Friday, July 27, 2007

It Must've Been Because, Because, Because

Selling the Drama

Stuff for Sale!

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Toys

-Set of five action figures from Series 1, P3,500.00 (Negotiable)

-Sam, Frodo, Legolas, Strider (Aragorn), Gandalf (each has various accessories)

-All unopened and in great condition, released in 2001

- - - - - - - - -
Lexy, Nance & Argus: Sex, Gods, Rock & Roll

-P 130 per copy

-P100 each for two copies or more

-Some reviews here

Those interested can email me contact numbers (cel and landline numbers) at lexynanceargus (at) yahoo (dot) com. Please specify which item/s you are getting in the title. I can personally bring them to Glorietta, Shangri-la Mall, SM Southmall or Alabang Town Center only.

Also, just a reminder: please do not send invitations or emails with attachments, as those will be unopened.

Waited For Wednesday

Attended a press launch/party last Wednesday at the Alchemy Bar near Tiendesitas. It went well; met a few people from the usual circles (which converged that night because a lot of the participants and guests are basically multi-tasker types, and the event celebrated a multi-media coalition). I said hey to familiar faces like Jude (I forget his surname, Dennis Ladaw’s friend), Vives Anunciacion, Ric Gindap and Yonina Chan, and was introduced to Mina Caliguia, Raya Martin, Raymond Red, Ed Cabagnot, and a bunch of other cool, talented people whose names escape me right now. It’s great to see artists, writers and other creative persons in one place. Fun work night; was able to interview an ex-congresswoman from a prominent political clan who spearheaded the entire thing, too.

Oh, the bad thing was, I didn’t get to taste the yummy-looking pizza that was served earlier because I was too busy interrogating people. But I was able to get a glass of Coke Lite, chips, breadsticks, some nice and tasty chicken spread (I think that’s what it was), and a bottle of San Mig Light. So it’s okay.

Beer. Been a while.

He Can’t Stand to Fly

This is sort of a re-enactment of that awesome scene in JLA/Avengers # 2, where Superman gets beaten up by Hercules, Wonder Man, She-Hulk, Iron Man and the Vision after the Kryptonian K.O.-ed Thor with one super-punch.

Wonder Man: “You don’t do that!”
Hercules: “Not to him--not to Thor!”

Hm, I think Sentry and Superman should meet up and do the obligatory “misunderstanding” fight sequence soon. I honestly don’t know how powerful Sentry is, but yeah, it’s about time that the two premier superteams meet again. They’ve each expanded their membership since the 2003 crossover. Maybe Kurt Busiek and George Perez can reunite and do that sequel. Or if Perez isn’t available, maybe Art Adams, Carlos Pacheco, or any of those guys with a knack for ultra-detailed super-melees can do it.

Are They Alive Or Thoughts That Drift Away?

I drew this last year for a “Night of the Living Dead” pinup gallery comic book. I wonder how that project’s doing. It was in the process of sorting out a deluge of illustrations the last time I contacted the people involved. Anyway, this was fully penciled on vellum paper. Oh, this reminds me, if the cinema nearest you is still showing “Planet Terror,” go see it. So freaking cool and gut-busting.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sitting So Pretty With a Criminal Grace

Gotham by Batlight

My Bat-Family. Left to right: Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, Batman, Batwoman, Huntress and Nightwing. Hmm, I wonder why Gotham’s criminals still stay in the city, when these masked protectors will just keep pounding on them when they get caught? Yeah, they’re masochistic, and are often led by the crazy Arkham-ites, but still. Maybe Bats and company should start busting them as a tighter team, like this take-no-crap bogeyman army, and not chase after loony thugs separately. Throw in Oracle, the new Question, and maybe new people that can take over the Azrael, Orpheus, and Spoiler identities, and it’s gonna be crime-free in a matter of days. But even then, the opposition will probably hire a JLA-level threat to keep Gotham streets bat-free. Still, a more organized Bat-team looks mighty cool.

In the Front Row, the Front Row

Had a great time at the invitational screening of The Simpsons Movie. Well, I had to embarrass myself first 'cause I got persuaded into joining a contest prior to the showing. Let me just say that I know that I have some genuine talents, but singing a song that I don’t know just isn’t one of ‘em. Gack. I wanted to join the trivia contest, not that other fricking game (where we had to be judged by the clapping audience!). John, who went to the CR prior to me joining (too much time was being wasted, I had to step up!) told me that he could practically see a gigantic “WTF?!” in his head as he saw me in front. He laughed his ass off, while I was wishing that the earth would just swallow me. Well, I was a good sport, and I’m not thinking about how bad I was at that, at least not too much.

