Category Archives: Randomosity

The King’s Throne

What you see here is the place where virtually the entire Marvel Universe sprang forth from the brush and mind of Jack "King" Kirby:

I love this photo, and I want to tell you why.

Continue reading

The Dark Side of the Fandom

(Apologies for not having this up sooner, my computer decided to be uncooperative)


Hey everyone, I wanted to talk to you today about something a bit more serious. In terms of mainstream acceptance and sheer scale of dissemination through popular culture, it has never been a better time to carry the title of ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’. If you look at the films with the highest grossing openings, not only are the top three spots held by geek culture movies (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and The Avengers) but in fact the top thirteen places are held by films within the genre, only interrupted by Furious 7. You can walk into any Target, Spencer’s even Wal-Mart and easily find a plethora of clothing, accessories, and collectibles to proudly proclaim your love of all things geeky. Conventions are huge and plentiful, with cons like E3, the New York Toy Fair, and San Diego Comic Con becoming entities unto themselves as places of premiere news, trailers, and announcements to both geek and mainstream media. We made it guys, widespread acceptance!

Continue reading

Just For Laughs

Blank Bodies for Hand-Drawn Illustrations

In the process of cleaning up some hard drive space, I came across some body outlines I drew back in 2006. I cleaned them up a bit and provide them here for downloading and printing. These are not part of HeroMachine 3, they're just for folks who want to hand-draw (or use the computer with something like Paint if you want) outfits but need a body to hang them on.

These are all transparent PNGs so if you do want to use them in a painting application, they're easy to isolate from the background.

We’re a top art blog to follow!

It's just possible I have fallen for some sort of link scam, but there was a real human being talking to me, and some of the blogs listed here rock pretty hard, so for once I'll distrust my distrusting nature and just roll with it. So here's the list, featuring us at #21!

Continue reading

Make your own pulp covers!

Thanks once again to Ian Healy for the link. But if you are a pulp fiction fan, this cool website lets you make your own covers in a HeroMachine-like interface. Very cool!

Two nifty videos

First, via Friend of HeroMachine Ian Healy comes this very cool paper animation battle:

It's unfortunate that this is basically a "boys go violent over sexualized female object" kind of story but the animation and video game/comics elements are just awesome.

Second, Other Friend of HeroMachine Barbario has another of his super cool video game live-action trailers up. Enjoy!

Elfstones of Shannara to be made into a television show. Good news or Bad?

(Frequent commenter, legendary HeroMachine creator, and Forum moderator Kaldath was kind enough to write up the following article today. Be sure to thank him in the comments! -- Jeff)

Kaldath - Today I saw within my newsfeed on facebook and update from the Terry Brooks Facebook fan page that really surprised me. Apparently Hollywood is interesting in turning the Shannara novels into a TV series, especially the "Elfstones of Shannara" title. Oh how I remember picking up my first every fantasy novel, which was “The Sword of Shannara” which was the first book I ever read by choice and not because I was being made to by one of my English teachers to write a book report on!

"The Sword of Shannara" hooked me on reading. The rich fantasy world of Shea Ohmsford, his brother Flick, their friend Menion Leah, the Towering Druid Allanon, and so many other facets of the story brought me hours of pleasure. I lost myself in the struggles of these characters, in their fight against the dark forces out to destroy them, and I absolutely loved that book. That love carried over to nearly all the other books in the Shannara series including the one being groomed for the little screen “The Elfstones of Shannara”. In this book the Son of Shea Ohmsford, Will Ohmsford, is tasked by Allanon to protect the elven princess Amberle Elessedil on her quest to restore the dying Ellcrys which is the Elven tree of life. The Ellcrys guards not only the Elves but all life from a horde of evil demons which the tree locks safely away from the world, and has done so for thousands of years before it began to fail.

When I saw they were making a book out of one of my most beloved fantasy novel series, my first response was one of joy. I would dearly love to see these characters in action on my television, but then I remembered another book series I loved which was turned into a TV series. “The Legend of the Seeker” based on the Sword of Truth Series written by Terry Goodkind was some of the most god-awful television I have ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on. The thought that the the Shannara series could be ruined the same way as the Sword of Truth was sickens me. We all know how hard it is to translate the written medium to live action, especially that of a fantasy world full of magic and dark beings, and while I am certain there is potential for some great TV to come out of this I somehow have my doubts.

What about you? What are your thoughts on "The Elfstones of Shannara" appearing on TV? Do you think it a good thing or does the thought fill you with dread of another ruined memory?

Comic Book Events: Do We Need Them?

Comic Book Events: Do We need Them?

In the last 10 years there seem to have been very few events worthy of actually being events. Blackest Night is the latest big event to really make a lasting mark on a comic book universe. Furthermore, it's the only one that I believe fans don't hate outright for taking over the comics. I'm not even bothering with Avengers vs X-Men, since it just seems to be filler for Marvel at this point. The House of Ideas is running out of them, clearly. Speaking of which, House of M seems to have been swept under the rug. Only Messiah War, Age of Apocalypse and the full Phoenix Saga have had a truly lasting impact on the Marvel Universe.

The only time in probably the last 30 years that an event has been so sweeping and ended up completely re-shaping that company's universe as a whole was DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985). The Flash, Barry Allen died during the event and has probably been the only "real" death in comic book history, or at least the longest-lasting. It shaped the other characters relationships as he was the first to die and not come right back from it. (The fact that I'm primarily referencing DC events should come as no surprise.) Of course, he was brought back after 22 years in the events of Final Crisis (2008). Then, the biggest game-changing event in comics became Flashpoint, which the publishers ended up using as a segue into DC's New 52.

In my mind, unless it really does re-shape the universe the characters live in or leads to some larger story that does, we really don't need yearly events in comics. If we have to live through one, make it a Crisis on Infinite Earths or Phoenix Saga. We don't need to see another Civil War and then watch everything go back to normal a few months later.

With that said, what are your thoughts on comic events? Do you have a favorite (in any company) or one that you could live without?


The beautiful synergy of comics

I am criticized from time to time for not doing more positive stories (a very fair criticism, I hasten to add), so I wanted to share this example of comics done exceptionally well. It's from a daily comic strip that predates even my ancient time called "Gasoline Alley" by Frank King. In its day it was as big as Spider-Man or Superman are today. But what caught my eye (thanks to a friend on Facebook) is the way the shadows define the forms here without requiring actual outlines:

(Click to embiggen.)

The last two panels are just breathtaking in their elegance, simplicity, and effect. You barely notice that the figures are made of nothing but shadows and negative space, a wonderful rendering technique just on its own. But the magic of comics comes from the way the effect works with the dialog to enhance the sense of foreboding the creator is striving for. There is beauty in their upcoming marriage just as there is beauty in the forest, but some darkness awaits as well. Either the words or the art by themselves are still good, but when combined they achieve a kind of beautiful synergy that only comics can provide.

(Original artwork and a great essay are from "Hooded Utilitarian".)