Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
In case you haven’t heard, this is what happened yesterday. Terrorists entered and open fired on cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo studio in France, killing 4 cartoonists, 2 cops, and overall 12 people in the process before getting away. This appears to have been an attack over controversial comics Charlie Hebdo published in 2012 depicting Mohammad. Please read here for more elaborate details: www.bbc.com/news/live/world-eu…

I’m not really going to talk about the incident itself, but rather it’s effect upon me. In the following paragraphs I’m going to re-post my thoughts from twitter (with some additional clarifications since twitter is only 140 characters long).

PS: This is a personal journal. I write about what I’m feeling or how things (news stories) relate to me. I am not trying to trivialize the deaths of others. I am writing about how this personally affects me. If you want to read something less personal, please visit a news website and read reports there. I am not a journalist.

My Twitter Discussion
I'm honestly not sure what to say about what happened in France. It really hit home harder than I would've expected...

1. It's ok to disapprove of what art they made while also condemning the terrorists and being sympathetic to the victims.
2. Using this incident as a means of hating all Muslims is despicable. All Muslims are not terrorists. Don't be racist/Islamaphobic.
3. I am not qualified to speak about the clearly intense French relationship with Muslims in their country. I live in the USA, not France.
4. I do not believe that ANY drawing or art should be grounds for murder. If you say "they should've expected it," you are victim blaming.
5. What happened to those artists is not grounds for bombing mosques out of anger and spite.

There's a lot of art about me (for example) that I don't like. But because I respect artistic free speech, I do not report them. I’ll block people, I’ll ignore them, but for the most part I never report any original art created by even my most vehement of haters. I believe in freedom of speech, and that does sadly include art and content (like the racist depictions by Charlie Hebdo artists) that I do not like or support.

One of the reasons this incident hit home is because I've done political cartoons before and also experienced IRL consequences for my art. At the 2012 MCM London Comic Con I was attacked by someone spraying me in the face with a water bottle. Incidental it may have been it still messed me up. Because some people didn't like my art, that justified hurting me in real life. That's a scary notion. Sure it was just water this time, but what about next time? The fact that it was water isn’t what’s scary... the fact that someone was able to do it at all is.

I've heard the justifications against me. "His art is shitty" "He's got a bad personality" "He's a hypocrite" "He traces" Not good enough. And I think that's what scares me the most. The fact that people CAN justify harassment, death threats, and even murder, for making cartoons. Heck, there are people over on twitter right now trying to trivialize what happened to me in 2012. Trying to justify the actions because of what a terrible person I am and trying to dehumanize me to make it “OK” for someone to do that.

It's a terrifying world we live in where just drawing art is enough to make some people want to murder or harm you. That's disgusting. Being a cartoonist is not a profession anyone should fear for their life being in. I bring up the water bottle incident because despite it being childish and kinda stupid, it still has had long-lasting and serious repercussions for me. For me the fear isn’t that someone will spray me again, it’s that next time it won’t be water. And as this terrorist attack proves, that’s a justified fear now.

This is the world we live in now. You can be murdered for drawing cartoons. And that terrifies me as an artist AND as an advocate for free speech. I WANT to stand up against this sort of thing and be brave... but I honestly don’t know if I can. It makes me question how far I’m willing to push my personal safety over some stupid drawings.

And that's mostly what I have to say on the matter. I really don't want to dwell on it too much more because it does bother me a lot.

PS: This is a personal journal. I write about what I’m feeling or how things (news stories) relate to me. I am not trying to trivialize the deaths of others. I am writing about how this personally affects me. If you want to read something less personal, please visit a news website and read reports there. I am not a journalist.
  • Mood: Depressed
  • Listening to: Podquisition
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cake
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
And to celebrate the new year, here’s a time-laps screen recording of me working on this deviation:

Pai Sho With Iroh by TomPreston

Pai-Sho With Iroh - Part 1 - Inking


Pai-Sho With Iroh - Part 2 - Coloring


Here’s hoping 2015 is a better year and I hope y’all have a wonderful holiday! Peace!
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: Geek Night In
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cake
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Happy Holidays!

I saw someone suggest this on twitter, but I didn’t see anyone around doing it. So I decided to step in and just do it because I’m curious: Editing all 4 seasons of The Legend of Korra to just the moments surrounding Korra and Asami’s relationship. While Korra and Asami are endgame, there were a lot of people who were upset and felt like it was tacked on. To a lot of Korrasami shippers that’s sacrilege because CLEARLY all the evidence was there, right? ......Right?

Well, to be honest even as a korrasami shipper myself.... I wasn’t sure. It got me thinking: “IS there actually enough on-screen evidence to support Korrasami?”

So that’s what I’ve done here. I’ve taken all 4 seasons and super-cut them together, removing everything except the bits that pertain to Korra and Asami’s relationship. The end result is a “movie” that is 1 hour and 17 mins long lol.

www.filedropper.com/finalkorra… - 780mb MP4 direct download. If this goes down then I give up.

THINGS TO NOTE:

1. I started the supercut with Asami’s introduction. I didn’t include any intro to Korra or Mako because I felt this was more about looking at how Asami has been depicted in her relationship to Korra than about Korra’s relationship to Mako and others.

2. This whole video is very Asami focused. I did my best to include scenes which were relevant to the plot of her and Korra’s relationship, and that meant including scenes around Asami’s father (since she mentions him in the finale). There are also just a few scenes of Korra thrown in here or there to give context to what’s going on (such as when she gets poisoned).

3. There is one episode missing in Season 1 that I somehow just didn’t have, but I do not think that it takes away much at all. There was very little Asami in it so, sorry.

4. Because of the love triangle thing in season 1, I had to include a lot of scenes of Korra and Mako’s relationship (both blooming and deteriorating) to give context for scenes with Asami. Likewise I had to show scenes with Asami and Mako to give context for other scenes later on.

5. There is one scene of Asami and Bolin meeting Verrick which I edited out because it didn’t contribute at all to Korra or Asami’s relationship, fun though it was. I did, however, keep part of the Pai-Sho match between Bolin and Asami because it lays context for a scene later with Asami’s dad, and Asami’s dad is mentioned in the finale.

6. Some of the audio might not be synched properly? The bigger the file got the harder it was to tell if it was just my computer lagging or the audio itself getting out of synch. I did my best though, just be aware some of it might be a little off here or there.

7. I had to edit out a lot of scenes where Asami is just... there. From season 3 onward she spends a lot of time with Korra, but not doing anything. Just standing there. I tried to find scenes where you could see Korra and Asami interacting or at least having her looking or doing something in the background.

THINGS LEARNED:

If you don’t want to sit through an hour and a half video of Korrasami, let me just summarize some of my thoughts on how it all turned out. The goal of this video was to see how much (if any) screen time was dedicated to blossoming Korra and Asami’s relationship. The truth? Not a heck of a lot actually...

As mentioned before, Asami spends a good chunk of her time just sitting in the background or standing next to Korra. I view the turning point in their relationship when they crash the airship in the desert and have to find a way out. It seems that from that point on they start interacting much closer than they did before.

Asami also tended to have very little to do with the season finale episodes. She very rarely interacted with Korra during those times. It was very tricky trying to edit this all together because while she does DO stuff in the finale episodes, there’s very little she does with Korra in mind. All that had to be cut, sadly.

It’s also very clear that Asami was intended to be a spy who would betray Korra and the others in the first season. As the creators said, that was their original plan, but they enjoyed her character so much they decided to keep her unaware of her father’s plans.

