.

amechanicaldisaster@gmail.com

Set this arcade on fire

I’ve stumbled upon something that absolutely breaks my heart in a way that’s hard to put into words.

I love arcades. Love them. I’ve spent so much time in them. Whenever I’d go on vacation as a kid, I was always more interested in the arcades than in, say, Dollywood or waterparks or whatever. It was always about the arcades for me. When I was in middle school, my best friend and I would go to this local pool run by the YMCA, and during the weird breaks where they’d make everyone get out for 10-15 minutes or whatever, we’d hit the NeoGeo cabinet and play the hell out of Metal Slug. And as lousy as our local mall here in Bristol has been, that was always one advantage that it had, the Tilt arcade, where I could go play House of the Dead, Time Crisis, and Metal Slug to my heart’s content.

It’s been…quite a few years since I’d been in Tilt, and once that little pool had gotten rid of the NeoGeo cabinet, replacing it with the ultra-crappy Tekken Tag Tournament, my friend and I just stopped going altogether. But if a bar or restaurant has Galaga or Ms. Pac Man or something like that, then you bet I’ll give it a go if I’ve got some quarters on me.

Anyways, after years of not bothering going into the arcades in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, and never having time for Tilt any time I found myself in the mall, I decided I really wanted to blow a load of quarters on some House of the Dead, or some other old game I would play as a kid. That’s how I came to notice this disturbing trend.

Last week, I went into Tilt for the first time in years, mostly on a whim and out of a strong desire to play some Metal Slug. Things had changed, though, and not in a pleasant way. For one, all the games were in their own sections it seemed. All the crane games stuffed with Annoying Oranges and Angry Birds were grouped together in the front, all the racing games down one wall, with the shooters and the fighters down the other wall. This organization bugged me to no end, shouldn’t arcades be mazes that are nigh impossible to navigate? Isn’t half the fun of an old arcade finding some game you’ve never heard of, tucked away in a corner between a basketball hoop and DDR? Gone was House of the Dead, gone was my beloved NeoGeo cabinet with Metal Slug and Samurai Showdown. What good is an arcade without Daytona USA? Time Crisis 2 was still there, but it just didn’t feel right. They had House of the Dead 4, but the guns are the uzi-looking things, fully automatic, and difficult to aim with. The thrill of scoring precise headshots was replaced with the dull task of just mowing down crowds of zombies, spraying bullets blindly. It just wasn’t fun.

The oldest game there was, I think, Marvel Vs Capcom. That doesn’t feel right either. No pinball, no Pac Man, only one or two Skeeballs? What the heck? All of the emphasis was now on those crane games, and those other weird games where you could win an iPod or PS3 or something, and those are no fun to me.

Over the weekend, I went on a trip to Pigeon Forge with my girlfriend. We wandered down to Gatlinburg in the morning to kill time and wait for the weather to clear up. There, we went into three or four different arcades, and it was all the same crap I saw in Tilt. That horrible House of the Dead 4 cropped up a lot, and I noticed a couple other new shooters: Project GHOST and Terminator Salvation, both of which are also played with big automatic rifles against hordes of enemies. Again, precision no longer seems to matter much anymore, and those guns are just too awkward to handle, especially for a lefty like me.

The arcades in Dollywood weren’t much better.

But, I kept telling myself, there is hope. The Arcade in Asheville is a two story arcade with a bar. On the bottom floor is where you find all the old 80’s classics like Donkey Kong, Burger Time, and motherfucking Tron. Joust and Centipede too! Upstairs is even sweeter, with a line of pinball games and skeeball, the Simpsons game (which my friends and I beat one night, spending WAY too many quarters), the Star Wars Arcade game, and my personal all-time favorite: Virtual On. I haven’t been there since January, though, and I just recently heard that they removed the pinball games and are in the process of converting the upstairs area into a club. Which probably means the removal of more games, including Virtual On. And that breaks my heart in so many ways.

I mean, I get it. People have been saying that arcades are dead now for years, so I was honestly shocked that House of the Dead 4 and a Terminator Salvation game even existed. Times are changing. Consoles, Steam, and smartphone games have flooded and conquered the market. The only way for an arcade to survive anymore is to offer ludicrous prizes for people to throw their money at. I think I saw a crane game in Dollywood where you could win a 32” TV. If you want to play shooting games, there’s Call of Duty, who gives a damn about Time Crisis? DDR is now a thing of the past too, a fad no one wants to bother with anymore.

