Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ramblings Of A Former Comic Nerd

With all the recent hype surrounding the Marvel Comics Universe, as well as reboots of popular franchises that have failed--or run out of steam in the past (The Incredible Hulk, Superman, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.)--I have been very adamant on my lobbying of a possible Howard the Duck update. Unfortunately, the majority's one and only exposure to this character was the disastrous and intended "family friendly" 1986 film by Willard Huyck. As a child, I loved this movie, if only because of its very blurry association to the 1970's cult comic book--a very limited run (30-something issues, plus a few miniseries), that is still among my favorites, to-date. In later years, I stumbled upon a VHS copy of the movie and promptly snatched it up, despite all the years worth of horrid reviews. As it turns out (and not necessarily in retrospect), the movie is among the worst I've ever seen, which brings me to this particular journal entry.

Why a reboot? The reasons are not entirely selfish. I believe that the irony of today's average audience would find Howard's story to be quite unique. A duck from an alternate reality who gets trapped on modern day Earth and, without any special powers to speak of, is still part of the Marvel canon. What's not to love?

I explained my crusade to Cousin Pete, the other night, while having beers on Jeff's back porch. While Pete may not have necessarily shared my enthusiasm for the original series, I do believe he appreciated my efforts to find the perfect director for the task. After a short discussion, we had decided on Guillermo del Toro, of Hellboy and The Devil's Backbone Fame. Not only is del Toro responsible for bringing comics to the big screen (see also, Blade), his dark vision, along with subtle humor and blend of social commentary would suit the new Duck franchise.

However, I Googled "Howard the Duck" and "reboot" this afternoon, and came across this little gem, typos and all:
Tim Burton's Howard the Duck, now listed under the official title, “Tim Burton's Howard the Duck”, should be ready to go by Christmas 2008, reported the Fortean Times.

Billed not as a sequel, but as a complete reboot of the cinematic adventures of one of the greatest comic characters of all time, Tim Burton's Howard the Duck promises to deliver characters and action on a scale not seen since the release of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Howard is one of the most endearing characters of 20th century fiction,” producer Richard Zanuck, explained. “This is the story the public has been waiting for. The story of Tim Burton's Howard The Duck.”

“It's going to be a really exciting picture,” Burton said, explaining that the movie would be done with a unique blend of stop-motion animation and live action.

“Basically,” the world renowned Pop-Emo director explained, “we'll have the actors performing alongside the stop-motion Howard by having them move incredibly slowly. It's a very painstaking and difficult process, but when you see it all up on the screen, moving as fluidly as real life... Well, lets just say we're pretty sure that we're going to blow the critics away. In fact, we plan to blow their asses right off.”

The Duck, a combination of claymation and animatironics which bares an uncanny resemblance to the comic book icon, is said to have cost over 20 million dollars, and have over 30,000 independently moving pieces.

Staring with Howard will be the usual plethora of big-name Hollywood talents found in Tim Burton movies, including Helena Bonham Carter as Beverly Switzer, Johnny Depp as Turnip Man, and Jack Nicholson as Dr. Bong. Michael Keaton will be reprising his much-cherished role of Batman in what some are already calling “the most brutal and unnecessary death sequence in motion picture history.”

The voice of Howard will be provided by Shia LaBeouf, who is also in talks with Steven Spielberg to re-dub his original Howard the Duck movie. “It's already pretty clear that Shia is going to be the greatest actor of the next 80 years," Spielberg explained, "so why not just get used to it?”

Sadly, due to recent passing of Howard The Duck's original creator, Steve Gerber, credit for the creation of Howard will have to be given to Alan Moore. “I didn't agree to any of this,” Moore was quoted as saying, while chasing reporters off his porch with a large broom.

For the score, Tim Burton was heard to remark, “Eh, I dunno. I guess Elfman will just throw his usual shit together.”
The article, found on a website called "Comics 2 Film," is obviously a joke. Not only was I unable to find any similar news elsewhere, but the writer got the part about Steven Spielberg's involvement with the original film entirely wrong. Such a mistake might be dismissed if there weren't a supposed direct quote by the produce-director himself. For the record, it was George Lucas who was at the helm of the original disaster.

Jeez, has school started yet?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

At The Movies With The Eliminator

A memory from my childhood, as well as another sneak peek of The Colorblind Art Teacher.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Canned Food And Whatnot

I'm still hard-at-work on my life story, which will simply be titled The Colorblind Art Teacher. As I explained before, I had set out to do a graphic novel, but have instead opted to release it as a series of homemade minicomics. The first issue, titled "Any Given Wednesday" is currently being inked and I hope to have copies printed up within the next few weeks.

I've chosen a sporadic narrative, which will take various stories from throughout my life and present them in no particular order. I'll say no more about issue number one, other than the fact it takes place in 1981.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

But Is It Funny?

The other night, Lisa brought some literature home from work, which is not an unusual thing. Many times, she happens to have with her something that would normally be handed out free to her clients at the health department.

This Family Circus illustration was on a postcard, which was attached to whatever it was she had brought home. I happened to take notice and it struck me as very funny. Lisa couldn't find the humor in it. Evidently, cartoonist Bil Keane has decided to help take up the fight against SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), which is a noble effort on his part.

What is it that makes me laugh every time I look at it? Obviously, SIDS is a very un-funny thing. But there's some dark slant to it that I can't quite put my finger on. Last night, Terry and Genie came over for dinner and I had meant to show him the illustration which, by now, I had clipped and taped into my sketchbook. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about it until a short time ago.

My theory is that the Family Circus kids (Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and P.J., respectively) have been cursed with this mysterious ailment, by the very idea of having dawned the letters to spell out the name.

Again, I cannot stress how un-funny the SIDS epidemic is. However, as a society, we've been laughing at the antics of these children for years. I'll point out now, for all the wrong reasons to begin with.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two More

For the past few months, Audrey has been showing signs of having a lazy eye. Of course, there's a history of this in our families. Jeff had a lazy eye and was forced to be "Captain Jeff" for a couple of years growing up. Complete with a black eye patch. The Erlinger side has had their fair share of pirates in their own right. The three Erlinger brothers, apparently, were forced into the pirate lifestyle at one point or another in their lives.

Yesterday's visit to the ophthalmologist yielded a new chapter in Audrey's life. No, she doesn't need to go the "pirate" route. Rather, her eye is drifting inward as a result of her farsightedness. As a result, she has been fitted for eye glasses and will spend the next few years as part of the Bookworm Club. God bless her.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Meet The Family

While visiting with Matt over July 4th weekend, I told him about my current project, a graphic novel titled The Incredibly True Adventures Of A Colorblind Art Teacher: A Work In Progress. Yes, I'm still hard-at-work on That Baby, but this comic is something that I've been working on, when not up to my neck in crayoned baby drawings.

These six panels make up the first page of the book. For those of you who have followed my drawings over the past two decades, you'll see that the Eliminator has a different "look" to him. It's time to come out of the shadows, old man.