What a weird experience. I got some consolation goodies like a Simpsons notebook, stickers, and a kid’s wristwatch (which I hope John’s niece will like). Well, thought joining it was gonna be painless. It started when the deejay-host was looking for a third contestant; he singled me out ‘cause I was only a few feet from him in the front row, and he called me “a lovely man.” He asked if I wanted to try, and I just had to say, “Sure, why not.”

I’m such an easy slut, sometimes.

Arrh, Eighteen

Looking back, the toughest part of being eighteen? That's a hard one. For me, among them was trying to survive my sophomore college year, which didn’t feel as fun or as breezy as the first year. The subjects, the company and the professors weren’t as interesting, save for those few instances and rare souls who made life easier and more meaningful for me. But generally, I didn’t feel too into my school work. I found it burdensome to be attending classes that felt like a waste of time, and to be lugging around art instruments and illustration boards when I could just hang out somewhere and escape. I felt preoccupied, and those drawing sessions didn’t feel as relaxed to me as they used to be. But I was able to get into them again, inspired and rejuvenated, the next school year.

The photo above was taken at Filbar’s Galleria, during one of comic book artist Whilce Portacio’s earliest signing appearances. I was digging the art of Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee as well, back then. I got into comic books more, and wanted to become involved in the creation process of some eventually. That year was also the time I was introduced to the works of greats such as Simon Bisley and Nick Manabat, and to fellow artist-creators and devout comics fans.

As far as being considered an adult is concerned, I didn’t really think about it seriously during those days. But as a first-time voter, I was quite excited, idealistic, maybe a little na├»ve. It was a little funny that the poll watcher had to ask me my year of birth because I probably looked younger than my age. Going to R-18 movies was hassle-free too, not that I got questioned about it when I’d watch them as a younger teenager. But the censors-butchered films for adults at the time were often bewildering.

At that age, almost everything led to a momentous turning point. Personal milestones took place. There were some endings, quiet epiphanies, and the beginning of new things.

Nailed Ya

Had those fingernails looking that way for almost a week. I had to remove ‘em after one nail’s paint started chipping off. The pic was taken at Rockwell, when I was resting near where the New Worlds Alliance was having their event. That white rubber bracelet, I got that last summer. It entitled me to free beer. Drank like a fish. Fun times.

Speaking of fun, I’ve seen some episodes of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List. The woman is damn funny and smart. She used an interesting analogy (okay, I’m gonna paraphrase for a bit) when she explained how a magazine she was contributing to kept contacting her about a piece that she’d do for them. But after a while, when she’d call them about the finished piece, she felt somewhat ignored. She likened it to such a situation where a person courted her incessantly, then slept with her, but couldn’t be reached when she tried contacting him. After the chase, it’s like the magazine wasn’t interested anymore. It’s like being told, Kathy deadpanned, “We f*cked you!”

Funny and sad, ‘cause it’s so true.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Lovers, the Dreamers, Me

Paint It Black

Haven’t had any beer in over a month. I kinda miss it, actually, and the feeling of intoxication that comes with finishing several bottles. I think it has something to do with sleeping; the spinning feeling, prior to dozing off or after doing something boneheaded under the influence, is an interesting one for me. Anyway, am doing just fine without it. But I do miss it sometimes.

Nothing much lately. Same old. Waiting for some things, like Mozzie’s EP. Six songs, according to Pam. I wanna own that. It’s out soon, so yay!

I’m also on the lookout for that good-looking Marvel Legends Thor (the new Lord of Asgard version). Apparently, that’s the most sought-after figure from the set; the other characters look really unappealing (I’m looking at you, X3 Jean Grey and Juggernaut!). I’ll probably just get Thor when he reappears, and maybe Quicksilver.

Saw a few things last week. John and I attended preview screenings of Ratatouille (love it!) and Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix (it had some nice big moments). Don’t feel like talking about them now in detail, though, but yeah, they’re both movies that kids and their parents might enjoy watching.

Briefly hung out with Benedict last Saturday. He cosplayed during the New Worlds event at Rockwell, and later won again for his now war-worn Bumblebee costume. He’s the third placer this time. His Bumblebee and transforming Brawn costumes have won two awards each at different events, and he’s been appearing in a number of shows and exhibits with them. Cool thing to see kids and similarly excited adults rush to where he and fellow Transformers cosplayers are, and have pictures taken with them.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, I had my left fingernails painted black. Not to symbolically mark any emo-whatever phase or anything. I just felt like doing it. Benedict seems kinda amused by it.

