Saturday, February 12, 2005

Godzilla (Dell Comics) #1


godzilla1
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here we have the first issue of Godzilla...

Oh, what's that? There was already a Godzilla #1?

Oh, okay... you mean the Marvel series of the 1970s, which created a Marvelized Godzilla? Or do you mean the Dark Horse stuff?

Nope, this is none of those!

Never before seen, this is the cover to Dell's Godzilla #1, based on the original black-and-white movie made by Toho!

Strangely enough, Dell didn't include this in the regular Dell Movie Classics line, but instead gave him his own title, probably intended as a one-shot!

This adaptation -- done in a hurry, to cash in on the movie -- doesn't feature quite as good a likeness of the Big G on the inside pages as they managed on this painted cover (Also, this cover doesn't appear as any of the movie posters -- but resurfaced recently for use as for the box art for a model kit). Needless to say, Steve Martin (yes, that was his name), the American reporter, bears no resemblance to Raymond Burr whatsoever. If I had to guess, I'd say the unknown writer and artist of this book only had a copy of the Americanized script, with only a few badly-printed photos to use for reference... and that the cover was done after the interiors.

The comic's a fairly straightforward retelling of the movie's story, although obviously compressed for space!

==========

Yep, this was the first of my "Comics They Never Made!" Remember, this book doesn't exist!

Friday, February 11, 2005

My Daily Routine

Like most people, there are websites I hit on a daily basis
-- or at least Monday through Friday!


Here's some of the sites I routinely check out:


Mark Evanier's site
has updates several times a day, and he covers a great range of
material, from comics to politics... and always offers interesting
links to other sites!


KryptonSite is, in
my opinion, the best of the "Smallville" fansites.


Silver Bullet
Comics
is one of two sites I check for reviews and news about
comics. Comic Book
Resources
is the other one!

For the latest in info about comics adaptations in TV and Movies,
there's always Comics2Film!


Peter David is one
of my favorite comics writers, and his blog is always interesting!


My good buddy Tony Isabella has his "Tony's
Online Tips
," which is always a good read!


A site I don't check daily, but do like to check for news at
least once a month, is the Emerald
City Comic-Con
website, the site for Seattle's only two-day
comics convention!

Comics They Never Made


nevermade
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
As mentioned in my introduction post, from time to time, I'll be sharing with you comics covers that I've faked up using PhotoShop.

I was inspired to do these about a year ago when Mark Evanier posted some faked-up Dick Van Dyke Show comics covers on his blog at http://www.newsfromme.com, and I've shared these from time to time with the DC History list.

But I'm not posting one of these covers here right now.

Nope.

Consider this an introduction to the series. When I do post these covers, I'll talk about 'em as though they're real comic books that I latched onto, discuss the interior art and story or stories. I might even go on about when I purchased them.

But remember, they don't exist. Never did, never will!

Honestly, every time I've posted these to DC History, I half-expect to hear that someone's taken the image and am trying to sell the non-existant book on eBay! Stranger things have happened, y'know.

So forewarned is forearmed, as Doctor Octopus might say!

If there's sufficient interest, I might even be persuaded to share some secrets as to how I've made these covers, although it should be obvious to anyone who has at least a passing familiarity with PhotoShop!

The first covers I'll share (when I get around to it) will likely be the covers to Godzilla movie adaptations, as those were the first I created!

Jon

Why I Hate Microsoft

Okay, you know I'm a Mac guy, right? And like most Mac guys, I hate Microsoft. I know, lots of people hate Microsoft… although most of them hate the big MS because it's so successful.

I kind of fall into that camp… but my reasoning is much more than "because they make so much money."

It's because they make so much money selling absolute crap!

My parents used to have a PC which used to belong to my late wife (they bought it from me after my wife passed away). It was running Windows 98 – probably the most up-to-date version of Windows that computer could handle. A number of programs ran on it successfully… my nephew played Diablo, my niece played this Harry Potter game (and, until the CD-ROM got broken, Roller Coaster Tycoon)… no problems with any of
them.

What programs had problems? Which programs performed illegal actions and were shut down?

Internet Explorer.
MS Word.
MS Explorer.

