Finder's Keepers
Name: Garth Cameron Graham
Email: FK@gcgstudios.com
Website: GCGStudios.com
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Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

Super Artfight: Student Edition!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Last minute update for you all!  I’m going to be at the Super Artfight! being sponsored by the American University Design Club.  The fight will be TOMORROW from 8 to 10pm and it promises to be an excellent show as always!  For those of you who have not seen a Super Artfight, this could be your chance.  If it IS your chance, you do yourself a disservice if you do not take that chance!  Three bouts of awesome artistic battle will be fought on the AU campus, and ink will be spilled.  oh yes…. there will be ink in the water.  I’m excited, can you tell?

Chapter Break

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

And there you have it folks.  Not a single missed update through the end of the chapter.  Just like I said I would.

You haven’t heard much out of me the last couple of weeks as I’ve been very busy.  I’ve been working hard on a really exciting project that I can’t say a whole lot about right now.  Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all about it soon.  However, I can tell you that this project has proven to me that I can work much more efficiently if I make some minor changes to how I go about things.

That being said I’m going to take a couple of weeks off to get the next bit of Finder’s prepped and good to go.  The timing isn’t bad, really, as I’ve mentioned before there’ll be some fairly extensive updates to the website going on, and this way it won’t interfere with your reading!  I’ll post some sketches and the like in the meantime, and I’ll aim to talk more down here in the box, so there should still be things to keep one entertained.  Chapter 5 should start up just before Thanksgiving, on the 23rd, and we should go without interruptions until the chapter is over.

Incidentally, I did see last weeks episode of Castle, the one with the steampunk in it.  It was a good episode (as always), and I felt the steampunk was fairly well done.  Not too over-the-top and got the basics pretty solid.  It was kinda funny in that I could point out a lot of the various props and tell you who made ‘em.  Amused me greatly.  I will say, however, that the best way to have a duel without any actual chance of you know accidentally killing the other dude?  DON’T PUT THE GOD DAMN BALL IN THE GUN!  Reenactment troops fire off blanks all the god damn time.  Zero chance of accidental death.  I swear, some people are just asking to get shot dead.

It’s About Time

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but this weekend I’m going up to Rockville, MD not to rockclimb as I usually do but rather to go to the convention we’ve all been waiting for for a long long time.  That’s right, Intervention!  For years I’ve heard people talk about how awesome it would be to have a webcomic convention.  About how while it’s great that so many webcomics show up at Anime conventions, or how it’s nice of Anime Cons to have adopted webcomics as much as they have, webcomics aren’t anime, they aren’t normal comics, they aren’t even traditional indie comics and they really ought to have their own venues, trade shows, exhibitions, pink flamingos, and breakfast cereals.  I’ve heard it for years.  And now the time is upon us!

For those of you who haven’t looked into it already (and really, why wouldn’t you?), Intervention is the first internet-as-a-publishing-medium convention, and it’s really shaping up to what looks to be one hell of a show.  The guest list is truly mind-blowing for a first year event, with heavy hitters such as Hawk, Mookie, Handyside, Guigar, Molly Crabapple, FRED GALLAGHER (whom I haven’t seen at a con since… like 2006), the ComicPress guys, Pete Abrams, and so many many more!  Ben MOTHERFUCKING Bova was going to be there, but apparently has fallen ill and will be unable to attend.  I hope he feels better soon.  Bova (who is a superfamous science fiction writer for those of you who have never picked up a book) is collaborating with the infamous Rob Balder on a webcomic, for those curious.  For a first year con to have names like these on it’s guest list?  I mean really, why WOULDN’T you want to go?  And of course, there’s an even better reason than to meet all these amazing people and learn their secrets in the hours and hours and hours of programming lined up…

I’ll be there.  What more could you want?

Oh right.  SUPER ART FIGHT!

Ok I’m going to stop selling this now.  If I don’t stop, I’ll just go on and on forever.  You have no reason to not attend what looks to be an amazing good time, and hopefully the start of something even more incredible.  You should be there.  I’m going to be there.  With bells on.  See if I’m kidding.  Over the course of the weekend, I’ll be taking part in/running several panels including the aforementioned copyrights panel, my steampunk to cyberpunk history lesson, and even the rare Finder’s Keepers Q&A.  If I can figure out how to make it work (because social media is a strange and alien beast to me) I’ll also be taking questions via Twitter from 2-3 on saturday (when the panel is).  I think you just tweet your questions to GarthFT.

