Journal

RVO: Summer of '73

From my 2012 notes: At age 13, Eric composes a song to Nicole, his first crush. She betrays him by singing it to the boy that SHE likes.  A lot of commitments this summer kept me from finishing this seminal chapter in the RVO story. Work has been sporadic. There is a large gap in my artwork when I began this thing back in '06 and today. Nowadays, relying on my Photoshop coloring to save my degrading line work.   

From my 2012 notes: At age 13, Eric composes a song to Nicole, his first crush. She betrays him by singing it to the boy that SHE likes. 

A lot of commitments this summer kept me from finishing this seminal chapter in the RVO story. Work has been sporadic. There is a large gap in my artwork when I began this thing back in '06 and today. Nowadays, relying on my Photoshop coloring to save my degrading line work. 

 

Annihilator by Grant Morrison and Kyle Irving

  ANNIHILATOR is Grant Morrison's most coherent work in years. Frazier Irving's lush art also dazzles here.

 

ANNIHILATOR is Grant Morrison's most coherent work in years. Frazier Irving's lush art also dazzles here.

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Cosmic villain and escape artist Max Nomax is trapped in an inescapable space prison near the Annihilator Super Black Hole. To escape, he sends a "data bullet" in the form of brain cancer, into the head of Hollywood screenwriter, Ray Spass. The tumor gives Spass the ideas to write his next great film, which is about Max Nomax's great escape from his prison. 

the Gazette: Project Dark Age

This is right up my wheelhouse. "Project Dark Age" is the Gazette's 2015 multi-prong project, which includes a new album, concerts, special videos and more. The new album is Dogma, and it drops in August 2015.


Tula Lotay

TULA LOTAY is one of today's dynamic new artists. Her style is "open," with with minimal line work but an emphasis on realism. She is incredibly effective when coloring her own line art. Her brushwork in SUPREME BLUE ROSE is expressionistic. Using different brushes and strokes, she overlays her line art with texture that gives dimensionally to the line art. I also like how she colors the artwork with a "sort of there" kind of way.

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My Journey into Visual Kei

The Gazette (2014).

The Gazette (2014).

Visual kei is a Japanese music movement, where musicians wear heavy make-up, elaborate costumes, and crazy hair styles. Androgynous fashion aesthetics are a norm. Visual kei is often mistaken as a "type of music," but visual kei encompasses a wide range of genres, including heavy metal, electronic, and rap. Thus, visual kei is the world's only music genre that is defined by visual characteristics (as opposed to auditory). 

My journey began in 1999. A lazy summer night, and my Fujitsu laptop was running hot on Napster, the thing we used before Bit Torrent. I was looking for music... different kinds of music. On sheer chance, I downloaded a bunch of songs by a Japanese band, Luna Sea, not knowing that they were one of the biggest J-Rock bands at the time. The song that blew my mind was Luna Sea's Sweetest Coma Again, with its explosive bass and guitar solos. With this song, Luna Sea ignited the fire that is my love of visual kei.

Days turned to months. I discovered many other talents in the visual key scene: X-Japan, Malice Mizer, and Gackt. Months turned to years, and the new generation of visual kei rockers matured. The Gazette. Nightmare. Matenrou Opera. Mejibray. And the rest is history... much of my iTunes playlist is heavy, gothic, rock in the visual kei tradition.

Beautiful men. Dark maudlin rock ballads. Sex and smoke guitar solos. Can you ask for more?

CONVERGENCE, SECRET WARS, DEATHMATCH

Every summer, the Big Two (DC and Marvel) publish their summer blockbuster crossover series. This year we have peculiar offerings.

DC’s mega-event of 2015 is Convergence. Telos, a spawn of Braniac, zaps heroes and villains into a dimension outside of timespace and pits them against one another. So we have hero-on-hero and hero-on-villain fights that span time and alternate realities. Ok...

Marvel’s answer to Convergence is Secret Wars. The Beyonders, godlike beings, zap heroes and villains into a dimension outside of timespace and pits them against one another. Hmmm... coincidence?

Secret Wars and Convergence is reminiscent of Paul Jenkin’s and Carlos Magnos's Death Match (2013). A mysterious being, zap heroes and villains into a dimension outside of timespace and pits them against one another. Two times could be coincidence, but three is a pattern. Deathmatch was published two years before Convergence and Secret Wars, and to be frank, it is a better read.

Welcome to RVO!

RVO- "Demon" configuration

RVO- "Demon" configuration

Hey! So this is my page for RVO - Return of Visual Orchestra, my long time comic project. 

Broadly, RVO is inspired by Asian popular musicvisual kei, and comic culture. So this blog will be about those topics. In addition, I will be discussing the process of RVO's creation, tools of the trade, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Thanks for reading and your support!

-Steven Chen