30 Characters Challenge #3 – Vermilion / Ronnie Boyd

Vermilion

Real name: Donald Boyd Jr. Goes by Ronnie.

Hair color: Black

Eye color: Brown

Skin tone: African American

Ronnie heals twice as fast as normal with no scarring. Aside from that, his supersuit makes him nearly invulnerable. He was given an old, worthless but pretty blanket by his archeologist uncle. When he wrapped himself in it, it transformed to a rubber-like suit that acts as a second skin. He added boots, a belt with pouch that holds essentials, and goggles with night-vision capabilities.

Ronnie is from a so-far untitled superhero romance I started in October. No idea when it’ll be finished, but one other character from it will be showing up for this. It’s been kind of frustrating, as my friends have heard, because I’m not going to do anything major with the story – I might put it up on the web somewhere, but that’ll be it. And yet it wouldn’t leave me alone when I should have been preparing for NaNoWriMo.

The images were made in Poser 7, using Michael 4, the free Nadino Mask, various other props, and a custom texture for the suit. Which isn’t perfect, but I ran out of patience to fiddle with it.

 

30 Characters Challenge #2 – Stuart Ashbow

Stuart Ashbow is one of the founders of Future-Tech. He’s runs the personnel side and is very friendly and a good judge of character. He gets impatient with Mick Adler sometimes, especially when he’s done yet another PR gaffe. But they will always be good friends.

He’s married, with no children.

He’s got a full sleeve tattoo on his right arm with an ocean theme and  a wheel with dolphins, koi, and anchors on the other shoulder. You can’t see either one of them ordinarily. The only tat you can see is a ring around the ring finger of his left hand. This is his wedding ring, and his wife has a matching one. It’s garland of rose branches with a small rose where the diamond would be. He has a small gold ring in his right eyebrow, and three piercings in each ear, all gold rings or studs. The ear piercings are not symmetrical. He wears a very plain, functional digital watch and glasses for reading that he otherwise carries in his breast pocket.

Stuart Ashbow is a secondary character for my comic series The White Knight. Mick Adler is already up.

30 Characters Challenge #1 – Mick Adler

Mick Adler is unarguably the most financially successful inventor of the last century. He graduated from high school at 16, college at 18, and patented his revolutionary battery at 20. He started Future-Tech with his three best friends, Paul Gaziani, Stuart Ashbow, and Delia Troy (now Burton). His idea was to convert all vehicles to electric power, and with his battery and a freely released conversion manual released a year later, that dream was accomplished. The last gasoline powered car in the AMY was shipped five years ago. All ‘gas’ stations now sell exclusively Future-Tech fuel cells.
Adler is an admitted pervert who will flirt with anyone who doesn’t say to stop (but will stop at the first sign of discomfort). He is also big-hearted and generous to a fault. He relies on his friends to keep Future-Tech running as he works, sometimes for days, in his workshop. He can be over-trusting, but since Delia Burton is in charge of all financial decisions and Stuart Ashbow all personnel that hasn’t gotten the trouble the company in trouble in quite some time. Adler’s personal life is another story…

Mick Adler is a secondary character for my comic series The White Knight. I’m working on Stuart Ashbow right now and I may do Paul Gaziani. Delia Troy Burton (aka the White Knight) won’t be showing up for the 30 Character Challenge as I’ve already done her design and that would be cheating.

Ben-Day Shots – Captain Britain #1

zrtn_001p2efbb057_tn.jpg

Captain Britain #1

Week Ending Oct 13, 1976
Cover Price: 10 pence

1.jpg

Characters: Captain Britain / Brian Braddock, Dr. Travis, Reaver / Joshua Stragg, Merlin, Lady of the Northern Skies

First appearance: … everybody. Actually I don’t know that. To the Wikipedia! … yes.

Or I could’ve just gone on to the first page, which has ‘a personal message from Stan Lee’! It’s Britain’s greatest superhero! (I’m pretty sure that’s not true, at least yet)

For you who don’t know, British comics come out weekly. Because of this, they are shorter (this one is 10 pages, including the cover) and often at least partially in black and white (this one is in full color).

I first read about Captain Britain during my ‘I love the X-men’ phase, in Excalibur, which, at the time I was reading it, was excellent (Cross-Time Caper era, for those of you who know). Anyway, let’s get on with the story.

‘Captain Britain!’
‘Born in fulfillment of an ancient dream — forged and tempered in the fires of defeat and death…
‘… a man gifted with superior powers and abilities–‘
‘– he is that rarest of all men:’
a Super-Hero!

The artist is not, in fact, Jack Kirby, but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Our hero, clad in brilliant red, amply emblazoned with the Union Jack and displaying the English lion, and with a permament and somewhat inexplicable shadow about the face, damn near leaps off the page with his whacking stick.

