Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Happiest Place on Earth

Family at DisneylandHaven't blogged in awhile, so I thought I'd send this shout-out from my family's hotel in DISNEYLAND while my family sleeps in!

For various reasons the Reynaldo brood didn't travel to see family this Thanksgiving or Xmas, so rather than stay holed up at home, we decided to go to Disneyland for a small vacation. We made it into a surprise for the kids (the eldest is 5), via a note that Santa left for the kids Xmas day. We left for Disneyland Xmas evening and spent the day at the park the day after the holiday. (In the past, in such situations, we've also gone skiing at local mountains, but we made this decision so last minute, it would have been impossible to make reservations at this late date. Plus, of course, the youngest who is one-and-a-half is probably too young to take to the snow yet. Not for him, but for mom and dad who'd have to carry him most of the time on ice and snow!)

As a sign of our secular times, it's surprising how many people do this. We went to Downtown Disney Xmas night to get tickets for the next day in advance and it was packed with holiday shoppers (Downtown Disney is basically a high end outdoor mall outside Disneyland that feeds into the main entrance; but you can shop there without having to go inside the park). And Disneyland was packed too.

As expected, Disneyland was packed, shoulder to shoulder at times and in certain areas of the park. However, because we wanted to be sure to get in and beat the crowds, we arrived at the park's opening at 8 a.m. (that's why we arrived the day before--we were close enough to walk into the grounds from where we were staying). As a result, we got to go on tons of rides before noon, with no wait longer than 20 minutes (remember, because of the kids, we generally only hit the kiddie rides).

Since we planned to be there into the evening, we went back to the hotel at about 1:30 pm to let the kids nap. Believe me, as much as I love Disneyland, it was nice to relax a bit. We then had dinner at the hotel (another smart move for us) and got into the park by 5:30 pm.

I was pleasantly surprised that we actually hit some major rides with no major waits in the evening. A lot of rides go in cycles and some rides that we avoided because they had an hour wait, suddenly had waits of only about 15 minutes or even nothing! So we hit the Jungle Cruise (cool at night) and my daughter and I waited only 15 minutes to get on the Matterhorn!

Family at DisneylandAs this suggests, my oldest girl is now tall enough to go on more of the "real" rides. We realized this because my wife wanted to take her on Star Tours. And even though the sign said the wait was 45 minutes, they ended up waiting only 20 minutes, so they ended up going twice. While there, the person who measured my daughter's height (you have to be 40" tall, so she just made it), said that she was now big enough for almost all the rides at Disneyland (the only major exception was the Indiana Jones ride--I think yhou have to be about 50" for that ride). As a result, when we noticed that the line for the Matterhorn was so short, we got on it. (BTW, she liked the ride, but didn't like the Abominable Snowman that's featured in it, so she didn't want to go again). Believe me, my daughter is more of a daredevil than I ever was at her age! When we got off the ride, the Disney Christmas parade with all the characters had started, so my daughter watched that from my shoulders. And by pure coincidence, we ended up watching the parade only a few feet from my wife and little boy, who had gone off to do their own thing when I took my girl on the Matterhorn!

The other cute thing that happened is we actually saw a lot of the major characters around the park, and at one point Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto walked by and patted my baby boy's hand as they walked by as I was holding him. Later, we took a family photo with Minnie Mouse; afterwards, he stood by trying to get her attention by dancing and batting his eyes. A lot of people noticed him flirting in this way, and Minnie rewarded him quite a bit by waving back to him, which he loved. It was very cute.

Our first and last rides at the park was It's a Small World, which my daughter loves. It was especially dressed (and re-recorded) for the holidays, so it was quite festive, and my daughter sings along the whole time. When we were on line for It's a Small World that night as our last ride, we also got to see the holiday fireworks show with accompanying holiday music -- and we were standing at one of the best places to enjoy it. So it certainly brought our visit to quite a fitting conclusion.

Anyway, it's back home today!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

I'm an alumnus of UCLA, so I thought I'd share my excitement over the UCLA Bruins upsetting USC today at the 75th annual meeting of the two teams' football programs (usually the last game of the season for both teams).

