I?ve already outlined what happened to me shortly after my return (the vomiting and the such). And I suppose you could say that I?m back to normal; my body can now accept shitty American foods once again, which is not necessarily a good thing me thinks. Oh, and before I was massively behind on all sorts of projects because I had to push them aside due to the impending trip. And now, one month later, most of it is still on my plate. As crazy as it sounds, it?s taken this long to “recover.” But its about time I get back into the swing of things. Plus, you could say I have a renewed vigor towards certain things, such as UNLUCKY, though that might be because I now have a shitload of new stories from the trip. Plus, there’s some new stuff in the pipeline, which I really can’t talk about right now, but will at a later date.
Oh, and I?m not going to wax philosophical about the trip, nor re-iterate how amazing Japan was since I think I?ve pretty much covered all my points via this very extensive overview of the trip (again, I had no bloody intention of dragging things out this long, but hey, everyone?s been really enjoying it, so I?m glad). Besides, I?ve maybe said too much anyway. Though I will share one last picture from the trip: of all the stuff that I got! At least all the stuff I didn?t loose…
Also, if you still want to hear more about Japan (and I know you do!) and haven’t been to my other blog (you know, my “day job”), here’s what you’ve been missing out…
Be sure to check them out! Oh, and for even more pics, I’ll be posting everything that’s been passed along thus far, and the rest of the 2,500 pictures I took, over at Flickr, very soon.
So… what’s been going on over the past few weeks? Nothing much really… mostly just taking it easy and resting up. Actually, I have been kinda busy (as also mentioned way back in part 1, I’ve managed to get some work done on the television project), hence why I’ve had to flake out on all sorts of social engagements, like the latest gameLab gameNight (and I never even got to check the old pad after it got extended… and I can’t even remember the last time I went to movie night). Plus the UCB recently starting doing another wrestling themed comedy show, but I’m fairly certain that none of the folks from the original WWCFW is part of the act. Sorry, no Dick Duffie, no Merican Dream, no Whorey Whorey, no Reaper, no sale.
- Though one definite highlight is from the weekend before this past one; got together with Mike, Joe (Salina), Colin, Jeremiah, and Olga at Grassroots, that dive bar at St. Mark’s which has yet to disappoint. They all got to hear my Japan stories, at least all the ones where crazy shit went down, in which I almost get killed, and it was the very first time MK had heard me speak about my efforts towards trying to meet a Japanese prostitute (again, purely for the purpose of interviewing her, and nothing more). I know she’s not the jealous type, and has me heard go on and on about how I don’t dig on Asian chicks that much and loved the white ladies more than enough times, but after reneging on my no soda forever rule on day one of the trip, I was afraid of what she might think of me.
I just loved how I managed to blow Mike’s mind by how I hung out with all the bands he listening to as a kid. Also awesome was how I finally the shirts that Colin had made for me!
- Also, went to Licensing Show last week…
… Oh Hermione….
… So I got the chance to hang out with my friend from Warner Bros at the show, who may or may not want me to say who he is, since he told me some stuff that’s pretty juicy, and because I’m so way out of the loop, I have no idea of its common knowledge. And regardless of his anonymity, if he wants me to pull the following down, I will, but till then… Apparently, the Mach Five in the new upcoming live-action Speed Racer flick was supposed to be radically different. “Updated for today” as they like to say. The original design apparently looked horrible, and nothing like the original. It was supposed to be silver at one point. But they kept changing it, and changing it, till it looked “right” and as time when on, they discovered that the original was simply the best, and just inching towards it more and more. Till they finally realized that if its not broken, don’t fix it, hence why we are getting what we all know and love. There’s actually a few differences, but can you notice them? Exactly.
Also, get this: Chim-Chim? A REAL MONKEY AND NOT CGI! YES!!! Anyway, on a related note…
… I’m sorry, but I’ve noticed that all my friends are starting to warm up to the new Transformers from the movie. Not me. They still fucking ridiculous in my book. Actually, some of them don’t look too bad, the only problem is that THEY JUST DON’T LOOK LIKE TRANSFORMERS!!! And for me, it?s even more depressing when you compare the old with the new. The new Megatron design still pisses me off whenever I look at it.
Though I will admit, Joel did a very good job of salvaging him…
But the true hotness is his rendition of Bumblee of a Mini Cooper…
… THAT is how you fucking update the Transformers people! Its all 2007 contemporary/futuristic looking, yet still boxy! Absolutely perfect. Also: see Speed Racer on how to bring an old cartoon to real life.
- The fort90forum have been actually kinda happening the past couple of weeks! It took some time, but now there’s some neat stuff going on. Such as this (sorta NSFW). Hey, I had to get just to pass along one last does of WACKY JAPPY!!!
