A Glimmer of Hope for “Dark Matter” Season 4? News from the Creator…

Dark Matter” is the best science fiction series in recent years. I admit that I am quite picky when it comes to series, as I do not like to binge watch. I prefer to appreciate them the way it was when I was younger (30 years ago), when I watched the old Battlestar Galactica and then, Babylon 5 (the defining Sci-fi series for me). “Dark Matter” has it all – mystery, cool space-battles, political intrigue and cliffhanger season-endings! But the last episode of the Season 3 was quite upsetting, not because of the massive cliffhanger (Spoiler ALERT: “Black Ships are coming”), but because the series has been abruptly dropped even though it was doing pretty well for a third season sci-fi series.

After many attempts at trying to get the series picked up by other companies, i.e. Netflix, there was only disappointment. Which is why I am happy to read the following from Joseph:

“Whenever fans have asked me about the prospect of a Dark Matter revival, I’ve been honest with them. It’s unlikely, but I still hold out hope for a mini-series that would allow me to wrap up as many of those narrative loose ends as possible and, hopefully, offer fans some closure. That, I honestly felt, was the best case scenario.

Until today after my conversation with a very determined individual with connections to a group of equally determined, forward-thinking individuals who have proposed an atypical but very intriguing approach to getting it done. And the more they talk about it, the more convinced I become that, maybe, the odds of a fourth and fifth season of Dark Matter may not be as long as I’d initially assumed.

Ambiguous, no? Alas, for now, all I’ll say is that the wheels on a resurrection are – surprisingly – in motion again. There is, of course, no guarantee that anything will come of this, but the strategy is crazy-brilliant and certainly worth pursuing.”

The full post can be read from here – https://josephmallozzi.com/2018/11/12/november-12-2018-distant-dark-matter-rumblings/

A chance is better than none at all. Here is hoping for the release of AT LEAST a season four for this MUST watch series.

The Failure of Stan Lee’s “Fantastic Four” on the Big Screen – Solution Proposed!

Thoughts and messages are pouring in by the thousands when news of Stan Lee’s death was made public. If there is one creation that is largely forgotten by millennials, it would be the “Fantastic Four” family-group. As far as I know, there has been three movies so far (the direct-to-video does not count). The first two are connected, while the third is an attempted reboot. In all three of them, there has been sparsely any interest generated, unlike the movies from the other Marvel titles.

This IS very curious and strange indeed. Why? Because “Fantastic Four” is “the World’s GREATEST comic magazine” as it is emblazoned on the cover title of its comic! By the way, that is obviously Stan Lee’s idea… Bold statement, but it is an idea that eventually proved itself in the early 100 issues of its publication. Yet, why has the fab four (not the Beatles) failed at grabbing movie-going audiences?

Here is my own take on it: it comes down to the difference between the era, style and translation of the comic medium, where the comic thrives, into the film medium. Stan and Jack had many issues to slowly build the momentum of the “family” dynamics, comprising in beginning of Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny. Although the issues were self-contained, there was a consistent movement of the overall narrative of the struggles of 4 different individuals, who has 4 different superpowers coping and adapting to the world around them. More than that, they had to learn to put aside their bickering and to subdue whatever was thrown against them, from Mole Man, to Namor, to their infamous arch-nemesis Doctor Doom… They learnt to work together. This “slow” pacing is not easily translated into a 2 hour plus movie. Family dynamics work better as an animation, or as a mini-series on TV, than it does in movies.

At this point, you may wonder why does “Incredibles” work on the big screen when it is nearly a rip-off of the “Fantastic Four”. Need I remind you that the animation begins the story in the “future”, and not at the beginning. The introduction of the characters are all done as flashbacks, and a lot of the background context is assumed upon the audience through the bits of information given in those flashbacks, and the familiarity of audiences with the stereotypical ‘superhero’ narrative. This is different from the movie adaptations of “Fantastic Four” – all of them begin with the ORIGIN of how they acquired their powers! Again, and again. Although I barely watched the third (recent) movie that was heavily panned by all, I know enough that yet again it deals with them acquiring their powers.

How would I go about relaunching or rebooting the movie version of Marvel’s most famous Family Superhero? I would skip their origin. In fact, I would introduce the multiverse concept (brilliantly done by Marvel’s Distinguished Competitors) to bring forth a terribly enemy that is much greater than Thanos. Yes, much greater and darker. Doctor Doom. I enjoyed Jonathan Hickman’s recent (a few years back) run on two Fantastic Four titles, and I would use that to introduced a maxed out Doom who has defeated and used his multiverse counterparts to be the most powerful villain that combines science, magic and pure raw power – e.g. Siphoning it out of Galactus or Beyonder or Molecule Man.

