Guardians of the Galaxy

Latimer is confused as to what you are rocket...
Latimer is confused as to what you are rocket…

Latimer: Okay, this is a post about something I want to watch. It’s a trailer and as the picture suggests it involves a talking raccoon! It’s the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer!

I’m so intrigued and confused, because I don’t know anything about the Guardians of the Galaxy beyond the images of some the characters – raccoon man, tree man, man man, green wo-man and…Kratos…

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The Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the Marvel Phase 2 movies. There’s a clip at the end of Thor 2 about it. And while I never needed an introduction to Iron man, Thor and Captain American, I really don’t know anything about the Guardians – they never had a cartoon that I remember seeing.

Bradley Cooper is going to be in the movie – voicing Rocket (the raccoon). Hopefully the Guardians of the Galaxy will be in the next Avengers movie! I’d love to see Tony Stark talking to a raccoon. 

Basically, I’m really excited about a movie I know nothing about. And I need to see a proper trailer to confirm my feelings!

A Marvel intergalactic space movie – it could be so good! Marvel movies are on a winning streak, fun-and-funny, so I’m really hoping this one will be as good!

The trailer is due to drop on Tuesday (18th Feb) – so we’ll soon be able to see how good this movie could be! 

Avatar: Rise of the Naughties Cartoon

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Latimer: As a nineties kid, I always felt like we had the best cartoons – all the Marvel cartoons, Gargoyles, Animals of Farthing Wood, Mummy’s Alive, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Batman… the list goes on!

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Those cartoons had proper, involved story-lines.

But somewhere in the late nineties cartoons got fixed on this one episode, one story, structure, that I never liked. I always missed the ‘larger picture’, the big story arcs.

Then, around this time, I more or less stopped watching cartoons – so they remained, in my mind, fixed in that ‘one episode, one unconnected story’ structure.

In slightly later life, I swapped Western cartoons for Eastern ones. This would be around the time my obsession with anime kicked in. In anime, big story-lines never went out of style!!

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I noticed early in the naughties Western cartoons started to taken on this East-meets-West style; an almost ‘anime but not quite, style’. I think it was due to the popularity of anime at the time.

That was probably what brought me slightly back to Western cartoons.

I think out of all those new ‘East-meets-West’ cartoon series, Avatar, has got to be one of the best.

NICKELODEON THE LAST AIRBENDER

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Forget that terrible movie version. The cartoon is where it’s at!

Avatar is a great show. I was late to the game – I haven’t seen all of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but am a pretty big follower of Avatar: Legend of Korra.

I love the style, music and feel of Avatar… It’s a well-thought out story-line, with interesting characters, with interesting ethnic backgrounds. Basically the story is focused on a world where people have the power of controlling (bending) elements; water, fire, earth and air. The avatar is the one person in the world that can do all four and is sort of the, near as I can tell, spiritual and bending guide of the people. A big figure-head basically.

 

When the avatar dies, the next avatar is born and so on….

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So, when the new Avatar Korra takes centre-stage, you know that the previous Avatar, Aang, is dead.

Which is pretty sad actually, given that the last time we see him is as this chipper 12 year old kid who saved the world. We don’t really get time to grieve over that, we just have to accept it, which is… yeah kind of rough!

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But there’s lots of cool, funny characters in Legend of Korra too (and Korra is a very strong female lead, so that’s pretty cool!)

My favourite characters are Bolin and his little red panda Pabu – Bolin is just brilliant…

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Okay, so maybe the best cartoons didn’t end with the 90s, maybe there are lots more to come! 🙂

What Happened to my Marvelous Heroes?

Latimer: My love of comic book characters comes from the past; the not so, and yet so, distant past. Back in the mid 90s, Saturday mornings were filled with marvel cartoons. Ah yes, despite it being a non-school day I would be up at the crack of dawn to see them, my favourite being X-men (and come on, I can still hum that epic opening tune!).

Sometimes I had to watch Spiderman, or The Incredible Hulk, to get to X-men; now Spiderman I didn’t mind, but God, the Incredible Hulk left me feeling so depressed (even as a child). Nothing ever, ever, went right for Bruce Banner.

I traveled with him, though he didn’t notice, and every episode the promise of a hulk-cure made me feel elated along with Bruce and we’d go together to the place of promised salvation, only to find it wasn’t what we thought and then we’d leave – him with ripped clothes and inevitable fleeing from the army, and me, with a broken heart and dejected for about an hour afterward.

