January 23, 2008

TimeFlyz/Araknid Kid Crossover?

I opened my mail not too long ago and found what can either be called the first TimeFlyz crossover or the first TimeFlyz fan art. (Poor Araknid Kid. Looks like he has a bit of a crush on Laurel, if you ask me. Of course, spiders and flies just don't get along.)

Sure, so it's not really a crossover. (Although Josh, if you're reading this, whaddya think? A TF/AK crossover? It could be cool! Or maybe a crossover with your three-armed time traveling bunny that you're doing with Jamie Cosley?)

It's interesting. I just read a blog from someone who says, essentially, that he doesn't believe in helping other people promote themselves and that he intends to only talk about himself on his blog. Well and good, he's allowed to. It's his blog. It's extremely silly of him, of course, and it won't go very far in building relationships. It's one thing to NOT support anyone, it's another to essentially flaunt the fact. (Which is why you won't see me promoting any of his projects here. Of course, I don't really have to worry about him not promoting any of my projects, since he's essentially said he won't do it anyway. But I have raved about some of his projects in other places before, and they deserved the raves, they really did. I just can't bring myself to do it anymore, though.) One friend of mine gave me a fun quote the other day, and it applies: "It's every rat for himself, we just put Jesus fish on the lifeboats."

I, however, believe the opposite. I believe that if there's something worth supporting and/or telling people about, you should. Especially when they are friends or people you interact with. That's why I threw my heavy support behind Josh Alves and his Araknid Kid project over at The Zuda competition. (Arakid Kid did not win the competition, incidentally, but it DID find a home: Sugary Serials, an all ages comic project.) Araknid Kid is a cool, fun comic with a cool, fun hero in a cool, fun setting. What's not to like?

Meanwhile, over on one of the message boards I frequent, guess who's the first one to tell everyone about two OTHER artists who are in a different competition?


He's just that kind of guy.

~ Ben

SELAH: The Psalms Project

SELAH is a project that I felt led to do a couple years ago. The project itself never caught on with artists. Not sure why.

It's pretty simple and straight forward. Artists are encouraged to choose a Psalm. And then illustrate it.

The first SELAH entry came from me. Mostly because I was the first person to actually know about the project and I wanted to have an example for people. It was Psalm 40, a favorite of mine, and you can read it HERE.

I also wanted to make sure people understood what mattered most for this project was the heart, more so than the art.

For me, I drew that Psalm 40 when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. Rather, I was just coming out of one. The panel where the hand has lifted the shaggy guy halfway out of the mud -- that's where I was in my life. And drawing that comic, I was able to look back at where I was and look forward to the promise of what was to come. It was cathartic in some ways and inspired hope for me in other ways.

The challenge is for artists to find a Psalm that connects with them. And then illustrate that connection. The main idea is that I wanted this to be a corporate act of worship. Comic book worship. Straight from the Psalms. Why should musicians get all the fun!?! They get to write songs and sing the Psalms! This is the artistic version of that.

For more information, check out the official SELAH website.

Psalm 34:3. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.

I don't know how many people even read this blog, but I would like to encourage those of you who do read this blog and have even the slightest bit of artistic talent to join us in this project.

~ Ben

January 21, 2008

Star Trek teaser online now!


I saw this when I saw Cloverfield. One of the reasons I went to the midnight show of Cloverfield was to get a peek at this teaser. Of course, I was pumped to see the teaser, but the movie itself was pretty awesome.

Meanwhile, the teaser is now online. You can find it here:



Just, wow.

I'll admit, I'm a huge Trek fan and my Trek is original Trek. Yeah, I watched the first five seasons of Next Generation religiously. School scheduling got in the way of the final two seasons and most of Deep Space Nine. When Voyager came along, it was hard to catch since we didn't have UPN and it was a similar story with Enterprise. I liked most of the Trek shows, though, and followed them enough to know who was who and what was what (although I still don't understand the mythos behind the Enterprise stuff). And I've watched and own all the movies. (I don't own all the TV DVDs. Wouldn't mind it, but can't afford it.)