We also get hints what is going to happen in the background, which is a bit silly if you think about it, as this is the second page in a nine page story, so why bother? There’s also a bit of Kirby Krackle serving absolutely no purpose, because, hey, why not?

2.jpg

I don’t know why I described it and then showed the pic anyway, but hey, I’m not going to waste that overally complicated sentence.

So we start in the middle of our story ‘in the remote fastness of the Cheviot Hills, just south of the Scottish border’, which I’m sure thrilled somebody reading this for the first time.

You couldn’t see it on the splash page, but besides the Union Jack over his face, Cap’s also got one on each arm, because, again, why not? He’s probably got Union Jack boxers on too.

Because this is England, Cap is fighting a guy in a full suit of Medieval-style armor, complete with big poofy purple feathers coming out of his helmet. I can’t tell if Reaver’s minions are carrying rayguns or just Kirby-teched normal guns, but they don’t get a chance to use them before Cap knocks them out, while thinking, in classic Marvel fashion, ‘I’m such an awesome fighter! But how?! I’m a physicist, not a super-hero!’ Cap, um, it comes with the goofy costume, along with the ability to think three pages of text in the five seconds it would take to beat these guys up.

Oh, we also get some classic onomatopoeia:

3.jpg

And people narrating their action as well, because comics.

Reaver: He dodged my blow at the last second!
Remaining conscious minion: Yeah, we saw that.

Okay, Reaver’s silly purple plume curves from the top of his head in a perfect arc up, down, and to halfway down his back. It’s like a blanket. Those are some serious feathers.

srs-feathers.jpg

And Cap spontaneously says his name, which he didn’t know up till this point. Can I just point out that while starting in the middle of the story is exciting and all, it’s also silly. We don’t know what’s going on because it’s just two people in silly costumes we don’t know fighting for an unknown reason. And apparently our hero doesn’t know what’s going on either. I know Marvel is about everyman heroes (at least when this story was written), but this is goofy.

Annnd cue flashback. In the middle of a fight. Because why on earth would Cap bother paying attention? After all, he’s unbeatable!

The flashback panels are nicely done. The first one starts with typical thought bubble scallops and then they all have rounded corners. It’s a nice subtle way of setting it apart.

4.jpg

I’m always inordinately pleased about pipe-smoking characters. I don’t remember ever seeing Brian with a pipe before. He must have given it up when he finished college.

Any, Brian was working as an assistant to Dr. Travis, supposedly just until the next term starts, at a Darkmoor Research Center – I’m sorry Centre -, where they’re developing a fusion reactor system. OK, that name is just forboding. As is the strange aircraft disappearing behind the hill in the last four panels.

And the world’s most ridiculous vehicle bursts through the wall! Thus introducing our villain. Who appears to be wearing a mohair trenchcoat.

mecha.jpg

And they kidnap everyone but Brian, who races off on a motorcycle, looking very silly. (Something about a nice suit and a little bike just is odd). But he gets blinded by the strange aircraft – which he doesn’t seem fazed by at all – and drives off a cliff in a fireball. Is this the end? Nope, he gets saved by – and I’m not making this up – the giant floating heads and hands of Merlin and ‘The Lady of the Northern Skies’ to get judged ‘on peril of [his] immortal soul!’

end.jpg

And thus we end, still in flashback mode! What’ll happen next week?! Aside from the stuff we saw at the beginning of this issue?

Icons

icon1.gif cap-brit-1-icon1.jpg cap-brit-1-icon2.jpg cap-brit-1-icon3.jpg cap-brit-1-icon4.jpg cap-brit-1-icon5.jpg cap-brit-1-icon7.jpg cap-brit-1-icon6.jpg cap-brit-1-icon8.jpg cap-brit-1-icon9.jpg cap-brit-1-icon10.jpg cap-brit-1-icon11.jpg cap-brit-1-icon12.jpg cap-brit-1-icon13.jpg cap-brit-1-icon14.jpg

Credits: writer: Chris Claremont, artists: Herb Trimpe & Fred Kida, (doing an excellent Kirby impersonation, yay for house styles?), letterer: I. Watanabe, colorist: Marie Severin, editor: Larry Lieber. (Specifically, Herb Trimpe did pencils and Fred Kida did inks, according to the Grand Comics Data-Base.)

I’m not marking the Age on these, but if you’re curious, it’s Bronze Age.

Ben-Day Shots – Detective Comics #31 & 32

zrtn_001p2efbb057_tn.jpg

Yeah, this is a special double-sized post!

