Posted Sunday, December 24, 2006 12:02:53 PM by Chris Flick
Last year, I made a blog post here describing a certain holiday song/story that my brother and I used to listen to on a holiday album my mother used to have. The story was by Red Skelton and it was called "The Littlest Christmas Tree".
Since that post last year, I have received so many personal e-mails and responses to my blog from people telling me how they too had listened to that story on that same album and how they thought they'd never be able to find it ever again.
Needless to say, when I did my very thorough internet search last year for this Red Skelton story, I never thought I'd get the response that I have. Last year, I was just trying to find out if I could still purchase the story some where or if that old holiday album even existed any more. Apparently, the album has been re-recorded but the story has been left off. I found a lot of Red Skelton stuff - CDs and DVds but nothing that gave definitive proof whether this story was included on any of his collections. But I did find a web site that had a WAV file of the story. It was here: www.albertarose.org.
If you go to my original blog, you can get the direct link from there. But what I thought I'd do this year is save it to my own web site in a .MOV file... just in case there have been some web visitors out there that have been unable to listen to the Albertarose WAV file.
Here is the .MOV version of the Littlest Christmas Tree, by Red Skelton:
The Littlest Christmas Tree (.MOV)
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season this year!
Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:55:23 AM by Chris Flick
Well, what can you say? Another heartbreaking loss for the senior league in last night's All-star game. Brought back memories of two years or so ago when the National League had their best closer on the mound at the time - Eric Gagne - and he ended up blowing a save opportunity. I know a lot of people probably enjoy a higher scoring all-star game but last night was an enjoyable game to watch.
At the same time though, it also proved to be exactly why I tend to dislike the American League so much. Last night proved exactly how meaningless the DH is - or, at least, how meaningless it SHOULD be. Big Pappi DH's because, apparently, he can't play defense yet he made a couple of outstanding fielding plays last night and, obviously, he played first base when the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in the World Series two years ago so why does he HAVE to be a DH? That's the thing I hate about the American League - and, with the American league winning the All-star game last night, the DH is going to again play a major advantage in the World Series this year since the American League will have, potentially, more games at home then the visiting National League team.
The nice thing is that the National League certainly has some exciting young players that made the game enjoyable to watch. Just sorry to see Nomar didn't get a chance to play... but that's the negative aspect about "making the game count". Garner had to make sure he had to have some reserves on the bench incase the national league tied the game in the ninth. I'm almost positive Nomar would have played in the 10 inning had the national League scored in their last at bat. I still say, in baseball, if 9 men play the field, those same 9 should bat. Ah well... maybe next year.
And now for a bit of a self-plug...
I've just started an Art Blog over at Blogger. The reason i did that is so I can share a wide variety of my art - not just stuff I've either done or am doing for Community MX. If you want to go check it out, the URL is: http://www.csf-graphics.blogspot.com. Come on over and say Hi or leave a comment on some of my stuff.
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 11:03:36 AM by Chris Flick
You would have thought no one ever saw someone eat 3 lbs. of crabs before...
Hey folks... I've been back from TODCON almost a full day now (got back into Washington DC at 7:00pm last night). So I thought I'd give you a brief synopsis of my trip and what I did, what I thought and what I experienced the last couple of days at TODCON.
Thursday (leaving for Orlando):
My one big purchase for this trip was a Washington Nationals baseball jersey. I promised myself I wouldn't purchase any Nationals merchandise until Major League Baseball got their proverbial act together and named an owner and, since they did that two days before I had to leave, I was good to go with my capitalistic morals still intact.
Got to the hotel a few hours earlier then everyone else, so I got my room and walked around the lobby where I ran into Ray and Danielle Mickey. So, we helped Ray set up the registration table with all the books, t-shirts and name tags for all the TODCON attendees. For the t-shirts, I PROMISE I'll put the t-shirt design up on my web site today or tomorrow (I swear!). While Danielle and I were organizing the name tags, I grabbed Tom Green's name tag and re-inserted the generic name tag sample that comes with all the plastic holders. You've seen them before... they generally have a picture of man or woman with the office supply logo on them. So, in essence, Tom's tag has his name on the front and a picture of some generic secretary-looking lady on the back. I made a bet with Danielle to see how long it would take Tom to discover this. I won the bet with "half a day".
Later that night, many of us went to Roy's - a Hawaiian restaurant where Vicki Berry blinded us with her digital camera. The women is dangerous with a camera, folks! She's posted some of her TODCON pics here.
After the sessions for the day, a group of us went out searching for a good ribs place. Unfortunately, after walking endlessly around the strip mall, we found out the place went out of business so we opted for a steakhouse instead. By that time though, I was too hungry to notice what the name of the place was but they had some gooooooood steak.
One of the TODCON attendees that came with our group was Hassan Ellis. Eating and talking with Hassan is an example of one of the nicest and coolest things about TODCON - it's a chance to meet your peers and "talk shop" in an intimate and pressure-free way that no other conference can. As Paul Davis is fond of saying: You sometimes learn MORE from the "after sessions" then you do DURING the actual sessions. TODCON gives you a chance to discuss and compare each other's working habits, techniques and general advice to one another.
By the end of the evening, we came to the conclusion that Hassan was "separated at birth" from the actor, Richard T. Jones ("Judging Amy) and we all had a good laugh about that as others at the conference told him the same thing (even though Hassan didn't know who Richard T. Jones was).
The morning session, we all got to talk with Scott Fegette and Paul Gubbay (formerly of Macromedia and now Adobe) about all of our "wishes" for all the tweaks, changes, improvements and other things related to the Adobe line of products. My "big wish" was that if we were all going to play "Taps" for Freehand, at least make Illustrator a lot more "Freehand-ish" so it's much more intuitive and easier to use. That and I wanted them to add "bendable triangles" in Fireworks so triangles can be manipulated the same way they currently are in Freehand.
That night, it was decided that seafood would be the place of eats that night. At first, I was reluctant to go since Ray said the place didn't have crabs - imagine that... a seafood restaurant that didn't serve crabs!!! Talk about the horror! But I decided to go any way.
Thankfully, the restaurant did, indeed, serve crabs. In fact, they had three main choices of snow crab legs to choose from: 1.5 pounds, 3 pounds or all-you-can-eat. To everyone's utter horror and shock, I chose the 3 pound selection and casually explained to all the dropped jaws at the table that I come from a long line of crab eaters and in the Flick family, we take our crab eating VERY seriously. Three pounds of crabs is nothing but I chose that instead of the all-you-can-eat selection because I would still be eating there if I did.
I'm telling you... it's like people never saw someone eat crabs before! Amateurs.
Later on, many of us decided to take the Trolley back to the hotel since it was about 5 miles away. Me? I decided to get off 4 miles away from the hotel. Mainly because I had to do some "tourist shopping" to bring back something for my wife and kids.
And... walking four miles wasn't a bad way to burn off three pounds of crab.
Later on that night, I went swimming at the hotel with the Interakt gang where two ducks decided a hotel pool was a nice place as any for a 1:00am dip as any!
Sunday was the debut of the Orlando Jumpstart. I designed the layout while Zoe, Sheri and Jim helped organize and put together. As in Las Vegas last year, we wanted to show a preview of the Orlando Jumpstart and give everyone there a taste of how it was put together and what some of the things you can do with it.
