Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Youth Impact Summit

So big news to share with everyone, tomorrow and Thursday I will taking part of the Youth Impact Summit. What is that you may ask, well let me tell you; a collection of young minds from across the province coming together to brainstorm, hear, talk about ideas to change communities. And yours truly applied a few times in the past and now I have the opportunity to take part of this big game changing opportunity. For a few years I've wanted to see what I could do to help out those who need help, be that volunteering at charity events or donate clothing or food. And now I can learn how to take that energy to the next level, and I am super excited for this experience.

For those reading for the first time, welcome! My name is Alvaro Cruz, or as I go by on most forms of social media, ChileanStorm. I was born in Toronto, but my family history hails from Chile, so I like to represent for Chile and all of Latin America, very proud of my roots and culture. I am an artist who is currently back in school and working part time as a barista. At the end of the day, I still need to pay my bills. I am currently working on a few personal projects like the Glass Prison and currently working on my first comic book, Brewgatory. My goal is to have a comic ready for summer 2017.

In this page here you will find a lot of entries on comic books that I've read and few opinion pieces as well. In the future entries I will probably talk more about things on my mind, the most important Nicolas Cage films and Nintendo 64 games. So if you like any of these things or just want a fun read, by all means give me a read and a follow and be sure to drop a comment if you'd like as well. 

You have to be able to laugh at yourself as well. 
Keep chasing the storm. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Try Hard Die Hard

I am just going to open up with saying that Bruce Willis will not be the topic of today's blog. Although I think we can all agree that the first three Die Hard films were pretty awesome action movies, worth watching if you haven't seen them yet. No, today I wanted to ask you to think about this, what does winning mean to you? And I am asking on every possible level, how badly do you need to be the very no one ever was. And yes, that was a Pokemon reference. But I want to talk today about our desire to win, to be champions and to be the best at everything. And I think most geeks experience this on a daily basis. How many achievements do you have? Did you catch them all? Did you win that tournament? What rank are you? What level is your team? But you get the idea. We aren't allowed to enjoy things anymore. No, we have to win. I guess I want to understand the theory of the carrot, why does it have to be involved with everything we do now in days...? 

Take it from me, time is short. Every day we only have so many hours to do whatever it is we want to do and well everything that we need to do as well, be that work or school or family. And then consider all the things you do because you want to do them, like playing your favorite online computer game or going to the local card shop for a game of Commander Magic. When you are done, are you satisfied at all? Well you should be, win or lose. But holy dead Jason Todd to we have people that really want to win and completely ruin the experience. Maybe this is me realizing that family, friends, partner and career are much more important than a weekly Friday Night Magic result or trying to collect every single Pokemon. I am not going to be a League of Legends champion anytime soon, and that is totally awesome. I think what I am trying to say here is, let's try to enjoy the experience. If we all try to be champions, this world is going to be filled with a whole lot of salt and resentments. Who cares about completing every single game achievement on your Xbox One, will you be awarded a purple heart and have a parade? Probably not. All these imaginary brass rings are presented to distract you from the bigger picture, that is you, What are you going to be in this world? 

That being said, if you truly feel and know that your goal is to be a champion in some video game or card game, all power to you. I mean Adam Copeland (WWE`s Edge) always wanted to be a WWE Champion and he did it. You focus on your goals, you give everything you have and you become the person that you know you are. But if like me you are an artist or a writer or anyone who isn`t making a living off gaming tournaments, try this and just don`t give a f*ck. Enjoy the time off and the hobby itself. Aim to win, but aim to have a great time and remember why you love whatever it is you love. It`s okay to lose, just don`t lose human dignity in your climb to the top of the mountain. I have seen Rock Paper Scissors tournaments, don`t mess with them tossers. 

Keep chasing the storm. 

Monday, 11 January 2016

That Force Though...

Can we talk about Star Wars? 

It has been enough time, I have seen three times already and ready for more viewings. But I think we have all seen it enough times that we can talk about it, the 7th movie in the legendary sci-fi saga. Because it has been years since we have been this excited about the Wars, especially after the less than stellar prequels. Now we got a movie that feels just right, a movie that fits in with the original three movies from years ago. And by no means was The Force Awakens a perfect movie, but when has any of the Star Wars films been perfect, even Empire Strikes Back has a few flaws. However it gives us everything we wanted in a new Star Wars and it has fans and new fans talking and guessing what will happen next. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we fans want to be doing? Talking about what might happen next, instead of how they could have fixed an awful green screened mess of a movie. 

