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June 29th, 2012

Five-Eyed Office-Dwelling Cat-Demon #2

Filed under: Artwork — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 7:53 am

Here’s another drawing:

Five-Eyed Cat Demon #2

You can see all of my five-eyed office-dwelling cat demon drawings here.

June 26th, 2012

Thickness #3 for Sale Online

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 7:27 am

Thickness #3 is now for sale online!

Edit Fake cover for Thickness #3
The cover for Thickness #3, drawn by Edie Fake.

Thickness is an anthology of erotic comics edited by Ryan Sands and Michael DeForge. For #3, Sean T Collins and I collaborated on a ten-page comic called “The Cockroach.” We’re in there alongside a bunch of other fantastic artists. Here’s a photo of the title page of Sean and I’s comic:

The Cockroach by Collins and Cardini title page
All of the interior pages of Thickness are printed in two-color risograph.

This was my first time drawing a comic from a script. I had a lot of fun with it – it gets extremely gross and gooey!

June 22nd, 2012

Five-Eyed Office-Dwelling Cat-Demon #1

Filed under: Artwork — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 12:02 am

I’ve been taking it easy since I finished my collabo with Sean T Collins for Thickness #3, just sketching and doing fun ink drawings. One idea I have is to do a series of five-eyed office-dwelling cat-demon drawings. Here’s one of them:

five-eyed office-dwelling cat-demon

Would y’all be into a zine of these d00dz?

June 19th, 2012

Digestate Kickstarter; Two Vortex #2 Reviews

Filed under: Press,Print Comics — Tags: , , , , , , — William Cardini @ 9:59 pm

I’m contributing a short comic to the J.T. Yost-edited food-and-eating themed anthology Digestate along with a bunch of other awesome folks:

Digestate contributors
Digestate promo image by cartoonist Victor Kerlow, who also has a comic in the latest Catch Up.

Yost has already raised funds to print the anthology through Kickstarter. But if y’all want to snag a copy, throw in some bucks here in the next nine days.

I’ve also gotten two reviews of Vortex #2.

Vortex #2 Page 18
Page 18 of Vortex #2.

In Edie Fake’s review for the Quimby’s store site, he says, “Thick-like-a-brick linework barely contains another dose of filled-to-the-brim fill pattern madness.” Click here to read all of Fake’s review and order a copy from Quimby’s in Chicago if you’re so inclined.

Meanwhile, over at Optical Sloth, Kevin says, “Once again the art is amazing, as there are all kinds of creatures and objects floating around that are just begging for a more detailed description, and the story is picking up steam nicely.” Click here to read the entire review.

June 15th, 2012

Sketchbook Pages – Vortex #2 and Miscellaneous; Thickness #3 Debuts this Weekend

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: , , , , — William Cardini @ 7:52 am

Here are two sketchbook pages. This first one started out with Vortex #2 drawings but then I just let my mind wander:

William Cardini sketchbook page

This second one is a sketch for Page 20 of Vortex #2 (you can see the final version in this preview):

William Cardini sketchbook page

Also, I almost forgot to mention, Thickness #3 is debuting this weekend at CAKE in Chicago. Sean T Collins and I collaborated on a ten-page story for it. Check it out!

June 12th, 2012

Prometheus Thoughts with Spoilers

I’ve now seen Prometheus twice so I’d like to tell y’all my spoiler-filled thoughts. I’ve read a lot of reviews and opinions seem generally mixed: the visuals are spectacular but the plot, science, and character motivations are weak. I see what these reviews are saying but I give Prometheus some leeway just because there are so few big budget, big idea sf movies. For example, I find the ideas in Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods to be complete fantasy. But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the mythic resonance of Jack Kirby’s The Eternals and it doesn’t stop me from digging Prometheus. And like The The Eternals, Prometheus is showing us our place in the cosmos by investigating the myth of the Titans.

The beginning sequence of Prometheus shows the Earth being seeded with life. An Engineer is transformed into the primordial soup of DNA strands. Why would the Engineers seed the earth with life, come back and check on it after millions of years, and then try to destroy it? Maybe it was because they could, the same answer that Charlie gives David for why humanity would create synthetic people with artificial intelligence. Or maybe the answer’s more sinister and the Engineers created humanity to provide the Engineers with test subjects for their weapons of mass destruction.

I dig Prometheus because it plays with ideas as large as a planet and as old as life. Throw in body horror, deadly impregnations, and highly sexualized monster designs that approach Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit and I’m sold. It’s not as good as Alien but hardly any movie can match that spare masterpiece.

Even after seeing all of the riffs on the xenomorph in Prometheus, the original xenomorph remains my favorite sf creature. It’s ruthless, it’s terrifying, it has no eyes but it knows exactly where you are. It’ll impregnate you with its young and destroy you. We have no idea how intelligent they are. In the Alien quadrilogy, they are a force of nature. Does it spoil my appreciation of the xenomorph to know that they are purposefully created weapons? No. In the other Alien movies, we get hints that Weyland-Yutani wants specimens to use as templates for biological weaponry. With its metal teeth, acid blood, and shiny reflective carapace, the xenomorph already inhabits a weird limbo between machine and animal. And I love the idea of the mutagenic ur-Alien ooze that the Prometheus crew encounters in the skull-topped pyramid. We see so many varieties of effects and creatures that I can only assume that the ooze delivers individualized destruction.