All in all, it was a great session and my first since speaking at MX North a few years ago. Quite a few people came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed my particular part in explaining the design process and commented that they would certainly be interested if I decided to ever do a full session on something at future TODCON. So if you were at this year's TODCON and attended our Orlando Session, what are some things you might like to see from a guy who mainly uses Photoshop, Fireworks, Freehand and Dreamweaver? TODCON 9 is, sadly, a full year away but like I always say, you can never start preparing too soon!
Anyway, that was some of my memorable moments at this year's TODCON. What were yours?
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:59:02 PM by Chris Flick
My sudden obsession with Callie (Sara Ramirez)
First off, let me explain that one of the things my wife and I enjoy doing is talking about our "secret" celebrity crushes. She's never made it a secret how much she has the hubba-hubbas for a certain bald Starship Enterprise Captain (Patrick Stewart). And likewise, she's always known about my own hubba-hubbas for Stevie Nicks. But lately, a new celebrity crush has slowed entered my realm. A celebrity crush that appears (mostly) in the background of a certain Seattle Hospital ever Sunday night.
I am, of course, talking about Sara Ramirez' character, Callie, from Gray's Anatomy. I have to admit though that I'm not a long time fan of the show. I only recently started watching it right after the Superbowl (The Bomb episode) but even then, I almost took an immediate fascination with the Callie character - the dark haired, big bodied beauty played by Sara Ramirez (Spamalot). And my fascination has only increased since then.
I'm not sure exactly why I'm suddenly fascinated with Callie though. Maybe it's because I see so much of me and my wife in the George and Callie thing. My wife was Callie when I first met her in art school. She was, on the outside, the one I thought was the most confident, most responsible, most self-assured person there was despite the fact that she wore wild and crazy clothes and obviously - and maybe purposely - didn't "fit in". But instead of turning me off, it was those very same things that attracted me to her. In simple terms, even though she also seemed to try and hide in the background as Callie seems to do, it was her crazy clothes and bold spirit that did the opposite to me.
For me, Callie represents the loner high school rebel chic... the one that secretly probably wants to be cool but knows she can never fit in with the "cool kids" so she puts up that fierce, fake wall of toughness, of general disdain for everything - and everyone - she thinks represents "cool". She's the rebel who desperatley wants to fit in but still fights fiercely for her individuality. Looking back after all these years, that's probably how I first viewed my wife. In my eyes, here was a woman who was working her own way through art school (an expensive art school at that), living by herself and, if push came to shove, definitely not afraid to voice her opinion. While I was a guy who was more worried about fitting in, pleasing all the right people and, generally, doing all the things that were asked of me - especially by any authority figures I thought could influence my future.
Sound like George and Callie to any one?
In the end though, it's only a TV show. I do hope though, that the writers and creators of the show decide to keep her around for a long, long time. My hope is that she becomes the Jimmy Smit of GA. I remember when Jimmy started his stinct on LA Law, he was rumored to only be a minor character and was supposed to be gone after a season or two yet he was so strong and so popular, he became a mainstay of that show. I hope the same bodes well for Sara/Callie too because, for my money, her and George are THE most facinating couple in that show that's all about people sleeping with - and cheating on - each other. Those two seem to have the most genuine things to give to each other - a sense of fitting in and a huge shot of self-confidence.
I hope those two characters are given the chance to expand and grow together even though I know, in TV land - and especially a drama like GA - that rarely, rarley, RARELY ever happens.
But as long as it is, I'm still going along for the ride!
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 1:17:37 PM by Chris Flick
As you can see from today's strip, I am indeed 39 today (March 21st). Thanks so much for all the kind birthday wishes and e-mails I've received so far. My mom and dad reminded me today that 39 years ago, it snowed in Virginia. That's funny because today - in Virginia - they are calling for snow. Maybe not much but it's still kind of a weird sign, huh? Especially given the fact that my birthday also fell on a Tuesday this year. :-)
But anyway... just the other day, I bought Journey's live version of "Don't stop believing" from iTunes. And maybe the combination of my birthday and listening to that tune have put me in a bit of a reflective mood as I can't stop thinking about the fact that I never got the chance to see Journey live. I've seen a lot of great concerts live but every time I hear a Journey or The Cars on the radio or CD, I can't help but think "man, that would have been so cool to see them live just once"... you know, the big arena rock concerts... hearing the thunderous high pitched sounds of Steve Perry's voice mixed in with the great guitar and pounding piano and synthesizer sounds that were the signature of their Escape album...
But I can't really complain all that much. Although I'm not a huge concert goer, I've seen some really great concerts in my day. Some of my favorite:
Stevie Nicks - young and older.
Stevie Nicks was my first concert. saw her in Baltimore back in '86 when I was still in art school. Some friends of mine had two extra tickets but no way to get there. So, I told them if they gave me one of their tickets, I'd drive everyone there. That may not sound so adventurous but considering I was driving a '78 Chevet with a bad radiator at the time, I still don't know who got the better deal at the time.
Last year, at Nissan Pavilion (in my backyard here in Virginia) I saw Stevie one more time. Yeah, she's gotten older and a little heavier and didn't go through quite so many costume changes as she did back in Baltimore but she can still sing with the best of 'em!
Def Leppard - Hysteria Tour
Saw them while I was going to college at Radford University in southern Virginia. They had a theater-in-the-round so everyone had a great seat. Tesla opened for them and wouldn't quit reminding the crowd "who the hell they were" (even though they only had two minor hits at the time).
I loved Def Leppard so much that I made a pair of my own razor blade cut jeans just like Joe Elliott wore in concert and all their Hysteria videos.
Billy Joel - I've seen Billy live five times, once with Elton John
Billy Joel's The Bridge tour was absolutely phenomenal. Me and my best friend, Jeff, were luck enough to get nose bleed seats at the very top of the old Capital Arena where the Washington Capitals used to play. I remember Billy grabbing a microphone and jumping into the floor seats while he was singing "Only the good die young". As high up as we were, it looked like beans pouring down an hour glass or something as the audience rushed towards him. I can still remember the sounds of the crowd bumping and hitting his microphone as he was still trying to sing.
U2 - Joshua Tree tour, RFK Stadium
I probably would have enjoyed this concert a lot more if I wasn't dealing with a wisdom tooth pushing through my gums at the time AND Bono slipping on the dam pm outdoor stage of RFK Stadium (due to a slight drizzle) and dislocating his elbow. Of course, the following concert in Philly, Bruce Springsteen played guitar to "help him out". But it was still a great time and a great concert even though I wasn't the biggest U2 fan in the world. Again, another concert attended with Jeff.
The Outfield & Jefferson Starship, Kings Dominion, Virginia
The Outfield had just released "Play Deep" and had a co-concert with Jefferson Starship at Kings Dominion - an amusement park here in Virginia. Best moment from this concert was the "older" lady beside us (of course, she was probably 39 or 40 at the time) who swore Jeff and I didn't "know no damn Starship songs" and bought us both a couple of beers when we proved her wrong (of course, I won't say how old Jeff and I were at the time).
KISS reunion tour, Nissan Pavilion
Stevie Nicks may have been my first concert but the first album (ok, cassette) I ever bought was KISS: Destroyer. So, finally getting to see ALL of the original members of KISS in concert together was a thrill of a lifetime - especially seeing and hearing peter Criss (my favorite) sing Beth was the best Father's day present my wife and kids have ever gotten me.
