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  1. So back in 1986, I knew this guy who was BIG into comics. He introduced me to independent comics, which I barely knew existed (stuff like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the hilarious Dr. Radium), but he also turned me on to two other very influential comics: Watchmen, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Batman was pretty amazing. It started off as your typical "imaginary story," with a fifty year old Batman, and from there, deconstructed the entire IDEA of Batman, turned it on its head. Very good stuff! Watchmen was even more amazing, starting with its artistic choices (the cover image was invariably the first AND last panel of the actual story) and following through with its bizarre, noirish deconstruction of everything superheroes stood for. Only one hero had powers, and he seemed like an example of why a society (and government) would never be able to tolerate a genuine superhuman. All the OTHER heroes? Only one is genuinely motivated by the idea of truth, justice, and righteousness; the others fight crime for a variety of reasons judging from sadism, sexual sadism, commercialism, fameseeking, cosplay... and sheer hatred. Author Alan Moore made a creepy point: in a real world, people who dress up in costumes to fight crime are going to be a rather ... odd bunch of people. Most of them won't be very nice. "Wow," I thot to myself. "This is the first comic I think I have ever read that really qualifies as literature." And then I got on with the rest of my life. Fastforward four years, and another friend of mine has got a job at a comic shop. The night Superman died, he asked me if I could come help out, in exchange for store credit; the Death Of Superman had made the news, and everyone was gonna buy fifty copies and save them for ten years, and then retire on the profits from the resale. Superman dies tonight! "You are large and bearded," he said. "Could you put on that jacket that makes you look like a biker, and come play security, just in case? We're not expecting trouble, but..." And so myself and several other thuglike presences formed a human barrier while the owner and my pal unbundled the comics and put them out for sale. Two copies to a customer. There was grumbling, but no trouble. And I spent a lot of time looking over various comic books with which I was unfamiliar. Apparently, super heroes carried guns, now. Guns, bigger than my torso. The artwork seemed sketchier than I remembered. And pouches; apparently capes were out, but ammo belts with many, MANY pouches were now mandatory. Whatever these heroes were using to fight crime, apparently, they needed a LOT of it, in single-serving sizes, even the ones who didn't carry guns. Since I wasn't a regular consumer of comics, I had missed the Dawning Of The Age Of Grimdark, aka the Dark Age Of Comics. In hindsight, the reason was obvious. The Dark Knight Returns had been grim and gritty, with dialogue like "There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm. Three of them kill. The other one... HURTS!" And a Batman who was filled with anger and rage and not QUITE willing to kill the Joker, but fully prepared to put him in traction, break legs and bones, and do whatever it took to restore order. And in the same story, Batman gains a mob of teenage imitators, who go so far as to maim a store clerk that they think "didn't put up enough of a fight" against a robber. The Russians launch a nuke, which blacks out Gotham and nearly kills Superman, who stops it from wiping out the city. Grimdark, indeed. Watchmen is similarly dark and violent; hell, the story BEGINS with someone throwing one of our heroes out a window, and ends with a slew of murders and a near apocalypse. And these were the two most influential comics to come out of the eighties. It's no surprise that the trend after that was "Grim and gritty, to the point where there's not much difference between the good guys and the bad, as long as there's plenty of blood and gore and guts and veins in m'teeth, sarge, I wanna KILL... KILL... KILL..." And so all this leads up to a few years later when superheroes carry gigantic guns that look like Star Trek vacuum cleaners, many ammo pouches, have superhero names like Deathkillblood, and Superman is dead. Not long after, there was a market correction. Market saturation and waning interest on the part of the fans led to a shock in the comic book market. People quit buying. Some publishers went out of business. A LOT of comics went unsold. And on eBay, you can still buy a black bagged "Death Of Superman" comic for only slightly more than cover price, more than 25 years later. Two comics, made by very talented people, who had a reason to deconstruct, and an actual story to tell, had revitalized... and then gradually derailed... the entire comics industry. Which got me to thinking about the movies. I saw the movie version of Watchmen. It was among the first of the current wave of superhero movies, if I recall. And it was among the first to get that grim, gritty, grimdark feel. I walked out thinking, "Well, that Zach Snyder guy got the overall LOOK right, but somehow, I think he missed what the author was trying to SAY." And while the Marvel movies drew audiences and made big big box office, whoever was in charge at Time Warner said, "Hey, this Zach Snyder guy seems to 'get' superheroes. Let's put him in charge of all OUR superhero movies, so we, too, can draw audiences and make big box office." And Man Of Steel was... well, it wasn't a Superman movie, despite the presence of a guy dressed in a rather dark colored Superman suit. And Batman Vs. Superman just freakin' creeped me out. These were not superheroes; these were simply people strong and ruthless enough to force their will on others, and the little people should damn well stay out of their way if they know what's good for them. I haven't seen Justice League yet, but I had come to a decision: the characters on all the CW superhero TV shows were far closer to the comics I grew up with than the violent, ruthless, arrogant man-gods of these dark, unpleasant movies. Watchmen was the finest comic event in years... but it shook comics, and ultimately, its imitators badly damaged the entire industry. And crazily enough, the movie based on it had the same effect on the comic book movies made by the same company. Alan Moore went on record as saying he felt that DC/Time/Warner had ripped him off, and that he would never work for them again, after Watchmen. Wonder if he's realized that his revenge was practically built into the process?
