Monday, January 31, 2011

Work your brain like biceps!

I'm doing all of these save for one starting tomorrow. Guessing which one gets you a prize!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

If you can read this, you are a cyborg.

Well, not in the traditional sense, sadly. We are surrounded by a web of technological wonders at all times that connects us while giving us the ability to stand apart from one another.

Amber Case had a thought-provoking TED talk recently concerning 'Cyborg Anthropology', a field of study that concerns the relationships between humans and technology. She touched on really neat concepts and a lot of optimism.

I am by no means a luddite, but my view of the man/machine state of affairs is a little darker. I agree, technology is awesome. Seriously. If I had to give up broadband internet, computers, my phone, or any of the technological advances that have made my life infinitely more convenient or easy for the past ten years, I would lose my mind.

This isn't a good thing.

Technology, since the wheel, and goddamn fire, was to make life more livable, to keep us safe and alive. Now, it's to make simple lives even simpler, and to make us a comfortable as possible.

The upside is that we have unprecedented time freed up by automation, the downside, however, is the human laziness factor. The more connected that we are, the less we connect with one another. We stop talking to one another. We stop having conversations, and we exchange catchphrases and buzzwords, competing for attention and never actually listening. We farm one another for information while texting someone else.

From the outside, it's at the best, annoying, and at worst, dangerous. How many people have died, or killed someone because they were on their phone and not paying attention? We have infinite potential, but instead, we use this wealth of tech to update Facebook about how much we love American Idol. I don't see it improving. We used to think that more technology would make us gods, but it just makes us worse.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Heroes

Yes, heroes. Not the television debacle, but more on that lately. I would rather discuss my heroes. The men and women who influenced me and inspired me with their words and art to create worlds of my own for another generation of readers to play in. So without any further ado...

I'll start with artists. They are the first thing that you notice, and many times, leave the most lasting impression.

Alex Ross. These days, if you can catch one of his covers, you're not doing too poorly, but not too long ago, you could see entire books chock full of his gorgeously painted, realistically human art. It's well known that he uses human models, but... goddamn. Kingdom Come was one of the most important books that DC put out in twenty years. Everything he makes looks like it's about to jump off the page, and part of the tragedy is that it never will.

...or will it?

Darick Robertson is probably best known for his work on Transmetropolitan and the current Dynamite series The Boys, and in both cases, he brought his impressive style which added a sense of expressive realism to fantastic stories, making them all the more enjoyable and accessible. His facial expressions are so dead on, I would say that they rival the nuance of one Kevin Maguire's JLI art.

In the 1990's, everyone was cross-hatching for shading and depth, and though it may have seemed edgy, I have to give up serious props to John Cassaday and Frank Quitely for not being afraid to make superheroes ugly, dirty, or unshaven. I noticed after starting Cassaday's art all the way through the "Gifted" run on Astonishing X-Men, that I was irreparably spoiled. I needed everyone to look as if they belong on the page with actual physics.

I'm still spoiled.

Though I am not a huge fan of mainstream comics, how could I say no to Simone Bianchi's luscious, sumptuous, dare I say sexy, art? His pencils are so gorgeous, I can't help but re, and re-read every issue of his run with Warren Ellis on Astonishing X-Men. His interpretation of Storm made me feel like I was going through puberty all over again, and his Wolverine made me think that there still might be some milage yet left in the overexposed character.

Enough of the mad scribblers, the writers are the ones that really get me going.

Having Grant Morrison do a guest spot on your book is like inviting a prison inmate to take your wife out for dinner. They'll like it better his way, and you won't recognize anything ever again. No matter how much they tell you that they love you. Don't believe me? Read everything before and after New X-Men

Gail Simone has never put her pen to something that I didn't love wholeheartedly. She always offers a fresh eye to characters, and remains one of the few reasons that I would ever read a DC book. No one writes strong women like her. No one.

Have you seen Garth Ennis' Punisher? He's mean, gritty, and kills everything with a vengeful machine's precision. He's perfect. He does exactly as he promises; he punishes. Just like Preacher, just like the Boys, brutal, efficient, gory glory, and a steal at twice the cover price. Garth is exactly what mainstream comics needs: a dark look inward, a middle finger outstretched and metered restraint. You can tell that he pulls his punches, even when Frank Castle shoots, eviscerates and impales (that was just one guy) without a care in the world. Oh, and he offered the first real glimpse into the mind of someone who kills to make himself feel something.

