Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are you being lied to...?

"Truth-tellers, Pennebaker explains, tend to use more words, bigger words, more complex sentences, more exclusive words (except, but, without, as in the sentence "I think this but not that"), and more I-words (I, me, my, etc.). Liars, apparently, trade in simple, straightforward statements lacking in specificity because—Pennebaker posits—it's actually pretty difficult to make stuff up. " Read more on The Secret Life of Pronouns.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Phineas Gage or Sometimes I love doing research

While doing research for a comic project, I came across the strange case of one Phineas Gage.

"On 13th September, 1848, 25-year-old Gage and his crew were working on the Rutland and Burlington Railroad near Cavendish in Vermont. Gage was preparing for an explosion by compacting a bore with explosive powder using a tamping iron. While he was doing this, a spark from the tamping iron ignited the powder, causing the iron to be propelled at high speed straight through Gage’s skull. It entered under the left cheek bone and exited through the top of the head, and was later recovered some 30 yards from the site of the accident."

Mr. Gage became an important and controversial figure in the field of neurology and particularly brain trauma. Read more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Liefeld and Mignola

Following a series of links, I came upon this post on Rob Liefeld's site.

"... way back in 1991 while I was writing and drawing X-Force and the schedule was getting heavy and after the initial 7 issues I needed a break. X-Men editor Bob Harras had some potential fill-in artists in mind, one of which was Mike Mignola whose work I loved. Bob wanted me to stay on as layout artist for the issue as well as provide a framing sequence to keep the flow of the book."

As usual, Mignola did a stellar job creating dense atmosphere and an evocative story. What I find most interesting about this is where Mignola departed from Liefeld's ideas: rather than going with dramatic angles that Liefeld suggested, Mignola used simple designs and focused more on composition, spot blacks and shadows. It's not often that we get a look at how two radically different artists approach the same material.

"Funny note, afterwards Mike told me he never, ever draws downshots, or anything from a bird’s eye view. You’ll see that he adjusts anytime I call for a downshot."

I highly recommend checking out the other pages Liefeld posted.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lonely Night, Black Christmas

Whenever my girlfriend leaves town to visit her family - like she did yesterday - I take the opportunity to watch movies that she'd never stomach, like Robert "Bob" Clark's Black Christmas.

With little expectations, I watched this 1970's Canadian horror gem - also known as Silent Night, Evil Night and Stranger in the House - late last night alone in my apartment, which is the best way to watch many horror movies. The methodical cinematography and slow narrative structure create a truly suspenseful experience that produces genuine horror. The enjoyable female characters and general lack of gore, which plagued a lot of horror and especially slasher movies that came after, bolsters this film.

All in all, a near solid horror movie that established a lot of the elements that are now cliche in slasher movies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Distraction and Inspiration

I often look at Warren Ellis' site for equal parts distraction and inspiration

One of his latest posts - "Research Gem of the Day" - did both in spades. Here's the full story behind this picture.