I guess I’m just an old man now. I hate being nostalgic, but man, I miss being able to jump from Virtual On to House of the Dead 2 to Daytona USA to Ms. Pac Man in the space of 20 minutes before seeing a movie at the local theater. There’s no real way to replicate that kind of experience anymore, switching games on the PS3 just isn’t the same as navigating a dimly lit cavern full of cacophonous noises and flashing lights, digging in your pockets for more quarters.

Ah well, at least the theater has Crazy Taxi, at least. And a machine with both Ms. Pac Man AND Galaga. Now if only they would show some movies that would give me a good reason to go to the movies...

[Brett]

Trying not to be useless

I feel like I open every one of these posts by saying the same thing, but: I've been busy lately. Not just with work, but with other things. Like the sudden development of a social life, which is kind of awesome and terrifying at once. 

So chapter 4 of Other Sleep is finally online! I put it up last week! You should go read it! It's um, a bit different from the others, a little weird, but still alright.

And I made this:
Yep, my good buddy, Pizza Flag editor, and stand-up comedian Sterlin has convinced another punk band to come play in Bristol, and once again I put a flyer together for them! This one was all digital, starting with a photograph I took of my teeth. I'm pretty damn happy with it, it's quite a bit different from other stuff I do.

And here's the cover I designed for Eye Alive 2, also from Pizza Flag:
I'm really proud of this dude, completely tokusatsu. I had bought a recent issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland that was ALL ABOUT giant monster movies and TV shows from Japan, so that was my big inspiration.

...If you haven't noticed, I LOVE giant monsters...

Saturday was a big day for Bristol, with a band I have never heard of called Mumford and Sons playing that night and a bunch of other bands and things going on downtown. I got invited to hang out at Mountain Empire Comics and sell my comics. Once more, I was teamed up with my partner in crime, Dionysus Metalcult. In his words, we're like a Spider-man/Dr. Strange team-up from the 80's, and that's quite appropriate. There were a LOT of people out and about all day, but unfortunately not many of them were big on our weird self-published comics. Nevertheless, a good time was had, despite a total lack of funnel cake.

Seriously man, it's not a festival if there isn't funnel cake. What the hell?

That's all for now. I did a weird illustration for Eye Alive 2, but I won't be posting it just yet. Now I must dive back into Other Sleep and get to work on chapter 5, yeah?

I leave you now with a photo of me with a bow in my hair, for no reason:
 

[Brett]

Rock on, Rob-Con, rock on!

Rob-Con was a pretty big success yesterday. I'm not sure where to begin.

After a week of little sleep and much preparation, I got to Viking Hall with all of my books and stuff at 8:30ish. I was thrilled that I would once more be sitting with the baddest 'stache in the east, Dionysis Metalcult. We kicked ass at Free Comic Book Day, so getting to hang with him again was a blast. It was a tad slow going at first, but before long we had our first, glorious customer:
Things stayed quite a bit busy after that, and I never got to leave my table for long. I'm a little disappointed in that, because I didn't get to buy anything or talk to any of the other artists like Matt Smith and Kaysha Siemens. At the same time though, I'm blown away by the number of comics I got rid of. I haven't had the chance to sit down and figure out how much I sold, but I gotta say, the boxes I was carrying them in were noticeably lighter when I was leaving at the end of the day. Seems both issues of Burst Reach were what I sold the most of, but I could be wrong. I also gave away Pizza Flag zines with any purchase, and before long I was completely out of copies of Eye Alive. The second volume should be out next month, which...have I posted the cover for that on here yet? I don't remember. I'll uh, look into that later! I still need to figure out what I want to do for the inside too.

I wish I had a picture of this one copy of Eye Alive that I signed. I butchered my grammar by writing "this is the most books I've ever signed," then quickly marked through "this is" and replaced it with "these are." I was in this weird, bewildered daze all day, this being my first real con experience behind a table, so I kept doing stupid things like that. It was a huge turnout, and there was this infectious energy in the air, like this perpetual buzz. It was overwhelming, but just so awesome.

I also drew a pretty kickass Tin Man:
Another guy got me to draw some woman from the original Star Trek series, with this weird bee hive haircut? I didn't get to take a picture of it because I'm stupid.

But yes! It was a blast! And I think I did pretty good! And I got interviewed by some guy! So that MIGHT be online at some point. Maybe. I dunno.

