Tuesday, November 03, 2009

It's my Birthday!

BT Toons - Dark Fission V

The current storyline is now starting to heat up. We're past the introductory phase, and into more character introductions - specifically, Texxor and his lackey Janus. I'm bringing in quite the villain cast here! (Though to be fair, Traang and Mouseking are VERY minor league as far as the story goes - they may show again, but there's not really much use for them now save for their storyrole as lead minions in carrying out tasks.)

Texxor... well, I'm not going to say much about him at this point. To say anything would result in a convoluted diatribe. All I'm going to say is that though this is his first real appearance, he has shown up before...

As for Janus, she's a minion of his - a shifter, capable of assuming the form/voice of anyone or any creature. Though to call her a minion is to assume she's treated with some shred of dignity... again, she's a character who may not have much now, but this is her introduction after all.

But aside from comic stuff, more importantly! It's my birthday today!

And what better way to celebrate than with opening up a brand spanking new Fansproject G3 Trailer for my Classics Prime! I'd had my eye on this sucker since I saw the near-finished version at TFcon, and Vangelus' video review just sold me on it further. As with the "Commander" series mold FP has also made (I have Powered Commander), the build quality is VERY solid and it feels like an incredibly sturdy product.

One incredibly awesome gimmick the trailer has is the ability to dock the Commander trailers onto its rear - a dock folds out from underneath the trailer,complete with wheels, and the armor trailer attaches to it, allowing Prime to pull two trailers, EACH with their own pivot. A great bonus if you own the Powered Commander armor like I do - you get quite the Convoy! (is shot due to the bad pun)

Though the trailer is like its G1 namesake in that it opens up, has the repair drone, and Roller launches from inside (the launcher works INCREDIBLY well and far better than the G1 trailer), it also has a number of extras that just make it go from cool to awesome. First of all, it's not just a trailer - it also comes with CHROMED weapons for Classics/Henkei/Universe Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Grimlock, Hound, and Mirage. All the weapons fit very well, and all add a LOT to the figures. (Only one I'm not a huge fan of is Hound's - it would have been nice for it to mount on his shoulder in robot mode. But Grimlock's sword is LOVE and completes the figure).

And, of course, the feature they kept top secret for the longest time... stealth mode. A VERY unexpected bonus, this is an attempt to explain what happens to Prime's trailer whenever he transforms- the ENTIRE surface of the trailer is covered with mirrors. When positioned correctly, this stealth mode looks just AWESOME.

Overall, the G3 trailer is a GREAT set. I haven't even covered all the features on it - I just talked about what I photographed. It doesn't have the playability that the Commander armor does in making your Prime molds look utterly badass, but as a trailer it is VERY well done and of the superb quality that's expected of Fansproject. Bring on Defender and Protector already!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Because I just had to comment on this...

I just had the best unintentional lulz of the evening. Funnier than an escapade someone had at work today.

To begin, let me give you all some backstory. Alberta has a history of electing the same party into a majority in the provincial government for stretches of 30-40 years at a time. The Progressive Conservatives are the latest recipients of this voter goodwill, coming up on 40 years.

Anyway, in the last election that mattered (namely, the leadership election for the PCs), the candidate who won was Ed Stelmach - he beat out the two other guys running as the compromise candidate (all the people who lost the first ballot backed him) as Albertans weren't willing to elect the ultra-pro oil or the ultra-right winger almost-separatist. To be honest, I joined the party JUST to be able to vote in that election (they sold memberships AT THE DOOR) and DID vote for Stelmach - as he was preferable to the other guys.

So Stelmach hasn't had the most effective premiership - he's been very wishy washy, and inherited a bad economy through no fault of his own. But the real problem is he continued the previous government's approach of "throw all our oil money at any project under the sun that wants it", and now that it's dried up due to the economy... well. The idiot went and promised NO NEW TAXES, AFTER the province started doing all its deficit spending. When we already have among the lowest in the country. And he went and abolished healthcare premiums - while we had money when he did it, it was a stupid move and as a result there's 2 billion less in the treasury.

And now, the government is making a whole TON of very unpopular cuts due to their lavish spending, and the deficit is ballooning, well on its way to 10 billion. The fact we've had an incompetent government since the oil money started rolling in is coming home to roost, as they didn't save anything.