Detective Comics #31

September 1939, Golden Age
Cover Price: 10 cents
Untitled (Part 1 of Mad Monk)

Characters: Batman, Mad Monk, giant gorilla. 1st appearance of Batarang, Batgyro, and Julie Madison.

Another lovely cover.

Continue reading “Ben-Day Shots – Detective Comics #31 & 32”

Why I use Dvorak

keyboard.jpg

Last year I switched from QWERTY to Dvorak. At the time I typed about 55-70 wpm, with 99-100% accuracy. Testing just now, I got 55 wpm, with 100% accuracy (but I did a lot of correcting) on Dvorak.

So, why Dvorak? Did I give into the hype that I would type faster, I wouldn’t get carpal tunnel, that I would suddenly be really really cool? (… I don’t think I’ve ever heard the last one.)

A little.

Continue reading “Why I use Dvorak”

Latest (for some value of ‘late) Vintage Finds

Most of these are buys from Attaboy Vintage, which is my favorite store in Ventura. They always have cool stuff and it’s rare that I go in there without coming out with something. I’ve been holding on to some of these pictures for months (a bunch of this I bought right before the RenFaire in July…). Sorry about that. And I have some other things I need to take non-cell phone pictures of to share. Anyway, let’s get to the point – pictures!

Continue reading “Latest (for some value of ‘late) Vintage Finds”

Finished bookmarks

Those of you who follow me on Facebook have already seen pictures of the finished bookmarks. But those were crappy pictures taken on my messy desk with my phone. So, here’s all the bookmarks in the display boxes I made.

Why are there spoons? I was testing how it would work for the craft show on Saturday. The spoons are in case it’s windy, to weigh down the boxes.

I promise the next post will be vintage stuff, and I’ll be doing another Cocktail of the Night soon.

Ben-Day Shots – Detective Comics #30

zrtn_001p2efbb057_tn.jpg

Detective Comics #30

1939, August, Golden Age
Cover Price: 10 cents
Untitled Story (Return of Doctor Death)

Characters: Batman, Bruce Wayne, Doctor Death, Mikhail. I love that Bruce actually does stuff as Bruce in so many of these.

Continue reading “Ben-Day Shots – Detective Comics #30”

Link Dump Cyan Edition

Yeah, I’m just naming these something silly from now on.

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” – Neil Gaiman

The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains, part 1 and part 2. Why green lights are blue in Japan, how you name colors if your language only has two words, and a lot more cross-linguistic facts. (From Empirical Zeal)

Tired of cliché? Want to be unique? Pursue the why. Figure out the causes of your scenario and the consequences to add depth to your writing. (From TalkToYoUniverse)

Rules, Schmules: Don’t Follow the Rules, Tell a Great Story. “If you’re more concerned with the technical rules of writing than the story itself, you’re hurting your chances of ever getting published.” (From The Other Side of the Story)

Why I Love That Bad Guy: The “S” and “Z” Blocks. Did you know Tetris has villains? This is just amusing. (From Love the Bad Guy)

Mario’s Creators Answer Burning Questions About The Series. Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. We find out the Koopalings aren’t Bowser’s kids and that ‘Dr.’ Mario has no medical license. (From Game Informer)

Review of the Weaponeers of Monkaa (From Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week). And the announcement from Spy Monkey Creations, with more pictures. I don’t need any more toys, but these look awesome to have on your desk to fiddle with. They come apart into lots of pieces (at least 25) and are compatible with all Glyos System toys. The most original thing? Some pieces can be a hand or a head and look nice as either.

And in other pretties news, my latest favorites on DeviantArt: A cat in Nick Fury cosplay, a really amazing Ryuk (from Death Note) cosplay, a gorgeous Voodoo Priestess drawing, and the best tutorial for getting that old comic book look I’ve ever seen.

Ben-Day Shots – Detective Comics #29

zrtn_001p2efbb057_tn.jpg

Detective Comics #29

1939 July, Golden Age
Cover Price: 10 cents

This one starts with a great cover. I wish I had a better version, or could find a nice large version, but it’s awesome. We’ll see what Photoshop magic can do. Unfortunately, Batman is still running around bare-handed. Bruce, you’re supposed to be smarter than that. (and YES, I will harp on that until it changes.) The cover has dropped the hyphen in his name too, which is nice, cuz it was annoying to type ‘the Bat-Man’ over and over again. Bats is sporting more of a wing than cape look, which is nifty, if completely impractical. And our mad scientist looks like he has pointy ears. Hm.

But onto to the content itself.

The Batman meets Doctor Death

Continue reading “Ben-Day Shots – Detective Comics #29”

Last of the bookmarks

Here’s the last of the bookmarks. Including color variations, this makes 15 designs, which I think is more than enough. I need to do a test print of all of them, make any needed changes, then buy ribbon and possibly beads for the tops. I’ll make five or ten of each for the show. They’re going to be cheap – probably two dollars each or three for five dollars.

