Friday, December 30, 2011

Favorite Movies of 2011

It's time once again for my incredibly dorky, incredibly pointless list of personal favorite movies for the year. Two things of note before we begin:

I can obviously only rate the movies I saw. If I’d seen every movie I wanted to, the list might look a little different. Also, I didn’t see nearly as many movies this year in general compared to recent years, so that gave me far fewer things to pick from for this list.

Also, I'm not necessarily ranking this based on what is supposedly the most finely crafted, amazing movie (though I think a few of them are). These are simply the movies I had the most fun watching, out of what I saw.

1. The Muppets (November 23, 2011)
Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but it was darn near close. And maybe I’m biased since I’m a lifelong Muppet fan, but who cares? Jason Segel and crew successfully breathed new life into these beloved characters, bringing them closer to their original, Henson-era antics than they’ve been in a while. Full of humor and with heart to spare, no movie in 2011 put a bigger smile on my face.

2. Bridesmaids (May 13, 2011)
Easily one of the best comedies I’ve seen in some time (yes, I know The Muppets, which I ranked above this one, is technically a comedy, too, but I’m referring here to movies that fit exclusively into the comedy genre). Kristin Wiig does a phenomenal job leading a phenomenal cast in one of the most entertaining movies of the year.

3. Hugo (November 23, 2011)
I was surprised by how much I liked this movie--I hadn’t even intended to see it until the positive reviews and word-of-mouth piqued my curiosity. Scorsese has crafted a film that engages both dramatically and visually (even the 3D was beautiful and well-used, and I’m no fan of that gimmick). I especially enjoyed how we were given, through fictional narrative, a sort of history lesson about one of the original pioneers of movies.

4. Young Adult (December 16, 2011)
A great story with a great cast under great direction. Really enjoyed this simple, darkly funny downer of a tale.

5. War Horse (December 25, 2011)
I know nothing of the novel or the stage play, but I thought the movie was very well executed. It’s pure Spielberg-ian melodrama right from the beginning, but I found I didn’t mind letting myself be taken in by it. The cinematography and intense action sequences add a lot to the experience.

6. Paul (March 18, 2011)
An irreverent and funny, nerd-friendly sci-fi movie. Kristin Wiig’s supporting character manages to steal the show, which is saying something given she’s paired with the excellent duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. And you know what? Even Seth Rogen playing basically Seth-Rogen-as-a-raunchy-alien wasn’t so bad!

7. X-Men: First Class (June 3, 2011)
After an abysmal third installment to the original trilogy and a painfully lackluster Wolverine spin-off, it was great (and a little surprising) to actually enjoy myself during an X-Men move again.

8. Source Code (April 1, 2011)
Not as uniquely engaging as Duncan Jones’ debut effort, Moon, but still an entertaining sci-fi thriller.

9. Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011)
Along with X-Men: First Class, I really enjoyed the retro-40’s romp more than most recent superhero movies. It definitely left me feeling cautiously optimistic about next year’s Avengers project.

10. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (December 21, 2011)
Yeah, I know, Tom Cruise is in it, and it can be bit hard to separate him from the characters he plays in movies. But I’m a huge fan of director Brad Bird’s work in the field of animation (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Iron Giant, etc.) and I wanted to see his live-action debut. Story-wise, it’s just your typical big-budget action movie, but the action itself is extremely well-shot and exciting. Looks like Bird has made a successful transition!

Honorable Mentions:
While I’m a bigger fan of the books than the movies, I thought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was a nicely done conclusion to the film series. Winnie the Pooh, while definitely aimed at a younger audience, was charming and beautifully animated. Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango were also fun animated fare. I also enjoyed Sherlock Holmes 2 and Thor as light, adventurous fun.

Disappointments and Let-Downs:
I really wanted to love Cowboys and Aliens, but it just sort of fell flat. Not terrible, just a bit of wasted potential. Super 8 was another movie that, while certainly well done, somehow failed to move me. And, finally, we have Cars 2. While I admittedly never expected to like it in the first place—and in that regard was not technically “disappointed”—it was indeed disappointing to see the always-stellar Pixar release something as profoundly lackluster (and profoundly un-requested) as this sequel. The animation was typically gorgeous, at least. Here’s hoping next summer's Brave is a return to form!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Christmas Card

This is my 2011 Christmas card. It's the first year since I've been doing my own cards that Jenn & Bueno have not been featured on it (I swear those two will eventually resurface from their hiatus)! After my recent "Trick-or-Treating Alligator" Halloween illustration, I couldn't resist trying this idea. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 05, 2011

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I couldn't resist this cheesy, Disney-fied spoof of the upcoming movie, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Enjoy!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Muppets: I Can Truly See!

Poor Beaker! He just can't seem to catch a break.

This is the last (for now, at least) in the series of Muppets fan art I've been posting leading up to the new movie (which is, by the way, very good). Enjoy!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Muppets: Rowlf and Lucy!

