Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nick Roche's Day Off (Or, The Long Blog Of The Soul)

Gosh. Observe the tumbleweeds and vagrants that have accumulated her in my absence. Anyone have any suggestions on how to rid the blog of the dust and scurf that builds up in my absences? The tramps I can deal with; I have ample amounts of kerosene and matches. Thanks.

Well, so much for guilting myself into completing an entry every day or so. The last week has been one of extremes, with the earlier portion devoted to bringing #1 of Maximum Dinobots to a satisfying conclusion, and the other catching up on rest and, gasp! Having a day off! Yes, last Thusday was the day in question. I wasn’t allowed a lie-in; Whittle was wittering in my ear like a Ritalin-deprived ADD parakeet, so I faced my workless day with a grumpy head. We visited Herbert Park though, a Victorian swathe of green located somewhere within Dublin; I can’t divulge the exact location, as Whittle insisted on taking a haphazard route there, and an equally bewildering one back. But it was the day for it; the sun was brazen in his sky, as my Vitamin-D resistant skin cracked and crumbled under its gaze. In to town then, to pick up over a hundred quid’s worth of comics; I really hadn’t been in the city for over two months during business hours. Luckily, the chaps in Forbidden Planet hung onto my haul for me, and only spat on my shoes once. Picked up stuff I’d never normally touch, such as Final Crisis, but I wanted to feel part of the greater comics universe for once; I’m sick of only knowing about what’s-a-going on in Transformers comics. There was a Simon Bisley sketchbook in there too, as well as my first ever purchase of a Captain Marvel book, which doubled up as my first foray into the world of Mike Kunkel. He’s an ex-Disney animator, I believe, and it was his art and not the character that tipped my hand in the end.

Grub in a mediocre dive in Temple Bar, called Bruno’s. The price was right, the staff chipper, but the food tasted of fetid arse. It sustained us for the next portion of the evening though, a trip to see The Mighty Boosh perform live. We’d been waiting for this for nigh on 10 months, the seven that ventured out to witness it. I was wary of the whole enterprise by the time the shows came around, as I’d slightly gone off the Boosh. Their third series seemed like a smirky-shout-out to the Camden Set, of which, logistically and geographically speaking, not that many of us can belong to. Their first series was a joy, and gave me that comedic frisson not felt since I stumbled across Month Python as a tot, and Reeves & Mortimer as a teen. I really felt that these boys were the next in that powerful, surreal lineage. So, I’ll always want to love them, even when they’re sub-par. Which I felt they were during their third series. They’re such wildly inventive and imaginative chaps, that to see them rely on smut, extra dollops of swearing, and a lazy, lazy use of drug-based humour, usually involving the equally worthless Naboo, really just reeked of a cop-out and too much time falling out of nightclubs instead of writing. (Naboo is played by Noel Fielding’s brother, Michael, and I’m convinced their mum strongarmed the more talented sibling into taking the useless Mike out with him to play. Anyone who’s seen Michael Fielding perform or in real life, and there’s a dustmite’s cock of a difference, will attest that he is very much the remedial child.) So, anyway, I don’t mind coarse humour, and am in fact, a seasoned purveyor of it, but there’s plenty of places to go for that kinda stuff, and you expect more from the Boosh.

(Jesus…I need to make smaller, regular entries…)

But Boosh live was mostly good. They seemed to realise that Naboo is dead weight, but for me, the show sang when Julian Barratt, aka Howard Moon, was given things to do. He’s easily the strongest performer they have, and though Noel as Vince Noir is very likeable in his goonish optimism, his materialistic schtick wears thin a little, as does the fact that he seems to wink a little too much to the audience, when he’s not fluffing his lines. The Boosh are at their best when Howard and Vince needle one another, and the consensus was that folk would have happily watch this mismatched pair harangue one another in front of the red curtain for the duration of the show. One of the highlights of the gig, however was in fact, its gig-like nature, once The Boosh Band were allowed to unleash hell. Just as Monty Python did, and latterly Vic and Bob, The Boosh have an ear for a catchy and nonsensical song, except these boys have the chops to rock out and hoik the audience along with ‘em. Julian Barratt’s a guitar virtuoso, and Noel Fielding’s wannabe rock frontman posings lend themselves well when they and their full backing band tear through their back catalogue, including Eels, Bouncy Bouncy, Charlie, and I Did A Shit On Your Mum.

