IoM Artist Showcase: Scott Blair, Day 5

cover_catpool5Concluding our conversation with this week’s IoM Artist Showcase illustrator Scott Blair…

Ideology of Madness: What’s your favorite comic book character to draw and why?

Scott Blair: Catpool! Because it’s my cat, Creedence, dressed up in a Deadpool costume.

… We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s IoM Showcase featuring Scott Blair and his artwork.  Come back for more fantastic artists in the Showcase!

IoM Artist Showcase: Scott Blair, Day 4

cover_hulk2014Continuing our conversation with this week’s IoM Artist Showcase illustrator Scott Blair…

Ideology of Madness: You’ve got a busy con schedule this year – I’m looking forward to seeing you in Austin, by the way.  What types of work are you producing at cons this year?

Scott Blair: For cons this year, I’m still focusing on drawing on the blank variant sketch comic covers. I get a kick knowing that there are thousands of copies of any given cover out there, but drawing a custom cover for someone makes it one-of-a-kind and unique. I like making them look like real covers, and enjoy the double takes I get at my table when people don’t know what they are.

… Come back tomorrow through Friday for more of our conversation with Scott Blair and his artwork.

Superman: Elseworlds Give-a-way!

Image-1It’s no secret that we here at Ideology of Madness miss the Elseworlds books from DC Comics.  Elseworlds was the DC take on Marvel’s What If.  Rather than simply being content on telling alternate endings to stories as Marvel was, DC told wildly fanciful alternate universe stories.  Whereas Marvel might tell the story of What If Gwen Stacy Didn’t Die, DC  would tell a tale exploring the the consequences of a certain Kryptonian rocket ship crashing in a 19th Century jungle, Soviet Russia, or even on Apokolips. Damn, those are good stories!

We waxed nostalgic about some of our favorite Elseworlds stories in a recent Superman with Aron and Paulie.

Now you have a chance to win some Elseworlds goodies!

  • Superman/Tarzan: Sons of the Jungle
  • Supergirl & Batgirl: Elseworld’s Finest
  • Superman/Wonder Woman: Whom Gods Destroy
  • Superman: The Dark Side
  • Superman: Kal
  • Superman: Red Son

That’s six different Elseworlds stories!

The Deets:

All you gotta do is post your recommendations for an all-new Superman Elseworlds story in the comments below or call and leave us your pitch on the hotline – 972-763-5903972-763-5903!

One entry per person, please.

Winners will be chosen at random.

Items will only be shipped within the continental United States.

You must be 18 or older to enter.

The winner will be announced on the next episode of Superman with Aron and Paulie.

IoM Artist Showcase: Scott Blair, Day 3

cover_harleyateraWelcome back to the Showcase!  Continuing our conversation with this week’s IoM Artist Showcase illustrator Scott Blair…

Ideology of Madness: We love your pinups, those 40s era ladies you draw are amazing. What got you into that style?

Scott Blair: Growing up surrounded by vintage magazines, movie posters and memorabilia from the 1940′s in our family business, definitely had a lot to do with it. That style and look has influenced my work a lot, and made me want to create my own set of modern pinups for the HARD CANDY book.

… Come back tomorrow through Friday for more of our conversation with Scott Blair and his artwork.

 

IoM Artist Showcase: Scott Blair, Day 2

Continuing our conversation with this week’s IoM Artist Showcase illustrator Scott Blair… Today, we focus on the artist/client experience.

cover_bwidow1Ideology of Madness: From my own experience, I get the best work from artists when I can get them excited about the project. When someone is seeking commission work from you, how best can a client engage you to get you jazzed?

Scott Blair: When a client follows my work, usually they can tell what I like to draw. It’s easy to tell on the initial interaction if I’m going to be jazzed about the project or not. I’m fortunate now at this point where I can pick and choose what to take and what not to, I don’t take projects I don’t get excited about anymore. The end result just doesn’t turn out as good.

IoM: If you’re drawing just for you, what’s the subject?

Scott Blair: I love to draw sexy femme fatales with monsters, maybe it’s from growing up watching old Universal horror movies.

… Come back tomorrow through Friday for more of our conversation with Scott Blair and his artwork.

Dread

There are a couple of core facts that are common to almost every role-playing game.  Even for newcomers to role-playing games, people not like me who have been doing it for decades; one of the most basic items of every game, one that seems intrinsic to role-playing is dice.  Unless you are playing a pure storytelling game which is just storytelling and not really a game at all, you need some sort of random result generator.  For most of role-playing history this random result generator has been some form and number of polygon or polygons with different symbols painted on the sides.  Usually, those symbols have been numbers but words, symbols and even advertisements have been used.  For some games, they have branched out to other randomly generated results like cards.  These options add a bit more strategy to the game and even a little skill but are still based (literally) on the luck of the draw.  And of course, there have been combinations of the of different random result generators.