- Back to friend’s artwork, the past couple weeks I’ve been able to check out Katie‘s paintings…
You can check the rest of them out over at Katie’s Flickr page.
And here, finally, is the first page of Toby‘s story from UNLUCKY…
Now more than ever, I can’t wait. Unfortunately, there’s only one thus far, but if you want to see plenty of pics of me acting like a drunken jack-ass, and the rest of my comics gang from this past weekend, then stroll on over to Toby’s Flickr page.
Speaking of which (and since I can’t remember what else has been going on, but if it comes to me, I’ll be sure to pass it along)…
So MoCCA Art Fest 2007 just took place. I’ll be honest: I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Aside from the fact that plans for UNLUCKY #3 had bottomed out, it was simply coming at a time that was pretty inconvenient. Other than it conflicting with the Mermaid Parade, which I normally wouldn’t make a big deal about, but since it was the last one, I really wanted to check it out, the Subway Cinema Asian Film Festival also kicked off on the same weekend, and everyone knows how ga-ga I am over it (for a list of all the movies I intend on seeing, simply go here). And the thing was, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way; you just got this sense that no one was that amped for it. Maybe because last year’s was a real disappointment for a lot of people. Attendance was high and all, but not much stuff moved. Also, this year’s fest seemed to be so poorly organized to the point of frustration; comic stores that wanted to advertise the fest couldn’t because they didn’t get promotional items, like posters, till literally a week beforehand. It would seem that more attention was spent towards “mainstream” press, like the Village Voice, and everyone pretty much knows how I feel about that crowd. Yeah, sure they pack in the house, but… And, I would later learn that at least one sponsor was not treated all that well, which is pretty crummy to hear. Practically ever step of the way towards the show was just filled with an “oh God, this is going to be so annoying” kind of anticipation and dread. Which is why I had zero expectations going in…
… And as it would turn out, the show was actually totally awesome! And for many it was their best con ever, and it was, including for everyone in my little comics crew.
Things kicked off with a pre-MoCCA bash at Rocketship, which was also the release party for Paul‘s new book, the Three Paradoxes (its super awesome btw). I can’t put my finger on it, but it was definitely the best Rocketship party ever. If no one minds me bragging, I am kinda proud of how I managed to have a decent number of folks all entranced by my sordid Japanese tales… primarily because at any given moment, at least one person was horribly offended by what I was saying. And it would constantly switch; as soon as the offended person would get their minds off it and laugh at something, someone else immediately seemed pissed off/upset.
The next day was the show, and… I’m sorry, but I really can’t offer a full con report since I actually wasn’t at there the entire day like I usually am. During the early afternoon on Saturday, I ducked out to see Johnny To’s Exiled at the Asian Film Fest since it was showing only once, and I was already forgoing the chance to watch Hard Boiled on the big screen later that evening, but at least I’ve seen that one a billion times already. I’ll pass along my “review” or whatever of Exiled later on, but I will say right now that I have no idea why John Woo and Wong Kar Wai and other prominent Hong Kong movie directors have been able to established a following in America, but not Johnny To, who is easily just as good as the rest. Anyway, point is, I didn’t take in as much of the con as I normally would have (plus, also on Saturday, so many people were in attendance that it actually made the process of walking around and checking out stuff on tables rather difficult). Though I did manage to nab a few books that day, including Life Meter #2 (I’m glad I got my comp copy that morning since it was pretty much sold out by the end of the first day). I actually didn’t think it would be there after Dave had mentioned some shipping problems the previous week, but in the end the books did arrive on time, though he apparently spent a hellish six hours at UPS the day prior when attempting to pick them up (I haven’t head the full story yet, but he described it as “Matt Hawkins-esque experience”). But yeah, it turned out awesome (as expected), and I was pleasantly impressed by my own artistic abilities; to accompany my afterward, Dave decided to add some drawings I did of Ryu and the Sambo De Amgio monkey, from the covers I made when I gave him burned copies of Dreamcast games years back.
Though the very, very first thing I got that morning was from John, and it wasn’t a copy of his unicorn/dinosaur coloring book, or the latest Teen Boat (both of which I totally forgot to get!) but an old Transformers choose-your-own-adventure story book that he had as a kid and that he came across while cleaning out his attitic in Long Island. Its one of those just shat out there children’s books, that purely to cash in on a popular license; the art is done in pencil and all the characters are pretty much how they exactly appear on the toy boxes, but with their arms or legs drawn differently to suit the situation. Basically, they were illustrated by folks who were unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with drawing Transformers.
A few have complained that there was too much of the same old, and same old this time around, while I don’t necessary agree with that point 100%, I do see where they are coming from, which was why I always jumped at the chance to check out the work of someone I hadn’t seen before. For example, on day one, I met Sarah Morean and discovered her comics, which was a real treat.