Now, I'll have to admit, I'm amazed the other software ran so well… at my previous job for a printer in Wisconsin, we used Macs, PCs and UNIX machines, and the PCs always had problems. At least once a day, I'd have to restart the PC I used because it was getting flakey. At least, I'd restart it voluntarily once a day… it usually forced the issue more often than that.

You know the blue screen with white printing that comes up sometimes when a major error occurs in Windows? We used to call it "The Blue Screen of Death," because it means that you've just lost your work. The Macs didn't "bomb" nearly as often as the PCs… and of course, since the company was enthralled with PCs, those machines got upgraded damn near every six to eight months! They never upgraded the Mac I used in the five years I was there… not even to add more memory. I guess the Mac worked just fine the way it was.

Anyway, I digress… at least a bit.

The three Microsoft programs I mentioned just a bit earlier were always the programs that generated the "______ has performed an illegal function and will be shut down" error message.

Hello?!?!?

Microsoft's own software performs actions that are illegal in Microsoft's own system software?!?!?

As if that's not bad enough…their system software reports information to Microsoft, assuming you have an internet connection. Did you know that? Why do you think spyware programs are so proliferate on PCs? Because Microsoft made it easy for them.

The same situation occurs with Microsoft's Outlook Express program for the PC… you have to have noticed that every single time a new computer virus makes it onto the six o'clock news, it's a virus that promulgates itself when it's attached to an email which is opened in Outlook… which then reads your address book and sends itself to all those people, and so on, and so on.

Microsoft makes it possible.

Okay, I may as well admit it, I do use two Microsoft product… MS Word is one. It's my word processor of choice on my Macintosh, and I'd be 100% happy with it… if Microsoft went back to an older version of it, one that doesn't make the freakin' program appear to be a desktop publishing program! (Admittedly, I also use Outlook, which I got free from my current Internet provider and was pre-configured for that provider)

Look, I'm a purist. When I'm going to prepare text, I'll use a word processing program. When I'm going to create a graphic, I'll use a graphics program. When I'm going to combine text and graphics together, I'll use a desktop publishing program.
Graphics programs are things like Illustrator, FreeHand, and PhotoShop (if you're not using one of those – unless you're doing 3D graphics stuff or CAD – you're not using professional graphics software, I don't care what the package says). Desktop publishing programs are things like Quark Xpress, PageMaker, and InDesign. FrameMaker? It's an overgrown word processing program.

MS Publisher is not a desktop publishing program. Neither is Word or PowerPoint (or Excel… and yes, at my last job, we received files in all these formats). Yet Microsoft keeps trying to position them as being able to be used for desktop publishing. Now, if you're just creating documents that you're printing on your home printer to be photocopied, fine and dandy. But if you're going to send your files to an outside source for printing, you're asking for trouble… especially if you're getting the stuff printed in color.

Want to know why? Well, I'll tell you. All those programs use RGB color. RGB (it stands for Red, Green and Blue) color is the color format that your computer monitor uses. JPEG files use RGB colors. RGB is fine if what you're preparing is going to be viewed on a computer screen, because that’s what it's designed for. (Yes, I've heard that the latest version of Publisher has changed that… it's still crap, though)

When something is being printed in color, on paper or whatever, CMYK is used (well, so is Pantone, but I won't get into that). CMYK stands for Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and Black. All right, Cyan isn't blue like most people think of blue, and Magenta is more deep pink than Red, but you get the idea. Look at the print cartridge for your color inkjet… I'll betcha you have a cartridge that has Cyan, Magenta and Yellow ink if your printer uses two cartridges. Everything that's printed in color (well, almost everything, but that gets into the Pantone thing again, and we're not going there) is printed in CMYK. Comic books? CMYK. People Magazine? CMYK. The Sunday funnies? CMYK.

Nothing is printed in RGB… RGB is used for projected color, like computer monitors and TV sets. CMYK is used for reflected color, like on the printed page. Never the twain shall meet! When you convert a color in RGB to CMYK, you get what's called a color shift… which is why when you print a JPEG you got off the web on your printer, it looks darker and not quite "right" most of the time.

