This week has found me blissfully hammering away at my new comic book, "Bodie Troll". I haven't been this happy creating something since working on "Dead Duck". I feel like I'm at a whole other level with "Bodie". My storytelling abilities are stretching and growing, and my art feels like it's going on this wild, kinetic dance that I can't control, and don't want to try to. There's going to be so much to read, see, feel and experience in "Bodie", both for my readers and for myself as I create this. I hope people who enjoyed "Dead Duck", with all its dirty jokes and toilet humor, can appreciate "Bodie Troll" for its sweetness, magic and silliness. Anyway, here's a panel from one of the recent pages to whet your appetite. You should know that Bodie is as ravenous about roots as Wimpy is about hamburgers.
For those of you who are interested, here are some other things that are occupying my interests these days...
MUSIC: For the past few months, my work days have involved regular listening of "Retroactive Radio: The Best of the 60's, 70's and 80's"--an online radio station out of Muncie, Indiana. It's a free site that plays not only my favorites from those decades, but so many long forgotten gems that even my pop culture knowledge was previously unfamiliar with. Abba, Grand Funk Railroad, Chicago, The BeeGees, Men Without hats, and my favorite, Journey...the list of awesomeness goes on and on. Check them out to brighten your own workday.
BOOKS: I'm current reading the graphic novel "Koko Be Good" by Jen Wang, published by First Second. I've just started it, but my initial impressions are that it's a young adult "dramedy" with a slight "Scott Pilgrim" vibe (loves me some "Scott Pilgrim"), but far more reality based. A young guy is quitting his job to move to Peru to be with his girlfriend. In the process of moving, he meets a quirky street chick named Koko, and the two cause one another to reflect on who they are and what they want out of life. Were it just for that description, I wouldn't be entirely interested. But the artwork has an animatorly quality to it that piques my interest--fantastic line work, designs and overall layout, though the dialogue and placement of word balloons is a little fragmented and confusing. If it did have the humor and fantasy of "Scott Pilgrim", I might be more sold. But I plan on seeing this through to the end. Here's hoping for a good read.
MOVIES: Just saw "Lawless", starring the mediocre Shia LaBeouf, the "holy crap, this guy is deep fried awesome" Tom Hardy, and the equally deep fried Guy Pearce. It's about a family of bootleggers in 1930's Virginia, and their battle with the mob over the liquor trade in their territory. I'm fascinated by gangsters flicks and dust bowl era stories, so that's two checks in the plus column right there. LaBouf isn't nearly as cocky as he normally plays, but Tom Hardy is just balls out genius as the older brother of the bootlegging clan, and Pearce is scary, cold and methodical as the villain. Fists a flyin' and guns a blazin', this movie ain't for the squeamish. But if you like your drama gritty, then this is something worth biting into. My late grandpa's side of the family was in the bootlegging trade in the early 30's, so I felt a kind of connection to the flick on that level, too. Though I doubt my great grandpa did anything so horrific to the opposition as did the bootleggers in "Lawless". Or at least I hope he didn't.
TV: The best TV I've seen lately was actually on the internet. I don't have cable, but thanks to Hulu, I was able to catch the third season premiere of my favorite reality show, "Face Off" (which airs on SyFy)-- where movie makeup artists compete to create painted and prosthetic characters in each episode. It has touches of typical reality show fodder--in-fighting, relationship drama, drawn out reactions from judges to build tension--but the meat of the show is about creating awesome old-school practical make up effects. Catch it if you can.
FOOD: I've been enjoying an abundance of grapes, apples and baby carrots lately, which has helped a lot in my weight loss (I've shed 30 pounds in eight months). But it hasn't all been fruits and veggies. Once in a great while I've treated myself, and my new favorite place to splurge is Red Rock Downtown Barbecue in Ypsilanti, MI. It's hands down the best BBQ I've had since moving down to Ann Arbor four years ago. You're given the meat sans sauce, but you can douse the hell out of it with a handful of different sauces at your table, all of which are delicious. I understand Red Rock's can be found in other towns, so find one near you, or come down to Ypsi for some incredible eating.
That does it for this week, kids. Hope the rest of your week is all kinds of cool. Talk to you next time!