Safari Honeymoon

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Safari-Honeymoon_4I recently read a comic that I have been thinking a lot about. Its called Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs, and its among the best that I have read for a long while.

The fine folks over at 11 O’clock Comics recommended it on their podcast a few weeks back, and I decided get a copy. Especially when I saw the artwork, which is pretty straight forward line work and fields of color. Simple colors. Black, white and shades of green… and those colors and shapes really helped make the story even more powerful.

Maybe these are spoilers (I don’t mind spoilers and its hard for me to tell for sure) so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing then maybe don’t read any further, just pick up the book :) Anyway, this is kind of a reverse Garden of Eden story. Instead of the man and woman being thrust out of a garden paradise, the couple in this book leave the complexity of the modern world and go back into nature.

But the nature they return to for their Safari Honeymoon is pretty damn brutal and threatening. Maybe it was written that way to illustrate how the modern mind tends to see nature as a threatening place? Of course nature can be a wild and threatening for sure, but in Honeymoon Safari, every leaf will poison, every animal will attack, even the air is filled with bacteria that will possess and control the mind and body of its host. This exists in nature, but because it is so apparent in Safari Honeymoon, it really enhances the point of the story.

Not a big deal but I’ll admit, and probably silly to even mention since “safari” is part of the title, but that sorta brutality did kinda bug me. Even though it is cartoon-ie and all, the guns and violence kinda bothered me. Even though the animals and plants are weird geometric shapes for the most part, I still liked them and they had personality. I didn’t want them to get shot, even if they were ready to eat or poison the peeps. But the cartoon violence was necessary and also enhanced the point of the story. And they are on safari so I guess that is part of it… plus it was also nice to see the modern Adam & Eve leave civilization behind and go back to this strange Garden.

A little side tangent, but something I was thinking on after I finished the book… Its pretty obvious that nature feeds on itself in order to survive. Animals (including people) feed on other animals. Plants and bugs feed on the corpse that is left behind. Rocks, rivers and wind grind it all into dust. And that dust feeds the plants, which feed the animals. I understand all this, and even see it as beautiful. But I chose to become a vegetarian a long time ago because I do think it is ugly how far our modern culture has taken it. Or how far removed from it we are is probably a better way of saying it. At this point, seems to me, we usually live outside of that natural cycle. I do think it is natural for people to eat meat, but I don’t think the way we farm it is correct or ethical at all, which is probably the main reason why I became a vegetarian. Now, I know being vegetarian doesn’t let me off the hook at all. I’m sure there are many other beliefs and behaviors I maintain just because I was trained to think they are okay due to the social contract I was born into. Anyway, even with my diet I could also do more and only eat renewable fruits and leafy plants. Maybe I could become a master yogi and survive on air. But truth is, I am pretty happy with my diet and choices. I’m at peace with them. And at least I’m not eating anonymous and (way way way too often) mistreated animals. Probably sounds funny, but the way nature was portrayed in this book made me reflect on my choice to become a vegetarian. And upon reflection, I still think it was and is the right choice for me.

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The Flash

Flash

This post is dedicated to Finn and Jake, because I saw so much of them this weekend in downtown Salt Lake among all of the other comic-book fans crawling around the city. I just think they may be the ones who appreciate and understand why I have my Flash tattoos.

When I was a kid of about 9 or 10, I liked to run everywhere. I imagined I was fast as hell too. It didn’t last forever (ha!), but yeah, I loved to run. My family lived in Taipei back then, and partly because that was (and is) a very populated and dense place I imagined that the crowds of people were amazed at how fast I was going… but I knew I had lives to save (and taxis to get run over by, but that is another story…)

I also loved comic books back then, and the Flash was the perfect hero to satisfy both of my interests. I mean, I’d make costumes for all sorts of heroes out of paper-bags, but I loved the Flash so much that my mom actually had a seamstress make me my very own orange Flash outfit (pictured above).

As I got older the Flash just became a fond memory, and I had to retire and put away the costume. Years later, when I was in my mid-to-late 20s, my mom had the costume framed (also pictured above) and gave it to me for Christmas. Made me very happy, and I hae had it hanging on my wall ever since. Even though time has turned me into the slowest man alive to be sure, I may need to come out of retirement someday and that costume’ll come in handy.

Anyway, over time I came to understand that I needed to get a Flash tattoo to commemorate these fond memories. It wasn’t until just a couple of years ago, but I finally had the Flash flash put on my left ankle by the lovely Sarah De Azevedo of Oni Tattoo. But I wasn’t quite done yet, because I wanted to celebrate Flash dualism by getting the Black Flash chasing the Flash around my ankle. There probably isn’t room for Professor Zoom or Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick

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The Celestials

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The Celestials

Celestial Gardener

Celestial Gardener

So, I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I was heading out soon to see Groot & Co. in their movie debut, Guardians of the Galaxy. Such a great movie, and I keep thinking about it…

I guess I should say that this here post may contain spoilers. Its hard for me to tell for sure what others might consider spoilers, because I kinda like it when people spoil movies. Ha! Weird, I’m sure, but true.

Anyway, what I have been thinking about the most is The Celestials. Although their appearance in the film was short but sweet, it was so damn good to see them there, and something I never expected. I never thought I’d see one of Marvel’s Celestials in a movie.

Knowhere

Knowhere

I was probably first introduced to The Celestials way back in Thor 300. I think I’ve written about it before, but I love that comic so much I’ve had it since I was 9 or 10, and the Celestials are a big reason why. I may have lost pretty much every other comic I’ve ever owned, but I still have Thor 300. It was probably that comic that introduced me to all of Marvel Cosmic, and I’ve loved it all ever since.

