Thursday, December 28, 2006

MY TOP 3 MUSIC VIDEOCLIPS OF 2006

For the next three days I'll post my three favourite music videoclips for 2006. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no longer as "in" the current pop/rock whatever you want to call it mainstream (?) music scene as I used to be a few years ago. My contact with what that creative world has to offer is maintained mostly through whatever radio station I happen to pick while driving and to random videoclips I stumble upon on tv or youtube. Still, I grew up watching music videoclips and find that "medium" - if it can be called so - just as interesting as the comics. The combination of film and music makes for some very compelling, emotional and, sometimes, inspirational audiovisual experience.

Finally, a warning : this is an entirely subjective selection based specifically on the videoclips I happenned to see in 2006. By picking these I am not particularly endorsing the bands, artists or albums involved. What I'm selecting here are specifically the videoclips for what they are - I'm no longer "hip" enough to care about band-cults or being a "fan".

Monday, December 25, 2006

Dona Nobis Pacem

"Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace to men of good will!"
- Luke 2,14

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Scarlet Traces

As those familiar with my posts should know by now, I have a bit of an obsession with lists. I suppose it's something that evolved when I was a kid collecting comics and trying to keep track of the continuity of my favorite magazines and characters. My mind sometimes drifts into some sort of common denominator under which I try to put whatever things I like that happen to fall into that umbrella's territory.


For instances, I've often come to the conclusion that one of my favorite type of creators is what I'd call "world-builders". Now, to a certain degree, every writer, director or cartoonist is a world-builder, but there are certain artists who pay particular attention to the "world" in which their stories take place... to the point where the "world" becomes as important as the characters. In these group of creators, I'd include people with works as different as Tolkien, E.P. Jacobs, Hayao Myiazaki or Matt Groening. It isn't that I don't find these artists good at character development or storytelling - they obviously are - but what I really find brilliant in their works is the apparent care and attention in the worlds they create.

Nowadays, this tends to be the most charming element I find in creative works, be it comics, movies or literature. So, it's no wonder that when I incidentally came across Scarlet Traces : The Great Game I went ga-ga. Writen by Ian Edington and illustrated by D'Israeli, this four-issue mini-series published by Dark Horse is a delight to the eyes. If you made sense of my mad scriblings in the previous paragraphs, have a fondness for "parallel worlds" rendered with an eye for detail and verisimilitude and, last but not least, are interested in buying a comic this Christmas try tracking this down and get it while it lasts. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Good Samaritan



An image from a set of line drawings I did for the intro of a new website.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The shape of Things to Come


A glimpse of a 3D model I've been toying with for a comic book project currently under development. More as it translates into reality...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ave Maria

Schubert's Ave Maria by Yehudi Menuhim ( violin ) and Adolph Baller ( piano )

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

KING KIRBY!


A short documentary about Jack Kirby, creator of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Silver Surfer, the New Gods and far too many other characters and concepts to name here. Narrated by Mark Evanier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

super-heroes

I was scared of Spider-man as a kid. Honest! The first time I saw Spider-man, as a little kid, I found him scary. There was just something inhuman about someone with(out) a "face" - which I didn't know was a mask yet - such as the one he had. And the same could be said of most Marvel characters I knew back then with the honorable exception of Captain America.

On the other hand, DC comics' pantheon was composed of friendly demi-gods - Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman ... - those guys either had no masks or at least you could still see a reasonable part of their faces. Besides, Superman was a real guy - I'd seen him on tv and there were plenty of pictures of him around in magazines and newspapers. So was Wonder Woman, she had her own tv series and she was beautiful! I also had this treasury sized book - which I later learned had the gorgeous art of Alex Toth - where these noble heroes - also known as the Justice League of America - went to an hospital - or was it an orphanage? - to cheer up disabled children. In the end I think it was the kids who helped them save the day :-D

Anyway, DC comics heroes were far more benign and parent-like than those other strange, weird characters published by Marvel comics. I mean, those other had that Rock man and that Fire man who belonged on a team with a big 4 on their chests - were they friends or foes? They were always fighting each other... Now, Captain America was another thing. This guy at least could have been part of the Justice League. Unlike Spider-man, his mask didn't cover all of his face. Also, he looked noble and distinct. And the best was that shield of his - if only I could get one like that...