Afterwards, my friend David and I decided to hit the lake, and it was majestic.
All in all, it was a day of good things. I was stupidly sore and tired at the end of the day, to the point where my comprehension of the English language was breaking down severely.

I can't wait to get to do it all again, I hope next year's Rob-Con will be even BIGGER.

Now, back to work. Gotta hurry up and finish chapter 4 of Other Sleep!

[Brett]

One two three go go go

Hey! You! What are you doing Saturday? Seeing the Dark Knight Rises? That's cool I guess, but what you SHOULD do is go to Rob-Con at Viking Hall!

Yes my friends, go to the Tri-Cities biggest comic convention and feast upon the thousands of comics and toys and stuff that will be there! Meet some zombies, check out the Batmobile! And then come by my table and BUY MY STUFF.

I'm debuting Burst Reach 2 there, packed with comix greatness:
As well as the collected Distinguished Gentlemen and Exciting Tales! strips, the first Burst Reach, AND chapter 1 of Other Sleep!

I'll be doing sketches for stupidly cheap, too! Here's the flyer I made for my table:

You see that? For under 10 bucks you can buy ALL FOUR of my books! There's no reason NOT to! Unless you just don't like comics in which case, why are you even here?

Seriously guys, I'm stoked for this. That show I did in Gray, back in April? That was weak. Free Comic Book Day was fun, but it's nothing compared to Rob-Con. This is gonna be BIG.

Also I'll be dressed really nice, which doesn't happen often. You don't wanna miss that!

Besides, you don't HAVE to see the new Batman on opening weekend you know. That's when all the crazy crowds are out, who wants to deal with that crap? COME TO ROB-CON.

[Brett]

"It makes me forget all of my friends are dead!"

Lollipop Chainsaw is the one game I was really looking forward to this year, and it did not disappoint.

I WAS a little concerned at first. Suda51’s games seem to be getting increasingly dumbed down as they become more slick, when you look at how Grasshopper has progressed from developing the insanely dense and obtuse Killer7 to…a game about a cheerleader who fights zombies with a chainsaw. And yeah, it is a little disappointing that these games aren’t quite as thought-provoking, unpolished, and…maybe insane isn’t quite the word, but what I’m trying to get at is while the narrative for Flower, Sun and Rain will have you ripping your hair out in confusion (if the gameplay itself hasn’t caused an aneurysm), Shadows of the Damned is just about shooting demons in Hell to get your woman back, not a whole lot to think about there.

So yeah, a little part of me wishes Suda51 would throw out another game with a story that requires a lot of research to grasp and gameplay that can be just plain inconvenient, but at the same time? Lollipop Chainsaw is just so much damn fun, even if it is rather shallow.

Here’s the big thing about it that appeals to me: this game is like a tribute to the bizarre splattergore films that guys like Yoshihiro Nishimura have been cranking out over the past few years. Specifically, I’m reminded of Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein girl, but the flying zombies in the game (propelled through the air by blood spurting from their leg stumps) HAVE to be influenced by the final showdown in Tokyo Gore Police. James Gunn, director of Slither and writer of the Dawn of the Dead Remake, is in on it too, and you can see his fingerprints all over it in the dialogue and the silly references that the game throws out.

That’s another thing I love. This game is HILARIOUS. Juliet is so vapid and takes this localized zombie apocalypse all in stride, while her severed head boyfriend Nick gets all the best lines as he freaks out and questions what the fuck’s going on. The zombies themselves say some great shit too. I can’t get over this one fat zombie who declares “they’re selling popsicles for fifty cents!” And, for some dumb reason, I always laugh at the football player zombie who shouts “ten hut, ten butt fuck!” It’s crude and oh so juvenile in so many ways, and I think that’s one of the reasons I love it.

You could beat the game in about 4 hours if you just run through it, yes, but I take no issue with this. Between work, making art and comics, and the other stuff I do, I’m cool with playing a game that’s not going to take me 50+ hours to beat or whatever. I can jump in, play a level or two, and I’m good. And I can’t stop replaying certain levels of the game either. I mean, I was gearing up to write this review, and instead decided to go replay the 3rd stage. That’s how much I enjoy this game. Yes, it’s a little repetitive since all you’re doing is hacking up zombies and occasionally playing a minigame of Zombie Basketball or something, but trust me, it’s FUN.

