Friday, April 27, 2007

Comics Anyone?

I admit that I was never a comic manic, although I wanted to be. I was never too excited about superheros, but I like the halftone patterns made by ink roughly applied on a cheap paper stock, and word bubbles, gods gift to the visual medium. It was a love/hate relationship, magnetizing to the graphics, repelling the storylines.

But I'm in luck. Comics are growing a big part in my life lately. I've discovered Chris Ware. The first I heard of the American cartoon artist was from a radio show in the US, in which he was interviewed. Divulging the secret that he always thought he would become a superhero when he grew up. I picked up a copy of Acme nr.3 One of the few comics of his that aren't sold out, and started reading.

The comics have funny, but noticably adult story lines. Jimmy Corrigan, my personal favorite of his characters is a little boy with a disfunctional family. It is displayed so professionally, and properly in a early 1900 style, and the adult jokes are hidden inside the wordy prose. The comics are incredibly well written, sarcastic, and clever, never over the top. Don't hesititate to read a full page of tiny 2-point type by Ware. It's worth the eye strain.

From a visual standpoint, the drawings are just as impeccable as the writing is. I was intrigued by the wallpaper-esque pattern on the cover of the comic, and was not disappointed by the inside. Beautiful line work, architectural drawings, and crisp hand-drawn titling. The work feels more like a piece of art than a comic book. I have considered dismantling mine, framing it, and hanging it on the wall, but I can't help but think that Ware's comics are going to be worth a lot of money someday. I'll be snapping up as many of them as possible in the future

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Lego's for Life

Have you ever built a city? constructed a home, or a functioning vehicle? Most people have nowadays thanks to legos. Okay, not the Grand scale you may have been thinking of, but it's true. Legos have been shaping childhood for decades now. I think it is even safe to say that most everyone in the western world has run into Legos at some point within their lifespan. Chances are you remember building something grandiose with the small plastic blocks.

But you also remember those dilemmas: Wanting to build a red building, but running out of red blocks before the first wall was finished; Needing one three "pronged" piece, and digging through the lego bucket to find it; trying to build a custom car, or boat, or spaceship, but being limited to the pieces in the lego model kits; simply put, having dreams much bigger than could be contained in a simple bucket of legos.

I have just found the jackpot for all those lego-saavy builders piddling around in the digital domain: Lego Digital Designer. It is a free program available for download on the Lego website. Working from a sorted drawer of lego pieces that never empties, you can build to your heart's content, and once the model is finished, upload it to the Lego website, and order a kit, with every specific piece, and construction instructions included, all packaged in a genuine Lego box. So go out, and relive your childhood -- digitally!