Looks like Rowlf has taken temporary leave of the Muppet Theater for a guest gig on Schroeder's piano!

This continues my series of Muppets fan art I'm posting as I wait excitedly for the new movie. (And in this case throws in a little Peanuts fan art for good measure!) Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

New Girl with Zooey Deschanel is a really hyped show right now. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a really hyped book/movie right now. This crossover demanded to be done, so I slapped it together last night. Enjoy!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Muppets: What Do Bears Dream?

Poor Fozzie. At least he gets laughs in his dreams!

This continues my series of Muppets fan art I'm posting as I wait excitedly for the new movie. Enjoy!


Monday, November 07, 2011

Muppets: Gonzo Gets Chopped!

Uh-oh, looks like Gonzo got a little too flirty with Miss Piggy again!

I'm a huge Muppets fan, and I'm going to be posting a few pieces of fan art leading up to the upcoming new movie. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Commission: Pity the Fool!

A recent fan commission featuring Parker from the TV show Leverage (which I've never seen), stealing precious gold from Mr. T as B.A. Baracus from The A-Team.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trick-or-Treating Alligator

A second Halloween-themed post for your entertainment here at the Blog-O! this week: A trick-or-treating alligator. Enjoy!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Lydia Pin-Up No. 3

Over the past couple of years, around Halloween, I've done a pin-up style illustration of a slightly older version of Lydia from the 90's animated series, Beetlejuice. I decided to keep with that tradition this year, although this years' may just be more "Halloween-y" than "pin-uppy".

Lydia's school uniform was the last of her three main costumes from the show that I hadn't used yet, so it's featured here. Who knows where I'll go next year! For now, enjoy!

You can also revisit the previous Lydia illustrations along with this one!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Comic Strip From a Dream!

I don't keep up with modern newspaper comics very closely, though I'll read them if I happen to have a paper in front of me. This weekend I had an extremely vivid dream that I was reading the Sunday comics and I saw this Beetle Bailey strip. I very clearly remember the panels, especially the first one and the last one. It was so weird I woke myself up laughing and decided I had to attempt to recreate the madness. And here it is! Enjoy!


Beetle Bailey © King Features

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Setting Up A Room!

The second post in a single week! How's that for you?

This one was inspired by one of the latest shorts to be riffed by the masters at RiffTrax (the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000, if you're not familiar), "Setting Up A Room". A 1967 informational reel featuring two personality-free women, working--with apparently little script--to organize a kindergarten classroom. For 27 minutes! Truly one of the most bizarre things the guys have ever done, and for that, I loved it--enough to be compelled to draw fan art!


Here's the link to the RiffTrax page where you can purchase "Setting Up A Room". If you've never done RiffTrax before (and why haven't you?!), you might want to start with another one, as this one is so off the wall as to not be for everyone.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Commission: Rapunzzler!

Another recent fan commission: Disney's Rapunzel (with Pascal) appearing as Marvel Comics' Dazzler! Rapunzzler, anyone? Enjoy!


Rapunzel & Pascal © Disney
Dazzler © Marvel Comics

Monday, September 05, 2011

DragonCon 2011

If you'll forgive me a momentary break from the usual art posts, I thought I'd share my pictures from DragonCon 2011 with you.

I only attended one day of the con (Saturday) and, being the Back to the Future nerd that I am, my main reason for going this year was to see Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and James Tolkan. They were great, but of course the con is a lot of fun in general, and the people-watching alone is worth the price of admission! Below are my pictures and video clips:

Click here for pictures of fans in costumes (I was Marty McFly myself). Even with as many as I took, I didn't get a tenth of all the cool (or simply strange) ones I saw!

Click here for pictures of the Back to the Future Q&A Panel with Thompson, Lloyd and Tolkan:

Individual Video Clips from the Back to the Future Q&A Panel with Thompson, Lloyd and Tolkan
(the one link below is the first of twelve clips in a playlist. They'll play straight through if you let them, or you can pick them individually):

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Weird Al!

I'm a (nearly) lifelong "Weird Al" Yankovic fan. I've even met the man, if you'll permit me to brag. Between his recent new album, an upcoming concert in Atlanta, and seeing another artist's recent fan art, I decided it was about time I do my own take on the master of weird. Enjoy!


Doing this reminded me that I used to give Weird Al frequent cameo appearances
in the comics I drew throughout high school ("The Cat", a.k.a., "Moundsville").
I dug out some examples so I could
share them here.

My high school days just slightly predated the rise of the Internet (I'm oldish),
so I didn't have the means to share my comics with the world back then. Given that only a tiny
handful of friends would ever really see them, I was content to just sketch them quickly in
notebooks, going more for quantity than quality. Between that and the simple fact
that my art sucked more back then, these aren't pretty to look at.

