Thursday, May 29, 2008

Available Now

"Cartoon Network Block Party" #45 is available in comic book stores now. It includes a Powerpuff Girl story that I wrote.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones meets Star Wars

With today being the 25th anniversary of "Return of the Jedi" and with a new Indiana Jones movie out, I thought I'd celebrate by posting about where the two franchises created by George Lucas intersect.

Aside from sharing a number of cast and crew members, Star Wars references make several appearances in the Indiana Jones movies. Sound effects such as the one used for both the Millennium Falcon's failing hyperdrive (right before Princess Leia asks if it would help if she got out and pushed in "The Empire Strikes Back"), and when the plane engines sputter out early in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" can be found in both franchises. Certain scenes mirror one another as well. Just before Indy strikes out onto the rope bridge near the end of "Temple of Doom," he chases off two thugees, and then runs back as their dramatically increased numbers chase after him, paralleling a similar scene involving Han Solo and Chewbacca aboard the Death Star in the original "Star Wars."

"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is not exempt from the Star Wars references. Indy mutters the Star Wars tag line "I've got a bad feeling about this" near the film's climax, and earlier in the film, he speaks Quechua to some Peruvians. When asked where he learned the language, Indy replies "It's a long story," pauses then continues to mention his time spent with Pancho Villa. I liked the pause without explanation better, since Quechua was the language used for Huttese in the Star Wars movies and is spoken by Greedo in "Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope" as well as by Jabba the Hutt and his major domo, Bib Fortuna.

There are also a number of visual Star Wars references slipped into the Indiana Jones movies. This kind of tribute was not new, and Steven Spielberg, director of the Indiana Jones movies, directed the first movie to visually reference Star Wars. In "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" released the same year as the original Star Wars movie, R2-D2 was incorporated into the model of the mother ship and can be seen hanging upside down with his eye glowing red as the mother ship first appears rising up ober the cliffs of Devil's Tower. You can see R2-D2 hanging like a bat at the top of Melinda Dillon's sight line in the shot below.

A year after the first Indiana Jones movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," another movie starring Harrison Ford, "Bladerunner" would also incorporate familiar Star Wars iconography into its visual effects. Here are three shots which reveal the location of the Millennium Falcon reconfigured into a building with a number of communication towers jutting from it.

In "Raiders of the Lost Ark" the Star wars references begin with Indiana Jones making his escape after his first encounter with Belloq. The plane flown by his friend, Jock, is numbered OB-CPO, a reference both to Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and the droid C-3PO.

C-3PO returns, along with R2-D2 a number of times in the Well of Souls, where the Ark of the Covenant is discovered. This time the droids are incorported into the heiroglyphics through out the chamber.

I don't know if this large panel showing both droids is visible in the film, but...

... a smaller version of the two droids can be seen on the collumn on the left side of this frame, between Indy's right hand and the top coil of carved snake. This occurs just as Indy and Sallah are about to lift the ark out of its container.

R2-D2 can also clearly (though out of focus) be seen here right at the end of the loop extending from the handle to Indy's whip. This moment comes just after Indy tells marion to wave her torch at anything that slithers and before she mistakenly takes the whip for a snake.

There is also some geographical spillover from Star Wars as well. In the scene where the nazis carry the ark through a canyon towards the spot where its opening ceremony will be performed, Indiana Jones threatens to blow it up, rather than let the nazis have it. This scene was filmed at the location in Tunisia where R2-D2 wound his way into being captured by the jawas in the original "Star Wars." By the time this scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was filmed there, the canyon had officially been named Star Wars Canyon.

I don't recall any Star Wars references in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," the third movie, but the second movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" had one of the best known, and easiest to spot. All of the action in the opening sequence takes place in Club Obi Wan. Signage on the exterior of the club can be seen a couple of times following when Indiana Jones and Willie Scott exit the club via the window.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Stores Now

Available at comic book stores now is SCOOBY-DOO #132, which not only has one of the cool giant ants from the movie "Them!" on the cover, but it has two stories written by me between its covers. One of them is the 10th installment in my regular, informative, series "Velma's Monsters of the World" which details the exciting world of monsters of myths and folklore. This month the monster of choice is the Manticore. This story was drawn by Karen Matchette.

