Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feast your eyes on Muppet-astic awesome!

The Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody:

This is awesome in a way I can't explain, because it mixes my most sincere loves of all, Queen, and the Muppets.

Here is the original:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Indy Comic review: MAJESTIC XII #1


Majestic XII issue 1 cover by =spidey0318 on deviantART

A new comic series by Odyssey Comics

Justin Leach hit me up on DA and asked me if I would review his comic. I felt honored that he would seek my opinion on his work. Knowing what a labor of love sweat and tears comic book creation is I was surprised at how readily he put himself out there to have his work critiqued. I got the book in the mail and was impressed by its quality.

Majestic XII is a story about a hero named Legend who comes out of retirement after serving his country for years and disappearing into obscurity. The feds show up at his door and ask him to rejoin the fight against evil.Legend shaves and gets back into his old uniform and meets his new team, which is comprised of some old friends and a bunch of super powered convicts with a lot of different personalities. The team is immediately thrown into conflict with their mortal enemy a villain named Anthrax. They fight, Anthrax gets away and the table is set up for future adventures.

There were some things to love about the comic, and some things to critique. The book has a lot of characters and sometimes it is very easy to get confused about who is on the page. The writer did and excellent job of giving multiple characters their own voices and personalities. I really felt the book could have done more with less in that fewer characters would have given much more time to focus on some of the myriad interactions that are going on in the book. A flaw of the book is the transitions between panels. Sometimes it was very hard to follow what was going on where. I had to reread a few pages to get my bearings., Some of this seemed to be because the writer had SO MUCH that he wanted to say in the story. I can’t fault him for that, as that is also a problem I have in my own comic book writing.

Those things aside the art by Andre Kilian is pretty top notch and the colors by Omi Remalante Jr is amazing. I understand that this is the first book and It definitely needs room to grow, it has some things that work well. Legend is a strong leader who immediately jumps into the fray. Anthrax is a pretty crafty villain who has potential to be a thorn in the team’s side. The differing personalities on display lead to a lot of tension between the characters that is illustrated pretty well.

I especially liked the character Legend, because he has similarities to my character Gravitas. I believe he also manipulates Gravity, plus he is a no nonsense hero type. There are many characters on display in the book, and i am sure there is a favorite for almost any personality type.

I recommend the book to those looking for some new characters who actually do some fighting like in the early nineties when comics weren’t all talking heads and splash pages. Justin has a pretty good thing and he should really keep at it. Justin has a pretty good thing and he should really keep at it. It is a really strong effort, and as a person who knows how hard it is to produce a full comic he does a bang up job. I think the characters are there and any flaws will improve as he gets more time for the narrative to breathe and grow.

You can buy this book on Indy Planet. Click here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ritch at 32

It took a while for me to sit down to write. I have had this blog banging around in my head for a few days now but it got to the point where I wasn’t sure I would ever sit down to type it up. Often when an idea sits in my mind too long I feel the energy that compelled me wanes to the point where the passion will no longer be evident in the passage. That bothers me because some, particularly those who know me well, seem to be able to spot when I am being genuine or not in text. That is a fascinating idea for someone like me, who plays my true thoughts so close. None the less I must yield to the possibility that there is a way that I write when I am on the precipice of what I consider to be a brilliant idea, and a way a write Ritch at 32.

when I have allowed that idea to sit out too long and it begins to turn.
Having said that, my life this year has been pretty good. It has had its ups and downs, some of which can be shared freely, and others that need a little space between the “then” and “now” for me to speak candidly about my thoughts on the events.

Who is Ritch at 32?

I have been asking myself that question with more frequency lately. Being an introspective sort of person I spend most free moments analyzing some flaw or personal aspect in search of kernels of truth for the purpose of betterment. The impending birth of my progeny has compelled me to do more soul searching than usual. As a purveyor in human stress and misery I am often confronted with the realities that flawed parents very often pass their foibles onto their children as some sort of twisted birthright. As a result I obsess over my own behaviors, ideas and beliefs in search of what “thing” I will pass on, and what affect it will have on the future of my child. I understand that it is hubris for me to believe that I will have the forethought to “know” my impact but it doesn’t stop this particular anxiety from being one of many that I ruminate over.

