Sunday, December 4, 2016

Book Review of a Bundle of Battlefields Graphic Novels


During the Thanksgiving Weekend, when I wasn't helping my wife decorate the house for Christmas, I caught up on some of my reading. 

I selected the remaining unread Battlefields graphic novels in my collection, all written by Garth Ennis.    

The first story, Happy Valley, is about a newbie pilot joining a veteran Wellington bomber crew in 1942. 

It might sound cliche, but this story made me laugh--and yes--made me cry.


I decided to continue with the air war trend and read The Fall and Rise of Anna Kharkova.  This story is actually book three in a trilogy about Anna.  The first being Night Witches followed by Motherland.

I haven't read the first two books, because I've been buying the Battlefields series haphazardly at Half Price Books.

Anna's Fall and Rise covers a twenty year time span where she experiences a double-whammy of cruelty.  First from her German captors in the final days of World War II, followed by her own country's cruelty to it's own citizens.


The final book in my ad-hock trilogy was Dear Billy.  

This story is an extended letter by Nurse Carrie Sutton to her pilot boyfriend Billy Wedgewood.  In her letter, she confesses to Billy how she was captured, raped, shot and left for dead by the Japanese during the invasion of Singapore.  She then goes on to explain how she exacted personal revenge--and her inability to cope with the impending peace.

I've always enjoyed war stories more than any of the other genres of comics, but I only vaguely recall any of the Sgt. Rock, or Sgt. Fury stories.  

Garth Ennis knows how to tell a poignant 5-star war story you never forget.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Image from:  Thanksgiving Day HD Animated Images)

To ease your Turkey Day tension, the Seattle Times has provided a recipe guide for your imperfect holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cosplay-Inspired Webcomic Posted

(Page 1: Title Page)
Here is another webcomic I've written based on my experience at the Jet City Comic Show (JCCS).

Dealing with Deadpool was inspired by the photo shoot I did at the Comic Book Characters For Causes booth.  The group's "volunt-heroes" help raise money for charitable causes in the Seattle area.  According to their 19 November Facebook post, they've changed their name to Costumed Characters for Causes (CC4C), and more importantly, they've been invited to next year's Emerald City Comicon.

I have to admit that even though I dressed like the Punisher, I'm certainly not an expert on him.  Not only that, but I know next to nothing about Deadpool.  I haven't even seen the Deadpool movie yet.

What I do know, is that Frank Castle is a dour vigilante with a tragic backstory, and Wade Wilson is a smart aleck mercenary.  While there's no official pairing by Marvel of these two diametrically opposed characters; artists, like Oliver Kidsley, think they'd make quite a team--if they don't kill each other first.
(Image:  Concept Movie Poster by Oliver Kidsley)
With similar thoughts in mind, I decided to have a photo shoot with CC4C's Deadpool cosplayer, which I learned later was Eugene Capon.

The plot I concocted was based on our poses in relation to each other.  Since these photos weren't enough to provide an introduction and ending, I wanted to include an image of the Seattle skyline to fill in these gaps.

I found M.R. Wells' picture fit the bill perfectly.

(Image:  Seattle Night by M.R. Wells)
Before writing the story, I used Paint.NET's ink-sketch program to make it look like I drew the images by hand, and then  Comic Life 3 to create the actual webcomic.

The hardest part for me to do was writing the introduction.  I wanted to explain why The Punisher was in Seattle, and was willing to team-up with Deadpool.

I'll add a separate tab for this story in a couple days.  Click on any of the images for a larger view.
I hope you enjoy Dealing with Deadpool.

(Page 2:  Cast of Characters Page)
(Page 3: Introduction)
(Page 4)
(Page 5)
(Page 6
(Page 7)
(Page 8)
(Page 9)
(Page 10: Ending Page)
(Page 11: Closing Credits Page)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Droid Hunting at the Jet City Comic Show


This one-page comic was inspired by one of the photos I took of some members of the 501st Legion at this year's Jet City Comic Show (JCCS).

I have at least one more webcomic I'm working on, based on my first JCCS (mis)adventure, so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Jet City Comic Show Cosplayers

(Cover art created by Travis Bundy of Creator's Edge Press)

The main reason I stayed so long at my first Jet City Comic Show (JCCS) was to take pictures, primarily of the cosplayers.

I'll start off with JCCS's icon--Bomber Girl.


This year, artist Travis Bundy's inspiration for the JCCS Program Guide cover was Tina Rivets.  Both Travis and Tina signed the full-sized print I purchased, and Tina was happy to do a mini photo shoot for me.  


I snapped two sets of pictures:  One with the orange barrel cap on her Mauser C96 replica, and another set with the cap off.