That’s all from me for now!

P.S.  For those of you confused about how Cardinal is disbanding that Umbra, re-read page 9 of the Prologue.

Recap and Rethinking

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

It’s always strange being in the Baltimore Convention Center for anything that isn’t Otakon. It’s like walking through a house you grew up in, but is now owned by a different family. It’s all old hat and yet so very different. Baltimore Comic Con proved that different is good.

I went to BCC several years ago when I was still in the early years of Comedity. It convinced me that the comic-con crowd just wasn’t a good match with my work. And so I stuck to anime cons for years. Now that I’m doing a pretty solidly “standard” format comic (complete with books) and upon the advice of some good friends and peers, I figured I’d give the comic-con scene another go.

I have never been to a more professional, friendlier, or smoother-run event in my life.

From load-in to packing up, the staff were helpful and informative, the convention center staff who usually haven’t clue one what’s happening or give a damn were equally helpful. People I had never met before in my life said good morning to me and asked how I was. Not just fans either. I had a blast, a great time, and came home pumped to work, never surer of myself or what I was doing with my life. I am officially putting EVERY OTHER CONVENTION OUT THERE ON NOTICE: figure out what Baltimore Comic Con is doing right, and follow suite.

However, as awesome as the con was, apparently there was a bit of a scuffle at the Harvey Awards (which I did not attend). The short of it is that comic creators Mark Waid and Sergio Aragones got into a heated discussion immediately following Mark Waid’s speech about copyrights and the internet. The short of it something along the lines of “kids are sharing scans of comic books. Instead of trying to keep a hard and fast hold on distribution, we should figure out a way to make money off of digital (free) distribution.” Just google “harvey awards” and you’ll find a bunch of opinions and reviews of exactly what was said. However, here you can find a pretty good summary and even better discussion of the issue in the comments. I actually really recommend reading the comments here, for once.

It is an interesting debate, and even more interesting to see how people feel it’s impossible to make money on a product that is given away. “There no money in digital distribution,” seems to be a common theme among many. Which is stupid. Plenty of webcomics have proven you can do it. It is, granted, rare that a webcomic becomes so successful as a fount of money that one can retire to the Bahamas, but it is doable. I wish I could give you a secret key to success, but I don’t know what it is. I suspect it has to do with the realization that one doesn’t make money on the content (comic). There is no money in online content, but it is an excellent mechanism for attracting an audience and playing the age old game of merchandising. But even that is only half the truth. The truth is, that people will pay money for online content, even the content they get for free (I’m looking at all you wonderful people who donate to your favorite webcomics or buy their books). They just won’t buy it sight unseen.

I’m reading a book right now called The Four Hour Work Week which, regardless of content, is the most compellingly written self-help book I’ve ever encountered. In it, it mentions the way to sell puppies (this makes perfect sense in context). The way to guarantee a puppy sale is not to tell the customer how awesome the puppy is, but rather to let the customer take the puppy home and tell them that if it doesn’t work out they can always return the puppy. Once they have the puppy home, you can pretty well guarantee that they won’t be able to bring themselves to return the pup. They’ve already become attached to him. Who could return something so cute! Look at those big brown eyes!

The same is oddly true of comics. Let a man read the first issue of an awesome comic, and he’ll pay you for the rest. Hell, webcomics have shown that if a reader likes a comic enough he’ll pay to have his own copy of something everyone can get for free. Also their favorite comic artist also sells that pretty swanky t-shirt…. oh and has arts to hang on your wall… oh my… and plushies!!! EEEEE!!! *fangasm*

One can, of course, argue that it’s not fair that creators aren’t compensated for all the hard work they put into actually creating their works, that it’s unfair that they must work to create a comic to draw an audience and then harder still to make merch to make a living. Well… then donate to your favorite creator. I’m sure they’ll happily take your money. I’m sure they could use it. And in an ideal world, all readers would contribute financially to the creators who provide them with hours of entertainment at no actual charge. Maybe one day, we’ll live in that world. Maybe one day we’ll all be able to do whatever it is that we yearn to do without having to worry about whether or not it’ll pay the bills and keep us fed and clothed. That’ll be a mighty fine day. But for now, I think that whatever the answer is, it involves seriously re-thinking this concept of being paid for ideas.

