Bottom of the Deck – 15/09/29

botdcardHappy After-Monday, everypeoples, I’m sure we’re all glad to have finally forced our way into the week hopefully unscathed.

This past week has been a time of rest for me; after last week’s rather depressing post I was in serious need of some R&R, which college was welcoming enough to give. While I was in half a mind to actually get some work done, I ended up primarily goofing off because my heart wasn’t in it. Still, my batteries needed recharging, and this was aided by the new feline addition to our household: a little black kitty that my housemate gave the juxtaposing name of “Blossom” (I can roll with that, makes me think of Black Lotus). She’s full grown and quite tame, definitely having been a pet before, but was seemingly abandoned last week, as no-one has come forward to claim her. Blossom won’t be staying here permanently (she’ll be moving across the road to my housemate’s girlfriend’s new place soon), but she and I have grown quite close, and I’ve been feeling better for it.

Another positive influence over the past week has been my new binge watching pleasure, brought to me once again by the fantastically nerdy folks over at Geek and Sundry and their Dungeons and Dragons livestream show Critical Role. I’ve never played D&D¬†before in my life (not for lack of desire to do so), so it’s fascinating for me to watch a group of grown adults sit around a table and fight, laugh and improvise their way through a fantasy world. With the whole cast being celebrated voice actors and overseen by the incredible Matt Mercer, they really bring a whole new layer to the role-playing experience that had me on the edge of my seat. I’m only half-way caught up on their videos (they run from 3 to 5 hours each), but I’m having a blast. They livestream every Thursday night, but for those of us living with third-world internet and in the wrong time zone the videos are archived on the Geek and Sundry website the following Monday.

Sadly, the holiday is now over and I have started my final term at college, and it’s looking to be one of the most intense yet as we delve into the technicalities of animating our 3D models. Hopefully I’ll be able to settle into a rhythm and be back to making comics next week, and this weekend might give me a jumpstart. This Saturday, October 3rd (as well as being my dad’s birthday), is the 24 Hour Comic Book Day challenge; the idea is to produce a 24 page comic in 24 hours, penciled, inked and/or coloured, and lettered. Given that my Saturday is going to be busy as is, I may have to start later in the day and just die of exhaustion on Sunday, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Wish me luck…

That’s about all the news I have to dump, still no webcomic review for tomorrow, but fingers crossed that I’ll be getting back to that next week too.

Ciao for now.

Webcomic of the Week – PARANATURAL

wotwcardBlehhhhhh… That was your standard, middle-of-the-week, universal greeting, hope you are all blehing to the highest bleh of bleh. And as we bleh into the second half of the week, let’s mix it up with a new webcomic, so that we don’t bleh ourselves too hard.

This week’s webcomic is Paranatural, by Zack “MidnightTelevison” Morrison. A modern fantasy tale, it follows one Maxwell Puckett (that’s Max to anyone who values their life), a new resident of the small town of Mayview, having just moved there with his dad and little sister. Cynical and grumpy, Max rolls his eyes at just about anything that looks at him funny, but the problem is that there’s a lot more looking at him than he wants to deal with. Upon arriving at his new school, Max¬†suddenly has the ability to see ghosts, spirits, and all other manner of supernatural beings, and it’s freaking him out. Fortunately for him, there’s a group that can help, right in his new school: The Paranatural Activity Club. With the help of the fiery Isabel, eccentric Ed and straight man Isaac, Max finds himself in a world he doesn’t fully understand, but one he is going to grasp by the throat and shake until he does.

What really grabbed me about Paranatural was the unique take it has on spirits and the mythology behind them. Max and his friends are “spectrals”, humans that can manipulate their own spiritual energy for various purposes, and are able to use “tools”. A spectral’s tool is an item that is possessed by a spirit, and can only be used by a spectral with energy of the same colour. These spirits can range from obscure deities, manipulative demons, or just pure savage ghostly beasts, which gives you a healthy appreciation for just how tough these kids are; Isabel in particular takes no nonsense from anyone. Another big factor that I enjoy is the art style; the characters are often drawn with over the top reactions in a parody of anime, and their personalities are similarly exaggerated for comedic value. Contrasting with the rather serious story, it makes for a plot that will make you laugh, but can throw you for a loop when you least expect it.

I first read Paranatural sometime last year, but lost the bookmark and thereafter the story for a while. I recently discovered it again and had a blast catching up on everything I’d missed, and I had missed a LOT. Paranatural has been running since 2011, and updates Tuesdays and Fridays.

That’s all for this week, go check out Paranatural, show the creator some appreciation, and don’t forget to leave your suggestions for future reviews in the comments.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/09/01

botdcardHey everypeoples, on the off chance that anyone’s seeing this at all. It has been quite a progressive week, so allow me to ramble.

First off, I am finally caught up on my college work to a point where it no longer feels like the pressure is on. My storyboarding assignment is out the way, the sundry extras needed for my Maya scenes are prepped, and everything feels ready to move forward. We just started environment lighting, and it’s fairly intuitive, even speaking as someone who is hopeless when it comes to drawing that sort of thing. It does promote a massive headache though, being a potential light show that I have to keep under control, and it isn’t helped by sugar withdrawal. Blame the mountain of chocolate my housemate brought back from Australia; I finished my share fairly quickly so that I could work it off faster, don’t judge me…

In other news, anyone involved in South African animation will no doubt have heard of the Triggerfish Story Lab, which in collaboration with the potential Disney Africa, was accepting submissions for animated film and series pitches for the past few months. The submission cut off was yesterday, but I managed to slip in something of my own on Saturday, a concept document for a sci-fi adventure series. It’s based off an idea I’ve had kicking around for years and was planning to take seriously this year; I figured I could apply my newly acquired Maya skills to make a 3D web series for portfolio purposes. Then I actually started learning Maya and realized just how much work goes into making a single character and figured I’d have to wait a little longer to get it out there. Now, if my project gets picked, I can let other people worry about doing that. I was initially very reluctant to submit anything, because it means possibly signing over all the rights if the series goes to production, and I’m very miserly when my work is at stake. But then I decided that the worst case scenario is that they reject it and I still have the concept to move forward with, so what the hell. The shortlist is going to be announced early October, wish me luck!

Entertainment-wise, I’ve really been enjoying Markiplier’s playthrough of Until Dawn. That game is seriously creepy for a narrative-based adventure game loosely strung together with quick-time events, but Mark’s commentary and reactions make it that much more fun to watch. Additionally, after being stuck at the end of season 4 for over a year, I’ve picked up watching Castle again after acquiring the next few seasons; I’ve missed watching something that entertaining. Seriously, I’ve been repeatedly watching Daredevil over and over because nothing else has been able to hold my interest; Marvel needs to hurry up with Jessica Jones already…

That’s my schpiel for this week, back to the webcomics so that I have something to talk about tomorrow.

Ciao for now.