Look at the Fucking Smile On Batfleck’s Face

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I wasn’t entirely certain I wanted to keep doing AZM on the regular. But then someone came up to me at SPX and said they’ve been reading this horrible thing since high school (WHAT THE WHAT) so I will endeavor to do my best to bring my take to all the nerdy shit that’s going on. It won’t be pretty, but that’s not what you come here for. So let’s get back into it starting with the news that Ben Affleck is going to play Batman in the sequel to Superman: Man of Steel.

To be honest, I didn’t nerd rage nearly as hard as some of my friends.  At this point, I don’t care who plays Batman.  Though I thought he was really compelling in Batman Begins, by the time The Dark Knight came around, I was getting sick of Christian Bale’s weird Batvoice. I found Heath Ledger to be much more interesting.  And in the third installment, I found the surrounding characters much more interesting than Batman.  Batman is more of an idea, a force of nature, than any one character.  The Bat himself somehow became the least interesting part of the franchise.  I was drawn in because of the way he affected the lives and loves around him.  The Bat doesn’t matter as much as the way he touches the lives around him.  So in that view, really anyone could put on the suit.

Superman/Batman must deal with a more fundamental problem that reared its ugly head in Man of Steel.  Max Landis does a brilliant job of articulating my biggest problem with the movie:

For me to give any shits about the sequel, Superman needs to answer for the destruction of Smallville and Metropolis.  I’ve heard the argument that these are his first two big fights so he hasn’t quite figured out the best way to punch villains without destroying towns.  I suppose that’s true.  But they spent the entire first act of the film showing us how much Clark cares about humanity, how far he’s willing to go to save people.  And yet when it comes to punchy time, he suddenly forgets that there are innocents near by?

No.  That is not the character they set up.  That is not Superman.

I think the second film needs to deal with this and I think it would be a great way to introduce Lex Luthor.  I could easily see Lex coming in and saying something like, “Do you see the destruction this so-called savior caused? He’s no hero! He’s a monster!”  And then Lexcorp swoops in to do reconstruction while Lex begins a campaign to demonize Superman.  And Clark spends a good portion of the film trying to reconcile the damage he’s done.  Do I stay to help protect humanity against other threats knowing that this could be the result?  Do I leave and hope that they can take care of themselves?  I think that could be a really interesting setup and a perfect way for Lex to make his entrance.

Or better yet, Waynecorp comes in to do reconstruction.  Bruce calls up Clark and basically says, “Listen, asshole. You can punch villains without blowing up a city, you know.”  Just snarks the shit out of him.  If we get asshole Bruce, I really think Affleck is the guy.  You remember this scene from Boiler Room?

How awesome would it be to have him bust Clark’s balls like this!  Yeah, yeah, super flying powers FUCK YOU! Don’t punch villains in Metropolis!  He could even do the whole “act as if” thing to Clark.

Hey fucker, act as if you’re a fucking super hero!

I don’t know which way they’re going to go with the sequel, but I hope to the comic gods that they address the destruction of Smallville and Metropolis and that Ben Affleck gets his asshole on and trolls the shit out of Clark as Bruce.  Then I’ll believe DC is ready for a Justice League film.

Actually, scratch that. Smallville, Metropolis, asshole Bruce, WONDER WOMAN and THEN I’ll believe DC is ready for a Justice League film.

Tokusatsu Time #4 – Henshin Devices

A very brief overview of henshin devices.

And here’s a link to the news about Toei streaming tokusatsu!

Robocop 2014, I’d Buy That For A Dollar!

Never judge a man in a robot suit by a photo.

Remember when set photos of the new Robocop suit came out and everyone was complaining that he looked like shit?  Well, fuck that noise!  This trailer for the Robocop remake is fucking badass and the suit looks absolutely fantastic!

Those of us in the tokusatsu fandom know to never judge a suit by a photo alone.  There are plenty of busted ass looking Kamen Riders that are completely awesome.  And some awesome looking ones that are hella lame.

It doesn’t seem like this new version will have the same sort of biting social commentary as the first one, but it still looks like a lot of fun.

Hands On With the Cintiq Hybrid


This past weekend, I went to PAX Prime to hang out with my brother.  I didn’t really look at the exhibitor list because I figured we’d just play it by ear and wander around.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the Wacom booth.  I grabbed the closest representative in a Wacom shirt and blurted out, “DO YOU HAVE COMPANION HYBRID THINGY TABLET PLAY WITH I WANT TO?!”  The gentleman calmly pointed to where the Cintiq Companion Hybrid rested, just waiting for me to draw things upon its glossy surface.


So to really get a good feel for this new piece of kit, I’d have to sit down with it for a few hours.  But I didn’t want to be that shit head on the con floor, so I kept my time to few minutes to get a good overview of what to expect.