This being my little soap box in the internet I just want to say, how awesome is Poe Dameron? In my long wizard like life I have seen a many things, but Hispanic on screen heroes have been few far in between. So seeing this Resistance pilot fly around and take down TIE-Fighters like it was Tuesday is just a great feeling, I could have used some more heroes like that growing up. But you know what, I have to say I enjoyed all the new comers to the Star Wars saga; Rey, Finn, BB-8 and Kylo Ren. Even Captain Phasma was pretty to cool, though what I would have given to seen her fight Finn, next movie perhaps? And holy crap, how great was Chewbacca?! For years everyone has agreed on how kick ass Wookies and Chewie really are and I am glad he got a lot of kick ass moments through out the film. I would also like to say that Han, Leia and Luke all did a great job as well. I know some people complained, but I felt it was still very much on point, though bring back Lando! I would have loved to have seen what Lando had been doing all these years. But again, maybe the next film...? Maybe? Hopefully. 

Also that Storm Trooper, give that man a cookie. You know the one I am talking about. Like all things the internet blows it out of the water with hype, but look into your hearts and you will see...he was pretty hype. 

Just like the Force however, for all the good like the Jedi, you have the Sith. What did I not like about the movie. Honestly not much complaints, or at least nothing that ruined the experience in general. Did the last fight seem weird considering everything that we had just witnessed in the last two hours? Perhaps, but I am not going to let that be my deciding straw on how I feel about the movie overall. The Phantom Menace had a really good fight at the end of the movie, does that make it a great film? Hell no it didn't, we had to sit through Jar Jar Binks and seeing a little kid try to mack on Natalie Portman, it was a bad movie that ruined going to the movies to see Star Wars. The last confrontation in The Force Awakens feels right, it feels like a round one to a much larger fight that we all know is going to happen and on a larger scale, so no need to analyse it too much. That being said Phasma did seem really silly, it was Boba Fett all over again. And let's face it, Boba Fett seems like a big botch. You had a character people fell in love with just on his looks alone, the man just held his gun and nerds went nuts for him. He was the ultimate space bounty hunter, he was on the posters for the movies. And the most he did was delivered a frozen Han to a fat slug on Tatooine and get knocked into the mouth of monster. Huh? So you now have the chance to do it again, but this time correct the mistakes of the past, but you end up doing the same. However with two more movies, I could very well be wrong, hell I hope I am wrong. Star Wars, the balls is in your court, make your move. You made a Storm Trooper an internet hero, give Phasma something the viewers can remember. 

And that's my take on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a hell of a great time at the movies for sure and one movie that I am totally okay with paying to see again and again on the big screen. I saw Snakes on a Plane five times, though technically I was working at the theatre at the time so I didn't have to pay, but I think I can make some more time for Star Wars. Be proud fans of the Force, it is a good time to be a Star Wars fan that is for sure. So what do you think? Did you like it? Hate it? Want to talk about TR-8R for a bit? You can do so right here in the comments below. Be sure to follow my page, tell your friends and share on social media, every little bit helps. So stay tuned for what ever comes next, I am actually not sure what I am going to write, I am just writing. Like the force. See what I did there. Okay I am out of here, be good and be kind and until then, keep chasing the storm. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

No Mo Heroes

Time is a strong force isn't? Through time a lot of things can happen, time can patch grudges up and can connect to different memories. The strongest aspect of time however is change. Because as we move through our own time, without a doubt we all change. Sometimes we know it and we can control it, for some they don't even realize it is taking place, change is happening wether you know it or not. I bring up time and the power of change today because I wanted to address a few changes that I am slowly but surely noticing, changes in my life that I am working on and changes that no doubt happened without me realizing it was taking place. And trying to make sense of it all and share it with you here today, because I know I am not the only one in the world who may feel this way.


I am not sure if you know or not, but I am an artist. Been drawing my whole life, but only three years ago did I get some real help and guidance to do something with my love of drawing. I am also a pretty big geek, always have been. My love falls into practically every category, from video games to comics to movies to music to fantasy to sci-fi to table top games to collectible card games and etc, but you get the point. I had Pokemon cards, still have my original collection actually. I still have every single console I ever bought and game as well. I have a sorted collection of thousands of Magic: The Gathering cards. What's my point though with all this? Well through out this 2015 year, which admittedly has been one of the most difficult years of my life, I have had to do a lot of soul searching, looking in the mirror and honestly trying to understand what is it that I see in the reflection. Because the reality is, I have been Alvaro Cruz, the geeky fanboy for a long time and the fact is it now time for Alvaro Cruz, the creator. I have to place my energy, money, attention to creating as much as I possibly can, to get my ideas out of my head and out to the world. To be known for my stories and characters, that time needs to be now! I know I have spent a lot of my energy on being a fan, looking up to other characters that I love and other artist that I admire, but at some point I have to take off and get my name out there. 