I was able to see KISS a couple more times but without Ace and then, later, without Peter (that was the Aerosmith/KISS tour). I wish Paul and Gene would have the guts to not let anyone else wear Ace or Peter's makeup if they are going to go out on tour again. I'd rather see new make-up designs from "non-members" of KISS then "pretend" the originals are still there. I sort of felt ripped off knowing Peter and Ace weren't there but others were wearing their "faces". Only Superman can wear "the cape", you know?
Aerosmith - KISS/Aerosmith tour, Nissan Pavilion
My wife was and is a much bigger Aerosmith fan than I am - especially when it comes to their older stuff. But I never thought I'd actually see someone out -rock KISS but Aerosmith did that night.
Huey Lewis and The News - The Sports tour
Well, I'm sure this WOULD have been a great concert had I actually gone. I bought Huey Lewis tickets from some "grandma cash" I got one year. And even though I bought the tickets in March, the concert wasn't going to be until the late summer. Two weeks after I bought those tickets, some guys I was playing summer baseball with asked if I would be interested in going to Winter Haven, Florida to participate in week-long baseball camp run by ex-pro baseball players.
It only took me a day to find someone to buy my tickets from me.
So... those are some of my favorite concert memories. What are some of yours?
Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 10:51:18 AM by Chris Flick
Yes, it's finally happened. Someone thought I was worthy enough to be interviewed. That person is Dan Smith. Dan and I got to know each other from being members in Webweavers - a Google Group e-mail list for everything related to web designing (and ruled with an iron maiden thumb by our very own Stef! LOL!).
Anyway, Dan hosts and creates audio interviews on his blog. He thought it would be interesting to let people know what I sound like and had the crazy notion others might be interested in hearing what my thoughts were on the wide variety of topics we discussed. It took a while to get all the logistics worked out, but you can finally hear our interview today.
The interview consists of a wide range of topics such as how I got into web design, information about the two books I helped write with Tom Green, the 'Bots autistic benefit book I participated in (and wrote a blog about not too long ago) as well as some of my thoughts about web comic strips - including CMX Suite! - and a whole bunch of other stuff!
So if you're interested in hearing what I sound like, now your curiosity can be appeased. :-)
Category tags: Blogs and Blogging, CMX Suite, Community MX, CSS, Designing for the Web, Dreamweaver, Education, Macromedia News, Midnite Madness, On the Personal Side, This and That, Using the Web, Web Business
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:45:11 AM by Chris Flick
I just thought I'd mention that the stylized self-portrait of myself in the second panel of today's CMX Suite strip ("The CMX Zone") was done entirely on a Wacom tablet. I've been reluctant to use a Wacom tablet because, in the past, the Wacom tablet and I have pretty much had a hate-hate relationship. But I was pretty pleased with the outcome of this particular illustration. It is, by far, the best Wacom tablet illustration I've ever done thus far.
I think the biggest reason that might be is because, in the past, I had always used Photoshop when practicing and doodling with the Wacom. But this time, I decided to see what would happen if I used Freehand. For me, personally, I had found using Photoshop and the Wacom together was very frustrating. I found I had trouble controlling the line width of whatever I was trying to draw. Lines didn't stop or end where I thought they would. I'd end up getting big "paint blobs" when I pressed too hard on the pen. For the most part though, I still couldn't grasp what made the Wacom so "special"... I was finding that it would usually take me two or three times longer to draw something using the Wacom then it would if I had just sketched, inked and scanned something.
But I was determined to see if I could get this thing to finally work for me.
So, for this particular illustration, I already had a rough pencil sketch of myself as a cartoon taken from a previous CMX Suite strip but I needed to add the same kind of pose Rod Sterling was famous for when he was introducing each new Twilight Zone episode. That meant modifying the facial expression and the body arms (and adding Rod's famous cigarette!). I opened Photoshop, imported my original sketch that I was going to use as a guide, and adjusted the opacity to 35% (so it ended up being a very, very light gray). I then imported that illustration into Freehand, locked its layer, created a new layer and then started drawing with the Wacom.
In the past, I had tried placing a sketch underneath the little plastic sheet that's on a Wacom but I found this extremely difficult to look at the Wacom and pay attention to your screen as you "traced" the illustration. I found using the method up above was so much more effective. Here is the result of my initial work in Freehand:
After this was done, I converted the file to a PNG format and imported it into Photoshop where I cleaned up and modified various lines. Here are the results:
But... if this is in color, why is the cartoon strip in black & white?
Well, for me, you're not really watching "The Twilight Zone" unless you're watching it in black & white. The more modern episodes that are in color don't seem to be quite as spooky or illicit the same kind of "feel" as the "classic" black and white episodes do. And, since I was essentially spoofing these "classic" Twilight Zone episodes, it made sense to convert this illustration - as well as the Ryan Celldisbak one - from color to grayscale.
I never really colored anything in grayscale before so I was reluctant to "paint" with a grayscale palette. I was afraid if I did so, I would end up making the gradient levels way too dark so I decided to draw inspiration from Mel Brooks and the "Young Frankenstein" comedy he wrote and directed years ago with Gene Wilder.
I remembered seeing "behind-the-scene" photos of some of the make-up work from that movie and could never understand why Mel decided to have all the make-up (especially the Frankenstein monster) in colored make-up when he was going to eventually film in black and white. At the time, that didn't make sense but today it does.
By initially coloring all the characters in full color and then converting to grayscale, I got much richer details and the results were much more softer and gentler on the eyes then had I done everything in shades and tints of black.
Anyway, that's my little road to discovery with today's strip. I hope you enjoyed it.
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 9:45:36 AM by Chris Flick
So this Christmas, I seem to find myself in a very nostalgic mood. Last night, while getting some last minute gifts - okay... after desperatly searching for that ONE %$#&^% gift I still haven't been able to find - I came across a Christmas CD called "Oldies but goodies". One of the songs happened to be an old childhood favorite of mine that I very rarely ever hear on the radio any more. It was "Snoopy's Christmas" by The Royal Guardsmen.
My brother and I used to listen to that song on the radio all the time on Christmas
Eve as we were trying to keep ourselves desperately awake in order to see Santa.
And even though I didn't care for the rest of the songs on the album, this one
was worth getting so I plunked down my $5.00 and happily strolled out the store.
Along the way home though, listening to Snoopy fight the Red Baron during Christmas time got me to recall another long time tradition my family used to do on Christmas eve.
There was an old Christmas album my mother loved. There were a ton of songs
on it but there was one selection that always seemed to hold a special place
in my heart. It was a touching little story about a small Christmas tree that
realized he was dying but a visit by Santa on Christmas Eve makes him realize
what his purpose is.
It took me a while to find it since I didn't know what the title of the story was or who even narrated it. But thanks to lots of creative Google and Yahoo searches, I am happy to say I found it.
The story was an old radio play by Red Skelton. And, if you're interested, you can listen to the WAV format by clicking here. You should bare in mind though, that this is a very old recording so some things are dreadfully out of date.
But it's still a very touching story and takes you back to a gentler and perhaps a more simpler time too.
Now to get back home and start watching the 24 hour marathon of "A Christmas Story"!!!
Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2005 11:23:42 PM by Chris Flick
Hello everybody. Today, I thought I'd write another movie-related blog since I've seen so many over the years. But I thought I'd do something a little bit different. I thought I would list all of the wonderful knowledge I have accumulated over the years thanks to Hollywood. Consider this a "Guideline to life according to Hollywood (and Chris Flick)".
THINGS ACTION ADVENTURE MOVIES HAVE TAUGHT ME:
1) If you're going to be a bad guy, you must have a British
Preferably, to be REALLY bad, you should also be German but have a British accent.