Although I think they are being used a bit more in modern Marvel titles, when I was growing up seeing a Celestial was kind of like seeing Bigfoot or something. It was very rare and pretty special.

2213199-combine003Probably my very favorite Celestial related comic series though would be Earth X. Again, spoilers (on a 15+ year old book) but the idea put forward there was fantastic. Galactus comes to devour and destroy the earth because it is a Celestial egg and Galactus wants to destroy the threat before it is hatched. Although it wasn’t part of the Earth X story, I also loved how the Celestials basically were what started life on earth, according to their mythology. And they would come back every few hundred thousand years to check on earth’s progress and evolution. Cool stuff to blow my pre-teenage mind, ha!

Anyway, I just wanted to write about how happy I was to see the Celestial movie stars

 

Marvel Cosmic

Marvel Cosmic

The Destroyer VS. The Celestials

The Destroyer VS. The Celestials

Galactus VS Celestial

Galactus VS Celestial

Thor VS Celestial

Thor VS Celestial

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I am Groot!

"Oak Tree" - David Inshaw

“Oak Tree” – by David Inshaw

Off to see Groot and Company later today. Trees are such good buddies!

"Landscape with Two Figures" - by Pablo Picasso

“Landscape with Two Figures” – by Pablo Picasso

Egyptianizing figures on either side of a tree with a winged disk - 8th–7th century b.c. Neo–Assyrian Mesopotamia, Nimrud

Egyptianizing figures on either side of a tree with a winged disk – 8th–7th century b.c. Neo–Assyrian Mesopotamia, Nimrud

"The Druid's Grove- Norbury Park Ancient Yew Trees" by Thomas Allom

“The Druid’s Grove- Norbury Park Ancient Yew Trees” by Thomas Allom

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

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by Piero Ciafferi

by Piero Ciafferi

"Three Figures Under a Tree" by Pablo Picasso

“Three Figures Under a Tree” by Pablo Picasso

"Alchemy Tree"

“Alchemy Tree”

"Adam and Eve standing on either side of the tree of knowledge with the serpent" by Albrecht Dürer

“Adam and Eve standing on either side of the tree of knowledge with the serpent” by Albrecht Dürer

"Grey Tree" by Piet Mondrian

“Grey Tree” by Piet Mondrian

"I am Groot?"

“I am Groot?”

Mindscapes, Talking with Gods, and Captured Ghosts

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I still love ‘em, but I have fallen far behind on my comic book reading this last year or so. I still try to keep up with B.P.R.D, Jonathan Hickman’s Avenger stuff, and a few others… but yeah, not sure I am doing the best job keeping up with it all.

One thing I like to do while I draw though is have a documentary playing. I’ve seen some really good comic related documentaries these last few weeks and, because the San Diego Comic Con always makes me follow comic books a little more closely and news coming out ‘o there keeps them on my mind, I thought I’d blog about those documentaries.

The first film, and my favorite, is called The Mindscape of Alan Moore. This is an auto-biography where Moore’s talks about growing up in Northampton, breaking into comics, his characters and stories, and his philosophies. I bought this program years ago, but it is a favorite and I go back and watch it again from time to time. Alan Moore is probably best know for his comic Watchmen, but is it his comics creations like Swamp Thing, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Birth Caul & Snakes and Ladders, Promethea, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and many others (along with his novel Voice of the Fire) that have made him one of my very favorite writers in comics.

talkingwithgodsThe next documentary would be Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods, which covers Morrison’s pretty strange but interesting life, his interest in sigil and chaos magic, and the inspiration behind his work. I love Morrison’s comic, The Invisibles, so that was another good reason for me to watch. He also wrote other favorites like All-Star Superman, Animal Man, Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery, and The New X-Men.

2full500And finally, there was Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts. I am a fan of Ellis’, and enjoyed this interview style film. His creation Planetary ranks up there among my favorite comics ever.  But Ellis also created fantastic books like Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, and worked on another favorite, Hellblazer.

Anyway, I love to hear what inspires creative people, listen to their insights and world-views, and see how strange they can be. All of these documentaries are well worth your time.

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www.grant-morrison.com

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Jodorowsky’s Dune

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Frank Herbert‘s Dune is definitively up there among my favorite books of all time. I mean, I know there are a whole lot of people love these books, but I do too!

Over the years we’ve all been teased with film adaptations of Dune, but they’ve never turn out all that well. To be fair, I guess there have only been a couple film adaptations as far as I know, but both kind of suck.

Well, I watched a documentary this week called Jodorowsky’s Dune. It was a pretty good film about what director Alejandro Jodorowsky had planned in the ’70s for his adaptation of Dune… about the the Dune movie that was never made.

Like I say, the film was pretty damn good. What interested me the most was seeing how much goes into getting a film made (or not made, in this case). Writing the script, drawing the storyboards, creating set designs, putting music together, interfacing with the studio. Crazy crazy time consuming.

Who knows, Jodorowsky may have been the one who made a Dune movie worth seeing. I’m really not too sure about the changes he had planned for the story, but I do know he had some very talented people working on the project with him. With the late great Mœbius working on the film’s storyboards (which, my goodness, I’d love to own the hardbound storyboard drawings shown in the documentary!), H.R. Giger (of Alien fame) working on the sets, Salvador Dali hired on as an actor, and Pink Floyd planning on scoring the music (this right after finishing their masterpiece, The Dark Side Of The Moon)… well, it is had to see how any project could go wrong with talent like that working with ya.

But it did go wrong I guess, because the film was never made. But this documentary about the unmade film was made, and I liked it.