Saturday, March 29, 2008

Britney's South Park episode + Violence in Comics

When Britney Spears began her career in the pop scene, I saw her as Madonna-lite.

But her last two studio albums, In The Zone and Blackout, are really enjoyable. I practically worn out my copy of In The Zone, and her latest song "Piece Of Me" is a fantastic and meaningful song that addresses the topic of her public persona.

While she has nothing to do with comics and animation, her recent appearance in the newest season of South Park blew my mind. In it, Britney got tired of the public attention and used a shotgun and blew out her brains. And that's just the beginning of the show.

Bizzarely, she survived the blow and went on an adventure with the South Park kids of Kyle and Stan.

As you can see below, with her brains blown off, Britney went on to perform her first single, Gimme More, in the Grammy Awards. If you are aged 18 and above, you can watch the episode on the South Park site jaw agaped at this new South Park affront.

If that's not violent enough for your tender heart, you can go the the Net and check out the latest episodes of Happy Tree Friends (above). In these mini-episodes, cute little squirrels and rabbits get their innards turned inside out (organs exposed etc) in many grissly ways.

Many people are upset by the violence in Happy Tree Friends and South Park. Don't forget that in earlier seasons, Kenny from South Park died in virtually every episode.

The very same people (usually adults) forgot that when they were younger themselves, they were laughing at just as much cartoon violence. Look back at the popular cartoon Wily Coyote and the Road Runner.

In his constant bid to catch (and probably eat) the Road Runner bird, Wily Coyote used a bunch of ridiculous equipment and weapons. Everytime these technology backfired. And Coyote is usually burnt to a charred crisp, his eyeballs, teeth etc falling off his face.

We can laugh at such cartoon violence because we instinctively knew cartoon violence is different from real violence. We laugh because we knew the cartoon character always survives.

Deaths are often used in comics and cartoons to different effects. Take the famous Batman comics - the 2nd Robin, Jason Todd, was killed by The Joker. Tragic, but he eventually returned from the grave as the Red Hood.

So there.

One big fat non-secret in the comic world: noone dies. So often their deaths are quite funny.

There are no deaths in Buddy Buddy, but it's still fun. Slow in posting, but fun. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Buddy Buddy p37 + p38

After some long search in Youtube, I finally found my favorite Thai commerical! I have no idea what's it about, but I just love the grooviness of it all.

Sir Arthur C Clarke, author of one of my favorite science fiction movie/story "2001: A Space Odyssey" passed away at age 90 in Sri Lanka.

Aside from the movie, Sir Arthur also predicted communication satellites, and inspired Gene Roddenberry to pursue the creation of enduring tv series Star Trek.

I found it particularly strange because only in January did I somehow worked a little bit of Sir Arthur into Sir Fong 3!

A sci-fi geek since my secondary school days, 2001 blew my mind. The story traced how ancient apemen were prompted to evolve by aliens.

In a classic scene, spaceman Bowman survives a malfunctioning, murderous super computer, called HAL 9000. Now this was created in 1968, long before the battle between man and machine got updated in the Matrix series.

Spaceman Bowman then was transported into a space/time tunnel, where he famously exclaimed, "it's full of stars!" Then, he encountered the forces that kick started Mankind's evolution.

At the end of the movie, Bowman is no longer a human being, but a powerful Star Child. He has taken the next step in evolution.

The movie was powerful because it expanded the possibilities of mankind beyond Earth, for myself as a gawky teenager, and I'm sure for millions of other people.

As a sign of Sir Arthur's enduring legacy, I worked the Bowman scene into Sir Fong 3 in January!

As you can see, Sir Fong sees (something), and exclaims, "it's full of stars!"

The timing between my use of a 2001 imagery and Sir Arthur's demise is freaky!

Finally, Buddy Buddy continues.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Buddy Buddy p35 + p36

A hanger is a hanger.
Unless it's a 3M hanger that looks like part of a cartoon bear's anatomy!
This hanger stands out (pun intended) amongst all other hangers.
And that's a humorous, attention grabbing design.

What about this? It's a family of salt + pepper shaker. And the kid is actually a brilliant tooth-pick container.

When the kid's cap is raised, the toothpicks fan out like the kid's in shock, his manga hair standing out and pushing his cap into the air! Simply ingenius!

These green and yellow chicks are each a salt/pepper dispenser. Twist their heads one side, and you get salt. Twist the other, and you get pepper!

You might think these wonderful designs are from some European or Japanese design house, but they're actually the works of Thailand.

The bags above?
They used discarded plastic bags and shampoo bottle wrappers as part of the decoration. Again, another Thailand design!

OK, now back to Buddy Buddy!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Buddy Buddy p33 + p34

I attended Qian Wenzhong's lecture today. He shot to fame after appearing on CCTV last March. delivering lectures on "Xuan Zang's Journey To The West on the television channel. The viewership of his programme hit an all-time high, and his subsequent books and dvd on the subject became huge hits.

I felt very lucky to be able to get tickets to this rare opportunity. As some of you know, one of my major dream is to create my comic version of "Journey To The West".

Above is a short excerpt of the talk.

Do you find the above icon familiar? It's one of Gary Goh's educational comic series, published under the banner of his own company Comic Studio.

I attended his annual 4th Comic and Chinese Education Seminar and found several teachers who are also like myself: insane teacher by day, mild-mannered comic artist by night.

For instance, Ms Ang Sor Cheng (pictured above) uses Slamdunk to get enroll her students into the language. I can see why her students would totally enjoy her classes!

Here's Gary Goh with one of his younger protege Vivian Too. She created The Comic Garden with some help from Photoshop, and Gary published her work for her.

There are other teachers who presented during the seminar. I got really excited at the prospect of like-minded individuals who wanted to use their comics to help create a more dynamic education system. Now I don't feel so alone!

Only with everyone's contribution, we can create a viable force in Singapore comics!

Now back to Buddy Buddy!

Cover of Sir Fong 2

Cover of Sir Fong 2