Recent Reading: Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

Closing in on wrapping up my homework for my online class, but wanted to take a bit to write about some manga I recently read, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman from Viz Media. As you may know, I am a big Dragonball Z fan. I credit the show for inspiring me to get into animation and it has influenced my career path and when I found out that Viz was releasing Jaco, created by Akira Toriyama, earlier this month, I had to check it out. Here are my thoughts.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.05.07 PMThe cover is a little bit of a precursor into the story and some of the themes and comedy you will see in the story. That fellow on the cover, is our main character Jaco, he’s a galactic patrolman. He looks an awful lot like a former Dragonball Z villain too, down to the exact color scheme. Check out the trailer for the new Dragonball Z film, the Return of F, coincidentally that comes out in Japan later this year.

In the story we see some of the same elements we see in Dragonball Z, the story starts on a tiny island that is inhabited by an old man, Omori, sound familiar? Omori is a super smart scientist that is working on figuring out time travel. Jaco’s spaceship crash lands on Earth and decides he is going to live with Omori until it can be repaired. However, the ship requires an expensive material to fix so Jaco is stuck on Earth for a while.

Over the course of several chapters, we see some comedy that is straight out of Dragonball Z. Jaco saving the day when a stranger is in a bad situation against a group of bad guys. The story continues to follow some of the same Dragonball Z humor.

The book ended with a slight twist, but in hindsight I should have seen it a little sooner given the closeness to Dragonball Z. The book even ends with a small, unseen chapter of Dragonball Z, which makes sense considering the book was to get Toriyama’s work out there more before the new Dragonball Z movie in 2015.

The artwork of Jaco is Toriyama’s distinct style and it was nice to see it in a new story. However, I felt the overall story was a little lacking and in my opinion, was solely used as a piece of promotional material for 2015’s Dragonball Z film (not that there is anything wrong with that). With that said, I felt it was a little too promotional and felt a little too much as a spin-off. It is only a one volume story, so if you are looking for a light read it might be worth checking out.

Production Update 119 Finals Week

I’ll keep this week’s update short and sweet. This week I was able to sneak in one shot before being assigned our final project for my online course. So while it wasn’t a ton of work I got done, I have started piecing together this scene and the first shot is wrapped up. I might be able to sneak in a little bit of work this week, but no promises.

I say that because last week I found out that final project for my online course is going to last this week yet. I am not complaining, because this project will be a fun way to test my skills and everything I learned over the past 6 weeks. As a reward, I will post up the video on this blog so you can all see what I have been up to.

I am looking forward to wrapping up the class and getting back full throttle on Cosmic Rage!

Production Update 118 Animatic Complete!

It was nice being able to stay at my own apartment this weekend and getting some work done. Most of the actual weekend was consumed with my online course homework. This is the final week of the course! I did have a little bit of down time this week in between my homework and a blizzard to wrap up the animatic for the new scene I am working on. Which means I have started working on the actual shots. As I type this, I am rendering out the background for the first shot. This upcoming week I do have homework and I am sure it will be pretty crazy, but my goal is by the end of January to finish up this scene (10 shots).

I also spent time this week applying for some panels at conventions and gathering a few things in preparations for a potential art grant. My goal is by the end of January to have all of my materials outlined so I can write and finalize things in February. So the remaining weeks in January will be busy mocking things up and getting things ready for the spring.

I hope to get some more production art up for you guys real soon. I appreciate all of you being so patient this last month with my online course. It is a small price to pay for great things in the future and I can’t wait to share them all with you. 🙂 I am just getting started.

Why We Make Art

This post is going to be something that may seem a bit out of place, hopefully by the end of it my true feelings will emerge and you may gain an understanding of an artist. If you look at the about page on this site, you will see a description of the project I am working on Cosmic Rage. In that description I talk about how Cosmic Rage is going to be a story that involves religion, politics and societal issues but all wrapped up into an action story. However, you wouldn’t know that without reading that. I don’t think I have ever touched any of those topics in a blog post, to be honest I didn’t want to alienate a single fan or person that took time out of their day to read my thoughts and look at my art. It is with that fear that a discussion couldn’t happen.

The sole purpose I work on this project is to help foster an environment to have these discussions, it’s time I write and share these thoughts here too. Society and the world is a strange place filled with so many beautiful things and on the flip-side, so many ugly things. I often find myself searching for answers or trying to figure out our rationale for a variety of things.

For instance, the attack at Charlie Hebdo that left many people dead. I have never looked at an issue of Charlie Hebdo or saw any art, before the attack, they never existed in my world. Yet these people went to work everyday with the intent of making work to get conversations started about issues they felt were important. They weren’t afraid of losing fans or even threats on them as they created.

Artists create art to make sense of the world around them. Sometimes they make satirical pieces, sometimes they make shock pieces and numerous interpretations in between. However you make art, for whatever purpose we must continue to make our voices heard. We must continue to tell our stories and share our thoughts. It is with these weapons that we can fight ignorance, hatred and the other evils of this world.

Continue telling your stories, and I will continue to tell mine.

Production Update 117: 2015 Here I Come!

The first post of 2015, the start of a very exciting year. Big things are on deck to happen and I am so excited to get the year off to a great start. I spent the last week celebrating a late Christmas and enjoying lots of time with my family and my sister who lives almost a thousand miles away. I got some fantastic gifts including some movies, kitchen stuff (since I enjoy cooking) and some desk/office stuff to make 2015 even more productive! One of the items was a new desk chair that was long overdue, and it has been put together already. I also sat down with my dad over the holiday and drew a blueprint for a standing desk. I have been pretty antsy sitting at a desk all day and doing the same when I get home, and in 2015 I also want to put an emphasis on continuing to improve my diet and also my lifestyle. Since I spend so much time in front of a desk, I decided to go the standing desk route to help be a little more active.

I wanted to get an animatic done this week, but with all of the traveling and catching up on things on my to-do list, I didn’t get it done. I know, I said I was going to and I didn’t and that isn’t a good way to start 2015. I came home on Sunday night and spent the night cleaning my apartment, washing my new kitchen stuff and getting my workspace organized in a moment of zen.

I will hit the ground running this week and have the weekend to work on things as well. 2 weeks left in my online crash course, which has been going well and looking into some new exciting things.

One last thing I have, is that if you have any suggestions as to what you would like to see more of on the blog in 2015, please let me know through comments, email, Facebook etc. I would love to help share content that you want to see! Let’s kick some ass in 2015!