Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/24

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I’m still here and still alive, so no excuses not to blog anything this week.

I’ve been saying this every week for a while now, but it’s more true than ever now: College Crunch Time! This is our last week to really push on our projects and get them looking spiff and shiny, because next week we have to get them all rendered and edited into neat little showreels and we will not have time to do any more tweaking. I’m feeling pretty good about my animations for this term; most of them are a little mediocre, but the ones that count are making good progress. I left one rendering overnight today, so hopefully it’ll look good when I composite it together tomorrow.

I will say that I got hit hard by Monday again, after managing to avert a critical strike last week, and I didn’t get the Elements of Eve update coloured in time. The colour version is uploaded now so no worries there, but I just felt like my head was ready to explode last night. I don’t get it, it’s not like I spent the weekend drinking, I don’t touch the stuff… Garfield was so right about Mondays…

On the entertainment side, those of you with a finger on the pulse of Netflix will no doubt have seen that Marvel’s new series Jessica Jones dropped on Friday, and I am not ashamed to say that I binged watched all thirteen episodes twice over during the course of the weekend. The show is SO good, a worthy follow up to Marvel’s Daredevil, taking the gritty tone and making it darker, sexier, more cerebral and more twisted. Daredevil was a grey vs. gray mentality, two men each with a dream of making their city a better place, and each questioning their own actions as they walked the fine line between hero and villain. Jessica Jones, by contrast, is a straight up hero vs villain tale, albeit one with the hero being a broken shell of her former self and the villain, Kilgrave being a sociopathic puppet master whose main weapon against Jessica is the psychological scars he left during their previous encounter. Jessica faces these mind games with pig-headed stubbornness and a fierce determination to never be controlled again (plus the super-strength doesn’t hurt either). I could go on gushing about how much I loved the deadpan snarking attitude that Jessica throws around constantly, or how I marveled at the deep, twisted lack of morality that David Tennant brings to Kilgrave, or how watching people get thrown through walls is cool, but I’ll let you all go and watch it for yourselves. You will not regret it.

That’s all for this week, time to finish the latest episode of Critical Role, I cannot believe the drama going on; romance, near-death experiences, family reunions, and ghosts!

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/17

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I am filled up with pasta and nerd-culture, so let’s get this done and dusted before I fall asleep out of satisfaction.

It’s “tweak week” at college, as I have just now thought to call it; fixing up all the little niggles in our animations that are keeping our marks out of the “presentable” zone. With the way we had to rush through the shorter exercises to get to where we are now, it’s safe to say we need the extra time for fixes. It helps that I haven’t looked at said shorter exercises since I finished them, so the minor details are easier to pick out; fixing them is the harder part.

I’ve just noticed that WordPress has changed the upload layout. Nifty…

The majority of my entertainment continues to come from digital video, and I’m still heavily engrossed in Critical Role (why haven’t you watched it yet, go now!), and I continue to learn more and more about the world of tabletop roleplay. One rather interesting discovery I made through their videos is the website Hero Forge. This is a fancy little online tool that lets you create and customize your own tabletop miniature figure for game play, and then (for a nominal fee), the team at Hero Forge can 3D print your personalized figure and have it mailed to you! While I’ve still never played a game of D&D in my life (really need to rectify that), it’s fun to see how the characters I’ve been thinking up might look in tiny, plastic form ready to be painted.

WordPress has removed the word count feature, or at least put it where I can’t see it. Not so nifty…

Not much else to talk about this week, so that’s all for now. There may or may not be a webcomic review up tomorrow, we’ll see if I can get through an archive before then, might have to pick a nice short one.

The “Add Media” function is so much more convenient now. Back to nifty…

Ciao for now.

Webcomic of the Week – AGENTS OF THE REALM

wotwcardHey everypeoples, it’s Wednesday and time for another dip into the waters of undiscovered webcomics (I seem to be on a hydrated theme this week…). This week’s discovery comes on the recommendation of the guys over at Geek and Sundry, who posted a few of the webcomics they appreciate yesterday, so I gave one of them a look-see. Quick heads up, this one contains themes that one would consider “mature”, so unless you are sufficiently advanced in your pubescent nature and have an open mind, stop right here and go watch this instead.

