Saturday, April 30, 2011

How Not to Break into the Comics Industry - Prologue

I Prologue  I Chapter 1 I Chapter 2 I Chapter 3 I
Chapter 4 I Chapter 5 I

Fabtastic is my latest comics creation, but I have a long history with the medium. I was drawing my own comics since I learned how to write. Sure, most of my “early work” is unintelligible, but it is there. Growing up I did not have much access to comics in Israel. American super hero comics were hard to get hold of and even if I could my English was not good enough to understand them. Only years later when I was nearing the end of my teens and with the Internet on the rise it was finally possible to order comics by post in Israel and all my repressed comics-deprived childhood was nourished. When I moved to London I could visit several comicbook stores on a weekly basis to get the latest books. Heaven.

The internet also introduced into my life message boards where I could finally find people to discuss my favourite books with. To make it even better, some writers and editors were joining in the discussion. It was unreal.

Over the next few years I relentlessly chased various comics creators and editors in an attempt to break into the comics industry as a writer. I will spoil the ending for you right now: I did not make it. On the other hand I collected quite a few little war stories to share when the time comes, and I think it just did. Nothing mind-blowing, but lots of mini-scandals, controversies and frustrations. I got the ear of many important people, but blew it. I was probably not ready. My English was still raw and so were my writing skills. This was before comics franchises became huge on the big screen. I am sure that now it is even harder to break in and with the exception of the occasional shot in the dark every few years or so, I have pretty much given up.

I get to create comics and reach a lot of people, but probably not as many as I would have liked to. Also, I am not making any money from it so I can not afford writing full time – now that would be a dream come true.

So here is the almost-full story of how I tried to break into comics and did not make it (with a sprinkle of Hollywood and literary frustrations). It is about the triumph of the human spirit over suckiness. Or something like that. My quest for comicswriterhood took me all over the world: from Israel to England to all over the USA and China. 

Actually my visit to China had nothing to do with comics, but it makes it sound more dramatic.

Let the name dropping begin!


Venom vs Spider-Man by Kenric Narbrough

I Prologue  I Chapter 1 I Chapter 2 I Chapter 3 I

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Friday Rebecca Black Birthday Extravaganza!

It is my birthday today (it is after midnight in Israel where I was born and currently stay) and it is so awesome that it happens to fall on Friday the same year the iconic song "Friday" became a YouTube sensation. 122 million views since February! To take it into perspective, Lady Gaga's huge hit "Born This Way" released later that month has only got 42 million views. It's huge and you must have seen it by now unless you live on the moon with no internet access (which you don't, since you're reading my blog on-line).

Where was I? Oh yeah, it's my birthday and it's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday!

So forget about that couple of royal bores. If they had any sense of humour they would play Friday at the wedding. But they don't and they won't.

So to celebrate my birthday (have I mentioned today is my birthday already?) here is a Friday celebration to end all Friday celebrations. Catch up with the phenomenon with the ultimate collection of tributes and parodies, as well as the original hit that started it all, of course. Young Rebecca isn't the fool here. She is just a young girl having fun. The fools are us for turning a small vanity project into a world-wide sensation. Fun, fun, fun, fun!

Rebecca Black's Friday
Forget Thriller. This is now the most iconic music video ever.

Fantastic shot-by-shot recreation of Friday as a Star Wars song.

Bart Baker's parody might be crude for some. Gross out sexual humour.

Friday, as performed by Bob Dylan.

Awesome cover version by Epic Mullet Guy.

"iTr3vor" wrote the book on "Don't Give a Crap What Other People Think". Rock on!

The Midnight Beast trio is just weird and somewhat adorable. Great production values (balloons, bubbles AND a disco ball!)

Not amazing, but made me laugh out loud at least once, so it makes the cut.

Brandon Toy is sheer talent. Check out his other videos, especially Eleanor Rigby.

Matt Mulholland's suicidal emo version.

8 Bit Friday

Bad lip reading creates an utterly awesome song.

Short and cute.

Brock Baker's hilarious dubbed version. If only it was longer!

Another dubbed version by Josiah Brooks which is loaded with tons of great little touches.

This is not a parody, it only sounds like one. A live version of the hit song.

Utterly fantastic dub of the previous video by "The Zoup". Makes you think for a moment that it's real.

Sadie uses Friday to worship the lord, hallelujah. Almost as bad as the original with lyrics like "Can't forget my bible, God is my friend." Does NOT make church look cool.

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and even Taylor Hicks were never cooler. Truly epic.

Make your own Friday with this karaoke version! Yay!