2) When approaching your car, you should always drop
your keys to the ground.
I mean, seriously, how else are you going to notice the blinking red light of the bomb that's been planted underneath your car?
3) Bad guy uniforms always come
in a "one-size-fits-all"...
After all, that's why it's so easy to penetrate the evil bad guy's lair.
4) Pistols or hand guns are better weapons then automatic
Everyone knows when bad guys shoot automatic weapons, they don't hit diddly-doo-doo, but our hero always hits his target with his trusty hand gun.
5) Always make sure you have a full arsenal of bullets.
Bwwwwhahahahahahahahahahahaha! Seriously??? Bullets? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that out loud. Everyone knows there's no such thing as handguns needing reloading in an action/adventure film.
6) Run - don't walk carefully - through a booby trapped
If you run, none of the booby traps will affect you - especially after you have replaced a statue with a bag full of sand. But if you carefully try to crawl through the booby traps, that's when you get hit by the poisoned darts.
7) Macs rule!
In the Hollywood-world, Macs are the dominant computer/operating system - especially when it comes time to infect an unstoppable alien race by infecting their mother ship with a virus. But... if Macs don't get viruses, how can they transmit one... never mind., You heard NOTHING!!! NOTHING, I say!
8) Worst bad guy mode of transport? A helicopter.
If you're in the city, your helicopter will always touch electrical wires. If you're in the desert, your pilot will always crash into the side of a mountain. As a bad guy, you should avoid helicopters at all cost.
9) Need a car? Just flash a badge.
Everyone knows you're suppose to stop and surrender your car to anyone who flashes a badge in front of you.
10) Heck, it's only my pension. What do I need that for?
If you're a cop about to retire, you will always be talked into risking your career, your retirement, your reputation, your children's college tuition by breaking every rule and regulation you ever believed in because that's the only way to "get the bad guys".
Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 3:14:53 PM by Chris Flick
He and I have at least two things in common:
1) We both are artists and
2) We both have a young son who has been diagnosed with autism.
Those two things, in and of themselves, probably doesn't seem all that remarkable. Given the statistics I now know about autism, there are probably far too many artists in the world today who have sons or daughters that have been diagnosed with autism. So you may be sitting at your computer right now asking yourself this question: If that's the case, what makes Nic Carcieri so unique that Chris would feel the need to write a blog about him?
Obviously, the fact that we both have very young sons who have austism connects us in a very unique way but that's not why I'm writing about Nic. As my title of this blog says, I've never met Nic before. I've never talked to him before. In fact, just a few short weeks ago, I didn't even know who Nic was - just as I'm sure he didn't know who I was either.
But, being the artist that I am, I happened to be crushing through one of my favorite comic book-related web sites, Digital Webbing when I came across a pencil sketch of this piece of artwork:
Nic posted an open call for any interested artists to submit artwork for a charity book he was creating in order to raise proceeds for the Autism Society of America. Sounds simple enough, right? It was just a small little post on a very popular comic book web site. But this little post demonstrates exactly how powerful, how useful and how incredibly beneficial the web can be - especially when that message is also combined with a personal blog.
Nic was extremely wise to create a blog detailing this very unique project in a blog because now, this project has started to pick up incredible amounts of steam. It's one thing for relatively unknown artists who are looking for any kind of showcase for their talents (and yes, that includes me too) to donate their time and energy, but it's another thing entirely when big names like Tim Sale who hear about this and decide it's such a worthy cause that THEY want to be a part of it too.
Now, for me, the difficult part comes. I already have a rough idea of what I'd like to draw. Being a child of the 70's, I grew up watching Ultraman and another show that was a favorite of my brother's... "Johnny Sokko and his flying robot". So I am thinking about doing a take-off on something like that - along with an illustration of my son in his super hero persona (Doctor Destructo). I'm thinking Doctor Destructo and his crime fighting flying robot... something along those lines. The trouble is, I'm not normally accustomed to drawing "technical things". My comfort level is in drawing human faces - that probably comes from drawing caricatures for so much of my life. Added to that, how do you draw a humorous looking robot and not have people think of the recent computer-animated movie, "Bots"?
And, even though illustrating a mechanical robot of some sort will be a challenge for me, it's nothing compared to the challenges of dealing with autism. Noticed that I haven't used the words "disease" or "suffer" yet? Well, that's because I don't believe autism is a "disease" or that my son Tyler - or any other person who has autism - "suffers" from it. Sometimes the people who care for an individual who has autism - a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, an aunt or uncle perhaps - sometimes we go through hardships but it's not really that we "suffer" because of Tyler as much as we make very conscious sacrificial choices.
Autism though, can be very hard to deal with sometimes. The mood swings. The stubbornness. The refusal or inability to communicate to and with the outside world... that can be incredibly hard to deal with. Especially since we know so little about autism... where it comes from... why some family members have it and others don't. That's why research - and education - are so very, very important.
And that's exactly why Nic's project is so special too.
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:29:40 PM by Chris Flick
Since "Batman Begins" has been doing so well at the box office of late, it seems sad to mention the recent passing of one of Batman's more popular artist as Jim Aparo - a popular artist during the comic book highs of the 1980's - has recently put down his pencil for the final time.
Although Jim continued to work in comics all the way up until a few short years ago, he probably became best known for his work on "Batman and the Outsiders" - a book which teamed Batman up with five little used DC comic heroes at the time. Although the book never reached the popularity scales as John Byrne and Chris Claremont's X-men or George Perez and Marv Wolfman's Teen Titans did during that same period, it did reach a high point where Batman and the Outsiders took on the Teen Titans in a two issue series. It was during that two issue story that Robin (Dick Grayson) began to break away from the identity of being Batman's kid sidekick and helped propel Robin into more of an individual character like the one created on film by Chris O'Donnell.
Here is a duplication of the promotional piece for the Batman and the Outsider's comic book and a sample of Jim Aparo's style:
This is what DC Comics had to say in its release:
OUTHINGTON, Conn. - James N. Aparo, an illustrator for DC Comics
for more than 30 years who drew Batman, the Green Arrow and other
action heroes, has died.
Aparo died Tuesday at home after a short illness, said his daughter,
Donna Aparo. He was 72.
Aparo, who grew up in New Britain, brought characters to life in his
home studio in Southington, corresponding with DC Comics through the
mail. He retired about four years ago, his daughter said.
Besides Batman and the Green Arrow, Aparo also did illustrations for
Aquaman, the Brave and the Bold, Phantom Stranger and Spectre.
His big break came in the late 1960s when he was working for
Charlton Press and his editor got a job at DC. The editor, Dick
Giordano, brought Aparo with him to the comic book maker.
In a 2000 interview with Jim Amash for Comic Book Artist, Aparo said
he went to Hartford Art School for a semester, but was mostly self-
"I just drew as a kid and went with it," he said. "I studied
copied comic strips and comic books. I grew up with Superman,
Batman, and Captain Marvel. I really liked Captain Marvel Jr. by Mac
Raboy. That was beautiful stuff. I liked Alex Raymond, Milton
Caniff ... all of those guys."
Aparo is survived by his wife, Julieann, and three children.
On another sad note...
It looks as though James Doohan's fight against Alzheimer's disease has ended as well. Scotty, at the age of 85, has finally beamed up for the last time as well.
For Star Trek fans every where, I am sure this must be a sad, sad day. Just as it must have been when DeForest Kelley passed away.
