Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holy Hellboy and Batman tatoo, Batman!

I get asked every now and then to design tattoos for people. For some reason, folks like to think that just because you like to draw or doodle, that you have a magical pencil somewhere at home that can produce these amazing pieces of art, worthy of being permanently applied to another person's body. Me? I don't have anywhere near that level of confidence in my abilities. To these people, I normally give a "sure, maybe I'll give it a shot" or something along those lines, never actually intending to even make an attempt.

There have been a few instances over the years though, when I've been asked to draw something for somebody that I've actually gone through with it. Not for tattoo purposes, but just sketches for friends. To my amazement, some of them have even ended up getting framed and hung up on walls. I would never hang anything I drew on my wall, as again, I don't have that much confidence in what I do.

One friend in particular, who was the first person I really ever sent a sketch to, has done more to boost my confidence over the years that just about anybody except my mother. His name is Brandon, although I affectionately refer to him as Binky, and we met on an Xbox Live message board.  It started with a Batman drawing I did for him, which he seemed to genuinely love, as he sent me back a photo of it hanging on a wall in his basement. I followed that up with another Batman sketch for him. Earlier this year I got an email from him, asking me to design a tattoo from an idea he had. I was skeptical at first, as again, I'm not crazy about drawing things that might end up branded permanently on people, but I actually LIKE this person, and I'd hate to draw something and him end up being disappointed with it. When I heard the idea though, I knew I had to at least give it a shot.

The idea was to mix the animated universes of both Hellboy and Batman, which obviously share special places in my tiny black heart. The short version of this brilliant idea is that Joker somehow got ahold of some of Rasputin's books and accidentally summoned a giant monster, and Batman and Hellboy had to put a stop to it. Brandon gave a much more detailed story, which after I read it, I immediately wish actually existed in comic book or movie form. It immediately put an image into my head, and the next day I set out to try and get it on paper, which isn't always easy for me. I decided that seeing as how I didn't have any idea as to what kind of room the artist would have to work on Brandon's arm, that I would do two images, and he could resize and put them together the best way possible.

For Hellboy, I wanted him to be in the middle of the fight with the creature, I figured between he and Batman, he would be the muscle of the two, who would run head first into battle, ready to punch this thing in it's tentacled face. I used lots of reference material online for Hellboy, but the tentacles I just randomly threw in there, figuring the tattoo artist could add, delete, or change as needed. I also just for reference purposes crudely sketched in where Batman's arm would enter the image, grabbing Hellboy by the jacket.

Batman I assumed would be more interested in figuring out a way to get rid of the creature, sending it back to where it came from. Heading into battle head on with this tentacled beast might not be in his best interest. Knowing he would need Hellboy's assistance, I wanted him trying desperately to pull him from the fray to regroup and come up with a plan. For Batman, I didn't need much help, as I normally at some point or another sketch him daily. Animated Batman is especially fun and easy to draw. I envisioned him hanging off a gargoyle from a building in Gotham, with his grapple extended in one hand, and the other grabbing Hellboy. Again, not knowing what kind of room the artist would have, or how much of his arm Brandon was going to get inked, I decided it was probably best to focus on the characters and not so much with the other stuff. You can see again a basic placement of where Hellboy would enter the image.

Here's the two of them, only obviously separated.

I can honestly admit to being pretty happy with them, but I was very nervous when I went to send some pics to Brandon. I knew he had put a ton of thought into this tattoo, and if he wasn't happy with what I produced, I knew he'd be disappointed. I sent him the pics, and thankfully, he seemed to love what I had done. I can't even begin to describe how relieved I felt. I couldn't wait to see what the tattoo artist, a real artist, was going to do with them. 

I'd have to wait a while, as these things tend to take time to set up and actually do, but when I woke up this morning I had another email from Bink, with the completed work. I've been looking at these pics all morning. It's absolutely amazing to see something I did transferred to another human being, permanently. The colors are fantastic, and really improved upon the pencils I sent. I asked to share the photos here on the blog, and was given permission. Here's the finished product:

I'm assuming he will be reading this at some point, so to Brandon, I want to extend the biggest possible thanks for believing I could pull this off. Seeing the sketches I did end up looking so amazing has made me ridiculously happy this morning. I hope you enjoy the tattoo for years to come, it's truly incredible, and I'm insanely jealous of both your brilliant idea and your ink.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jason Goes to Doodie

I have once again been allowed to contribute to my homie Brobocop's blog, Back Online, Back On Duty. This year, he's been doing a series of guest posts from members of our horror blogger community, in which people talk about a movie that they once hated, but have since decided isn't so bad after all. The theme is brilliantly titled Back Online, Back On Doodie. For my entry, I went with Jason Goes to Hell, which at one point in my life I considered the worst film ever made, but I now like a good bit. If that sounds like something you'd like to read about, head on over and check out the post here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Conjoined Screener Review

I got in touch with director Joe Grisaffi about the possibility of reviewing his film "Conjoined" after reading several positive reviews elsewhere on the interwebs. As you may have surmised by the title of this post, I got to see it. While Conjoined might not be a perfect indie effort, what it lacks in other areas, it makes up for in terms of originality. That may not count for much to some movie buffs out there, but for me, it goes a long way.

Conjoined is the tale of Stanley, a lonely bachelor who doesn't have a ton of luck with the ladies. He spends most of his nights, and money, hanging out on porn sites. Things are about to change for Stanley though, as he's counting down the weeks until he gets to meet and marry his online girlfriend Alina. During an online chat session just days before the big date, Alina informs Stanley of a secret she's been keeping from him. Alina actually has a twin sister named Alisa, to whom she is conjoined. At first this comes as a shock to Stanley, but true love knows no bounds, and he goes through with the wedding, and lets Alina and Alisa move in with him. As if that isn't difficult enough to adjust to, it turns out that Alisa also just so happens to be a homicidal maniac. Yes, Stanley's new bride has an evil twin, and she just to happens to be conjoined to her. As Alisa's body count continues to mount, Stanley must continue to clean up her messes, in order to keep his wife from going down with her.

So the idea of the evil twin has been done many, many times before. However, as far as I've seen, this is the first time the twins have ever literally been connected at the hip. It's one of those brilliant ideas that seems obvious, and just makes you wonder how nobody's done it before. Conjoined is as low budget as low budget films come, but that doesn't stop it from being entertaining from beginning to end. It's filled with dark humor, a few practical effects which work well enough, and while it won't necessarily appeal to gore hounds, there's a good bit of the red stuff, and some fairly gnarly stuff going on, it just mostly happens off camera.

If you can look past it's flaws, and just accept it for what it is, Conjoined is a really fun movie. The performances are decent from most of the cast, and while a couple of scenes ran a bit long, I never found myself bored with it. Joe Grisaffi proves he's got some directorial chops, even with obvious budgetary constraints. Imagine a soap opera set in Hell that doesn't take itself too seriously, and you start to get the idea.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

First BB Trailer is Taking Over!

You've likely seen this somewhere already if you've been on the internet today, but on the off chance that you've managed to miss it, here's the first RED BAND teaser trailer for CJ Wallis' upcoming return to horror, BB...

Not familiar with BB? Check out this post and catch up!