Bizarre Love Triangle

Three’s company and a crowd (pic from Yahoomovies)

“Someone once said, there’s no such thing as love, only proofs of love.’” –Isabelle

Saw Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers. What a sad, sexy film. Cineastes Theo (Louis Garrel), Isabelle (Eva Green) and Matthew (remember Michael Pitt from Dawson’s Creek?) share an apartment in France, and apart from their love for cinema, they really are fond of each other. But the thing is, Theo and Isabelle are twins, and their uncommon closeness is weirding Matthew out. Still, the siblings and their new American friend discover that their love for film and some heated debates can lead to other passionate pursuits. Erotic and masterfully shot, The Dreamers is a feast for the eyes and the mind, a film that offers challenging insights on artistry, as well as the political and social upheavals of the era.

Oh, and I love it when Isabelle touched Matthew’s “red, ripe, luscious lips” and wanted to put lipstick on ‘em, believing he’d make a pretty girl. Cute and funny.

Sometimes a Fantasy

Check out my art blog. If I haven’t posted these drawings there, I will one of these days. This illustration above was done in July 2000. The Cavalry, from “Utopia Comics,” originally drawn on 11” X 17” cartolina. It’s a pseudo-cover, and it's kind of my homage to superhero lineup change covers. I wanted to put as many of my characters on it as I could. The final roster, I think, was made up of nine typical team tokens (a few powerhouses, a reformed villain, a loose cannon, an enigma, etc.) Boy, I had a lot of time back then. It’s a double-sized issue at $1.50, so I probably pretended that it came out in the late ‘80s.

This here’s a re-imagining of the characters from Psigns. Isaac (the cryokinetic) and Hob (the, um, magic hat wielder) as grownups. Gel pen on small Bristol board, drawn last week.

Really enjoyed doing these drawings.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Madness in This Reason

Raindrops Falling From Heaven

Bought myself a new umbrella, since my last one’s leaking already. Before that, I had one that lasted me for over a decade, but it had to succumb to irreparable damage. It couldn’t weather the storms, anymore.

Weather’s matching my mood lately. I sometimes wish that I never got into some things and situations in the last three months but, well, if anything, I’m learning from them the hard way now. I feel glum and weak this past week or so, and I just have been staying too long in slumberland. But I’m doing my best to get back on track. Counting my blessings is hard, but it’s good that I can still recognize that they’re there.

Shtup the Press

After five years of writing for the paper, I finally have my official press ID. I could’ve asked for it sooner, but it didn’t occur to me to request for one until early this year, at the suggestion of my Entertainment editor. A fellow contributor already has one, and I was encouraged to have my own just in case people who need to verify my identity wish to see it, during formal coverages or specific assignments.

Most functions I’m sent to and attend are informal, but I want to avoid situations where people (publicists or such who invite people from the section) look at me suspiciously. There were some instances when I ask people for directions as I arrive at some event, and they scowl or hesitate from replying like I’m some gatecrashing riffraff. I’ve been asked in a demeaning tone, “Sino ka ba?” But, and this has happened more than once, whenever I mention the name of the broadsheet I’m representing, wow! Total personality switch, they suddenly become nice and cloyingly friendly!

Creeps. You can never get used to that. So anyway, I’m glad that I have one now. It’s not that required, usually, but it does make me feel a little reassured.

Follow His Bliss

Ryan Taylor Bliss’ cover of “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You.” Way sweet.

Fool for Love

Soundtrack of my love life, at least for the past few weeks. Narrowed it down to 24. I actually started this list for a Valentine's Day post but never finished it. Besides, it's evolved a lot since then. I think I can listen to this collection all day, if I had them all, and compiled. It’s a mix of adult contemporary, alternative, and pop tunes. I can’t really compress all those songs I love into such a list, but at this moment, I’m digging these particular ones, sighing, and am reminded why love can stop, begin again, and can’t truly be measured properly:

1. Love is Strange- Everything But The Girl
“After you’ve had it, you’ll never want to quit.”

2. I Want You- Silencers
“Well, I want to paint your picture with that great look in your eyes.”

3. I Love You- Primal Scream
“Maybe our communion shall prevail.”

4. Found- The Beloved
“Your smile is like the ocean, your kiss the seven seas.”

5. Can’t Help Falling In Love- Lick the Tins
“Shall I stay? Would it be a sin?” (love this version the most 'cause it sounds innocent)

