Independent Comics from Mars – Long Exposure

At the request of the creator, no art content is reposted in this short update. Instead, this short, art update includes just a tweet from artist Mars linking to their Independent Comic published on Taptastic.com – Long Exposure.

The webcomic features a highly expressive art style. Character facial expression and anatomy is very thoughtful. Their facial expressions capture boundless personality. Very slight touches of colour highlight and draw attention to specific movements and gestures. That is, until the colour choices begin to play a key role in the a specific character’s arc in Chapter 2.

The diversity involved in the character story arc is also impressive, featuring LGBTIQ themes. The comic also confronts high-school bullying head on (content warning for anyone reading on).

You can read Long Exposure on Taptastic, For more information on Mars’ artwork, you can see their work on tumblr, and twitter.

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Marvel and Square Enix have a new Avengers Game

“The world will always need heroes…they just need to reassemble.”

– Unknown, Marvel and Square Enix’s trailer for their new game: The Avengers Project.

Announced today at 7:00am PST, Marvel and Square Enix will produce a new game, alongside development teams Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics. I have some speculations on the cast of heroes referenced in the trailer.

The trailer reference several of Marvel’s most remarkable heroes, with Hawkeye, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man called-out.

It is not clear if these heroes will reflect the current state of Marvel’s comics – with Kate Bishop actively using the Hawkeye name, Sam Wilson using the Captain America title with the round shield, and Amadeus Cho as the (Totally Awesome) Hulk.

It’s likely that the characters will reflect Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

Polygon reported that unlike the film and television productions, Marvel retains the right to character casts like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four in game media. However, it is more likely Spider-man might appear alongside the Avengers that the Fantastic Four or X-Men.

The announcement trailer is available on the Marvel Entertainment YouTube Channel.

Steven Universe and Pearl – Love and Relationships

Spoiler Warning – This post covers Pearl’s character changes through the first 4 seasons of Steven Universe.

Steven Universe is know for complex lore, and powerful emotions. I’m writing about just one facet of the animation – Pearl’s relationships, and changing character. This post is a summary of Pearl’s relationship and ongoing feelings for Rose Quartz. I also have a short comment on how Pearl’s story is relevant to reality.

When Pearl first appears alongside the other characters, what is clear from her design is she may not have power, but she has knowledge and grace under pressure. In her name, and a few other references, she is tied to water – fountains and beaches often appear associated with her character. Fluidity and change follow as a key part of her character, just as water n motion constantly changes.

Water also has still depths, however.

Subconsciously, Pearl carries a rarely expressed deep love for her now gone friend, mentor, and revolutionary leader Rose Quartz. She talks about Rose, but not often about her and Rose together.

Season 2, episode 9 – We Need To Talk – contains a flashback. It’s when the audience seems primary information about Rose and Pearl. They had a close relationship.

Spoilers – half Rose’s life force went to her son Steven Universe. Rose and Pearl used to fuse their mind and body together to form Rainbow Quartz, a whole new character. Fusion in Steven Universe is a metaphor for consensual, trusting relationships.

Season 2, episode 10 – Chille Tid – the audience has a glimpse into Pearl’s subconscious as she dreams.

Coincidentally, this episode also concerns the ocean depths, as a character hiding deep in the ocean appears. She dreams of time spent with Rose, which is horrendously interrupted by Steven’s father, jolting Pearl awake. This is when we learn that Pearl clearly harbors strong animosity to Steven’s Father – Rose’s Partner – Greg Universe.

Season 3, episode 8 – Mr. Greg – takes Pearl away from water to a penthouse hotel room. Pearl unleashes a powerful lament.

She sings a song called “It’s Over, isn’t it?” in a dramatic highpoint that is the peak of Pearl’s ongoing, denied feelings for Rose clashing with reality. It is in this episode that she resolves her animosity for Greg Universe. The two bond with Steven, commiserating Rose’s obstinate but powerful personality.

Finally, in season 4 episode 6 – Last One Out of Beach City – We see Pearl again away from water, trying to connect with a new woman she meets, despite her anxiety, and feelings of vulnerability.

There are other episodes where we see Pearl’s connection to Rose interfere with her judgement (Season 2, Episode 6 – Sworn To The Sword), but her arc is clear in this list.

In Last One Out of Beach City, Pearl’s behaviour is a great model for reality. She feels vulnerable, but is direct when asking out someone new that she likes. I recently experienced a similar situation. I asked out someone that I liked, they were not interested, but I was direct, and was confident in the moment.

I wasn’t consciously thinking of Pearl at the time, but her example definitely contributed to my confidence. Despite being turned down, Steven Universe reminded me that love and relationships are sometimes difficult, but that’s okay, because the difficult emotions have answers, which we can see an example of in Pearl’s story arc.

Steven Universe returns on January 30 with the Steven Universe: Out of This World event, with new episodes at 7:00pm EST.

Art from Queer Content for the MELT Festival, Brisbane

queercontentcomix: “ Day 2 of watercolour hell: we’re ready for a background. > This baby’s for this year’s MELT Festival, where I’ll be showing some comic work with a whole bunch of people (who haven’t been revealed to me yet) at Powerhouse...