It was only when I actually started to read the words on the comics, that I started to see how Superman, Batman and co. were perhaps a bit boring, especially when compared to the Marvel gang. Sure, Spider-man still looked scary, but he was a funny guy and he looked regular and handsome beneath the mask. He was like anyone else, always fighting his bad luck. And he also had to go to some sort of school - a university - and deal with teachers and exams - I could relate to that. Also, the drawings on the Marvel comics just felt more alive. They leaped off the page right atcha! Superman flying in his comics never quite felt like a flying man would if he could fly - don't ask me why, I just knew it. But Captain America beating the crap out of the Red Skull, man I could almost hear the crack of his shield smashing the ugly villain's jaws. And Spider-man lived in New York - that was a real city I'd heard of and seen on tv. And to my eyes it looked exactly like what I'd seen of the real one. So these guys must be real too!

So, what started as fear ended up as admiration. And as time marched on and I progressed in my increasing awareness of the world and its mechanics, I started to realize these weren't really real persons - which I think I kind of suspected all along. Nevertheless, comics were made by some real guys. There were their names on the first page of every story. Who was this Stan Lee guy? It looked like he was the Walt Disney of superheroes - his name stamped on every Marvel comic, even when he didn't write or drew or did anything as far as I could see. Boy, could this Sal Buscema guy draw - his Captain America was great! And who's this John Buscema - he must be related to Sal, perhaps they're brothers, he's the best artist ever! If only I could draw like that...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Prelude Bwv 998 - Bach


No, it isn't me playing - I couldn't play a thing even if my life depended upon it. Just thought Bach's composition might make for an unusual soundtrack for "Grace", the comic I posted previously, try reading it while playing the film. Also, the simplicity and anonymity of this video moves me - pay attention to the little birds singing in the back ...sheer poetry.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bigmouth strikes again

Here I am again. Quite an extended hiatus with lots of personal changes happening in the meantime. The blog will still be ongoing and regular but don't count on daily posts for awhile as I'm concentrating on other more pressing matters for the moment. I'll try to post at least twice a week, so tune in at least every weekend for some fresh dose of all cruz-ish thoughts, art and gossip - and I don't mean that hollywood nut, you know.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Every time we say goodbye...

So that was Helljacket... an old work with many errors and lessons learned on the actual page - here for all to see without shame or regrets. Anyway, back to the present, this blogspot will be under hiatus as I'll be taking on a much needed and deserved vacation. We'll return online sometime during September with new stuff. Until then...

Helljacket 08

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Helljacket 01


Today and the next following days I'll be posting a complete 8-page comic written by Steve Zeggers and illustrated and lettered by yours truly. It's an oldie I did through Ronin Studios back in 2004 and originally published in Ronin Illustrated # 2 . Naturally I believe my art has evolved since then, but it still is an interesting yarn in the twilight zone vein which I hope you'll enjoy. And anyway, what're you complainin' about? It's free comics, man!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lists Part III - tv

Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, Get Smart, Little House on the Prairie, The Muppet Show, Benny Hill, Fraggle Rock, Highway to Heaven, Future Boy Conan, Il était une fois... l'homme, Il était une fois...l'espace, Cosmos, Fame, Duarte e Companhia, Sherlock Holmes, Les Mystérieuses Cités d'Or, Dempsey & Makepeace, Moonlighting, Alf, The Storyteller, The Stand, The Simpsons, Batman: the Animated series, Futurama, Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm, Lost
... and a vast ammount of just plain rubbish ...
... tv fried my brain ...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Carl Barks


In the early years between the time I could only grasp the meaning of books through pictures and the period where I was finally able to read properly, Disney comics ruled my world. Superheroes were too frightening and european bande-dessinées like Tintin or Astérix were sold only on bookstores and too expensive for small kids, or at least this small kid's parents. Disney comics were cheap and accessible, available at any newsagent, therefore dominating most of my reading diet during those days.

There were tons of comics back then.You went to any newsagent and they could have a whole wall devoted to comics... and most of those were brazilian editions featuring Disney characters - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy... and Uncle Scrooge.