Actually, personally speaking, the whole process of looking for comics at any show, whether it be MoCCA or even SPX, has become increasingly frustrating. It can get just so overwhelming sometimes; there’s often so much to see that you almost always overlook something amazing. But furthermore, its easy to miss stuff, and problems are further compounded when people issue multiple covers of the same stuff and things like that. Which is why in the end, MoCCA is more about the people than the comics for me. Its a chance to catch up with and hang out with folks like Pat, Todd, Toby, and Dalton. Even Dave Savage was in attendance! Unfortunately, Travis and Farel were not to be found…
Speaking of people, there were “celebrities” on-hand I guess, but the only one I personally saw was Morgan Spurlock, the director of Super Size Me, a.k.a. one of the most overrated, crap documentaries in recent history. I almost felt like getting into an argument with him (I really, REALLY hate that movie), but I was mostly in a surly mood due to being annoying by one of the MoCCA volunteers, one that a lot of folks don’t care for, including Toby, and it was fun to bitch about the dude with him. Though on the brighter side, my dirtnap shirt was a minor hit, at least with Marianne, aka Knife Fight, who would help spread the next big buzzword throughout the weekend!
Anyhow, the real fun went down once the show is over. At the end of day was the same song and dance: where to eat and which party to hit. Its often a messy, and annoying process. The core plan was to go to Tenka, a Japanese restaurant on St. Mark’s that’s a favorite of Katie’s, but the core group, myself, MK, Robin, Katie, along with Todd and Toby managed to make it there (unfortunately, we lost Marianne along the way). Initially I had my reservations about eating there myself, but that was primarily due to being on some high horse and having a minor issue with AA Japanese food that was reasonably price vs weeks of AAA Japanese food that was dirt cheap. But hey, you can’t beat $1.50 beers, plus their beef bowl is pretty God damn good. I didn’t even need to sneak away to the automat for corndogs (especially since had that for lunch after seeing Exiled)! And I loved our waiter; the wait staff mostly consists of Japanese kids who seem to know a little bit of English (I’m assuming they’re exchange students), but our waiter was a black guy… who spoke like a Japanese person who knew very little English. Very strange.
Oh, and the definite highlight had to be when I offered $20 bucks to Todd to put some random person in a headlock the next day, and like five minutes later, he had Robin in one!
Afterwards we went over to the Top Shelf party, forgoing the Kaiju Big Battle party since I’ve been out of the Kaiju scene for at least five years now. The place was insanely hot, and the open bar was set to close in five minutes upon our arrival, which meant getting booze, and quick like. Most of the time was spent hanging outside, with folks like Steve, Rob, Liz, and Zane. When I ran into Chris Duffy, I tried to cash in on that dinner he owed me from many years back (I treated him to dinner was and wanted to pay me back, but I always said “no worries” plus there was never really a chance), but it was too late I guess. Also, when explaining how Todd had put Robin into a headlock to Raina, next thing you know, Andy ended up putting me in one! After tussling for a bit, we made up and a kiss almost happened, which prompted Raina to say “You may as well!” But I held back, and not because I was afraid of acting gay… trust me on this one… I just didn’t want to weird out Andy.
Later on, the guys from the Indie Spinner Rack decided to throw an after-party of their own at an Irish pub around the corner and we decided to follow. While buying a round for everyone, the very Irish bartender decided to ask me who the hell we where:
“Where you all from?”
I explained that we were all cartoonists, and there was a show going on.
I guess we were okay in his book, since he ended up treating us all to shots of this weird, blue liquor that looked like, and tasted like, Windex. Though that didn’t stop me from having three shots in a row. And here’s where things got really exciting!!!
At one point, I told Pat that if he dipped his penis in a shot, I would drink it. And next thing you know, he unzips his fly, and sticks the tip in a shot, puts in on the table, and…. I really didn’t think he was going to do it, but I’m not the type of person who says he’s going to do it, and then not… I drank it. The table went totally ape-shit. The look on Jamie‘s and Jenny‘s faces were particularly priceless. When asked how it was, I mentioned it was effervescent, which elicited a nice spit take from Pat. I also left the most rambling, Nickelodeon game show referencing laden call on Farel’s voicemail ever (which afterwards he was very much appreciative of). Needless to say, I was pretty drunk that night. MK noted that it was the most she had ever seen me drink, and it indeed it was the most I had ever consumed without passing out.
