I had some thoughts regarding the new shiny Star Wars movie and rather than voice them on social media I thought I would put them here, where no one would read them. (Kidding. Sort of.)
In any case, this will be a relatively brief, spoiler filled opinion piece. Not a unbiased review of any kind.
So, here it is; Loved Rey, thought her story was good (even though it is the abandonment story of Luke and Leia). Liked Fin even though I thought he was a bit too chatty for a brainwashed killing machine (whoever was in charge of brain washing that day at the First Order really dropped the ball). Was somewhat indifferent to the generic hot-shot pilot, Merchandise BB-8, Kylo Ren and the fact that most of the movie was aped shots, plot and dialogue from the original trilogy.
The three pronged Lightsaber, the villain 'Snoke' (what a stupid name) and planet sized Death Star were dumb but ignorable. Tacking on the "shoot the death star" for the final act and then drawing attention to it with, "there's always a hatch" was unbelievably lazy.
Admittedly, I went into the movie with a bias against JJ Abrams. I've always considered him an inferior director that had the ability to be better, but refused to do so. Just about all his work is mediocre science fiction that has been derived from something more original and better done. But even with that prejudice, I was on track for thinking it was a fair interpretation of Star Wars. Right up until...
And then threw him off a bridge.
It was unforgivable and a dealbreaker for me liking the movie, far worse than a thousand Jar Jar Binks. Say what you want about the prequels, I doubt Lucas would kill Han as a bad plot device. At that point, I was no longer interested in Rey or Fin's story and not likely to rewatch Force Awakens or any other of Disney's scheduled sequels. Maybe that's an overreaction and my opinion certainly seems to be in the minority. But I've given plenty of money to Lucas over the years and didn't feel compelled to keep doing so since the prequels. And I'm certainly not going to Disney any more. If it's "just a movie" and I'm taking it "too seriously" then I definitely don't have to spend any money on it.
I can understand the strategy of making the audience grieve before building them back up for the climax. That kind of contrast is what makes stories more compelling. But for me, this dug down so far that nothing they can do will pull them out of it. The finale lightsaber duel and Rey reaching out to Luke at the end was nice, but not nearly good enough. For me, it completely wrecked the movie.
I hope this all doesn't sound too dramatic. My whole world isn't crumbling because of this one bad space fantasy movie. I moved on from the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" after the prequels bombed and Kevin J Anderson's terrible books. But here is why I bother to bring this all up. For reasons I can't fathom, everyone seems to be alright with it. The movie did somewhere over a billion dollars in just a few weeks. I've heard of people having seen it three, four times and remarking about how much they cried each time. WHY? It's a plot written by people. It doesn't HAVE to happen that way. It can be anything. Jar Jar could fly down on a rocket scooter and pick Han up. But instead, Abrams woke up one morning and said, "You know what? Today, I'm going to kill Han Solo."
And I can't wrap my head around any of that.
Lastly, JJ Abrams is fond of his "Mystery Box." It's this $50 magic set that he got for his birthday as a kid. But he's never opened it because he thinks that when he does, "all the mystery" will be gone. That nothing inside that box could match the possbilities or his expectations. For me this is the perfect analogy of his movies and tv work. What does the Cloverfield monster look like? It's a big stupid Bat. What is Fringe Science? It's the X Files. What is Star Trek into Darkness? A lot of Lens Flare. What is in a $50 magic box? $10 worth of plastic crap.
And it's the last time I'll be fooled into seeing one of Abrams movies.
Well, that's the end of my rant. Thanks for reading, I hope you don't disagree too much.
(yikes, you're a trooper!)
In the mean time, (see below) I decided to put up a link to the hidden content. If you don't know what that is, just follow the link. Also, saw that the Nebraska person (I presume) blew through 300 some pages. Thanks.
I got up about 4:30 this morning (sept 16) to write this, so I guess I’m pretty serious about it.
Well, here it goes…
I took a hard look at things, finances, etc and decided that anything comic related is indefinitely on hold. “Hiatus” isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for webcomics and I’v never really been very consistent in updating (sorry). And yes, I’v made similar posts like this in the past, but this time it’s significantly different.
When I lost my job some years ago I had a fairly good financial cushion to wait out the economic mess caused by the banking and housing industry (thanks jackasses). I was alright with that because I was burned out from a bad couple jobs with terrible coworkers and felt that it was the right time to try something a bit reckless. No more Bills, Dees, Marks, Cheryl's, Wards or Tammy's that make life harder. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, there weren’t really any jobs to apply for.
So I invested in some books, tutorial videos to study Maya and began working on some personal projects. Thus, the comic and this website. I figured at the very least it would serve as proof of keeping myself busy and potentially lead to some kind of real work. It was the idea of, “do the work you love and the money will follow.” Unfortunately for whatever reason, that’s not really happened. (Which is somewhat frustrating because even while writing this I’m looking at a couple badly drawn comics with 300-1500 followers on facebook. WHY???)