The soundtrack goes a long way too. In fact, I’m fairly sure it easily ranks among my top five favorite videogame soundtracks ever. Akira Yamaoka ROCKS THE FUCK OUT in a way I haven’t heard since his work on Contra: Shattered Soldier, which is also in my top 5 faves. Here’s my favorite track from the game’s prologue stage:

 

There’s also a lot of great rockabilly and bone-crushing metal. You have the option of picking any five tracks (you unlock more as you progress, of course) to make a playlist to listen to while playing, which is a huge plus to me. And, since this game is published by Warner Brothers, there’s a lot of licensed music thrown in too. Every time you use your Sparkle Power (one hit kills + invincibility), “Hey Mickey” starts playing. I think this is the first time I HAVEN’T outright hated that song. Another stage has you slaughtering zombies on a rooftop to “Pac Man Fever.” Of course, not all of the licensed music is great. Not even Lollipop Chainsaw can get me to enjoy Skrillex or Five Finger Death Punch.

Also? The boss battle tracks are all scored by Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence, who also voices the first boss, Zed. He does a FANTASTIC job of it, too.

People knock the game a bit because the graphics aren’t too great, but that’s a charming thing to me. I have never played a Grasshopper game with mindblowing visuals, and I’d kind of like to keep it that way, it suits the punk band influence that Suda51 comes from. Still, I’m so happy that this game is so goddamn colorful. They use a great comic book aesthetic for everything too. I’ve always loved the visual aesthetics that Grasshopper has used in their games, so this is definitely no exception. The game has also received criticism for having a ridiculously sexualized protagonist, but that doesn’t bug me. Juliet is a cartoon character, and it’s hard to get upset over her appearance when she’s just so damn bubbly and kind of badass. No one really comments on her appearance or threatens to rape her or anything like that, and past the opening cinematic, it’s not like the camera is always up her skirt or down her cleavage. If anyone’s truly being objectified, it’s Nick, LITERALLY. I think this whole thing is just Suda51 poking fun at and satirizing gaming trends with no real overall statement about uh, feminism or anything. And that’s unfortunate, but it’s not really a problem either. Actually, Jonathan Holmes did a great post on Destructoid where he interviewed Jessica Nigri as Juliet and wrote quite a bit about the central ideas of objectification in the game. Give it a read.

Okay, I’m well over 1000 words so let’s wrap this up: Lollipop Chainsaw is AWESOME. Go play it. Or not! It’s up to you! This is just how I feel about it, you may think differently.

Regardless, you gotta admit, with the way the gaming industry is these days, we should be thankful there are still dudes like Suda51 who do things differently. That man is my hero. RESPECT.

[Brett]

You swapped spit with everyone I know

It feels so good to be back in action, doing comic stuff. I mentioned that stupid slump I was in, right? I went into detail about it over on the Other Sleep blog shortly before I got chapter 3 online and...oh crap, I never announced that over here, did I?

That's right! A week or two before I went to HeroesCon I put chapter 3 online! GO READ IT NOW. Or um, wait until you're done reading this post, at least?

Ahem. Anyways. Yes, I was in a slump, and the trip to HeroesCon really helped to pull me out of it, inspire me, and get me back on my feet and making comics for YOUR enjoyment. I confess that chapter 4 of Other Sleep is going to be late, BUT I've got other things coming down the pipeline! For instance, I am PRINTING chapter 1 of Other Sleep for Rob-Con! I'm polishing things off and figuring out what to do for the back 4 pages, inside cover, and back cover, but I'll be putting the order out for it soon. And oh hey, what's this?


GASP! Is that what I think it is? YES. It's the logo for Burst Reach 2, which I've been slaving away at all this week! I'll be getting it finished up and printed this weekend, then I'll be bringing them with me to Rob-Con next month on the 21st! I'll be doing it the same way I did the first one last year, printing it myself, getting copies made, and folding and stapling them myself. Had I mentioned that I purchased a long reach stapler one night earlier this year on a night that I couldn't sleep? Well, I did.

Yes, I'm taking two different approaches in getting two different books printed and put together. Other Sleep is a full-color comic, and it's my real professional effort, so going through a professional printer to get it right is easily the best option. On the other hand, Burst Reach is a lo-fi minicomic anthology that's MEANT to be cheap and handmade like a punk zine or those pamphlets that crazy street preachers occasionally hand out.

(quick aside: I was once handed a Bible on campus at ETSU, and in exchange I gave the guy a copy of Burst Reach. Fair trade?)

