Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giving the people what they want.

This is more or less an UPDATE to a previous series of posts - specifically the last one [HERE] (but the rest of the series can be found HERE, HERE and HERE) wherein I had created and submitted an original piece of artwork featuring ROM : SPACEKNIGHT for the SPACENITE2 fundraiser show / auction to benefit former Marvel writer, Bill Mantlo.

 In the last post of the series (again - [HERE]) I presented my original illustration

... for any and all digital colorists out there to try their hand!

However, I was told by some, in comments and emails that the provided images could and/or should be made larger to enable computer colorists a better canvas with which to work.

So... I got to it (finally) and did so.

Instead of posting the artwork here (and bogging down page loads) I am providing links to my DeviantArt page [HERE] where you can download HUGE versions of not only the "inked" black line-art [HERE], but also the original blue-line pencil art [HERE] (which you can then ink yourself).

THESE are NOT the oversized images.
They're BIG, and the inked one might be large enough for some, but the oversized scans are ONLY available from my DeviantArt page.

Heck, don't have access to computerized coloring software?
Then print it out and grab your box of crayons, if you'd like!
(And you need not feel pressured to "stay in the lines".)

And then, as promised... as an added bonus... after you've colored it... send me a digital copy and I'll showcase them on the SANCTUM SANCTORUM COMIX blog in a future post!
(I'll even set up a cool link-exchange, wherein I link your piece to your own blog or site and you can do the same - thus spreading the internet fanbase network.)

All I insist upon is that you leave my various signatures and website info intact.
Feel free to add your own sigs and web-info below mine in the bottom right corner.
That's cool... and fair.
I even adjusted the size and placement of my sigs in the oversized images to allow more room for your info! 

If you need image reference for all the assorted characters in the illustration, don't fret.
I have provided all of those in the previous post (once again - [HERE]).

So, no excuses. Let's see some colored samples!

Friday, February 25, 2011

On The Tickling of Amulets
Are we not drawn onward to new era?

After 11 awe-inspiring years as one of comic's preeminent blog-posters, the peerless, perennial and palindromatic, NeilAlieN is recusing himself from the responsibilities of near-daily link-blogging (as he recounts [HERE]).

Sure, I know he's not planning a total abandonment of his blog, stating that he still has the wish and urge to continue blogging - albeit at a less frequent, more personal capacity, but still... a huge era has just passed.

It was Neil's blog that - lo' those long-ago years - continuously reaffirmed my oft wondering if I could or should set foot in the blogging arena to showcase my mutual admiration for Doctor Strange.

Neil's blog that I found necessary to visit daily (for 11 years!).

Neil's words, example and advice that I keep in my mind when typing my own missives.

As I said, he isn't planning on leaving his pocket dimension totally... but he has left ours slightly emptier for the nonce.

At this time, I am unsure as to what capacity he will resume his activities;
  • a few long-form reviews/essays per month?
  • perhaps some occasional link-love to other, similar essays/thoughts around the web?
  • mayhap, a head's-up to some juicy tidbit of Doctor Strange goodness and/or general comics info and/or presently unknown, unquantifiable abstract, esoteric subject matter?
The possibilities are up to him.

I'd love to be able to step forward and take up some of the slack, but, alas, I, like many in this day and age, am beleaguered by current events, life's weights, responsibilities and fiscal/occupational quagmires.
It is my hope to not have to step down as well... but I feel that a responsibility has been left to me, and I will try to help many of Neilalien's avid readers in what capacity I am able - at least when he is not blogging himself.

Neilalien will return. He is merely bathing himself in the rejuvenating waters of the pool of future endeavor.
I for one, look forward to his return and the "rising and advancing" of his blogger's spirit.

So, not goodbye, but "until we meet again" (and hopefully SOON), Neil.

May the Vishanti watch over thee.
And may your amulet never tickle.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I NEED to PUNCH Something... NOW!
Marvel vs Capcom3 : Fate of Two Worlds
Quite possibly the GREATEST fighting game ever?


More pics, videos and spoilers (labeled)!

