Friday, September 28, 2012

New Holmes. New Watson. New Series... with nothing NEW to offer...

On the whole, I found it dull, uninteresting and unengaging.

I've stated in the past I like both Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. But they just didn't grab me as Holmes and Watson. They could have been any other addict (well, former addict) and councellor solving mysteries maybe I'd get into the characters. But not as Holmes and Watson. There was just very little chemistry between them.

And I was just not feeling this whole apologetic/sympathetic Holmes. It's so typical of American Television to try and make the character likable. Holmes would never admit he was making it up, guessing or apologize for his actions. Even at Benedict Cumberbatch's most angsty in the past season, you got the feeling he was only being apologetic because he had another trick up his sleeve.

I'm not going to get too much into their decision on casting a female Watson. I'm sure enough has been said. But I feel as though it's no longer Holmes by making that change. I'm well aware having a female Watson has been done before. First with a George C. Scott movie called They Might Be Giants and later in a made for television movie starring Michael Pennington called The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

However, in the first movie George C. Scott's character was a millionaire under the delusion he WAS Sherlock Holmes and the second movie Michael Pennington's Holmes was cryogenically frozen and the female Watson was the great-granddaughter (or something) of Dr. John Watson.

And I haven't even gotten to the mystery itself. The crime, the characters and the story were so forgettable. It's bad when a show loses your interest in the first three minutes. They tried to make Miller look like a cross between Robert Downey Jr.'s slovenly unshaved Holmes with the way Benedict Cumberbatch wears his scarf. Worse than that, you have Holmes spouting lines like "Sometimes I hate it when I'm right" when they found a body just irritated me. Again, I could never imagine Holmes saying such things.

True. Many of Doyles original stories could be very slow and plodding. However, it was Holmes's snappy dialogue and the way he would solve the crimes (as well as the crime itself) that would make the story intersting.

This episode had NONE of that!!

And the frustrating thing is American Television HAS done successful variations on Holmes with House and Monk. Not to mention not ALL shows over here are bad. Criminal Minds (also produced by CBS) is a great show. Good characters and great storylines. WHY couldn't the production team take a tip from any of those shows?

In all, I go back to my original feeling that this series's is just trying to ride on the coattails of the BBC series's success. So CBS threw this together as quickly as possible.

And the result is a very dumbed down and shallow Holmes and Watson.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Classes at the Worcester Art Museum

My Fall Classes at the Worcester Art Museum are only a mere month away. And this Fall I am offering a Cartooning Class for 8 to 10 year olds in the morning and 11 to 13 year olds in the afternoon.

And I will be doing all things cartoon in these classes. Cartooning, comic book art, comic strips, tradition animation... you name it and I'll probably be teaching it.

Click on the link below (the course titles are clickable links) to choose the class you wish your child, teen or tween to sign up for today:


Code Begins Ends Meets Fee
12FYDRW404 10/06/2012 12/01/2012 Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12 N, 8 Sessions 190.00


Code Begins Ends Meets Fee
12FYDRW501 10/06/2012 12/01/2012 Saturday from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM, 8 Sessions 190.00

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall E-Bay Auctions!!

Just one of several new pen and ink pieces I have posted on E-Bay. This is actually the first and only illustration I have done based on Alex Raymond's classic Flash Gordon. I was actually inspired by the 1979 animated series produced by Filmation.
Click on the link below to check out my other auctions. Happy Fall and Happy Bidding:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Batman (1943)

There is a misconception of the 1943 Batman movie serial starring Robert Lewis that it is terrible and the worst adaptation of Batman ever made.
This is actually false. That dubious honor belongs to the 1949 follow up serial Batman and Robin which starred Robert Lowery as the Caped Crusader.
Batman creator Bob Kane seems to misremember the films stating that the second serial was the better of the two and Lewis Wilson being out of shape in the role of Batman.
As a matter of fact it was Robert Lowery who was completely unsuitable in the role of Batman. Apparently, he was so out of shape that they actually had to give him oxygen between takes.
As a matter of fact, the 1943 serial is the only time on film or on television where the actor playing Robin the Boy Wonder is actually relatively close to the age the character was in the comic book. Douglas Croft was 16 when he played Robin.
Johnny Duncan was 26, Burt Ward was 19 and Chris O'Donnell was 25 when they played the character in their respective adaptations.
It's true the 1943 Batman has the dubious honor of being racist and very politically incorrect by today's standards with the key villain being Japanese stereotype. But you have to keep in mind when this film came out it was at the height of WWII and not too long after Pearl Harbor.