I was never a huge "dress-myself-up-in-Federation-outfit-and-go-to-Trek-convention" type fan, but I do enjoy the Star Trek universe very much and used to enjoy watching the "classic" Trek episodes every night at midnight in my dorm room in college. And later, along with my wife, we became big Next Generation fans (but I think that had more to do with my wife's affection for bald headed men more so then her fascination with the show). :-)
You think these characters are going to live forever and then suddenly, the human being who portrayed them dies and you are left remembering that they were just characters on film that were portrayed by mortal actors. Of course, Scotty and Bones WILL always live forever on screen... Deforest Kelley and James Doohan may have passed on but they have given us Bones and Scotty to enjoy until the film they live on disintegrates into dust.
Still though, for my money, Scotty will always be defined by three different episodes:
- His part in the original "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode
- His part in saving the human race in "The Voyage Home" - I mean seriously... can any Mac enthusiast NOT crack up in laughter as Scotty sits down at an old classic Mac and says "Computer...on..."???!!! :-)
- And his later appearance in the Next generation episode where he was able to set up a continual transporter beam in order to keep himself alive (although you would think you wouldn't gain any weight or age in a transporter beam loop but that's neither here nor there, right?).
It looks as though it's a sad day indeed.
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 5:11:12 PM by Chris Flick
Well, Forbes put a little slide show together to show if you got the cash, baby, ANYBODY can be a self-made super-hero. Of course, many of us aren't born into a life of luxury like Bruce Wayne was, so those of us who are missing a few screws loose upstairs but still want to fight SUPER VILLAINS... well, they are just going to have to do it on the cheap. Forbes not only tells you HOW it can be done, they also tell you HOW MUCH it's gonna cost you.
So folks, it's time to pull out your handy-dandy check book and write out that $3,365,449 check to the super-hero's union guild. What? You say you don't have $3,365,449 laying around? That's okay. I hear that Tom Green fellow has a few bucks to spare. I'm sure he wouldn't mind giving you a loan. Of course, he might make you paint a symbol of a bag of milk on your chest but those are the consequences you have to live with when you borrow so much money from a Canadian. ;-)
But speaking of rich, fictional characters...
Forbes also made an interesting list of the top 15 richest fictional characters. You should check out their slide show to see where (or if) your favorite fictional character ranks on their list.Here are just a few names that appear on this list (so you know when Forbes says "fictional", they mean "fictional"):
That Bruce Wayne fellow
and Thurston Howell III
These are just some of the names that pop up. And each character has a humorous and entertaining bio written about them to explain exactly why they are one of the richest 15.
Of course, with only 15 names on the list, it's easy to say "Hey! What about my favorite fictional character?". For instance, after reading that list, I can't help but to wonder where on that list one of my favorite characters might rank. I mean, after all, he is a world renowned professional race car driver who has never lost a race and drives one of the most technologically advanced cars in the world.
I am, of course, referring to none other then Speed Racer. You would think - using NASCAR or even the Indy 500 as an example, Speed would be making millions and millions of dollars in endorsements alone... and if Tiger Woods can be considered one of the highest paid professional athletes of all time, imagine what Speed would be making - especially considering the fact that he has NEVER LOST A SINGLE RACE! You would have to imagine his winnings would easily eclipse what Tiger currently makes and his endorsements would easily outmatch what Michael Jordan made during his career.
For that matter, why isn't Pop Racer on this list? He's just the inventor of the world's greatest race car - The Mach 5. I'm sure lots of governments or companies would be knocking down the Racer's family door at a chance to buy, purchase or hire Pop Racer as a consultant for their company. Surely he could use that kind of leverage to end up being a CEO of some high tech company somewhere.
So... did YOUR favorite fictional character make Forbes list? If not, who is he or she and where do you think they might rank on this list?
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 8:39:35 AM by Chris Flick
Sorry, but for some of us (okay, me!), TODCON '05 is still alive and well. You don't believe me? You should see my sketchbook! :-)
No, really! I'm serious.
Actually, all of the TODCON '05 CMX Suite strips you've seen so far were done on the plane during my flight home. I guess that's one advantage to being a "traditional" artist in the sense that as long as I have my sketchbook, pencils and eraser, I'm never at a lost as how to spend my time on long trips like Molly was recently asking advice for before she took her trip to Japan.
The problem for me though isn't always how to spend my time but rather will inspiration magically flow onto the white pages starring blankly back at me? Sometimes, that's the most maddening - and intimidating - part. Just starring at a blank page - or maybe a blank Fireworks canvass - and HOPING an idea will instantly spring out of your head and explode out of our finger tips or mouse. Sometimes it comes and sometimes the blank page (or electronic canvass) just laughs at you unmercifully.
Fortunately, that was NOT the case with my plane trip back home.
TODCON filled me up with so much inspiration, I found my sketchbook filling up page after page after page. So much so, I almost - almost - didn't want the plane to land. First I had Scott's cartoon, then Laurie's Zumanity, then Paul's. I even started on next week's strip - sorry Tom (LOL!). And then, of course, there was poor Ray.
For those that attended TODCON this year, you know how miserable Ray looked and felt. I know I did because I have had my share of sinus infections in the past and they are miserable, miserable things to deal with. They wipe you out just enough so you're left feeling awfully miserable but with just enough energy you think you can muster through something as important as... say, oh, running a whole darn web developing conference in the middle of the City of Sin. :-)
So now a few weeks later, I feel a little bit better (or would that be "safer"?) giving Ray something to look back on and laugh about. Ray, I know you may not have enjoyed Las Vegas as much as you might have in previous years, but I know all of us who attended TODCON this year (regardless if we were CMX Partners or not) really appreciate you being such a trooper that you were.
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 3:58:53 PM by Chris Flick
Okay, I have a friend in my office who just turned 40 so I drew him a little
B-day card with the Village People Indian (well, a slightly overweight Village
People Indian - since he's of the overweight variety as well) and wrote this
on the inside of the card:
If you all like song parody's, you might enjoy this. By the way, I'm not so far off from "40" myself - 2 more years to go. So you could say this will soon be MY theme song as well! :-)
Sung to the tune of "YMCA":
Old Man, yeah you, the one laying on the ground...
I said, Old Man, if you had a cane you wouldn't fall down
I said Old man, that robe really looks like a tattered gown
It's not wonder why at your age you're so unhappy
Old man, don't you realize there's a place you can turn to
Especially when you're so broke and feeling all blue
Just fill out that membership card and you will find
Many, many others just like your kind...
They'll make you realize there's no more to enjoy
As they complain about no longer being a young boy
You're finally joining the A-A-R-P...
You're finally joining the A-A-R-P...
You've fallen and can't pick yourself up
And your dentures pop out during a good meal
You feel lucky if your Viagra gives you a good deal
Old man, are you listening to me sing...
I said, Old man, are your hearing aids up to speed?
I said, Yo! Old man, is that a Depends Diaper I see?
If it is, you got to know one thing...
In the old folks home, no one pees by himself
Old Man, I told you those Depends are up on the shelf
Without them, don't try to go by yourself
You need to call the A-A-R-P
So they can help you see
You're gonna need that senior discount thanks to the A-A-R-P...
Looks like you're gonna need living assistance thanks to the A-A-R-P...
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:55:39 AM by Chris Flick
High school was finally nearing its long, drawn out preclusion to the summer days. All through the hallways, kids were already preparing for their beach trips or their summer vacation plans with their families as they walked the hallways decked out in their Ocean Pacific attire.