The UCLA-USC football game in Los Angeles--the only crosstown city college rivalry in the country--is always big locally, but what made this win especially sweet was that the Bruins not only got to finally snap a 7-game losing streak against the Trojans (after themselves beating 'SC a record 8 games in a row), but did so in a game with nationwide implications. Going into the game, USC was ranked second in the nation, was favored by 12 points to beat UCLA, and with the win was expected to play for the national championship, their fourth shot in five years. Instead, unranked UCLA played the spoiler, upsetting USC 13-9, thus ending the Trojans' national championship hopes. This also was the first time in 63 games (an NCAA record) that USC has scored less than 20 points. The score clearly shows that what won the day was the UCLA defense.

As a student and as an alum I've personally attended many classic and memorable football games over the years and have personally experienced many victories just as sweet (and many lows too). But it's been a long drought, and it was fun to rekindle some great memories with this win. In fact, after the game my family and I went into Westwood Village (where UCLA is located) and were thrilled to find ourselves in the midst of students celebrating raucously in the streets. (Old college friends and I used to try to gather annually for the game, but this tradition has temporarily fallen to the wayside in recent years since many of us have young families.)

With all due respect, USC deserves all it has earned in the last several years as one of the finest football programs in the country. Which makes this victory all the sweeter.

Go Bruins!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Calling Dick Tracy

IDW Publishing has just released the first volume of The Complete Dick Tracy , a projected compilation of the entire run of Chester Gould's iconic syndicated comic strip. This volume, of course, begins with the very first strip from October1931, and takes the reader through the series' first year and a half.

I've seen samples of the strip from its first week, so the strip's early crude art was not new to me. Nevertheless, it's fascinating to read the strips in the way they were intended to be in continuity and to watch the growth of the series.

Dick Tracy, of course, is well known for being one of the most stylized and idiosyncratic of newspaper strips (as well as perhaps the most graphically violent). In its early days, however, Gould still was a diamond in the rough and finding his way artistically. The art (even for its time) is fairly crude. But one can see that Gould also had a good sense of his vision: like the Warner Brothers noir films of the period, the strips are raw, violent, and hard boiled. And many of the strip's main elements are already in place like his girlfriend, Tess Trueheart, and his partner Pat Patton.

At the beginning of the strip, Tracy is a civilian, but in the first 10 days of the strip, readers witnessed a home invasion, an unarmed man coldbloodly murdered in front of his family, and the kidnapping of Tess Trueheart. To help crack the case, Tracy is deputized on the spot without much ceremony by the police commissioner, solely on the commissioner's hunch that Tracy might be helpful on the case. (Obviously, those were simpler times!) Tracy quickly becomes the department's rising star and most hardnosed gangbuster.

The strip's evolution and growth are gradual but sure. By the end of the first volume, Tracy's legendary hawk nose is closer to what it eventually became (though not quite all the way there yet!), the art gets sharper, and one can see Gould finding his style, particularly becoming more bold and confident in his use of solid black. In addition, more of the strip's classic characters like Dick Tracy, Jr. are introduced, and you start seeing the debut of the kinds of distinctive-looking and unsightly villains that Dick Tracy became known for. By the way, the first villain faced by Tracy in the strip is Big Boy, who Al Pacino played in Warren Beatty's stylized film adaptation of the strip. (Unfortunately, the radio-TV watch and the spaceship were still decades away!)

This is a great time to be a comic strip fan now that the complete runs of classic series like Dick Tracy, Peanuts, Popeye , Gasoline Alley, and Terry and the Pirates have become available or are underway. The first volume of Dick Tracy is a hefty tome, making it well worth the proce of admission.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

All You Need is Love

As I am a longtime, big Beatles fan, I thought this was worth sharing...

Cirque du Soleil recently opened a new show to good reviews in Las Vegas that features the music of the Beatles. However, rather than simply license the Fab Four's existing catalog, the Beatles gave permission for their long-time producer, Sir George Martin (working in collaboration with his son, Giles) to "re-imagine" and remix the songs to create a special soundtrack for the production.

According to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times, the Beatles agreed to this since the project grew out of the late George Harrison's friendship with one of Cirque du Soleil's artistic directors; Harrison apparently wanted to see it happen as a last collaboration of the group, and the other members and their families wanted to honor Harrison's memory and dying wish. Though some purists were apprehensive about the Beatles' songs being adapted for a Vegas show, according to the Times, even many early critics have been pleasantly surprised and won over.