Korrasami IS there, but it doesn’t come till much later. The really obvious stuff starts to occur shortly after Korra gets poisoned. If fans hadn’t been paying attention, I can TOTALLY see why they would’ve missed the blooming relationship between the two.

I would also argue that the final shot where they end up going to the spirit world for a vacation was them REALIZING that there was something there. A lot of people wanted them to kiss, but I honestly don’t think they’re at that point yet. From what I read out of this super-cut was more or less a serious friendship which ended in realizing they cared for each other as more than friends. Their “romance” was only JUST starting to sprout as the end credits start to roll.

On the one hand, I think that’s kinda really sweet and it makes more sense for why they don’t just kiss. On the other hand... yeah I really wish they could’ve shown MORE. The evidence is there, but it’s so subtle and subversive that if you weren’t looking out for it (the way so many Korrasami shippers were) you could’ve missed it. Even in this supercut it’s very noticeable how subtle it actually is. And that’s a bit disappointing.

I really wish they could’ve been a BIT more obvious with it. Some of that, sadly, has to do with Nickelodeon dicking them around so much and altering the format on them. Had they not lost an entire episode to a clip show because Nickelodeon cut the budget, maybe there would’ve been more character development for Korra and Asami.

So to those fans who didn’t see Korrasami coming? I understand how you could’ve not seen it. That said, I do think it’s worth taking a look back and focusing your attention on their interactions from the perspective that they DO end up together. I think that a lot of people were looking at this from a heteronormative perspective and shifting your view slightly can really open your eyes to the content that they put in there. Going back and re-watching their relationship with the knowledge that they’re both bisexual DOES add an interesting twist to their earlier interactions.

And let’s be clear here: they are not gay. They are bi. That’s an important distinction.

Either way, it’s still quite interesting to watch how Korra goes from being repulsed by Asami, to becoming her best friend, to really reaching out to her and becoming a couple together.

FAIR USE DISCLAIMER
I uploaded this to my YouTube channel because I really don’t know where else to put it. I am not making any money off it (it is not monetized) and I believe it falls under the fair use guidelines: It is less than 10% of the overall product and it changes the original work to be viewed in a unique and different way. If flagged or requested to do so legally, I will take it down without hesitation. This was, at the end of the day, a simple thought experiment that I hadn’t seen anyone else try.
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: Geek Night In
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cake
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Avatar series creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino both confirmed today via their personal blogs that Avatar Korra and Asami are actually a romantic bisexual couple.

I’ve taken a lot of heat over the past couple of days for celebrating the ending as being very progressive. A lot of people seemed quite adamant that Korra and Asami were just good friends and there was nothing romantically intentional about the ending at all. Some even going so far to say that my comment about the bi-sexual flag colored mountains was “reading too much into it.”

But y’all can suck it now! Cuz it’s CONFIRMED!

Sources:
mikedimartinostory.com/2014/12…
bryankonietzko.tumblr.com/post…

And if you’re just being lazy and don’t wanna read those excellently written blog posts, here’s a couple choice snippets:

Just because two characters of the same sex appear in the same story, it should not preclude the possibility of a romance between them. No, not everyone is queer, but the other side of that coin is that not everyone is straight.

If it seems out of the blue to you, I think a second viewing of the last two seasons would show that perhaps you were looking at it only through a hetero lens.

It has been encouraging how well the media and the bulk of the fans have embraced it. Sadly and unsurprisingly, there are also plenty of people who have lashed out with homophobic vitriol and nonsense. It has been my experience that by and large this kind of mindset is a result of a lack of exposure to people whose lives and struggles are different from one’s own, and due to a deficiency in empathy––the latter being a key theme in Book 4. (Despite what you might have heard, bisexual people are real!) I have held plenty of stupid notions throughout my life that were planted there in any number of ways, or even grown out of my own ignorance and flawed personality. Yet through getting to know people from all walks of life, listening to the stories of their experiences, and employing some empathy to try to imagine what it might be like to walk in their shoes, I have been able to shed many hurtful mindsets. I still have a long way to go, and I still have a lot to learn. It is a humbling process and hard work, but nothing on the scale of what anyone who has been marginalized has experienced. It is a worthwhile, lifelong endeavor to try to understand where people are coming from.

Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other. The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple. Many news outlets, bloggers, and fans picked up on this and didn’t find it ambiguous. For the most part, it seems like the point of the scene was understood and additional commentary wasn’t really needed from Bryan or me. But in case people were still questioning what happened in the last scene, I wanted to make a clear verbal statement to complement the show’s visual one.

I understand that for a lot of people who don’t constantly think about gender issues or representation, that a lot of the fan gushing over this ending can seem a bit “obsessive.” Trust me, I get it. If you don’t live in the realm of constantly deconstructing what you know and analyzing content you enjoy, it can come across as if we (fans) are digging a little TOO deep. And on occasions that old saying IS true... “sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.”

(sidenote: Moviebob actually did a whole video about that: www.youtube.com/watch?v=taYytG… )

But I really don’t think that I, or any other Korrasami fan for that matter, were being delusional or “reading too much” into the series. As it’s been confirmed, those seeds and moments and interactions were carefully planted and place throughout the later half of season 2 onward. I may not work in the Animation industry, but I know enough about it to know that nearly everything put to the screen is intentional and deliberate. Animation, unlike film, requres an abnormal amount of pre-planning and direction. It. Is. THERE.

And I think it’s a great disservice to their work and to the fans who WANT representation to shrug it off as unimportant or mediocre. Like it or not, this ending is a HUGE leap forward for children’s programing. Getting Nickelodeon to be cool with this ending and letting it happen could open the floodgates towards letting OTHER TV shows (like Gravity Falls) allow the presence of openly gay or bi characters. This isn’t even really a “agenda” either, it’s just wanting to acknowledge that these people actually even EXIST.

And representation DOES matter. If you don’t believe me, watch this compilation of reaction videos as fans of the show watch the ending. Watch how happy and joyous and how amazingly personal it is that these people (many of whom ARE bi or gay) get to see themselves represented in such an amazingly transcendent piece of kids programing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY1foC…

Bottom line is..., as Bryan says...

You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you feel the need to do, but there is no denying it. That is the official story.
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: Geek Night In
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cake
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
So last night the season finale of Korra premiered. WARNING, this entire journal will be spoiling one specific thing from the ending which, if you can’t guess by the title of the journal and everyone tweeting and trending about it, has something to do with Korra and Asami’s relationship.

Now then, the big surprise was that the final moments of the episode involve Korra and Asami just chilling after a party and telling how much they mean to each other. After a consoling hug and some reassuring words, Korra suggests they take a vacation together. Just the two of them, no one else, wherever Asami wants to go. Asami suggests the spirit world. And so the episode ends with the two holding hands looking into each-other’s eyes as they pass into the spirit world.

I gotta say... I am impressed. I genuinely didn’t think that Nickelodeon would allow the Korrasami ship to get that far. Even though the show doesn’t explicitly come right out and SAY they’re a couple, the visual parallels, the looks on each character’s faces, the way throughout the entire 3rd and 4th seasons they’ve been so dear and loving to each other... it’s pretty hard to read this ending as anything BUT them as a couple.

Since the ending of Season 1 my biggest fear with The Legend of Korra was that they were going to shoe-horn Mako in as being the ultimate endgame partner for Korra. Even though it was pretty clear Mako and Korra’s relationship really really SUCKED. It’s been a niggling thought in the back of my head watching every new episode of Korra, so I can’t tell you how relieved I am that it didn’t come true.