I run a panel on copyrights at a lot of the conventions I go to. And one of the things that I have to stress is that copyrights do not protect ideas. That’s not a copyright’s job. Copyrights protect tangibly recorded instances of ideas. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, look it up. I have an idea for a story. I write down the story. That story is protected by copyright. But if someone else were to go and write a story that was the same in essence but not the same in detail (wording, characters, style, etc etc) they’re allowed. I can go create a comic about a billionaire playboy who witnesses his parents being tragically murdered and uses his billions to fight crime to sate some fucked up psychological need for justice. DC comics can’t stop me from re-inventing Batman, so long as my story isn’t so similar as to be mistaken for theirs. My story and my art are mine. Their stories and their art are theirs. The idea is free to everyone. That’s what copyright is. Copyright exists to protect works, not ideas. Copyright is there to keep me from taking Batman verbatim and passing it off as my own. That is theft, plain and simple, and I don’t think anyone is seriously advocating the total abolishment of copyright. The stories you write, the art that you draw is still yours, and just because it gets passed around the internet doesn’t make it any less yours (yes, I know that distribution without consent violates copyright). Countless forum threads exist of people trying to find out where they can find more of artist X’s work, based on a random image they found somewhere else.

This debate could go on forever. I think that anyone who picks a “side” on this one is a fool. There are no sides here. It’s not a question of “give it away” or “lock it down.” It’s a question of “in a world where ideas are free for everyone, how does one make a living?”

The good and the bad.

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Otakon was insane as it always is. I met a crap ton of people, barely had time to eat, and all around had a good time. Congratulations to Katie Buxbaum, who won the custom framed copy of the Steam Beast art print. I’d like to thank everyone else who participated in the raffle.

Unfortunately, the awesomeness that was Otakon is tempered rather harshly by my remaining grandfather passing away yesterday. I’m flying out to Illinois for the memorial service this weekend. Needless to say, this is going to impair my comicing schedule and I would not count on an update until the 17th. Sorry guys, but I’ll get back to a regular schedule when life permits. I’ll be back. I hope you guys will still be here.

From Connecticut to Asgard

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Connecticon this year was a blast as always, full of merriment, good friends, phenomenal fans, and delicious beers! I can hardly wait for next year, but I must first focus on the upcoming behemoth that is Otakon. There is a legit segue in here, btw. One of our traditions at CTcon is the great gathering together and taking over of one of the local breweries every night and consuming vast quantities of delicious beer. It’s much like Valhalla I think, long tables full of good company and all you can drink for all eternity. Good times.

Which leads me to the latest image releases from the upcoming Thor film:

Now I’m not going to bother discussing the news that Thor and the First Avenger movies will be in 3D, I’m sure I’ve made my feeling clear on how little I like 3D movies. Rather, I’m going to talk a bit about the costume designs here.

One should bear in mind that I’ve never read Thor. I have never had any real interest in him as a superhero. He always struck me as basically Superman with an even funnier costume: i.e. the boyscout who doesn’t really have much of a personality to speak of and is just there to kick ass, chew bubblegum and be a good guy to thwart the villains. And that’s just not the Thor I know and love. See, I’m a huge fan of the Norse Mythos, and being predominantly norse in descent this is not terribly surprising. I’ve always loved the fact that of all the various religions that have sprouted up over the centuries, the Norse Gods are the only ones that I can think of that are pre-destined to loose the great battle at the end of all things. There no happy ending for anyone. The best you get is to die in combat, chill in Valhalla for a time (there’s my segue again) and then fight alongside the gods in a battle they are are destined to lose and the world all ends in entropy and darkness. And then starts over. This really says something to me about the Norse culture, and about humans in general. I like that struggle against odds you can’t beat, know you can’t, and in the end don’t, but you do it anyway because trying and losing is a hell of a lot better than never trying at all.

Anyway, I never read Thor because he and the rest of the Marvel AEsir just weren’t interesting. They were all flash and no substance. I mean, look at Loki’s horns and tell me that man’s wallet says “bad ass mother fucker” on it.
look at my hat!  it means I'm eeeeeeeevil!
“But Garth,” you might say, “the original Norse stories weren’t all that… you know… deep to begin with.” To which I would counter with, they are perhaps basic in their delivery, but they have a gravitas to them that I just never saw from Marvel’s Thor. Anywho, so the point is that I’m quite vested in anything that deals with the Norse myths, and here we have yet another adaptation this time on the big screen!