My brother recently purchased the re-mix and kindly agreed to share this review of the resulting product, the Beatles Love CD:

There are some interesting mixes here as producer (and son) Sir George Martin and Giles sample bits and pieces from the Beatles catalogue (like rap artists) and remix and amalgamate the songs with the chosen tracks for the Cirque du Soleil show.

Some of it is jarring and unexpected but one has to remember that this was background music for a visual show and just listening to it cold seems a little weird. The jarring part is the choice of songs which is interesting in itself because they don't follow the Beatles time-line or album release date periods like their other retrospect albums.

A couple of songs are left intact, some are shortened, and there are some added sound effects. However, it is real subtle to preserve the integrity of the songs. They even sample some of Beatles' conversations from the recording studio. One song is just run backwards: "Sun King" from Abbey Road's Sun King Medley (it's even listed backwards on the track listings as "Gnik Nus." On Hey Jude, during the "na na na na na na" fade-out of the song, the orchestral background part is turned off, and you just hear the naked voices of the Beatles chanting the words.

I thought the best song is the demo, acoustic version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that was on the Beatles Anthology 3 CD. However, Martin has added and composed a string quartet score (as he did on "Yesterday" and "Eleanor Rigby") to "Weeps," making it sound like a whole new Beatles' song.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shaken, Not Stirred

One of my earliest movie memories is seeing the James Bond films Thunderball and You Only Live Twice on a double feature in a theater with my parents. So I imprinted on the character at an early age.

Though I'm a fan of Pierce Brosnan's Bond, I certainly understood the need to re-invigorate the franchise for a modern audience. Brosnan brought physicality and charisma back to the part (and when called for, a sense of brutality part), but the movies had gotten too bloated with special effects and big set pieces; I even thought the trademark pithy bon mots that Bond delivered after dispatching a villain were getting a bit stale and tiresome. (Mind you, I fault the filmmakers and screenwriters for this, not Brosnan--shortly before Brosnan was let go, there were reports of Brosnan meeting with Quentin Tarantino about how to spice up the next film.)

Since Casino Royale --the latest re-boot in the series--is so fresh in my mind, it may be too soon to rank it with other Bond films. But I do think overall this ranks up there among the best and most substantive in the series, certainly in recent years. And the newest Bond, Daniel Craig, is certainly the most brutal and physical of the Bonds--I don't recall seeing a Bond this sweaty or bloodied as this one. But he also gives as well as he gets, and it's probably this aspect of the new film that made the biggest impression on me. The humor is still there, but it has more to do with Bond..s bravado than the kind of winking to the audience one often got from some of the other Bonds (even Brosnan to an extent.)

The filmmakers' other main aim with Casino Royale was to give the character some emotional resonance. In this department, too, they have done a good job. The question is whether they will be able to carry this over into the next films.

Perhaps another problem with the Bond films in recent years was the need to raise the stakes so high that their plots became too unbelievable and two-dimensional. While they made for good popcorn movies, they disappeared from one..s mind quickly after leaving the theater. The Bond films that hold up the best for me are the ones that are the most grounded in reality: for these reasons, From Russia With Love and For Your Eyes Only tend to rank among my favorites (along with the early Bond films like the above mentioned Thunderball and You Only Live Twice when the series was on the cutting edge of coolness and chic). Casino Royale falls into this category as well, with Bond dealing with terrorists.

While I was fairly confident there was little doubt that Bond would continue to entertain audiences well into the 21st century, the future of the series seems to be in good hands with Craig.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Leonard Starr on Stage

I grew up in New York City during the 1960s and '70s, where my family's newspaper of choice was the New York Daily News. That turned out to be a stroke of luck because as I became interested in classic comic strips and their history, I realized that some of the famous strips I read about were actually still being published and syndicated by the Daily News. These included Terry and the Pirates, Little Orphan Annie, Moon Mullins, Winnie Winkle, Smoky Stover, Dondi, Brenda Starr, and others.

One of the strips carried in the News was Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage. However, I never read it. As a kid who drew his own crude comics, I could see it was well drawn. But as far as I was concerned, it was a soap opera "chick" strip, so I always skipped over it to look at the other features.

Well, the first volume of a projected collection of the series has just been released and now that I'm older, wiser, and a bit more mature, I'm glad I've been given this new opportunity to re-discover this strip--and from its very start too.