Anyway, he's got a leadership review coming up. Being one who lacks charisma, and having made a LOT of questionable decisions (I swear, I'm half-convinced the government's TRYING to break our healthcare system so they can privatize it to save money), he's not going to get a lot of support. The party lost a byelection to the right wing nutso party in a safe riding, and a LOT of people don't like him now.

So tonight, being on the mailing list for the party and all, I get the following email from "Ed Stelmach":

Hello Michael,

Welcome to the first Message from Premier Ed.
This is a new way to reach out to those who are curious about what our government is doing and why we are doing it.
In subsequent messages you will hear directly from me on issues that are on the minds of regular Albertans. At the bottom of these emails, including this one, there will be a link which you can click to take your name off our list. You can resubscribe or unsubscribe as many times as you wish.
Also coming out this week is a new web-based newsletter from the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, containing interesting articles and other information about our party. Look for it soon in your email inbox.
In the past, we would communicate with the public through phone calls, advertising and direct mail. Today, the internet provides us with much faster, simpler and cheaper ways of getting our message out. We will not abandon the old ways but we are offering this and other new ones to reach as many people as possible.
Times have changed quickly. A mere decade ago, there was no Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or YouTube. Google is not much older. Yet many Albertans regularly use these sites to get information and stay in touch with their friends, relatives and colleagues. I have already set up a Facebook supporter page and a Twitter account and now I hope you will read these emails from me so we can stay in touch.
Kindest regards,
Ed Stelmach
Premier of Alberta
The fact that he's sending this out NOW, 2 weeks away from a leadership review within his party that he's going to score horribly low in (which will make him a lame duck if he doesn't step down as leader) is an indicator of one thing:

He's boned.

Time to renew my PC membership so I can vote in the only election that matters.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Revenge, and One More Thing

BT Toons - Dark Fission IV
DeviantArt - Traang | Mouseking | Valkyrie

Well, what's to say this week? Not much in particular, aside from a comic plug.

Revenge of the Fallen is now out on Bluray, and it is gorgeous. THIS is what I bought a Bluray drive for, in complete seriousness. The movie looks freakin' gorgeous. I have yet to watch the special features, but I gotta say - the movie is a spectacular show - especially the battle scene in the forest between Prime, Megatron, Starscream and Grindor.

Oh - and "one more thing" - I also got the third generation 64 GB iPod Touch. Been wanting a new one ever since I filled up the 16 gigs on my first generation one. And now that I started filling up the space altogether with JUST music, I especially wanted a new one. But the main thing holding me back was what I would want engraved on it if I ordered online (seriously. I'm not kidding.) Then, when I went to Best Buy to get ROTF, I noticed that they were actually cheaper in-store than online (given Apple apparently includes the shipping cost in their online store price, thus allowing "free shipping"). So I splurged and picked it up on the spot.

Overall, the new iPod Touches are VERY nice. Having physical volume buttons is neat, and I like how the headphones now ship with a builtin mic (though hopefully some third party products do this soon now). Also, the new processor makes one HELL of a difference when web browsing - pages load up noticeably faster.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pushing Down Staircases: Masterpiece Edition

BT Toons - Dark Fission II | III

Apologies I've been neglecting this lately - I've got stuff to post about, but I've been busy.

Anyway, as for stuff from the last few weeks:

24 Hour Comic Challenge
This was very fun! Drew a 24 page comic in 24 hours - was a great oppurtunity to get to use pen and paper. Special Thanks to Jay at Happy Harbor and everyone who brought in food for my fellow cartoonists. And it's a pity that about 10 or so dropped out. But there were about 25 to start, so it was a good crowd.

Anyway, the comic I drew is in the BT Toons continuity - and more importantly, is CANON. It takes place sometime prior to the current storyline, and hints at a few things to come/reveals a couple spoilers. Except none of you are gonna get to see this book for a year or so, in all likelyhood :P

However, I DID get my pages back from the 12 hour I did in the spring. So expect to see those put up at some point as filler. I'm going to guess they'll go up next April during finals, to give myself a break. Said comic is NONcanon and I don't know if it fits into any of my established canons for that matter.

Pop Culture Fair
Meanwhile, I went to the biannual Pop Culture Fair on the weekend. Was a very fun shindig - got a few good and awesome deals on toys (which I'll save for a future blog post). Best part though was meeting up with other Edmonton Transformers fans, which only happens at major local events like these (Cybertron.ca has been a GREAT resource for the E-Town Super Friends). Probably spent almost an hour just standing around talking Transformers.