After a month of waiting, a package arrived at my doorstep (ok, my P.O. Box) and inside was a treasure trove of awesomeness - presenting pleasures, both immediate and promised.

The Limited Collector's Edition of MARVEL vs CAPCOM 3 : Fate of Two Worlds video game!
(I bought the one for the PS3)

With a bonus of an exclusive, Limited Edition SHUMA GORATH "Waste of Flesh" t-shirt (designed by Meat Bun, as I blogged about [HERE] - scroll down to the 01-15-2011 update near the bottom.)


Available for PS3 and XBOX360, the limited collector’s edition for MvC3 costs $69.99, only $10 more than the standard game, and comes with some sweet extras to delight comic book fans.

Here is what the set includes: 

  • Steelbook case featuring exclusive art work. 
  • 12-page prologue comic/art book, written by Marvel writer Frank Tieri, plus campaign art and a selection of fan art. 
  • A one-month subscription to Marvel Digital Comics.

 and the very BEST part...  

  • 2 DLC Characters – Shuma Gorath and Jill Valentine in her Resident Evil 5 battlesuit. 
Unfortunately, the DLC characters won't be available until MARCH 15, 2011! 
So... I need to WAIT in order to put together my three-character team of:


Oh, how insane is THAT gonna be?
Three of my all-time favorite baddies, all available for me to control them in order to bring pain to anyone foolish enough to cross me?
er.... sorry. Got carried away there.

Here are some screen grabs of SHUMA GORATH (and Jill) the first two DLC characters (and also some DORMAMMU as well).

In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Shuma-Gorath only appears as a downloadable character, but his moves are as deadly as ever. To send your opponent into a world of dizzying madness, enact his “Chaos Dimension” attack.

“Shuma-Gorath grabs you with his tongue, wraps himself around you, and slides you into a nightmarish portal. It’s spinning, hallucinatory and gives you a taste of what’s going on in the Chaos Dimension, which is where he hails from. And then he spits you out.”
  - so sayeth Seth Killian, Capcom’s special advisor to the game, describing the move.

Check out the pic of THAT!

Now it DOES suck that Shuma Gorath isn't a regular, included character in the game.
Seriously, Shuma Gorath has been featured in video games before - including previous incarnations of this game:
- Marvel Super Heroes
- Marvel SuperHeroes vs Street Fighter
- Marvel vs Capcom2
so why dump him down to the level of DLC?
Instead, reserve that "honor" for more highly desirable characters.
Let's face it, if you're not a huge fan of the Doctor Strange mythos, you probably won't care about Shuma and won't want to have to pay to get him.
But I'm SURE there are other entities that fans would gladly (?) pony up the cash to score.

Still, where Capcom taketh (sorta) they also giveth:
While Doctor Doom is an old veteran of video games, and even Shuma Gorath has appeared in earlier epics, never before has DORMAMMU been seen in a video game, and here he is in full fighting fury!
(as I blogged about months ago [HERE])

Check out the sweet visuals of Dormammu incinerating his opponents!

But you think THAT would be enough to make me squee over the prospect of playing?
Maybe... but no.

Also confirmed are a multitude of other cool CAMEO appearances by many characters near and dear to my heart:
 And... oh yeah, that's right...


Oh, yeah bitches!
While Man-Thing is rumored to appear in the background of some fight scene, Doctor Strange has been CONFIRMED as being seen in "one of the characters ending scenes" (reference found [HERE]).
While it would be far, far better to see Doctor Strange as a playable character, I am glad to see that he is not totally forgotten in this epic.
Especially fitting seeing as how at least two of his deadliest foes (3 if you count Dr. Doom) are prominently featured.

 “Every character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has their own unique ending. That’s something we worked very closely on with Capcom. And Dr. Strange will appear in one of the character’s endings.”
 - promises Chris Baker, manager of licensed games at Marvel Entertainment.

Through a quick web-search, I have uncovered which character's ending, complete with screen-grab, where Doctor Strange appears.
If you WANT to be SPOILED... look for the RED TEXT at the END of this post and then keep scrolling to the very bottom.

