Resolutions, good things that happened and comics

I know what you’re thinking, New Years was weeks ago, shouldn’t you have posted this then. Well…I procrastinate sometimes.

2015 was an interesting year. For a lot of people I know it was one of the worst years in recent history, while it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t a great one either. On the good side of things, I got my act together and decided that Baking is what I want to do with the rest of my life and have took the steps to start my apprenticeship and go back to school. I figured out a schedule that keeps my cluster headaches to a minimum and an aftercare treatment that keeps me from turning into a zombie after a cluster. I managed to train my dog to the point where he actually listens, I can now take him on small walks without a leash. It may not seem like much, but he’s a stubborn little bastard. I asked my boyfriend to marry me and he said yes! We’re planning on tying the knot in the summer of 2015.

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I couldn’t find a picture of the engagement so here’s a dinosaur!

On the bad side of things, I put my health, sanity and safety on the line to draw, ink, shade, format and print my comic in a span of two weeks…while working two jobs…during one of the biggest baking holidays of the year. I pulled this off for a book that, other than me and a few people close to me, no one cared about. I didn’t deal with this all that well and I went into a downward spiral where just looking at the damn thing became painful. I went into a sort of slump where it was a little hard to keep on track, I didn’t even like posting things to this blog. It hurt a lot more than I was willing to let on, but after months and months of letting it eat at me, I’m starting to get over it and looking towards the future.

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Sometimes looking at this makes me wanna cry other times I just smile.

Back in the day, when I worked in print, I asked a co-worker if he’d made any New Years Resolutions. I asked this mainly to make conversation, because I hand’t been there that long and it seemed like good small talk. This lead to a rant about societal pressure and conformity and why I shouldn’t be a sheep. There was a lot of ‘Edwards, you shouldn’t make goals because of some arbitrary date, you should do it because you want to,’ he liked to rant about things, even things that contradicted the things he was ranting about. He had a point though, goals should be made because of a sincere want to improve ourselves, not because it’s the New Year and that’s what we’re supposed to do. However, I like the idea of starting fresh and having a big bold deadline to finish my goals by. So here are some of the things I resolve to do before 2017 rolls around.

  1. Fill up all of my old sketch books. I have around ten half finished sketch books just lying around collecting dust. I love drawing, but I’m not great at it, just look at any of the comics I’ve posted here. But I think if I make an effort to fill up those books, I’ll improve. I mean I can’t get any worse.
  2. Apprenticeship. This is an obvious one, since I’ve got most of my hours and have signed up for all of the classes, but I’m really looking forwards to learning new skills and perfecting some old skills.
  3. Wedding. I’ve been married (extremely unsuccessfully) before, so I know that there’s a ton of things that you don’t think about when you decide to get married. I’m gonna stay on top of things, make sure the stress stays to a minimum.
  4.  Produce a draft of my novel that I’m satisfied with. This will be one of the hardest goals I’m trying to do this year, because I can be extremely critical of myself. I love to write, but dislike almost everything I produce. So on top of finishing a project I’ve got to build up the confidence to like what I’ve finished.
  5. Read 50 Books. Self explanatory, I like reading.
  6. Blog once a week. When I first started this blog, I used to post once a week. This was partly because wordpress used to have a little reminder that would tell me that I hadn’t updated. I’m also going to finish all of the half started posts, seriously there are like thirty reviews, stories and whatnot that I’ve started and half finished. This includes my very much ignored Disney Retrospective!
  7. Finish my Yoda Book or Yobo Book, since Yoda is not only the name of my dog, but a wise green alien. A while back I started a children’s book about my dog that was all construction paper cut outs. It’s too cute to pass up on.
  8. Eat seven new meats. Once again self explanatory, I love meat and I’m a bit of hedonist at heart.
  9. Work on a short animated film. This one falls into life goals, I love animation and one day I want to have my name on an animated film.
  10. Go on a trip. Traveling is awesome and I need to do it more.
  11. And finally, work on my comic more. Because even when it breaks my heart, I still love it and I still want to finish it. So part of actually encouraging myself to work of it more, is to get people to actually read it. So if you want, the whole thing is available here to read and if you like your comics in physical form and have two dollars, you can buy a copy here. Expect a lot more about this particular goal over the coming weeks.

So I guess the big thing now is actually doing all of this stuff a goal to keep goals. So for all of you who have trudged through this thanks for reading!

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Why the Star Wars Holiday Special is a more Solid Film than Attack of the Clones

The Phantom Menace gets kind of a bum rap for being the worst of the prequels. While not being a good film or even a mediocre one, it’s still miles better than its follow up Attack of the Clones. In fact, I strongly believe that the much belittled Star Wars Holiday Special is the stronger entry in the franchise. What? you might say, that’s crazy; the Holiday Special is a cheap cash in forcing the original cast and seventies celebrities to act out the worst made for TV fare ever, where’s Attack of the Clones is a legitimate film that was nominated for awards and stuff. To that I respectably disagree.