If you’ve ever drawn on a Cintiq tablet before, the Hybrid is instantly familiar.  If you’re new to the product, it might take some getting used to.  Unlike the textured surfaces of the Intuos 5s and the Bamboo line, the Cintiq drawing surface is smooth glass.  You won’t get the tactile resistance you might expect from paper.  I’ve never found that to be a problem but I heard a few other people next to me complain about the lack of texture.

Previous Cintiq models that I’ve worked with always had a weird tracking problem as I drew closer to the edge.  My lines would jump around making the device somewhat useless as I worked towards the edges.  This was the first thing I tested out with the Hybrid and it handled the edges perfectly.  No weird skipping.  No tracking problems.

The tracking and pressure sensitivity are exactly what you’d expect from a Cintiq.  It tracks almost flawlessly and handles changes in pressure just as well.  The Hybrid also functions as a tablet computer, but it turns off hand/palm detection when you’re drawing.  The woman next to me was playing with the Windows 8 version which was giving her problems with the palm detection.  Every time her hand touched the surface, her drawing would go all wonky.  The tech couldn’t figure out how to fix the problem so that might be something to watch out for.

The new Pro Pen is pretty comfortable.  From what I could tell, it’s pretty much the same pen as the previous Cintiq iteration.  I didn’t ask the tech, but I suspect it’s not compatible with anything else but a Cintiq.

If I had more time with it, I would have fired up a big ol 300-600 dpi CYMK file to see if I could make it crash.  I also didn’t test out the pinch or zoom or any of the tablet gestures but I’m assuming them shits work just fine.

Overall, I think it lives up to my expectations.  The specs made me drool, but actually having one in my hands made my pants all kinds of crunchy. Now to figure out how to afford the bloody thing…

I’m Going to be a Dad!!!!

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, but now that we know the gender I got the okay to announce to the world that Audrey and I will be welcoming a baby girl into our family come the new year!

“Are you ready?”

Everyone asks me that whenever we tell them that Audrey is pregnant.  My answer is always some variation of, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! OF COURSE NOT!”  I think if you wait until you’re “ready,” you’ll never have kids.  What I am ready for is being absolutely clueless and making shit up as I go along.  Yeah, there’s shit we will read and classes we will take and advice we’ll get from fellow parents, but every kid is a goddamn snowflake and special in their very own way and will fuck your shit up in ways you never could have anticipated.  So I’m ready for failing a lot and working through things together.

Here’s the fucked up part.  One of the chief things that concerns me is doing the comic through all this chaos.  My only priority should be the newborn.  But I can’t help it.  I want this to be my job and I’m so very far from that goal.  I can’t stop now.  I don’t get much sleep as it is now so maybe it won’t be so bad.  But I have no idea what’s going to happen in January.  I’ll try my best to build up some sort of buffer and lineup probably a month’s worth of guest strips, but I expect there’s going to be some hickups in the schedule in the new year.

One of the things I never talk about but take an extreme amount of pride in is that I’ve updated YP consistently Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since I started it.  I missed a day because of a power outage which annoys the shit out of me (fucking PEPCO), but other than that, there’s been drawings of things waiting here for you every update day.  I’d like to keep that streak going somehow.  We’ll see how it all shakes out.

So like the worst kind of addict, I’m keeping a sort of comics journal of my feelings and thoughts as we get ready for the little lady.  At some point, I’ll turn that into some sort of graphic novel of the experience because I’m an idiot and just can’t help myself.  And I’m sure I’ll be relating stories of things here to embarrass her when she gets older.

Wacom Unveils Its All-in-One Tablet!!!!

Though the tablet computing space has intrigued me since Microsoft’s early Tablet PCs, I’ve never really considered them to be proper tools for me as an artist. The early tablets were never big enough or had high enough resolution for my purposes. Now that they are big enough with resolution to spare, the lack of true pressure sensitivity has always prevented me from hitting the buy button. Well it seem that Wacom is tired of hearing people like me bitch and whine about tablets and their limited art usefulness. Last week, they announced three new products that now make it impossible for me to ignore tablets as true production machines, the Intuos Creative Stylus and two flavors of the Cintiq Companion.


The mobile stylus market is kind of saturated.  It seems like everyone and their cousin’s niece has brought a stylus to market.  Half the vendors at Macworld iWorld last year had styluses of various shapes and sizes.  And yes, there were a handful with pressure sensitivity.  Wacom also has various versions of their non-pressure sensitive Bamboo stylus.  So I guess a pressure sensitive one isn’t such a big deal.

Still, it’s nice to see that Wacom has been working on something for current iPad owners who want to push their tablet work farther.