Anyway, the financial cushion has rapidly depleted to a level that is lower than it has ever been in my adult life. I had a couple reliable freelance clients that helped keep me afloat over the last few years, but they’ve moved to using their internal design departments. Then earlier in spring I lost my longtime power mac warhorse along with a great deal of expensive software that won’t work on the new stupid iMac (thanks Apple, Autodesk and various third party developers). So it’s time to put the dreams of independence away and get serious about finding a job. I have always been on the look out for real work, but had the luxury of being picky. That’s no longer the case and everything needs to be on the table. I mention this because… well, after years of hunting and submitting I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the creative prospects in the area. Don't get me wrong, there are some great companies around, particularly in the KC area. But generally those positions get filled pretty quickly. The likely hood is pretty good that I’ll have to find something outside everything I’v worked towards. The possibility of moving boxes in a warehouse or cleaning floors is probably what is going to happen.
And there are some other personal circumstances, none of which are any of ‘yo biz-nezz.
So… what does this mean for the comic?
Well, that depends. I still want to work on it, but I need to put it aside to focus on the job hunt. The thing is, I like working with Claire and Ann along with my other projects too much and it detracts from more important things. Artwork has always been an escape for me and it’s easy to get lost in work you enjoy doing while ignoring reality. I can’t afford to do that anymore. So… I guess nothing should happen until I have a job secured. Once that happens, we’ll have to see. I can’t really explain why, especially after saying ‘how much I like working on it,’ but there is the very real possibility of never working on it again. I hate being so dramatic, but it needs to be said.
I also want to mention, I’m not looking for donations or making a plea just to sell stuff from the shop. Even with a few donations, sales, hits, clicks, shares, follows and likes it still won’t be enough to keep me from going broke. (Well, not unless someone is going to drop a $20,000 donation.)
The domain is paid for at least another year. It’ll be here for a while if you want to reread anything or pass the comic along. I probably won’t be as active on facebook, but will maintain the twitter feed with just general opinions and nonsense. For what it’s worth, if anyone has an opinion, advice, suggestions or even job leads, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to talk about “whatever.”
Lastly, I want to say “Thank You” for the few (so few) people that have been following along. I watch the analytics periodically and notice when it has a heart beat. Over the years there have been people in Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska and Texas that have consistently followed the comic updates. There are five people on the facebook page. (One is my sister, another is my friend Kevin and one is, well, myself.) But there are two that I don’t know because facey won’t tell you until you get 100 followers. But thanks. There are currently 53 people on twitter, but I’m not certain if any of them are there for the comic or just wanting courtesy follows. There are a couple comic people (one VERY big name) and a couple industry guys following. That has always been encouraging, thanks. Every once in a while analytics will show that someone blew through 50-200 pages and that has also been very encouraging. I’v noticed. Thanks.
So… there it is. Probably overly dramatic for a obscure, unpopular webcomic, but I needed to get that out even if was just to hear myself say it out loud (or written). I have some other things to take care of later today. But now I need to shower and as bad as it sounds, maybe a nap. I had a pretty early start.
Thanks again for reading. Hope to be back at it sometime soon.
I thought about explaining the blue but I think it would be better to let the comic do that. I'm not sure when I'll have new Xenozoo pages, but I should have a couple little things in the next few weeks. Maybe some work on a Korra fan comic, just for fun. Watch the twitter or facebook pages and we'll see what happens.
If you haven't seen the recent Company Man comic it's here. I also deleted out a bunch of old info from below. If you need to find anything old, you might have to dive into the archive page.
Also, I might be putting up some new things on the Etsy. Maybe.
Thanks for reading,
Just a quick word,
As much as this has always been "just a hobby" there is a certain amount of attempting to make it into a "real thing." Admittedly, I don't know what that means, (graphic novel? pro comics job? illustrator? people blindly throw money at me?) other than maybe one day I could somehow make a living off of it. I put a lot of different things out there mostly because I like making those different things. But also because I hope that eventually something will catch and all this work might get some attention.
I don't pursue advertising or promote it much (it's expensive). I've tried to push it out where I think it's appropriate but it generates little response. I'm not and never will be a salesman. If I were any good at that sort of thing I would have a job already or be selling houses or BMW's. I do the creative work because THAT is what I do best.
To that end and even more than a donation, if you want to help me and my dorky comics out the BEST thing you could do is follow along on twitter or facebook. If you're feeling especially generous you could pass it along to friends you think might enjoy it too. I hope you'll give it some consideration.
I also put up some comics about my playing Skyrim and that one Evil Alien comic (maybe more eventually) in the hidden comics map.
If you know where that is. They're also on facebook.