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For the most part, both films are unwatchable, contain gaping plot holes and performances that no one should be proud of. There are some talented people involved in these films too, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney and my personal hero Bea Arthur, on the Holiday Special side. While Attack of the Clones is star-studded with Ewan MacGreggor, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Christopher Lee and Ian McDiarmid. Based on those casts alone, these movies should me phenomenal, but they’re not. Both of these movies are examples of everything that’s wrong with film making, on both a made for television and theatrical level.

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Picking the better of the two is like asking which was a more pleasant experience, dysentery or an appendicitis. So why bother? Because I like to talk about silly things and I’m waiting to put my thoughts down on the Force Awakens once I’ve seen it five times. So here we are at the crux of awfulness.

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For all of the special effects, top tier actors and over the top lightsaber battles, I’d argue that Attack of the Clones is the worst thing that bears the Star Wars name. Yes the Holiday Special is atrocious in its own special way and is hated by fans and Lucas alike, but it tells a story that’s more in line with what Star Wars is all about. In short, the Holiday special kinda feels like it belongs in the Star Wars Universe. Where’s Attack of the Clones, with all of its political mumbo jumbo and forced love story is creepy and kind of boring and doesn’t fit with the world established by the original trilogy.

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Still don’t think the Holiday Special is better? Here are a bunch of reasons why.

1. The Plot

Attack of the Clones is the story of a young Anakin as he stalks and eventually tricks Padmé into falling in love with him. It also spends an unreasonable amount of time on politics and voting. Seriously, the opening crawl talks about voting. You only get six sentences in that crawl, that is a huge waste. There is also a subplot about a clone army, a chancellor who is probably a sith lord and some more political stuff involving a trade federation.

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The Holiday Special is about the Empire trying to ruin Life Day, the wookiee amalgamation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a simple plot, but its not really all that bogged down by anything heavy. It further shows that the Empire is awful and oppressive and we get to see a little into Chewbacca’s home life (as irritating as that can be). Now there are a lot of pointless parts and the direction is very unfocused, but it sticks with the themes present in the original Star Wars.

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2. It serves as a better origin story for Boba Fett

Attack of the Clones gives us child Boba Fett as we never wanted to see him before. Part of what makes Boba Fett (and any iconic villain) is that we don’t know a lot about him, we don’t see a human side to him. He’s a cold, calculated badass, we don’t need to see his face, we don’t need to know about his daddy issues and we certainly don’t need to know why he’s a bounty hunter in the first place.

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In one of the better parts of the Holiday Special, the budget for live action becomes too large and the whole thing shifts to animation. This is actually one of the more watchable parts of the special because it’s a little more coherent and the animation isn’t all that bad. Here we meet Boba Fett for the first time; he befriends Luke by saving Han’s life and if it weren’t for those meddling droids he would have found the Rebel’s hideout for the Empire. The Special frames Boba Fett as a true deceiver willing to do anything to get his bounty. It’s also the most Boba Fett has ever done in any of the Star Wars Films.

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3. The Love Story

Attack of the Clones and I’d even argue the Clone Wars after it, has one of the most convoluted, passionless and down right creepy love stories ever put on film. Anakin peruses Padmé as though he’s written the MRA handbook. Every action that Anakin has towards Padmé is super creepy, restraining order creepy. The M’lady scene alone makes me want to shower in bleach. I don’t buy that the determined and for all intents and purposes protagonist from Phantom Menace would behave this way or fall for Anakin. Yes, he is an old friend, but he’s also grown up into a whinny twit who does nothing of note, save for making audience uncomfortable. If Anakin had stuck the the Jedi principles that the prequels had set up, he might been a colder, more mysterious and desirable character. There could have been subtle moments where he fights his feelings towards Padmé because of his Jedi bonds and not only would there have been more romantic tension, but the end pay off would have had a bigger impact.

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The Holiday Special gives us a look into Chewbacca’s home life and the strain that his life of adventuring and saving the galaxy has put on his marriage. There are no subtitles for the wookie dialogue, but you get the impression that Mala is miffed that Chewbacca is always away and that his actions can sometimes bring danger and Jefferson Starship into their home. Yet she’s shown to be deeply concerned for Chewbacca’s well being; her worry is even an excuse to bring the rest of the cast into the movie. Their marriage may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot more believable than anything we’re given in the prequels.

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On a side note, Itchy (Chewbacca’s father) is given a weird fantasy chair as a Life Day Gift, which contains Diahann Carroll. It’s implied (or maybe even stated, its kind of hard to watch) that this is a fantasy of his creation and it’s a human woman singing about how much she wants a wookiee…CREEPY! Yet not as creepy as the courtship of Padmé and Anakin. There’s also a man at the not quite Mos Eisley Cantina who relentlessly hits on the amazing bartender Ackmena, but still doesn’t get his creep on like Anakin.

4. The Setting

Attack of the Clones spans the Galaxy through several CGI worlds that never quite feel tangible. The best scene is night club on Coruscant when Obi-Wan mind tricks some poor schmuck into giving up his life of petty crime. the reason this is one of the few scenes that really work is because most of it is real and it’s a little reminiscent of the cantina scene in a New Hope. It’s also one of the few scenes that feels organic to its setting, everything else is CGI and politics, but that bar scene is pretty Star Wars.

