Tuesday, June 27, 2006

He will EAT your children.

So it can now be said without any hint of loyalism (he DID get me my start), Guillermo del Toro is the best filmmaker I've ever known. Pan's Labyrinth is flawless del Toro. Paul Prischman and I discussed this after seeing the film last Friday- Guillermo has taken his entire film vocabulary, all those images you love from his other films, and literally poured it into Pan's. You're going to hear many words to describe this film: brutal, harsh, beautiful, magical, disturbing, political, creepy as shit, and they're all going to apply. Oh, and there are monsters in it, staple of any good, "best movie I've seen in the past three years!"

It's just terrible that so few of you will see it before December....I went through this when I saw Kung-fu Hustle a good six months before it came out at a private screening at Sony. So thanks to Frank Darabont for organizing the hottest Hollywood screening this year, and thanks again to Paul for getting me in. It's a truly haunting film that I still find hard to put into words, past the mesmerized feeling that washes over me whenever I think about it. I can't wait to see it again.

And speaking of other good movie news head on over to Aint it Cool to read Harry's GLOWING review of Monster House. Having Harry Knowles love this film makes me feel really damn good about all the hard work we put into it....just you wait for City of Ember......

watching: My Neighbor Totoro
listening to: Walking Concert

Thursday, June 22, 2006

yup....he's got LASER EYES.

Exactly what the hell was going on in the late 1970's anyway? Sure, the seventies played host to the age of "goofy hero" Godzilla and produced one of the most ridiculed of all Kaiju Eiga- Godzilla vs. Megalon. Granted the film's storyline is just plain out there, even for a G flick, and the monster fights are just chock full stock footage, and Jet Jaguar PROGRAMS himself to grow to Godzilla's height....ridiculous. But I love that film, and am apprehensively naming it as my second favorite of the seventies Godzilla films. Megalon was a cool design, almost scary, and Jet Jaguar's evil grin was a great response to Ultraman.
So when the Godzilla series ended in 1975 with Terror of Mechagodzilla, who was left to fill what would be a ten-year void?

Marvel and Hanna-Barbera.

Now I don't know the answer to this question, but, who the deuce gave Godzilla laser eyes? LASER EYES?!?!? Atomic fire and a bad attitude just wasn't enough. So when Sony put out two discs of the H-B original series:

I was as surprised as anyone. I remember bits of this show from my childhood, I even had a little plush Godzilla based on this series, and was pretty excited to re-live some of those moments. As shows go, it's pretty much what you'd expect from late seventies Hanna-Barbera....the plots all take place near some body of water (so Godzilla could be easily summoned to do the bidding of the hapless humans), the monster designs are actually pretty good, and Godzooky....the Scooby-doo added in because H-B couldn't have a show without one. Even in spite of this silly flying beast (is he Godzilla's kid? idiot nephew?), I enjoyed these discs. Coming in a little slim with only four episodes each I was definitely more involved with the Hanna-Barbera take than with these:

These apologetic, "sorry we fucked up your favorite character" cartoons. Yeah, they added fire breath. Yeah, they added monsters for Godzilla to fight. And you know what it's just these additions that make the show remotely watchable. The new kaiju designs are definitely cool, a totally different take on daikaiju. Utilized in the context of this show, they work. The characters, meh. Some of the stories were actually well done. I'm thinking of the "S.C.A.L.E." episode that took place almost totally on Monster Island (my favorite place to be) and told in documentary style, utilizing handheld and security cameras. Kudos to the writers of that episode.

So, plenty of animated giant monster action out there right now, but just wait, just wait.........


See you September 5th!!!!

Watching: Mikazuki
Listening to: Reverend Glasseye & His Wooden Legs

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's official...I've done way too much work on Monster House

Monster House.... I worked for two and half years on this movie. It's extremely rare that a storyboard artist would stay on a project for more than six months....usually gigs for guys like us are brief and intense. So why is it that I end up on shows for so long? Beats me. Well, on Monster House, I think it was a really strong rapport with Gil Kenan, the director. Things just kind of clicked in our Art department, and we all understood the aesthetic of the film. It worked, and just kept on working. So after we boarded the whole movie, and continued tweaking the boards all throughout the motion capture shoot, Gil got me started on doing all kinds of other artwork....all different forms of 2-D design for backgrounds and props. I worked on:
-the logo
-Thou Art Dead...I designed the characters, their simple animations, the backgrounds...even the storyline
-poster art for DJ's room, including some polaroids (my first regrettable foray into digital painting)
-candy box design (look for them in Jenny's wagon)
-signage and arcade box art at the Pizza Freek
-Blasterpong, Chowder's Atari-type game (not sure if this made it in yet)
-the Encyclopedia of Monsters (from a deleted scene in the movie, you can see the cover on the site) and it's contents

and a bunch of other stuff....I even did a slew of 2-D line art for the style guide(more on this later). And even more of the little bits and bobs that I kind of wrote off are showing up everywhere....on the site, for instance, the flip-books were things I did....and all of DJ's personal notes...... all these little things we did to make the world more believable are finding their way into the advertising....and it's weird.
Well head on over to the Monster House Official Siteto see a bunch of stuff I had my big toe into....you can play Thou Art Dead (and you won't want to stop), HOUSE, a basketball game they had my do the artwork for, play with the costume creator, which I did for a Nickelodeon contest a while back, as well as the usual screenshots, character bios, trailers and whatnot. Soon there will be some Production notes, and a chunk from the Encyclopedia of Monsters all about the Domus Mactibilis...looking forward to that.....go play.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Book Day

As of June 14, the Monster House One Shot is out on the shelves, and I couldn't be happier. Now we just need someone to read the book....well, I'm hoping it will be picked up, at least, by the people I told about it and maybe even those who just pick it up off the shelves and enjoy what they see....folks who may even be aware of Monster House from the trailers playing out there.
I think IDW has put out a really nice book here. Some of you might know that we had some problems setting this up at Dark Horse (artistic differences), and IDW came in and let us tell our story, the way we wanted, and got us a brilliant colorist- Len O'Grady, hire him!- and published a damn fine looking graphic novel.
As for my part in it, a very smart French guy said," Avec un style entre Kyle Hotz et Eric Powell, c'est certainement un titre que je vais surveiller de près à sa sortie...", which pretty much compares my style to Hotz and Powell. A compliment indeed. Although I have a WAYS to go before ever being able to hang out with them fellers. But still, nice to hear. I'm not sure why it is, but getting compliments on your comic work from Europeans always feels so much more notable....
So a fun book to work on, despite deadlines, and I'm sure more interest will be piqued after the film comes out. Sort of a , "oh, they made a Monster House comic?" kind of thing.
I'm really looking forward to hearing what the readers have to say..So if anyone out there knows of any reviews, good or bad, send them my way.

and now for the preview pages:

Monday, June 12, 2006

welcome.....I think

Ok, So I'm going to try and get this thing going.....What I'm attempting to do here is to run a relatively frequently updated site here, chock full of artwork, movie news, and any other kind of happy crap I feel like rambling on about....I'll probably end up filling megabyte after megabyte with giant monster pictures. But aside from my unhealthy geekgasms, I'll be announcing any updates to my portfolio site: Robot Operator Manuals right here....in a twisted "I like doing everything twice" kind of way, it saves me time....

So I'll be back...soon

I'll try not to be cranky...