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Name: Garth Cameron Graham
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Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

The Internet and Congress

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

So, at this point in time if you’re not aware of SOPA and the PIPA legislation you must be living in a cave, or don’t use the internet at all, and so aren’t reading this anyway.  So I’m not going to bother explaining either of these bills.  You know what they are.

On the bright side, they’re effectively dead.  What supporters they have have backed out, opposition is rampant, hell even the White House is set to shoot them down if the House or Senate were to pass them, assuming they still have the numbers to make that happen.

Unfortunately, while these particular bills seem unlikely, this is not the first nor is it likely to be the last time such things will be proposed.  Which is troubling.  I understand the concerns of intellectual piracy.  Piracy is wrong.  Period.  Don’t try to defend it to me, such arguments are fallacies.  However, having a stranglehold on the distribution methods is not an acceptable answer.

There is a better way.  I don’t pretend to know just what it is, but I like to think that I am part of something that may just figure it out.  Webcomics give their content away for free.  I have to wonder, what would happen to sales if  Hollywood used our business model?  What would happen if a movie was released, officially, free for your viewing pleasure online with simultaneous release in theaters?  Would theaters really suffer?  As it is, no one really likes going to the movie theater.  It’s always full of noisy people interrupting your viewing experience, sticky floors, and that one drunk dude who inevitably pukes up his popcorn.  But maybe, having seen a film at 1600×900 pixels, Jeff would gather up his six best buddies and go see what he now knew for certain to be an awesome film on the big screen, and BE HAPPY to pay the $12 for the privilege.  Having seen the film for free, perhaps sales would actually spike.

Maybe that’s a fantasy.  I don’t pretend to know for sure.  But I have to say, the only way to really prevent piracy is to change how people feel about paying for content.  If they don’t know, or think it’s crap, or simply don’t care they’re not going to shell out.  But for quality, people will pay through the nose.  Changing people’s minds is the only way to bring about change.  No law, no regulation, no penalty, nothing will make things change until you change their minds.  Change their minds.  Make them care.

So how do you make an audience, a market, care?  You open up.  It really is that simple, as far as I can tell.  The most successful production companies are the ones that put themselves into their product, and truly wish to share it with their audiences.  When you put up pay walls and lock things down with regulation and excessive licensing, you push people away.  You give off the impression that you want to keep whatever media you’ve created for yourselves, that you only begrudgingly allow others to see it because they’ve bribed you with money.  Is it really so surprising that there are those who wouldn’t think twice about sneaking a peek without paying up?

I don’t know how to end piracy.  I don’t know if my business model translates to any other media type.  I don’t even know if the webcomic business model is a viable model writ large.  Perhaps it’s only rare exceptions who make it work.  But I do know, without hesitation that I, as a consumer, will eagerly pay top dollar for media I enjoy and/or enriches my life.  And the harder it is for me to acquire my beloved movies and books and music and comics through official channels, the more likely I am to walk away.

And so in parting thoughts, I shall sum up the business model for the new millennium in four easy steps:

  1. Make it Awesome.
  2. Make it Accessible.
  3. ???
  4. Profit.

Supergirl, Super Fine

Friday, November 18th, 2011

To minimize the differences, I’ve gone with Supergirl as our female superhero up for a sexy make over.

Supergirl has always been one of those characters that doesn’t really have a lot going for her except being the female version of Superman.  And that’s all well and good, but it really has lead to her really seeking an identity as a character, which you can see in frequent wardrobe changes throughout the years.  Unlike the iconic Superman uniform, Supergirl’s costume changes practically with every story line, artist, writer, title, crisis, or drop of a hat.  Most of the designs wind up being more or less Superman’s uniform but as a dress.  Some of them get more creative than others, but ultimately she always seems to come back to “what if Superman was a girl, and a cheerleader?”  I think we can do way better than that, and skirts don’t exactly scream “superhero” to me.  So lets see why I made the choices I made in her new sexy red and blues.

