Friday February 21, 2014
In an egregious oversight I neglected to mention a couple of merchandise-related things when I blogged about the 5000th Schlock Mercenary strip on Tuesday. Specifically:
The coupon is good until March 1st, and you should feel free to share it as widely as you would like. We are confident that you cannot break our store with your bargain-fueled shopping in only eight days.
Friday February 21, 2014
To its credit, Pompeii made me want to hug all of my loved ones and hold them close. Of course it also made me want to see my enemies die in a fire, so the net morality boost for me is probably pretty slim.
There's really not much to tell here. I had fun. It seemed like Vesuvius took its sweet time delivering, but the rest of the action and yes, actual plot, in the film was engrossing enough that by the time the mountain belched smoke and fire my first thought was "but they haven't gotten to..." which I suppose is the point. Vesuvius pretty much guaranteed that lots of people wouldn't get to. For whatever value of "to" you prefer, really. I didn't plan to care about any of the characters, but by the end I actually did.
Clearly, I am weak.
The depiction of the eruption was gripping. Sure, there were moments where the upheaval was very Hollywood ("of course the ground splits open RIGHT THERE...") but there were also plenty of moments where I was completely sold, absolutely convinced that this is how it would have gone down.
Do I recommend it? Well... if you're like me, sometimes you'll walk into a movie theater by yourself just so you can spend $20 for some alone time with popcorn, low lights, and destruction. By that standard, I doubt very many of you are like me. But for those of you who are, seeing Pompeii in 3D at midnight is an UNAMBIGUOUSLY DECADENT LIFE CHOICE. Also, it comes in at #3 for me this year.
I usually don't offer spoilers, but I will risk that in this case. See, the film has Carrie-Ann Moss, Jared Harris, and Kiefer Sutherland in it, so there was this one scene where I realized I was watching Trinity tell Moriarty to kill Jack Bauer. WORTH THE ADMISSION PRICE RIGHT THERE. If you are like me.
Monday February 17, 2014
With this evening's update I have posted 5,000 individual strips here at schlockmercenary.com, one per day since June 12th of 2000.
Okay, that's not entirely accurate. A computer handled the posting. Still, 5,000 strips in 5,000 days. Not bad, automated process! Not bad at all. Also, I'm kind of pleased with my own hand in the matter, and I mustn't fail to recognize Travis Walton's hand in things. He's been doing the coloring since October 17th of 2009, so February 18th's strip is #1585 for him (not including the ones he's re-colored for the print editions.)
If you would like to celebrate, you could do that by introducing a friend to Schlock Mercenary. The two of you could then enjoy shared jokes! I do not see a down side to this. I shall celebrate by beginning work on Schlock Mercenary Book 15.
Monday February 17, 2014
The new Robocop movie delivers a different set of goods than I expected it to. I was expecting a cyborg action movie in the spirit of the original, with a slightly more sophisticated bit of social commentary. What I got was a strong drama about being human, set against some heavy-handed political commentary, with some really lame action scenes mixing things up a bit.
I guess my own expectations regarding robotics unfairly colored my opinion of the robot soldiers and the cyborg cop. After seeing quadcopters fly in formation, I expect a robot soldier to fire its weapons in discriminating, super-accurate bursts rather than lead-washing the landscape while the target bobs and weaves out of the way. That part was pretty disappointing.
But Robocop the man, the husband and father, he was tragically beautiful. His relationships were a blend of cautionary tale and human triumph, and this was sold in no small part by a supporting cast of A-listers -- Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and especially Gary Oldman -- along with some lesser-known names who stood up just fine in that august company.
There was a bit of scenery chewing from Jackson and Oldman, but not so much that it detracted from the show. The disappointing parts of the movie were the parts that I actually came to see -- Robocop running around being a super-powered police officer. He felt sloppy and clumsy. But I cared about what happened to the characters, which is an unusual state of mind for me as I sit through a February-release action movie.
Robocop currently sits at #3 for me this year, squarely in the middle. It comes nowhere near the Threshold of Awesome, and in spite of the disappointing action scenes, it clears the Threshold of Disappointment on the strength of the drama.
Friday February 14, 2014
I'm at RadCon 6B in Pasco, Washington this weekend. My schedule is light, and I don't have a table I need to man, so the odds are pretty good you'll find me working (drawing, scripting, writing, whatever) somewhere in the hotel, especially on Friday. My Twitter feed is probably your best bet for locating me off-track.
On-track, here's my schedule:
4:30pm - Fan Suite - Picture This: various artists (myself included) will draw things. I'm not entirely sure what the format is, but I'll have my markers handy.
12:30pm - 2205 - Women in Comics, with Roberta Gregory and Elizabeth Guizetti. A hot-button topic if ever there was one!
1:45pm - Bronze Suite - All Howard for an Hour. This sounds positively INTERMINABLE, but I'm sure we can make the best of it. Especially if you bring questions for me.
4:00pm - Harvest - Art Jam! with Roberta Gregory, Meg Sturgeon, Greg James, L. James, and Alton Lawson.
5:30pm - 2203 - Dull, Realistic Characters, with Keffy Kehrli
7:00pm - 2207 - Yoda Was Wrong, with Dameon Willich and Kamila Miller. (Hint: There is "try." There is always "try.")
10:00am - Fan Suite - Crowdfunding, with Sara Quinn, Ron Leota, and Dameon Willich
As I said above, I don't have a table at the show, but my merchandise is being carried by Adventures Underground, in Suite 2121 in the Dealer's Annex. The new Maxim 1 Badge Wallets, the Maxim 34 Mousepads, and of course the books will all be available.
The art show will have lots and lots of my stuff on display, and Sandra tells me these things are priced to move. My experience with convention art shows is that even if my stuff goes to auction, it'll close for around half what it would sell for on eBay (smaller bidding crowd, after all.)