Another reason I'm making Burst Reach 2 in that fashion is influence from my friend Sterlin, whose Pizza Flag Books you should be familiar with if you've been on this site for a while. Last week before I left for Heroes, a Nashville all-girl punk band called Heavy Cream put on a free show downtown, which was put together by Sterlin. It made me happy to see when I got there that he had a table set up selling copies not only of his own Museum For Dead Clowns zine, but Eye Alive vol. 1 (I FINALLY GOT A COPY), a NEW zine of his own called Irony & Whine, and a zine by another friend called Tune Out. I greedily snatched these up. He's also been selling copies of Burst Reach for me. It's just...man, zines are just the coolest things ever, you know?

OH. And I did this poster for that very show:
 It makes me happy knowing that they sold out there. Sterlin did a pretty sweet poster too, which also sold out.

Um...now I forgot what I was talking about? Yeah, Burst Reach is my punk comix zine thing, while Other Sleep is a little more high-quality. But I still love both and I'm putting all I've got into them.

And have no fears, that Distinguished Gentlemen/Exciting Tales! collection is progressing as well! And I'll be doing a cover for Eye Alive vol. 2 for Sterlin and contributing to the guts of the book too. I don't think I'll be doing a new comic this go around, but I still want to do something cool...You'll see.

Aaaaannnnnd I think that's it for now. BACK TO MAKING COMICS.

[Brett]

Southern Fried Batman

So HeroesCon was this weekend, and I teamed up with a couple of friends and went down to Charlotte for three days of comics and crowds and other fun stuff.

Things worked out so damn conveniently for us. I had originally wanted a hotel downtown, close to the convention center, but we opted instead for a significantly cheaper LaQuinta Inn by the airport. Friday and Saturday, we were shuttled for free from the hotel to the lightrail station and rode the train straight to the con. Maybe it wasn't much quicker, but it was certainly cheaper and more interesting, especially the guy who drove us back to the hotel from the station talking about extra terrestrial intelligence and stuff.

I got. So much. Stuff. And I met so many artists whose work I've enjoyed over the years. I'm not even sure where to begin, man.

Out of my rather large list of people I wanted to see, Geof Darrow was absolutely one of the top five. He was the first person I looked for on the show floor after a quick stop by Becky Cloonan's table, which I had just happened to notice while on the way. I bought a Godzilla print from him, got my copy of Hard Boiled signed, and talked to him about Bojangles, KFC, and the weird orgy that was taking place at the beginning of the comic. The next day, he did a panel with Don Rosa, and I asked him about any future plans for the Shaolin Cowboy. Awesomely, there's an old-school pulp magazine called the Shaolin Cowboy Adventures that'll be coming out this year! YES! He also kept rambling about some weird Japanese manga about an island of vampires that make people piss themselves and stuff. I love that man to death.

The two coolest artists I met over the weekend were Michel Fiffe and Paul Maybury. Both of these guys were a part of the LiveJournal comics group Act-I-Vate years ago, which I was a pretty big fan of. Funny thing was, it wasn't until I saw them there and started talking to them that I realized how big of a part that group and their work played in my comics sensibilities. Both of them were incredibly nice, and I bought more from them than I did from any of the other guys.

I also met James Harren, whose recent work on BPRD and Abe Sapien has been mind-blowingly awesome. I freaked out looking through the original pages of the Long Death, and when I told him I wished I had brought one of his books to sign, he generously pulled out a Mignola variant issue of BPRD, signed it, and handed it to me for free.

Other folks I met: Becky Cloonan, Ben Templesmith, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Bodenheim, Mike Mignola himself, Bill Sienkiewicz, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robbi Rodriguez, and probably some other guys I've embarrassingly forgotten. I gave most of them copies of Burst Reach too. I was afraid that some of them would turn me down or just shove it aside, but quite a number of them seemed really gracious and interested in what I was doing.

Meeting these artists, giving them my own book, and looking at their own work and seeing what all they've accomplished was so amazing and invigorating. These past few weeks I've been in this stupid slump, so down on my own work and struggling to maintain some kind of motivation to continue working on Other Sleep, and this con was absolutely the kick in the ass that I needed. Now I'm just absolutely pumped to start working on more stuff.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:
The panel with Dustin Harbin and Scott Campbell was incredible. Only 5 or 6 people showed up for it, so we all sat right up front, making for a rather "intimate" panel that was a blast. It was absolutely the best panel I attended that weekend.