I can forgive the rushed, reckless investigation of the Prometheus crew by thinking of Elizabeth and Charlie as religious zealots on a quest instead of rational scientists. Shaw’s faith in particular is unshakeable. Even when our creators want to wipe us out she still clings to her cross. It reminds me of Philip K Dick’s gnostic outlook: our world is a place of evil, therefore the being who created the cosmos is evil; but Christ delivers salvation from outside the evil material world. Or maybe that faith is a delusion and it’s just more massive, more implacable, and more evil giants all the way up to the source of the universe.

If the Prometheus sequels get made they could definitely ruin my enjoyment by providing too many unsatisfying explanations and not enough mysteries. I’m not really interested in seeing exactly how we get from the last scene of Prometheus to the crashed spaceship the crew of the Nostromo finds on Alien.

June 8th, 2012

Sketchbook Pages – Secret Prison #666

Filed under: Sketchbook Pages — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 7:48 am

Here are two sketchbook pages where I was brainstorming for the collaborative double-paged spread Keenan Marshall Keller and I did for Secret Prison #666:

William Cardini sketchbook page
If you’re curious, that note to myself in the top left corner refers to Vortex #2.

William Cardini sketchbook page

June 5th, 2012

Prometheus, Alien, and Aliens – A Spoiler-Free Discussion of Tone and Themes

I’m a big fan of the Alien series. I dig all of the movies in the quadrilogy, even the usually panned Alien Resurrection (c’mon, it’s directed by Jeunet!), so I’ve been super stoked that Ridley Scott is returning to the Alien universe. Last week I saw an advanced screening of Prometheus and then rewatched Alien and Aliens over the weekend. I’m going to discuss the difference in themes and tone in all three without spoiling any plot points of Prometheus.

Bolaji Badejo in the Alien costume.

Alien is one of the greatest sf movies of all time. Every time I rewatch it, that status further solidifies. The first half of the movie is suspenseful even when you know what’s going to happen (does that validate arguments that spoilers don’t ruin a movie?). The tech looks dated but I can believe that a space mining company looking to save money would retrofit some terminals. The room where the captain and Ripley consult with Mother and its blinking lights still has a futuristic sheen and the space ship and suits have the appropriate level of grunge. One detail that my wife noticed was that no one’s wearing makeup. You feel for these people who are tired and just want to get home but are set off-track for some potentially unpaid overtime by their corporate overlords.

The spacesuits in Alien were designed by Moebius.

The slow pans and long setup of Alien remind me of 2001. This viewing I noticed that the effects for the explosion of the Nostromo look very similar to the effects used for Bowman’s trip into the monolith. There are two flat planes of effects that recede towards the horizon. According to this extensive article on 2001’s special effects, the two receding planes were created by a slit scan machine created by Douglas Trumbull. I can’t find any information on how they created the Nostromo explosion.

A still of the Nostromo explosion.

Aliens throws all of this grunginess and seriousness of Alien away. In Alien, Ripley was a competent woman just doing her job with a clear head. She gets thrust into the center of the narrative by seeing the sense in following protocol. But in Aliens, Cameron saddles Ripley with a tragic backstory beyond an understandable case of PTSD. Then he weighs the plot down with brash, bumbling space marines and a little kid that has to be rescued. After the spare horror of Alien, Aliens feels bloated with guns and screaming. Maybe I’m being too harsh on Cameron because of Avatar. The xenomorph nest and queen are excellent, horrific creations. The idea of being cocooned in resin waiting for a facehugger is chilling and expands on the body horror of being used by a parasite.

A still of the alien queen.

Prometheus is also a digression from Alien but, unlike Aliens, I enjoy how it changes the tone and adds to the themes. What can I say, it’s easy to win me over with spectacular, expansive alien vistas. There are also mystic elements, thought-provoking ruminations on creation. Some of the ways these ideas are expressed didn’t quite hold up to my understanding of the science involved but I still appreciate that the movie poses the questions.

HR Giger’s drawing of the space jockey.

The best part of Prometheus, though, is how it expands on the extraterrestial designs in Alien. Also, it continues the tradition of strong female central characters. In particular, I’m pleased to report that Prometheus passes the Bechdel Test.

Noomi Rapace in Prometheus.

I’m going to have a spoiler post on Prometheus next Tuesday.

June 1st, 2012

Sketchbook Pages – Hawk, Vortex #2, and Miscellaneous

Filed under: Sketchbook Pages — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 7:47 am

Here are some sketchbook pages from the past couple months. This first page has sketches for Vortex #2, “Hawk” in Future Shock, and just some random drawings:

William Cardini sketchbook page
I really like the cat spaceship shooting lasers from its eyes to the left of the question, “Who made the Vortex?”

On this second page I was mostly brainstorming for Page 18 of Vortex #2 (also the first page of this preview of Vortex #2 (Update 1/13/2017: this link no longer works)):

William Cardini sketchbook page