For those of you still with us, Agents of the Realm is a mahou shoujo (Magical Girl) themed, coming-of-age comic by Mildred Louis, with a modern western angle. Our protagonist is Norah Tanner, a 20 year old college student who would like nothing more than to keep her head down, stay out of other people’s way, and figure out what she’s going to do with her life (ah, don’t we all…). This plan goes out the window when she finds a mysterious brooch that turns her into a magical warrior known as an Agent, and a lady from another dimension called Jade reveals that she has been chosen to safeguard the very stability of two realities. So, you know, no pressure. Norah is just one of five Agents in her reality, with the other four starting to turn up one by one, and just as well, because Jade’s twin sister Ruby is out hunting for the Agents’ brooches, and mysterious monsters called Bleeds are crossing through the gate between realities…

While the basic premise for AotR is nothing new for a Magical Girl series, it does enough things differently that it makes for a truly unique take on the genre that mature readers can appreciate. For starters, where a cliched MG series might feature teenagers (usually driven by hormones and nothing else), AotR‘s protagonists are college students, who have all the problems and life decisions that come with that life phase, making them more relatable to the twenty-something generation that may have grown out of their high-school angst. They aren’t immediately friendly with each other and there is a certain level of tension between them as they learn to work together, having been thrown into a situation none of them asked for. They are also ethnically diverse (with African-American, Portuguese, English, Spanish and Chinese heritages across the team) without conforming to stereotypes, and while the issue of sexuality is not at the forefront, at least one of the Agents is shown to be attracted to another girl. In short, AotR has realistic characters that are defined by their personalities rather than their race or sexual preference, which is often a trap that writers can fall into when trying to create a diverse team.

Agents of the Realm offers a deeper, more deconstructed look at a genre whose popularity has risen and fallen repeatedly for the past 30 years. The archive dates back to March 2014, so grab some snacks and dive in for a few hours of well-drawn, well-written ladies and their magical weaponry, updating every Thursday and Sunday. Mildred Louis is also on Twitter and Tumblr, and she has a Patreon going with two other projects waiting in the wings, so go show her some love and support, because she deserves it.

That’s all for this week, go check out Agents of the Realm right here, and if you have or know of a webcomic that needs more attention, let me know and I might just be reviewing it down the line.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/10

botdcardHey everypeoples, another Tuesday rolls around and I continue to roll around in my ever-expanding sea of consciousness, filled with shark-toothed ideas and stinging jelly-work-fish. I’m not good with the ocean…

It’s crunch time at college as we use our final month to finish up our big projects and clean up all the stuff we had to rush through to get to this point. I’ve already noticed a few others in my immediate work vicinity who are starting to voice their opinions in a rather negative way; they don’t do it when the lecturer is around, of course. I won’t say I’m not completely without sympathy, I am after all in the exact same boat, but I stand by the philosophy I’ve stated before: this is the situation, complaining will accomplish nothing, so get on with it. If there’s something wrong, find out what it is and fix it, it’s not a complicated process.

Ranting aside, keeping up personal projects continues to be both challenging and satisfying. Elements of Eve just concluded its eighth issue yesterday, after suffering from two breaks in updating, so this next issue will not be delayed in its release. Issue #9 will start on Thursday, come hell or high water, and will only be interrupted by the Christmas break (I’ll be building a buffer for the rest of my time out of town). I also finished up the first draft of the script I mentioned in last week’s column, so I hope to have that fully refined by next week. This idea has been a long time coming, so I want to make sure it’s as perfect as I can get it.

Not much else worth mentioning this week, I’m going to go and finish my binge through a webcomic archive I just discovered. If it’s any good, you’ll hear about it tomorrow.

Ciao for now.

Webcomic of the Week – THE PIGEON GAZETTE

wotwcardHey everypeoples, it is Wednesday, where I should be throwing some webcomic reviews your way, and have failed to do so for a while now. Sad facts, I just haven’t had the time to find and binge through any comics with deep archives lately. But I was able to discover something this past weekend which provides an example of a different type of webcomic that I’ve come to enjoy.