One of the wonderful things about Korrasami is that it’s unobtrusive. The Legend of Korra’s plot does not hinge upon it. It’s never shoved in your face. It’s never called attention to that they’re bi-racial, either. It’s just there as two friends who came to realize they meant a lot to each other. That’s it. And you know what? THAT is my so-called “SJW agenda.” I want more representation like that. A lot of people claim I wanna FORCE “social justice” and “political correctness” down their throats, and that’s not true. I just want more representation. Period. And this was, in my opinion, a brilliant way to do it without forcing anything. I want more stuff like this please!

The ONLY thing that bothers me about Korrasami is knowing deep down that the “moral gatekeepers” are the reason Korra can’t actually kiss or tell Asami she loves her. Whenever I bring up my annoyance at kids cartooning not being allowed to show LGBTA content it’s more that I am mad at the societal pressures and system we have set up that demonizes it. Like, Disney can make a gay couple in a live-action TV show... but do that in a cartoon? Yeah not gonna happen (especially as we’ve seen recently from Gravity Falls where the creators frequently try to get around censorship laws to include this type of content). So I’m not really mad at Nickelodeon or Disney or whoever for not allowing openly LGBTA characters or content in their cartoons, I’m mad at society for dictating to them that it’s wrong and making them fear repercussions.

The weird thing about the ending is how small it was too. Like yes there is a big epic battle with Kuvira and Korra... but compared to the ending to Avatar: The Last Airbender this was pretty damn tame. And yet, somehow, it worked for me. I really enjoyed the fact that Korra’s journey is much more personal, and the ending of the series really highlighted that for me. Even though it wasn’t as “impressive” as Aang’s battle with the Fire Lord, it still felt complete and satisfying. It ended on a super positive and happy note.

My only hope now is that if there are any future comics made for the series they’re allowed to go a little more in-depth and say and do stuff they weren’t allowed to do on TV. Kinda like how in the comics to Adventure Time, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline are very CLEARLY gay for each other.

And that, my friends, is my thoughts on the finale of Legend of Korra! Thanks to everyone who convinced me to get back into the series after the abysmal 1st season, because the writers clearly were able to make it all up and tie everything together.

***

One final thing to say...
I’m fully aware that the show doesn’t come out 100% and say that they are a couple. So from that perspective, I understand how one could argue that they are “just two straight friends.” And that’s fine if that’s how you want to perceive it. But please don’t be a dick to the many LGBTA fans for whom this is a HUGE deal. If you have a right saying they’re straight, those fans also have a right to claim they’re a bi or lesbian couple. LGBTA representation in American kids cartooning is so UNDER represented here that I think it’s a really mean spirited and hateful thing to try and take this tiny victory away from them. So yeah, please TRY to be respectful. Have your headcanon and we’ll have ours, ok? ok!
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: Geek Night In
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cake
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Website Down
As some of you have already noticed, SYAC, Alex Ze Pirate and Andy’s Artwork are all down at the moment. I’ve mentioned this several times before here but since a lot of people keep asking I’m gonna mention it again: I am currently in the process of moving all of the sites from one hosting domain to another. That’s literally all that I’m doing. They are not gone, they are not broken, they are not hacked, or erased or whatever.

Things have just been moving a little slow lately with my job taking up a lot of time, overcoming the flu, and just the slow tedious process of web development and management. Hopefully by the end of the year, beginning of next year, all 3 websites will be back online and with a shiny new interface.

So yeah, no need to freak out. It’s cool.

Minecraft: Story Mode
One of the more peculiar pieces of news that came out today is that TellTale games (creators of the critically acclaimed The Walking Dead video games) will be working with Mojang to create an official Minecraft game called “Minecraft: Story Mode.”

Very little is known about it at the moment outside that, like The Walking Dead, it will be episodic and be an original game available on many platforms (ie: not just an update to vanilla Minecraft). The game will also be very story and player driven, giving the player a lot of agency in what happens.

As you can expect this is... weird. Minecraft already, as a game, is pretty damn open and allows you to literally do ANYTHING you wan to do. How are they going to craft a story onto that without taking away some of the very basic functionality that Minecraft already offers? Will the player not be able to move blocks? Will they build houses or objects depending on player choices? I don’t... I don’t get it...

Granted, I am very intrigued by this development. It sounds ambitious and weird and fun! If it’s available on the Wii-U that would be even better!

North Korea Hacks
As some of you may have heard, SONY was going to release a Seth Rogen comedy about trying to kill the dictator of North Korea. North Korea did not like this, and hackers from North Korea threatened a 9/11 level terrorist attack on theaters that showed the movie. Since many theaters started pulling out of screening the film out of caution, SONY decided to just bite the bullet and cancel the screening of the movie entirely.

That is already madness to me, but it gets better... Paramount has just announced that any screening of the decade old “Team America” film will ALSO be canceled. Joy!

I get that threats should be taken with the utmost care, but this is kinda silly. It’s North Korea. Outside their own boarders they’re pretty pathetic. I genuinely can’t imagine them being able to pull off a “9/11 style terrorist attack all across America” from where they are. They can’t even launch a rocket into the Ocean successfully. So while I understand the need to be prudent in light of threats of violence... It’s kinda pitiful how quickly these companies have just turned over and caved into these unsubstantiated threats.

Especially since they could just, you know, not release it on Christmas like originally planned?

SONY Leaks
Speaking of hacking, SONY really hasn’t been doing good lately. Hackers were able to get behind SONY’s firewall and posted for everyone to see the complete inner workings of the company. For me, the interesting things are what SONY had planned for Spider-Man and Super Mario Bros.

According to the leaks, Andrew Garfield had already been fired from his position as the current Spider-Man. There were also discussions of letting Marvel add Spider-Man to The Avengers (presumably Avengers 3 since 2 is already done filming). SONY originally refused the offer because Marvel/Disney wanted complete control on how to utilize Spider-Man in the films. SONY instead wanted to have control over Spider-Man as a way of tying him into their 3rd reboot of the franchise. Apparently now thanks to the leak showing how dire the situation is, SONY of Japan might have more say and be more willing to let Spider-Man revert back to Marvel/Disney.

Some of that was already known. For example we’ve known that SONY hasn’t really known what to do with Spider-Man since AS2 failed. We also knew about the talks about including him in The Avengers... but the idea that SONY of Japan might force SONY of America to bow to Marvel/Disney’s desire for control is a promising one. Spider-Man just might make a return to the big screen finally in some capable people’s hands!

But then there was also one more nugget of interest... SONY had apparently tried to make plans with Nintendo to do a Super Mario Bros MOVIE. Animated, of course. That’s a HUGE deal because NOBODY has been allowed to do Mario since the 1993 film tanked. And the fact that it would be animated would mean that some of the weirdness of the Mario universe would be preserved.

Sony Animation is also quite talented and I would trust them to adapt Mario fairly well. I may not have liked Hotel Transylvania, but many of their other films have been fine IMO. My only confusion is... how did this come about?

SONY is Nintendo’s biggest rival. The PlayStation brand and series of consoles came about because Nintendo embarrassed SONY at a trade show once. The PS1 was forged out of bitter hatred of what Nintendo did to them. Even now, SONY (and Microsoft) are direct competitors with Nintendo in the video game current console wars. To hear that SONY might’ve wanted to work WITH Nintendo and animate a movie for them is just mind-boggling to me.

Of course, at one time I never thought I’d see Sonic on a Nintendo console, so I guess maybe times change and companies can put away their petty rivalries sometimes?