Everyone could taste the sweet smell of summer - even the school administrators admitted this by relaxing the rules and letting the kids play music on their "boomboxes" around their lockers - from Journey's "Don't stop believing" to Michael Sembello's "Maniac". Oh yes. Summer was in the air. You could hear it. You could taste it. You could feel it.
But before any of that happened - before summer could OFFICIALLY begin that year - some more important things had to be answered first. Answers that couldn't be found in any text book or a final exam sheet. Answers that no school administrator, teacher or counselor could help you with. Answers that plagued you for three and a half years... Made you crazy with anticipation.
And so it was May 1983 and I found myself agreeing to something I never thought would be possible - I was about to throw caution to the wind. I was about to become a "bad boy" - a "rule breaker". I was about to laugh in the face of the dreaded "after school detention".
My "gang" - that four-man ruthless, fearless gang of Commodore 64 game playing, comic book reading, animation fan geeks - were about to do something really crazy, really outrageous. The plan was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. How could it possibly fail? And yet, it was so simple... So, so simple, you had to laugh at how easy it was all going to be. Skip the last class of the day, get into our gang leader's car before anyone noticed we were gone, head to the local mall and be one of the first in line to see the...MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE OF ALL TIME...
Return of the Jedi.
And so we skipped our last class of the day - PE - and headed to the mall. Oh yes, our plan was brilliant. Skip the last day of class so we could be one of the first in line to see what would become of the dreaded Empire or the Rebels... What of Han? Surely he couldn't die, could he? Would Chewie and Lando be able to save him? Would Luke ever finish his Jedi training with Yoda as he promised? But more importantly... The question EVERYONE had been asking, speculating, even arguing about... Was Vader REALLY Luke's father???
Those were the questions we asked ourselves all the way to the mall - even as we laughed at the poor, poor pitiful fools who weren't as brilliant as us. Those pitiful fools who weren't brave enough to risk detention... Who were going to have to wait FOREVER to be able buy a ticket to see "Jedi".
We were still laughing even as we ealked up to the ticket booth, only to see in our horror and disgust: The 1 o'clock show - sold out. The 2 o'clock show - sold out. The 3 o'clock show... Also sold out. But the 4 o'clock show... Yeah, baby, THAT was our salvation! And so we slowly walked to the end of the line... Out of the inside of the cool, air-conditioned mall...around the corner of the Crown Bookstore where posters of the recently released hardback "Return of the Jedi" silently laughed at mocked us through the cheery glass windows.
Finally, around the three hour waiting mark, we finally stopped laughing at our so called "brilliant plan". Oh yes... We were brilliant alright. We didn't bring any reading material... Didn't even bring anything to shade ourselves from a sun that seemed to be trying to get in shape for the long, long summer ahead.
But still, after 4 and a half hours and two of us taking 20 minute "mall walking shifts", we had our tickets. We had our popcorn. And we had the thrill of hearing that heart-pounding, hair raising theme of Vader's open up the movie... Ba-ba-baba...ba..ba..ba..baba..ba...
And we were thrilled beyond belief.
That's what it was like in 1983 anticipating the opening of "Jedi". There were no multiplexes back then. The mall we went to had maybe 6 or seven screen. Three of those were reserved for Jedi and yet all the shows - all day long - were sold out hour in advance. Even a week later, I still had to wait in a 2 hour line when my brother wanted to go see Jedi.
Then last week, going to see "Sin City" with my wife, I saw that our local multiplex was advertising the fact that you could purchase your "Episode III" tickets on-line, TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE!!! And I suddenly found myself a little sadden by the fact that as great as technology is today - as convenient as we seem to make our lives - I wonder how much "little things" we miss?
Gone are the days of sitting on the sidewalk in front of a movie theatre with a bunch of your best friends waiting multiple hours just to be able to purchase a ticket for a movie you've been waiting several years to see.
Now, if you ask me what those friends and I might have talked about during that 4 and a half hour span way back in May, 1983... honestly, I couldn't tell you. But I can tell you I look back at that whole experience - the planning, the driving, the anticipation and yes, even the sitting - was something I look back on with fond memories.
And that's just something you'll never be able to buy online or in advance.
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 9:03:43 AM by Chris Flick
Alrighty then, folks...
I thought I'd jot down a few random thoughts about this week's CMX Suite strip. I don't know if this will be a "regular" habit of mine, but it is something I have been thinking about doing for a while now. Consider it a bit like "Inside the Actor's Studio" only now, you are entering "inside a cartoonist's head". If ANY of you ever remember the short lived FOX TV show called "Herman's Head", you get the idea.
Anyway... as you can obviously tell, today's strip was a product of being very mesmerized by Molly Holzschlag during TODCon '05 two weeks ago. Here's a little secret I'm going to share with you all... even though I probably SHOULD have known who Molly was prior to TODCon, I didn't. Heck, I didn't even pay attention to who was presenting all the CSS stuff that was at TODCon this year - I was just determined to attend as many CSS sessions as I possibly could to see if this silly artist could FINALLY wrap his head around the bizarre universe known as "table-less designs".
Well... that's not going to happen any time soon, I can tell you that!
But still, I forged ahead and went to the first CSS session at TODCon and was immediately blown away by Molly's personality. And, as many people will tell you - including Molly herself - she has quite an overcharged personality. And as typical with a personality like that, some love it and some can't handle it. Me? For whatever reason, I've always seemed to be more comfortable around people that have a personality like Molly's. And when I find someone interesting - like I did Molly - I start drawing them. Or, at least, I start drawing a representation of them.
As all the CMX partners will tell you, none of my cartoons of them - either in their strip or on their blog pages- actually looks anything like them. That was for a very conscious decision on my part. I've done caricatures in the past - I still do caricatures as gifts or commissions - so I could have easily spent a lot of time creating caricatures of all the CMX Partners but that would have taken a tremendous amount of time to duplicate in a web comic strip form. Instead, I wanted to create more of a "representation" of that person - make them a bit more "animated-like" so to speak. That meant having to sacrifice "likeness" for "simplification".
So, what does all that have to do with Molly?
Well, when you first meet Molly, two things immediately capture your attention - her hair (her wild, crazy hair) and her eyes. So that's where my sketches started. And before long, I suddenly had what looked like a Japanese Animated looking female character - only with long, crazy, curly hair. And, when it comes to drawing women, I absolutely love drawing long, wild and crazy hair. The crazier the hair, the better.
And Molly fell right into that category!
Now, the whole part about the CSS Jedi Warrior came towards the end of the conference in a casual conversation with Stef Sullivan - one of my fellow CMX partners whom I consider to be my personal CSS hero (Shhh! Don't tell her though. Let's just keep that OUR little secret, shall we?). Let me tell you... Being in the presence of those two ladies - with their awesome CSS skills - DEFINITELY made me feel like that poor shlub of a Storm trooper Commander who stopped Obi Wan and Luke in Episode 4 asking about R2 and C3-PO...
Originally, I thought I'd sketch Stef in a Jedi outfit ala Mace Windu and maybe we'd put it on a mouse pad and sell it at CafePress since I so love to draw Stef's cartoon character in all sorts of crazy outfits... but during the flight home to Virginia, I remembered the sketch I also had of Molly - and as ANY true Star Wars fan will tell you, Jedi Knights always travel in two's. In the Star Wars Universe, one's a master while the other is the apprentice. But I wasn't thinking in those terms here. I was thinking more along the lines of Mace and Yoda - both side by side and masters in their own rights - a description that I thought fit Stef and Molly perfectly.