I wasn't a comic book geek yet, even if well on the way to become one, so the only thing that really mattered to me were the stories. IMO, the geeker you get with these things, be it comics, films or whatever, you start shifting from the interest in the content, the actual stories, to the characters, to the formal aspects, to the authors and ultimately to the medium itself - its mechanics, its business and its semiotics. Back then, I was plain and simply interested in having fun, so the story came first. And story, in comics at least, means words and pictures - and the best words and pictures, in Disney comics, almost invariably came on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories, although there were these pretty good Mickey Mouse comics too... but that's for another story. Slowly, I started to recognize a pattern, a way in which these particular stories I found so appealing were superior to all others - it was the way Uncle Scrooge, Donald and his nephews were drawn, as if they were alive; and the world in which they lived, as if Duckburg really existed somewhere; and the adventures they had, with references to stuff I might hear about on t.v. ... Whenever I was allowed to get a new comic, I'd first look inside and check which one brought stories by the "good" duck artist - that'd be the one I get.

Then, onde day, Editora Abril, the publisher responsible for those editions, released a thick, 200 page edition dedicated to Carl Barks. Who was this guy? What did he have to do with Uncle Scrooge? Weren't all these stories signed by Walt Disney? Soon I found out and was finally able to name the comic book artist whose artstyle I first learned to recognize : Carl Barks, the "Good" Duck Artist.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Prince Valiant



When I was a kid I would spend long afternoons at my grandparents house, especially during the summer holidays. Their next door neighbours had two sons, one slighlty older than me, already a teenager, and another around my age. Naturally, we would spend time together playing with action figures and those old zx spectrum 48k computer games, watching vhs movies and reading comics, doing the stuff kids do on long summer afternoons... or, at least, used to do.

The older kid was a sort of science whiz with a huge collection of science-fiction pocket book novels that introduced me to writers like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K.Dick. He also had some old comics, including four or five giant-sized books collecting the early years of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant. Now, this was probably the most famous comic book character of my father's generation, which meant I was at least familiar with his name, but I had never actually seen any pages so I was extremely curious as to what the brouhaha surrounding it was all about. Once I laid my eyes on those books I immediately understood where all the fame of Prince Valiant came from - it was the most beautiful comic I had ever seen! Pardon me, it IS the most beautiful comic I have ever seen!

Even Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon with all its romance and vigourous drawing cannot top Hal Foster's Prince Valiant in terms of care and attention to detail, composition and just plain naturalism.

And the story... has there ever been an epic such as this in adventure comics? The cast, the settings, the grand adventure and the small quiet moments... unparalleled!

I was so enamored of this old comic that I begged the older kid to borrow them so I could read it properly and maybe swipe some of those fabulous drawings, "who knows, I might learn to draw this good if I copy it" ... but the little jerk wouldn't lent them. He didn't even really care about those particular books, it was all just a brutal display of egotism. And so I was left yearning for Prince Valiant, which, despite its success with previous generations, was completely out-of-print, at least as far as national editions were concerned.

Fast forward twenty years and we finally have a decent black and white national edition of Prince Valiant being printed. It's been promoted as "the best edition ever, anywhere!"... which might be true for all I know, but sounds a bit too hyperbolic. But that doesn't matter a bit because Prince Valiant still is the most beautiful comic I have ever seen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ima Chikyu-ga Mezameru


Oh, Summer time... freedom ... wide open blue skies ... the beach ... you know what that reminds me of ... my all-time favourite anime series, Future Boy Conan, by the great Hayao Miyazaki. If you don't know what I'm talking about click on the image of Conan and Lana.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lists Part II - books

The Bible, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, Neverending Story, Five weeks in a Balloon, The Children of Captain Grant, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Tom Sawyer, Lord of the Flies, The Time Machine, Isaac Asimov's Robot tales, City at World's End, Riverworld, Ringworld, Rendez-vous with Rama, Contact, Lords of Light, Valis, The Divine Invasion, Deus Irae, The Stand, The Dark Tower, The Magic Mountain, The End of the Affair, Mr. Vertigo, Moon Palace, The Story of Mr.Sommer, The Pearl, Crime and Punishment, The Outline of History, Broca's Brain, The Demon-Haunted World, Billions & Billions, The Human Animal, Profiles of the Future, Infinite in All Directions, Imagined Worlds, The Physics of Immortality, Comics and Sequential Art, Graphic Storytelling, Will Eisner's ShopTalk, Alan Moore's Writing for Comics, Perspective! for Comic Book Artists, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Six Walks in the Ficitonal Woods
...
call me eclectic

Monday, August 07, 2006

Flash Gordon



Flash! Ah-Haaaaaa! He'll save everyone of us!