So what does this mean for me? Well it means I will be drawing way less Daredevil and way more Glass Prison. That being said, there are a few things I want to make clear. I am still a huge geeky fanboy, I can't change that. I am going to still buy comics, just not on a weekly basis. I will probably get maybe one or two here and there, but try to do some con shopping more. I am still going to play video games, because my mental health depends on it, just a half hour a day could do some good for you. I am still going to play Magic with my friends, because it's easily one of the best things to do when we meet up and get together. The only thing is now, my main focus will be creating content and working on my projects, promoting my stuff and do my best to improve on my art. And if you are an artist who also happens to be a fanboy/fangirl and you are wondering what you should do...? Well only you can decide that, it needs to be your decision, not anyone else's. Besides we love our fandoms and our collections for various reasons, it could be our way that we connect with friends or the way we unwind after a long day at a part time job, whatever the case these are important things to all of us and we should have them in our lives. But when you are ready to make change, time will be there to do it. 

Still very devoted to my Parun, Niv-Mizzet.

So I must let long time readers know, that now Storm Watch is going to more about the actual me, ChileanStorm. I want to also take the time to share my new blog page as well, Cell 7, the official blog to the Glass Prison comic. Please check it out, follow it and tell as many people about it, doing my best to get this project off the ground and every/any kind of support means a lot to me. So thank you guys for reading and I am going to do my best to keep both pages going as much as I possibly can, been going through a lot these past few months and trying to make sense of everything around me, I also want to have this be an open space for us to talk, I want to face my depression and anxiety head on here, I want to share as much love as I can through these words. Thank you for reading and until the next time, keep chasing the storm. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Wytches Be Like...

Pledged is Pledged...

And that's a wrap on the first chapter of Wytches from Scott Synder and Jock, a tale of a family trying to survive and escape a dark curse of sorts. And after 6 issues of cliff hangers and jaw dropping moments after another, I've got to say Wytches #6 really does a hell of a job wrapping it all up and at the same time leaving you ready for more, the story will continue and I can't wait to see where it will go next. From the first issue, Wytches was able to create a sense of horror and mystery, the stories main characters were also good people you wanted to see get out of all of this alive. in Charlie, you see the struggle of a father who is trying to do best for his daughters and you see Sailor, a kid trying to make sense of everything that is going on. But you get the feeling of family, you see how together they are able to overcome any challenge in the past. But unfortunately for the Rook family, this challenge has tons of sharp teeth and is hungry. And once you are pledged, you are marked until they get you. So what can you do to escape an inescapable fate? We see that here in this issue and plenty more, so let's get to it, we are looking at Wytches #6 from Image comics.

So in the final chapter of this first arc, I felt that we do get some answer to a lot of the questions from the previous issues and a few unanswered ones as well, which is good though, we need reasons to come back for issue 7. There was a very cool book end effect with one of the first scenes from issue #1, that was actually really well done because I had no idea that the scene was going to important, I thought it was showing the viciousness of the wytches. Well it did do that as well, a two for one if you will. This is just an example of all the things done right in Wytches, every issue has been solid in writing and in the art department, being able to take a unique story and bring it to life like this should be the goal of all comic book creators. Synder creates a scenario that is horrifying and scary but doesn't feel over the top or ridiculous. The fear is real enough like a good urban legend, the kind of stories that really mess with your head, are there really creatures waiting to eat me in the woods? Maybe or maybe it's all in your head. And with Jock, his art is able to convey the same feelings of fear and the unknown. Some pages look like a drawn out nightmare and they look incredible, Jock has an undeniable style that his own and it works perfectly for this story. These two have made an incredible run so far and I hope they continue on until the story is finished. 

This is a highly recommended title for all horror comic book fans and even those who are just looking for something new to read. What I love most about Wytches in general is that it has a very Silent Hill feel to it, a psychological horror if you will. And I don't know about you guys, but that is probably my favourite kind of horror. So I highly suggest everyone gives this book and series a read as soon as you can, I have heard they are going to make a TV series based on Wytches, which I hope is on the ball and as good as the book. Unless you are a little kid or don't like scary things at all, I see no reason why you shouldn't be reading Wytches.