The Hourglass figure is the predominant shape that most people agree says “sexy lady,” so I wanted to emphasize the the width of her bust and her hips, but NOT her shoulders, as we did with Superman.  Going in the OPPOSITE direction, we extend the Super S delta across her breasts and downwards away from her shoulders.  This, emphasizes her bust, but minimizes her powerful manly shoulders (which are a result of being crazy strong).  We use the same darker-blue ribbing we did with Superman (to keep to a stylistic theme) to visually minimize her waist and show off her ever sexy abdominal core.  Everyone admires a nice pair of abs, male or female.  To emphasize her hips, we give her a wide, low belt, which also makes her red briefs seem briefer than they actually are.  As we showed with Superman, nothing’s sexier than a bit of skin, so we keep her thighs bare, and give her an off the shoulder neck-line.

I’m going to pause here, and address why I did this, because I think it’s worth stating.  Whereas men have sexy arms, women have sexy legs.  For whatever reason we have it in our heads that strong legs are feminine and strong arms are masculine.  I’m sure there’s an explanation, but I don’t know it.  But regardless of why we think this, we do.  So whereas we covered up Superman’s legs, and showed off his arms, we do the reverse with Supergirl.  And they look better and sexier for it.

Because of the big S on her chest, we can’t really show any cleavage, but we can give the impression of being undressed by highlighting her collarbones and tops of her shoulders.  It gives her a very sexy look without actually showing a whole hell of a lot.

We also give her boots a few more inches of lift than we gave to Superman (yeah, he had heels, go look).  I hear a lot of people complain that high heels make no practical sense in superherodom, yet they show up EVERYWHERE.  While I agree stilettos are kinda silly for an active life style, heels do wonderfully attractive things to a person’s calf muscles.  They give your legs a longer, sleeker, stronger, sexier look.  I’d also like to state that running in heels is perfectly possible and just because it hurts YOUR mortal feet, doesn’t mean the girl from krypton can’t take it in stride and look crazy hot all at the same time.  Over all you’ll note that Supergirl, while having many of the same design elements as Superman, uses a lot more curves and fewer straight hard lines.  This also accents her femininity which we want to celebrate rather than hide.

So there you have it.  Two iconic superheroes done up in costumes to be unquestionably hot, but refraining from being degrading, demeaning, or sexist.  A blend of practicality and killer fashion.  What do you guys think?

Sexy Man of Steel

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

So let’s start our sexy superhero study with the harder subject:  Superman.

Superman is truly one of the most iconic superheros ever created, so iconic even that he is one of the very few characters who has totally failed to have any significant costume change stick for any prolonged period of time.  Here I present to you Supe’s new sexy duds.  I think he’s looking pretty sharp.  How about you?  Would you endanger yourself to have him “rescue” you?

So why’d I make the changes I made?  Let us investigate.

Starting with our basic superman build, we’re in luck as he’s pretty sexy all by himself.  But he can’t be running around in the buff, so we’re going to attempt to emphasize all the bits that make him a total stud.  The sexiest part of the male figure is the torso and arms.  Ask anyone who’s into guys, they’ll confirm this with rare exception.  Furthermore, it is the trapezoidal shapes that are considered the hottest:  the broad shoulders and wide chest tapering to a narrow waist.  A shape which is also frequently repeated in the face:  cheekbones to chin.

So to emphasize those broad shoulders, we take the Superman S and extend clear to his shoulders.  We use a ribbing texture and a darker blue color on his sides to visually diminish his waist and show off his abdominal core which is a part of the body that is considered sexy in both genders.  The red shorts are too iconic to not keep, but we give them a sexier lower-rise, and mimic the downward angles used in the Superman S.  For visual consistency, we repeat that angle in the tops of his boots.  Nothing’s sexier than looking slightly undressed, so we keep his arms bare, keep his collar low and open at the throat, and we give his boots a little bulk.  Instead of the traditional neck or shoulder cape, we throw it over his shoulders, clasped with a Superman shield emblem to give him the look of a dashing rogue.