***

Anyway, that’s a bunch of nugget sized news for what’s been going on here lately.
  • Mood: Insulted
  • Listening to: Skyrim Soundtrack
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
DA’s New Logo
Looks like crap. I don’t really have anything else to say other than it’s absolutely shitty design work. Apparently the story is that DA had a logo designing contest, but didn’t consult their lawyers till AFTER the contest began. The lawyers advised not using any of the submissions which is why we get this new ugly shitty logo that represents NOTHING about DA other than the usual blatant disregard for community input. Shame too, cuz the art from everyone else looks INFINITELY better than what DA eventually decided to go with.

I dunno if that story is true, but it sure sounds like it could be. Please feel free to correct me in the comments below if I’m wrong.

(PS: Also the Russian studio Platzkart’s logo looks HIGHLY similar to DA’s new ugly one.)
twitter.com/ADobsonComics/stat…

Leaving DA?
I’ve been getting a lot of people recommending to me that I delete my DA account and just leave DA entirely. While I agree with the second half (leaving DA and posting more frequently on my own website, something that I am in the process of setting up), I cannot agree to the first half... and here’s why:

1. I still use DA for other things, like journals, updates, and occasionally art when it's relevant.
2. I have more fans and followers on DA, so even if I just tell DA users to go to other websites or locations of mine (like twitter or facebook), I'm more likely to get more pageviews and followers.
3. Hiding my art wouldn't change anything, there's no need to do that. It's already online so I'm keeping it online.
4. Doing that would cause unnecessary drama both from fans and haters.

Honestly it would be a very unwise move for me to just up and delete my account or freak out and dump everything into hiding.

I understand it’s frustrating that I haven’t uploaded much here on DA in such a long while, but that’s not really an excuse to just delete everything I’ve been building up for the past decade. I have no plans (at the moment) to delete my DA account or never use DA ever again. I’m still here and I plan to STAY here.

I will just remind y’all of the same thing I’ve been saying for the past couple months. I’m working on freelance artwork and my new job. It keeps me busy enough that making free art for the web isn’t really feasible at the moment. I’ve got some books planned and some other comic work planned, and neither are ready to be showcased yet. My website is currently on hiatus while I work on updating and improving it. I’m even considering (note: I do not currently HAVE one yet) setting up a Patreon to help streamline this process, provide more content for y’all, and make it easier for me.

Basically... I’m trying to fix a lot of stuff that’s been building up in the background and as a result it’s left me with little to post online now. Sucks, I know, but I will come back more regularly eventually.

That all said, I would like to gradually shift away from DA over time. The older I get, the more convinced that a lot of the problems I’ve struggled with are a result of DA’s toxic community and atmosphere. Just disabling comments and focusing more on communication with fans on twitter and Facebook has already made such a HUGE impact on my overall health and attitude. So while I will continue to post here and likely make journals about what’s going on with me here... I would like to gradually over the next couple years move away from DA and onto my own sites (a process I’m currently working on). I hope that my fans here on DA understand that.

At any case, that’s what’s going on with me now, and why I think leaving DA cold-turkey is an incredibly ignorant and stupid idea that would make things worse for me for no good reason.
  • Mood: Insulted
  • Listening to: Skyrim Soundtrack
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Jurassic World

Chris Pratt playing a straight role like that is a little odd to see. He’s so noted as a comedian and comic relief it’s a bit weird watching him take on a role that is just a straight up action macho guy. Outside that, though, I think it looks good. A hell of a lot better than Jurassic Park 3.

One thing to note though, I’ve seen a lot of fans complaining that the dinosaurs don’t have feathers or look like “real” dinosaurs do as we’ve learned more through paleontology. And while I understand that concern I honestly don’t care. My personal headcannon is that these are genetically modified dinosaurs supplemented with amphibian DNA. As a result the fact that they’re not 100% accurate to our current knowledge of dinosaurs if A-OK in my opinion. Not to mention it’s a continuation of the Jurassic Park world, so switching things up now would just look weird. The T-Rex and Velociraptor are such iconic movie monsters now, it just makes sense to keep things at least SOMEWHAT in tradition for the franchise.

So really guys... just relax. It’s not a big deal. Looks like a fun movie, hope it goes over well.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I love this trailer because it takes familiar icons and elements from the original Star Wars trilogy and mixes things up a bit. Black stormtrooper? Rolling droid? Sword lightsaber? Ok I’m on board with this! Top it all off with one hell of a sweeping camera roll with the Millennium Falcon and BOOM! That is how you do a teaser!

What’s more depressing to me is watching nerd culture (and in particular Star Wars fans) react to this trailer. I understand that this is just a teaser and we gotta analyzes the shit out of it, but the levels people are going just pisses me off.

First there’s the casual racism by a lot of fans OUTRAGED at the idea of a black stormtrooper. Apparently there’s a lot of Star Wars fans unaware of the fact that the Imperial Army switch off cloning and started recruiting normal citizens and people in the later timeline. So seeing so many people angry at a black stormtrooper and bemoaning “political correctness is ruining everything” is just... tiring and frustrating. Especially after all the stuff going on in America and Ferguson.

Secondly there’s the lightsaber hilt. There’s a scene of a dark robed person who pulls out a lightsaber which has two little mini lightsabers sticking out on the side, ala the hilt of a sword. And AGAIN Star Wars fans are bitching and moaning about this and making fun of it and bla bla bla bla bla. Ugh... Can we NOT do this EVERY time, please? It’s really not that bad, and out of the reaction I’ve seen from normal people it’s actually very cool and interesting. There’s also a bit of practicality in that it would prevent lightsaber blades from just slipping down the blade and slicing off your fingers.

I mean, seriously, this is a movie franchise about space wizards, magic powers, aliens, and slug mob bosses. There is SO MUCH WRONG with Star Wars space logic and science getting hell-bent over such a trivial thing like the lightsaber is just... stupid. This is why we can’t have nice things guys... cuz you overreact to the wrong things. Ugh.

Anyway, I personally enjoyed the trailer. I think it looks really good so far. It gives me hope. And while I know there’s a lot of joking about J. J. Abrams, there’s three things he’s good at. Action, Suspense, and mimicking film styles. This already feels more like a Star Wars movie than the prequels ever did. So I’m totally on board now.

That’s my two cents.
  • Mood: Daily Needs
  • Listening to: Skyrim Soundtrack
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Introspection
I think it’s important for artists to be introspective. I think it should be the goal of any cartoonist or artist to take a step back, look at the world, and question and challenge all assumptions and normalities. So often little social stigmas and issues go completely unnoticed by a vast majority of the population, that I think it’s important to be reminded of where we are, how things work, and challenge the status-quo.

I believe that’s one of the most fundamentally important things about being an artist. It’s not the artistic skill level, it’s your ability to poke fun at stuff and make average people question their routines. While artistic skill is important, the average consumer doesn’t really care about artistic merits if the overall message is conveyed well. I’ve seen many stick-figure comics and supposedly “low-skill” artists resonate with people because of the message they’re sending.

And especially during times like these where things like racism, hatred of women, and systematic homophobia keep popping up in the news, it’s the perfect time to start questioning normalities and challenging things. When tragedies occur, like the stuff going down in Ferguson, we should use that as a jumping off point for further discussions and introspection.

So in that note I wanted to share with y’all a story I posted last night on twitter and facebook:

My Battle with Unintentional Racism
In a lot of my earlier gag strips and comic, I intentionally avoided including people of color or different races. The thinking was, at the time, that I didn't want to offend anyone. Because the characters in my gag strips were usually in the "wrong" for the purpose of the joke, I didn't want any of the strips to appear as if I was making fun of POC or different races. My fear was that if, say, the black guy was the brunt of the joke, I might be considered racist by those reading my comics.