  2. Reaper Mr Bones

    Mr Bones, kind of what you think he would look like. Enjoy guys :).
  3. :bday: A happy birthday to you!
  4. :bday: Best wishes for a happy birthday!
  5. Hello again! I've just wrapped up another commissioned work, for which I should get another lot of Bones. At this point, I don't really need the Bones, but hey, I'm enjoying the challenge and the experience, and I'm learning a lot from each. This is for the wife of the guy I made "Judas the Just" for. She likes playing various fire casters, so he gave me "Pharess" to paint up for her. It's a very creative mini, I sculpted some additional fire for the base and mounted her on a washer. I actually mounted her on two - she fit on a 3/4" base, but I decided I wanted a bit more base to play with so I put her on a 1". I made up the difference with two-part epoxy putty - she is now a pretty solid piece of metal. Incidentally, I pinned her arm but didn't quite line it up right - so her left arm is a bit high and her shoulder looks a tiny bit padded. I will also say this mini has some really hard places to get to - the dragon blocks the right half of her face (and there's something strange going on there, maybe I got a miscast, or maybe there's a nose chain or something?) and her legs block a lot of her waist. I also ended up blocking one of her feet with the fire. C'est la vie. As I said - learning experience. I have not sealed her yet - if anyone has any comments I'll definitely contemplate fixing it. I'm not going to put a lot more work into her, but I'd love the feedback regardless. Pictures! Here are some from a different angle, so you can see the base work - the base was covered with playground sand, which I painted up as coals at her feet. This is actually easier than it looks - I painted them a sort of orangish red, drybrushed them in black, then drybrushed them very lightly with light grey.
  6. I'm doing some character minis for a friend in exchange for minis from his Bones I Kickstarter and some paints. He wanted for me to paint a Paladin, and he was looking at Judas Bloodspire. I said, "His clothes don't look quite right for a paladin type." He said, "Not necessarily," then he showed me the Andoren sourcebook (a Pathfinder country, btw. They favor Blue, gold, and white and dress very 18th Century rather than Medieval.) And so "Judas the Just" was born. If you are familiar with the Mirror Universe concept (see the Old Trek episode "Mirror Mirror." Spock looks great with a beard,) this is where you have evil versions of normally good characters. Well, what's good for the goose... As far as the paint job goes, it is a bit rough in places, particularly the left side of his face and his hair. I think I learned a few good lessons about washes and thinning my paint, though. All in all, I like it, particularly the shading and the armor. I haven't given him back yet, so if anyone has any last-minute suggestions, I'll definitely listen. I may not do them (I'm not spending many more hours on this guy,) but I'll listen. The pictures are really big, click on them to expand:
  7. No, seriously, this is a thing I'm doing. A friend of mine is commissioning me to paint some of his minis - in exchange he's going to load me down with minis from his Bones KS I. Well, that and some paints. Anyway, we were looking for a Paladin - he's playing an Andoren Paladin in a Pathfinder game, and he handed me Judas Bloodspire. I was truly intrigued by the challenge. So, I've made only a few the actual changes. I sliced off the part of the cloak that is definitely making a bat wing, and I used superglue to fill in the eye- and nose-holes of the skulls on his epaulets and the guard of the sword. The intention is to paint them up as big blue gems. The skull on the back of the sword I think I can get to look like a crown - which is actually a not-uncommon historical pommel. I also used an X-acto knife to "de-fang" him, though unfortunately they didn't show up until I started painting the face. This is my progress so far, I decided to take a break today and get this up on the forum to seek advice - besides a really high res picture can help me see fine mistakes. I think I consider the skirts finished, though I could work on them a bit more. The armor is mostly finished but for touch ups, the sword needs real-touching up 'cause it caught paint from the skirts. The hilt and pommel of the sword are completely undone - I haven't mixed up my gold yet. The cloak is base-coated only, I plan do to more work shading there (though most of that will only show up in the back.) I'd like to call the face and hair done, but I'll definitely take good advice on these things - I've probably spent 3-4 hours painting this guy so far, and easily an hour of it has been doing and redoing the face. I've even hit it with Reaper's matte sealer (thanks Ub3r_n3rd!) to take away a bit of roughness. So without further ado, I present an alternate good version of Judas:
  8. So, as I noted on my earlier show off thread, my digital camera broke. My dad is a rather avid amateur photographer, so I asked him if he had one to spare. He did, but it lacked a battery. $20 and a week later (Amazon was S-L-O-W) I now have a shiny, old-but-powerful digital camera with which to take pictures of my minis. With a remote flash and everything! Advice for the pics will be cheerfully taken. I'm experimenting right now, so far I seem to get the best results with the camera on a tripod with the remote flash pointed at the ceiling. I have a printed backdrop, and have the mini on a stand. But enough about photography, the results! I think I'll post my most recent one first. I'm not 100% happy with it, this is a commission work for a friend who wanted me to paint up Barnabus Frost as a random Pathfinder character. I believe he's going to make him a wizard. Since he is not a ship captain, I went with more subdued colors and cut the flintlock pistol off. I was surprised by how neat I was able to make where I had cut the pistol off- there was very little roughness to it. In general, I think I did okay with this paint job - the face is a little funny, the coat is good but not great, and I tried to do a sort of salt-and-pepper hair but it didn't look terribly good, so I washed it down to a fairly subdued "going a little grey." Any comments or advice will be gladly accepted.
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