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Most of the Holiday Special is centralized on Kashyyyk, the wookiee homeworld, in Chewbacca’s home. I’m not going to lie, this gets grating. Wookiees aren’t the most eloquent of creatures and without subtitles, it starts to feel like an awkward family dinner. However, in one of the watchable parts, it cuts to a cantina on Tatooine (I’m not sure if it’s Chalmun’s Cantina, but it’s likely in Mos Eisley, given the bar fly’s). The cantina looks and feels like something out of a New Hope and even allows us to see what some of the cantina have been up to since a New Hope. Ponda Baba can be seen on the dance floor grooving out with one arm. We also get to see the grim reality of the empire enforcing curfews on pirate space ports and why it sucks.

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5. The Characters

The prequels contain some of the most wooden lifeless performances that you’ve ever seen and it is 100% not the actors fault. The prequels have amazing actors who are great in everything else they’ve ever been in, save the prequels. However, it’s these off performances that make it hard to form any sort of connection with the characters. The only character, in my opinion, that makes an impact is Obi-Wan and even then the only emotion we really get out of him is exasperated.

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The Holiday Special sees the return of the original cast and even though Harrison Ford doesn’t seem happy to be there, Mark Hamill had recently been in a bad accident and Carrie Fisher seems a little out of it, they’ve got great chemistry together and are still playing the characters we all know and love. The wookiees can be irritating, but a lot of the new characters that we run into are fun or at the very least wacky. I’d personally like to see more about Ackmena the bartender, I wish there was a comic or a short story about her. If someone out there wants to prove me wrong, you will have made my year.

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6. It’s less annoying

An hour or more of wookiees grumbling at each other is far less annoying than ten seconds of Jar Jar Binks doing anything.

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7. The Villain

The Villain of the Holiday special is ultimately Darth Vader, even though he’s seen very little. If that’s not enough, there is still plenty of Empire dickery to go around. Attack of the Clones has Palpatine, but it’s still pretending that he’s not the Sith Lord everyone’s so scared of. There’s also the trade federation and Count Dooku, but it’s all so muddled it’s hard to care. Give me Vader any day.

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8. It’s Tangible

Because of the time it was made in the Holiday Special, other than the animated portion, everything is tangible and likely recycled from a New Hope. It looks low budget, but everything is real, could have been touched at one point. Nothing in Attack of the Clones is real, there wasn’t even a single piece of clone armor made. It feels like an animated picture with people spliced in, which would be fine if it were charming, but it’s not. Say what you will about the quality of the Holiday Special, but it does have that made for TV charm.

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There’s a lot more I could go into, but I think that pretty much sums it up. Yes, the Holiday Special is so bad its good, but Attack of the Clones is so bad its bad. If you have the patience, give them a watch back to back and you might just agree with me.

Secret of Evermore

Have you ever asked yourself if you were a video game character, who would you be?

I have, lots of times, I’ve probably even taken a few quizzes on the matter.


Yeah, no.

Ask yourself that question seriously, out of all the pixelated protagonists out there, who are you? Are you lovable like Pikachu? Overrated cold like Cloud Strife? Or do you meander around like a Sim?
Me, I’d be the main character from Secret of Evermore. What’s Secret of Evermore, you ask? Well, it’s the only American produced game that Squaresoft put out and back in the day it was kind of hated for reasons that don’t make much sense.


Evermore is the story about a kid and their dog getting warped to the land of B-movies and having adventures, which is what I want to have happen to me when I grow up. Because of the flack the game got upon release, it didn’t do too well and it kind of became an obscure title (it didn’t even get a Japanese release.), despite being just as much fun to play as Secret of Mana or Chrono Trigger.


So why pick a character from a game that no one really likes or remembers for that matter? Well, the protagonist is this kid who spends a lot of his time watching bad movies with his dog, most of his dialogue is quotes from these bad movies. Switch the gender or the kid and this is my video game autobiography.


These are a few of the gems from my movie collection. (fun fact: my biggest gripe with Jurassic World was that they had a perfectly good chance to homage the Valley of Gwangi, but didn’t. Doing so would have made a key scene in the movie make loads more sense.) I can quote most of these films, much to the chagrin of my friends and family. I’ve watched every one of these movies with my dog, I’m sure if he could talk he’d be able to quote them too.


Much like the dog in the game, he has a habit of running off and taking us on adventures that don’t seem like adventures at the time.
So if video games and B-movies are your thing and you’ve got a few hours to kill, give Secret of Evermore a chance. It’s by no means an epic game, but like most B fare it sure is fun. You may just find yourself quoting your own favourite movies as you play.


Me, I’m gonna sneak my dog into the next showing of the Lost Adventures of Vexx and see where it takes us.

24HCD 2015, cluster headaches and how to continue

  
I made it to page 13 before being hit with an awful cluster headache, which put me out of commission for a good fourteen hours. 

It was a big disappointment not being able to finish, but I’d still like to. So next week stay tuned for Kalin’s 24HCD 2015s noble failure part two: the finishing.