Our hotel was dog-friendly, and Saturday night there were a number of the beasts and their lazy owners hanging around the pool, which was kind of weird. The hot tub wasn't terribly hot or even remotely bubbly, so all in all it was a little surreal and a little mundane. Still, can't complain too much, we paid just over 50 bucks each between the three of us for two nights there.

Stan Lee was there, and I caught a little glimpse of him from a distance. I think Trey and David got some blurry, distant photos of him. He wasn't looking too great, but apparently at his Sunday panel he actually RAN up to the stage and can still really work a crowd, so maybe he was just...conserving his energy?

I saw wayyyyyy too many Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and guys in Captain America shield shirts. The cosplay all around wasn't much to be amazed at. I got molested by a Tusken Raider at the 501st booth immediately after walking into the con on Friday, and kept stumbling upon a pretty amazing Silk Spectre. I think Dr. McNinja was there Saturday, which was badass, and he was walking around with Axe Cop too! I also bumped into a guy carrying Tom Servo around, and kicked myself for not getting a picture. There were two large t-shirt booths set up, and they seemed to be getting a lot of business, but the only shirts I bought were from Michel Fiffe (the one pictured above) and Paul Maybury.

We saw some TV show in the hotel room with Betty White and a bunch of other elderly folks called Off Their Rockers. It was a prank show that was...honestly kind of awesome, but pretty terrible at the same time.

Hm. I think that's it. I'm still really sore and tired from all the damn walking we did, so I'm gonna go relax and go through the insane number of comics I bought, yeah? I definitely plan on going next year, and might even try to get a table for myself. I just don't know if I can stand up to some of the awesome talent there...

...Oh crap, I gotta prepare for next month's Rob-Con!

[Brett]

"We were so wrong"

I’ve seen Prometheus twice, which is more than most people will probably bother with it sadly, and I have to say I have never been so blown away and yet so frustrated by a movie in quite some time. The first time was pretty difficult for me, so many little things were getting on my nerves, mostly regarding the characters and their behavior, but after thinking on it, reading other people’s thoughts online, and watching it again, I have to say things made a bit more sense and didn’t get on my nerves nearly as much.

So here, in no particular order, are some of my spoiler-heavy thoughts on the movie.

The dome with the face on it is from one of HR Giger’s unused concepts from Jodorowsky’s 1970’s attempt at filming Dune. That put a huge smile on my face.

The spacesuits: I want one. I think they look exactly like something Enki Bilal would design, though comparisons to Wally Wood’s EC comics work are also apt. Sean Witzke pointed out their similarities to the suits from Planet of the Vampires, which I also greatly enjoy. Really, practically everything about the design work of the movie and even the way Ridley Scott shot it just screams Heavy Metal to me. I seriously wish more sci fi films looked this good.

I’m really glad they managed to bring out the same creepy, uncomfortable rape-y vibe from the original Alien. It’s not quite as heavily laden with phallic symbols and vaginal openings, but it’s still there.

The pacing is interesting. The first bulk of the movie is just discovery and awe, then BAM, dudes start getting killed, weird shit starts happening all at once, and the pace just jacks up and it turns into a relentless beast of a movie. That bothered the hell out of me the first time I watched it, but now I enjoy it for switching gears like that, just outright fucking with audience expectations in a way.

The black goo: I like the theory that the way it works depends on who’s exposed to it. The Engineer at the beginning of the movie is ripped apart at a molecular level in order to create life on…whatever planet that was. It’s a similar situation with Holloway, I think, only it’s not as quick because he only ingested a single drop of it. Both had good intentions. Fifeld turns into a monster because…well, I guess because he’s kind of a douche. As for all those Engineer corpses…I’m still not sure.

A few bits are straight out of 2001: the hanging spacesuits, David saying “I know we’ve had our differences,” and the way zombie-Fifeld was bashing people to death and running around the way the apes did.

Once you realize that Vickers is Weyland’s daughter, everything she was doing up to that point in the movie makes sense. She wants her father dead so she can inherit everything, and she despises David because Weyland views him as the superior “sibling.” Having David call her “mum” I think is a part of that, something to deal with an inferiority complex she has. She’s also impatient about leaving the planet because she doesn’t want them to find anything that could prove her father right and ruin her chances of taking over. The medical pod is calibrated only for men because it actually belongs to Weyland. This illustrates that he’s a selfish bastard (he probably used it simply to keep himself alive for so long), and is also evidence that Vickers wants what her father has, all for herself.

