The Home of the Creative Mind
Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Monday, October 31, 2016
A new holiday tradition for artists, both armature and professional, is to participate in month long drawing challenges. Inktober is for those you are strictly staying within the pen and ink medium. Drawlloween is for any medium. Each provides a calendar in which suggested themes for each day are given. Once your image is ready you post in on social media with a hash tag so that others who are participating can see what you what you came up with. Aside from that there are no rules. In years past I followed Inktober’s website and posted images to his blog there. This year I decided to do the Drawlloween calendar, but to still stick to an ink brush as my medium. I was successful in doing one a day and here you can see my whole collection for the month. Happy Halloween!
Day 2 - Carnival Creeps
Day 12 - I've Got A Hunchback
Day 24 - Mechanical Monstrosity
Day 29 - Black Caturday
Day 31 - Trick 'R' Treat!
I'm looking forward to participating next year.
Monday, August 8, 2016
When I was growing up, a “Sinbad” movie meant that I was in for a visual treat. Ray Harryhausen, the master of stop-motion model animation, was involved in the creation of three Sinbad movies: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973), and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Harryhausen experimented with different films and continually improved his technique to produce the most vivid display of moving creatures ever seen on the big screen. In The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, his magic brings inanimate objects to life as our hero sets out on a noble quest. While he has courageous friends to help him, his adversary is an evil man who will stop at nothing to achieve his own goal. And crossing their paths along this journey is an array of mythical beasts with which they must contend. There’s plenty of swashbuckling and thrills on this grand adventure. While I love all of Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbads, I selected The Golden Voyage of Sinbad to review for a few reasons. It was the first Sinbad movie I got to see in the theater. I was eleven, and it left a very strong impression on me. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was released only a few years later and did extremely well at the box office. However, the approach to that story has a bit more camp. By then, a little more camp was fine in my book. But the stronger storytelling in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is why I chose it to immortalize in a cartoon review. My hope is that you will become intrigued with how Ray Harryhausen works his magic in the others. And don’t stop there; there are lots of Sinbad movies that both predate and follow the Harryhausen flicks.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
I find it difficult to describe how much I love The Adventures of Robin Hood. There are so many things that make it great. First, the color. Technicolor is not just one, but multiple layers of film, each layer a different color. The result was not merely color, but deep, rich color perfect for fantastic settings. Years later, this would prove an advantage in film restoration. The designers of the day took advantage of strong colors, installing as many lurid hues as possible. Next would be the thespians. Not only do you have several lead actors, but also a plethora of talented character actors, each one nearly stealing a scene from the next. Then you have the script, with dialog ranging from simple to flowery, depending on the scenes. And there are action sequences with individual fights, grand melees, and lots of arrows. A professional archer was hired to shoot all of those arrows, so stuntmen and regulars alike had real arrows shot into balsawood hidden under their clothing. And then there’s the music, as rousing and flamboyant as could be desired in such a swashbuckler. The Adventures of Robin Hood is a shining example of what could be accomplished under the old studio system, when a cast of hundreds could be summoned overnight. It’s also a stellar example of what Hollywood could do, taking a legendary tale and making it even more magical. As for the tale of Robin Hood himself, most movies made afterwards couldn’t help but borrow from this wonderful, lavish work of art.
Winner of three Academy Awards.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
The Cold War inspired a genre of technology-race movies. Fantastic Voyage was novel in that it was about reduction technology. Then add to that the concept of seeing the human body from the inside on a cellular level—fantastic is the word. Audiences came to see how ingenious Hollywood could be in depicting the human anatomy with all its functions. This movie often played on television when I was growing up. What little kid wouldn’t be excited about seeing a submarine journeying through veins? The Proteus was rather cool-looking for the day. I loved the cool glass dome on the roof and the big fins. I wasn’t concerned about the Cold War aspects of the film. For me it was all about the cool-looking stuff, the giant cells, what they did, and the lasers. There have been a lot of other reduction sci-fi films over the years—some of them pretty good, like Inner Space. But nothing beats Fantastic Voyage as a classic that influenced pop culture. I wanted this strip to reflect my childlike excitement for Fantastic Voyage.
Winner of two Academy Awards.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
The Great Escape is a rousing action film. Some might argue that it’s nothing more than that. Its portrayal of a real WWII prison camp escape is less than perfect, with several alterations to draw in and entertain American audiences. And appeal to audiences it did. There were a lot of good movies competing at the box office when it was released, and yet The Great Escape managed to be one of the top-grossing films that year. One of the reasons it did so well was its large international cast. There was no single hero, but a collection of highly talented actors doing their best to capture the camaraderie and inventiveness of true prisoners of war. In fact, several members of the cast had been actual prisoners of war. There’s no doubt that Steve McQueen, who was a fast-rising star, did his best to stand out. His role in The Great Escape cemented his position as a superstar. His insistence on a motorcycle chase in the movie proved to have helped build the excitement of the escape. But Steve McQueen was only one of several actors who received great exposure; there were also James Garner, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasense, James Coburn and Richard Attenborough. Many of these actors were already known by audiences; The Great Escape just gave them even more screen time. While The Great Escape was nominated for a number of awards, it didn’t walk away with very many. It did receive a Top Ten Films award from the National Board of Review. It was a small acknowledgement of a film that was well received by the public and which had the legs to continue on to become a movie classic. You just can’t go wrong viewing this movie.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
The Quiet Man captivates audiences. From the first scene to the last, viewers are engrossed in the characters, the dialog, and the next turn of events. A casual viewing of The Quiet Man will provide entertainment. But you will find that you can’t casually watch this film. Bits of a deeper story are provided at every moment. They catch in your mind like fish in a net. And a smile will creep across your face as you start pulling in the net because you know this is going to be a sweet haul. The studio’s head honchos wanted John Ford to cut its length from 129 minutes to 120 minutes based on their assumption that an audience wouldn’t sit still for longer than two hours. When Ford showed the honchos the film, the screen went white right in the middle of the climactic fight scene. Ford informed the studio brass that they were at the 120-minute mark, and if they were dying to see the rest of the movie, so would the theater-going public. The studio executives let Ford have his nine minutes. Watch The Quiet Man, and you’ll be glad they did.