Notes from the Manager
Related Strips: #518: Dodged That Bullet
First, some news:
1) The Chapter 6 eBook is NOW AVAILABLE at the Multiplex Store. If you're one of those people eagerly awaiting the second print book, click through to the Deleted Scenes post about it for why you should support the eBook collections.
2) I'll be doing a "Digital Artwork" workshop at Minneapolis Indie Expo on Saturday, November 5th, at 1pm. Obviously, it will be about how I use Illustrator, so if you've ever wanted a behind-the-scenes peek at Multiplex, make sure to add MiX to your calendar.
Okay, so as for this strip — I wasn't planning on doing a Steve Jobs strip, and this isn't a "tribute" strip… obviously. It's about a movie (or movie news)! As a Windows guy, mostly, Franklin is a little less sentimental about Steve Jobs than I am, and Jason isn't a techie, so hey. There you go. The characters aren't me!
Since the internet just ate the long-ass post I was going to make, sort of annotating this strip and outlining my personal history with Apple, I'll just leave it at this:
For the first time since Jim Henson, I've been sad about the death of a "celebrity." Jobs didn't invent the personal computer, or the MP3 player, or the smartphone, or the tablet, but he was a big picture guy, and he knew that devices like these are useless unless they get out of your way so you can do things with them, and he surrounded himself with the geniuses who could make that happen.
Apple's products often get dismissed as little more than slick design and savvy marketing, and that's simply delusional. Usability is so much more than just aesthetics. Yes, he was a hell of a salesman, but Jobs's contributions to technology, both direct and indirect, are much more substantial than that and difficult to overstate.
The Mac featured the first graphical user interface on a personal computer (refined from technology licensed from Xerox PARC), which made possible applications like… Adobe Illustrator and QuarkXPress (and later InDesign) that now allow me to make a living out of my house, from a computer that fits in a backpack — and to draw this strip. Again, Jobs didn't have anything to do with Illustrator, Quark, or InDesign. But it's because of Jobs, Jef Raskin and the rest of the original Macintosh development team that they exist.
The first web browser was programmed in NeXTstep (the OS for the business/science-focused workstations made by NeXT, the company Jobs founded after he was fired form Apple in the '80s; NeXTstep later evolved into OSX). The first web server was a NeXTcube — and here we are, twenty years later, on the World Wide Web, readin' comics. Jobs wasn't involved with any of that, but he helped make the tools that made that happen.
And I can't help but like a person who doesn't mince words, who could be a pretty huge, raging asshole at times. Because hey, can't we all?
So anyway. Thanks, Steve.
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Saturday, October 4, 2014
Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.
A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)
What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.
Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).
Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.
Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)
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