So what do we think of the still? Well, it’s hard to say. I REALLY like the concept of Anthony Hopkins playing Odin (a man so bad ass he hung himself from a tree for three days just for kicks). My first thought is “it’s too bright.” Which is strange as most of the colors in this shot are dark grey. I kinda like the armor designs, very Too Human in their design, which I kinda dug. I wish they weren’t so plastic-y. However, Ironman managed to make the plastic suit look like metal so maybe in post-production these’ll look good too. I’m glad they ditched Loki’s ridiculous horns. And I’m not sure what’s up with Odin’s eyepatch. It doesn’t appear to be the same gold color as the accents in his armor, and so it really stands out, obnoxiously so. I do like that there is a slight raven shape in it, but I could be imagining awesome where there isn’t any. I’d also have liked to see some runes carved into that shit. Seriously, there is nothing that says “viking” more than runes everywhere. Well, runes, and horned fur-lined helmets.

Asgard (i.e. the background) looks cool, but a little too clean cut. All around it says to me “ancient alien tech” more than it does “viking hall.” And perhaps they’re running with that. Maybe the AEsir really are crazy powerful super alien beings who came to earth to wage great wars and fight off terrible monstrosities to protect the hapless primitive native life. Stargate did it, why not Marvel?

So, in summary? Is it awesome? Hell yes. Sure, I’d like to see the AEsir be less polished and grittier. I’d like to see more drinking contests that end in the consumption of the local ocean. But! As long as Thor throws Mjolinir with such force that he is physically hauled off his feet, sent flying through the air after the less-than-perfectly forged thunderbolt, I will be one very happy citizen of Midgard.

Sooo… Games in Motion

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Sorry guys. I just haven’t gotten this shit done. How’s that for a first eh? A Webcomic that just tells you the page isn’t done on time rather than making excuses? I could tell you that there’s been some chaotic upheaval in my personal life and that I’ve been a slackass and let it affect my professionalism, or that I’ve been working on other tasks (moving, commissions, new art pieces) and it’s just eaten up my time, or that I’ve been having horrible writers block and the scripting is slowing me down. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The end result is the same: comic ain’t done. As bad as I feel about being a slackass, because being a slackass sucks, I’m not pulling my punches on this one. The next quality awesome installment of our epic adventure will be posted as soon as it is done. In the mean time… play some kickball, the comic will be here when you come back.

In other news, I’m going to talk about gaming for a bit. Holy shit! I know! You thought I didn’t do anything but sleep and draw stuff, didn’t you! Ha! Fooled you! I’m something of a gamer, though a casual one at that. Used to be pretty hardcore FPSer back in the days of Day of Defeat. I was killer with my k98 back in highschool. Alas, I’ve gotten slower, and the kids who play those games now keep getting faster, and everything looks to be the same shade of hyper-textured brown to me. You know, when shit ain’t exploding. But I do enjoy me some gaming now and again. I’ve been a stalwart PC purist for a long time now, but despite my stance that your computer is a better gaming machine and far more useful than any entertainment/gaming console the gaming industry has embraced consoles as the heart of it all. Every year more and more excellent games come out for consoles only, and on the rare instance where they’re available for PC as well it is quite obvious that they were meant for consoles. I played Prince of Persia (not the most recent sands of time one, the one before that with the headscarves) on PC and despite it being a mind-blowingly awesome game, the game play was less than stellar because all of the moves were mapped specifically for the xbox. Hell, the PC port was so bad that they didn’t even change the graphics. When those quicktime events came up it’d be all “PRESS A!” and I’d be all “shit! what key is mapped to A? Oh right! Spacebar” but by the time my brain finished that, it’d be too late. So consoles are here to stay. And the way they’re looking it looks like your console will one day be the hub of your household entertainment. It’ll be your media player, replacing DVDs, blu-ray, crystal matrix, whatever, and simply access media content through the great NET. Oh, and you can link your far more useful and multi-purpose computer to it as well. It is the future, I fear.

