Well, I actually started some pencil samples yesterday and am happy with the main figure but have doubts about the background and I have a few things to do online so no drawing tonight. So what else has been occupying my time?
Well, I ordered Al Williamson's Flash Gordon back in December and it finally turned up, on my birthday of all days. I haven't done more than flick through it yet but I know this will be a firm favourite: an over sized black and white collection of ALL of his Flash Gordon work, his first stuff as strong as his last work decades later. I've been a fan of Williamson ever since his Star Wars issues and loved Flash Gordon as a kid so this is pure gold for me.
Sitting on my box of Legion issues to get through are a Modesty Blaise collection (an Amazon bargain with art by Romero), Insiders: Chechen Guerrilla (a Cinebook reprinting of a Euro comic currently being developed by Jessica Alba...lovely drawing but all plot and no characterisation, so a bit of a slog to read) and Arthur The Legend, a glossy Welsh (but English language)reprinting of a French comic retelling the roots of the Arthurian legend.
I don't really have the concentration or time for reading any fiction or anything overly taxing but have enjoyed two books lately: although a brisk read, Was Superman A Spy? is a fun collection of stories from Comic Book Legends, a column at Comic Book Resources that reveals the truth behind various comic book rumours. The book covers more recognisable properties than some of the more interesting stories around minor properties but is still intriguing.
The most enjoyable book I've read in a while is Charlie Brooker's dawn of the Dumb. I haven't really read daily papers since working at Smiths, where I read the Guardian and always enjoyed Brooker's writing. His Screenwipe, Dead Set and current C4 game show thingy were enjoyable so I picked up this book, collecting some of his Guardian articles . He is slowly revealed as not only a closet sci-fi, comic and techno geek but also a hilarious misanthrope. I read this at work and found myself giggling like an idiot every few pages at a turn of phrase or amusing notion. Well recommended.
TV wise, there's absolutely sod all on but luckily my TV pimp Mr McGee has supplied me with copious hours of TV fun. I'm currently watching the first season of The West Wing, intrigued by Rol's listing of President Bartlett among his best TV characters. I only ever caught the odd show but always enjoyed it so when offered the chance to view a season, I took it. Other than the Ivan Reitman-sounding end music and Josh's obnoxious media consultant ex-girlfriend (seriously, I haven't hated a character so much so instantly since reboot Starbuck!), I'm really enjoying it so far...though I can't believe a democratically elected government is ruled so much by favours and trade offs instead of genuine values. On the other hand...is it wrong to find CJ kinda foxy?
Anyway, best TV I've watched recently is the end of Lost Season Five. This has benefited no end from having a definite direction to follow, despite a few plot holes like if one character died from time travelling because she was born on the island, shouldn't another character have also died after time travelling at the same time? However, the double final episode opened up a whole new can of worms: free will vs destiny, the manipulation of the crash survivors and a major change for the final season. That character down the mine shaft in the end? Quite liked them but as they're in the new V, they won't be around much next season but I wouldn't be surprised if we see more departed characters. Great stuff and alot more rewarding than Heroes, which hit it's peak with season one, spiked during the first half of season three but looks to experience an excruciating fourth (and hopefully final) season..
I also enjoyed the two seasons of Carnivale, which only represent the first third of the planned six-season series before expense cut the show off but can still be viewed asa complete story in and of itself, albeit with a dangling plot thread or two. This is one od the best TV productions I've seen, the title sequence alone being damned impressive, and I liked the slow build in an epic tale of good vs evil. The second season really tied together the two opposing elements, leading them to each other while subtly highlighting their similaities and differences, mirror images of each other. There's moments of haunting despair and fleeting exultation but overall it's a grimy depiction of a turbulent era. Shame it didn't last though...