There are a few more parodies and tributes that were OK, but I only posted the ones that made a real impact on me in either sheer talent or hilarity. Happy birthday to me, again. Feel free to leave links to additional Friday-related videos in case there are some hidden treasures I am not aware of and they will be added to my ultimate list.

Have a great weekend and remember that tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards.


Blake's New Favourite Song

As I mentioned a while ago, Blake fell in love with the song "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid. Suddenly no other song was accepted and I was forced to sing it to him again and again (sometimes three or four times in a row when putting Blake to sleep). Oh, how much I wished Blake would fall in love with a new song.

Be careful what you wish for.

He saw me watching Rebecca Black's Friday on YouTube and suddenly that was the only song he would want me to sing to him. Yikes. On the plus side there was no good song to ruin there (if you don't know what I'm talking about look up "Rebecca Black Friday" on YouTube).

So I was trying to think of new songs I can introduce Blake to when it suddenly hit me. OF COURSE!

Blake loves vehicles in every shape and form so what could be better than a song about a JCB with lovely animation? So I looked up Nizlopi's JCB on YouTube and Blake was, as expected, instantly hooked. Even Miron liked it. 

I liked this song when I first saw this music video six years ago, but I now I love it as it connects with me in a way that it did not when I still wasn't a father myself. It is bittersweet to think that one day when I am old and wrinkly or even, not that I ever plan to be, dead Blake will look back nostalgically at the time he spent with me during his early childhood back when I was the coolest and most amazing person he knew (after Lady Gaga, Bob the Builder and in a tie with his other father). Blake would have his own children and grandchildren and plenty of memories of his long gone Daddy & Papa.

It is quite a powerful and humbling thought.

This makes me more appreciative of the time I get to spend with Blake before he grows older and I simply grow old and that I should cherish every second together. In fact I should get up and take him outside to play on this beautiful-ish day. Oh, actually he is napping right now. Cool, I will watch some TV instead!


From Wikipedia:
"JCB Song" is Nizlopi's most successful song, reaching number one in the UK on its second release. The song was written about the dyslexia suffered by Luke at school and his escape to accompany his father at work, and was released as a single in June 2005, reaching number 160 in the UK Singles Chart. The single was then re-released in the UK on 12 December 2005, reaching number one the following week on 18 December 2005, selling more than twice the number of copies than their closest competitor, WestlifeDermot O'Leary gave the track extensive airplay on his BBC Radio 2 show. Some bookmakers put it in the running for the honour of Christmas number one but it was beaten by the winner of the second series of the UK version of The X FactorShayne Ward's debut single, "That's My Goal". The video has received widespread airplay, mainly on music TV channel VH1. It is an animated video, made by Laith Bahrani (aka Monkeehub), who also animated an unofficial video for an acoustic version of "Creep" by Radiohead. In 2007 Nizlopi received an 'Impala Platinum' award recognising sales of over 500,000 copies of "JCB Song" across Europe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top 25 LGBT Blogs

I found out that my blog is in a voting competition for the best LGBT parenting blog at the website Circle of Moms

I am very flattered that I made the cut and I will leave it at that. Unless there is a cash prize at the end or an invitation to the Royal Wedding (for me to sell on E-Bay) I have better things to do. It was also nice to see other gay-dad-bloggers I am now friends with making the cut and getting tons of votes. If we all get a boost in traffic to our utterly self-absorbed devotions then great.

Now go there and vote for me (or not).



I decided against going down to one post a month, so here's the second April post. Will there be any more posts this month? Stay tuned as you anxiously wait to find out!

Meanwhile it is time for a tiny bit of catching up. Blake is now thirty five and he has three adorable children. He is an accordion teacher at a small community college in Texas and he was featured last week in the local newspaper for his impressive bottle caps collection. He is married to a gorgeous foot model.

OK, OK. It hasn't been that long.

We popped over to Israel for a while. The doggies were driven to a farmhouse in Scotland (there and back in one day by my chauffeur/husband) - to stay with our breeder friend where they can play amongst other Great Danes surrounded by beautiful green hills. We miss them, but you know what they say about absence and fondness. You know, so I am not going to tell you.

Blake helped watering the back garden real good before we left.
Israel is great this time of the year. Sunny and warm without being blazingly hot. Still not quite hot enough to go swimming, but hopefully soon. I love catching up with family and old friends and to let Blake spend time with his grandparents, but the best part for me is the food. Hummus, falafel and lots of meat. Omnomnom. I am not talking about the grainy Mediterranean-style "humus" paste you get in supermarkets, but the creamy middle eastern delight. And proper pita breads. Oh my, the pita breads! Not the crappy oval shaped crackers you can find at supermarkets that fall apart as soon as you try to put anything inside. I am talking about plate sized soft discs of pure delight that you can stuff up or tear up to wipe humus with. And... Well, yeah. It is also nice seeing family and friends.