It all begins with the question: Who am I?

I am very forgetful. Writing is a way to combat that. Writing is something I have done since I was very small. My parents were college students when they had me. My infancy was spent largely in the classroom as my 20 year old mother did not always have available child care. From a young age I was given paper and a marker, crayon, or pen with which to entertain myself. Therefore it is no coincidence that I feel naked without one of these objects on my person now even at thirty two.

I interviewed my mother when I was taking a class on the psychology of aging. It has always stayed with me that she said that having children made her feel more like a child. I remember being a teen and needing my parents to get their noses out of my life. My young adult years were spent passive aggressively challenging their authority in any way I saw fit. Now, as a married man who is about to have a child I find myself thinking about how much simpler those days were, and how much happier I would be if I could spend more time at my mother’s house where things like laundry and dinner were not personal responsibilities. The coming Hall grandchild only compels me further into nostalgia as I find myself wandering to my parents’ home more often to sit with them, or spend time in their presence. I believe it is me trying to play that old role again, to find a place where I can simply be their son without the burden of stress that comes with manhood, adulthood and husbandry. Not that I wish to shirk these responsibilities but it is like wearing old sneakers when you have a fresh new pair. The old roles fit more comfortably.

I have a Master’s Degree. 

I have always had the loose sketches of a plan laid out for myself. When I was in the 8th or 9th grade I recall telling my parents that I wanted to make comic books and become a psychologist. I had only cursory knowledge of how I would do either. With time I have developed a better understanding of how different and how similar those fields can be. With time I feel both realities clicking into place in my life. The loosely drawn plan has allowed me the flexibility to pursue dreams while padding space and time for my own flaws and foibles to not be setbacks. I often lament that I haven’t accomplished more. Each new birthday has always been a painful reminder of the goals I set the previous year that remain unaccomplished. With the attainment of the Master’s of Arts I feel a confidence that each hurdle or roadblock in my path is surmountable. Though it was not easy, and the challenge seemed to wear at my very soul at times I am of the mind that what does not kill me makes me stronger, and I am stronger for having accomplished what I did last year. At the onset of 2009 I noted to friends and family that it would be a year of “Hard Work” and I can safely say that for me that has been true on several occasions. As I move towards 2010 I don’t believe that there will be less work, but I understand that I am becoming more capable of handling it.

I am a little lazy, 

As anyone who has been bombarded with my “Mafia Wars” FB updates you have an idea how much time spend dawdling on the internet. I set high standards for myself and often regret the time I lose to things that only matter in fleeting moments. Video games and the internet are my sickness and I have to be quarantined from them when deadlines draw close. I have learned that is among my major difficulties and as a result have worked to curb these tendencies as best I can. I have found that having too much to do is often the antidote to doing too little. Being BGSA president, a grad student, an SJO employee, CEO of HB Comics and Nicke’s husband is not nearly enough for me to feel like every moment is well spent. I have bigger plans, grand plans that will take me pretty far. First, I feel, I must work to maintain discipline over myself and my talents.

What will tomorrow bring?

I have grand designs. The 10 year plan I laid out for myself in 2005 is largely on schedule. There are a few more hands I have to shake to bring my collective to completion. I have met and entertained some very brilliant people in my travels and I intend to collect many more. I have been strongly urged to consider academia as a career path, and have had an itch to return to teaching. I am not only optimistic but confident that I will meet any future challenges with aplomb. I find myself having a fire in the way I think, no longer concerned with the notion of “should I be here” but instead charged with a declaration that “I am here.” This is an evolution of me. Years ago in a therapist’s office I told the therapist that there was me, and there was the uber me I wanted to be. It is no coincidence that elements of the loosely drawn plan include molding me into that super self. Having to brace for the curves and turns has not stalled me from my course. Pen and pad in hand I face tomorrow, knowledgeable that I will survive, as I have done so well at in the past.

And that is all I have. This serves as a summary, and a declaration. I am 32 years old. Set it in stone and see the future: 32 is the year I begin my family, it is also the year I become Dr. Hall. This will be a glorious time for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what is in store. Good or bad it will be an amazing story.

I kept this under 1500 words.
Thanks if you read to the end.