Besides... who could argue with two hot female Jedi Warriors kicking some serious butt and having a bunch of hapless, clueless dudes eating out of the palm of their hands????
PS: I also don't have a CLUE who that last guy is that's in a baseball hat. I really don't. Sometimes, these characters just draw themselves.
Posted Monday, May 02, 2005 7:46:57 AM by Chris Flick
What I learned at TODCON this year:
Molly Holzschlag is extremely charismatic and, through no fault of her own, has convinced me I'll never get the hang of "non-table, 100% CSS layout".
Actually, I have convinced myself I'll never be able to wrap my head around "non-table, 100% CSS layout", but I'm committed to trying nonetheless.
It's really a shame I only get to see Paul Davis (www.kaoswever.com) once a year - you better be at the next TODCON, mister! :-)
Although Las Vegas doesn't afford the same kind of "after-conference" intimacy that Orlando did last year, the best thing about TODCON (no matter WHERE it is) is going out to dinner with other web designers and just getting to know each and every one of them and just "talk shop" for hours and hours. Listening to other people's struggles (AND successes) can really recharge your battery and fill you up with so much inspiration and energy, it's really hard to put a price tag on that!
After Zumanity, I am saddened by the fact that I miss my high school "Rocky Horror Picture Show" years. You can never go home again, after all. (Siiiiigh!)
Talking with Alex (a fellow illustrator), I'm happy to realize I'm not the
only one who views CSS in two part: the first part being "kindergarten easy" and the second part being: Holly crap! This <bleeping> HARD!!!!" :-)
But Alex and I both made a pledge to do away with the "Holly crap!
This <bleeping> HARD!!!!" as best as we can - and be satisfied with
whatever we're able to accomplish. :-)
I'll never be able to watch the movie "Coyote Ugly" in the same light.
Tom cries like a little baby going on a roller coaster. :-)
The last time I saw a woman blush as much as Sheri did at Zumanity was when my high school thespian group talked my mom into going to see "Rocky Horror" because we needed an "adult" chaperone in order to get everyone in...
Murray Summer's CSS navigation session just made my life a hell of a lot easier!
Sheri's session made me realize just how much I take Dreamweaver's preferences for granted...
Kim Cavanaugh's Jumpstart session gave me confidence to realize I'm not the ONLY "artist-type" that doesn't "get" table-less designs, but that still doesn't mean I have can't create (with the help of *cough! cough!* CommunityMX - Jumpstarts) table-less web pages...
And with Jim Babbage's Fireworks masking session, it's always fun to watch a fellow artist or designer show you what/how he/she works in the same program you do. There are a LOT of things Jim and I (and even Kim for that matter) that do that are very similar. There are also some minor things we do differently as well - but we do them for different reasons - and that's always fun to experience.
Sleep is highly over-rated. Especially in Vegas.
Although I do PREFER sodas at lunchtime. :-)
After attending Stef's session on Sifr's, I think I now realize what it must have been like for that Storm trooper Commander when Obi-Wan raised his hands and said : "These are not the droids you are looking for...". What it must be like to be a non-Jedi dweeb in the presence of a great Jedi Warrior...
Either that, or I'm the fat guy in the X-wing fighter about ready to be blown up by Vader because all of his navigational systems are out of whack - Knowing no matter what you try, no matter what you do, you're STILL gonna go crashing into the Death Star no matter what! :-)
Web pictures are NEVER a good representation of what a person really looks like. And pictures can NEVER be representative of a person's personality. And, as Paul Davis said it best, you can't hug a picture! :-) Seeing and talking to the person is ALWAYS so much better and gives you a deeper, richer experience.
HEY! Not only are people READING CMX Suite, they actually are - Gulp! - ENJOYING AND LOOKING FORWARD TO IT every Tuesday! That's so good to know because, with the rare exception here and there, I hardly ever get any direct feedback for/from the strip (even though my e-mail is at the bottom of every strip).
It's especially a pleasure to know they are a big hit with the Macromedia guys too (no pressure there, right folks?). :-)
Speaking of the Macromedia guys... they are REALLY human (and funny too). You DON'T have to be intimidated by them.
I'm thinking... Maybe next year, I might even try my hand at doing one of these presentation things (by myself). Just hope someone might actually attend if I do one. :-)
Anyway, those were just my most random thoughts. Should have an enjoyable strip coming up next week. Did it on the plane back to Virginia! :-)
Posted Wednesday, March 09, 2005 8:30:19 AM by Chris Flick
As some of you may know, I live in the Washington DC area and this year, all of us in this area will be celebrating something we have waited 35 years for: Opening day of the Major League Baseball Season IN Washington DC. Yes, it's true folks! Washington DC finally has a baseball team.
And even though the Washington Nationals already won their first Spring Training game a week or so ago and opening day is still a few weeks away - and since the Academy Awards recently ended - I thought it might be fun to make a "best of" and "worst of" baseball movie list. Before I do that though, I have to admit, even though I am a huge baseball junkie and movie fan, even I haven't seen every baseball movie ever made. Because of that, you'll notice that most of the movies listed below are fairly recent or modern and there's really a very specific reason for that.
For me, a "good" baseball movie can't just make it on drama or acting alone. The baseball skills have to be at least somewhat believable. And, as any serious baseball AND movie buff will tell you... Hollywood used to have a terrible track record when it came to finding a nice medium between the two. You either had an athlete that couldn't act or you had great actors that obviously never played baseball beyond Little League. A prime example of one of the best acted but poorly played baseball movies of all time was the remake of "Bang the drum slowly" with Robert De Niro and Michael Moriarty. It's a great movie to watch EXCEPT when the movie revolves around watching those actors try to act like ballplayers - then it's absolutely atrocious.
In any case, here are some of MY favorite baseball movies ranked in order from top to bottom:
1) Bull Durham
You will never be able to convince me Tim Robbins had EVER pitched a baseball in his life but thankfully, whatever baseball skills Tim Robbins lacked, the surrounding cast made up for. In fact, many of the Bull Durham infielders were ex-minor league ball players themselves. The most famous being Danny Gaines - who is one of the most popular Las Vegas performers today (for all the people getting ready to go to TODCon this year).
2) Field of Dreams
Still a movie I think EVERY father and son should see together. That's how powerful this movie is.
3) A league of their own
It should be noted how terrific some of the baseball skills in this movie are - I think this movie could be directly responsible for the women's pro baseball team - The Silver Bullets - coming into existence. It completely honored the Women's Professional Baseball League. And proved once again that there's "no crying in baseball".
4) The Natural
I keep trying to remember to buy the book because, from what I understand, the ending is much sadder (and truer) then the movie. And for all of us who have played baseball will tell you - one of the things that makes this game so addicting is the tragedy, disappointment and frustration that's involved. It's like a really great Shakespeare tragedy - the drama just keeps pulling you back in again and again...
5) Bad News Bears
The ode to Little League.
6) Eight Men Out
Fantastic history lesson. For all of you that don't understand the significance or controversy surrounding Pete Rose's Hall of Fame situation, rent this movie and it will give you a better perspective on what's involved. Again, tragedy and baseball walking down the wedding aisle.
7) For the love of the game
Finally, a movie that gives insight about what goes on during the "slowness" of the game and what a player can sometimes be thinking about even at the most important and most critical points in a game.
