Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Importance of Influence: Me and my "funny books"

Continuing the influences train, let's go ahead and go a little deeper into mine. For Mark, it was the '70s; for me, it was comic books. As it's already known at this point, I've been a comic book head for years and they've had a profound influence on me in a multitude of ways, specifically creatively. In many ways, despite how many fans there are of it and how much farther it's reaching, the medium itself still doesn't seem like it's utilized to its fullest potential. But moving back to to the topic at hand, the influence that comics has had on me creatively. Don't get me wrong, my influences go beyond just comics, but I'll just stick with them for this entry. Their influence goes back a long ways actually, so let's start at the beginning...

1) Spider-Man
When I was a kid, all of my friends' comic book heroes were always Batman, Superman or Wolverine. It was always about the coolest gadgets, powers or biggest badasses. But for me, it was always about understanding and relatability. He was THE kid superhero, the one that was out there doing the right thing despite what it cost him and often still had to deal with day-to-day troubles on top of everything else. That resonated with me a lot, even at a young age. He was the first comic book character I literally couldn't get enough of and because of the variety of his adventures and how many were in already in print by then, I had plenty to partake of. There are some I prefer more than others, but it's the one that's never REALLY let me down. And I was inspired by the character's overall resilience from a printing and personal standpoint.

2) Hulk
Now, this guy... he and I have been through a lot over the years. My favorite stories are still the ones that take place during Peter David's runs on the book as well as the stories featuring the "Joe Fix-It" personality. He was a vast departure from the Hulk I'd known up until then, that and the Gray Hulk just always struck me as more interesting considering the fact that he was the "real" original Hulk. But it became something else later, as the character himself became more complex and the subject of psychology came more into play in his development, it showed me how important psychology and personality in general are in developing characters.

3) The Avengers
This particular assembly always resonated in one fashion or another from the moment I started reading comics. There have been periods during the team's publishing history that I've definitely not enjoyed, but there are others that have absolutely shined! It was one of the first serious examples that I had seen of a team that may have been well-oiled in some incarnations but were barely staying on track in others. The Fantastic Four were specifically written as a family and the Justice League always had this kind of extended family kind of vibe to it, but the Avengers were different to me. They were a team that didn't necessarily always get along, but proved that it was about getting the job done. Oh sure, there were rosters that were like family, but that wasn't centerstage, it all came down to doing the job. They weren't a family, they were an office, a group of people brought together to fulfill a function. Interpersonal dynamics always played a role but at the end of the day, it was about moving past that and protecting the Earth and doing what they had to do to do it. In fact, it was the remixing of the team, the storyline "Dissassembled" and the subsequent reissued series "The New Avengers" that revived my desire to actually want to create comics and cemented Brian Michael Bendis as one of my all-time favorite writers.

4) The Authority
While this is another superhero team, they're on this list for a very different reason. The Authority was a different kind of team. Formed out of the ashes of Wildstorm Comics' "Stormwatch", they were a group that saw a better world and what needed to be done to bring it forth. They were extraordinary, but truly "human", human beings that wanted to bring about the better world that they felt the Earth could be, but also falling short in the realization that they were still humans and didn't know what we needed as much as they thought they did. It was a series about extraordinary people attempting to do the impossible and what happens after. Powerful stuff in a lot of ways.

5) Marvel Comics

This one I can actually keep fairly short. I've been a marvel-head most of my life for one reason: they showed me that "Superpeople are still just people". That counts for way more than anything else in my mind.

Now, of course, this is just one piece in the pie-chart of my influences, but I'll leave you to chew on this one for now.   ;)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The importance of Influences: Me and the 70's

It's funny that when a person, particularly and artist, sees or hears something a great many times we are moved by it to create. In the hall of words this is called INSPIRATION. The things that inspire us leave an indelible mark on the way we look at creation and the very things we choose to create. Inspiration adds context and weight to our voices and an inaudible rhythm to them as well. I would like to be the first of , hopefully, many of us who post here to talk about a few of my own inspirations and why the move me to the creative frenzy they do.

1. The 70's
A few nights ago my wife and I were watching a documentary on PBS about the late, great, Curtis Mayfield.

If you don't know this man, his music was the cultural soul of the early 70's. He, along with his group The Impressions, made great and soulful music like PEOPLE GET READY and WERE A WINNER. He is most notable however for his awesome soundtrack work, particularly the soundtrack for the "blaxplotation" standard   SUPERFLY.

As we listened, my wife could see the affection I had for this man, his music as well as the era itself. She has often said that I came to manhood in the wrong decade lol. For me, the 70's was an era where the ills of society were laid bare for all to see, and we all wrestled with our own culpability. It was also an era where I could watch television, or go to the movies and see black people doing amazing things.

Don't get me wrong, the 70's was also a time for us to reflect on the gains we had made during the civil rights movement and how much further we need to go. Vietnam was also winding down. I think I love the 70's because they seemed organic and filled with gritty cynicism as the government and the power structure were concerned.

The 70's is also the era of the Blockbuster summer tentpole movies which are now establishment today. Chief amongst which was STAR WARS, that single film did more to stoke my imagination than any other work since.  Even at a young age, I realized that I was witness to a paradigm shift and things would never be what they were. I also realized that if I could dream it, technology could probably do it.

I also became engrossed in Sci Fi animation at the time like BATTLE OF THE PLANETS(Gatchaman) , not knowing until years later that most of what i liked was ANIME.

The late 70's saw the slow emergence of my next principle influence. HIP HOP and the action films of the 80's!  I will talk about these in my next diatribe but these are some of the reasons why the 70's is a huge influence on me today.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Honeycomb Hideout Episode 8: Dirty SOPA Sundry!!

Man, we've got all full house on deck for this one! With an overflow of material from the last show's "Adult Entertainment" topic and the shadow of SOPA still in the distance, the gang decides to call in some friends to weigh in on the cavalcade of deviancy and dick-ishness! So come on down as Joe, Mark, Nik and Jon are joined by their homie of old, JJ, and Jane Lane even pops in for a word or two. It's a madhouse in the 'Hideout tonight so join the fun!

And a bit of forewarning here, folks. You all know we're an 18+ podcast, so that goes without saying, but this show is ESPECIALLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!  Just being a bud and giving y'all the heads up.  ;)

Download this episode (right click and save)