Comic Collecting: A Pass Time of the Past?

I’m a fan of many pop culture phenomena; Portal to Ponies, Star Wars to Spider-man. At times, most of these things were considered geeky, but as society progressed, more and more people became accustomed to, or better yet joined, these fandoms!

However, one pass time in particular has been consistently seen as “geeky”: comic collecting.

But is all that starting to change?

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What does the scouter say?! It’s over…

100 Followers

That’s right, thanks to everyone this little blog just ticked over 100 followers last night! Threw this together as a little celebration in my sketchbook.

Thank you for all the support, onward to the next 100 and many more blog posts to come!

Sketch Weekly #12: Quat

Quat – n.

A pustule

Was a bit on the fence with this one, as I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to interpret the word and if my ability to present my thinking would work out. So have two takes on the word this week: one politically motivated and one on the reflection of vanity.

(All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to the current Australian prime minister is purely coincidental)

Inside Out: Pixar Turns up the Tears

Inside Out

Calling it now; animated movie of the year.

I can’t lie, I am a sucker for animated movies, and not many studios can produce higher quality animation than Pixar and Disney.

It’s been a number of years since these two animation powerhouses have joined forces to create a true spectacle, but the stars have aligned once more and we have been given “Inside Out”; a complex, compelling and most of all, entertaining film emotions and memories.

Inside Out literally puts you inside the head of the main character. Here it is Riley Anderson (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), an 11 year old girl who has just moved house with her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) due to her father’s work.

The premise of the film is simple; the struggles of a young girl dealing with change, however, the way in which the film handles and portrays these concepts is what makes it truly special.

Whilst the story is about Riley, most of the action takes place inside of her mind. Here the embodiments of Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) determine how Riley reacts and the memories she creates.

Joy, the first emotion Riley ever witnesses, is determined to ensure that each and every day of Riley’s life is full of fun and happiness. Through working with the other emotions (and limiting Sadness’s influences), Joy handles this personal mission successfully, however, after moving from her quiet family life in Minnesota to the busy and glum San Francisco, everything starts to change.

The physical representation of Riley's core memories, which define who Riley is.

The physical representation of Riley’s core memories, which define who Riley is.

Through a series of events, both Joy and Sadness become separated from the main emotion control centre, taking with them Riley’s Core memories. These core memories are essentially what makes Riley, Riley and without them, Riley begins to lose all of her personality.

It is now Joy’s main task to return to the hub with these memories before Anger, Fear and Disgust make any poor decisions for Riley.

This movie is a perfect example of Pixar and Disney’s strengths. Although clearly marketed towards kids with the bright colours and brilliantly expressive voice acting, there are elements included which can be appreciated by all ages.

The humour is clever, with some jokes clear, while others are very subtle but no less amusing.

Train of Thought

There is a literal train of thought. Additionally, it gets lost some times. Let that sink in for a moment.

Another main stay of Pixar’s animation is the quality of the visuals. Although the character designs were not overly complicated, their presentation is beautiful. Close ups show that the emotions’ skin actually has a soft, fuzzy texture to it, and you can even see a couple of single messy hairs on their head!

The feels though.

So many feels.

As expected with a movie dealing with emotions, there are a few heart wrenching scenes and I was definitely not left dry eyed. Riley deals with loss and longing, and Joy also struggles to come to terms with Sadness.

Whilst this movie is nearly perfect, there are a few flaws. The pacing was a little bit off, and Joy and Sadness’ journey back to “Headquarters” felt a little long and fraught with too many setbacks.

Additionally, I couldn’t help but feel I’d seen a lot of similar tropes used in other Pixar movies before, such as Nemo and Toy Story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but made it feel slightly less original to me.

Overall, Disney and Pixar have created a beautiful and funny movie which also subtly looks into mental health. And understandably so, the movie took 5 ½  years to produce! The few downsides are definitely made up by the engaging overall plot, colourful cast and stunning visuals, leaving the audience tearful, yet happy.

If you haven’t seen “Inside Out” yet, what are you doing?! This is a near perfect movie and I strongly recommend seeing it whilst it’s still showing in cinemas.

4/54/5

Inside Out

A Present with Heart

01

A couple of weeks ago it was my girl friend’s birthday. Every year, for almost all special occasions, we each do our best to prepare a hand made gift for each other, as one of our presents. My go to is usually origami or paper craft in some form, however, now that I’ve exhausted that medium, I thought I should shake things up a bit with an A3 sketch.

Beyond a few decorative hearts and patterns, each little doodle represents a memory or something special we have shared together. I was definitely relieved when she loved it, and now it decorates her uni room, 400km away from where I live.

Sketch Weekly #11: Bullfight

Bullfight

Bullfight – n.
A traditional Spanish, Portuguese, or Latin American spectacle in which a bull is fought by a matador, assisted by banderilleros and picadors, in a prescribed way in an arena and is usually killed.

