Thursday, April 30, 2015

Social Media

Social Media is an amazing and strange thing, especially to this forty-sumthin' non-digital native.
Graphic of the words "Social Media" with a pushpin in the upper left-hand corner

Ironically, my nickname in high school was "Unsociable Nerd." (Luisa G. used to tease me about this almost daily, noting how I never attended parties or went to sporting events after school.) As a true-blue introvert by nature, just being sociable at all takes a whole helluvalot of energy.

Don't get me wrong. I like people. I like them a lot. My occasional misanthropic tendencies come straight from my idealized notions of what humanity is capable. It is only those of us who see "what a piece of a work is a man" who become jaded when we (humanity) fail to employ our "apprehension... like a god" to IRL problems like poverty and climate change.

So how did this introverted misanthrope get mixed up in all this social media? I now stalk artists -- professional and amateur -- on DeviantArt and post their works on my Tumblr page, which I can then embed here on my blog. And that post, subsequently, I will no doubt share on FB and Twitter to make sure it gets seen.

I'm even propagating myself in social media. SOCIAL media...

Weird.

And, it hardly takes any energy at all.

Nice.

http://haffpint.tumblr.com/post/117807217682/mr-j-by-danielgrzeszkiewicz

The above is Daniel Grzezkiewicz's latest: Mr. J. (Joker from the Batman universe). It is a disturbing take on the latest rendition of the Joker in the Batman comics by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.
Comic Book cover for Batman (v.2) #17 by Greg Capullo

(I even get all my comics electronically
now through comiXology--
who needs to get out of the house to be social?)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Intellectual Property

Screen capture from the TV show "Smallville" with the text "Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster"
Here is an interesting read from Gerry Conway on his Tumblr.page. While I love me some free access to great comic book imagery through the interwebs, I still believe credit is due where credit is due.

It may not compensate for the economic equity creators like Siegel and Shuster deserve but did not receive, at least they get their creator credit for Superman. I think Conway and his ilk deserve at least that as well.


http://gerryconway.tumblr.com/post/117619743363/who-created-caitlin-snow-on-theflash-according

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daredevil Horns

I bet you didn't know that the horns on Daredevil's red outfit had a practical purpose. I surely didn't.
Two panels from Daredevil (vol. 1) #8 with Matt Murdock explaining the headgear of his Daredevil guise
Last two panels from page 7 of Daredevil Vol. 1, Issue #8 (June 1965)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chronic

I found this lovely little comic from Robot Hugs on tumblr this morning, and it made me think of various conversations I've had with my mother about her wee folk. I can identify with this comic, not so much in terms of depression or self-esteem but rather in terms of the exhaustion.

http://robothugscomic.tumblr.com/post/108645591958/new-comic-you-ever-feel-like-youre-just


The chronic part of chronic illness leads me to the last panel --- crawling into my pitiable self --- after even the "shortest" of productive days. And I have at least three of these chronic hangers-on dragging me down each day: Fibro, Crohn's, and possibly Sjögren's. 

Though these aren't my "wee folk," they are a part of my shadows.
Shadow: “The Shadow can represent our darkest desires, our untapped resources, or even rejected qualities. It can also symbolize our greatest fears and phobias. Shadows may not be all bad, and may reveal admirable, even redeeming qualities. The Hero’s enemies and villains often wear the Shadow mask. This physical force is determined to destroy the Hero and his cause” (source).
Carl Jung poster with woman meditating and the quote: "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."
After teaching Joseph Campbell's hero journey construct to high schoolers for a great many years, I find myself relying on the paradigm to help me make sense of my life. I often employ the terminology somewhat instinctively and then have to go back and look up the terms to make sure they mean what I think they mean.

In this case, these shadows represent my phobic-level fear of death since I was 8 or 9 years old and the internalized shame I felt growing up gay in the '80s in the Midwest (or the Heartland, as 'twere).

My mental development far exceeded my physical development as a kid, and my emotional development got stunted at about 11 years old when my first crushes were clearly disturbed at my efforts to articulate my affections. I was not just rejected, a natural consequence of unrequited attentions, but seemingly reviled.

