Sunday, January 27, 2013

Graphic novel review

supergirl is nearly as famous as her cousin, the man of steel, but her origin isn't necessarily as well known. while having a similar background and nearly identical powers as superman, supergirl is a different type of hero altogether. actually, the truth is the maid of might isn't even sure she wants to be a hero. what writers michael green and mike johnson with artist, mahmud asrar, set out to do with their first volume of stories for the new Supergirl series is take readers on kara zor-el's journey of self discovery in the most formative years of any teenager's life.

the first thing one will notice is the exceptionally stylized and kinetic artwork. not only does asrar have a knack for designing futuristic sci-fi inspired technology or weapons, but he can poignantly bring such great emotion to characters through facial expression and body language. as an art teacher i've often used, Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton, as an example for various lessons. it should be mentioned that the book's artist did not redesign the god-awful costume of supergirl. i don't necessarily mind the high collar of her cape or knee-less thigh high boots, but the red triangle over her crotch seems inappropriate even for a girl from another planet, tacky even.

green and johnson start an exciting story right away and introduce a new foe's forces that continue to plague supergirl later in SLDoK. the first chapter is frantic and fast-paced to fully express kara's initial confusion and fear that follows as she discovers she's on a planet she's never heard of dressed in a uniform awarded to 'graduates'. kara is clearly a young woman who is bright and intelligent, but not always as responsible as her parents' would hope. basically, kara is a very human girl emotionally and instantly relatable. what perhaps sets this supergirl apart from other past versions of the superheroine is that she's determined to stand on her own. supergirl rejects superman's help, quickly realizing she's in a greater predicament than she imagined when she begins to realize that her home planet, krypton, is no more. 

from armored soldiers, mad scientists, to bizarre and powerful aliens, the list of threats that supergirl encounters are great additions to the girl of steel's mythos. green, johnson, and asrar are creating distinct corners of krypton and earth for kara that uniquely belong to her. it's exciting to read how the world within Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton is carefully revealed piece by piece and to see the growth of the book's star. it won't be long for supergirl to be known as heroine in her own right, besides her famous heritage.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Coming up with a concept

Ross, Diana Ross, 1983
i discuss the first step to coming up with a concept for a new painting. i've been influenced by diana ross, batgirl, to a forgotten sci-fi movie of the late '80s. check out my website for more.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Recognizing a "pioneer of television"

Lynda Carter, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, 1974
i grew up reading my father's collection of '60s and '70s comic books before starting my own collection in the '80s. i knew wonder woman through those books and reruns of the popular TV show that originally aired nearly a decade before i was born. 'wonder woman' came on early saturday mornings before the usual cartoons. i would sneak down to the family room before anyone else was up and absorbed myself in the thrilling adventures of the amazon princess. lynda carter's role, along with the strong women in my family, inspired me beyond measure and helped mold a young impressionable boy for the good. i'm pleased that ms. carter is being recognized as a "pioneer of television". i take the lessons i learned about acceptance, equality, love, peace, and yes, sisterhood, and transfer them to my daily life, especially with my role as a teacher. 

Read more here, Pioneers of Television.

To read how i met my icon, read, My Moment of a Lifetime.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Latest snow storm

my neighborhood was hit with a recent snowstorm. here are some of the pictures i took as the dog and i perused our block.  

History of abstract art

Woman With Mandolin, Pablo Picasso, 1910
i posted a short blog on my formal website about the latest article i read in The New Yorker. Check it out here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My generation is 'stuck'

everything happens for a reason. i had made plans to go to the studio to paint, but couldn't make it the day i had planned. it was desperately needed, but too much was going on as i was teaching at multiple institutes at the end of a busy term. finally i found a weekend to escape the city and take the two hour drive with the dog.

 i flipped through radio stations and came across NPR station, WBUR-FM 90.9. i caught the tail end of a series made of a collection of stories of recent graduates trying to make it in the 'real world'. i can relate, being an artist and educator around the same age as those interviewed. it hasn't been easy and i've had to take side jobs that i wasn't necessarily proud of, but i've also been lucky to work in the field i studied and of which i've been so passionate about. nonetheless life has been a struggle since graduating from college, more so than i ever intended. i didn't grow up wealthy, though i was afforded many opportunities others have not. i worked hard in school, was involved in college organizations, charities, and other extracurricular activities, and i have excellent work references. unfortunately for me, i'm competing in the work world against so many with the same list of attributes. understand, i'm not complaining, not completely. our economy makes me work harder and strive to think outside the box to a greater degree. in the end, i know it will be worth it. but i'm craving success now.

 i believe the universe positioned me to be in the car at that time the show was airing. suddenly i wasn't so down on myself. and when i shared this with friends, i found out how many of us are really in the same situation, despite appearances and cheerful smiles.

please check and out share, Generation Stuck.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Graphic novel review

i had been reading so many positive reviews of Batman: Court of Owls, that i put it at the top of my christmas wish list. i've been a long-time batman fan, but have gone through phases in which i decide to collect or not collect any number of titles starring the dark knight. Batman: The Court of Owls served to remind me why i like the character so much. not necessarily because of his determination, will, fighting prowess, or cool gadgets, but rather because of his supporting cast and list of super villains. 

within this graphic novel batman encounters for the first time a new foe, talon, and discovers he's a superhuman agent for an elite corporation of criminals. what's more, as batmam begins unraveling the mystery of the origin of his foes, he learns they have ties to his family. although the court of owls manages to capture and promptly torture the dark knight, the hero perseveres, but barely. with the assistance of former sidekick, nightwing, and long-time aid, alfred pennyworth, batman returns from the brink, this time with that last few pieces of the puzzle. surprisingly, nightwing is unwittingly involved, making batman's next strike against the owls all the more important!

   the novel ends on a cliff hanger, a bit of bummer, as this was a slow build to the meat of the story. i particularly liked how, during batman's mental and physical torture as he made his way through a labyrinth created by the owls, the panels are upside down to illustrate how batman's perceptions have been so severely rearranged. it wasn't until the conclusion of Batman: Court of Owls that i felt i was really invested in the book. batman is a grim avenger, but lightens up (slightly) when around his trusted associates. it's these moments i appreciated the most as it made batman a little more likeable. batman, bruce wayne, has an intense sense of justice, he's a good guy in every sense, and he refuses to accept mortal frailties. it's inspiring and the reader wants the hero to survive to fight for another day.

   terrific characterization from writer scott snyder and incredible pencil and ink work from greg capullo make this collection top notch. the creative team behind Batman: Court of Owls deserves all of the accolades bestowed upon them. the mythology of batman is richer now due to their efforts and i look forward to the sequel, hopefully with more of the batman family involved!

The current united states government

i'm frankly disgusted with congress as of late. while the american people faced economic doom, members of the house were bickering like school children. although going off the "fiscal cliff" was delayed, we'll be back to this soon unless democrats and republicans can agree on viable tax plans. i will say, i've become a bigger fan of vice-president joe biden for his apparent part in 'saving the day'. 

Read more here, "House Votes To Approve 'Fiscal Cliff' Legislation"

Update: noon today i read this. as if the above wasn't enough to dislike our current heads of government, "House Ignores Storm Relief: to Fury of Local Republicans"

i've grown increasingly dissatisfied with the american political system these last few weeks. the people in charge of our country are supposed to be out for our country's best interest. that no longer appears to be the case. maybe i'm just old enough to realize it, or perhaps i'm finally taking a strong enough interest in my country's well being to research the sordid facts. nonetheless i'm disappointed. it should be noted i'm not holding any one person (or party) totally accountable. i'm talking about the whole.

not a brilliant start to a new year, america.