David’s motives are never clear, and I don’t think they’re supposed to be. What you’re supposed to notice is the simple fact that a damn robot even has an agenda and feelings of  his own. He despises Weyland and Vickers ("doesn't everyone want to kill their parents?"), the way they consider themselves superior to him, and he dislikes Holloway for the same reasons. It’s not like he knew Holloway would get Shaw pregnant or anything, he was just curious as to what the black goo does to a human being and picked him as the guinea pig. Finding out that Shaw was pregnant with some wicked creature has little to do with any plan he might’ve had, I think he’s just happy that he himself indirectly created life, something that only gods or other living beings should be able to do. I’m starting to think he might have a god complex or something, based on his belief that he’s better than humanity, and that’s possibly what drives him to behave the way he does.

I wonder just how much this film connects with Lawrence of Arabia, aside from it being David’s favorite film. I think the key to figuring out David’s motivations might have something to do with that film, especially that line that he repeats: “the trick is not minding that it hurts.”

 

I loved the music. I mean, well, I wouldn’t buy the soundtrack and listen to it, but it feels so much more old fashioned than what a traditional film score is these days. It’s no Jerry Goldsmith, no, but it reminds me so much of older movies in a good way.

The ending: Am I really the only one who realized that the giant squid thing was some kind of proto-facehugger? I mean, everyone online just calls it a squid or Cthulhu or something, but I’ve never seen anyone point out that it LOOKS JUST LIKE A FACEHUGGER. Except, you know, big.

I’m hoping for an even better director’s cut when it comes out on DVD, with loads of special features. I really think it’s this generation’s Blade Runner, and a really big director’s cut would support that a lot, considering Ridley Scott’s track record and the fact that he’s mentioned in interviews all of this stuff that was cut out of the movie…

[Brett]

My god, it's full of stars

(wasn't even a damn line in the movie)

When I was a little kid, I always enjoyed shutting my eyes, like really tight, and watching the…I still don’t know what it’s called. The after-effects of light? The weird colored shapes that play across your eyelids. I would watch them slowly diminish, thinking they were germs or something. I distinctly remember one time, playing hide and seek in a classroom in elementary school, and my head was resting against a wall, eyes shut tight, and as I was counting, I was watching these…they looked like islands, and the way they moved across my eyelids made it seem like I was flying.

Then, years later, in the ninth grade I saw 2001 for the first time. Well, not all of it. I was flipping channels and I caught the word “INTERMISSION” on TCM, and I stopped, transfixed by that Futura font and the haunting music. I didn’t take my eyes off the TV until the end of the movie, and when it was over, I felt changed.

It was the Star Gate sequence in particular, the dazzling lights, that ever-present haunting music with the pitch steadily rising, the blink-and-you-miss-it frozen shots of Dave as it appears that his mind is SHATTERING, just like mine was while watching. And then you see those solarized landscapes, all blues and greens and oranges. The camera passing over canyons and valleys…and islands.

It’s like deja fucking vu. But I have no memory of ever seeing the movie before. It’s weird.

And it still gets to me to this day. I mean, I’m always hypnotized by Kubrick’s films, but 2001 is possibly the closest I’ll ever get to doing mind-altering drugs, more so than anything David Lynch or Alejandro Jodorowsky could ever shoot. And once it hits Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite, I can’t blink, I can’t breathe, my hands are always pulled up to my chest, gripping my shirt tightly.

I usually never think to mention the movie whenever I’m listing my favorite films, sci fi or otherwise, and I’m not sure why, because there isn’t any other movie out there that makes me feel the way 2001 does…

[Brett]

No romance please

I have been busy. I'm nearly finished drawing chapter 3 of Other Sleep, and I'm deep into flatting/coloring it as well. I've got someone interested in me doing some drawings for a thing they're writing, I'm doing a flyer for a local show, and I've got to plan a photoshoot for a friend. STUFF IS HAPPENING.

Not to mention those collections I keep putting off on working on, and planning that trip to Heroes Con next summer.

I'm afraid I don't have anything terribly new to show you guys right now. HOWEVER. That comic I did at the end of 2011, Zimmik Looks For Love in a Barren Land, is finally online and you can go read it in the comics gallery. I was waiting until my friend printed the anthology book that it was for. Here's the first page:

Lots of weird semi-emo stuff and nudity in this one, yeah.

Oh, and here's a quick thing I threw together last week as a bit of a test/experiment:
 That's it. Back to work.

[Brett]