I quickly came to believe that I was unlovable in a romantic sort of way and that there was something profoundly unwanted in my touch. 
Text-Only Poster: "I know I'm unlovable. You don't have to tell me."
Trust me when I tell you that it is very stressful trying to navigate the world of puberty carrying along these beliefs and an equally strong belief that death was inevitable and would result in the complete obliteration of my conscious being.

(I am the only unbaptized heathen in my catholic/protestant/agnostic immediate family.)

Scientific speculation holds that chronic illnesses often have a triggering event and that there may be a genetic predisposition activated by this event, be it a virus or accident or stressful period in one's life.
Microscopic image of the Mononucleosis Virus
Welllll, I came out of the closet and caught mono both in my sophomore year of college (perhaps completely unrelated events...).

Hmm... 

When I returned to my Catholic high school alma mater in the Midwest to teach, I unwittingly returned to the closet and to wrestling with my shadows. 

Background: Oreo with rainbow colors, and text: "Keep Calm and Get Out of the Closet"I wanted to be able to teach (and not just discipline and test-grind), which I knew would be possible at a Jesuit school, but my naive hope was that I'd be able to do so as an openly gay person. Unfortunately, the Catholic church has yet to catch up with me in terms of my self-acceptance.

And then there was tachycardia, and later a re-activation of my Epstein-Barr virus (mono), and then Fibromyalgia, and then a slipped disc, sciatica, and degenerative disc disease. And then Crohn's. And then whatever is causing a substantial complex of neurological symptoms (most likely Sjögren's or MS).

Text-Only Poster: "Godless Heathen"
Now, I'm not saying being gay and a heathen leads to chronic illnesses.

Rather, I'm saying wrestling with embracing and integrating my shadows has taken a toll on my psyche which has manifested into "this physical force...determined to destroy the Hero and his cause."

My hope is that all this bother may one day result in "admirable, even redeeming qualities" in me.

In the meanwhile, please just excuse me while I crawl back into my pitiable old self for a bit.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Color

Netflix Daredevil Logo

I have been reading the first several issues of the 1964 Daredevil comic after Netflixing/binge-watching the entire first series of the TV show on Netflix. (Yes, I watched all 13 eps within 24 hours of their 10 April 2015 release date -- addix is a part of this blog's title after all).

Since I am a nerd of the highest caliber, I have created a database in which I keep track of all the comics in my collection. This has enabled me to better associate authors and artists with their works. Besides the comics themselves, I use online sources to help me fill in some of the missing details (like release dates if available and variant issues, etc.).

The two primary sites I use to dig up this data are www.comiXology.com and www.mycomicshop.com. Sometimes I cross-reference the information between them, but the release dates can get kinda dicey with the older stuff -- month and year, at best.

Nowadays people have access to better, more specific data online. That said, one of the issues I have with these sources, especially in regards to older issues, is that they often do not provide the colorist for the mags.

They will list authors, pencils, inks, letters, editors, practically everyone and the kitchen sink, but they fail to list the colorists. I don't get this as one of my favorite things is the beauty and depth coloring can add to an image. Coloring is like the soundtrack for the story -- it enhances the emotional layers we feel in a way we aren't always cognizant of.
The Joker close-up B&W Drawing by Mike Deodata, Jr.
Mike Deodata, Jr.'s Joker


Fábio Di Castro's 3-D Color Model of Mike Deodata, Jr.'s B&W Drawing of The Joker
Fábio Di Castro's 3-D Model 
of Deodata's Drawing
Here is an example to illustrate my point (pun's impossible to avoid here). Mike Deodata, Jr. is a terrific artist, and I have collected several of his comics and images of his work online. On his blog, he shared this Joker piece along with Fábio Di Castro's 3-D model based on his pic.

The art is top-notch creepy in the black & white ink drawing; there is clear menace and madness in the Joker's eyes. But, then, when you add color--- the Joker simply pops off the page and becomes a whole different kind of creepy. The lighting effects shift subtly and now there's a sense of room around him, like he actually exists in space with you.