But Kirk, Spock, and Bones -- they define Trek for me.

This new movie is supposed to get into their backstory. It's supposed to tell their first adventure or something, but also uses a time travel element (and you know how I feel about time travel). Ultimately, it could either be really good or really bad. I can't imagine it will be in the middle anywhere.

This teaser, though? Pretty cool.

~ Ben

January 18, 2008

Nano Film Review #4 -- Cloverfield

Here's some math for you:

[(B - A) x 1000%] + (G/LotR) + H = C

In other words: Blair Witch Project minus annoying characters and lame "ad libbed dialogue"and then multiplied by about 1000% good filmmaking, added to Godzilla divided by Lord of the Rings style monsters, plus some real heart equals Cloverfield.

Ah, it's late. How about this:

Cloverfield = Awesome

~ Ben

PS -- Stick around for the credits. NOT because of the back-masking message at the end, but to hear the bombastic "Cloverfield Overture", that harkens back to the original Godzilla theme music and classic B-movies.

January 16, 2008

TImeFlyz Book 6 Cover

Here's a sneak peek at the artwork for the cover of TimeFlyz #6. I think it looks gorgeous, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Adi, the TimeFlyz artist, is an amazing talent.

Also, for a peek at the newest TimeFlyz character, Zed -- and some possible spoilers about book 4 of TimeFlyz -- check out my website.

~ Ben

January 11, 2008

Bests Quote of the Election Season

I don't want this blog to become one about politics. This blog is supposed to be about faith and art and stuff like that. But I couldn't resist after reading this today.

From Hillary Clinton:

"I want to make change, but I've already made change. I will continue to make change. I'm not just running on a promise of change. I'm running on 35 years of change."

I mean, they're all saying it, but this is the most spot-on, hit the nail on the head expression of it that I've seen.

Incidentally, they told me the same exact thing when I tried to pay with cash at Arby's the other day.


~ Ben

January 10, 2008

Nano Review #3 -- Meet the Robinsons

Two words:

Awe. Some.

Seventeen more words:

What a great time travel story! This is what good time travel is about: choices and consequences!

And thirty-nine (two of which are contractions) more words:

Doesn't hurt that it has believable and likable characters and a tight plot. I've heard this compared to Pixar's movies and I would jump on that bandwagon. This story had heart, and followed through in all the right ways.

Finally, twenty-one more words:

I was relieved, however, to find that they did not steal TimeFlyz's thunder with the "time travel twist ending" they used.

~ Ben

January 8, 2008

Nano Film Review #2 -- Renaissance

Finally, an animate feature in which the animation serves the story. A noir mystery set in the Paris of the future, the animation is a stark black and white with very little grey. The color scheme is used to great effect and heavily influences the mood and when the film was done, I couldn't help feeling that this story was a story that could have been live action . . . but shouldn't be. Rife with film-noir elements -- double crosses, revelations, counter-revelations, woman in peril, good cop with a past in a bad system -- the animation and future setting elevates above being a good genre film and makes it a good film in general.

~ Ben

January 7, 2008

Spider-Man's Deal with the Devil

Okay. So.

The Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics has been publicly saying for a while now that Spider-Man's marriage held the character back. "There are no stories that can be told with a married Spidey that can't be told with an un-married Spidey, but there ARE stories you can't tell with a married Spidey that you can tell with an un-married Spidey." He's gone on to say how married life is so much less exciting than unmarried life and a bunch of other stuff.

I don't read Spidey. I read The Incredible Hulk. (Click on those three links for one of the best comic storylines I've read in recent history from a major comic book company, excluding, of course this one and this one -- but I'm biased.)

I haven't read Spidey in a long time. I always did find his marriage to go against type. I mean, Peter Parker, the Spider-Man, is supposed to be a down on his luck guy and he's married to a supermodel who loves him very much and is fun and intelligent.

The guy has it good.

HAD it good.

So Marvel's EiC and the Spider-Man editorial staff decide a married Spider-Man is not a character kids can relate to. And they figure out a way to make it so he was never married, he lives in his aunt's house, and he's still thirty-something.