Things were plain awesome till the very end. I decided to treat everyone is a cab ride home when we realized it was 1:30 in the morning and we had another day’s worth of pushing comics ahead of us. Everything was going fine until I realized that I REALLY had to go pee. So around the financial district/city hall, I gave MK $60 and told her that I had to get out of the car to pee, but here was some money for the fare, and that I would see her later in the evening. She flat out refused to let me go, fearing what would happen to me in my state of mind. So I held it in… which was pure torture, especially all the bumps on the Brooklyn Bridge. The plan was to let Robin and Katie out first, then to drop MK and myself last, but the need to urinate was so strong that I simply had to go the first chance I got, so I figured I’d just use Robin’s facilities, then hop back in.
The cab driver totally freaked out at the idea, and then yelled at me to go to a gas station that was nearby Robin’s. Not in any mood to argue for a variety of reasons, I bolted to the station. Inside were two bathrooms, one for men, the other for women. The men’s room was locked, and as much as I didn’t want to, I was going to seriously pee my pants, so I went for the women’s room door, which was wasn’t locked! But there was a woman inside, on a cell phone, who went “Its occupied!” and slammed the door shut. So I just stood there for 30 seconds, before knocking on the door and pleading her to get out and let me do my business. When I head a loud, annoyed “NO!” I simply lost my mind and barraged her with “YOU FUCKING STUPID FAT CUNT!” and other stuff along those lines. And then all of sudden, the men’s door opened!
I went in and peed, and it was the greatest feeling ever… better than sex. And then I realized, gee, I wonder if that women is pissed. And also, I wonder if she has a boyfriend. Are they waiting for me to get out and to kick my ass? So as soon as I opened the door, I bolted out of the gas station. It was a relatively clean break, but I think I knocked over some chips. And that was the end of day one.
Day two was a bit low more low key. The crowd wasn’t as heavy, so that afforded the chance to check things out with less difficulty. Which also meant I was able to buy more stuff. Including French Milk by Lucy Knisley which is a travel photo/comic essay covering her travels through France (as if you couldn’t tell by now, I love travel stories), a pair of “sexy” comics from Belgium from the international table, as well as Jamie’s new collection. Plus I finally got a copy of Escape From Special by Miss, which I had been wanting for ever since I saw the original pages at Jigsaw years back. Though the big surprise of the show as the appearance of Sugar Booger #2 by Kevin Scalzo. I got #1 way back in 1999, 2000 and was wondering if there was ever going to be a follow-up…
Like the day before, I mostly chatted with folks, including Zack with whom I bonded with via a very lengthy Mega Man conversation. You know, I always meet people who claim to be diehard Mega Man fans, so its nice to meet someone who really knows what they are talking about when it comes to the Blue Bomber. I also had a camera with me… MK’s camera to be exact, which I’m not the best with (my hands are too shaky with it), which is why I didn’t take too many (and those that I did came out, surpise, blurry). Though I have to share this one: its Todd giving Robin another headlock, and my total surprise no less (MK mentioned that for $20, I deserved a picture)…
But I didn’t stay the whole day like before as well. Both myself and MK ducked out early for… what else? The Asian Film Fest! To see I?m a Cyborg But That’s OK.
Again, I’ll do a proper “write-up” later, but all I can…. the best damn Korean romantic comedy I’ve ever seen (and they really know to make them good over there), even inching past Barking Dogs Never Bite! And can you believe its by the same guy who directed Oldboy! When I first heard that, I was sure it was a mistake. But it was a PRAK Chan-wook film alright. As insane as it sounds, the same sensibilities, the same dark humor, the same biting irony, and even the same degree of ultra violence that was in Oldboy is in all its glory in this, once again, romantic comedy. It all fits in so brilliantly. Real quick: its basically the story of kleptomaniac who is not so much a klepto than a guy who has a real knack of getting things from people, and giving it back, whether it superb ping-pong skills or pointlessness. And then he meets, and eventually falls in love with, a girl who thinks she’s a cyborg that totally wants to go on a killing spree, but is held back by her sympathy for humans, which she desperately wants to get rid off. Basically, the best damn crazy person movie ever made, among other things. If you live in NYC, and tickets are still available for the next screening, don’t just sit there, BUY TICKETS NOW.
And for those who don’t remember the first time I linked to it, a number of months ago, the movie also has one of the best sites ever.
Man… I have to wonder if it might be topped by Dasepo Naughty Girls, the high school musical featuring a cyclops and the “Instant Virgin Chip”.
Back to MoCCA, in the end, my table ended up selling a ton of books and making some good money! Naturally, my percentile of that was pretty small since I didn’t have anything new this year, plus I was never once behind the table. But there?s always next year (actually, there’s SPX, and the plan is to have number 3 AND 4 available). Anyhow, the MoCCA Art Fest turned out to a surprise success, one that reinvigorated not just myself. Can’t wait to… actually read the comics I got this year!