Our time here is spent between an apartment in Tel-Aviv and my parents place which is further down to the south and unfortunately within missile range of Gaza. Fortunately so far Blake has been spared the lovely character building experience of being woken up at night by a loud siren and rushing to the safe room.   He hasn't however been spared the dreaded female mosquitos who feasted on every visible part of him the very first night there; mind you, I can't fault their taste.

Blake is a real trooper. As we expected, he loves the adventure. Break his routine and take him somewhere else every day and he thrives. We have been to lots of different houses with lots of people, children and pets and Blake can't have enough.

Politicians kiss babies. Blake kisses cats.
It is also the first time since I moved to the UK fourteen years ago that I get to celebrate a birthday in Israel. Blake will be celebrating his third birthday here before we leave. So that's nice too. My birthday falls on the 29th of April, the same day this couple in London is getting married and everyone is making a fuss about it, so I wouldn't want to clash and might just as well celebrate my birth as far away as possible. I was not invited to their wedding, but they were not invited to my birthday party so we are even.

The nice thing about the apartment is Tel-Aviv is the fact that it s right on the Yarkon River, so we only need to cross the road to rent a speedboat. So we did!

Aye aye, Captain!


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Previously on Taking the Mickey:

Oh my. It was quite a dry spell for my blog. I'm sure my millions of readers were gutted at my absence. Time for a recap post.

It is really the usual stuff. Being busy with some things (like my new on-line portfolio) and going through lots of stuff that I do not really want to write about on a public blog. Thankfully there is always Blake.

Blake is less than two months away from his third birthday which is too weird because soon he will be at an age that I remember myself at. It feels as if his second birthday has only been a couple of weeks ago. He is super bright, lovely and kind. I guess I'll just break out a whole bunch of mini-anecdotes about Blake version 2.9.

Blake still likes reading. He would occasionally want to read the cards I made him, but not very often. The impressive thing is, he does remember around 150 words without drilling them on a daily basis. The other day he was showing off with the animal cards, getting them all perfectly. Then he got bored and deliberately chose the wrong animals and burst out laughing. I know young ones enjoy doing that, but he was doing it with cards with words on them, not pictures. The next stage will be creating some small books for him with stories and songs he likes with big red words for him to read on his own.

Blake adores the game Forza Motor Sport 3 on the X-Box 360 and demands that I would play it at least twice a day while he watches the screen in excitement. I tried swapping it for Need For Speed Most Wanted, but Blake would not have it. He knows the difference between a realistic simulation game and trashy arcade nonsense. Sometimes he would stand too close to the screen and hide the mini-map, making navigation trickier. If I would try to stand up to look over his head he would turn around and push me back to the sofa. The rules are very clear: He is standing, I am sitting. I would occasionally get up just for fun because he looks so cute and determined when he pushes me back to my place.

Blake likes to be pushed around the house on his toy train. I run around with him fairly fast, one hand pushing the train and another holding Blake to make sure he does not fly off at a sharp u-turn. The problem is that the train's handle is fairly short so I have to run around bending over and I get tired very quickly. Good exercise. I also took him today out on his Tricycle which I took out of a one year retirement in our shed. Again, good exercise. Another game, which I taught him weeks ago and today he initiated on his own, was to pick up his Harold the helicopter toy (from Thomas & Friends); the toy would make helicopter noises and I would pick Blake and "fly" him around the house as he and Harold go on patrol. Very tiring stuff, but the look on Blake's face makes up for the sore arms.

Blake is getting used to his not-so-new-any-more bed and would sometimes spend the entire night there. But often he would wobble half asleep to our bed. He is very cuddly, but he has a weird habit to turn around and aim his feet at our heads and give us his own version of a "foot massage". It is one of those things that are a bit annoying right now, but I know I will miss as soon as he will stop doing them.

Leo and Dexter are... Well, Leo and Dexter. Leo has fully recovered from his leg injury and seeing him run and jump like an excited puppy you would never guess he was approaching six and had a metal plate and seven giant nails inside his leg. Dexter has mellowed since losing his testicles and getting a bit older, but he is still fairly insane. I am taking the dogs together only at night where the chance of meeting other dogs is small. Small, but still exists. Two weeks ago the dogs got excited at meeting another dog. I held on to dear life and shouted "STOP!" and they did, but only after dragging me a big and skinning me in a couple of places that still have not fully healed. Great times.

That is about it for now. I am sure I forgot some cool little anecdotes, but that can wait.