Categories
Ramblings & Reviews

Sherlock Holmes: Title & End Credits

Speaking of the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie (last post) –  I loved how they handled the beginning and closing credits.

From Art of the Title:
The sequence’s Creative Director, Danny Yount, is a self-taught Emmy-winning designer/director who produced the main titles for Six Feet Under and The Grid while at Digital Kitchen. He currently resides at Prologue Films and has created titles for Kiss Kiss Bang BangIron Man and RocknRolla.

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How large was the production team, and how closely do you work with them?

We broke up into three separate teams with a total of about 14 people working around the clock. The end credit sequence required the most people by far, as there was so much detail in the illustration and transition work. The illustrations took a long time to make. I’m not sure if Jorge slept very much.

-Excerpt from Art of the Title’s interview with Danny Yount.


All for now – deadlines looming…

barn

Categories
Ramblings & Reviews

Rocky Road to Dublin

I have this song stuck in my head.
You may remember it from the boxing scene in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie.


The movie version is sung by Luke Kelly of The Dubliners.


Originvia Wikipedia

The words were written by D.K. Gavan, “The Galway Poet”, for the English music hall performer Harry Clifton (1824-1872), who popularised the song.

The song describes the many troubles and travails that the protagonist encounters on this travels. At the beginning of the songs, the protagonist of the story states that he is “off to reap the corn” or intending to become an migrant agricultural labourer. He begins his journey by biding farewell to his family and friends. He leaves his hometown of Tuam on foot, resting in Mullingar where the local women make fun of his clothes.

He next arrives in the Irish capital city Dublin, but is robbed of his meagre possessions, and mocked for his Connacht accent. He hops a ship in the habour headed for England, and is placed in the hold with the pigs where he experiences severe sea sickness off the coast of Holyhead, Wales.

He arrives in the English city Liverpool where he is mocked by the locals because of his Irishness. He engages them in a fight using his blackthorn shillelagh, but is outnumbered until a group of Irishmen from County Galway come to his rescue (“join in the affray”), the first people who have helped him on his voyage.


Lyrics

While in the merry month of May from me home I started,
Left the girls of Tuam so sad and broken hearted,
Saluted father dear, kissed me darling mother,
Drank a pint of beer, me grief and tears to smother,
Then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born,
Cut a stout black thorn to banish ghosts and goblins;
Bought a pair of brogues rattling o’er the bogs
And fright’ning all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

In Mullingar that night I rested limbs so weary,
Started by daylight next morning blithe and early,
Took a drop of pure to keep me heartfrom sinking;
Thats a Paddy’s cure whenever he’s on drinking.
See the lassies smile, laughing all the while
At me curious style, ‘twould set your heart a bubblin’
Asked me was I hired, wages I required,
I was almost tired of the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

In Dublin next arrived, I thought it such a pity
To be soon deprived a view of that fine city.
So then I took a stroll, all among the quality;
Me bundle it was stole, all in a neat locality.
Something crossed me mind, when I looked behind,
No bundle could I find upon me stick a wobblin’
Enquiring for the rogue, they said me Connaught brogue
Wasn’t much in vogue on the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

From there I got away, me spirits never falling,
Landed on the quay, just as the ship was sailing.
The Captain at me roared, said that no room had he;
When I jumped aboard, a cabin found for Paddy.
Down among the pigs, played some hearty rigs,
Danced some hearty jigs, the water round me bubbling;
When off Holyhead I wished meself was dead,
Or better for instead on the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down the rocky road
all the way to Dublin, Whack follol de rah !

Well the boys of Liverpool, when we safely landed,
Called meself a fool, I could no longer stand it.
Blood began to boil, temper I was losing;
Poor old Erin’s Isle they began abusing.
“Hurrah me soul” says I, me Shillelagh I let fly.
Some Galway boys were nigh and saw I was a hobble in,
With a load “hurray !” joined in the affray.
We quitely cleared the way for the rocky road to Dublin.

One, two, three four, five,
Hunt the Hare and turn her down
the rocky road and all the way to Dublin,
Whack follol de rah !


Last but not least, here’s an fantastic version by The High Kings!


Good song to play loud on those late nights when you need that kick in the butt to keep working.

All for now – time for a pint then back to work…

guinness-strength
Categories
Ramblings & Reviews

Superior Spider-Man: Spoilers (among other things)

spoiler |ˈspoilər|
noun
1. a person or thing that spoils something.


This can be said of a number of writers that take on mainstream well-established characters. And yes, there is an implied spoiler later on, so if you haven’t read Superior Spider-Man #1 yet be warned.

And just so you don’t think I’m exempting myself (in regards to being slammed for working on an established character), here’s a review of my work on Flash Gordon from back in 1999, and I quote, “The art was awful and the plots worse. You will notice that I, always the optimist, refer to the strip in the past tense. I can’t imagine it surviving long.”

Yikes.

Now… To be honest, I haven’t kept up on the continuity of Spider-Man on a month-to-month basis in ages. Back when I was reading it, Gwen Stacy died and it was quite the game changer.

Art by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer
Art by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer

Fans went crazy – and then she reappeared.

clone

Except it wasn’t her, but a clone.
Once that’s realized, she ends off walking off into the sunset.