Or, they could start the reboot movie with another dangerous, creepy enemy – Marvel Zombies! Mark Millar’s run in the Ultimate version of the Fantastic Four is also worth using. Let Reed and gang be fighting off multiple troubles like any other families – from the government, public opinion and finances. Let it all out, and have these enemies hit them, and show their pain and struggles, and how they ARE the veterans of the Marvel Universe. Perhaps, during a particular fight, a portal leads them to the MCU and joins them with the current stable of established on-screen heroes. But this would be amazing.

Oh, and Doctor Doom should always stay faithful to the comics. No more weird changes – to make him more robotic, or crazy, or whatever. Bring him out as the person who is ambitious, calculating, cold and brilliant! One who is truly wicked… PURPOSEFULLY wicked, willing to sacrifice everything to gain the upper-hand, and to gloat. Goodness, I will pay to watch this over and over again! No more mucking with their age, or their ethnicity, or looks. Just focus on the main story and characterisation. No jokes please. A light-hearted Fantastic Four is the one where Jessica Alba kept showing off her lingerie… No more!

We need a WORTHY Fantastic Four movie, Marvel! We need it!

Stan Lee (1922-2018) Passes Away on the 12th November 2018

The sad news is that THE MAN, Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, has passed away on the 12th November 2018. It is sad, but not shocking as the man was already 95 years old. He has lived a long ful-filling life. And it is not surprising because his wife, Joan Lee, passed the year before. This is what I observe over the years, that most elderly couples pass away not far from each other – as a sort of manifestation of the dependency and love towards one another.

Stan Lee was the man who was involved in the creation of many, many PROMINENT superheroes – namely, the Amazing Spider-Man, the X-men, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four to say the least. I do not think it is disrespectful to openly state that Stan Lee was not the sole creator of these wonderful heroes – as his contribution was the concept, idea and story, while his collaborators equally contributed in the vision, the visuals of the characters and stories. But it is true to say: without Stan Lee, there would be no Marvel Comics as it is now. We cannot overstate the importance that he has left on the American comic book industry and on popular entertainment today.

Thank you, Stan Lee.

The thanks will be pouring in worldwide for the next few weeks. As it should.

Todd McFarlane’s Spawn! An Attempt at Rendering the Hellspawn!

Started with the drawing and hatchings
Then tried adding in the Reds where appropriate…
With Watercolour Washing for backdrop… and allowed the piece to dry
Before finishing it with some splatters of white, black and yellow (lemon yellow!)

A man of controversy, Todd McFarlane has always been a news-maker especially in the 90’s when he and some of the best Marvel comic artists quit the juggernaut comic publisher, Marvel comics, and formed their own Image Comics. Here is a man that NO ONE can ever ‘shut up’, either by their business moves, or their written words (go read his debates/discussions/insults with Peter David). Remember the time when this millionaire bought a few baseball memorabilia to the tune of a few million bucks? Again, that caused news. For me, it was not until last year, when a video interview featuring Todd McFarlane came up, that I understood the REAL reason for that expensive purchase – in short, it was a genius BUSINESS move that allowed him to rake much more from that ‘investment’. 

For me, McFarlane will always be the man who pushed the art boundaries on Spider-Man. Just look at his iconic style that is STILL utilised in the drawing of Spider-Man. 1) Making Spidey’s Eye-Mask disproportionately HUGE! 2) Introducing the spaghetti webbing style… 3) Having Spidey posing in a more arachnid manner – contorting his body to humanly impossible positions. 4) Cluttering the whole page with so much detail that years later, you can still find something ‘new’ that you did not ‘catch’ before (i.e. count the spiders on the covers!). Phew… and then, there was the next evolution of the man in his Image Comics debut: SPAWN. Everyone was expecting an amalgam between Batman and Spider-man, but to EVERYONE’s amazement – it was VERY little super-hero, and a LOT of HORROR/THRILLER. For sure, the superhero elements were there at the start, but as the series continued, it got so dark that many of the ‘superhero’ fans dropped it. But the Spawn universe was exciting, as it introduced amazing writers and artists – like Greg Capulo on pencils and Brian Michael Bendis. The latter was my favourite on “Sam and Twitch” which read like a cop-drama TV series! If you want, you can try this title from Book Depository – a UK Based Bookstore that offers FREE SHIPPING all around the world! 

Check out Brian Michael Bendis’ “Sam and Twitch” from Book Depository, below!

I get inspired everytime I read about McFarlane’s latest endeavours in comic books. Sorry, but I am not really into his toys, although they ARE really gorgeous (and EXPENSIVE *cough *cough). The latest that piqued my interest is the Live-Action HORROR movie featuring this HELLSPAWN! It is going to be ALL of Todd McFarlane. This could really BOMB, but hey, it is his own money on the line – it is not going to be a commercially dictated product, and FOR THAT, I will shell out my own cash to watch it and own it.

Anyway, I can write a lot about Todd… but here is my rendition of the Hellspawn. I will make more paintings after this – I think that may suit my mood and skill more. We will see. For now, hope you enjoy this piece. 