But I ask, have you guys read Wytches? And if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message over on Twitter (@ChileanStorm) and let's talk some Wytches. I had a pretty bad start of my week, I think I got food poisoning or a flu or both, not to mention my whole body felt like dry broken bones, so I am trying to change things up in my life, cutting back on the junk food and going to bed early to get 8 hours of sleep. Also got to get more active and moving more and what not. And you should as well. Take it from me, I am 28 and just some days ago I felt like I was 45, I was sore and hurt all over. So please take care of yourselves. You are important. But that's all the time I have for now, plenty more comic books to catch up with and share with all of you lovely little storm clouds. Until then, keep chasing the storm! 

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Torment Legacy

You know what book I had not read in ages, for like the longest time, Todd McFarlane's Spider-man. And don't sit there like you don't know what book I am talking about, this is without a shadow of a doubt one the most famous comic books of all time. Is that an exaggeration? Not really, the success of this book, along with Liefeld (X-Force) and Lee (X-Men), they were able to change the comic book industry as we know it today. If you haven't seen the Image Comics documentary, it is an absolute must watch, even if you aren't that into comics, go and watch as soon as you can. That being said, I found this book in my collection and decided to give it a read again, see what it was all about. I remember hearing a lot of negative comments about this story, Torment, a story with Spider-man taking on The Lizard in a very gritty fashion. But I wonder, why can't Spider-man be gritty? I mean his enemies want to kill him, not slap him on the wrist. His first love was killed by a psychopath in a goblin suit, he then sold his marriage to the devil. How is Spider-man free from the gritty? While I see that tons and tons of kids love him and that's great, but kids also love Batman. And Batman is the undisputed king of grit. While I don't suggest every superhero go down the path of the Dark Knight, I do want to say that if you can do it right, all power to you. Spider-man Reign gets slammed so much by critics and fans, but I thought it was an incredible story with some of the greatest Spidey moments I have ever seen. If busting out of a coffin in the classic red and blue tights doesn't get your comic book blood pumping, nothing will. And so, if this is going to be a dark trip into the world of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-man, well so be it. And with that, let's take a look at Todd McFarlane's classic, from Marvel comics Spider-man issue 1. 

Can we at least all agree this is the best looking Spider-man cover of all time though? It is absolutely iconic and eye popping, all those webs and spiders crawling all about and the hero right there in the middle of it all, looking better then ever. And yes back in the 90's there was a crazy trend that everything was going to be a collectors item in time and yes this cover had a couple of different styles, like the gold one or the black and white one. But still, this image is so incredible you can't be mad. How many fans have created fan art based on this cover? This has got to be a requested commission recreation on sketch covers at conventions for sure. Not to mention the amount of times the pose has been used for other books, it was even used later on a Spawn cover as well. But yeah, I love it. When I think Spider-man, I think of this cover.

Okay, so the actual book and all.  

Well while I admit it isn't the deepest piece of literature I have read, after going through it, I don't think it needs to be. Now keep in mind, McFarlane wrote and drew this book. But clearly he is an artist first, writer second. But he does have some good ideas and does a different take on this classic hero, this is a Todd McFarlane Spider-man for sure. And of all the villains he could have picked, he made a really interesting one with The Lizard. For the longest time, Lizard would crawl about and attack people but not really do too much damage, and you felt sympathetic for this character. After all, Doctor Connors isn't able to control his alter ego. But here we get a violent, hungry and gory Lizard, and it's pretty cool. So the while the writing does leave more to be desired, the ideas are really good and thanks to the art, ideas may be enough. The art in this book looks absolutely stunning, this was done well over 20 years ago and still looks as good as anything being done today. Say what you will about the man, you can't deny the absolute talent he has. The details in the webs, the way Spider-man moves through the city sky, even the look of all the people in New York, everything is brought to life in a way only a comic book can do. I highly urge to look through this book and tell me what you think, take in all the lines and all the action going on in each panel and tell me you don't see how an artist was able to change the comic book world. Spider-man will always be a cornerstone to the legacy of McFarlane and comic books as a whole. 