And then later in the day Racerguy76 reported that he'd found MP Skywarp (Hasbro Edition) at retail. Which surprisingly was the FIRST sighting of the figure in Canada - not only did we beat the US like with the Insecticons/Perceptor, but we beat the rest of the country, which never happens! Long story short, I now have a beautiful Hasbro MP Skywarp on my desk. And I implore any Canadian TFans who don't own the mold (or who own Starscream or Thundercracker) to pick it up, as it is only $60 CAD. Which is a PHENOMENAL price,
considering I was expecting it to cost closer to 80 bucks. These aren't going to last long.

And so, some pictures of everyone's favorite pusher of others down stairs:

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ramjetting a new storyline

BT Toons - Dark Fission I
Sourcebook - Page 6 | Page 7

Well, another comic update. So begins my latest storyline, on which I did not get any of the initial preparation I wanted to get done done. I have an idea where it's going, but it's malleable right now.

And the kinda bigger priority is coming up with my 24-hour challenge comic idea. I want to do something in-canon, that fits in before this story. It will have spoilers of stuff that will be revealed later in this one (but which are irrelevant due to the fact that they don't come into play for a while).

Meanwhile, ogle over my most elaborate TF custom to date - everyone's favorite liar Starscream clone, TFA Ramjet! He came out very well - although sadly the gearing for transformation no longer works properly.

I also have no intention of transforming him due to fears of paint scrapage.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Secrets of the Sourcebook

BT Toons Sourcebook: Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5

Well, I'm at a loss for what to write in here tonight. Still pushing out new Sourcebook pages, so I suppose I'll annotate the pages here:

Page 2:
  • Not much to say here, aside from the fact that Kungfuyu and Mendes haven't seen much use in a while. That's kinda more due to the fact that I have nothing for them to do - although while drawing these, I brainstormed the PERFECT use for Mendes in a coming storyline... But yeah. They're basically one-note characters who I don't think to use anymore.
  • Note again that the Kyuu were designed by Derrick Wyatt as fanart, and I just had to make them official because it is an awesome design. Currently, my plan is that their vocabulary consists of "Kyuu", save for perhaps the squad leader. I have yet to decide on his name, but it will either be Ninyak or Fievel.
Page 3:
  • For anyone who missed it, the NPC's name is officially confirmed as Anaria Piecie. I'd confirmed it before on the old bio pages, as well as in the background of an existing comic, but still, it's used here. As for where the name comes from, it's quite simple. I've been referring to her internally as "NPC" for ages (even after I assigned her name) and so, her name thus logically became "Anne Piecie" aka N. PC. All that was then required was to fantasyfy up the name, as I love to do, and Anne became Anaria. The final step was recent - I didn't like "Anne" as her name - dunno why, but it seemed to simple. Going off shortening her actual name however, I ended up with the more appealing "Ana". Which doubly works given her new outfit is a homage to the Clone Wars designs (along with Tornado's new outfit).
  • As well, note that on this page I took creative liberties with the storyline details. Keep in mind that the ONLY characters who know the full story are Ana and the Evil Admins. Even then, there's a few other higher-ups in the MMO pecking order who know more, and it's possible the Waywards know a thing or two about how things are really run (I expect Nya likely knows a bit and doesn't care) but Tornado KNOWS NOTHING of this extra layer of intrigue. This is key.
Page 4:
  • The Evil Admins' designs are based off the Tripredacus Council from Beast Wars, as they appeared in undetailed, shadowed renders in The Agenda, Part 1. I liked the idea of using them for an Evil Secret Council of Admins, and thus when the design was originally used I just slapped in silhouettes of the Council. It was only a year later that I actually designed what they actually looked like - based off the silhouettes, but with actual designs, and colorschemes based off the toys. As an extra little note, the names assigned to them are their SCREENNAMES in the MMO - their REAL names in the comic have been decided on by me, and are derived from the Tripledacus repaint of the toys from the Japanese Beast Wars series.
  • As noted there, there is another level of X-level NPCs. This is important - that there are levels above and beyond the control of the evil Admins. Currently I have only agents X-4 and X-9 assigned, and X-9 will likely not show up at all. (Note that X-9 is a homage to a certain Beast Wars Metals toy with the same designation... :) )
Page 5:
  • The term "Waywards" is an extended, indirect homage to a certain photocomic creator. Based off the fact that I have an Insecticon motif assigned to the Waywards, with Nya = Shrapnyal, Breeze = Blowback, and Samus = Bombelle. The sunglasses are thus modeled after their corresponding Insecticon counterparts.
  • Breeze's name is a fairly logical one, given her brother is Tornado - but I probably wouldn't have thought of it had it not been for my cousin Breeze (who Breeze in BT Toons in no way resembles - the name is the only homage). Her original design was based off Assaj Ventress, to provide a counterpoint to Tornado's Jedi-inspired design (given she's the 'weasel' of a sister and all). Though her current design isn't a Ventress outfit, it keeps the purple/black, arm/leg wrappings, and pale skin. (The pale skin is a design bonus, too - since it allowed me to easily work her in as a computer guru who spends too much time on one. It's also indirectly a homage to Artemis Fowl of Eoin Colfer's awesome book series.) Note as well that she's easily underage - so any Rule 34ing makes you a bad person.
  • As for Samus' redesign, that's more of my own attempt to do something different with her design. Note that she's now been effectively detached from her video game self, having been fired by Nintendo due to the events of the last storyline (a happy accident which plays into my plans very well). I decided to change her up since most of my female characters have long hair, and did a costume change while I was at it. Originally the hair was going to be all brown (in a homage to the first Metroid game's ending) but I reverted it to blonde somewhat after realising that every other female character has dark hair in my comic. The undergarments for casual wear are colored based off the Metroid 1 ending, and were designed by Malunis as I couldn't think of a good design, and her jacket/pants are a homage to the Fusion Suit from Metroid Fusion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sourcebook Time!