In my reality of Saturday morning cartoons, ‘Earth 90s’, Bruce never found a cure. Also, his cousin became the She-Hulk… Which, by the way, what the hell was the deal there?

How come she became this buxom babe with full control of her powers (remained a practicing lawyer) and Bruce… Bruce was essentially this instinct-driven beast. Well, in the cartoons a least this was never explained (only that she was really, really happy to be the She-Hulk, well in fairness, she looked amazing, of course she didn’t mind!).

Then there was Spiderman, where I left him… let’s see, vaguely I remember he was searching for Mary-Jane (she had gone missing, then he had found her again, for a while, only it turned out she wasn’t really Mary-Jane she was a water clone! Yeeaah…).

A water clone who evaporates and is no more! It was horrific to me at the time, honestly it still kind of is…

He never found the real Mary-Jane in my Earth 90s. Either I stopped watching (that’s unlikely!) or they stopped showing it (more likely!).

The X-men was the same; I remember lots of stories. I remember I really didn’t like boring, boring, Jean Grey (she was always collapsing – always – even though subsequently I found out that she is one of the strongest mutants in Marvel – what the…?!).

Oh my God, and I remember Jubilee… argh, she was so pointless (sparks… seriously? You are lucky Wolverine was your friend, that’s all I’m saying!).

Rogue and Gambit – now this is me all over; perfect couple, I shipped them all the way! I also remember Cyclops and Jean Grey got married (okay I didn’t like her but I shipped them – I still ship them, ships are hard to leave).

fantastic fanart by New Moon Night Mike Choi

Now in Earth 90s, Gambit and Rogue never kissed and couldn’t touch, because of Rogue’s powers, but in comics… love must’a found a way! I’m fan-girl squee-ing even after all these years…

They brought the X-men cartoon back; years and years later and I watched it, but it just wasn’t the same anymore. Spiderman’s not the same, and God, I’m not watching the Hulk. There’s a time for everything and my days of watching them had passed – unless it’s my other thought, that 90s cartoons were just better.

This brings me full circle; recently I’ve being sticking a toe (here and there) back into the Marvel world, via comics. There is some absolutely beautiful, gorgeous artwork in comics too…

Stunning image of Magneto (who survived a concentration camp) by Marko Djurdjevic… Stunning

I’m now skirting around the great cosmic comic-world windows, peaking in and going; ‘ohh, err, can I come in? I think I’m ready!’. This I should warn you, is how obsessions start for me!

In preparation for my skipping into comic books (baring in mind, I know very little and these are just random nuggets I uncovered!) – I have found out some strange things about the heroes I actually never knew at all…

Firstly (and shockingly) Peter Parker… is dead… seriously… You killed Peter Parker…. What…?

There are only like 200 mutants left in the Marvel universe following a big ‘event’ (an epic arc of a story that crosses across lots of titles etc)… WHAT?! NOOO, they are the coolest thing in Marvel!

Jean Grey is dead… Do I care…? Argh, yes, with age I now care, because she married Cyclops and damn it, a ship must not sink while part of me is still on it, or I turn into a pumpkin! Save me Marvel!

Cyclops was unfaithful when married to Jean Grey – okay, hold on a damn minute, I’m not happy about this! He is now, subsequently, having a relationship with the mutant he was having an affair with – a mutant called Emma Frost (who was played by January Jones in X-men: First Class). Main thought here; ‘Oh NO you didn’t…!’ Of course on the other side I wouldn’t be surprised if Jean Grey had a fling with Wolverine… I can tell relationships in comics will hurt me

Jean Grey is not happy when she finds out! In this instance, I am with you Jean, even though I don’t like you really…

Weirder still, Cyclops has turned into like a revolutionary leader for mutants (where Magneto is almost his second in command!) and he’s  – my thought? ‘When did Cyclops get so interesting?’

What the hell… Cyclops has gone mad! MAD!

AND Cyclopes killed Prof X… buh?

Don’t just stand there! This isn’t going to end well Prof!
Hard to know how permanent that is, he’s died ALOT apparently! As has Cyclops!

Cyclops is in jail… look at this. God, what happened to him, what made him turn into this character? I really want to know! What a spiral from the pure boy scout I remember!

Psychologically what the hell happened to you?