Incredible Hulk TV Series Tribute

Typical ending scene for the TV series

I have fond memories of watching “The Incredible Hulk” TV series that ran from 1977 to 1982. I remember watching one of the episodes in my aunt’s house. She only had a black and white TV, the one where you have to open and close the ‘doors’ of the TV cabinet (that housed the huge TV). It was quite entertaining watching reruns of it. What “gets me” every time is the ending sequence where David Banner (Not Bruce, as the TV differs on this to avoid comparison with the comics) leaves the premise of that particular episode and continues on his nomadic and lonely journey. He leaves because he does not want anyone to come into contact with the MONSTER who will harm friend and foe. The famous catch phrase that I remember is when Dr. Banner turns to the pesky reporter and says: “Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry… you wouldn’t like me when I am angry…”. 

Famous phrase for those Hulk-nerds out there!

What many do not appreciate is the marvelous cast that made this series successful. Hats off especially to Bill Bixby whose acting made it believable and entertaining, and of course to Lou Ferrigno, who brought the Hulk to life! Remember that this was in the time where CGI (computer-generated imagery) has not yet been used in films. 

Somehow, the ending theme song kept playing in my mind today, and I whipped out the sketchbook and made a drawing, taking reference from the 3rd season’s 15th episode ending. This was done with the trusty Pentel Brush Pen. If I have the time, I will get around doing a Lou Ferrigno Hulk sketch. I have another Bill Bixby sketch from the introduction scene to the show. Will post that soon. 

Ending theme is solemn, but captures the overall theme of the series. Loneliness and fear. 

Artist Inspiration: KIM JUNG GI (South Korea)

Master Kim Jung Gi

You may have noticed that all my artwork, at the moment, utilises Pentel’s Brush Pen. Let me be honest – that is entirely influenced by this art maestro. Born and raised in South Korea, this artistic juggernaut has traveled the whole world, including Malaysia, to showcase his powerful skill of sketching WITHOUT references. 

From what I can ascertain from his own words (translated), he has spent countless of hours practicing and honing his skills on perspectives and human anatomy, and thus, it is now his second nature to compose the scene and subjects in his mind. He encourages new artists to train their minds to RETAIN a detailed picture of what they want to draw/paint – and to maintain that detailed picture throughout finishing the piece. This is easier said than done, but it is true: the power of maintaining a firm vision of the piece in the mind and then TRANSFERRING it into the art medium of choice, that is where the ‘artistic magic’ begin. 

My first exposure of him is through videos uploaded on Youtube of his impressive skill of drawing on large (HUGE) paper canvas – often taking up a wall-side. A good example can be seen below:

An Ordinary Scene – a Daunting Task for any Veteran Artist

His work impressed me so much that I immediately bought his 2013 Sketchbook (Paperback Edition, not the Hardback which was sold out), when I stumbled upon it at Borders, the Curve. The best art purchase ever – page after page, imaginative sketches all done without much effort. But be aware that there are some illustrations that are unsuitable for children and the immature. Kim pays special attention to details, especially weapons – like a rifle and gun – these are obviously details memorised by familiarity from his stint in the South Korean National Service (compulsory for all citizens) for two years. 

For more about him, you can join his Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kimjunggius/ (which I have) – he posts very regularly and his “live” videos are fascinating, as we see his actual pace in rendering a subject, unlike the YouTube videos that speeds-up the process. This is another Asian with skills that exceed Super-Saiyan levels! 

Games for the Future

The best sort is the incorporation of real-life activities into the game design and mechanism, similar to Pokemon Go. I would argue that it is more immersive in the real world, like doing something… Accumulating credits from people, taking a picture, writing something, going somewhere, making a hand motion or gestures on the screen, etc. These would really encourage people to play without feeling bad, especially for the working professionals.

Just my thoughts on what mobile gaming should be for the next few years, especially for former gamers like me who have no time for it (because of family, work and life activities).

Tribute to Christopher Reeve, the Man of Steel, Last Post for #Inktober2018

Did this while at the local petrol station stop. I have always been amazed by Christopher Reeve who portrayed Superman on the big screen – successfully for four movies! That is a feat of its own. Compare that with Henry Cavill’s foray and you can see four FULL movies is an achievement of its own. What is more important is his example that paralysis and tragedy does not necessary end in misery and suicide. No, Christopher lived on, and found strength to press on till he died in 2004.

Here is to the ‘Man of Steel’ who showed us that strength is not when you are able to do everything, but true strength is the ability to do something when everything goes wrong. We need that more, especially in a time when circumstances change is constant.

This was done entirely with Pentel Brush Pen. Not a single drop of Pigma Micron ink here. No regrets, except that horrifying error under his lips… the brush was not as dry as I thought it was. But you know what? I left it there… somehow it brings out Christopher’s iconic smile out. I like it. Providential mistakes that adds to the structure and form of the whole. This is how our lives are, if we take the time to look at it properly.