The other story is a mystery involving a werewolf and a classic car. This one was drawn by a frequent visitor at this blog, Mr. Robert Pope.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Robots for Writing

Last week, as a side project, using a bunch of plastic storage bins, buckets, kitchen utensils and assorted odds and ends, I cobbled together this trio of robots as decorative "staff" for the new robot store based at, and benefitting, 826michigan which runs a lot of writing workshops and tutorials for kids.

The robots were fun to make, and pretty easy to put together, though those plastic storage bins are really difficult to cut without causing them to shatter. These three robots were built over the course of about a day and a half. The taller two stand at about three-feet tall, which fit the requirements of the space they'd be occupying.

I wish I'd had the time to make more.

For information on the 826michigan program go here. For more information on the 826 project in general, go here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Lucky me.

I recall seeing various versions of this throughout the blogosphere in the past, but haven't seen examples of the phenomena in at least a year or two. Alas, being tagged, the blog equivalent of a chain letter, is not extinct. Unlike chain letters, a tag could actually provide some enlightening answers when the questions are not too inane. Fortunately the one that landed in my email box courtesy of my friend, Max the Drunken Severed Head is pretty painless (compared to some examples I've seen in the past which included 10 wide ranging and often stupid questions), otherwise I'd be referring to him as my FORMER friend, Max.

What Max's email requested I do was this:

1) Pick up the nearest book.
2) Open to page 123.
3) Locate the fifth sentence.
4) Post the next three sentences on your blog and in so doing...
5) Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Of course some people might posit that comic books only have 22 pages making me ineligible to answer such a question. Yes, there are comic books in my immediate vicinity, but there are other books as well, though this proved to be tricky as well.

The nearest books to me are a stack of YA and children's books, foiling me by either being too short, having illustrations on page 123, or chapter finishes less than 5 sentences long.

Expanding the range of the nearest book, brings two equal contenders.

I'm a bit unclear on steps 3 and 4 so I'm going to interpret it as I see fit, since I'm not sure if a sentence which begins on page 122 but ends on 123 counts as the first sentence, or not, and also because I'm unclear on whether listing the next three sentences includes sentence 5, or begins with sentence 6. I'm beginning with sentence 6.

At any rate, here are the three sentences from the first book:

I hope my gamble works!

Apes often imitate what they see.

If Titano sees me putting this human-size puppet down, he may put Lucy down, too!

Here are the sentences from the second book:

Her bones, they say, were turned to stone.

Still she hides in the woods and is seen no more in the mountains.

But everyone can still hear her, since her voice, and only her voice, is still alive.

I'm tempted to leave everyone hanging and not name the books, but in the spirit of kindheartedness, the first book was in fact a comic book; a collection of some of the greatest comic books ever published, "The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen."

The second book was "Men and Gods" by Rex Warner with illustrations by Edward Gorey. The story that my sentences came from should be pretty obvious.

As for the 5th step in Max's instructions, I really hate the idea of inflicting this sort of thing on anyone, but since I'm one of those people who immediately start scanning people's bookshelves when I'm let into their homes, I'm always curious about what people are reading, so beware. When I decide who's getting hit, I'll update this post letting you know.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Foundation Finale

"The Foundation" comes to an exciting finish in issue #5, iits final issue, on sale today.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I found this in a box of paper where it had been misplaced and completely forgotten for the past couple of years. This was a quick exercise I did to use up a bunch of paper scraps I had left over from another collage. I think the entire collage took me about 20 minutes.

It's not a spectacular piece, but finding it has made me reconsider taking on other spontaneous smaller scale collages using left over scraps.

For a different tiger collage I made look here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Available Now

There's a "Dexter's Laboratory" story I wrote in CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY #44 which is on sale in comic book stores now.