Joss Whedon. Goddamn. If he never makes another show for Fox, I'll be forever impressed, but his work on Astonishing X-Men was one of the best and most defining runs on any X-book that I have ever had the pleasure and honor to read. Every page was a shocker, and every line was a zing of epic and superhuman proportions.

Saving the best for last-
Warren Ellis. I would turn this man's cerebral spinal fluid into taffy and munch for years. He is in all of my top ten lists, even top 10 porn stars. Seriously. I cannot think of anyone with a more thorough grasp of science and counter culture in comics. I can't think of anyone that forces me to at least open Wikipedia whenever I read their comics. He is the quintessential writer, in my opinion, and I study at the feet of the master. I mean, have you read Transmetropolitan? He managed to make journalists sexy without them having to wear blue pajamas. Even when it's obvious that he's practically phoning it in (RED, Mek), he positively crushes everything else in the mainstream. His first novel, Crooked Little Vein was such a trippy, creepy cross-country jaunt that I bought six more copies and gave them all to my friends in the hope to spread his particular strain of insanity.

Friday, January 7, 2011

State of the Freeman Address

Namaste, bitches. This is the first State of the Freeman post; an overview of the past and the future.

What I am working on

Last year, I completed my first novel, Shades of Jack. This year, however, I have several projects that I intend to produce in the coming months. The first is a futuristic sci-fi comic called Catch or Kill, second, will be my first science fiction novel of a trilogy called Testament, and along the way, I will update my blog with my “B-sides”, or stories that I don't intend to use in any publication, but I still think are interesting enough to read.

In the next six months, I am hoping to have a completed, unedited manuscript for the first Testament novel, in the meantime, when the mega-talented Alfred Fox is done with my site redesign, I will have a brand new comic that I am developing with a true madman and all-around talented bastard, Jason Kimble, whom I am so excited to work with, I can't keep my hands off of my computer just so I can keep writing stuff for him to draw.

What my site is about

Originally, was supposed to essentially be my online resume/portfolio. The biggest problem became immediately apparent when I wasn't making money. Not having written enough to garner sufficient traffic and interest on my own, and having finished my first novel, I decided to send my original concept of the ne’er-do-well, badass cowboy-with-a-pen persona out to pasture. My new direction is more viable, more honest to myself, and most of all, more economically viable.

Gone is the sixgun and spurs. 2011 is the year that Jack Freeman heralds the future. With the new web design, I will be able to update my readers with new information about emergent science, theoretical technology and bleeding edge transhumanist news. After working with Gabriel Walsh on The Earthly Frames, Volume 1, I discovered that I wrote science fiction better than anything else, and so a couple of months later, I began Testament, my newest and currently, favorite project.

I will also keep to a more constant update schedule, so mind the gap, the future's coming.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Namaste, Bitches

This is my first post of the new year, and cliche as it is, it's about New Year's resolutions... kinda.

So I'm walking down the aisle of my neighborhood Safeway, and dropping various foodstuffs and sundries into my cart and I begin to recall all of the myriad cakes and pastries and meats and liquors and spirits that I have treated myself to, and I decided then and there to not make a resolution, as they are for chumps, but to become resolute.

Just yesterday, I went shopping and tried on a pair of jeans that I should have laughed at someone trying to get me to put on and they didn't fit at all. I couldn't place the feeling, as it wasn't quite shame as I had too much fun wrecking my body, and I still cannot, but I can say now that I don't like it, and I want it to stop.

Instead of kicking things and sulking(and stress-eating), I decided to come up with a plan. It's still in its infant stages, but as it stands, it is in three parts:

First, I have got to get my weight under control. I am running short of fat clothes, and I can only use the “sweat pants are comfy” excuse for another week before I crack under the stress of keeping the lie alive. I have to actually attend my gym and work out, because my current pump from the couch technique is tragically flawed. I also, and this pains me to even think, cut out the liquor. I will still drink beer in moderation, because if I don't, you will all see me on the evening news, and there are health benefits to controlled beer consumption. I will also have to adjust my diet, but thankfully, all I would have to do would be skip out on the take out(which I hate anyway), and eat more fish. However, I won't be able to eat the cookies, pies and cakes that I love and would stab a paraplegic nun in the face over.

Second, I need to organize my mess of a life. It';s kind of embarrassing to discuss matters such as these in open forum, but it's necessary, and should keep me honest. I tend to keep a messy room. I just do. I wreck it and leave it for another day. Starting today, I need that to stop. I also need to reduce my television watching by half. I used to hate the idiot box, and now it cuts so deeply into my writing time, that I never get around to it.

Oh, wait. Just the two, then. That makes me feel better.