While I had the best intentions of trying to NOT portray POC or other races badly, this was ultimately a form of white-washing. I wasn't even aware that it was a problem until one of my colleagues pointed it out to me.

There's a tendency when having a "token" character of any kind in a story to assume they represent the whole of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. And that's immensely problematic when writing gag strips and one off jokes where coloring a person's skin a certain way unintentionally colors the strip with racial overtones you had no intention of adding. But at the same time, we can't white-wash or pretend other races, people, genders, etc don't exist.

I've thankfully learned from my mistakes and now I often try to switch up the races and colors of my characters in gag strips equally.

The point of this story is, of course, that even though I was trying to be altruistic, I was unintentionally white-washing. It's very easy to let these things happen if you're not aware of them and they can be immensely problematic socially. So my advice is to try to take a step back and examine what you're doing. Just make sure you're not unintentionally alienating huge segments of the population, you know? I don't wanna say "check your privilege," but that's kinda what this is. Learn from my mistakes, as I have, and work towards making content EVERYONE can appreciate and enjoy.

Conclusion
So try not to shrug off these sorts of things. I know it’s very tempting to just ignore the bigger issues going on or claim that people are being “too sensitive” about these topics. But really, do your best to stop and look at things from another angle. Not only will it help you empathize with others (an important tool for artists) and foster creative thinking, but it might make you question what you’ve been doing or question what others around you have been doing.
  • Mood: Daily Needs
  • Listening to: Skyrim Soundtrack
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
I’ve seen it become very successful for a lot of my friends and colleagues, so I’ve been thinking about setting up a patreon. I asked for advice on twitter and facebook but so far haven’t really received much feedback on that outside a sarcastic tweet suggesting I was gonna become a “pan-handler” for uploading old free Alex Ze Pirate stories. Sigh...

Of course that’s not at all what Patreon is or what I would be doing with it. I would be using it to post NEW artwork and content in a much more regular pace, post/send out rewards for subscribers (and let them see everything first, of course) and possibly use the reward system to help spruce up my websites and just get things running a lot smoother than they currently are.

I’m just not sure if I can handle it, though. I have a very time consuming job, so my time making art is limited. I would LOVE to get back to a point where making art/comics is my only concern... and so I guess I’m gonna ask this here: if I joined patreon, would you be willing to help support me and my art? Link to a poll here: tompreston.deviantart.com/jour…

Bottom line is that I’m trying to move away from being so dependent upon DeviantArt. I’ve just grown to dislike the overall DA community and would rather be more self sufficient. I like the idea of having my own website with all of my art and updates and earning a living just making comics. And while that IS what I kinda do right now, it’s not quite to the level of ease and fluidity as I want/need it to be.

Patreon just might be one of the ways I could go about doing that. You can pay as much or as little as you want, so there’s no pressure on any of you to give a lot of money. And I think it’s safer than trying to do a kickstarter that might not become successful. At least with Patreon any milestone goals would be instant and fully funded. I think.

If anyone has suggestions or advice on how Patreon works or what I should do, I am open to feedback right now.
  • Mood: Daily Needs
  • Listening to: Skyrim Soundtrack
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
“The Sarkeesian Effect” producers recently interviewed Jack Thompson in a hilarious bit of irony. This has to be causing the GamerGate community some semblance of introspection, because if it’s not then things are worse than I anticipated.

See, Jack Thompson was a lawyer who was hell-bent on writing actual LAWS (ie: government enforced censorship) to prevent games that HE PERSONALLY didn’t like from being made. For the better part of the mid 90‘s and early 2000‘s, Jack Thompson was the man the entire gaming community was fighting AGAINST. Jack Thompson was also disbarred for unethical practices...

Anita Sarkeesian (no matter WHAT you might think of her) is a feminist critic who did a series of videos about analyzing sexism in the games industry (criticism, not censorship). Sadly the people behind “The Sarkeesian Effect” conspiracy theory documentary believe that Anita Sarkeesian’s criticisms DOES equal censorship (newsflash: it doesn’t), and have... for whatever batshit insane reason... asked Jack Thompson to be part of their documentary.

This just blows my mind. And I know I said I wouldn’t talk about GamerGate anymore but... seriously what the hell? Has this movement gone completely off the deep end?

The problem is that a lot of GamerGate supporters were ALSO supporters of “The Sarkeesian Effect,” with prominent members like thunderf00t spearheading a lot of the initial discussion. So this raises quite an ethical dilemma, doesn’t it? If GamerGate ISN’T about censoring feminism or women or whatever... why would prominent members of the community side with a man who was DISBARRED for unethical practices and who was making it his MISSION to BAN and CENSOR video games through the use of the Government?

BUT... if GamerGate denounces thunderf00t and “The Sarkeesian Effect” for their actions, then they’ve got to be in a position where they have to look at their goals, and how they’ve gone about achieving them with SOME degree of introspection, right? You cannot be saying GamerGate is about ethics and is against censorship by siding WITH someone who has no ethics and IS about censorship, right?

As usual, I want to stress that I know GamerGate has evolved since it initially began and that there are a lot of GOOD members in the community trying to make things right. To those people please heed my words and PLEASE denounce Jack Thompson and everything he stands for. Do not let him use this opportunity to co-opt your community. Please stop and think about what having him on your side would MEAN to the rest of the gaming community. Please!

Sources: www.reddit.com/r/GamerGhazi/co…
www.gamepolitics.com/2014/11/1…
  • Mood: Wow!
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Damnit Marvel! Gimme a break! So much news so fast! I can’t cover it all! So yeah... in case you haven’t heard yet, Marvel dropped the bomb today on what their plans are for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU). So here’s a quick breakdown for y’all.

Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016
It’s already been confirmed that THIS version of Civil War will be vastly different from the comic book variation (owing largely to the fact that Marvel doesn’t own the rights to many of the supporting characters). Instead this version will be about some sort of government registration act to regulate super heros, and that Captain America and Iron Man will either try to run, or find issue with. So no, sorry, this won’t be Captain America vs Iron Man like we originally thought.

Side note: It’s been rumored that Black Panther will make a cameo appearance.

Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016
Just FYI, the news that I mentioned earlier about Benedict Cumberbatch playing Doctor Strange? Rumor at this point. It has not officially been stated, though it’s well known he’s in negotiations with Marvel/Disney.

The interesting thing to note about this and all future superhero movies is that it’s not an origin story. Doctor Strange has been name dropped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier already as just someone who exists and is at least known by most of the cast. So while I wouldn’t put it past them including a quick flash back explaining who he is, the bulk of the Doctor Strange movie is not going to be about “how” he came to be.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017
Don’t really know much about this one, other than the fact that it was confirmed to be in production almost immediately after the first one ended. Chances of new characters being added to the A-hole team.

Thor: Ragnarok – July 28, 2017
The plot of this one will be involving Loki sending an army of fire beasts to destroy the norse gods. Ragnarok is literally the norse belief of Armageddon, and with the way things are going this might be a good chance for Thor to be put to rest permanently, so that Lady-Thor might be able to take up the mantle.

Black Panther – November 3, 2017
Not much is known about this one either, outside that it’s going to be kinda a fish out of water story about how this small (but profitable and valuable) African city has to deal with the changes going on outside it’s boarders. So I guess a “Coming to America” but in reverse?

