Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Page: Book covers that never were...

People are awesome, that's one of the phrases I tag posts with. I do that because it's true.

Take book covers. They're an art form unto themselves, made to sell another person's work, but often of equal or greater value than that work. And sometimes, people make covers for books they love that will never wrap around the words that inspired them. They do it because something drives them to: a new way to present the story, a homage to the author, an afternoon to kill, whatever.

One of my favorite types of reworked book covers are the ones inspired by the various Penguin Classics series. They're not all the same, but there is a look and feel to them that makes them instantly recognizable. I appreciate the artists who do them, and have decided I want to share some with you fine folks. So to that end, if you check out the menu bar up top, you'll see I added a new page, "The Classic Penguin Book Club."

Here I'll showcase some of my favorites, and point you to the artist who created them. You don't have to thank me, I'm selfless that way. But maybe you visit their sites, and even send a few bucks their way, get a nice print in return. See selfless.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MUSIC! R.E.V.O. by Walk Off the Earth

My favorite band dropped their first full length, major label album this week, and it's as good as the EP they released last fall promised it would be.

Realize Every Victory Outright! That's what the title of Walk off the Earth's new album means. Anthemic, exciting, joyfull, and all around absorbing, the WOTE crew have gone beyond doing awesome arrangements of other people's songs (often owning and surpassing the original versions), and even their own previously released original material, to create some truly memorable music.

I've been a fan for a few years. They've always been fun and innovative in all their releases (everyone in the group seems to be a multi-instrumentalist), and vocalists Ryan Marshall, Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood harmonize beautifully, while switching off lead vocals with a natural air as if they had been doing it all their lives. Joel Cassady and Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor round out the band's lineup, adding their  vocals to the mix and providing the foundation that lets the three lead singer do their thing.

Taylor, Marshall, Gianni, Sarah, and Joel
My favorite songs from the LP are the title track "REVO", "Speeches" and "Red Hands". The latter, their first single, I've embedded below for your enjoyment (and mine).

They did include one song they didn't write, the cover they did of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" which grabbed something like ten million views in a matter of days after they released their five peeps, one guitar version of it in early 2012. That song, and their unique way of playing it, brought them to the attention of the world. That attention is well deserved in my opinion, and that song definitely has a place on this album (regardless of how sick of it you may be at this point).

Right now WOTE is on tour in Europe, with stop overs in Toronto, New York (I'm going!), and Vancouver Island before wrapping it up for a while. They make fabulous music, they make cool videos, they even make babies. So, check them out and fall in love with their infectious music and personalities.

Like many of their videos, they did this in one take. Don't believe me? Check out this unedited version of the video.

Monday, March 18, 2013

COMICS! The 3 Snake Leaves by Emily Carroll

 Emily Carroll is a lovely cartoonist from Vancouver, British Columbia. I discovered her a few years ago when I clicked on a link to her comic "His Face All Red"--sadly I don't remember where exactly that link was, but, thank you to whoever posted it!

From that point on I was a fan. I love her style, color palette, and the way she presents stories online. She also did one of my favorite pieces of SuperMutant Magic Academy fanart (a comic which I'll gush about another time). Her latest is up now, an adaptation of one of her favorite fairy tales, done as a part of an assignment she gave to her students and which she decided to participate in. Make sure you follow both threads, the princess' story and the prince's, at the bottom of the first page.


 The 3 Snake Leaves is © Emily Carroll

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Go Plus Yourself : RIP Google Reader

Indie Rock Pete and I have something in common now, no Google Reader. Sigh.

Go Plus Yourself : RIP Google Reader:


Tonight’s comic just heard about Google Reader and is also available as standard RSS. (Which you very well may be reading right now.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dark Horse Motion Comics: Usagi Yojimbo

One of my favorite comics has gotten a bit animated, courtesy of the fine folks at Dark Horse and Geek & Sundry.

I started reading Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo back during its run at Mirage Studios, not too long before it moved to Dark Horse Comics. Sakai's rabbit ronin had something for me that most of the other anthropomorphic comics born out of the 80s black & white boom did not, mainly story, humor and heart. It was a more or less serious tale with funny looking animals, rather than another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle knock-off working some other gimmicky angle (like, say, Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils. Yes, that's a real comic. Yes, I bought it. Yes, it's horrible, let us speak of it no further). 

In recent years I've fallen out of reading monthly comics, but last year I began picking up a few new titles, including Rachel Rising, which I talked about not too long ago. That made me miss some of my old regulars, including this one. So, I'm about to embark on a massive Usagi Yojimbo read/re-read, starting with the Fantagraphics Books collections--where the first regular, ongoing series was published--and working my way up to the most recent story, catching up on all the the tales I missed the first time around.

Hope you like this short tale, and if so, give the comic a try!

And a bonus! A horrendous copy of an aborted Space Usagi animated series, interesting to see what could have been if Usagi's futuristic counterpart would've made it to the small screen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Popular Science Fleischer Studios The Cartoon Process

This is a pretty cool piece on Fleischer Studios, what is really neat about it is how many women you see working at the studio as artists during the production process.