The Pigeon Gazette is a slice-of-life comic written and drawn by a mysterious figure known only as Jane (aka Pigeon Girl, aka Pigeoneer Jane, you see the theme). It’s a (mostly) autobiographical piece that follows the day-to-day life of the author, outlining the struggles and celebrations in a humorous and occasionally self-deprecating way. Readers follow Jane through such trials and tribulations as exams, roommates and… social interaction, brrr… So all in all, everything that the modern 20-something student can and will worry about.

The main reason I wanted to bring up The Pigeon Gazette is that represents a genre that is becoming increasingly popular among webcomic artists. It’s not uncommon to see professional artists juggling multiple comics, and one of those may be a satire of their own lives. Heck, I’ve even tried it myself (but let’s not go there… it was a long time ago). It doesn’t have to be a side project either; like Jane and The Pigeon Gazette, some artists use it as their primary outlet. Comics like Whomp! by Ronnie Filyaw and 4-Panel Life by Jen-Jen Rose follow this logic, using exaggerated circumstances and life experiences to entertain people and let the artists do what they love. The Pigeon Gazette is the latest example I have discovered, but I’m not going to start flinging words like “unoriginal” around; each one of these artists is a unique individual, and while the inevitable common themes of a life in the arts does crop up (and the social deprivation that is both a symptom and cause of it), we get to see these people’s unique life stories through their own eyes and minds, where they are more entertaining than anyone else could describe them.

The Pigeon Gazette is a funny, quirky, aesthetically cartoony comic that updates Wednesdays and Sundays. It’s been running for about a year, so the archives are not particularly extensive. You can blast through the whole thing in an hour or so, but you’ll be smiling the entire time. Go check it out on Jane’s Tumblr right here, she’s on Twitter @PigeonComics and on Patreon too, and has just made some shirts available on her store, so go show her some love.

That’s all for this week, hopefully I’ll stumble across some more cool stuff to share with you guys soon.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/03

botdcardHey everypeoples, we’re into the penultimate month of the year; where has 2015 gone…?

I can answer that: into work, primarily. We’re down to the wire at college, starting our final projects for the year, which have exactly one month to finish from today. We’re busy doing lip-syncing on our characters, and it’s less complicated than I thought it would be. Or maybe I’m just getting used to Maya; I’ll admit that the graph editor that once looked like a tangled web of terror is a lot easier to use now that I know how to unravel it. It’s become very intuitive, which for me and my hurried work style is a godsend, and I can maintain my focus a lot more before wearing myself out.

I’ve also been trying to keep up my comic work, which has been tough to do in-between everything else. Elements of Eve suffered a little again this week, but Monday’s page is now up (check it out here if you haven’t already). I don’t know what it is, but Mondays just drain me a lot quicker; I think it’s the effort from trying to start the week that’s the hard part. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping the updates coming, especially since Issue #8 is nearly over. I’d better start writing the next one…

Speaking of which, I’ve been working on a comic script for the past month or so. It’s an older idea which I’ve relentlessly tweaked and hammered and mulled over, and I’ve nearly got a first draft done. I already know several things I’ll be changing to fit the pace and page count when I dive into the second draft, but I’m feeling good about it. I’ve been looking for a gateway into the comic universe I created for a while, and this might just be one of them. Fingers crossed, I may even have an issue or two to sell at FanCon next year.

It hasn’t all been work this past week though. Thanks to the Steam Halloween Sale (thank you foreign holidays for making games cheaper!) I picked up Overlord and it’s expansion Raising Hell over the weekend, and have been self-indulging some wickedness to de-stress. I have previously owned the original Overlord, but I never finished it so I’m keen to do a complete run this time. Thing is, I’m going to have to start over because I accidentally gave away a big item that counts towards my 100% Corruption meter, which was the whole reason I bought the game in the first place: to see what a truly evil fantasy protagonist was capable of. I know he literally becomes the ruler of an infernal dimension in the end (spoiler alert), but it’s the journey I’m interested in, seeing just how many cliched fantasy people I can piss off before roasting them to death. God bless Terry Pratchett for birthing a daughter that can write with a sense of humour just as dark as her father…

That’s all from me for this Bottom of the Deck, but tomorrow I have a new webcomic to review! It’s been a while, and I’ve missed talking about fun reads.

Ciao for now.