Wolverine is on the opposing side to Cyclops. He also runs a school for mutants…

Okay this is weird, but I’m intrigued by this school (there seems to be some interesting characters there)…

There are so many stories that happened before and after my time; the world of the Marvel characters is far bigger than I realised. Earth 90s was an introduction and I thought it was the story. It’s funny really, but I’m starting to wonder again about all those crazy characters. I love a good story and I really did love those characters.

Okay, it may be time to open the door to that comic book world, step in and have a look around 🙂

Get Animated!

Latimer: We went to an event in the Science Gallery on Friday night (the Science Gallery is located in Trinity college). It was held by the PEGBAR Irish animators network. I was late… and word to the wise, DO NOT try and run on wet cobblestones (of which there are many in Trinity) – it doesn’t end well!

Ridley: While she was slipping and sliding her way to the event, I was already there waiting for her, with a name badge on and surrounded by very friendly strangers. Picture, crowds milling around with glasses of wine at the reception, everyone grinning, laughing and waving towards people who they hadn’t seen in ages, it was like one big reunion. I think the animation world, in Ireland anyway, is a small one. And then there was me, not even a proper hobbyist animator never mind a professional, trying to look like I belonged. I was doing the ‘Im texting lots of people and looking up important things on my phone, not desperate for anyone to talk to me, nope nope‘…in the corner! I was going for busy but still approachable look! It worked in the end, I randomly made a new friend who was also waiting around near me. It turned out he was a freelance animator, so I got to pepper him with questions and see some of his cool artwork. It was really great to get an insight into the job by someone ‘in the biz’ and to hear what he thought of it.

Beware the cobblestones! Beware!

Latimer: I arrived for the talk, which started with a colourist from Marvel comics, Jordie Bellaire (she worked for DC and others, very lucky :)).

Marvelous Marvel 🙂

She was talking about the importance of colours and mood, and this can also be seen in movies. She was so enthusiastic and animated about her work; even when she wasn’t ‘working’, her mind was fixed on colours. She would watch movies and list out the colours in the scenes. It’s always really cool to see someone so inspired by what they do 🙂

Ridley: Really inspiring! She seemed like a really cool person too. Her talk opened my eyes to seeing films and images in a different way! Who knew the use of colour could have so much impact on a scene and on the feelings of the audience, really interesting!

Latimer: Then there was a talk from Nora Twomey, she is a director from the Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon. (Ridley: One of my favourite Irish studios! I love their work! I was dying to hear what she had to say!) She was showing some of the short films she had worked on and talking about getting them funded and the compromises you have to make with scenes and moments you have to leave out.

It made me think of when you’re writing and there are times you want to say more and show another scene, but in the end, the story is better off without it (no matter how in love with the moment you were!). It’s hard to cut them out, but it makes a tighter story in the end. (Ridley: Very true!)

There was this one film she showed; it really stuck with me, it was really atmospheric and drew me in. (Ridley: Creepy too…in a delightful way…is that possible, to be delightfully creepy? haha) 

The studio also did some work for TG4 (that’s TG Ceathair, an all-Irish-speaking TV channel we have here in Ireland). The cartoon studio were asked to do some short animations to Irish songs, the series called Anam an Amhráin (Soul of the Song).

This song is about a young 9 year old girl who is in love with a shoemaker, wants to marry him and runs away from home to be with him! In the actual animation, they felt this was a bit too much, so instead they made her dream of the shoe maker when she slips on the hill! (Ridley: It’s an absolutely gorgeous song. This is Irish at it’s best and most beautiful.)

I got caught up with these and wanted to know what other songs had been animated… this is what I found…

This one is about a woman to wants to be Paddy’s wife and wishes his actual wife ill… her struggles are desperate but pretty funny! (Ridley: Haha, this is good, she even wishes a broken foot and hand on the wife!!)

This next one is about the Irish pirate queen Gráinne Mhaol, or Grace O’Malley… ‘Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile’ is an interesting song, it started out originally about Bonnie Prince Charlie and was a Jacobite rebel song.. then later in the 1900s it became a rebel song about Grace O’Malley coming to Ireland with her warriors to free the land from English rule. In the video it seems mostly about Grace’s life.

All and all, pretty interesting, particularly because the event made me look for these videos :)! 

Ridley: It was a great night, I loved seeing all the Irish language work that’s being done! Not to mention, we went for yummy Korean food afterwards, it was so tasty *happy sigh*.

So, what do you do without a laptop?

What does Latimer do without a laptop?

Latimer: I bet the saga of my kamikaze laptop has gotten old at this point! But this is just an insight into what I’ve been doing without one!

