Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beep Beep, Yeah

We meant to post this before the big feast so that you'd have something to look at while your blood sugar righted itself. But any time is a good time for an old Disney short that employs tons of creative filmmaking and animation techniques, right?

Dad, Can I Borrow the Car? almost makes us wonder if Uncle Walt was reading John Berger and Marshall McLuhan or embracing his status as the family-entertainment version of Andy Warhol. Either way, The Factory never had Kurt Russell.

So here it is, in two parts -- twenty minutes in all, but you're not doing anything anyway:

[Courtesy of thelostdisney]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Distraction of the Innocents

Nobody on The Typing Monkey staff keeps up with the world of comic books. There are simply too many titles on the shelves these days. When we finally got our hands on the complete Black Hole series by Charles Burns last year, The Typing Monkey realized how far things have come since that issue of The New Mutants where Nightcrawler helps Cannonball learn how to use his powers.

Now then, they'll put anything on the internets these days and some of it is actually worth looking at. While in the midst of online research recently, we discovered several comic books available for free on the Web. All the titles are of the action/superhero/sci-fi variety and are designed to lure readers into buying the actual physical product. Still, you can't beat free comics online, and there are worse ways to squander time.

Some of these titles have been around for a few years, but we already addressed that in the opening paragraph. So don't e-mail us with sarcastic indignations about how out of touch we are.

(Oni Press)
This absurd title depicts the mundane tasks performed by two janitors who work for a company that supplies weapons of mass destruction to super villains. The black and white art meets the cartoonish concept at its level, and the dialogue and humor pack a fair snap.

Night & Fog
(Studio 407)
An aborted military experiment strands a few humans on an island where the locals are not terribly friendly. The online teaser packs much into 10 pages. That's still too short, but the hazy coloring classes up the affair.

Proximity Effect
(Top Cow/Spacedog)
Superheroes whose powers only work when they're within 30 feet of each other -- both Marvel and DC comics have danced around that concept, but neither exploited it as well as Proximity does. The plotting doesn't go beyond standard X-Files conspiracy territory, but this is worth further reading.


Sibling duo Jonathan and Joshua Luna have worked on other writers' and artists' books, but really shine with their own collaborative titles. The first issue of each series they've created is free online at the Lunas' site:

With all the meta superhero stuff out there, Ultra can seem common at first glance. But the Lunas are a lot like Joss Whedon, in that they actually have the ability to write believable female leads in a pulp genre not known for such feats. So do give it a look, and remember it debuted in 2004.

Girls is just plain great -- the ideal first-issue structure. With just enough back-story, mystery and sci-fi weirdness, it hooks the reader immediately, the way sci-fi subtext disguised as serialized fluff should.

The Sword
While not a comic-book adaptation of the occult adventures of the '70s metal revivalists from Austin, The Sword is in fact another great potboiler. In it, a parapalegic woman learns the hard way that her family may have deep connections to the titular weapon -- a mystical blade with strange properties.

If these introductions don't yank your eyeballs to the remaining issues of the Lunas' work, then we can't help you.

Honorable mention:

Last Blood
A group of vampires must protect the last remaining humans on earth from a zombie horde. The vampires are not acting altruistically -- they need a fresh blood supply. This online comic is intended as public storyboards for a planned film. We encourage readers to ignore scripter Bobby Crosby's work-in-progress comments on each page, which hamper the flow of the story. Just enjoy the stoner/gore-fan concept and the artfully rough sketch-art by Owen Geini.

Links to the non-Luna titles were culled from Den of Geek's mind-numbing list of 75(!) comic book titles that are currently in line for cinematic adaptations. (Good luck, Hollywood.) And the AV Club interviewed the Luna Bros. this past summer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Please Stand By

[Insert endless test-pattern tone here.]

The Typing Monkey loves all of you very much. Once we figure out who borrowed the pencil, we'll come back and shout into the void some more.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Doom We Can Believe In

It's a shame these third-party candidates don't get more press coverage because this guy probably has some good ideas on foreign policy.

[Yes, the election is way over. But we just discovered this. Thanks to JoeD! and his Flickr photostream, which we found via this.]