That's right, the kids will be able to relate to that version of Spidey better, right?

Now, they couldn't have Spidey get divorced, because that would be sitting a bad example for the kids who don't relate to him. So how can they get Spidey to be able to get single again so he can live with his aging aunt and be able to "have *** and download ****" (direct quote). (Hm, maybe I shouldn't include the actual words since I have no idea what the Google Ads will turn up if it focuses on those as keywords, but you can click the link, which will take you to a worksafe convention report where some upset fans confronted the Marvel EiC about the issue.) (And yes, I'm aware of the irony that "divorce" is considered a bad example for kids, but "pre-marital relations" and dirty pictures from the internet are used as and example of the good life that makes being single so exciting but I guess aren't so much of a bad example for the kids who aren't reading Spider-Man because they can't relate to him being married.)

Whew. Okay, so I'm being a little facetious and I'm sure that Mr. Q was as well. He made a stupid joke about things single Spidey can do that married Spidey can't do and he got called on it and now it's on the internet for everyone to see.

Here's the real problem I have. First, restrictions on characters enhance creativity in my experience. When you have restrictions that you have to deal with, you end up pushing yourself creatively. So a married Spidey SHOULD be pushing the creators to be creative, find a way to make the stories work. Make the stories relevant.

Second, the way Spidey gets separated from his wife is . . . he makes a deal with the devil.

A literal deal with the devil.

See, his aunt is about to die and the only option is the devil (not the ACTUAL devil, but a high level alternate from the Marvel Superhero Universe), who says he'll give Spidey his aunt back if Spidey gives up the one thing that gives him the most happiness: his marriage.

Now, let's keep in mind . . . Spidey is an educated man. A scientist able to create web shooters when he was in high school. He's fought some of the world's most evil people . . . some of the universe's most evil beings.
Okay, forgetting for a moment that Spidey is a genius -- literally. Don't you think he may have:

1. Noticed how some of his friends who have made deals with the devil and end up getting the bad end of things . . . ?

2. Seen some of the half-dozen Twilight Zone episodes where someone makes a deal with the devil and it backfires horribly . . . ?

3. Read some of the great literature, from Irving to Faust, showing how evil presents something that looks wonderful to us at first glance, but ends up hurting us more than it helped us . . . ?

4. At LEAST seen the Saturday Night Live Halloween episode where Jon Lovitz plays the devil going to People's Court, where he is being sued by a woman who signed a deal with him to make her to best hair stylist in the world, only to become SO good that they only need their hair done once and then never again, meaning NO RETURN CUSTOMERS!!! The devil's answer: "I'm the devil, it's what I do."

"It's what I do!!!"

C'mon, Spidey! Even Jon Lovitz knows this!!!

And that's the problem I have with this whole debacle.

Spidey, your Aunt's about to die and the DEVIL comes to you with a way to bring her back, and you're gonna trust him? I don't care HOW distraught you are . . . something's going to go wrong! Remember the hairdresser! She had NO RETURNING CUSTOMERS! And that was just a business deal. We're talking life or death here!

Wait, here's another example from your good buddy Ghost Rider. (Remember? You were in the Fantastic Four with him.) He makes a deal with the devil (same devil you just made your deal with) to save his father from an incurable disease. Only to have his father DIE the next day in a STUNT MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT!

So remember kids, when it comes to marriage, DIVORCE isn't a very good thing to do . . . but making a deal with the supreme evil of the universe to nullify the marriage so it never happened is.

~ Ben

January 2, 2008

World's Worst Geek Joke

My son and daughter always make up knock knock jokes. Sometimes, they surprise me with a good one that comes out of their little pre-school heads. Every once in a while, I'll come up with a silly pun and share it with my kids. Sometimes they even laugh.

I haven't shared the following with them. There's many reasons for this. First, you have to be a geek (or a reasonable facsimile) to get it. Second, it's stupid. Third, it's probably not that original. 

But here it is. The worst, least original, stupidest geek joke ever muttered:

Knock knock.

Who's there?


Doctor who?


Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I'll be here all week.

~ Ben