Dread stands the idea that dice or cards to randomly generate result are needed to play a game on its head.  Instead of dice, the game uses a stacked block tower (hereafter referred to as a “Jenga” tower because, no one calls them “cotton swabs,” either.)  There may be some debate about how much influence the player’s dexterity and skills have over the effects of the game as opposed to the inherent abilities of the character, but there is more than a little brilliance in the simplicity of this device. Read more

Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie: He Saved Everyone One of Us!

FBEP232.fw

Flash…Aaaaaaahhhhh! He saved every one of us! Yes folks, we have a new Flash Gordon book and, spoiler warning, it’s freakin’ fantastic! We’ve also got new #1′s from Marvel and Zenescope, Invicible has a really bad day, and we give our full thoughts about Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

  • Kings Watch #5/Flash Gordon #1
  • Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1
  • Helsing #1
  • Invincible #110
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Wayne went to St. Louis Wizard World
  • DC relaunching Suicide Squad and Teen Titans
  • Superman/Wonder Woman #7
  • All-New X-Men #25
  • Magnus: Robot Fighter #2

Also, don’t forget to check out our first quarter episode of Superman with Aron and Paulie featuring an interview with comics writer Ron Marz!

And give us a call at 972-763-5903972-763-5903 and leave us your thoughts. If we use your voicemail, you’ll win an Ideology of Madness SurPrize!

Play

IoM Artist Showcase: Scott Blair, Day 1

Hello and welcome to the opening of the Ideology of Madness Artist Showcase!

We love comics here at IoM.  We especially love comic artists.  Within the gallery of the IoM Artist Showcase we will feature a different artist each week, showcasing artist’s self-selected pieces in a week-long series.  Our effort here is to introduce you to both the artist’s work as well as the artist himself.  Our illustrator for this week is a talent I was initially exposed to on social media.

Click for hi-res imageScott Blair is a brilliant pinup artist, designing amazing 40′s style masterpieces.  He’s always drawing and always sharing.  Follow this guy on Instagram and you’ll enjoy daily updates of original art both in modern Big 2 comic-style as well as many works in the tradition of the pulps.

Ideology of Madness: Scott Blair, welcome to the Showcase… You’re a graduate from Middle Tennessee University’s graphic’s design program. How well do you feel your university experience prepared you for a career in art?

Scott Blair: Yep, I graduated from MTSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. I learned that there weren’t many fun graphic design jobs available in Nashville, if you were lucky you could get an internship designing country music cds. So I moved back home and spent the next two years paying off my student loans and kept developing my illustration skills. If I had to do it over again, I would have saved the money spent and maybe taken some specialized art classes instead of spending all that time in classes teaching things I’ve never used to this day.

IoM: I gather you’re a full time freelancer. Have you been freelancing since school? What was your first gig after graduation? Related to that, how has your schedule as a freelancer changed since over the years?

Scott: It took me a while to become a full time freelancer. I worked full time with my family’s business, CAPTAIN BIJOU, selling movies, comic books and vintage movie memorabilia. At night, I would draw and paint art to sell on ebay or for custom clients. It took me about 5 years until I was making enough to go full time creating art. A typical day for me now, is waking up at 7, drawing custom sketches until noon. I’ll take a lunch break, then go back to drawing until 6. Stop for dinner, then work for a couple more hours – around 10pm I run out of gas.

… Come back tomorrow through Friday for more of our conversation with Scott Blair and his artwork.

Divergent

Divergent-posterTwo things before I begin.

Spoiler warnings on! Yes, I know it has been out for a few weeks but there still could be people that haven’t seen it and I don’t want to ruin it for them.

No, I have not read the books. Yes, I know that makes me a horrible human being. I will, when I have time, read them. I just have a large list of books to read that I do not know when I will get to it.

With that housekeeping out of the way, on to the review!

Divergent is the Story of Tris’ coming of age. She lives in a society that has survived a cataclysmic war. To Survive, they have divided the population into factions based around virtues in th hopes of preventing another war. When a member of the society reaches a certain point they are given a test to help determine which faction they belong to but are given the choice of where they want to be.

Tris is a member of Abnegation which values selflessness. This factions job is to run the government. Tris is the voice that introduces us to the varying factions and we get to see how she doesn’t fit in. When given the test, she discovers that she fits in to several different factions which makes her divergent. The person who administered the test explains that this makes her dangerous to the system and that she must hide.

On the day of choosing, We watch as she agonizes over her choice and let out a sigh of relief when she chooses Dauntless. What follows is her journey of discovering both who she is and the grans conspiracy that threatens the world in which she lives.