Well, first off time’s ticking by… the clock is running down, getting closer and closer to ‘MLR-day’ haha. We’ve been busy editing our book and what not. Editing using Ridley’s lovely laptop (I’m getting envious now! she’ll wake up one day and it’ll be gone, a Latimer shaped hole in her wall… me running across the green outside her house, screaming ‘my precious!’!!).

I’m due to get my new replacement soon (two weeks or so). So I’m getting jittery. 

My old hard-drive has gone completely mental and is shutting down the IT guy’s laptops… it’s gone kamikaze, it’s dying and it’s going to take everyone with it! Every time I get an update, it’s like the situation is getting more and more hopeless…

 Moving on from all that nastiness…

I’ve been unwinding in the meantime, doing some artwork… this is an insight into Latimer’s chillax time!

I decided to make my brother a birthday card (ha, and his birthday was in July! God… you see this is what happens when I have a laptop, other things fall by the wayside… yes, that includes the birthdays of loved ones!!).

He lives in Australia, so about all he’s going to get off me is a card, so I figured it better show I put some effort into it!! He’s a massive comic book fan, specifically batman, so I made him a Batman inspired card.

I edited and redrew some chibi’s I found (a Hermonie chibi, a Batman Chibi and a Catwoman chibi) and put them together to form a ‘Latimer’ card. I also finally used the other Japanese art-stuff I bought… cutting mat, cutting knife and Deleter high-lighter paint and brush. So, without a laptop to distract me, I had a chance to use the stuff..

The magical box where I keep my copic markers. It’s a biscuit box (from Bruges in Belgium). It’s a little creepy with that girls face on it!!
Latimer Potter

The idea is magical, Potter me, transforming my brother and his wife into Batman and Catwoman, so they can fight crime in Australia (haha)!

Brother as Batman
Wife as Catwoman
Putting the cover together
Brother and wife inside the card… and crazy me!!

It was fun putting it together… a job done you could say!! I gave myself a tick on my list of ‘outdated things that may never get done’… that’s a long list let me tell you… people get things off me years later, confused they go ‘what’s this for?!’ I will smile, ‘your birthday… last year…I’ll get you something next year for your birthday this year!!’.

Randomly, at the weekend, I also got it into my head that I would like to make a stop-motion model of myself and Ridley (after watching the making of Paranorman character ‘Norman’).

There’s more to it than I thought.. haha (stupid me of course there is!), rigs and stuff that are expensive… and to do it properly would take a lot of skill and time. Maybe in the future I’ll have a go, but for now, I settled for drawing what I would like the stop-motion model me and Ridley to look like… (maybe one day someone will make them for us!! I would go to Laika and say, ‘build us! build us!’)

Latimer and Ridley… as stop motion models!!

It’s random I know, but these are the things I think about! Things I get into my head. What would stop-motion me and Ridley look like? Can I make them? They would look great in the office… haha.

While I was doing all of this, I was listening to the Tell em Steve-Dave podcasts (staring Bryan Johnston, Walt Flanagan, Brian Quinn, Ming Chen and sometimes Mike Zapcic and the great, Sunday Jeff, who only works on sundays 🙂 ).

I love them! They are friends of the director and writer Kevin Smith (of Jay and Silent Bob- he’s Bob). The podcasts are part of the fantastic Smodcast network. Which since I’ve found it, I’m fascinated by it (I get obsessed very quickly)!! I love how Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier have built this empire; a new empire for a new age, the age of podcasting! It’s such a brilliant idea, but I love his thoughts on it.

Kevin is like, these are conversations I can have with all my friends, I can listen back to them, I can have them forever. It’s such a brilliant idea; and Kevin Smith is actually a very cool interesting guy (as are all his friends!).

I never realised this was all going on, I love finding new corridors in the hotel of life.

This video was made by an Irish fan of the Tell em Steve-Dave boys (and they were so in awe of it; so amazed and happy that someone would have made it for them for no reason other than he was a fan). He animated it all based on a conversation the guys had about Walt delivering comics to a guy that couldn’t come to the shop (Jay and Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad St, Red Bank, NJ- Walt is the manager and runs the shop which is owned by Kevin Smith).

The guys of Tell em Steve-Dave kept me company as I drew!

Well, without the laptop I’ve managed to draw some pictures and actually make my brother a birthday card, so it’s been good.

 But, God, hopefully I’ll have one soon 🙂