(Also, I apologize for the poor scan quality. The notebooks these are drawn in
are aging and fading a bit, and the pages are crinkly with the weight of all the pencil!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alice Meets Alice!

A couple of nights ago I watched the brilliant 2010 animated movie, The Illusionist from French director Sylvain Chomet (Triplets of Belleville). After watching, I was inspired to have one of its main characters, Alice, meet the Alice from another one of my favorite animated movies! Enjoy!


Alice & White Rabbit © Disney
Alice & white rabbit © Sylvain Chomet/Sony Classics/Whomever

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fatback & Skinny McLean: 20th Birthday!

Created on June 22, 1991, Fatback & Skinny McLean are easily my longest-running recurring characters. I was barely starting high school at that point, so maybe I'm not quite so old as that makes me feel!

The characters were used frequently all throughout high school, college, and the early days of my posting on the internet. In the past few years their appearances have become much more sporadic, though I always say I mean to bring them back into the spotlight one day...

I couldn't resist marking the momentous occasion with at least a short comic. Enjoy!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Commission: Bad Girls Dig Me!

Another recent fan commission, this time of the Asgardian persuasion. Enjoy!


Thor, Enchantress & Hela © Marvel Comics

Monday, June 06, 2011

Commission: Power Girl & Terra: Lunch Break

A recent fan commission of Power Girl and Terra enjoying a lunch break (I'm sure when you're super powered, you burn enough calories to get away with eating all kinds of fast food while still maintaining your figure!) Enjoy!


One thing that makes this a little different than the usual piece from me is that I put the colors directly on the original sketch. Usually I either ink the original, or redo it with tighter, cleaner pencil lines...but for whatever reason I liked the sketchier effect here.

Power Girl & Terra © DC Comics

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Commission: Dazzler vs. Ultron

Here's another recent commission. The client wanted the look of a book cover, similar to the recent series of "Gotham Girls" Nancy Drew spoof commissions I did, and requested a sort of "Scooby Doo" vibe. So here it is! Enjoy!


Dazzler & Ultron © Marvel Comics

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rapunzel vs. Medusa

I don't often do illustrations based on random suggestions from viewers. Recently, however, a follower of my deviantART gallery commented on one of my previous Tangled fan art pieces and pondered the possibilities of Disney's Rapunzel and Marvel Comics' Medusa having a mutual bad hair day. I couldn't resist bringing the scene to life. And since Disney owns Marvel, it's not one million percent impossible that this would ever happen! Enjoy!


Rapunzel, Flynn Ryder & Pascal © Disney
Medusa & Crystal © Marvel Comics (Therefore also Disney!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sesame Street part 3

Here are the final pieces (at least for now) in the Sesame Street series! Bert & Ernie, Two-Headed Monster, and Reporter Kermit the Frog (my all-time favorite Muppet, who I know is technically a "Muppet Show" Muppet as opposed to a "Sesame Street" one, but he's been known to make a guest appearance--especially in reporter guise)! Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sesame Street part 2

Here are more illustrations in my recent "Sesame Street" series. In this batch we have Oscar the Grouch (and his pet worm, Slimey) receiving a visit from the Cookie Monster, as well as Big Bird and his once-thought-imaginary pal, Snuffleupagus! There will be at least one more Sesame post in the coming days. Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

Trying my take on some classic "Sesame Street" characters here. I'm beginning with Super Grover and Count von Count, because they were two of my most favorite as a child. I hope to do a few more of the characters in the coming days, as time allows. Enjoy!


Characters are © Sesame Workshop

Monday, April 25, 2011

Commission: Gotham Girls/Nancy Drew spoofs #3-5

Here are the final three (of five) installments in a series of commissions a client recently requested in which the girls of Gotham City find themselves recreating classic covers/illustrations from Nancy Drew novels. Enjoy!


Below are the preliminary pencils for these pieces, as well as the original
Nancy Drew illustrations they were inspired by at the client's request.

Click here to see the first Gotham Girls commission in this series.

Click here to see the second Gotham Girls commission in this series.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fatback & Skinny McLean: Goggle It

Fatback & Skinny McLean are back! At least for this one comic. And it is utterly and completely pointless. Enjoy!


Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm a huge, huge fan of Peanuts/Charles Schulz. Therefore it is a bit odd that I've drawn the characters so seldom in my adult life. Here's a recent, random attempt at bringing them into my own style a bit (actually drawn last year, but I only remembered to finish it up recently). Enjoy!


I also recently had a dream in which I found this Charlie Brown/Doctor Who mash-up T-shirt. I got such a kick out of it in the dream to try drawing it in real life.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rocky Raccoon

Here we see Rocky Raccoon, shortly after checking into his room. Inspired, obviously (and quite literally), by the Beatles song of the same name.

I always picture an animated story something like this when I hear the song, so after the song came up in shuffle the other day, I finally decided to capture a moment of it on paper. Enjoy!