And there you have it:  Superman at his sexiest.  An outfit clearly designed for sex appeal, but hardly demeaning to the character.  Up next:  Supergirl.

Pants or No Pants?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

No comic this week folks.  I’ve been swamped in paid work and some big social obligations have eaten up my time.  However, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about some things, and so I’m going to share them with you for whatever they’re worth.

Something I’ve been noticing a lot lately is criticism of female superheroes, how they’re written, how they’re dressed, and a lot of the criticism bothers me.  Some of its legit criticism, and some of its just plain stupid.  Most of the complaining, ironically, seems to come from men.  While the whole re-writing of Starfire’s polyamorous alien culture of love and emotion into a cold and detached “no man owns me” frat-boy-esque get your rocks off wherever you feel is just flat out disgusting and bad writing, whether or not Wonder Woman’s pants or lack there of is sexist is just ridiculous.

Let us be clear about something regarding superheroes:  they are ridiculous.  They are larger than life, smarter, stronger, and better people than any of us.  They are ideals for us to live up to.  They are symbols.  Icons.  But they are ridiculous and extreme.  They wear flashy costumes, dress in symbols and capes, and their vigilantism is utterly ridiculous.  Real crimefighters would never dress or act like any superhero even if they did have super powers.  So let us move beyond arguments like “it’s not practical for her to have bare legs.”

Superheroes should be sexy.  They are idolized versions of human beings, why should they not be sexy?  Should our perfect versions not be strong, smart, competent, and beautiful?  If the answer is “no, they shouldn’t,” you clearly need to read something other than superhero comics.  Because I think you’re missing the point.

However, what is attractive about and for men is not the same for women.  While a woman looks good in a cocktail dress, a man does NOT look good in the same dress, even when it fits him.  Contrariwise, a suit that looks right sharp on a man does not flatter a woman.  Simple truth.  But just so we’re clear, just because outfits and costumes for men and women are different, does not excuse some designs which are beyond ridiculous and surpass bad design and delve into poor taste.  The kind of taste you find in sleazy strip clubs.

So how do you design a super hero costume that is sexy, but not sexist?  I’m gonna show you!  Over the next week, I’m going to take two of our most iconic superheroes, one man, and one woman, and design sexy costumes for them that are not degrading but empowering.  More-over I’ll explain the principles behind and reasons for my design choices.

Stay tuned.


Monday, August 1st, 2011

Well, today’s update is the page that I had ALMOST ready to post on Friday, but I had to leave for Baltimore’s OTAKON before I could finish.  That was more frustrating than you know.  However, the rest of the weekend went amazingly.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by my table and said “hi.”  It was good to see so many of you.  And for those of you who missed me, I’ll be returning to Baltimore shortly for Baltimore Comic Con!  And if you can’t make it to Baltimore there’s the extremely exciting Intervention coming up soon too.  As much as I love the big cons like Otakon and Comic Con, the cons I’m more involved with (like Intervention) are even more enjoyable.  I like running panels and being informative in ADDITION to all the usual meet-and-greet and commerce.

Something I’ve learned over the years going to cons and selling my art and comics:  if you’re an artist, don’t be in the dealers room.  Be in the artist alley.  Despite the differences between dealers rooms and alleys diminishing over the years as more and more artists start doing this kind of thing professionally, the two spaces remain vastly different.  And the people who walk through the rooms are very different with very different mindsets even when they’re the same person.  I’m not sure exactly how to explain this phenomenon, but suffice it to say there’s a difference.

I think with more and more alley’s cracking down on the rampant proliferation of fanart, people who visit artist alleys expect more unique pieces, more original works, less commercial.  Whatever the reason, I’ve found that people look for me in artist alleys.  My place is in the alley.  It’s where my people are.  Thank you for looking for me.