Captain Marvel – July 6, 2018
This is kinda the big one... This won’t be the male Captain Marvel, but instead it’s been confirmed to be Carol Danvers. The fact that it’s “Captain Marvel” and not “Ms. Marvel” is quite promising too. While DC will have beaten them to the punch on having the first female led superhero movie with their Wonder Woman film, I have such lingering doubts in Warner Bros abilities and such strong faith in Marvel’s that I’m more inclined to believe THIS will be the one to remember.

Inhumans – November 2, 2018
I don’t know much about the Inhumans, but I do know that they’re Marvel’s loophole in a lot of legal copyright issues right now. See, when Marvel was bankrupted in the 90’s, they sold their licensing rights to many of their franchises to various film companies as a way to earn money. Gradually most of those licensing rights have reverted or been bought back by Disney/Marvel, but some of them still linger at competing studios (such as Spider-Man and X-Men).

To give you an idea of how ridiculous these licensing rights are... Marvel is not allowed to even use the word “mutant” because that’s owned by FOX who owns the X-Men. This is why Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will be in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, but they won’t be referred to as mutants and will have an entirely new origin story compared to the X-Men version.

There’s a TON of mutant characters Marvel WANTS to be using... but they can’t because of the legal issue with FOX. However... if they were to refer to these new mutants as “inhumans,” it would allow them to bypass that legal restriction and bring back some of the more popular side characters. Also, the current Ms. Marvel is Kamala Kahn who gained superpowers after being doused with a chemical that unleashed her “inhuman” powers. So having an Inhumans movie could pave the way for a Kamala Kahn Ms. Marvel movie too.

One more important tie-in. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be quite heavily introducing the idea of Inhumans already. Everything in that series so far seems to be working towards the idea of bringing Inhumans into the mix pretty early on. So this will be interesting to see how it all pieces together.

Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 - May 3, 2019
And this is it. This is where it’s ALL going and building to. EVERYTHING from all the movies back to the first Iron Man will culminate in THIS EPIC WAR. Thanos using the infinity gauntlet and everyone teaming up to stop him. So epic it had to be broken into 2 films! Wow.

So that’s Marvel’s plan for Phase 3. Of course we’re not done with Phase 2 yet. We still have Avengers: Age of Ultron and an Ant-Man movie to get through before Phase 3 begins. And of course, much of this is subject to change. But for now? HOLY HELL!
  • Mood: Wow!
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
SEGA rips themselves off
Not really. But SEGA did contact the team responsible for MAME (the popular 90‘s arcade emulation program) for a copy of a game they don’t have backups for. For me that’s actually really amazing and important. While emulation is technically illegal (sorry but owning a copy of the game does not automatically liberate you in the eyes of the law), if someone hadn’t copied the game illegally, SEGA would’ve lost the file and that would’ve been a game gone extinct forever.

This is one of the problems with how un-standardized video games were during their initial heyday. Each game having it’s own tech specs and requirements to be played, makes emulation and preservation of this art form challenging. If we don’t take steps to keep the games we love growing up alive, there’s a real possibility they could become extinct in the near future.

This is why I tend to look the other way on emulation and applaud the efforts of bigger websites like “Good Old Game.” GOG.com recently just announced they’ll be acquiring several Lucas Arts titles including Secrets of Monkey Island, Sam & Max, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic among others: www.escapistmagazine.com/news/…

Doctor Strange Cast!
So the news is out that veteran character actor Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Marvel’s Doctor Strange in an upcoming movie. Personally I think it’s a good choice. Benedict is a great actor, but he’s also been most noted for staring in sci-fi/fantasy/geek properties, so I think he fits right in.

What’s interesting to note, however, is the sort of backlash against this. I honestly thought it was a good thing and thought people would be flipping like crazy over the casting... but instead I’ve been seeing a LOT of reports of people angry or annoyed by this. Mostly having something to do with tumblr fangirls or “trying to appeal to the women” by casting him. Which is... just annoying to me at this point.

Personally, I think he’ll play a great Doctor Strange. The guy’s got a great range and he seems to LOVE doing these weird powerful roles so... more power to him!
  • Mood: Tired
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
About The Recent Journal
I wrote a journal about my thoughts on GamerGate, trying to more coherently piece together why I can’t personally stand up in favor of the movement. There was a lot of back and fourth in the comments section, but what ultimately got me to stop everything entirely is something happening on the outside.

There’s a website being made that is basically an Encyclopedia Dramatica version of GamerGate. A potential resource to harass and attack anyone who stands up against the movement. I witnessed one of my friends being put on the wiki and I’ve just decided that I’m done. I’ve already got ED on my ass, I don’t need another hate group attacking me day and night. And frankly... video games aren’t worth the fight.

So that’s why I took down the latest journal and will do my best to not speak up about, retweet, reblog, or discuss GamerGate from now on. No more comics, no more journals. I am terrified and I want nothing to do with this madness, either side of it. It’s a shame I can’t be there more for people who I believe are fighting the good fight, but I have to look after my sanity first and foremost. I’ll have to just trust that others will be able to prevail in my stead. Good luck out there.

Doctor Who and Korra Filler
So while trying to recouperate from a really nasty cold, I’ve been keeping up with my favorite two series right now: Doctor Who and Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Both, unfortunately, containing filler episodes this week.

Doctor Who was the worse offender of this, as the entire episode can be simply discarded. The Doctor does nothing, and sitting back and letting the events unfold is basically all he does. Clara and Pink have pointless romantic tension, and the group of kids are all bad actors.

Filler episodes aren’t all bad. Some of the best episodes of my favorite shows are filler episodes. “Blink”, for example, is a filler episode, and it’s quite possibly one of my most favorite episodes of all TV shows. But sadly sometimes these episodes are just... padding. This week’s Doctor Who is just that. Skip it and move on to the season finale.

Speaking of padding, the latest episode of Korra was a little padded out too. Sure it’s “cute” to see the kids all looking for Korra but... it was also really annoying too. Meelo in particular was an asshole and is hampered by how awful the voice actor is. Korra too, is recovered in this episode by metal bending the remaining excess poison in her body out and finally being able to reach the Avatar State. My worry is that she’s going to be treated as 100% better and no longer have the emotional scars that resulted from her battles, which is a kinda bad message to send to emotionally handicapped people in real life. We can’t just “bend” our problems away, you know...

But overall it was still a fun episode. Toph is lovingly gruff and bitter. The Earth Kingdom guards were hilariously genuine and sweet to their “captive.” And the episode DID at least help resolve a lot of Korra’s issues so we can hopefully focus better on the PLOT next week.
  • Mood: Unhappy
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (12th Doctor)
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
So very sorry but I'm out of this debate. I'm taking down this journal (as its my most recent one) to prevent further discussion on a topic I no longer will talk about. I'm out.

You guys make up your own mind on what Gamersgate is. I want nothing to do with either side anymore.

I'll have a more fun journal or something else to go up eventually...
  • Mood: Hope
  • Listening to: I don't care - I ship it!
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Age of Ultron Trailer
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2 Demo
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Unscheduled Leak
Just to be clear, movie companies often “leak” stuff online themselves as a way of generating interest and views for their various projects. However, in the case of the Age of Ultron trailer leak, this was clearly NOT done by Disney/Marvel’s PR department. Marvel had been planning to unveil the trailer next week during an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That show, while doing pretty good, isn’t performing as well as they had hoped and scheduling the release of the big trailer reveal during the show would’ve given a much needed viewership boost. Marvel had it all calculated and planned out, and this leak severely handicaps those plans. So yeah, I don’t think this was intentional at all, and might explain why the trailer doesn’t look entirely “finished” either. Though to be fair, Marvel handled the leak gracefully with a single tweet: “Damn it, Hydra!”