Bullfight – n.
A traditional Spanish, Portuguese, or Latin American spectacle in which a bull is fought by a matador, assisted by banderilleros and picadors, in a prescribed way in an arena and is usually killed.

3 Games with Breathtaking Visuals: No HD collisions required!

Cover

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I couldn’t agree more.

Whilst some people are drooling of HD, hyper realistic explosions in modern first person shooters, I find beauty in the simpler graphics of more artistic games. So here’s a quick list of three games which I find absolutely beautiful:

  1. Child of Light
How could you not love those backdrops?

How could you not love those backdrops?

Available on:

PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Wii U, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Extending beyond the basics of turn based RPGs, Child of Light is a beautiful game which follows the adventures of Princess Aurora. The tale begins in 1895 Austria, with Aurora falling into a deep sleep, her skin turning ice cold. Those around her believed she has passed, however, she eventually awakens; no longer in Austria, but rather the mythical world of Lumeria. Here Lumeria learns that for her to return to her home, she must defeat the Black Queen who has stolen the sun, moon and stars from Lumeria.

This game is captivating on many levels. The entire dialogue is expressed through rhyming poetry, which contrary to my initial beliefs, did not get tiresome.

CoL05 Poetry

Additionally, the plat-forming world, cut scenes and battles are all created with breathtaking water colour paintings, making you want to explore and take in every nook and cranny to absorb all the crafted details.

Finally, the musical score throughout the game cannot be overstated. The depth to the soundtrack is achieved through the enlisting of an orchestra for the battle events, and the remaining music performed wonderfully by Cœur de Pirate on piano.

4/54/5

  1. Year Walk

Year Walk

Available on:

iOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS

Year Walk is, at its roots, a point and click/ horror/ puzzle solver, however, unlike any I am sure you have played. You follow the story through the eyes of the protagonist who hopes to see a glimpse of the future by engaging in the Swedish tradition of “Årsgång”: Year Walk. What follows is a short but memorable adventure through snow covered forests, solving puzzles and uncovering morbid secrets of the woodlands.

Beautiful, yet ominous. The perfect blend of horror and charm.

Beautiful, yet ominous. The perfect blend of horror and charm.

This game is overflowing with atmosphere, whilst never coming off as cheesy or cliché. The visual world is comprised of parallax backgrounds, where movement is constrained to stepping left and right, only moving back and forwards at select locations.

Best played in the dark right before bed.

Best played in the dark right before bed.

Additionally, your view is constantly kept looking directly forwards, allowing for scenes to be perfectly framed. There is limited background music throughout the game, however, when music is present, it perfectly builds an eerie sense of suspense.

Finally, this game executes puzzle mechanics wonderfully. You will definitely need a pen and paper to scrawl information down, but this just adds to the investment in the game. Nevertheless, some puzzles do come off cheap and I only solved by clicking absolutely everything on screen before randomly hitting what I needed, but these are few and far between.

4/54/5

  1. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
Those who have passed before you.

Those who have passed before you.

Available on:

iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS

Sword and Sworcery is an action-adventure come puzzle solver come point-and-click game. More than anything though, Sword and Sworcery is a work of art.

SS01

Labelled as an audio-visual experience, S&S follows the story of a Scythian warrior on her woeful journey to attain the mystical Megatome and rid the land of evil. Why this journey is particularly woeful isn’t fully clear from the start, but the longer you play and become invested, the more this little tale will reveal and pull on your heart strings.

Sword and Sworcery

Whilst the Scythian alone can only complete the burdensome task of ridding evil, she is supported by a wonderful cast. Whilst very little dialogue is expressed directly, their thoughts can be read in the Megatome, giving clues and supplying small amounts of humour.

As hinted by the name of this game, S&S is heavily influenced by music. The game itself is broken up into four short sessions, similar to that of a double EP, where the narrator of the game even advises to taking breaks between. Moreover, the world within the game is embedded with music, simply interacting with the environment (such as rustling trees or touching the saintly sylvan sprites) will even excite new sounds. Jim Guthrie’s score throughout is captivating and beautiful, and to this day, is the only sound track I have actively gone out and bought after playing a game.

And lastly, just for a moment, stop and appreciate the art style. This has to be the most breathtaking pixel art I have ever seen. The wildlife is equally stunning, with pixelated deer and rabbit toing and froing between bushes and paths.

5/55/5

Fragility of life

Bubbles

Uni has been pretty hectic again this week. Exam block starts next Monday so I’m fairly sure the lecturers conspired against us and made all the assignments due within three days of each other this week.

What is sleep?

So in the mean time while I write another article, have some nice bubbles. Have been considering using this as my new header, let me know which you prefer?