BT Toons - Moniker Modification
BT Toons Sourcebook - Page 1

At long last, it's finally here. Page 1 of the BT Toons Sourcebook! It's my small way of creating a jumping-on point for people who haven't read the comic before - so it's a good way to start reading this sucker. I'm going to be updating pages all week (not sure about the weekend yet, but I might do that as well), so enjoy all the extra comics.

As for certain points. As you may have noticed, I have now officially retconned GT's name to Mew in the comic. This may make little sense to people, but the predominant reason is that I wanted to. Mew is the name of that character in every other iteration I've done stuff with (I've used him in 2-3 other things, with sometimes different designs, but the same name) so I'm really returning to consistency.

Picking GT as a name in retrospect wasn't a good idea. I did it due to it being my nickname among the other site moderators (contraction of my username), and since I was using Mew as my avatar it was only natural I would use him to portray me. "General Tekno" is actually a name reference to the Technoraptor leader, who once was an extension of myself, but nowadays is a fairly different character (while Mew is a closer cariciature to what I'm actually like).

Given Tekno just got introduced to the comic, the easiest way to sidestep name confusion was to do the long-overdue name change - and make fun of clunky sudden shifts in canon details in the process. Though the canon for this comic is really starting to solidify in my head now, so odds are there will be less one-shot silly comics for a while anyway.

As for discussing the Sourcebook updates, I need something to talk about another night, don't I?

Finally, no new cool pictures tonight. I don't have anything on this computer to post sadly, so I'll just have to make up for it by taking pics another night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dawwww.... so Kyu-te!

BT Toons - Phear the Phiffer!!!

So, I finally got a proper chance to do this comic I've had in my head for some time now... ever since Derrick Wyatt did an awesome sketch of Mew/GT as a mouse on Twitter I've been trying to figure out how to work it into my comic somehow - it's too awesome to pass up.

And so, the dramatic reveal - this grew organically out of the last 2 comics I did, in that it resolved for my own canon just where this army of mousey minions would actually come from. I bandied about many ideas about their origins - one idea had a single one as a Bat-Mite equivalent counterpart. But I wanted a way to bring them back if I could.

And so, I give you the Kyu! Name being derived thanks to a translator and the Japanese word Kyuu - one of whose meanings can be "squeak". This fits in with Mew and Nya's names very well in theme as well as in sound. So yeah - the minions are called Kyu.