Commentary for Detective Comics #28 – Ben-Day Shots

Ben-Day Shots

Detective Comics #28

1939 June, Golden Age

Cover Price: 10 cents

Untitled Story (Frenchy & the Jewel Thieves)

Characters: Bruce Wayne / Batman (as ‘the Bat-Man’). First appearance of the Bat-rope (not called that).

I hope you’ll forgive me for the quality of the scans. Not my fault.

I love the intro for this.

Continue reading “Commentary for Detective Comics #28 – Ben-Day Shots”

Zoundry Raven – update (updated 9-26-2012)

So, I’m still using Zoundry Raven and I thought I’d give a breakdown of why.

First, I want an editor that’s portable. I work on a number of computers. This limits me severely as the only portable blog editors I’ve been able to find are Zoundry Raven, w.bloggar (currently down because of the GoDaddy thing), and ScribeFire Next (a Firefox plugin – and there is a portable version of Firefox.) I may try the others at some point.

What I like about Zoundry Raven:

  • Portable
  • It downloads all of your old posts so you can reference them
  • It’s easy to use and fairly intuitive
  • Fairly good layout
  • Free
  • Not relevant to me, but you can have multiple accounts for multiple blogs
  • Supports a ton of blogging platforms
  • Drag and drop support for images and other media

What I dislike:

  • No tech support – it has a forum, but nothing is answered. It’s been released as open source now, which is groovy and all, but doesn’t help those with problems
  • If you update an entry on your blog it doesn’t update the archive in the app See below for how to sync.
  • Some weird behavior – you can’t copy text from archived posts (but you can copy and paste within a post)
  • It can’t caption pictures (but there’s a work-around which I’ll explain in a bit)
  • Somewhat laggy, but I’m sure that’s computer dependent
  • The tagging system could be a lot better – you can find posts by tags, but there’s no way I can find of adding previously used tags aside from typing them in
  • No way I could find to reuse pics from previous posts Yes, there is. See below.
  • Doesn’t allow for scheduling posts (have to publish and then go to the dashboard to change the date) See below.
  • Somewhat buggy – for me downloading a template so I can preview things doesn’t work at all, switches screens when I don’t want it to, sometimes alignment doesn’t change when I tell it to…

I was afraid that since it kind of syncs with the blog, that it wouldn’t be useable with no internet. I haven’t tried this yet, but I think that was a baseless concern. It seems to only sync the first time (so not really a sync at all…) See below.

ETA: I’m getting more and more annoyed. It keeps screwing up my formatting, which is frikking annoying. It’s trying to be more clever than it is.

Edited 9-19-2012: w.bloggar is not WYSIWYG, so I won’t be trying it. I looked at ScribeFire briefly and didn’t like it. There is a portable launcher for Windows Live Writer, which everyone seems to love, so I may try that later.

To add previously used images: in the sidebar, go to images and find the image you want. Right-click and select copy image location. When you start to insert the image, paste that into the open dialog. The image will show up.

To schedule a post (or publish it as a draft): There’s a drop-down labelled Configure… in the header. Go to the ‘General’ tab. You can select ‘publish as draft’ or ‘override publish time.’ Tested and it works.

To resync the blog: Select the account in the sidebar. An account summary will show, with the option to refresh / sync the account. ETA 9-26-12: Yeah, it doesn’t update the old posts after all. It just downloads any that you made directly to the blog. Lame. What you can do is delete the local copy and redownload (right click, select delete, uncheck the blog and check ‘delete local copy’. There’s a Download button up top.

(end of edit)

 

So, to the workaround with the captioning. I’m using WordPress, so these instructions may not work for other platforms, but it’ll give you an idea. This worked about 75% of the time, and I think I know what the problem was.

If you look at one of your downloaded posts that has captioned photos you’ll notice code around the picture that Zoundry Raven doesn’t interpret. It should look something like this

[ caption align=”aligncenter” width=”100″ caption=”Caption goes here” ] test-image.jpg[ /caption ]

The important thing to note is that there are NO spaces or returns between the code and the image (or between the brackets and the caption tag – that’s just here because I don’t want WordPress to interpret the code and for some reason Raven won’t leave the HTML entity codes alone (but it changes quotes and ampersands without asking…). With longer captions sometimes it’s hard not to have spaces – I think that’s what broke it on the two I had to fix in WordPress. You get the width by right-clicking and going to image > edit image (or CTRL-M). (I’m not sure if the width or alignment are strictly necessary).

If I did it right, the image should appear with a caption below.

test-image.jpg
Captioned

Hopefully, this helps out somebody.