8) Major League
Again, the significance of this is that you believed all of these actors COULD play the game. Corben Benson played college ball - just as Kevin Costner did. That makes a difference in a baseball movie. It really does.
9) The Rookie
The "Rocky" of baseball movies.
10) The Sandlot
When my dad was stationed in Germany during the early 1970's, all the military brats had their OWN Sandlot. And we played baseball from the morning to dinner time so this movie holds a special "sentimental" value for me.
11) Mr. Baseball
Even at an early age, I knew some American players went to Japan to play baseball but I never knew about the cultural differences. This movie at least gave you that perspective.
Best HBO Baseball movies
1) Soul of the Game
This is one of the best movies about the Negro Leagues - barring any documentaries, of course. It shines a whole new light on Josh Gibbons, Satchel Paige and even Jackie Robinson.
With all the controversy surrounding steroids in baseball, this is a nice homage to Roger Maris - especially considering the director, Billy Crystal, has always admitted to being a huge Mickey Mantle fan.
A fascinating look at one of the "bad guys" of baseball. I wonder if someday we might see a movie titled "Rose"?
4) Long Gone
Not many people have seen this movie but is starred William Patterson (CSI fame now). Again, baseball, tears and laughter all mixed together.
5) Talent for the game
The forgotten "grunt" of major league baseball is the talent scout. This movie gives you an idea of the tireless (and thankless) work they go through as well as the politics of baseball as well.
My all time WORST baseball movies...
Posted Thursday, February 03, 2005 4:42:16 PM by Chris Flick
Okay... so there I am this morning opening my FREE CommunityMX newsletter as it pops up in my e-mail client of choice (Entourage) when I scroll down to the part about "Our Spidey Senses Are Tingling". Of course, being a big comic book nut since high school, this immediately catches my attention. Then, I click on the link and one thought races through my mind:
"HOW THE HECK DID THIS SLIP UNDER MY COMIC BOOK RESOURCE RADAR????!!!"
You see, I'm a member of various list groups or forums devoted to comic books and/or comic book art. I also have a subscription to Wizard magazine which keeps me up to date on just about anything happening in the comic book field. Yet, this one got by me completely.
Now, some of you may be asking how Marvel and Corbis teaming up can help you and, honestly, I can't say. Your individual projects will determine that. And really, I'm interested in seeing how this progresses because "back in the day", any advertisements using Marvel characters usually only appeared in Marvel comics themselves. For those of you who are old enough, you might remember the old Hostess ads in the back of your favorite Avengers or Captain America comic book you read as a kid. Those usually were done by "bullpen artists" that were on staff at Marvel. These "bullpen artists" generally weren't published artists themselves or they might have been responsible for doing tasks regular artists didn't have time to do - such as draw backgrounds and such. Occasionally though, a "name" artist - such as Neal Adams - would do an ad but that was rare.
So how this partnership between Corbis and Marvel - and how it affects the commercial advertising industry - will be interesting to watch. For me though, I have a much more personal interest in this particular team-up. As a traditional-based illustrator and cartoonist, I have yet another valuable source of reference material I can draw from. Something I can add to my "morgue".
The difference between a county morgue and an artist's morgue..
or why I love Google so much...
When I teach my cartooning classes, I always explain that "in the old days", a lot of illustrators had what they referred to as a "morgue". Basically, this morgue was nothing more then a file cabinet with tons of reference material. It would consists of newspaper clippings, magazine pages, or maybe even photos taken by the artist himself. And, depending on how organized that particular artist was, he (or she) might have folders totally devoted to nothing but "eyes" or "feet" or "hands". You get the idea.
But these days, thanks to search engines like Alta Vista and Google, artist's morgues are quickly becoming a thing of the past. At least my own personal morgue hasn't been used in years. These days, if I have a need to draw - say, a masked wrestler... perhaps even a Canadian masked wrestler with moose antlers on his mask that goes by the name of "The Nuclear Moose" - I can just go to Alta Vista or Google, click on the "image" link and type in "masked wrestlers" and I can get a variety of photos of masked wrestlers taken over the years. I can then use these photos as a source of inspiration when designing and illustrating my Nuclear Moose.
So how does this whole Corbis / Marvel thing come into play?
Well, as I mentioned before, it gives me another source of reference to draw off of. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to draw someone in a Captain America, Dr. Doom or Iron Man outfit. Now, I could easily pull out my big box of comics and slowly go through them until I found what I was looking for but who has time for that? Now, all I have to do is go to Corbis and search the Marvel archives until I find the character I need and see what his (or her) costume is supposed to look like.
Isn't the internet great?
Posted Monday, November 22, 2004 1:13:43 PM by Chris Flick
That's how fast comedy improv moves. How do I know this? Because that's how fast the speed of thought is. At least, that's the case when you're on stage and trying to come up with a creative way to depict an animal that is an expert in "Diet & Weight Loss" and still make it obvious to the audience what kind of animal you are.
Yes, that's how silly improvisation comedy can be.
I'm finding, however, that it's this quick pace and ultra silliness that makes it very difficult to actually write a blog about. For instance, I can tell you my character, "Dr. King" was asked and answered the following questions:
Audience: What is the best way to lose excess weight?
"Dr. King": I have found swatting at airplanes and helicopters to be a great source of exercise and helps shed extra weight.
Audience: What's the key to healthy living and prolonging one's life?
"Dr. King": Avoid the city - especially skyscrapers.
Audience: What's the best and healthiest food to eat?
"Dr. King": Blonde white women.
What I can't tell you about is the immediate audience reaction... the laughter from the rest of the class as they immediately "got" the joke of not only what kind of animal I was but WHO I was trying to be as well. And, once they "got" the joke, their questions started to reflect that as well. I'm not saying they expected me to say "blonde white women" when they asked me about the healthiest food to eat or they expected me to tell them to avoid the city if they wanted to prolong their life, but those were fantastic hand-offs. Because they got the joke, they were able to ask me a question that I was able to feed off of and turn it into some kind of humorous statement.
But it's that audience reaction that you're missing - that you're not able to experience. And, no matter how much I write about how I was a hitchhiking Yoda or "Bob", the uneducated southerner assigned the task of giving the worst sexual advice in the history on mankind, you still won't be able to experience the instantaneous aspect of those characters. In this regard, it's truly understandable why many actors say they enjoy performing on stage as opposed to being on film. On stage, they get that immediate reaction from the audience. The thrill - or dread - knowing they have succeeded - or failed. There is an immediate reaction that they get on stage that is missing from the secluded world of film. And, although I'm sure making a multi-million dollar film is incredibly exciting and thrilling in its own way, it imagine it must still be completely different then performing live on Broadway simply because that immediate reaction to one's performance isn't there.
In some ways, I deal with the same the same sort of thing when it comes to the CMX Suite strips. Although the strip is a blast and joy to create, with the exception of a few people whom I send advance copies to, I never get to see, hear or feel the immediate reaction you all have when you come to the CommunityMX web site every Tuesday to see what kind of crazy and zany antics I have cooked up for that week's installment. Of course, that's more a product of being a cartoonist as opposed to a performer then anything else, but that's also another reason why I wanted to take this improv class so much - to see if the same thought process I use to create the CMX Suite strip could be translated on a stage and what immediate reaction I might get.
Thus far, this class has been all - and more - then I could have hoped for and I am truly enjoying every moment of the experience.
Now, if I could only find someway to create the CMX Suite strips in 1.3 million miles per second...