The point is that they are both beautiful and effective, but they are different pieces because of the choices made with the color palette. Those choices are a part of the art of comics, and the colorists should get credit for their good work, even in those books from the early days of publishing when coloring options were more limited.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Tumblr Addiction...

tumblr logo
tumblr logo
I have a terrible tumblr addiction. I cannot remember when or how I learned of the site, but I spend more time on it by far than any other social media site. I follow numerous comic book artists and writers as well as various fans of all things geek and pretty.

I have discovered many an amateur and professional artist through fans' posts on tumblr. For example, today Jim Madsen's art was on my dash. Here is one of the many pics of his work that I was introduced to today.

Jim Madsen's painting "I.F. Spark"
Jim Madsen's I.F. Spark
Because of that posting on tumblr, I looked him up online and found out that he has a blog at www.jimmadsen.blogspot.com/. I highly recommend you check out his work. He provides lovely descriptions to explain elements that informed each of his pieces. I found the following story on his blog for this picture.

screen capture of Jim Madsen's blog post for "I.F. Spark"

The mixture of art and story truly is one of my favorite things.

Friday, April 17, 2015

LEGO Fixation

LEGO Agent Venom figure
LEGO Agent Venom

I must confess that I find some "cutsie" imagery entertaining. I don't do situational comedies and I like my ultra-realistic comics and TV, but I also enjoy the animated LEGO videogames and movies.

I have even tried my hand at building some of the MARVEL & DC Comics LEGO Superheroes kits, but those hands of mine no longer like activities that require fine motor skills and coordination.




Skottie Young's Variant Cover for Daredevil Comic
Skottie Young's Variant Cover
For example, I cannot explain why Skottie Young's "kid" Daredevil cover...

















Alexandre Salles' Daredevil from his DeviantArt Page
Alexandre Salles' Daredevil
from DeviantArt.com
and Alexandre Salles' "gritty" Daredevil cover both appeal to me, but they do.


















I wonder what that says about me...


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Mary Sue: My Source for "News"

The Mary Sue Website Logo
The Mary Sue Website Logo

One of the websites that I visit each day is The Mary Sue. It has evolved over time, as all websites do, but it consistently covers many of my geek interests: SciFi, Comics, Feminism, Movies, TV, yada, yada. I recommend it to all.

Since I brought up the Hugo Awards controversy in a previous post on GRRM (George R.R. Martin), I wanted to share this article from The Mary Sue on the unintended consequences this dust-up has had on two of the nominees for this year's Hugos.

It makes me sad that these authors will never know with confidence that their nominations for these awards were for the quality of their work. I would hate to be "conscripted" into a political "dodge ball" without my knowledge or consent.

"Two Hugo-Nominated Authors..." article with picture of a sleepy puppy with its tongue stuck out
Click the pic to go to Teresa Jusino's article
on The Mary Sue from 16 April 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Banana Peels and Parachutes...

Since moving in with my folks (because all those chronic conditions have rendered me rather useless), my puppy, Sadie Mae, and I have been learning new ways. It turns out that one of Sadie Mae's favorite things to do at our new place is chasing small rodent-like creatures that inhabit our back yard.

The Parachutes (green plant with droopy leaves)
The Parachutes

The Banana Peels (flowering plant)
The Banana Peels
One day, Sadie was staring intently at -- and sniffing around -- an overturned wheelbarrow on our back porch. She was determined and persistent and I couldn't figure out what she wanted. 

jack russell near ladder and upside down wheelbarrow


So, I lifted the barrow and out came flying this little squirrel/chipmunk-like thingie. 

