Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Death in Comics: Gil Thorp (part 2)

In June, 2016 readers of Gil Thorp saw high school student Boo Radley die in a tragic car accident (see Part 1). What I think was particualarly well done is how the creative team of Neil Rubin and Rod Whigham followed up that event.

They concentrated on the aftermath, showing the impact of Radley's death on her friends and family, and also the family of Barry Brader, whose father caused the wreck. Like real life, it's complicated and messy. Barry and Radley's boyfriend True STandish are on the Milford baseball team. And that affects the team itself. Radley was on the girl's baseball team. Gil Thorp coaches the boy's team, his wife the girl's. And -- considering the constraints of a daily narrative strip -- I think Rubin and Whigham realistically explored the impact such an event would have.

Sure, we call the daily comics the funnies, but they're not always so. Sometimes they aspire to be more -- and in the case of Boo Radley's death -- succeed.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Diabelli Project 136 - String Orchestra

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme, these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

The rules for Diabelli Project flash compositions are simple: within the allotted ten-minute span spontaneously compose, and stop when time runs out. Before I make a fair copy of the sketch for posting to the blog, I'll play through what I wrote to make sure it's intelligible. I try to keep corrections to a minimum and edits even more so. The goal is to document what happened in that ten minutes without refining it afterward (that's a different project).

In this case, I did make one editorial decision after the fact. I did conceive of this as a string orchestra piece, with the viola section getting the solo. As I was making the fair copy, I had second thoughts. The melody is supposed to be freely expressive, something that might be problematic for a string section.

No, that's not an oblique viola joke -- I'd feel the same if the melody had been given to the first violin. So I made a slight edit and made the viola melody a solo. It may be bending the "rules," but it just seems right.

As always, you can use any or all of the posted Diabelli Project sketches as you wish for free. Just be sure to share the results. I'm always curious to see what direction someone else can take this material.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Line Mar Match Box Construction 030 - Man

I found a Line Mar Match Box Construction Set from the 1930s, complete and with instructions. The box claimed the set made 100 different toys. I decided to test that claim -- one toy at a time. You can read all the posts for the Line Mar construction project at 100 Toys.
 Attaching the head was
a problem once again.

030 Man

The man figure was relatively easy to build. This figure appears several times in this instruction sheet. It's used for the 026 Walker, 031 Rope Walker, and 033 Acrobat. 

And all have the same basic challenge -- getting the head to attach securely enough to the body so it doesn't fall off. That intersection of the two dowels doesn't leave a lot of room to work in.

But beyond that, the build was trouble-free. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fiberboard collars held the arms securely enough to keep them parallel to the ground. I could take all the time I needed to set up the photo.