You can VOTE for what characters you'd like to be included (as DLC's I'd imagine) via the CAPCOM website - [HERE]
 But voting polls CLOSE FEB. 19TH AT MIDNIGHT PST. 
You can vote for 3, 4 or 5 characters, so after you read this post... go vote for DOCTOR STRANGE and two to four others.

Now if THAT isn't enough to get my amygdala humming, what else does this game bring to the table?
  • Innovative graphics and gameplay bring the Marvel and Capcom Universes to life: Powered by an advanced version of MT Framework, the engine used in Resident Evil 5, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 brings beautiful backgrounds and character animations to the forefront.
  • Evolved VS. Fighting System: Wild over-the-top gameplay complete with signature aerial combos, hyper combos and other original systems. The evolved new battle system, the “Team Aerial Combo” takes the exciting mind-reading game to a whole new level!
  • 3-on-3 Tag Team Fighting: Players build their own perfect team as you assign unique Assist Attacks for each character and utilize each character’s special moves to create their own unique fighting style.
  • Living Comic Book Art Style: See the most adored characters from the Capcom and Marvel universes brought to life in a “moving comic” style, blurring the boundaries between 2D and 3D graphics.

There's only one problem (well... TWO really) with my getting to play this game.

I'll readily admit, that I'm not much of a video game player.
Oh, I WANT to play.

However, grand aspirations aside... I should fess up to the fact that I don't really have the skillz to pull off the multi-button combos required in today's electronic gamefare.

I feel like I'm standing up in some 12-step group meeting for the woefully pitiful game player.
"Hello. My name is Ptor and I am a button-masher."
"Hi, Ptor."

Well, as it turns out, my most recent acquisition feels my pain and Capcom has seemingly designed a game with me in mind. Most early reviews state that this game is designed for the two opposite ends of the gaming spectrum; the super-pro and the button-masher (and not really anyone in-between).

Supposedly, the seizure-inducing multi-combos, while monstrously effective for the advanced player are still dazzlingly awe-inspiring and able to be pulled off by neophytes such as myself.
All to dizzying, pleasure-center throbbing results.

So, I am excited!
Finally, a game where I can do as much damage to my video-game expert younger brother as he does to me.

The main problem?
Well... (he admits sheepishly)... I don't even HAVE the console required to play this game.

Admittedly, I bought it because of the multiple characters included (and the sweet Shuma Gorath shirt) with the foreknowledge that I'll have to either go visit my brother to play or wait for him to come to me - his PS3 game console in tow.

But, those instances will be few and far between (sadly, because I like my brother and enjoy seeing him - as well as desiring to punish him mercilessly with the unmitigated fury of DOOM, DORMAMMU and GORATH!). Also, upsetting because, the DLC can only be downloaded once, and it will forever be accessible ONLY from my bro's game console.

I need to get me a PS3 - stat!
Just as soon as one falls from the sky... or is available cheap.
I've been holding my own with a sporadic stream of freelance jobs (and am in training for another full-time/ part-time job) but funds for frivolous items like video game consoles isn't easy to come by.

Alas, I am a, as SHUMA GORATH would say (in play)...


"Tamam Shud!"


* SPOILER of which Character's ending where DR. STRANGE appears*

Hsien-Ko and her sister, Mei-Ling, seek the assistance of Dr. Strange to help free their mother from the spirit world, and maybe even return the two of them to human form.

I am unsure if this is animated in any way or is merely a static scene with only scrolling text.
If this is the sum total of Strange's appearance(s), I will be a bit disappointed, but still glad that he wasn't totally left out.

For a list of ALL (or nearly all) -over 40 more- other cameos they can be found at the following link. [HERE]

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011
Kiss my Giant-Sized MAN-THING

While, in years past, I have presented deep, introspective gazes into the love-life of Doctor Stephen Strange and his numerous love-interests (which can be found at the following links HERE and HERE or even the "Clea Loves Sex" series:  HERE), today I only have time for a "quickie".