6. Show Me Heaven- Maria McKee
“I’m not denying. I’m frightened as much as you.”

7. I Need You Here- Color It Red
“Now it’s late and I feel older, having lost so much to you…”

8. Free Fallin’- Tom Petty
“I’m a bad boy, cause I don’t even miss her. I’m a bad boy for breaking her heart.”

9. The Flame- Cheap Trick
“You were the first, you’ll be the last.”

10. Endless Summer Nights- Richard Marx
“Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye.”

11. Drops of Jupiter- Train
“Did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?”

12. As Long As It Matters- Gin Blossoms
“Forget that our time is almost up.”

13. J for Jules- ‘Til Tuesday
“Someday we’ll be happy again.”

14. Life After- Isha
“I guess you have to leave, so I can live.”

15. I Will Follow You Into The Dark- Death Cab For Cutie
“Love of mine, someday you will die, but I’ll be close behind.”

16. Strong Enough- Sheryl Crow
“Lie to me, but please don’t leave.”

17. (I Can’t Seem) To Make You Mine- The Clientele
“But the crowd pulled you away, through the rhythm and the rain.”

18. In Your Eyes- Peter Gabriel
“The light, the heat, I am complete.”

19. Last Goodbye- Jeff Buckley
“Kiss me out of desire, baby, not consolation.”

20. Am I Wrong- Love Spit Love
“Goodbye, lay the blame on luck.”

21. In Demand- Texas
"You never had our love written in your plans.”

22. Crazy- Icehouse
“You’re the one sure thing when I get lost in the game.”

23. Better Love- Londonbeat
“I was driving home, the morning after with the taste of you still on my tongue.”

24. Love On A Rooftop- Desmond Child
“Whatever happened to those endless nights, when we were happy living young and foolish lives?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Troubled Cure for a Troubled Mind

Vox Du Jour

Thursday was a sapping and humbling day. Hate it. Wednesday was much, much better; I was looking for a video of the Tom Waits song, “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You” over YouTube, but I found an excellent, excellent folky rendition by a guy named Ryan Taylor Bliss instead. Am too lazy to search and link it, so look him up if you’re interested. The guy’s got a cool, calming voice; he did astounding acoustic covers of Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” and Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Walk On The Ocean,” among other songs. Ryan Taylor Bliss! If you’re reading this after Googling your name, let me just say that you’re so damn awesome! I watched/listened to your “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With you” performance thrice. Ohhh, that was beautiful, man.

Hulk Slash!

I enjoyed “Planet Hulk,” an arc that ran for about a year or so in The Incredible Hulk title. Writer Greg Pak and artist Carlo Pagulayan did well in giving Marvel’s raging behemoth a new direction, and the space fantasy saga redefined the Hulk as one of the most cunning, most driven comics characters in a while. Spoilers! I was surprised that in this storyline, the latest version of the Hulk is actually intelligent but brooding (in a way that’s almost similar to the grey incarnation). Exiled by the Illuminati (Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt), he crash-lands far from his intended destination and soon becomes a savage gladiator. The Hulk and his fellow fighter-slaves, the Warbound, change the conflict-torn planet forever, leading to the next epic, World War Hulk.

The first issue of the miniseries was worth the wait, as the Hulk, now really, really mad, returns to Earth to make the Illuminati pay. Pak is good, as usual, but the art, this time by John Romita, Jr., isn’t that great, sadly. Still, the big moments finally happen, including Hulk’s meeting and subsequent punchathons with his exilers. And poor Avengers Tower! Wow, I can’t really say I’ll miss that bland headquarters, though.

I hope this doesn’t disappoint like Civil War, and that the ordinary joes won’t jump into the fray at the last possible second to show the Hulk the error of his ways.

Mayer of Angstville

Old song. Yep, he’s singing about me right now.

Not Myself
(John Mayer)

Suppose I said
I am on my best behavior
And there are times
I lose my worried mind

Would you want me when I’m not myself
Wait it out while I am someone else

Suppose I said
Colors change for no good reason
And words will go from poetry to prose
Would you want me when I’m not myself
Wait it out while I am someone else

And I, in time
Will come around
I always do for you

Suppose I said
You’re my saving grace

Long Live the Legion!

But which version? Actually, I still like the “Archie Legion” best, and I miss those characters a lot. But the Legion of Superheroes is still one of my fave teams ever, regardless of the zillion revamps or reincarnations.

But “The Lightning Saga,” which teamed the Pre-Crisis version of the 31st century super-group with the JSA and the JLA… well, it didn’t really show them doing much. Two members were left behind in the present after their secret mission, which successfully brought back a beloved character that was lost for over a year, I think. But questions were raised that weren’t answered within the crossover. I don’t like the lack of a satisfying explanation in the end, and that “you’ll understand in time” excuse is just annoying.