In 1980/81, Queen's song seemed to be omni-present and this kid couldn't get enough of it and of that year's hero - Flash Gordon! I had seen the movie, had a Flash Gordon rubber figure, was following the gorgeous comic adaptation which was being serialized weekly here and was stuck on tv for "The New Adventures of Flash Gordon" with those delicious Filmation trademark sound-effects.

But what I really tresured most of all was this big sized book collecting an Alex Raymond story with Flash Gordon's adventures in the Undersea Kingdom of Mongo in black and white - It was breathtaking! Forget the film, the soundtrack, the action figures, the animation or the followers, Raymond's art was beyond all that and beyond my wildest child fantasies. It had the verve of the romantic ideal taken to its ultimate level - the streamlined shapes of a dynamic future that never came to pass mixed with the primitive textures of a past that never was! It was pulpish and yet stylish! It was the best of both worlds in one... and it still is.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Look!! Kids -- COMICS!!!


Another page of my own, this time for the upcoming Kirby Martin Inquest #1, from Nite Lite Theatre, written by Mike Hasseloff, pencilled and inked by me, featuring Mike's creation, The White Ghost. The art is already in the can, Mike's done with his part too and now it's up for the letterer to finish his job. Coming soon!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Superman

Legend has it that this was the first comic book I had - a reprint of Action Comics#1, the comic which introduced Superman and began all other superheroes. My mind was scarred forever, my destiny sealed. Even today I have a hard time believing it!

The volume is one of those old treasury sized editions typical of the '70s, more or less double the size of a regular comic book, which means that on my tiny four or five year old hands it must have felt huge, like a heavyweight - the size, the scope and on top of that, the content - an anthology of old comic strips including Superman's debut! Jerry Siegel's imagination and Joe Shuster's art looked amazing to me -- they still do as a matter of fact! There's an honesty, a charm in their work, an almost warts and all approach, that I find quite uncommon nowadays in mainstream american comics, ugly as some of them can be. As Jules Feiffer put it in his The Great Comic Book Heroes, "Shuster represented the best of old-style comic-book drawing. His work was direct, unprettied - crude and vigorous; as easy to read as a diagram. No creamy lines, no glossy illustrative effects, no touch of that bloodless prefabrication that passes for professionalism these days. Slickness, thank God, was beyond his means. He could not draw well, but he drew single-mindedly - no one could ghost that style. It was the man. (...) But, oh, those early drawings! Superman running up the sides of dams, leaping over anything that stood in his way (No one drew skyscrappers like Shuster. Impressionistic shafts. Superman poised over them, his leaping leg tucked under his ass, his landing leg taunty pointed earthward), cleaning and jerking two-ton get-away cars and pounding them into the sides of cliffs - and all this done lightly, unportentiously, still with that early (...) exhuberance."

Now, this Superman who shows up for the first time ever in the first tale of Action Comics #1 is significantly different from the one most people are used to all over the world nowadays. Sure, you have all the basic ingredients there - the clark kent/superman dual identity, the lois lane romantic interest, the alien origin, the superhuman abilities, the mild mannered reporter - but this isn't your friendly neighborhood Superman. He's more like a social-reformist bully, whose motto could very well be "might makes right". His costume is darker and his features rougher; he's concerned with real world threats and injustices like murderers, corrupt politicians, belligerent armies, spousal abusers and exploitive employers, not imaginary problems like alien invaders, giant robots or bald scientists (as he'd soon be); astounding as they appear, his abilities are far more within the grasp of the believable, not yet the physics defying powers he'd come to be known for - he's a superMAN, not the childish SUPERman with his superboys, supercousins, superpets and superfriends.

Time and the marketing machine would tame him down and power him up for a wider, more commercial appeal, ending up with what we have today. Yet, to me, this guy, as he originally appeared, would always remain the real deal. Ironically enough, Chris Ware's superman character in Jimmy Corrigan is far closer to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation than what passes for him in DC's own regular publications these days! Forget modern comics, forget the new film; you want to meet the real Superman, pick this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nostalgia is...


... an old memory of a children's book my mom gave me before I could even read and one of my favourite songs ever by the great Caetano Veloso. Oh, Bliss!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jorge Colombo

Far and away my favourite portuguese cartoonist... See for yourself here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Too much, man!