When I heard about this movie I was intrigued. The idea of breaking down a post apocalyptic world into factions is not new but the manner in which Divergent does it pretty neat. It sets you up to believe that things are organized with the best interests of the citizenry. The flaw is easily seen as well because anything that purposely sets up a class of selfless people will end up either taking advantage of them or victimizing them. In this case, Abnegation cares for factionless and the Divergent which makes them an easy target for the head of Erudite that sees this as giving in to weakness and misusing resources.

The conspiracy provides a nice backdrop to main thrust of the story. Tris journey of discovery about who she is and where she belongs is the true heart of this movie. It is a simple story that is told well with solid imagery throughout. We get the introduction to abnegation where more than a minute looking in a mirror is seen as almost a sin and serving others is to be second nature. This is not who Tris is and her discomfort is palpable on the screen. When the test is inconclusive, the fear of not knowing where she belongs and having to make the decision on her own is powerful. It captures the essence of that fear which we all go through as we transition from child to adult. What will I do? how will I make it?

There are points in the movie where these types of feelings are just portrayed within a scene that are highly effective. The whole Dauntless Jumping idea is just one of these. Once Tris has joined Dauntless, She has to leap onto a moving train and then jump up off a multistory building into a dark whole. They show how each decision made during this time feels so momentous and dangerous yet exhilarating. We get to see these same scenes later in the movie as she has come to grips with the decisions she has made and they are much less frightening and easier done now she has accepted more of who she is and she given up on the fear that made the choices difficult earlier.

The movie ends in an expected fashion. It is how she is different that allows her to escape the programming that turns most of Dauntless into mindless drones. It even allows her to save her new paramour, Four, who has been captured and brainwashed by Erudite.

I enjoyed this movie. The ending was expected and nothing truly unique was done with the setting. Despite this, it did everything that id very well. The acting was solid and the cinematography was good. In particular, I liked the set design. We have a city that is devastated yet functional. It has this decrepit feel yet a sterility that is unexpected in a post-apocalyptic story. It takes a story about not fitting into society and makes it accessible without being boring or bland.

I both want to read the books now and am looking forward to see the next movie. If you have time, make sure to see this in the theaters because it definitely worth a matinee.

Loki: Agent of Asgard No 1

Loki_Agent_of_Asgard_Vol_1_1_TextlessA few weeks back Aron and Paul mentioned a new offering coming to the All New Marvel Now. The title was to be Loki: Agent of Asgard. I sounded interesting and this second incarnation of the Marvel Now was being touted as new reader friendly. So with their recommendation and the promise of being a good jumping on point, I picked up the first issue.

This issue opens up with a very dynamic and shocking page. There is a full page of Loki thrusting a glowing sword through the chest of his brother, Thor. The only text on the page are two bubbles. Trust me. I know what I’m doing. The book then jumps into the past and shows us where this one page has it’s beginning.

Loki is on earth and working missions for the All-Mother. She interrupts him in his shower and gives him a mission. As he is undertaking said mission we get to hear his explanation of magic. It is a fairly interesting take on the subject and provides some excellent foreshadowing for the rest of the issue.

His explanation is that magic is telling a story and making the universe believe it. As he explains it, he talks about the various grimoires that can can house spells and even mentions an AD&D Manual which made me smile. Loki demonstrates this through his use of various magical item that he has liberated in his earlier adventures. It plays up the idea that he is magical Jason Bourne of the Asgardians and plays well into the actual reward for a successful mission which is the erasure of a horrible crime committed by his earlier incarnation. I know that this isn’t an original take on magic but it is one of my favorite and seeing it being used here to change the course of Loki’s future is intriguing.

The mission itself is to cleanse Thor. He had been tainted by something he had came in contact with but the other had not noticed. It had caused him to become more surly and brutal as time passed. It was dragging him down into a destructive cycle that had to be stopped. To accomplish his goal, Loki had to stir the Avengers into a mass of chaos and then become captured. This capture is not believable and it is pretty neat when Thor sits next to Loki and asks if he has time for a drink before his inevitable escape. He says yes and they have a heart to heart discussing how their relationship is broken and how it might he has tried to change but isn’t sure that he has really changed. The most touching point is when Loki pauses and then says lets swallow the lie as sometimes that is all we have.

Damn good stuff.

Loki then turns over the taint that had infected Thor as the All-Mother requested and heads off to continue on in his new life. The All-Mother opens the container to reveal that the presence was actually the Old Loki and he had gone to great length to get this audience.

I have to say that I enjoyed the story immensely and am fascinated by the two Loki and what this could portend. The art and colors are fantastic. Garbett’s art has these soft lines that gives an ethereal aesthetic that I find really accentuates the story. Woodard’s colors pick this up and adds a layer of energy that just pops from the page when there are these power dramatic moments and yet provide a sepia toned filter for the touching character moments.

I am looking forward to this series and will have a review of issue two soon!