But something interesting has happened. The Wii came about and it was awesome. Motion control! Sweet! Virtual reality is here and it doesn’t suck! Sorta. The Wii is a great system, I wanted one since they announced it, but really I just can’t think of anything I’m dying to play on the wii. My roommates had a Wii and a 360, and I never played anything Wii-ish. I tried Zelda and didn’t care. Tried Metroid and got bored. Nothing engaged me on the Wii. Ah well, nice attempt, maybe next round. Well now, of course, Microsoft and Sony are trying to get in on that motion-sensitive casual gamer market that the Wii has been printing money off of for the last several years. And you know what? I’m not impressed. Not for gaming anyway. As awesome as it sounds to have you know a “gun” to play your FPS with, point and click and all that, until you make it totally immersive and figure out a decent movement control, it’s gonna suck. Go play yourself some airsoft or paintball, way more fun. And I have to say that while some of the manipulative abilities of the PS move are pretty sweet, the wands you use are some of the goofiest looking things ever. They make wiimotes look hardcore. The 360′s Kinect system I actually have more interest in, because unlike the PS move it actually takes motion sensitive technology to its logical conclusion: remove the controller. Why do you need it anyway, right? If you can make a gesture and have shit happen, why do you need to waggle a remote? Now, I don’t think the Kinect is going to be especially great for gaming. I could be proven wrong, but I don’t think it’ll really catch on. However, for baseline menu control and interacting with the BOX as opposed to the game, I think it has epic potential. Picture this:

You walk into your living room, power on your system, and plop down on your couch. With a swipe of your hand you quickly scroll through your Netflix que, decide there’s nothing new you wanna watch. A quick flick upward and you’ve shifted over to the Xbox live to see who of your gamer buddies are online and to see if that new demo finally downloaded. It did! So a quick verbal “play demo” statement sets it running. You grab your controller and play through some awesomeness for 15 minutes until a message from Frank saying that they’re getting a CoD game going and if you want in. Another quick hand gesture swaps out the focus from the demo you were playing to the chat window. And you voip Frank that you’re ready to go, as you quickly swipe your way through menus to boot up CoD. Or conversely, maybe Frank’s pissed you off and you angrily swipe the chat box off your screen and get back to your demo.

Maybe I’m just too much in love with Tony Stark’s 3D modeling computer, but that sounds pretty awesome to me. Maybe the Kinect can give us the start of that. Maybe not. Time will undoubtedly tell.

Attention Forum Admins

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Right, so. I am highly displeased. Through either intentional malice or accidental good intentions, I’ve managed to be banned form my own forums. This is UNACCEPTABLE. I’m posting about this because lo and behold I was trusting and communicated with my admins mostly through the forum private message system and I can no longer find their actual email addresses. So, here’s the deal.

Either I get unbanned in the equivalent of 30 internet seconds OR…

Or I’m going to DELETE THE ENTIRE FUCKING FORUM AND CALL IT A LOST CAUSE.

Am I clear?

Fix it.

I’m Shippin’ up to Boston…

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

So, two of my best friends just got married in Salem. It was an awesome wedding, and the lovely couple are undoubtedly enjoying themselves in the manner that all newly weds do. Many congratulations to the both of them!

Needless to say… I’m in Boston right now. Well, Swampscott, technically, but whatever. The important point is, what with the wedding (which I wouldn’t miss for the world) and Anime Boston next weekend (where I’m very excited to be running the panel “Steampunk to Cyberpunk: a History”) I am not at the office (i.e. the basement) and I will not be there until the 5th of April. I attempted to get a buffer built up, but alas it was not to be. So, my apologies, my dear friends and esteemed readers, but there will not be new pages until the 6th at the earliest. I will, however, be making a point to post more here in this blog over the next week or so, in an attempt to make up for lost blogging.

Sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans. And life is fucking amazing right now.

Finder’s Keepers the Movie

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

So an interesting question was raised at the Finder’s Keepers Q&A panel at Katsucon the other weekend. I was asked “so who would you have play the roles in Finder’s Keepers the live action movie?” I was unable to successfully answer this question as I had never given it a great deal of thought. Pondering it a bit I can only say that a young Viggo Mortesen would make an amazing Cardinal. I still have no ideas for the rest of the cast. So let’s play, shall we? Who should play the cast of Finder’s Keepers?