Much like the Intuos pen tablets, the Intuos Stylus boasts 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity along with palm rejection technology so you won’t get any stray marks if your palm brushes up against the surface.  Shit, I need that when I’m inking with a brush!  Unlike most Wacom styluses or pens, this one is powered by an AAAA battery (I didn’t know the A’s went that far up!) which they say will last you 150 over hours.  It’s compatible with iPad Mini, iPad 3, iPad 4, and probably any newer versions that drop.  Sorry iPad 2, you just didn’t make the cut.

Aside from that, the Intuos Stylus should be familiar to anyone who uses Wacom pens.  It’s got the two-button switch which I imagine is as programmable as ever.  It’s got the comfy rubber grip which lets you draw for hours without finger fatigue.  It comes in a pretty slick case with a number of replacement nibs. It’s also available in two colors, black or blue.  Love the shade of blue they chose.

My only complaint is that it’s got one of them poofy nibs.  I’ve used a few styluses with a similar nib and it’s always a little tricky trying to figure out just where your line is.  I imagine after using it for a few hours, it won’t be such a bit deal.  That initially put me off.  I haven’t tried one in the wild yet so their version of the poofy nib might not be as annoying.

The Intuos Stylus is up for pre-order for $99.95 and will ship October 7. So if you’ve already got an iPad of some sort and have been waiting for something like this to add to your arsenal, it seems like a no-brainer.

However, if you’re like me and have held out, Wacom has something else for you to consider.



The Companion is essentially a mobile Cintiq 13HD with more features somehow.  So you’re kinda screwed if you hopped on the 13HD train early.  It’s got the 2048 levels of pressured goodness, the programmable wheel, and four programmable expression keys.  One of the things that really bothered me about the 13HD was that it only had the wheel and the four expression keys.  I’ve got a 12WX and that mofo has ten programmable expression keys and two programmable sliders.  That’s 12 things I can fiddle with compared with only five and it’s the old busted model.  The Companion tablet takes that in to account with the addition of onscreen shortcuts that you can bring up and when you’re working thanks to multitouch control. FUCK. YES.

Ah, but remember, it’s a tablet so it’s got two HD cameras, speakers, wifi, bluetooth, onboard storage, USB support, and some other connections depending on the version you get.  As for operating systems, the Companion comes in two flavors, the Windows 8 Companion and the Android Companion Hybrid.

Both the Companion and the Companion Hybrid can be hooked up to a laptop or a PC and used as a second monitor while you transfer files or if you just want a second monitor.  Only the Hybrid can be plugged in to another machine and used as a Cintiq.

If price were no issue, the Hybrid is definitely the way to go.  You get the best of both worlds.  If you’re a digital artist, chances are your laptop or desktop is way more powerful than the Companion.  You can take your Companion on the road for some initial sketching, maybe even some tight line drawing.  Then when you need some real horsepower to do your effects or coloring or animation work, you plug that thing into your workhorse and you’ve got a Cintiq 13HD without having to buy any more gear.  It’s the most bang for your buck.

If price were no issue.

The Companion line is exactly the kind of tablet I’ve been waiting for.  So of course, it comes with a respectable price tag.  The Windows 8 version is priced more like a laptop.  The standard model comes with 256GB of storage and will set you back $1999. If you upgrade to 516GB, you’re looking at $2,499.  The Hybrid is less laptoppy.  The 16GB version goes for $1499 while the 32GB is $1599.  For a $100 price difference, it probably makes sense to just go for the 32GB.  That’s enough room for a whole mess of comic files to work on when you’re traveling.  Then you can transfer them over to your workhorse when you plug back in at home.

Both are up for pre-order and ship mid-October.

The nice thing about Wacom is that they usually wait a few years between releases.  They don’t update their hardware unless it’s a significant jump forward in either design or functionality.  These Companions are likely to be around for a few years before they drop new ones so I don’t think you’ll have as much early adopter’s remorse as you might with some other companies.  One thing to watch out for with any Cintiq is how well it tracks at the edges.  Sometimes shit gets wonky as you draw towards an outer edge.  But honestly, if you’ve been waiting for the perfect Cintiq, I think this is the one.

Of course, you should probably test drive the bloody thing before dropping the money.  You can sign up for the mailing list for all the latest and greatest Wacom news.  Hopefully they take the thing out on tour to show it off.  I’ve signed up for the shit so I’ll keep an eye out to see if they are indeed taking it around for you to play with.

Tokusatsu Time #3 – Pacific Rim AKA ROBOTS PUNCHING!

I either was not Geek nor Sundry enough, but I will continue to spread the gospel of the awesomeness of ROBOTS PUNCHING! So here’s my long anticipated Pacific Rim review!

You can play a drinking game to this review if you want to get stupid drunk really quickly. Every time I say “Robots Punching,” take a swig.

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