Uncredited Photo of Chipmunk
[not the actual chipmunk, nor my photo of said 
chipmunk(no photo credit given at source)]

Well, ever since that day, Sadie Mae has visited that same wheelbarrow repeatedly. Because this "flying squirrel feat" happened twice, Sadie now thinks I have some magical power to produce a chipmunk out from under that wheelbarrow each time I lift it up.

video

She chased the first chipmunk-like thingie into a drainage tube at the back of our yard.

jack russell near black drainage tube

This we visit whenever we're not turning over the wheelbarrow on the porch. Several times each trip out, which we do several times each day. SEVERAL times a day, my dog looks like this:

jack russell with head up black drainage tube

She can be so stubborn, I had to move a cut-up, foot-high section of a large fallen tree over to function as a stool that I can sit on while she spends hours with her head up a tube.

tree stump stool

I have started giving cute little names to the plant life we encounter while I wait for her to get her head out of the tube. This, this is what we do for fun.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Angry at... Stuff

Skottie Young Daily Sketch
Skottie Young: Daily Sketch
One of my favorite bloggers goes by the moniker Wheelchair Kamikaze. He is suffering from progressive multiple sclerosis. His latest post is entitled "A Stranger in Strange Lands." I like him  [Mark] because his writing is honest and thoughtful. I also find insights on his blog that often help me.

My mother and I suffer from chronic illnesses. We both suffer from multiple chronic illnesses: she with arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteo) and fibromyalgia; I with fibromyalgia since 1997, Crohn's since 2003, degenerative disk disease since 2004, and an as of yet un-diagnosed neurological ailment since 2011.

Needless to say, our lives are a bit messy.

We also have lost our formerly finely honed skills related to patience and communication. We suffer from a lot of frustration and anger-- over our physical limitations, over our lives feeling cut short because our aspirations extend farther than our bodies will allow, and over the loss of control we seemed to have over our fate.

I'm a little more chill than she, but I've had a little bit more practice with the growing limitations my body has seen fit to challenge my spirit with.

My advice to my mother today was to reserve her energy for herself instead of wasting it by getting angry at my dad. Stated a bit over-simplistically in the car, my advice was really about letting go of that constant anger that comes with our loss, from the grief of dying to our formerly healthy selves, and coming to a better acceptance of our limited selves.

It'a a daily thing this. Trying to accept and be at peace with who we are.

Monday, April 13, 2015

George R.R. Martin: a Voice for Civility

grrm not a blog post 13 april 2015 A Reply to Larry Correia
GRRM Not a Blog
I promised my mom I would send her the address for George R.R. Martin's Not a Blog website, so I have attached the link to the picture screen-capped here.

After reading through these several posts on the Hugo Award dust-up, my first reaction was: people are stupid. Such wasted energy all around. A small reflection of the problems ailing this United States (irony intended).

I appreciate GRRM's attempt to rise above the fray and have a civil conversation. To honor that, I will refrain from adding any more energy to the discussion.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Danger Room Level Ragnarok

X-23 in Danger Room Labeled "Danger Level Ragnarok" by Ariela Kristantina and Sonia Oback
Ariela KristantinaSonia Oback
Day Two of Blogging: We're going to tackle basic design elements for mom's blog today and maybe hook her up with some business cards so she can advertise her online venture.

My mom is a planner. She has researched blogging and has several blog posts already planned out. I'm a "seat-of-my-pants" kind of blogger. I open a second tab and browse for pics and ideas (and look up spelling) while I've got my editor open.

Her blog will definitely be more coherent than my own. My unifying theme is comics, but I reserve the right to go off point... often... and substantially.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Welcome to Comix Addix

I blog because my mother blogs. She's a writer and a photographer and an eccentric old bat, but I wanted to help her learn the interface here at Blogger by using it myself. She wants to get all her great works (and my father's) out here on the web for the world to enjoy.

I have no such aspirations for myself. I am a synthesizer, not a creator. I consume great art and fiction through media of all sorts, but I do not burn with the desire to generate it. I like to mash things up and reflect on the state of our world through the creations of others trying to make sense of existence.

I am not a reality 'shipper. I find great beauty in exploring humanity through our imaginations, but I get mired down in the endless injustices I cannot rectify in "real" life. I love humanity's potential, but find myself antagonized by our endless failure to live up to that potential.

Animated Avengers Movie Gif by Matthew Ferguson
Matthew Ferguson Art