As for the alter-ego, the Phiffer... this is the result of my ultraconvoluted thought process. I wanted a Pied-Piper themed villain, given he has mousey minions. Thus, "The Piper" (explaining all the pipes). But wait! Didn't Michelle PHIFFER play Catwoman? And Phiffer sounds similar enough to piper!

And so we got a cat wearing a hat with a PF on it, pipes on the hat and back, and a cat head mounted on top.

Also, the evil villain rant does have some actual autobiographical roots - I'll leave it to common sense to figure out which parts of it actually are based off events that happened.

Finally, I'll show off some kitbashing I've been doing of late - you remember me gushing over ROTF Tankor? Well, he wasn't good enough. So I did some paint touchups to him with Gundam Markers - I wanted an excuse to break in my silver marker.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sideswiped and Pulverized

BT Toons - New (Or Rather, Old) World Order

So, a new comic is now up. This one fleshes out exposition mainly. There's a few points to get out of it which are important, and I want to clarify a few things.

So basically, Technoraptors have been appearing in the comic for the past year in cameo form. They're a long-fermenting creation of mine and have been very well developed in my brain but never used except in my own stuff. However, being the canon nazi I am, I had to justify their appearance SOMEHOW, even though this is a different continuity than that one.

So, these Technoraptors are from a timeline that may or not diverge from the continuity they were developed for, only from a point that takes place AFTER said continuity's events. They hopped realities somehow and are now here in force.

As for their method to their madness... I could write an essay on this, but I'll just say their current modus operandi is an experiment of sorts - on inferior planets they would have just razed and terraformed in the past, they're pulling the same stunts the British Empire/East India Company did and basically coercing the loyalty of the locals. Basically, as long as they get to do what they want with the planet (which isn't much- given Earth's basically backwater to them it'll just serve as a food source and as an outpost) and leave the running of it to the locals. So we still have all our contemporary politics, just with the threat of massive eradication cannons hovering in the upper atmosphere, ready to fire in case some whackjob decides to muck up the existing world order too much.

Also, since they don't fight wars as often anymore, they can get off on watching them. There's probably a John Madden equivalent somewhere critiquing the American strategy in the Middle-East with the attitude of a Technoraptor (IE, just kill everyone with scorched-earth policy and take the oil).

The grand experiment they're performing in this reality? Well, it's on a macroscale of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. And I'm not going to elaborate on it here, except to say there is a purpose to not simply razing Earth. (There's actually two. But I won't get into the second one given it isn't that important)

Also of note - though most Technoraptors serve the Imperium, it seems remnants of a splinter faction have somehow arrived here. It's pointless for me to tease more given that any teasing would go over everybody's heads, as none of this backstory is published.


In the meantime, Human Alliance Sideswipe is mine. Neat figure. Corvette mode is GORGEOUS. Robot mode suffers from big backpack syndrome. HOWEVER. It's not the worst offender. Sadly, I own the worst offender - Methkitty aka Universe Cheetor, who looks alright until you stop looking at him straight on.

Now, what's far superior is Legends Tankor. He's a repaint of the Brawl mold from the first movie, but done up as a homage to Beast Machines Tankor. Amazingly, this works INCREDIBLY well, so well that I had to pick it up JUST for the character homage, being a Tankor fan.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Relocating to District 10

BT Toons - Cinematic Implausibility

Well, I'm finally running a strip I've had in my head for a month or two in some form. That is, District 9 triggered a plausible option for explaining Technoraptors in the comic.

More will be fleshed out in the next comic, but basically it's expositionary. I am a canon nazi, and as such I must explain EVERYTHING as EVERYTHING is canon. Even if it's stuff that doesn't need explanation to anyone but myself.

At this point, I will mention that I'm gonna be borrowing a plot device from Star Trek and other stuff soon. That is, being from other universes have some type of innate difference that is detectable by mechanical means. All Technoraptors not created in this universe have a difference resonance, thus. However, there IS at least one other aside from the Technoraptors who possesses a different multiversal resonance from that of the BT Toons continuity.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, I recently moved computer stations and am now working off a Cinema Display for the time being. No complaints here. It's worked out well for all, including my 3 3/4 collection, which now has breathing room. Fittingly, I'm doing a District 9-related comic around the same time I myself am relocating - ironic, isn't it? It wasn't planned this way, and yet it's perfect.

It's gonna be tough to move back to my subterranian lair from my superterranian lair in a few months.