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Now the originally clone saga was fun enough for what it was – as long as you didn’t think about it too much. One thing it did lay down was that Gwen Stacy didn’t return, that in the Marvel universe once you were dead you stayed dead, otherwise – what’s the point?

Note: Once you introduce one clone, much like locusts, a plague of them usually follows. To see the many Spider-Man storylines infested with clones (that I intend to gloss over) check out the Den of Geek.

One of the outcomes of Gwen Stacy dying was an epic battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. The Goblin tries to impale Spider-Man with his glider and misses somewhat.

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Green Goblin: Dead.
Or is he? Let’s just skip ahead a number of years, where we find…

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Ends up his regenerative powers (???) are pretty freakin’ awesome.
And Gwen Stacy?

gwen_alive

But that was just a misdirection – actually that’s Gwen Stacy’s daughter.
And the father..?

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A brief intermission.

Colbert


Now you might be saying, how could this get worse?
Well – how about if they shot Aunt May?

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Oh, and then Peter and Mary Jane fix that whole Aunt May being shot in the chest thing by making a deal with the Devil. In exchange for saving Aunt May, the Devil erases Peter and MJ’s life together (i.e. marriage).

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Which in effect also wipes out the existence of their future daughter.

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Of course, what that does to years worth of continuity is up for grabs.

Reissuing new updated covers to past issues could become a headache.
Reissuing new updated covers to past issues could become a headache.


SO… when I heard about the CATACLYSMIC EVENT that happened in Spider-Man #700 – with Doc Ock and Spidey changing bodies, then Spidey in Ock’s body being killed – I wasn’t really that shook up. The character that I knew left the building some time ago.

parker_dead

And just to be clear, I mean no disrespect to Dan Slott or his writing, it’s an interesting premise and I hope the readers have fun with it.

And as far as the spoiler concerning Superior Spider-Man #1, Bleeding Cool already leaked it, but here’s my take on it…

DocOck.2

Categories
John Romita

John Romita – Creating Mary Jane

Shortly after the first Spider-Man movie came out in 2002 I had the fortunate opportunity to work with John Romita on a Flash Gordon strip (more about that later). One of the things he really took pride in regarding that first Spider-Man film was the prominent role Mary Jane had.

Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane - Spider-Man 2002
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane – Spider-Man 2002

Romita did so as he was the one who created her in the comic book. The character had been alluded to during Steve Ditko’s run, but Romita gave her life.

An iconic moment from Spider-Man #42 - November 1966
An iconic moment from Spider-Man #42 – November 1966


Here’s John Romita talking about his inspiration for Mary Jane. The clip is from the 1992 series Comic Book Greats with Stan Lee. This particular episode focuses on the Romitas – Junior and Senior.

Note: Inserts from “Bye Bye Birdie” and Romita’s original art were not in the original version.


In a previous post I mentioned how much easier a character is to write and draw once you have a clear image of them in your head – that it ends up changing your story in ways you hadn’t ever imagined. I’m sure when they initially introduced Mary Jane, Lee and Romita never imagined this…

Promo piece done by Romita for Peter Parker and Mary Jane's wedding - 1987.
Promo piece done by Romita for Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s wedding – 1987.

During his three decade tenure at Marvel Comics, John Romita would be a guiding force – drawing and/or designing almost every major character. The best cartoonists are the ones who introduce characters that set the standard for the ones to follow – one of John Romita’s is Mary Jane Watson.

John Romita's model sheet for Mary Jane.
John Romita’s model sheet for Mary Jane.


UPDATE: Just got word from Mike Burkey that he actually owns the Mary Jane artwork featured in this post. With that said, if you want to check out the mother lode of Romita art, check out Mike’s site at: Romitaman.com

Categories
Al Williamson Alex Raymod Flash Gordon

Princess Tyree

One way to flesh out a character you’re creating is to use a model or picture reference for inspiration.

Here’s an example of Alex Raymond doing as much – modeling Captain Sudin after matinee idol Errol Flynn.


Skipping ahead 60 or so years…

When I was creating King Vultan’s headstrong daughter Princess Tyree I needed a character who just radiated strength and self-confidence.

I went with Tionne Watkins – or T-Boz from the 1990s R&B group TLC.

It’s amazing how much easier a character is to write and draw once you have a clear image of them in your head – it ends up changing your story in ways you hadn’t even imagined. What came out of using T-Boz for inspiration was that when Princess Tyree first meets Flash Gordon – she’s not all that impressed…

In Writing 101 you learn to avoid cliches. One of the cliches for Flash Gordon stories is that the female characters all swoon over him. In this respect I thought Tyree would be a welcome change.

Flash2000_08_20

It’s said that strong characters write themselves, it’s not entirely the case, but it sure gives you more tools in your toolbox to work with.

Close-up of original art.
Artwork from the August 20, 2000 Flash Gordon Sunday page.

The toolbox analogy is from Stephen King. For more on the craft of writing I recommend reading King’s On Writing. One of the best books out there on the subject as far as I’m concerned.


All for now.
And as always, to follow Flash Gordon online check just go to Comics Kingdom.