The film is very low budget. So don't expect to see mind-blowing special effects or acting of Shakespearean caliber. Heck! There's not even a Batmobile in the film. Then again, Batman doesn't actually have a "Batmobile" in his first comic book appearance.

But we forget that films weren't created to be realistic. They were created for people to escape reality. There was a great deal of bad stuff going on in the world at that time, so you'd save up your pennies and escape into the world of fantasy that Hollywood created.

It really has only been in the past few decades this push for gritty realism in both the subject matter of the movies as well as the special effects.

At that time the country was both getting out of  the Great Depression and there was a war going on across the pond. Films had to be made quickly. And as cheap as possible.

Movie serials satisfied both needs.
That aside, it may not be Christopher Nolan or even Tim Burton. But it's a fun watch. This is less the brooding Dark Knight style Batman but more of the swashbuckling action/adventure style version of the character.
Which is actually something I wouldn't mind seeing the character return to. Maybe not as low budget as the serials. But maybe something a little more of a James Bond with a cape and less of the tortured soul.
If you're a fan of Batman or a film history buff, I would definitely give this film a try. Despite the low budget and production flaws, you might find it to be a lot of fun to watch.

Happy Birthday Batman!!

Yesterday marked the 84th Birthday of Mr. Adam West.
Although Adam West is not the first person to don that famous cape and cowl. That honor goes to Lewis Wilson who portrayed Batman in the 1943 for Columbia. It goes without saying that West is the first actor to make a live action version of the character a success.
He's pretty much to Batman what Basil Rathbone is to Sherlock Holmes. You cannot think of the character without immediately connecting their names to it.
Although his campy Andy Warholesque take has drawn some ridicule from some fans who feel the character should always be dark and not played for laughs. I even heard one over-zealous fan at a convention refer to Adam West's portrayal as a travesty.
I do not agree with that outlook.
Personally, I enjoy Adam West's take on the Caped Crusader and I think there's a place for his Batman just as much as there's a place for either Michael Keaton or Christian Bale's take on the character.
Funny to think an television commercial for Nestle Quik is what won him the part.

Adam West has had many roles before and after Batman. In recent years, he's introduced himself to a new generation of fans as the eccentric Mayor West on the animated series Family Guy.
Happy Birthday Adam West!! Still my favorite Batman to date!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Ugly Sub and Pizza Company

I thought I would plug the Ugly Sub and Pizza Company on 186 Stafford Street in Worcester MA this morning. I've eaten there a couple times and I have to say I have been very impressed on both occassions. And this was even before I noticed the small framed picture of Vincent Price as the Abomidable Dr. Phibes hanging on the wall.

It was even better to find out after talking with the owner that he is a huge old movie fan. He even made a decision when he purchased the place that he would put old movie photo's in what used to be the light up menu display on the wall.

It just adds a level of uniqueness to the place. And being an old movie fan myself, I appreciate the ambience.

Businesses never seem to have had much success in that lot. There's not a lot of parking. And seeing that there is a pub next door, I imagine there's a lot less when the locals come "to tie one on". However, it seems like there hasn't been a great deal of success before that. I can remember two different incarnations of Andrea's Ristorante as well as a few other forgettable places that were there after.

But I think the Ugly Sub has something unique that those other businesses did not. I haven't had a chance to try their pizza's. However, their subs alone have brought me back. TWICE!!

They make their own bread and let me tell you, it's good!!

