Adventures at Comic Con Part 1. Spoilerific Batman: Dark Knight review with a Batman drawing. Close call with the Orphan Bill.
THE SIMPSONS NEWS
EDIT: (Okay, I’m keep the original post up but we are no longer accepting suggestions. Thank you all who participated. Hopefully some of your suggestions will be used when the show airs.)
Okay, so I guess this will be my last post reminding you about helping out the show. See the post: Calling all Simpsons fans, the show needs your help. Nethack and other Rogue type games for more details. This week, production began looking for the clips to put in the animatic. Luckily we had some suggestions from people inside the studio that we can work with (I made sure Josh Lama’s suggestion was in the pile they took with them). Once we are done with the first pencil test pass of the show, we’ll get to see how well the gag works . We won’t be done with that until sometime late next month.
Been working hard, getting my scenes done this week. I’m doing pretty well actually.
Usually, the week after Comic Con, (more on that below) everyone is talking about the Con and we all show each other our loot. Not so much this year. My friend Tommy did give me a copy of an artist’s sketchbook that he bought there and ended up not liking the drawings in it as much as he thought he would. I was happy because it so happens I almost bought that very book, but ended up changing my mind at the last minute. Cool.
COMIC CON 2008
Went to Comic Con last Thursday. Been looking forward to it for a while. I was hoping to have a very inspired day, like I did last year. I packed up a lunch, a bottle of water, took my back pack and I left my house at around 7:00am so I could be there around 8 or 9. I live about two hours away from San Diego. For the first time since I’ve been going, I took the 15 fwy south instead of the 5 fwy south. The biggest reason for this decision was because I live closer to the 15 fwy so it was more convenient. It was interesting. A little more scenic than I anticipated. Although I missed the hour and a half long view of the beach you get when you drive down on the 5 fwy (it’s purdy).
The Con doors opened at 9:30am. Got to San Diego around 9:00am. Parking, as usual, was a pain in the butt. Luckily, I was able to find the place I parked in last time easily enough. The fifteen dollars I payed to park there was like a punch in the gut though. Still, I was paying for the convenience of not going around for an hour looking for parking. I got out of the car and headed for the convention center. Didn’t take long before I was passing by stormtroopers and pirates, while trying to avoid the ninja turtles that where passing out fliers on the side walk. That’s when I realized that, once again, I had forgotten my camera. I’ve yet to remember to bring it. Lucky for me, my phone has a dissent camera so I took it out and prepared to take pictures. Unfortunately by the time I did so, I was stuck in the middle of an enormous mob of wall to wall people. It would have been great to have taken a picture of it but, since I was smack in the center, I couldn’t get a good shot of it without it looking like only a small handful of heads. The mob was there because it was attempting to cross the street to get to the Convention Center. After traffic cops herded us all across the street like a bunch of cattle, I finally made it to the Convention center.
As you can see. There were quite a few people already there and the Convention hadn’t officially opened yet. I managed to find the professional’s pre-registration area so I could get my badge to get in. Unlike last year, I actually remembered to pre-register. Last year it took me two hours in line to get my badge and I had to pay. This time, it took about five minutes and it was free. YAY!
After waiting ten minutes, it became 9:30, the Con was officially opened and we were let in.
Once again, as it always does, I got overwhelmed by the Con. I found myself just about right in the middle and I had to decide which direction I should go to start my trek down every aisle.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a good panoramic shot of the Con for the above picture because I wasn’t thinking of making a panoramic shot. I’ll just say that, if you want to know what the other side you don’t see looks like, it’s just as endless as the side you do see.
I picked a side and I was on my way. The side I started in made me feel as if I’d suddenly gone to the wrong Con. I thought I was at E3 instead. It was all video games there. Lots of video games that will be coming out soon. I didn’t stay long. Most of the video games I saw, didn’t interest me much. A few of the cinematic videos of the games where really nice thought. They really caught my eye. The Warhammer Fantasy MMO video, for example, looked awesome. Why don’t they make CG movies like that?
In any case, I walked up and down the aisles for an hour or so when I finally came up to the Stuart Ng booth (the one with all the European comics) where I got inspired last year. I looked around and was horribly disappointed that I found nothing at all that caught my eye. That’s never happened before, and I left the booth pretty sad.