And as such, I think that this year I'll focus on a few images of some sweet love for the MAN-THING.
(now won't THAT be taken out of context by Google surfers)

Story by Marv Wolfman, Artwork by Liam Sharp 
from 'Marvel Shadows and Light' # 2
Man-Thing is sensitive enough to "cuddle" afterward.


It has been hinted in 'Thunderbolts' # 150 that Man-Thing has a "crush" on Moonstone, but as of this time, aside from a longing glance, no scene of outward affection has really been shown.
Story by Jeff Parker, art by Kev Walker from Thunderbolts # 150
Love-lights are in his eyes.


While wracking my brain to come up with a good scene of someone (preferably female) kissing MAN-THING, I did indeed come across a few, but the few instances I came across were either poorly staged (i.e; too many figures in a panel, or too much dialogue, or cropped awkwardly), such as this example - one of the earliest of my remembrances of someone actually WANTING to hug the Man-Thing.

 Story by Chris Claremont, artwork by Gene Colan
from 'Doctor Strange ; Master of the Mystic Arts' # 41.
Man-Thing about to get "thanked" by several people in togas.


Some embraces were too vague, with only subtle emotions on display...

Story by  Paul Hornschemeier, Art by Mark Texiera, from 'Tomb of Terror' # 1
 A tear-stained cheek, a gentle caress and a sad farewell.


...OR some instances where the "embrace" was inappropriate (one great scene where Man-Thing and his former wife/lover Ellen Brandt were locked in a death kiss, with her being absorbed into his mass).

Story by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, artwork by Nic Klein
from 'Dead of Night ; Featuring Man-Thing' # 4
Man-Thing loves her... to death!
Many relationships are filled with hostility that barely hides deeply-seeded love.


Displays of manly love or "bro-mance" are alright, such as between Man-Thing and members of the Thunderbolts (as shown in this old post HERE) and this one between Man-Thing and Frank Castle (aka; the Punisher - aka; FrankenCastle).

 Story by Rick Remender, art by Tony Moore and Mike Hawthorne
from 'Punisher/FrankenCastle' # 13.


Even a "big brother" type of caring has been seen, as was the protective friendship between Manny and Franklin Richards.

Story by Scott Lobdell, art by Chris Bachalo from 'Generation X' # 25.

Story by Peter David, Art by Salvador Larocca from 'Heroes Reborn : The Return' # 1
No NAMBLA. jokes, please. That shit's just WRONG!
(oddly enough, in either case, the "M" should stand for "monster")


Platonic man-love has been seen, such as the one time when Quasar (Wendel Vaughan) gave Manny a quick kiss to the top of his head.

Story by Marc Gruenwald, art by Greg Capullo from 'Quasar' # 31
Man-on-Man-Thing love.


Much like the scene from Doctor Strange above, there was even a scene where multiple people were lavishing attentions upon Man-Thing.
Jennifer Kale (unfortunately in one of the few instances where she isn't wearing her metal bikini) and a few other heroes put together the various "blown-up" pieces of Man-Thing, reassembling him, and seemingly are giving him a full frontal massage to "revive" him.

Story by Marc Gruenwald, Art by Andy Smith from 'Quasar' # 50
They just keep rubbing that Man-Thing until he spurts some of his "Nexus".


Heck, I'm even open minded about trans-gender love... such as this WOMAN-THING / SUMP-THING union. (It's a weird story. But Man-Thing is a woman in it, and Swamp Thing is the Sump-Thing... uh... you'd need to go back and read Cerebus # 23- 25 before reading this issue. )

story and art by Dave Sim, from Cerebus # 82.
The "real" (unseen) "sex scene" is in Cerebus # 25.
y'know.. just nevermind.
The only person who will be turned on by this is Mike Sterling!


Of course, at the end of the day, THIS is STILL my favorite image of Man-Thing lovin'!

Story by Jeff Parker, Art by Colleen Coover
from ' X-MEN : FIRST CLASS : FINALS' # 3

So, there ya have it.
And remember...
Whomever knows LOVE... YEARNS for the Touch of the MAN-THING!

May your favorite Man-Thing give and receive all the love that it deserves.