Monday, October 6, 2014

Mini Ninjas: A Stupid Comic with a Stupid Premise and a Stupid Art Style

So, as I think a fair few of you know by now, I have started a webcomic. I started posting last month as an experiment to see if I could maintain a regular webcomic. I tried back in 2011 with the comic Ninja Obsessed. It was a comic about an elementary schooler who had found an app to become a ninja and his big brother. The origin of the comics came from a few drawings I had done for my Naruto obsessed high school buddies. The pictures I drew were essentially Tobi actually like a little boy and Deidara acting like a kill-joy. (See a sample of their crazy adventures in the show here.)

I thought it would be cool to make an on-going comic of it, but I didn't want to have to work under the rules of fan fiction comics, so I developed my own spin on the Tobi-Deidara relationship. A ninja obsessed youngster with a talent for finding apps and his cooky engineer big brother. Unfortunately, I had to discontinue the comic when I had some health problems crop up.

With my health under control, I've decided to get my Mini Ninjas comic rolling again. I started this comic back when I was in high school in '07/'08. It was based around a ninja game that I played with my sister and her best friend. Since I was the oldest, I became the Sensei. My sister had a fascination with Gaara from Naruto and goth/emo trends, so she was the grumpy, emotionally challenged gakusei (student). Her friend was much more upbeat and cheerful, so it was fun to play off of each other. I am afraid to say that we were strongly influenced by the Naruto show at the time, although I have since repented of this grievous sin. We made little head bands for ourselves out of bandanas and paper. Since I was the sensei, I got to wear the real head band, although I didn't mind lending it out.

After we'd run ourselves out prancing back and forth in the yard, arguing with one another, and generally making a mess of our room, I decided that we should make a comic of our exploits. The next day, we went to church and got to talking with our other friends afterwards. My sister's other best friend wanted in on the deal, of course. So I had to draw her into the comic. And after that, my sister's first best friend's big brothers thought that they should be in it, too. Later that week, I printed the first ever copies of the Mini Ninjas comic books. They were maybe 6 pages long, but, hey! It was a comic book. I shared them with all my friends, hoping that I might make it a regular thing. Unfortunately, it never worked out. I have no idea if any of my friends kept the originals. They might be worth a fortune, someday, if my evil plans come to fruition.

The characters, Sokara, Kida, Pagi, Goropo, Shichi, and Sensei are exaggerations of my friends and myself at the time, but they were also fairly accurate. Pagi's real-life counter part squawked a lot. Especially when my sister tried to ruffle his 'do. Goropo's was mellow and kind of full of himself. Shichi and Kida were pretty much complete spazzes, and my sister was especially emo. Or, at least, was trying to be. My parents had to have a talk with her about the excessive amounts of eye makeup she wore.

So I took a couple year break from Mini Ninjas to pursue my college education. At one point, I sat down and drew a bunch of strips that I never published to my website. Lo these many years later, I found them and was able to post them all up as a buffer as I started to get back into the swing of drawing the comic. My first exercise was redesigning the characters. I have learned that noses are an important part of a character's face and so included them in my redesigns. While I'm still getting used to making noses, I'm also learning how to make my comic less crappy. My characters are drawn in dollar store pen on paper that I got in high school for free. I don't use sketches before I ink: I just roll with it. So that makes for some pretty goofy looking comics. I'm also trying to make my lettering look better. That's the number one complaint I get from my friends.

Making comics is a lot of fun. This Mini Ninjas experiment seems to be going well. It'll give me time to develop my other two comics: Powersuit Girls and Smurfs with Syringes. I may not do the smurf comic, but I really like the sci-fi powersuit girls idea. I'm also looking forward to inking and water-colouring the panels. At this point, I'm not sure when I'm going to start the comic. I've been working on character designs and my water colour skills, but not much else, at this point. I'm spending more time settling into my new college (again...) and relearning Autodesk Maya and ZBrush.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: So Nice, I Saw It Twice! Then Thrice, then frice...

Guardians of the Galaxy: This movie has got to be one of my favorite movies that I've seen in theaters. I say this because I have seen it not once, not twice, but five times. I am pretty proud to say that I have the majority of the movie memorized. It drove my boyfriend crazy while we watched it his second time, my fifth time, and I was quoting right along with Drax.

A lot can be said for this film. Apparently, those that made it expected to it be received by a few people, making just enough over the 'flop' point. (That would be box office returns of <$1mil.) But that was far from what they got. "Guardians of the Galaxy earned $11.2 million on its Thursday night pre-opening, surpassing Captain America: The Winter Soldier's gross ($10.2 million) for the biggest Thursday evening start for a movie in 2014." (See Wikipedia article on Guardians of the Galaxy.) It was widely received and well loved by many, myself included.

For a lower budget film, I have to say that their graphics were pretty darned amazing. Sure, they cheated a little bit. (I mean, look at the Dark Aster. Nothing but a bunch of textured, flattened cubes.)But they didn't cheat on the story, or on Rocket's fur. Rocket looked like he could have been a real raccoon, trained to walk and talk like a person.

My favorite scene in the movie was where Groot got over-excited and killed a bunch of Sakaaran foot-soldiers in a tunnel. He reminds me of an enthusiastic child. My second favorite scene is in the combat scene in the prison, when Rocket catches the gun, then has a grand old time shooting anything that moves.

My least favorite scenes were the two scenes where extras were just hanging around on set, showing a minimum amount of emotion. These were the tail end of the bar fight and the big, ending combat scene. So, the bar fight. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Rocket. $40 million credits." In the real world, those scum of the bar would have perked their ears up: "$40 mil, huh? I could sure use $40 mil..." I mean, really guys? I have Streetwise level 0, and I know that. So, the big ending scene. The whole city has been evacuated. Shiny! The Dark Aster crashes into the city, destroying vast, glorious structures, but doesn't harm any people. BUT WHAT IS THIS? Suddenly, the whole city spurts up from the ground like a crop of cucumbers in a wet season? I dunno,guys. I think the continuity editor messed up his job. The only reason I can figure that they did those scenes that way was to give the audience people to connect to in the film, making it feel more like they were there, that this whole scene was very important. A lot like how the Indians use Brahma in their religious paintings.

On a much smaller mess-up scale, the scene where Gamora is being drug away to the bathrooms to have her throat sliced, then Quill goes scooting off after her. When Rocket wakes up, his fur is all flattened against his face, but then, hey! presto: his fur is all fixed.

So I have my complaints against the movie. But honestly, three scenes that I don't like out of a ~2.5 hour flick? Nothing to be sneezed at! I absolutely adored the movie. I'm looking forward to when it comes out on DVD and Bluray. My dad was joking that I would just put it on loop for a couple weeks.

It's been a couple week since I saw it last, so I'm thinking that I might go and see it again. I needed a bit of a break, even from the greatest movie I've ever scene. (Well, that's an over-exaggeration, but it's true for now.) If you haven't yet seen GoG, I highly recommend it. It was well worth the $30 something dollars that was spent on it for my sake.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mini Ninjas Comic: Today the World, Tomorrow the Galaxy!

So, I'm pretty darned excited. It turns out that my webcomic, Mini Ninjas, is being viewed internationally. And, on top of that, my Facebook page for is being followed internationally, too!

Don't believe me? Here are the stats for my Mini Ninjas comic: