Multiversity Makes Me Happy

Posted by & filed under Comics.

The Multiversity

This is my first new comic book review since August 31, 2011 when I reviewed Justice League #1, the first comic of the “New 52″.  This one shouldn’t come as a surprise though, as Grant Morrison owned a full 10% of my “50 Greatest Comic Runs“.

Grant Morrison and Ivan Reis bring us the first iinstalment in the culmination of Morrison’s involvement in the mainstream DC Universe with The Multiversity.  Morrison is bringing all of his chickens home to roost with this one, and with this issue he deftly ties in threads from his runs on JLA, Final Crisis and Action Comics among others.

Morrison is a massive DC Comics fanboy, he’s been a fan his entire life, and loves to pay homage to tradition, while taking things in entirely new and unique directions.  One of my favourite Morrison concepts, the “Super Young Team”, a Japanese super hero group, was his take on Jack Kirby’s “Forever People”, which is amazing because the two couldn’t be more different.

His run on Batman is among my very favourites, and he wrote what I consider the definitive “Dick Grayson as Batman” story in Batman and Robin. Read more »

Fan Expo Canada 2014

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Fan Expo, Kaylin and MaksI wasn’t even planning on going to Fan Expo this year.  I’ve been pretty much every year for the last eight years, and this year I thought I’d skip it.

Then some stuff happened, and I realized I’d like to see my friends, some of whom I only get to see once a year.  So I contacted Peter, and asked him if he had space at the All New Comics booth.  He did, so it was settled.

Then I mentioned to my kids that I was going to the convention on Friday, and I got a chorus of “awww’s”, and I thought…why not take them?  It meant paying $35 for a ticket, and waiting in line ups…but what the heck?

No sooner had I suggested it, than they had figured out their cosplay (Finn and Fiona from Adventure Time), and promised that they would be up bright and early.

Read more »

See You Around Mike

Posted by & filed under General.

Least Flattering Picture of All Time

Today is my friend Michael Halliday’s last day at work.  I’ve been at Info-Tech for seven years, he’s not the first person who’s left, and he won’t be the last…but he’s the one I’ll miss the most.

It all started when I didn’t hire him.

Mike came in for an interview at Info-Tech with my boss Gord and I.  He was charming, personable, and incredibly bright.  He’d worked with Gord before, and was a solid coder.  He answered everything right, and told us he was doing iOS development (this is four years ago when that was still a relatively rare skill).

We left the interview promising him we’d get back to him, and had him on our short list.

But I didn’t hire him. Read more »

The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers

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One of my favourite parts of RailsConf is the lightning talks.  These are 5 minute talks that can be about anything.  As a result, you see a lot of cool stuff in two hours, and if you get a bad one…you just need to wait 5 minutes until the next one comes along.

This year, inspired by not only my own team, but also by the many talks I saw about harnessing your creativity at RailsConf, I decided to give a talk on one of my own personal pet peeves.  People who say “but I can’t draw”, and how that internal script is holding you back.

I got a really good reception from people, which kind of surprised me since most of the talks were super technical, and mine was only one of two or three that were about non code related skills.

This is my talk from RailsConf – The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers Read more »

The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale – A

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The final panel from Walking Dead #63

I have some thoughts on The Walking Dead and the season finale, if you aren’t caught up, turn back, because I am about to combine what we saw on TV with some comic book stuff.

It’s important to remember that while the big arcs are similar between comic and show, individual beats are not, the most obvious of these is that Daryl isn’t even in the comics, and Sophia is still alive 120 issues on. This is all just speculation, I have no idea how right or wrong I am.

Spoilers, do not pass. Read more »

Our Disney Cruise

Posted by & filed under About Me, Our Family.

Our Disney CruiseClan Garside sailed the majestic Disney Magic from February 24th through 28th, and while it was a welcome break from the ridiculous winter that we’ve been dealing with back home, it wasn’t exactly the “magical experience” that others have raved about.

We’ve been on two other cruises, both by Royal Caribbean…and we were recently spoiled with an all expenses resort vacation to Le Blanc in Cancun (which was one of the most amazing vacations I have ever taken).

This was our first “big trip” with our kids.  The first time either of them have flown, the first time that either have travelled 6-8 hours in a day, and the first time that either of them have been at sea.  I have to say that they were amazing little travellers and are among my favourite people to travel with.  They were easy going, listened well when we needed them to stick with us for safety, and enjoyed exploring off on their own then the opportunities presented themselves.

They had an amazing time – so much so that Maks cried when it was over because he didn’t want our vacation to be done.  This review is just how I felt about things. Read more »

My 2014 Resolutions

Posted by & filed under About Me.

The GarsidesI used to post New Year’s Resolutions, they were always similar things. Lose weight, something business related, something drawing related, something writing related, something about finishing things.

I didn’t post any in 2012 because I was really focused on just pain free peeing, and recovering from pneumonia . Last year I meant to and had a draft…but just didn’t finish it. That’s kind of a repetitive theme of 2013, I started a lot of things I didn’t finish.

Little Resolutions:

  • Grow a Beard
  • Grow my hair – (December 19th – February 21st)
  • Go to bed (and sleep) at 10pm for 3 nights consecutively
  • Do 4 weeks of Yoga consecutively

Those are little resolutions, but they’re not my big plans for the year. Read more »

2013 In Review

Posted by & filed under About Me.

This has been an interesting year to say the least.  A lot of stuff has happened, but my life seems to have fallen into a typical mid-series pattern.  Here we are at the end of the year and things are pretty much status quo.

The good:

  • Completely relaunched Info-Tech with a very streamlined, clean, and awesome visual refresh
  • My team’s last minute entry came in 2nd place in the annual “Case Competition” at Info-Tech for a business plan and proof of concept
  • My Innovation team won my first Innovation Day award for the PerformIT business plan and proof of concept
  • I was awarded a seat on the “President’s Club” trip to Le Blanc in Cancun Mexico
  • I travelled more in 2013 than any other year (New York, Vegas, Chicago, Cancun Mexico)
  • Did four speaking engagements (New York and Chicago Exchange events, as well as NXNE and a local PMP group)
  • Officially co-founded Socks Off Ventures
  • The Socks Off Team launched the all new BalanceReDo
  • Pitched BalanceDo to the Funding Roadshow in Toronto
  • I learned a lot about marketing this year
  • Taught myself a whole ton of new skills (server management, Ruby on Rails, CSS3)
  • Did a lot more freelance in 2013 than I did in 2012
  • I lost 30lbs from April to September

The bad:

  • BalanceDo isn’t done, and in my opinion still has a long way to go, but the team seems to have lost a lot of momentum.
  • I learned a lot about pitching (which means our pitches weren’t terribly successful).
  • I’ve regained about 5lbs since the end of September
  • Not in nearly as good shape as I should be due to some back issues
  • Failed on my 52 posts in 52 days pledge (and haven’t posted since October 31st)

The “meh”:

  • Pretty much in the same role at Info-Tech day-to-day despite my recognized contributions
  • Work on All New Comics has stagnated
  • I’ve become a bit too dependant on others
  • I’m not doing as much “hands on” work as I used to
  • Not drawing as much as I would like
  • I should spend more time doing fun things with my kids
  • Still working for “the man”

I’m going to do some things to fix some of these things, which is why for the first time in two years I’m going to bring back the old “New Year’s Revolution” post.  It’s time to treat my own life the same way that I treat my work life.  Put dates, times, and actionable plans around everything I want to accomplish this year.  Make some “S.M.A.R.T.” goals and follow through on them.

2013 was a perfectly fine rebuilding year.  A great middle season in the life of a sit-com.  2014 needs to be the year with a bunch of big plot twists and large scale shake ups.

It’s time for me to do something I tell my team to do every single day.  “Let’s make some magic people.”

Comics that Scared Me – Swamp Thing #25

Posted by & filed under Comics.

Swamp Thing #25I can’t tell you much about what my life was like as a 12 year old.  I have snippets of things from back then, a fun vacation to Niagara Falls, some trips to Ipperwash and Grand Bend, some great birthdays, lots of terrific times at my grandparents farm…but I can vividly tell you exactly what I did and what I had for lunch the second Saturday in May, 1984.

It was a beautiful warm day, super sunny, with just a hint of spring chill still in the air.  I rode my bike to Les’ Variety in Old Wortley Villiage.  The comics were at the back of the store on a low shelf.  Les had a ton of comics, probably consistently the biggest haul of anyone around, and his was the shop I would go to when I was looking for something in particular.

I picked up three comics that day.  Batman Special #1, featuring a new character called “The Wraith” who was basically the bad guy version of Batman (his parents were killed in front of him as a child by police officers in a very Bonnie and Clyde reminiscent scene).  Blue Beetle #1, featuring a brand new super-hero who was really a stuntman who gets trapped inside of his special effects costume.

The third comic was Saga of the Swamp Thing #25.  I bought it because the cover was striking, it had an image of the swamp monster crawling out of the muck and grabbing a white haired girl by the leg.  The title was formed out of the negative space in the vegetation, and the design of everything really appealed to me.  Of course 12 year old me just thought it looked cool.  The interior art was really creepy and awesome too.

I didn’t know it at the time, but 12 year old me was about to be introduced to both Alan Moore and John Totleben.  Names that years later would mean a lot more to me as I got to learn more about the British invasion of comics, and Miracleman in particular.

I went a couple of doors down to the Wortley Road Diner and ordered a plate of french fries with gravy and a Coke.  I sat down and started reading Swamp Thing #25.  Here’s the brief description from ComicVine.

Paul’s parents, Chris and Jenny have accidentally released the Monkey King using a ouija board, they both get killed by him and his son is taken to Elysium Lawns, a center for autistic children, the Monkey King has adopted Paul as his master and is using him and the rest of the kids in the center to feed.

Jason Blood, The Demon, gets to Baton Rouge, where he has tracked the demon, to haunt and destroy him; he and The Swamp Thing have felt trouble ahead. Meanwhile, Abby has gotten a new job at Elysium Lawns, as she is shown the place she knows Paul, who seems to be very disturbed by the thing that has happened to him and his family. The Monkey King is ready to attack again and he’s getting stronger.

I had read some Demon stuff from Jack Kirby.  The character was kind of goofy, with primary reds and yellows, and a cute little rhyming gimmick.  I had seen some Swamp Thing stuff before by Bernie Wrightson.  What I had never experienced before though was Alan Moore’s storytelling.

It starts with Jason Blood telling a travelling salesman that at 5:32pm the salesman would be impaled by a swordfish, and ends with that story coming true.

The final scene is of the Monkey King cuddling up to the little boy in the story, its muzzle wet and warm with blood.

I was both terrified…and hooked.  I really enjoyed comics before then, but that day, with a fresh out of the fryer plate of brown gravy topped fries and a Coca Cola, I fell in love with the medium of comics.

For some reason, the Monkey King reminded me of a Work Sock Monkey, and from that day on I was terrified of them.