She was also nice enough to do a "Dynamic Duet" shot with me taken by Travis: 

(Me with my best "You Kids Get Off My Lawn" scowl posing with Tina)
Cosplay Organizations

There were a few cosplay groups present at this year's JCCS.

The fist one was Comic Book Characters for Causes (CBC4C), which attends various events and raises money for charitable organizations. One can get a photo taken with one, or more of the CBC4C cosplayers, and have the option of making a charitable donation.

Pictures taken at events become available for viewing and downloading shortly afterwards.
 
Here's the "cast of characters" album of Saturday's attendees (5 November) and Sunday's (6 November).   

(CCB4C's photo-op area)
I had a few pictures taken with a Deadpool cosplayer, which I'll write about later.

(Another view of CBC4C's photo-op area)
Some of the CBC4C's cosplayer in-attendance were Tony Stark and Merida...  


...along with Thor

Star Wars cosplayers were out in-force.

For the Imperials, there was the 501st Legion (Vader's Fist)...   


...while for the more "what's in it for me" types, there were the Mandalorian Mercs.



Not all the cosplayers were human.  A duo of R2-D2's were rolling around.  One was the standard astro-mech droid...


...while the other was made out of Legos.


The smattering of Star Wars cosplayers included a Mandalorian...


...a Jawa...


...a TIE fighter pilot...

...and a fire team of stormtroopers.


Black Widow was apprehended for being "...part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor..."


But before the stormtroopers could take her away, author S.F. Edwards stepped-in, while author Django Wexler remained seated to chat with a fan.


The stand-off continued for a while, so other attendees could snap photos.


Super Heroes

Despite the Imperial and Mandalorian presence, they were outnumbered by the super hero cosplayers, such as Kitty Pryde...


...who, by the way was looking for her husband, Star-Lord, before I waylaid her for a photo.

Then there was the elegant Emma Frost... 


...Deadpool and Mystique...
 

...another Deadpool, with a character I can't identify...


...the Purple Power Ranger...
  

...Captain America...
  

...the incredible Syndrome... 


...zombified Zatanna and Robin...
  

...while another cute couple was Black Cat and Kraven the Hunter.  


While waiting for the Cosutme Contest to start, the Winter Soldier showed up.


The next five photos features, Tigra tangling with Bucky. 


She was actually nervous about standing on his shield, but Buck insisted.  Another cosplayer helped steady Tigra, and arranged her long, read hair out of her face, so the photographers to capture her snarl.


Despite her scantily-clad appearance, the Tigra cosplayer was actually wearing a body suit, with body paint applied to her face, neck and hands.




This trio of cosplayers consists of a fetching, fedora-wearing Captain America from the CBC4C, a bellowing Black Canary and another character I can't identify. 


Cap & Buck strike an action pose instead of striking each other.


Video Game

A rough & ready Destroyer Soldier from Mass Effect 3


Disney Villains and Heroines

Ursula and the Queen of Hearts received an honorable mention from one of the Costume Contest judges.



Pre-ball gown Belle seemed surprised I wanted to take her picture.  I liked the simplicity of her outfit.


Anime Cosplay

Disney didn't have a monopoly on cartoon characters. Sailor Moon and her pal Sailor Jupiter sailed-in for the show.  While I recognized Sailor Moon, I had to ask the Sailor Jupiter cosplayer who she was.


Movie Cosplay

Hermione Granger was about to zap me with a spell.
 


The Costume Contest

The showroom floor closed at 5 PM, and the Costume Contest started shortly thereafterwards.

Since I didn't want to "break character" of my Punisher persona, I brought along my Panasonic DMC-FX01 camera.  This was fine for snapping pictures of cosplayers willing to stand still for several moments while I fumbled with the controls.

However, when it came time to take shots of the Costume Contest, nearly all the pictures came out blurry, because the contestants were constantly moving.  I've never had luck taking action photos with the Luminix.  Next time I'll be sure to bring my Nikon Coolpix P530.

Anyway, the following are some shots I salvaged.

Tony Stark was the emcee:


The judges' panel:


Merida and her mom, Elinor managed to stay still-ish: 


I felt this photo of Kitty Pryde and Star-Lord was too cute to toss out, despite how blurry the image is:


I thought this was a character of the cosplayer's own imagination, until a coworker told me later that there actually is a Quailman.  Anyway, Quailman remained motionless long enough for me to take the best photo of the contestants.


Bomber Girl model, Tina Rivets, did a short photo-shoot while the judges deliberated.


The judges reached their verdict.


Third Place:  Merida & Elinor.


Second Place:  (I can't remember her character name)


And the Winner is: (A video game character who's name escapes me).

The next costume contest I watch, I'll try to remember to take notes.


Finally, all the contestants gathered for a group photo.