Brisbane celebrates queer culture with the annual MELT Festival, which brings together cabaret, art exhibitions, and comedy. The Brisbane Powerhouse expressed the best summary of the festival core message:

“Brisbane’s LGBTI+ voice is loud and clear, bursting with pride, humour, humanity, and rebellion. The community is bounding towards equality in many vital aspects of life and MELT is a vehicle for these leaps.”
Brisbane Powerhouse

Queer Content is a Brisbane based Zine and blog that collects diverse and powerful content that celebrates the diversity.

They also feature original artwork, created by writer and artist Wolfram-Jaymes VonKeesing. Their entry for Melt festival captures the diversity and punk side of the queer community, alongside the jovial, Australia culture, expressed through the native Lorikeet and Galah birds.

You can find more Queer Content on their tumblr blog page, and Etsy store.

Queer Content is running a crowdfunding campaign for travel to the Festival of the Photocopier in Melbourne, Australia. If you’d like to support an independent artist, their YouCaring page has more information.

Batman #49 Review and Insights

There is a lot to describe here, so I’ve selected some insights into the comic’s artwork and character conflicts, and unpacked a few of them. A spoiler warning for anyone not caught up on the latest story arc.

Batman #49 uses interesting visual metaphors of trauma and darkness to depict Bruce’s journey down into the Batcave, and the potential return of the Dark Knight.

Batman #49 Cover Art

  • A stark Batman shadow fills half the cover
  • Bruce Wayne himself is in pain
  • This shadow is the cause of his pain.
  • The shadow used on the right of the cover balances
    the composition.
  • The amber light, like a fire, draws the eye toward Bruce

With one hand touching his head in anguish, and the other grasping at the air like a claw, Bruce is in pain, struggling with the trauma of becoming The Batman again. This trauma plays out during the issue.

Artwork

  • There is significant anguish on the faces of Alfred, Julie, and Bruce throughout
  • Different and unique versions of Gotham appear
  • White and blue colours appear throughout the comic alongside heavily inked shadows
  • The trauma of becoming The Batman is represented by a huge, fiery red beast attacking a clean and ideal city

This issue marks part nine of the Super Heavy story arc.  On multiple other worlds, Batmen are dying. On one of these worlds, Bruce Wayne protects the city alongside the Council of Owls. This cleaned up and reformed Court of Owls uses an army of Talon’s. Bruce himself has employed teams of engineers and custodians to help run an organised and brightly lit Batcave.

Character Conflicts

  • Alfred deeply desires Bruce stay as he is – kind, unsophisticated, partnered, and happy
  • Bruce wants the truth, and to confront his trauma, descending into the Batcave to activate a memory machine
  • Julie Madison realises she must be the one to terminate the bearded Bruce, and return The Batman to life.
  • There is a shocking revelation about Julie’s parents

The large science fiction item of this story is the memory machine. This item has appeared before – a device that ensures The Batman lives on. It sends electrical surges around the Batcave when it activates.

In this case, Bruce can use the machine to return The Batman to life through him. There is a cost, however. The trauma, the shadow of the Batman, is powerful, and could kill him. Without Julie Madison’s intervention, it almost does exactly that.

Insights

My understanding of the story here, is that the scenes of an ideal Gotham are what Batman imagines he could be if he merged his current calm outlook with the Batman’s shadows. Unfortunately, they are completely incompatible.

The Batman is far to heavy a weight on the mind to bear. That is clear from the character’s stress, the dark cover, and metaphor in the artwork – the ideal Batman suits up with the Bat crew, and tries to save the white and clean Gotham. A red and black beast destroys this city however. A visual representation of Batman’s darkness and shadows.

An endless series of Batmen cloned from Bruce is a regimented and well-ordered version of Superman’s Bizzaro.

Bringing a monster to life with a machine and surges of electricity ties back to Frankenstein.

The idea that Bruce must terminate his softer civilian persona to return to the super heroic identity also lines up with The Doctor’s experiences in the Doctor Who episodes Human Nature and The Family of Blood.

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/a/a3/Batman_Vol_2_49.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20160210183552

Published by DC comics

Wallflyer update – New Directions, Changes, and Hiatus

It occurred to me that while writing weekly reviews for Wallflyer, it had been more than a year since writing an editorial, investigating a popular culture point. I have not reviewed a film since Star Trek: Into Darkness was released. I have also not taken the time to introduce myself. Wallflyer posts emerge from Wallflyer.wordpress.com without any clear sign of the author. This is not such a great position to be in for building an author platform that claims to be about stepping up and having a strong voice. A voice needs to come from somewhere distinct, or it’s just more sound.

While writing weekly reviews of comics, moving from Marvel, DC entertainment, Image, Vertigo, and Darkhorse, I have kept a schedule of information, insight, and understanding of comics published.

I recently shifted gear, and for the past fortnight, I have written reviews differently, focusing on lists of top 5 or 6 insights into the comics, with some discussion following.

What I need, however, is not just a different style of review writing. I need a new direction, and I need to make some changes to the blog. For that, I need a hiatus. Time to decide on what content to write about. Purpose and insight are important, and I need to sharpen and review the blog’s purpose.

I am very grateful for the blogging community who read my reviews each week. And I’m sorry to have to step away for a while. Time to figure out a new strategy as my life changes, as my commitments change, is something that I need to keep moving forward. This is a pause, but when I’m back from that pause, and all things working out, I’ll have a stronger, informative, and insightful blog platform.