…nothing caught my eye in any of the rest of the aisles either, until I got to the center of the Con. That’s where all the big flashy shinny booths are. Lots of fun stuff to see there.
First, I happened to discover that someone just happened to have dropped an Iron Monger suit. It was just sitting there and no one was claiming it so I thought I’d take it. Problem is that the thing was too big to carry and when I tried to get into it, I found it to be trickier then I thought. .
Disappointed I walked on. Then I saw that, once again, someone had accidentally dropped a James Bond car in the middle of the Con. So again, I thought, since no one was claiming it, I’d take it home, but there was no keys in the ignition, so my plans were crushed.
That’s when I heard the Hulk yell at me. He was angry because he said I was trying to “steal thing”. I told him it was “finders keeper” if someone dropped things and didn’t claim them. He got angry at me. You don’t want to see him when he’s angry.
So I had a few more adventures at the Con with some other superheroes and a few Star Wars characters, but I think I’ll save that for next week.
TO BE CONTINUED…
WARNING: The following review of the new Batman movie contains spoilers. I really couldn’t talk about this movie without doing so. It has too many interesting moral things in it that I wanted to talk about. So if you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want it spoiled, please do not continue reading. You have been warned.
I saw the movie Batman the Dark Knight on Wednesday of last week. Overall I liked the movie. It felt like a modern Batman comic book instead of what people think Batman comic books are like. It was very smart and I liked the moral dilemmas presented to the characters through out the movie. One thing that all superhero movies should do is exactly that (have big moral dilemmas). Superhero stories are best when they are morality plays (like Westerns and Samurai movies). I don’t know why people making superhero movies don’t get that. The first Superman movie would have been much much better if they had left Lois Lane dead. Turning the world backwards in time was a total cop out. Same with the first Spiderman movie. Mary Jane or a bus full of kids? I’LL SAVE THEM BOTH, TA DA! Stupid, very very stupid and shallow too. When this Batman movie presented a similar dilemma, it did it right. I was happy with that. There has been a consistent depth to the latest two Batman movies that I’ve really enjoyed.
The Joker was finally done right. He was just like the comic book Joker. About time! Heath Ledger was great in the role. I don’t know how they could possibly cast another person to play the part. That’s going to be tricky. He was really great.
Great action in the movie, great cast. I liked Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, he came across as very heroic. I hope that Two Face isn’t dead. He was very cool (in a bad guy way). Having the Joker “create” him was a very interesting take.
There is so much to like about the movie. It’s great. You can sit down and analyze the movie and get a lot out of it.
The Movie also brings up a very interesting point about Batman. Is Batman an effective hero? According to the movie, he is not. His use of fear and violence to solve problems doesn’t actually help the city, it merely causes more fear and violence. I will say this though, at least they finally made a Batman movie where Batman doesn’t kill the villain. That’s something I hated about the Tim Burton Batman movie. In that movie Batman murders the Joker, which of course makes him just as bad as the Joker. Not in this new movie. They get Batman right…well…almost.
Having liked so much of it, I did have issues. Some of these issues where clarified after I talked about the movie with some friends of mine at work. I thought the movie felt long. A friend of mine thought this was because it was not written and edited cleanly enough. It wasn’t a lean movie. I’m not sure if I agree with him though. I would need to watch it again to make sure. I personally think that part of the reason it felt long was that it had a very unconventional structure. I don’t know how many Acts the story had but sometime midway through the movie, every time one ended and another Act began, it felt like the movie should have ended there. As a viewer, you never had the ability to anticipate the movie’s end and it made the movie feel really long. Again, I think repeat viewings of the movie might fix this problem.