In short, I was blown away.

Starr hit the ground running with the strip. Though the art continued to show improvement over the years, the artist was already at top form. Starr's art is photorealistic slick, and his advertising art background is apparent (samples of this can be found in the collection's extras). His figure work is beautiful, his use of blacks terrific, and his sense of place and staging would rival any movie production designer. And fitting for a strip set in New York's theater world, the characters are emotive yet naturalistic. (and, of course, the women are beautiful yet feminine.) And though the art was lush, Starr's work was also very expressive, warm and full of life.



After reading just this first volume I realize now that Starr is perhaps one of the finest draftsmen/illustrators to ever work in the medium, certainly technically. He's that good.

The writing matches the art fine. Yes, I guess it is a "chick" strip, but I nevertheless found the stories in this first volume to be a compelling page turner. Yes, Mary is a "goody two shoes"--a classic small town girl in the big city who is the trusting ingénue--but with the help of some good folks who sincerely wish to help out the young naïve actress, her pluck and good nature allows her to overcome the many shady characters she comes across.

Telling a story in the daily strip format is a unique skill and Starr was adept at it. As little I read of the strip, I'm still somewhat familiar with how it turned out in later years, so I can see that the series already was fairly well realized from the start. As someone who partly loved classic strips because they offered a more sophisticated alternative to the heroic operatic fantasy stories that characterized comic books (at least at the time), it's nice to know there room for a quality strip like this in today..s market.

But make no mistake--as the text pieces point out (which includes an introduction by comic-book super-fantasy artist Walt Simonson, who mentions Howard Chaykin is a fan as well), On Stage was an adventure strip--the lead character just happened to be an actress in New York.

While On Stage probably would not be the first choice on many people's list--even comics fans--worthy of reprint, this collection clearly makes the case of why it's deserving to be seen by a new generation of comics readers. In later years, Perkins' character became professionally successful, more mature, and less naïve. I am looking forward to watching the continuing adventures and growth of the strip and the characters, and I hope sales on this first volume are strong enough to continue the series.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Trudeau Interview



The Washington Post Magazine has posted a lengthy and fascinating article about Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau at its website here (Or click on the image above).

The jumping off point for the article is the resurgence and attention the strip has experienced with the grave battle injury that one of the central characters, B.D., received while serving with the National Guard in Iraq. In the process, Trudeau--well known for his liberal/anti-Vietnam War/anti-establishment bent--has found an appreciative audience among the military and veteran groups.

I was not aware of this, but Trudeau is generally media and publicity averse, and this is the first major personal piece about him in decades. The article is quite "up close and personal," and illuminating. Read the article and find out about his "bad movie nights" with buddies; his illustrious family history; his appreciation for great cartoonists like Walt Kelly; his love of the Yankees; and his family. It's a great, comprehensive read. Not sure how long the story will be posted, so enjoy it now!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lazy Muncie

The Saturday Night Live video skit Lazy Sunday has resulted in a whole bunch of parodies/takeoffs, but I thought this was one of the funnier ones.

There is a comics connection--cartoonist Jim Davis, creator of Garfield (and apparently a Muncie native) cameos in the video.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

All in 24 Hours!

The art at right is from a "24-hour comic" by fellow cartoonist Benton Jew (i.e., a complete comic-book story done in a 24 hour period). The quality of the work he produced here in 24 hours is more than what many cartoonists can achieve working months on!

Benton--a professional storyboard artist and outstanding cartoonist and draftsman--is a longtime acquaintance who is one of the finest artists I've ever met. He also has a great respect and love for the history of cartooning and illustration.

To see more of the story and other samples of his amazing work, visit his blog (or click on the image). Be sure to scroll down to see his Superman and Batman pieces!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Grand Prix

In conjunction with its release on DVD, the film Grand Prix (1966) has been on rotation on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which I finally caught in its uncut, widescreen glory.

Grand Prix is one of those sweeping epic, widescreen films with an international scope and cast. The story follows the intertwined lives of several rival Formula One race drivers over the course of a racing season. The international cast includes James Garner, Yves Montand, Jessica Walter, Eva Marie Saint, and even Toshiro Mifune.