I have heard they also offer a locally made rootbeer as well which is supposed to be the cat's pajama's. I haven't seen it when I was there. Which tells me that it must be a very popular sody pop indeed.

So if you're looking for a quick bite to eat for lunch. Or just don't feel like makin dinner one night. Give the Ugly Sub a try. You might be pleasantly surprised. You can check out their menu online:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Special Late Summer/Early Fall Auction

The winning bidder of this auction will not only recieve the original artwork used for Casque of Amontillado but they will also receive a copy of the graphic novel. Both PERSONALLY SIGNED to the winning bidder.
Click on the link below to check it out and Happy Bidding:

Amontillado in today's issue of Worcester Magazine

My latest graphic novel The Casque of Amontillado is in today's issue of Worcester Magazine!! If you're around and about the Woo, you may either pick up a copy at your local newstand. Or you can read it online by clicking the link below:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

stART on the Street is NEXT SUNDAY!!

Hard to believe but stART on the Street is next week!! Even harder still to believe but this year marks the 10th Anniversary of their flagship Fall show!! Although, I cannot admit that I took part in their first show 10 years ago. However, I have been taking part in practically every single show they have hosted on Park Avenue.

And if you haven't either taken part in stART on the Street or at least gone to an event, then you're missing out.

Each year I have taken part as a vendor, the event has gotten better and better. Not only that, the people involved in making stART happen take people's opinions seriously and do their best to incorporate them into the follow year's show.

Even down to making setting up and breaking down at the end of the day as efficient and hassle-free as possible.

In my humble opinion, the way the people run stART should be the blueprint of every street event in Worcester. Not every stART show ran as smoothly in the beginning. But both the vendors who have come back every year as well as the people involved with stART have worked together and learned from past mistakes to make it a success.

And I am very proud to be associated with it selling my work every year.

And knowing this is a big milestone for stART on the Street, you know they will have something big planned to celebrate it!!

They've already kicked off the anniversary with a really great gallery show at the Printers Building in the Woo.

I hope to see you there and be sure to check out many of the great vendors involved in this years event:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Full cover art for Brenda and Effie Forever!!

 Here's the full cover for Brend and Effie Forever! By Paul Magrs in all it's glory!!
I have been a fan of both Paul's Brenda and Effie series as well as his other writing for some time. So it was a real thrill to be able to supply the cover for the ladies of Whitby's final adventure.
And if it's anything like Paul's previous books in the series, it should be great fun!! All the usual nasties will be present in this story as well as the first appearance in the series of a certain Art Critic Panda. Whom fans of Paul's Iris Wildthyme and Doctor Who work might recognize.
I highly recommend you get your copy when it hits bookstores this month!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Coming up this weekend... Blackstone Canalfest

I am going to be taking part in Blackstone Canalfest Street Festival this coming Saturday from 11AM till 5PM right along Harding Street in Worcester's Canal District.
I will be selling copies of my brand new graphic novel The Casque of Amontillado as well as new arts and new prints.
Some of the other usual suspects will be appearing at Canalfest including painter Scott Holloway, Jon Hansen and Scallywag Ceramics, ukulele man Rich Ad Leufstedt and local siren Helen Sheldon Beaumont will be performing live just to name a few of the names you'll see at the show.
Hope to see you all there on Saturday!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A day out in Rockport Massachusetts

To wrap up the Summer on a high note (actually to be fair, there's technically still a couple weeks left) Syd and I decided to head out to Rockport, MA for our Labor Day weekend on Sunday.
We both immediately fell in love with the area. The buildings, the streets, the fact it was right on the water were just a few of the things we loved about the place. I think we both admitted that we were probably either a pair of salty sea dogs in a past life. Or we had some sort of nautical lineage in our respective family trees.
Either way we loved it there. We started off our day having lunch at a place called the Fish Shack which I had a really nice lobster roll and Syd had a veggie burger. Then we pretty much spent the rest of the day just walking around the streets and taking in all the sites.
We've even talked about the possibility of staying in Rockport for a couple of days next year as part of our anniversary. One thing I know, is it won't be the our last trip out that way.