Okay, now for my biggest problem with the movie. I propose to you that the movie was pretty much about the hope there is in all people to do the right thing. In spite of the fact that through out the movie, many people fell into the Jokers “morality traps” and chose to do an evil in order to produce a good (which is a BIG no no). In the climactic “morality trap” of the movie, the people of Gotham on the boats ended up doing the right thing. This showed the Joker that the people of Gotham are not animals but humans capable of making good moral choices. If that’s the case, why throw it all out the window in the last five minutes of the movie? What I mean to say is, why didn’t Batman and Commissioner Gordon have any faith in the people of Gotham when they found out the “truth” about Harvey Dent? Especially since only a few minutes before, the people of Gotham proved they could face dire circumstances with flying colors. It seemed really forced and unnecessary. Not only that, but the movie did a lousy job of making you feel that Harvey Dent was seen as a great hero by the people of Gotham. The characters kept, telling us he was, but never actually showed it (like they did with Batman and Gordon’s son). So not only did it feel forced to me, but then they added insult to injury by scandalizing Batman and Gordon by having them lie to the public. To me, story wise, it came across as if Batman and the Joker had exactly the same view of humanity. Are the people of Gotham so weak? They live in Gotham for goodness sakes! Out all the places to live, that city should produce the strongest of people.
Did the Joker win in the end? I would propose to you that the answer is, “yes” but not for the reasons the movie itself gives. I propose that the Joker would not have won if the heroes would have had faith in the people of Gotham to deal with the truth. Since the Joker managed to break the heroes’ faith in people completely, they chose to compromise their virtue and decided to deceive everyone. This is suppose to make Batman seem heroic and tragic. I propose that when the situation is looked at objectively, without the dramatic musical montage and voice over, it just makes Batman, look like he wants to be a martyr, just to be a martyr. “Oh look at me, I’m such a tragic hero.” This guy has major psychological issues. I didn’t buy it. It didn’t work for me.
Obviously, the reason they ended the movie that way, was just so that they had an established conflict for the start of the next movie. They could have come up with something more consistent to the story of the movie than that.
Okay, that’s my rant. Still, I trully loved the movie. I just left the theater very angry because of those last five minutes. I think I left the movie theater far more energized and excited after seeing Ironman, in spite of the fact that Ironman was nowhere near as smart and wore it’s themes on it’s sleeve. But then, the Batman movie was not meant to fill you with happiness and joy. It was meant to be a great morality play.
Yesterday the Orphan Bill was almost Hotlined. Luckily enough people called their Senator and put the Bill on Hold temporarily. I received the following e-mail explaining what happened:
FROM THE ILLUSTRATORS’ PARTNERSHIP
Senate Orphan Works Bill Put “on Hold”
We’ve just received word that the Senate bill has been put “on hold.” In fact, there appear to be multiple holds on it. Senators who “hold” hotlined bills do not have to identify themselves nor give their reasons for holding it. Holds are temporary. We don’t know how many of you contacted your Senators on such short notice this afternoon, but many, many thanks to all of you who responded so rapidly.
Most people are unaware of the process called hotlining. In the past it was used to pass non-controversial legislation, but increasingly, it’s being used to pass bills whose sponsors don’t want to see debate. An excellent article in Roll Call explains the process. Here’s an excerpt:
Senate conservatives are upset that the leaders of both parties in the chamber have in recent years increasingly used a practice known as “hotlining” bills – previously used to quickly move noncontroversial bills or simple procedural motions – to pass complex and often costly legislation, in some cases with little or no public debate. The increase was particularly noticeable just before the August recess, when leaders hotlined more than 150 bills, totaling millions of dollars in new spending, in a period of less than a week.
The practice has led to complaints from Members and watchdog groups alike that lawmakers are essentially signing off on legislation neither they nor their staff have ever read…
In order for a bill to be hotlined, the The two leaders then inform Members of this agreement using special hotlines installed in each office and give Members a specified amount of time to object – in some cases as little as 15 minutes. If no objection is registered, the bill is passed. and Minority Leader must agree to pass it by unanimous consent, without a roll-call vote.
– From ‘Hotlined’ Bills Spark Concern
By John Stanton, Roll Call Staff
September 17, 2007
To read the full article, go to: http://tinyurl.com/3p8x2u
This is the second time the Senate Orphan Works bill has been hotlined this summer. The previous hotline came on June 5, the same week artists descended on Washington to urge lawmakers to oppose this controversial bill. The bill was put on hold that time too.
Since bills can be hotlined without prior notice, we’ll all have to stay vigilant throughout the rest of this legislative session. Thanks again to all of you who responded so quickly.
Over 60 organizations, representing more than 250,000 creators, are united in opposing these bills in their current form. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.
Read the list: http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00273
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