Prior to its recent release, I frankly had never heard of the film, and caught it simply by accident on TCM. But I was instantly mesmerized by the extended high-testerone race sequences which employ a wide variety of film techniques and angles -- split screen, extreme perspective wide angle shots, etc. -- to convey the sense of speed and danger for audiences. Though I don't have a particularly interest in car racing or stunt driving, the driving sequences nevertheless are quite thrilling--I can see why some people call this the greatest car race movie ever filmed. And as a comic-book storyteller, I am always interested by innovative ways to convey movement and speed.

James Garner plays Peter Aron, the sole American Formula One driver in the circuit (which of course makes him the de facto lead in this Warner Bros. film). Aron finds himself briefly blackballed after he is blamed for causing a crash during a race that seriously injures a fellow driver. Aron also becomes involved in a love triangle involving the injured driver and the injured driver's estranged wife. The movie also follows the growing relationship between a French race car driver played by Yves Montand and an American journalist played by Eva Marie Saint, as well as the recovery of the injured player who is anxious to return to the racing circuit. The movie also explores the danger and fears faced by the drivers, as well as the complicity of spectators and the media in morbidly awaiting for a crash to happen.

Frankly, the storyline itself is pedestrian, melodramatic, and not very well scripted (or even acted): the real star of the film are the racing sequences. These are well choreographed and, surprisingly (and fortunately), take up a lot of screen time. I also was particular impressed by the fact that each race is presented in a distinct manner, as different as the courses featured in each race.

(The actors did all their own driving, and Frankenheimer filmed them going actual speed, refusing to speed up the film for the movie; while Formula One race drivers apparently drive at about 180 miles per hour, the actors were apparently driving at speeds of 120-130 mph in the film. Tragically, 9 of the 32 actual professional Formula One drivers used in the movie were dead from racing accidents within a year of the movie's release; 21 were dead by 1980. Interestingly, when looking up the film on IMDB, I noticed that George Lucas--who was very much into fast cars and drag racing--is listed as an "additional camera operator"!)

The innovative cinematographic style used to convey the speed of the cars in the movies can still seen today in videogames and other films (like Disney's recent Cars).

Even more remarkable is the fact that Frankenheimer near the end of his career showed he still had the touch: more than 30 years later, he directed the film Ronin with Robert DeNiro (1998) which features a similar European setting and sensibility, and thrilling, cutting-edge high-speed stunt driving that has made the movie a minor cult film (and a personal favorite of mine).

Friday, September 22, 2006

Watch Out for Blue Meanies!

In an interview at the Comic Book Resources website, Bongo Comics Art Director and fellow CAPS member Bill Morrison speaks about his work on a comic-book adaptation of the Beatles animated film "Yellow Submarine" that Dark Horse Comics hired him to do around 1999. Bill completed about half the project before Apple pulled the plug.

The interview contains lots of great scans of the work he did, many in full color. As someone who is a big Beatles fan, I thought I'd share the link to the article where you can check out the pages. As you can see from the sample at right and in the article, Bill and his colorist, Nathan Kane, did a terrific job not just capturing the style, but the tone and spirit of the film as well. Enjoy!

Click here to read the story and see more art from the story.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

NOT STUDIO 54

One of the shows from the new television season that I've been especially looking forward to has been "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and its premiere did not disappoint.

The series comes from Aaron Sorkin, the creator of "The West Wing" and "Sports Night," two critically respected shows that I enjoyed immensely. "Studio 60" offers a backstage peek of a television show that essentially is a fictional version of "Saturday Night Live." The two leads--Bradford Whitford (who was a regular on "West Wing") and Matthew Perry (who actually had several cameos on "West Wing") play a producing/writing team that is hired to revitalize the show four years after having been fired from it--and after their predecessor (played by Judd Hirsch) has a meltdown during a live feed reminiscent of a scene from the film "Network."

The show has the same crackling wit and energy as Sorkin's other shows. He has a knack for portraying too-cool-for-school professionals, who are both passionate and cynical, as well as extraordinarily competent and committed, and who ultimately care deeply about their work and making a difference in the world. Sure, it's an idealized view of the modern-day work place, but it sure makes for good drama.

Ultimately, of course, all that matters is whether the show is entertaining--and it is. Sorkin is proof that any subject or setting can be compelling if the writing is topnotch--with "West Wing," for instance, Sorkin made policy wonkiness exciting and sexy.