You know those good old Tom and Jerry cartoons by William Hanna and Joe Barbera where Tom's torn apart by doubt and two l'il angel/devil versions of himself battle for his decision, telling him what he should or should not do? Well, sometimes I'm a bit like that and this time I'm afraid the l'il devil has won. Just click on the parental advisory label at your own risk.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Alain de Botton or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb


I don't really care much for tv these days - with the honorable exception of Lost and the greatest show ever . I even avoid watching the news, prefering to read them, as what we get on tv has become too much like entertainment or propaganda but not enough information...
It was under this scenario that this guy's series "Status Anxiety" really caught my attention and had me following it almost religiously. Find out more about the man, his books and tv series, here.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Look!! Kids -- COMICS!!!



Another teaser from the "Grace" story, illustrated and lettered by myself from a script by Arya Ponto - if you wanna read it all in its full glorious black and white, be sure to pick a copy of the Post-Human Anthology, coming soon.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturn Girls just wanna have fun...



They just wanna, they just wanna...

For those of you not versed in super-hero lore, this is Saturn Girl, a member of The Legion of Super Heroes of the XXXth century, published by DC comics - home of Superman and Batman among other famous comic book characters.


The art was originally done for Thom Chiaramonte's excellent R3 forum's This Week's Art Jam "... where a character is chosen at random and all who wish to participate get to do their take on the character".

Be sure to check Thom's own illustration site.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Well, duh!

"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."
- Niels Bohr

Thursday, July 27, 2006

R.I.P. Tonico

Yesterday there was no post as we had to attend a funeral for a friend - an old friend of my wife's family who, along with his own wife, took care of my father-in-law's house in his hometown during his absence. He was one of the last master craftsmen in this town, having earned his wage as a taylor with a personal school of disciples and students. As the priest told the attending persons of the importance and impact he had had on the village during his eighty years of life, I couldn't help but think of how times have changed and how we now live in an era where the old knowledge and care people used to give their professional activities is quickly eroding and dying , giving way to a faster, disposable way of living with no place for craftsmen and what they used to bring to everyday life...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lists Part I - films

"I'm just the sort of person who's always making lists. Rarely finishing them though. I waste a lot of time writing down columns of favourite artists or little quotations."
- in It's a good life, if you don't weaken a picture novella by Seth
Favourite Films
Charles Chaplin, Nosferatu, Metropolis, Walt Disney, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man,Bride of Frankenstein, Things to Come, It's a Wonderful Life, Lost Horizon, Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Third Man, How Green was my Valley, The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, The Wizard of Oz, Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, They Died with Their Boots on, The Boy with Green Hair, Ladri di Biciclette, The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, To Kill a Mockingbird, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, Amarcord, The Bridge on the River Kway, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Dr. Strangelove, 2001 A Space Odissey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Time Machine, Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, The Sound of Music, The Andromeda Strain, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Once upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America, Manhattan, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Empire of the Sun, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, A.I., Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Alien, Blade Runner, The Elephant Man, Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Starman, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adventures in Babysitting, Superman, Ladyhawke, The Goonies, Scrooged, Back to the Future, Contact, Cast Away, Stand by Me, Willow, Gremlins, Explorers, Matinee, Aliens, Terminator 2, The Abyss, The Untouchables, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, Malèna, Mediterraneo, Il Postino, Wallace and Grommit, Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare before Christmas, The Corpse Bride, Monsters Inc, Iron Giant, The Incredibles, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Hearts in Atlantis, The Passion of Christ, The Matrix, American Splendor, Lord of the Rings, Match Point
...and the list goes on...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Look, kids -- It's the Comics!


This is from a comic book shortstory illustrated and lettered by myself, to be published in the upcoming Post-Human Anthology - more news on this as it hopefully develops.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Quote of the Day

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dream, Dream, Dream

Had the weirdest dream last night...
A couple of friends of mine have a small two year old boy who, in the dream, was already six years old, wearing these big thick glasses, a t-shirt with red and white stripes, brown trousers, big orthopedic boots and being an avid devourer of comic books. In the dream, these friends, knowing what a comic book geek I am, were seeking my advise concerning their offspring's newly found addiction. Well, I was quite amused by the situation of seeing the little tyke completely immersed in the comics experience, so what could I do to convince the parents there was nothing terribly wrong with the kid except for the possibility of a life-long addiction to four-color stapled pamphlets, lack of commonly accepted social skills and a one-way ticket to geekdom ?...
Luckily, I woke up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006