Artwise, I still can’t get into Benes’ style, which looks heavily Jim Lee-esque. I don’t like that every guy has the same body type (bulky/muscular), and that all the girls look the same (but with different hairstyles). The art doesn’t make me get into the story as much as, say, Doug Mahnke’s or Brian Hitch’s style did when they served as JLA pencillers years ago.

Jesus, Mary… Chain

Another old fave. Cool that the two vocalists were alternately “talking” to each other through the stanzas. I can so feel this song right now, and I love that the entire exchange is in simple but straightforward lines.

Sometimes Always
(Jesus and Mary Chain)

I gave you all I had
I gave you good and bad
I gave but you just threw it back

I won’t get on my knees
Don’t make me do that please
I’ve been away but now I’m back

Don’t be too sure of that
What makes you sure of that
You went away, you can’t come back

I walked away from you
I hurt you through and through
Aw honey, give me one more chance

Oh, you’re a lucky son
Lucky son of a gun
You went away
You went away
You went away but now you’re back

I got down on my knees
And then I begged you, please
I’ll always need you
Take me back

Partly Metal, Partly Real

Princess Fantalian of the Metalfairies. Click on it for a bigger image. Drew her head and hair while waiting for a friend in a mall, about two weeks ago. I finished her body when I got home. It’s green gel pen ink on half a bond-sized sheet of vellum. I also drew two other characters when I stayed home early this week. Will post ‘em at my art blog, when I feel like it. Do visit.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rocket Man, Burning Up His Fuse

Just finished Planet Hulk and the action-packed first issue of World War Hulk, as well as the JLA-JSA-Legion teamup story "The Lightning Saga." Read a bunch of good Marvel Handbooks too. Maybe I’ll talk about ‘em next time.

Live for Your Smile, Die for Your Kiss

Your arms and chest hurt again after hours of using those snazzy exercise devices like the low row, the pectoral machine, the chest incline, the chest press, the vertical traction and the delts machine, but they hurt so good and make you feel that you spent your time there wisely, and you can’t help but wonder if those uber-hotties in their revealing gym-wear ever eat anything, or if they always looked that way, because, boy, they probably look good in anything and have awesome sex all the time, but it helps that you’re not the most outta shape person there, that you really don’t care about the eye candy too much, that you’re enjoying your workout, your head raised and lower lip tucked, that the nighttime view of the cityscape from the shower cubicle window makes you wanna touch yourself, and that you’re far from the confines of normalcy, albeit temporarily.

Normal would be when you do your duties like clockwork, thinking about the money you’ll be able to spend for all your needs and wants, true, but there are days when you just wanna escape the mundanity of it all, the seriousness of it all, the feeling of being constricted and trapped, and all you could think about are the times when things were unbelievably happy and you were content with just getting off and sleeping when daylight came, not caring about anything else especially the consequences and the repercussions, those dreaded four-syllable words that meant that you have to be an adult now, that you have to take responsibility, that you can’t be complacent anymore.

But that’s easier said than done, and when things aren’t normal and you’re alone, or wish to be, you just think about the quick cheap thrills, the taste of escape, the sweet freedom given by those whom you fantasized about, and you’d have died happy too because they’re your drug, those escapist souls like yourself, excited and eager to just get away from real life, unbridled by concerns and deadlines and monthly dues especially in those stolen times, getting intimate in ways that still blow your mind, and all you can process again and again are the careful thrusts and the arousing moans, the hard and the tender parts, the warm mouths that hungered, the skin that felt comfortable next to yours, the magic hands, the sweet surrender, the warm and wet essence of the climax on bare flesh that others can only imagine and dream about.

But you keep desiring and dreaming, and when you feel some of them tugging in that silly thing you call a heart, or hear their intoxicating voices in your head, you just wonder why things can’t last forever, why people can’t be more honest, so you think about escaping some more, but drowning yourself in the bottle isn’t exactly the way to do it, you learn quickly, that’s why you distract yourself with all those other things, but you end up watching more gorgeous people--you wanna be them and you wanna bed them!--and you’re curious how their clothes hide their imperfect skin, which everyone has anyway, and you wish you were as well-versed at the art of verbal communication as those with a similar propensity for adventure.

When the restlessness ends, you wonder why, even when you don’t deserve it, devotion to you remains, despite the insecurities and that pain you inadvertently caused, feelings you’re no stranger to, and you try to smile through the lies and especially when the precarious balancing act feels tedious and thankless that you just wanna jump off a cliff, metaphorically speaking, but at the end of the day, after the heartache and tears, you savor these moments, because they’re your own, and even when you don’t believe in yourself, sometimes, it’s more than enough that they do.

Sole Survivor

Drunk alien toy collector, from a panel off my unpublished story, illustrated early last year