Chapter 6

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Hello all out there in internet land!  I’ve been away for a while, but no more!  Finder’s Keepers returns to an active update schedule starting this friday, and will continue updating twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays until I go mad, burn out, or the chapter ends.  This is happening, brace yourselves.  It’s going to be amazing.

Once More ‘Round the Sun

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

So normally I don’t make a big to-do about my birthday.  Makes me feel awkward most times.  Just another day right?  Not like I really did anything to be celebrated.  Kinda embarrassing to be fussed over and made a big thing about.   This year is  a little different though.

Throughout this last year I’ve been reminded time and time again how fleeting everything is.  I’ve had relatives who weren’t expected to live much longer die on me.  I’ve had relatives unexpectedly drop dead out of the blue.  Hundreds of lives have been lost in Japan and thousands more throughout the Pacific due to mother nature being unexpectedly violent and callous.  Romances die, and friendships end, and ultimately nothing proves to last.  Everything ends, everyone dies, and nothing lasts as long as you think it will.

Which really just makes all the time we do have all the more precious.  This year I’m making something of a to-do about my birthday because it marks one more year I have made, one more jog around the sun.  It’s another year of friends I may not have had, and loves that may never have been, and I am grateful for all of the time, because it’s one more year that could easily not have been.

My eternal thanks goes out to all my family, all my friends, and all whom have ever cared about me and I them.  I could not ask for better, and if anything I could stand to do better by them.  You all remind me how very lucky I am and how much I really do have to celebrate on this anniversary of my birth.

Never forget how fleeting life is.  Live every day to its fullest, and delight in your friends, family, and loved ones.  They are precious things in the short time we have.  Treasure them.  They’re what makes life worthwhile.

Can you hear me now?

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Just a quick thing, I was asked to be a part of this week’s podcast over at The Webcomic Beacon.  Being new to the whole podcasting thing, I have to say it was a lot of fun.  I with Mark Savary, Fes Works, and our host Rosscott talked over a bunch of interesting tidbits and goings on in the world of digital comics.  I think it was a pretty good discussion so check it out.

Also, you may have noticed, I’ve updated my convention schedule, as seen to your right –>

Clearly I’m going to be a lot of places this year.  I’m very excited about all of it, truth be told, but I’m particularly pleased to be returning to my alma mater, Virginia Tech, on the 1st of April for Technicon!  I’m very much looking forward to this year.  Exciting things are afoot!

Katsucon and Friends Review

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

So my problem with this blog thing, I think, is simply that all the stuff that I normally would talk about I actually talk about with friends.  Thus eliminating the urge to talk about it in the blogsphere.  Feels like I’m repeating myself at times, but for the sake of posting I’m going to be reviewing some random stuff I’ve encountered as of late.

First off, Katsucon!  Katsucon this year, like every year, was a lot of fun.  I always get to see good friends, shmooze with fans and pros alike, and in general Katsu has treated me better than any other con I can think of.  It’s nice when you’re treated like a real guest instead of a lowly webcomic guest.  I was saddened that I didn’t get to do more panels than I did, and it was disheartening in the least to find myself in the back corner of the alley facing a wall… so if you find yourself thinking “wait… you were there?” now you know why you didn’t find me.  But despite the issues that were had, it was a fun weekend all around.

I recently watched Eagle Eye, and really it was a very solid film for what it was.  The only problem was that it was a predictable technophobic sci-fi thriller.  And you know… the idea of “man builds smart machine to protect him/make his life better and the machine decides that because man doesn’t listen to the superior machine the machine must kill man, it’s just bollocks.  To think that it’s a logical conclusion is just inane.  No machine, no matter how smart or how capable, would give two shits if we listened to it.  Even assuming that it’s a true AI and not super clever programming, why would it care?  And even if it did care that we didn’t follow its sage advice, how is overthrowing man, killing us all, or any of the other usual bullshit technophobic drama a logical answer?  It’s an extremist response even for a human being, let alone something bound by logic the way a computer is.