Any program that uses RGB colors exclusively is not, by definition, a desktop publishing program. If you have a hard time finding a service provider that accepts that kind of file, it's not a desktop publishing program. Hell, so far as I'm concerned, if it's not Quark XPress, PageMaker or InDesign, it's not a desktop publishing program.

Okay, my final part of this rant on Microsoft. I am a huge fan of the computer game Roller Coaster Tycoon. In fact, the only thing I do with a PC is play Roller Coaster Tycoon. Everything else I did on a computer was done on a Mac. Infogames (and nowadays, Atari) has not seen fit to create a Mac version of this game (you've probably seen commercials for it on TV, it simulates building an amusement park).

Well, about a year ago, I decided I wanted to play RCT again… so, armed with the cash from my last paycheck, I headed around Tacoma (where I lived at the time) in search of a used PC laptop that I could play the game on. I figured I should be able to find one for $250 or less. I wasn't trying to find a top-of-the-line one, obviously… if it ran Win98, and had a CD-ROM drive, that was all I really needed.

Well, I found one place that sold used PC laptops in my price range… but their policy is to wipe the hard drive just before they sell them… including the system software, so I'd have to beg, borrow, or steal a copy of Win98 in order to do anything with one of them.

At that point, I figured, "Well, this is dumb… for the same money, I can get Virtual PC for Mac and just run the game on my Mac!"

If you have a Mac and want to play PC games, don't, don't, don't buy this software! It'll set you back $269 or so with tax… and it doesn't let you play PC games on your Mac. As a matter of fact, it doesn't seem to let you do anything on your Mac except use the software that's installed with Windows XP Professional.

Unfortunately, it doesn't say anything about this on the package. I bought this, failing to note the warning sign that this program is now sold by Microsoft, spent a couple of hours installing it, then installed RCT… launched RCT…

…and nothing happened. Well, the icon switched to the busy cursor for a few seconds, but that was it. MS's website was no help, naturally, so I hit the web in search of answers. And what I found was that of the 60-70 comments I read about Virtual PC, only one or two people said it actually worked for them. Everyone else hated it, said it didn't work for them for anything.

I felt a growing ache in my stomach and head as I read this. Now, since I bought this at CompUSA, I'm pretty well screwed by them – you see, they don't stand behind the software they sell. Software you bought doesn't work? Well, they'll exchange it for another copy of the same thing if it's opened. If the software doesn't work at all, no matter how many copies you try? Well, sorry, it's their policy not to accept refunds on opened software.

So I had to go to Microsoft directly to get my money back on this piece of crap software. And guess what? I will never again purchase anything that Microsoft sells (with the possible exception being a used PC when I feel like playing RCT again – right now, the fun's been sucked out of it for me), and it's unlikely that I'll purchase anything from CompUSA. It took quite a while to get that refund (nearly two months).

So, to summarize…. Why do I hate Microsoft?

Because they produce crap software… they promote it as being something it isn't… and they're making billions of dollars on it.

There's something horribly wrong about that picture. What other company produces product that doesn't work, is promoted as something that it isn't, really, and is making a lot of money at it?

Psychic Friends Network?

Jon

Krypto


krypto 6 weeks2
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, now that I've done the introduction... here's my first "official" entry, announcing the impending arrival of Krypto, a white boxer puppy! He'll be arriving on March 2. Isn't he the cutest little superdog you've ever seen?

Jon
Greetings, and welcome to my blog!


I'm your host, Jon B. Knutson, aka "waffyjon". I'm
a graphics designer living in Olympia, WA.


I'll be using this blog to comment on whatever strikes my fancy...
since comics are a long-term passion of mine, many comments will
relate to that! I may also use this to post the occasional rant,
or to just pass along something interesting.


You may also see here on an infrequent basis one of my "Comics
They Never Made," and more on that later!


In the meantime... if you're a comics fan like I am, you might
want to check out some of the Yahoo mailing lists I'm on... there's
DC History,
which is where I post comics covers Monday through Friday fitting
a particular theme, my own comics-trivia
mailing list, and lastly, there's SeaTac
Comics
, a mailing list for comics fans in
the Puget Sound area of Washington State!


Jon