The Age of Ultron Trailer


Can I just say how cool it is that Disney is allowing Marvel to use their song from Pinocchio “I’ve got not strings” in such a sinister and evil way? Benefits of being owned by Disney I guess...

I have a feeling this trailer isn’t complete. Like it’s just not fine tuned 100% yet, owing largely to it suppose to be released next week. I also kinda feel like the “impact” of showing all these Superheros all together again is a little... lost now. Like the big selling point for The Avengers was that incredibly iconic shot of Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Hawkeye standing in a circle as the camera revolved around them. That was HUGE at the time. But now? Seeing them all together again isn’t as... well... SHOCKING as it was then. So I think a lot of the “impact” for this trailer is kinda lost.

Likewise is the story. I have NO IDEA what’s going on in this trailer. I mean, ok sure, I DO know what the story of Age of Ultron actually is, but that’s because I’ve been reading up on industry gossip. A casual observer watching this trailer for the first time? What is the plot they get? How does this all fit together? A good trailer should be able to communicate and craft a mini-story through juxtaposed random shots. This, too, might not be Marvel’s fault but just Disney’s fault in general. Disney’s recent string of trailers for their movies have been... bad. They don’t explain ANYTHING yet we’re suppose to “get” what the story and plot is all about? (Good example, go watch the teaser trailer for Pixar’s Inside Out and compare it to the teaser trailer for, say, Monsters Inc. Even without showing the PLOT, you get an idea of what Monsters Inc is going to be about, whereas there’s only a vague HINT of a concept for Inside Out ).

A lot of people who have seen clips of Age of Ultron have remarked about how relatable a villain Ultron actually will be, and how smart and philosophical he is. Did NOT get that from the trailer as he quotes “I got not strings.” I’m sure it’ll be really good in the movie, but again the trailer kinda fell flat on that aspect too.

Then of course there’s just the fangasm reactions to a lot of the stuff shown. HOLY SHIT! THE HULK-BUSTER? COOL! BLACK WIDOW ON A MOTORBIKE BEING DROPPED FROM A JET? COOL! QUICKSILVER! SCARLET WITCH? NICK FURY? OH MY GOD!

Do not get me wrong. This movie IS going to be BIG. And it WILL change and mess with the Marvel Cinematic Universe even more than Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy ever did. And especially with what appears to be coming down the pipeline, this movie could potentially pave the way for some even MORE crazy and amazing things. Most definitely. Not gonna deny that, and I am looking forward to it!

I just don’t really feel like the trailer is doing as good of a job hyping me UP as it should be. I should be AS excited (if not MORE) about this movie than I was about the bazaar Guardians of the Galaxy trailers.
  • Mood: Approval
  • Listening to: I don't care - I ship it!
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Age of Ultron Trailer
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2 Demo
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
I’ve been getting a lot of complaints from people saying they don’t like all the “feminism” and “SJW” messages that I’ve been putting into my comics lately. They want me to just make comics that are fun and don’t have political meanings or messages behind them.

Alright... I can get behind that. I understand that sometimes reiterating yourself on your political points can get a bit tiring, especially when you don’t yourself marinate in social justice issues 24/7. No problem!

Except... I haven’t really been doing that. Like, at all. These are the latest 27 comics and Illustrations I’ve made:

JuggerNOT by TomPreston Historical Reenactors by TomPreston Long Live WuKo by TomPreston The Metrics by TomPreston Splatoon by TomPreston Get It Back or Geek Out Trying by TomPreston Skyrim - Resource Management by TomPreston SYAC - Seen The Light by TomPreston SYAC - The Answer Is There Isn't One by TomPreston SYAC - Mascotchistic by TomPreston SYAC - BINGO by TomPreston NSYAC - Time After Time by TomPreston NSYAC - Winging It by TomPreston NSYAC - Crafty by TomPreston NSYAC - Dirty Fingers by TomPreston NSYAC - Premature Departure by TomPreston NSYAC - Less Is More by TomPreston NSYAC - Why Ask Why by TomPreston NSYAC - Listening In by TomPreston NSYAC - Culture Clash by TomPreston NSYAC - Stay Frosty by TomPreston NSYAC - Bummed Out by TomPreston NSYAC - Savant by TomPreston NSYAC - There There by TomPreston NSYAC - Easy as Pie by TomPreston Skyrim - Giant Golf by TomPreston Samus V Ridley by TomPreston

Of that batch only 3 of the SYAC strips could be called “political” in nature because they dealt with GamerGate. The rest? Not really about SJW, feminism, or any sort of agenda whatsoever. Now on the flip side I HAVE been making a lot of journals about social issues because, well, it’s my journal and I like to talk about stuff that’s going on. If my journals bother you, please unsubscribe from them and just follow my art. DA allows that choice for a reason.

So I would kindly like to ask people who are praising me for “going back to regular comics” to knock it off. I’ve been doing regular comics this whole time. And I shouldn’t have to make a journal like this to point that out, either...
  • Mood: Grumpy
  • Listening to: I don't care - I ship it!
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who Season 8
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2 Demo
  • Eating: Subway Sandwiches
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
DA’s New Update

Not really a fan. As usual there are a lot of unnecessary changes, things get arbitrarily moved around for no good reason, and key features that I want yet again ignored. So yeah, not really a fan, but at least it’s not AS dramatic of a change as it has been before so... I guess that’s a plus?

REALLY wish I could remove the comments section on my frontpage, still. Been requesting that for over a decade now. I know for most people it’s not an issue, but for me specifically that is the place where pretty much ALL of the hate directed at me goes. It’s a nasty hateful spot on my frontpage that I really just want to get rid of. Hell, I’d trade allowing comments on my art again if I could remove that shit-hole from my frontpage.

Noticed that DA added an “activities” section to my frontpage in an effort to “bring you closer to the community” which is a nice thought but thoroughly unappreciated by me. Plus it’s ugly as hell. Took that off right away. If I wanted to be “closer to the community” I wouldn't be turning off comments on my art, would I DA? I’m sure it’ll be useful to someone, but it’s not for me.

Overall... not as bad as it could’ve been. I’ll begrudgingly get use to it.

twitter
BTW, if you’re not following me on twitter, you probably should. 9 times out of 10 that’s where most of the stuff going down on the internet seems to happen for me, and it often shapes what stories and things I’m gonna talk about in journals.

I also often post pics of games I’m playing, or, if it’s been a very bad night, I’ll spam Korrasami artwork from DA there. So come on in and take a peek! I enjoy using twitter far more than I do using DA in some respects...

My twitter: twitter.com/ADobsonComics

New Art
I know a lot of you are upset that I don’t update very often unless it’s a journal. I’ve mentioned it before but I think I need to again... I have a job now which keeps me very preoccupied and I don’t get to work on anything for myself as much anymore. Coupled with that is that I am trying to get my various websites moved to a new server so I can’t update there either until it’s done. Journals are, unfortunately, the easiest way for me to keep SOMETHING posted here on DA. I write fast and there’s usually something new and interesting to talk about each week.

I did manage to get a simple cartoon done this week just for fun, so if you haven’t checked it out, please do!