Still, they clearly enjoyed themselves up there, and that’s infectious. And reminded me that while it’s great to be in the audience of an ultimately uplifting and energetic slice of theatre, it’s much more satisfying to be the one swaddled in the lamḗ cape, tarting around the stage, jollying the proles into a goggle-eyed frenzy.

Sweet vengeful Mavis, I need to get back on stage again.

The following day, I claimed my lie-in and was rewarded with a migraine. But cracked on and sketched out the first few pages of Maximum Dinobots#2: Dino Harder. I also did a sketch of a character that will feature prominently in upcoming issues. Included below, it’s based on E.J. Su’s updated look for the character, and I wanna try and get it as faithful to his design, while Nicking it up, as I possibly can. E.J. is by far the best re-interpreter of classic TFs there’s been, and has done a lot of work on the engineering side of figuring out what bit goes where in a Transformer. I enjoy this process myself, but feel my strengths lie in designing the character itself, and bringing something of its, and my, personality to it. This usually just involves making the eyes, chin and hands bigger, and the pointy bits pointier. I feel that sums my aesthetic up pretty well. But yeah, as well as keeping consistency with what’s gone before in the TF books, I feel I owe it to E.J. to keep as much of his ideas as possible. I can’t even explain why, but it seems a tad disrespectful when artists ignore a predecessor’s hard work, just for the sake of putting their own stamp on something and making it uber-kewl. And not just with TFs, I hasten to add. I’m not picking a fight with any of the boys what draw for IDW. They’re all lovely chaps, by and large. But you see it in superhero comics too. And while everybody wants to be the one to redesign the Batmobile, surely it’s better to serve the story first, and scratch your own itches second?

Anyway, I digress. And that’s allowed. Because it’s my fucking blog, son.

The other reason I like to retain E.J.’s design elements, apart from the fact that they just plain and simple work, is that he goes the extra mile to incorporate the ideas of other artists, when a guy of his stature could probably come up with twenty-three better ways of drawing it in his sporadic bursts of sleep. That’s what sets him and Simon Furman, TF writer, out as true pros; they’re both team players, with no discernable ego, and a goal to tell the story as best they can. So, yeah. Anyway. Hot Rod. Check him. He’s the man.

Oh, Friday continued on, and was found to be excellent. I got to scratch a performing itch by attending a party at my good friend, Enniscorthy Dave’s going away do. Dave’s a musician and fiendish ham, just like myself, and the party was populated by equally vainglorious, and capable performers. So it had to be Sing Star. All night. From 9 till 3, when I left. Everyone there, bar me, are in bands, and I mauled every single one of them at it. If they’re the best Dublin has to offer, talent-wise, then readers, I am truly wasted churning out doodles and scads of unrelated words for the likes of you.

You’ve Been Nicked

Blog Rod 2


Wayne said...

You and I are never going to see eye to eye on Naboo, are we?

Nick said...

Met someone else who likes Naboo t'other night. I asked him, "Why do you like Naboo? He's shit."

"That's why I like him."



Wayne said...

Can I be friends with him instead of you?

Nick said...

Sure. His Blog's at itouchchildren.wordpress.com. Similar content to yours.


Damien Baumgart said...

You are one funny fuckin' dude, Mr. Roche.

I fully agree with you on the whole "ignoring what's come before" thing too. Someone should inform them there "artistes" (see, I used the Frenchy term to heighten the sense of 'head-up-own-assed-ness') to get those itches checked out... the rash could be infectious!

In other news, I had a female student last year who was a spitting image of Noel Fielding. It was disturbing to say the least... especially when she started hanging out with a pink head with tentacles.