For a brief moment in the film I thought, “hey, maybe the computer (I had figured out it was an AI running the show maybe 15 minutes in) is actually doing all this gross manipulation of random people for some kind of greater good that we just can’t see.”  And then I was disappointed immediately to realize, nope.  It’s just an evil machine doing evil stuff.  Way to go.  And not even like GlaDOS evil, in the name of perpetuating research, just evil temper tantrum ‘you didn’t listen to me! so I’m going to kill you and replace you with someone who will!  See if I don’t!”

Despite having to work hard (and repeatedly) to suspend my disbelief at the inanity of this computer, I rather enjoyed the film.  Also that hand-launched spy-glider drone thing at the very beginning of the film?  That actually amazed me more than any of the “what do you mean you can turn my cellphone on from remote at follow my every movement?”  Sign of the times, I guess.

Speaking of the times, there’s an iPad2 now.  Hooray another sequel!  I dunno what to say really.  It’s more awesome than the original for sure, and people seem to really dig the original iPad despite the stupid name.  And it is a stupid name, so no I will not get over that.  I have to say I like the concept behind the whole tablet phenomenon.  I may well end up with an iPad of my own at some point, unless I can find me a better tablet alternative.  However, I feel this is unlikely.  I still feel like tablets should come with a stylus though.  They’re supposed to be like digital notepads right?

One last thing:  there’s a bunch of awesome movies out right now, one of which I had heard not word one about:  The Adjustment Bureau.  While it’s yet another movie based on a book, this one is based on a book by Philip K. Dick, and I loves me some … wait… lemme rephrase that.  Philip K. Dick is a cornerstone of everything dark and not-to-distant-future.  Blade Runner, Johnny Mnemonic, Minority Report, Total Recall, Screamers, A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck all are movies based on his works, and all of them (even the ones that weren’t that great) are just the kind of stories I love.  The Adjustment Bureau is hitting theaters this weekend and I only just today STUMBLED across its existence.  How is this possible?  How have I heard NOTHING about this film until it’s hitting theaters?  Whomever is in marketing for this film is DOING IT WRONG!  Regardless, I’m excited about it, and it’ll be interesting to see if Matt Damon can do a Philip K. Dick story better than Ben Afleck did.

The Silent Artist

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Clearly Garth has been replaced by some sort of art machine.  He must be dead and rotting somewhere and it is only through sheer luck or magic or alien technology that things continue to update on time unabated.  Ok, that’s not true, I am alive and well.  Or mostly well.  I seem to have caught a touch of con plague while in Ohio this last weekend.  I blame it more on me being stupid and standing out in the cold.

Other than the touch of plague, Ohayocon proved itself to be, yet again, extremely awesome.  Speaking of which the first segment of the con season has started!  For all you lovely folks who came by to see me at Ohayo, thank you!  For those of you who met me for the first time and are now reading the comic, welcome!  For those of you unfamiliar, to your right you’ll notice a listing of the places I’ll be making appearances this year!  Oof, doesn’t that make me sound like some kind of hotshot celebrity?  Shenanigans!  I’m going places and doing things though, perhaps places you’ll be going, perhaps places near you!  You should be aware, check it out!  This weekend I’ll be down in Greensboro for WTH?!con and just a two short weeks afterwards I’ll be rocking out Katsucon at the Gaylord.  Which really does look like Rapture City before it all went to pot.

But I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Garth, sure you’ve been updating but you haven’t said anything in a long while, why so quiet?  What have you been up to?  It can’t be just conventions.”  And you’d be right!  There’s a lot of things in the works that I can’t quite reveal to you yet.  Yes, I know, spooky and mysterious!  Patience, yes, patience!  All shall be revealed in good time!  Until then, I wonder whatever will happen next to poor Cailyn.