Historical Reenactors by TomPreston

I wish I could give you guys a better timetable of when new content is coming, but at the moment I can’t. I’m really really sorry about that. Life is, unfortunately, full of peaks and valleys.
  • Mood: Daily Needs
  • Listening to: I don't care - I ship it!
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Bob's Burgers
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2 Demo
  • Eating: Subway Sandwiches
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Robert Downey Jr. was scheduled to have a small cameo appearance in Captain America 3. RDJ didn’t like the small bit part and wanted a much larger roll. Since his contract was coming to a close, Marvel though this might be a good time to drop him (because despite what you might think Marvel is still a penny pinching miser when it comes to paying for stuff). Long story short, Marvel and RDJ have worked out a new deal which will have Tony Stark and Iron Man in a much larger capacity for what is being called “Phase 2” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (If you think THIS is confusing, check out my write up on WHY this is all legal red-tape: tompreston.deviantart.com/jour… )

Ok, that’s a lot of jargon. What’s it mean? Well, it means that it appears the ongoing “story” that will be happening in the MCU will be the Civil War storyline, slated to start with Captain America 3 and featuring Iron Man as the antagonist. Wow.

This actually makes sense for a number of reasons. The first being that Sony is in negotiations to get Spider-Man to appear as a cameo in Avengers 3 to promote their planned reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Having Spider-Man in a series taking place in the Civil War storyline makes a LOT of sense and works well with the rest of the MCU. To learn more about the Spider-Man news I wrote a journal about it here: tompreston.deviantart.com/jour…

So if I have this right... Marvel is planning the Civil War storyline... Age of Ultron being the big team-up event for Avengers 2... are hoping to add Inhumans to the mix down the road... AND are still building up pieces for The Infinity Gauntlet. There’s also looking to be an Iron Man 4 movie in the works too, so RDJ isn’t leaving the MCU anytime soon. Although it is possible Chris Evans is looking to leave and retire once his contract is up (another possible reason Marvel was OK with keeping Robert Downey Jr. on for longer). I gotta say... this is pretty damn nuts! What a time to be a comics fan, eh?

Isn’t it fun how entire movies, storylines, and character development can be crafted thanks to contracts and movie deals?
  • Mood: Tender
  • Listening to: Bob's Burgers
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra Season 4
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2 Demo
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Long one today, so I broke it up so you can skip to the section you want:

Korra Alone - Spoilers
Best. Episode. Of Korra. YET.

I really wish this had been paired up with the first episode of the season. Season 4 episode 1 was... boring. While it did a good job of showing where everyone is now 3 years after the fact, it didn’t do much to further the story. It felt too much like explanations and dry setup to cooler stuff that will eventually happen down the road, than a solid episode in it’s own right. But episode 2: Korra Alone comes along and BOOM! It blows everything out of the park!

Korra’s struggles to recuperate after her fight with Zaheer are on full display here. Her inability to walk and do basic things is definitely a source of her frustrations and self loathing, as is the fact that she still has nightmares. And even when she is finally able to overcome her physical limitations and learn to walk and fight again... the mental toll isn’t as easily fixed. As someone who struggles with mental illnesses, it was really nice to see the creators acknowledging that the mental aspect can take MUCH longer than the physical. While Korra LOOKS 100%, she clearly isn’t there when it comes to her mental state... especially when she starts seeing figments of her brutal Avatar state self from last season haunting her wherever she goes.

I also really loved Katara’s roll in the episode. She makes it clear to Korra that it’s really up to her to work through the challenges, and that while it will be difficult, she will come out stronger and better for it. “I don’t know what you’ll find if you keep working at it, but won’t it be interesting to find out?” being of the best lines of dialogue in the episode.

Sidenote: There is even still a little nod to Korrasami too. Aside from Asami asking if Korra wanted her company in the Souther Water Tribe (implying no one else offered to go with), there’s also the fact that Korra only seemed to keep in writing contact with Asami, telling her “it’s easier to tell you these things” and “Mako and Bolin wouldn’t understand.”

And then of course the episode ends with Korra finding Toph alive and well living in a swamp. While it might seem odd that she’s living there, keep in mind that the first place Aang saw Toph was in visions in the swamp. So it at least kinda makes sense that, when Toph leaves to seek spirituality, she ends up there. How Toph is gonna help Korra sure will be an interesting experience alright!

Overall, GREAT episode of Korra. Loved every moment of it and I could even see struggles I’ve faced being represented too. So wonderful that this episode also debuted on WorldMentalHealthDay too. Perfect timing IMO.

Doctor Who - Spoilers
After the ABYSMAL “Kill the Moon” episode last week, I was ready to write off Season 8 entirely. I was completely on Clara’s side for chewing out the Doctor for being an asshole. But then we got “Mummies on the Oriental Express” and it (almost) made up for the asshole actions of the recent incarnation of the Doctor.

I’m still perturbed by Clara’s choices, though. After swearing off the Doctor in the last episode, seeing her step out of the Tardis with a smile on her face DOES kinda take the sting out of her justifiable anger in the last episode. Likewise, the ending’s resolution of her apologizing and going with the Doctor while metaphors of addiction fly around is equally confusing (addiction = good?).

Thankfully, the episode inbetween the beginning and ending confusions is remarkably good. It’s got a good setup (invisible monster that kills in exactly 66 seconds is only visible to the one about to die), lots of interesting characters and situations, and a good resolution of the Doctor finally saving (most) of the people involved. The best type of Doctor Who episodes are those which establish an established set of ground rules to work off of (such as “don’t blink”), and then allowing the characters to work off those rules as much as possible.

Best episode of Season 8 so far... though it’s still frustrating that the explanation for why the Doctor is a grouch and seems uncaring has taken THIS LONG to be explained. Should’ve been done in the first 2-3 episodes... not in the middle of the season IMO.

Bayonetta 2 Controversy
I’m not really gonna talk about the game or the demo itself, but the surrounding controversy going on right now because Polygon gave the game a 7.5 while everyone else is giving it a 9 or higher. Apparently this is... bad?

For the past 3 or so MONTHS we’ve been getting GamerGate people bemoaning “journalistic integrity and ethics” but the SECOND that a game review comes out and is (shocking!) actually critical of a game, all that spins around and people start demanding all journalists MUST march in lock-step with everyone else and give insane praise and worship on every game. Reviews MUST NOT vary or waiver EVER!

Guys... this is the problem... criticism means taking a step back and looking at things you enjoy with a more refined critical eye. You cannot demand journalists uphold critical and journalistic integrity with with the same breath condemning them for doing exactly that. If anything, demanding ALL SCORES be exactly the SAME is the exact OPPOSITE of what you’re championing for.

Even worse? It’s ONE review. ONE review that doesn’t quite match up with everyone else’s insane praise and adulation for a video game, and everyone’s freaking out. Guys... it’s OK to have different opinions. Variety is the spice of life and I dunno about you but I would HATE to live in a world where ALL reviews were EXACTLY the same thing. We had this same issue with Dragon’s Crown, when ONE reviewer (from a website most people didn’t even frequent) didn’t like the game as much as everyone else did.

It’s extremely sad that Bayonetta 2’s long-awaited release in Japan (and the demo on the Wii-U) is being overshadowed by all this nonsense and undue hate for Polygon’s semi-negative review of a 7.5 out of 10. If I were a developer or programer on Bayonetta 2, that sort of mob-based mentality would bother me because you’re not debating my game, you’re using my game to dog-pile hate on a website you don’t like.

This type of nonsense has to stop.
  • Mood: Tender
  • Listening to: Bob's Burgers
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Avatar: The Legend of Korra Season 4
  • Playing: Bayonetta 2 Demo
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.