Tuesday, 13th Mar 2012

Lego Death Star in Low Orbit

Final picture in a long and detailed analysis of how to build a scale model of the Death Star out of Lego. Having concluded that in order to build a Lego ball with a diameter of 3.52 km you’d have to do so in space the author works out what this would look like from Earth.

I’d say it’s worth the estimated $10 Trillion (for the bricks alone. Shipping it up there is extra).

via Kottke

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Pregnancy timelapse

Cute hipsters showing off their breeding capacity, for sure, but golly this is a cool way to do so.

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Plan B’s ill Manors

Music video and interview.

I can’t pretend to get this or even like it, but by fuck I’m glad it’s out there. I gather Plan B is fairly popular and signed to Warners but who cares, it’s about time music that kids listen to got political again.

(Although I do kinda like it.)

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Sunday, 11th Mar 2012

Amusing captioned dog photo

via RussL

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RIP Moebius

Jean “Moebius” Giraud died yesterday. I’ve been looking for a comprehensive and meaninful obituary and I think Sean Witzke’s is pretty much on the mark.

In a medium where so little is profound, even the worst of Moebius’ comics achieve a level of serenity simply by how they have been drawn. Each panel is imbued with a sense of absolute assurance of the line conveying meaning, motion, feeling, story. Moebius’ surfaces are tactile, his characters are not only defined by their design but by expression, by how they carry themselves, how they move. His pages are fraught with detail, but rarely are those details overworked or sterile. The consistency of his hand gives his landscapes and cityscapes a kind of depth that is different from the way most illustration renders depth; his faces convey just how deft and expressive his hand could be – and how that meant a face battered by life or one untouched by stress.

via Simon Gane

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Saturday, 10th Mar 2012

Plastic Beachcombing

Richard and Judith Lang have been combing their local beach for plastic for years and make beautiful works of art with it. Much linkage on Laughing Squid.

I found a couple of lovely documentaries which show them to be lovely people and not at all preachy and condemning. The evil, says Richard, is single use plastic, not plastic in and of itself.

Needless to say this work hits a number of my buttons. I particularly like how they concentrate on the same beach, returning to it again and again and never straying. It’s a piece about a specific place and how that place relates to the whole world through the detritus of civilisation. It’s fantastic.

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Friday, 9th Mar 2012

Browsing for Porn

A Modest Proposal For Immodest Perusal is a thorough guide to safely using an internet browser to look at pornography. I particularly like the bit about Opera.

If you don’t like the idea of your porn browser suddenly deciding not to work one day then you should choose a browser that is stable, highly customizable, and, most importantly, one that no one who borrows your computer would ever use voluntarily. I’m of course referring to Opera.

Lest you be a prude this article is actually a really useful guide to web browsers and how they work. So go read it.

Bonus – did you know Tumblr is full of porn? Me neither.

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Bulgaria’s astonishing ruined monument to Communism

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen  http://humanplanet.com

A fantastic photo essay by Timothy Allen who was determined to visit The Buzludzha Monument atop a Bulgarian mountain.

I first heard about the Buzludzha monument (pronounced Buz’ol’ja) last summer when I was attending a photo festival in Bulgaria. Alongside me judging a photography competition was Alexander Ivanov, a Bulgarian photographer who had gained national notoriety after spending the last 10 years shooting ‘Bulgaria from the Air’. Back then he showed me some pictures of what looked to me like a cross between a flying saucer and Doctor Evil’s hideout perched atop a glorious mountain range.

I knew instantly that I had to go there and see it for myself.

The result is a mix of Communist-era hubris, Brutalist architecture in ruins and snow. Lots of snow. The photos are gorgeous but the story makes it.

via Kottke

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John Carter in the nude, as Burroughs intended

There’s a big budget movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter popping up in the cinemas, which is all well and nice, but Heidi MacDonald has uncovered a much more entertaining version by far. A comic strip done by James Killian Spratt which is loyal to the nudity and violence of ERB’s books. He says:

Since I was drawing initially for my own amusement, with no thought of publishing, I pulled all the normal stops and drew the way I imagined the classic story to be written. The characters are highly underclad, yet oblivious to it; it’s their normal way, and they don’t see much naughty or titillating about it. The men are men and the women are women and blood is red and scary. I set out to be honest with the nudity and violence, and the devil take Pollyanna, she needs to grow up anyway.

It’s a fantastic piece of art-for-art’s-sake, hidden away from view and even now only hosted on some shonky hinternet site. As Heidi says, it really needs to be rescued from obscurity and published in a handsome edition. In some ways it’s up there with Fletcher Hanks, only without the bleak insanity.

Came via Dylan Horrocks who mentioned The First Kingdom which I then very nearly bought some issues of on eBay before stopping myself and thinking “what am I doing?” Seventies underground fantasy comics are seductive but no, one really shouldn’t.

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Wednesday, 7th Mar 2012

Katz

Over on the estimable Comics Reporter, Bart Beaty reports on Katz, a sort-of-parody of Art Spiegelman’s Maus where all the characters, Nazis, Jews and Poles, are drawn as cats, which has been published in France (where they take comics very seriously). It’s a curiosity, particularly as it’s not just a few pages but the whole book and it appears to have been done with professionalism and style.

Naturally, given the revered status of Maus, the lawyers are out in force and it’s being pulped, but I’m sure it’ll live on electronically. Bart reckons it has value.

The decision to appropriate the entirety of Spiegelman’s work — every page, every line of dialogue — seems central to its implicit argument that Maus, as a key text that has shaped comics culture unlike almost any other, is already an object belonging to the community as a whole. It is, this book seems to be saying, a revered work, open to challenges and contestations by others.

[...]

I would argue that it is the very thoroughness of the appropriation that makes it so compelling. Katz challenges us to see one of the most important comics ever produced with new eyes. How is that a bad thing?

He also gives us what has to be the quote of the year, at least in comics circles. “I think that Spiegelman fruitfully problematizes the potentially essentializing aspect of his representations in the pages of Maus itself.”

Perfection.

via Kenny Penman

See also Tintin: Breaking Free, a similar-ish piece of wholesale copyright infringement to make a point.

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