Sorkin also has the luxury of having a topnotch cast. In addition to Whitford and Perry (who have a great onscreen rapport), the cast includes Amanda Peet as the new network president and Stephen Weber as her caustic higher up. (Ed Asner and Felecity Huffman playing herself both made cameos in the premiere along with Hirsch.)

Some reviewers have criticized Sorkin for taking the same fast-paced, high-stakes approach to dramatize the backstage goings on of a television show in the same way he portrayed the kind of life-and-death issues faced by the White House in "The West Wing." However, I think such criticism is misplaced, because it overlooks the fact that television--and by extension media and entertainment--are today huge business enterprises, usually run by "Masters of the Universe" types, that wield immense power and influence in culture and society. (Cases in point: Rupert Fox and Sumner Redstone). People don't seem to understand that the same kind of political maneuverings and provincialism that characterizes the power corridors of Washington, DC are just as prevalent (if not moreso) in the entertainment industry. In this age of information overload and celebrity obsession, people don't seem to realize the extent to which the media increasingly permeates and shapes the world. Let's face it, success in the competitive world of television and entertainment requires the same kind of ego and drive that characterize many people in politics and government.

Yes, the characters take television and comedy a bit seriously, but it's nice to have Sorkin back on television. The series looks great, and it's clear this is an attempt to extend the Sorkin brand--the show has a lot of similarities with "The West Wing," down to the scene titles and the fonts used in the credits.

It remains to be seen, however, whether audiences will have any interest in seeing what goes on behind the scenes of a television show or be willing to identify with TV performers and executives as much as they were with the kind of professionals who were portrayed on the "West Wing." Regardless, I hope Sorkin has another hit with "Studio 60" and I look forward to seeing how the series and characters develop.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

EUREKA!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I am currently working on a sports story for the next issue of ROB HANES ADVENTURES. Though I completed the script and was well along in doing the final art, for some reason, I never really had a satisfying or suitable title and in the past months had been racking my brains trying to come up with one.

Well, in a typical "eureka!" moment, I woke up a few days ago with a title that perfectly fit the tongue-in-cheek tone of the story, and re-did the splash page intro and credits to reflect it. (Click on the image below to see the revised splash page full size.) It's now called "The Pride of the Chickenhawks!", a tip of the hat to what many consider one of the best sports films of all times (and a "male weepie" along the lines of "Field of Dreams"), "The Pride of the Yankees."

Having been raised in New York, I am a Yankees fan by default. In fact, the team number assigned to Rob in this story -- "30" -- is a tribute to one of my favorite Yankee players when I was growing up, Willie Randolph!


Click here or on the image at right to see it full size.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Work in Progress

Below is page 5 from the story intended for issue 10 of ROB HANES ADVENTURES. (To see more pages, click here.)

As you can see, this is a baseball-themed story. I'm having great fun with it, and I think people will be really surprised by it and realize what kind of variety I'm aiming for in the series.


Click here to view the image at right in larger size.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME!


Ah, yes, just what the world needs--another blog!

Anyway, I thought a blog would be a good place to talk about the creative process, to keep people updated on a more frequent basis about my progress in producing my comic-book series, ROB HANES ADVENTURES, and to put a more personal face to the creator responsible for the series. (For those who just want occasional updates, especially when new issues come out, join my e-mail newsletter list--please be assured your e-mail address will be kept private and I only post to this every two to four months.)

This blog also will be a place for me to talk about my latest passions and to deliver reviews, not just of comics, but also television, films, books, and other topics as well, including developments on the personal front (and my family!!

The only topic I probably will steer clear of here is politics--believe me, I have my opinions and views, but given the current tenor of political debate in the country right now, all Ill say is that Im planning to keep this blog politics-free!

In the interest of full disclosure, another reason I decided to start this blog (and the associated MySpace website) is to broaden the reach and appeal of my comic-book series ROB HANES ADVENTURES. I've had a website for the series for years, but it's operated as an island in this sea we call the Web--I clearly need to be more visible at certain crossroads on the Internet where people hang out to give them a chance to discover my work. It's all about synergy, baby!

I promise, though, this site wont all be plugs and self-promotion--this will be an opportunity for me to discourse about a wide variety of topics and interests. Comments are always welcome.

Some relevant links:
WCG Comics: http://wcgcomics.com
MySpace site: http://www.myspace.com/wcgcomics

Now on to the fun!