Is this book getting a pass to gold on it's art alone? Yeah I would say so. But also on how it change the game forever. You have to remember, Marvel doesn't just let anyone work on a Spider-man book, let alone write and draw one, unheard of. So this will probably be something we may never see again. But look, this is just what I think, it goes without saying that you can only take it for what it is, nothing is absolute. So what do you think about this issue? Do you see more warts and flaws, things I missed. Leave a comment below and let's talk comics. Well that's all I've got for today, going out to Brampton tomorrow, going to be doing a show for Pride Week over at Stadium Comics! Check out the details, here! And if you get a chance come down and get some art from me and Toby! That's right the worst guys will be there, so don't miss out. I should try to get some sleep now, until then guys keep chasing the storm!  

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Great Scott Avengers...

Okay that was a really bad title, but I swear it does relate to what goes down in this comic that I am looking at today. It was either that or "That Time Iron Man was Turned into a Naked Killer Robot Lady". You know we all have that one that got away, an idea that at the time might have been awesome, especially if everyone was passing around some green and/or booze was involved, but once done and finished is actually a pretty terrible idea. Kevin Smith did it with Tusk, and I have to say Brain Michael Bendis would probably want to take this one back. Or not, he makes millions, so f*ck you. I have to believe anyone who makes boat loads of money today can look back and not really care about past mistakes or flops along the way. But if I am wrong, that would totally be cool. (After all, Mark Wahlberg knows The Happening was awful) Regardless, I can't help but feel like this arc in The Mighty Avengers is one that most comic book fans want to bury and forget about for sometime. And here I come like a grave digging jerk face to bring it back into the light and talk about it. A book with a new team of heroes after a massive world event like Civil War against a classic Avengers foe like Ultron, how can you mess that up? And is it really that bad? Even a strange plot can have some great moments and is worth another look. So with that said, let's take a look at The Mighty Avengers issue 2 from Marvel comics.  

From the creative team of Brain Michael Bendis and artist Frank Cho, we get a new team of Avengers. Though some may call them the "sell-outs" Avengers team, this is the team that sided with Iron Man during Civil War, the other team of cool kid "rebels" Avengers became the New Avengers. This is still a very strong powerhouse team, led by Ms.Marvel, with Iron Man, Wasp, Black Widow, Wonder Man, Sentry and Ares. You would think this team could handle practically anything, and then Iron Man gets turned into a naked robot chick who looks exactly like Wasp...because creepy. Yeah, that goes down in issue 1 and issue 2 picks up right there, Mole Man and his critters are also there but they run away pretty quickly as soon as the shit hits the fan. We see a bunch of flashbacks to the recruitment of most of the team members, except Ares, who actually is probably the most curious one of them all, being a God and all that. And the team is trying deal with the now naked lady Iron Man villain that they are trying to take down and figure out what the waffle is going on. Though Janet has an idea about what they might be dealing with, it becomes clear by the end of the book. But we get to see plenty of Avengers tossing about and being thrown all over the place, good times. 

So let me make one thing clear here, Bendis and Cho are very talented individuals, that really goes without saying. And who could say otherwise, unless your Joe Quesada or Jim Lee, you don't really have a platform to dump on anyone making money in the industry. Anyone who makes it, is there for a reason. That being said, do I feel like this book and this particular arc is pretty weak all things considered. While some really interesting stories were going on in New Avengers, which Bendis was handling at the time and planting seeds for Secret Invasion, this feels like it needs to be strange for the sake of being strange. Can you just have Ultron come back and wreck some havoc, just like that. Sure, why not? I know you always need to up the ante, but this just comes as a little forced. Shock for the sake of shock, no substance. And comics do this all the time to stir the pot, I get that. But after the shock is gone all that is left are feelings of embarrassment and sadness. These are the books that become ghost stories of stupidity, like no one would actually do that in a comic...would they? Yeah, they would. Could this same story have been done properly? I think so. This Ultron here feels like a killer sex alien. Instead you could've had the bad robotic villain waking up as Janet and believing that it is Janet, not Ultron. A sleeper agent, a wolf in sheep's clothing. You work an angle of mistrust and confusion in the team, and have them conquer Ultron and grow as a team overall, especially if this is the first challenge for The Mighty Avengers. Just an idea, but you get the point. 

This is one of those if you happen to find it at a good price, check it out, but you know be warned. But if you are a pretty new to comics, you'll probably want to read something that isn't so bizarre. This is the comic book your librarian warned you about. 

And just like that, another book reviewed and gone. Feels good to be writing again, had to get that out of my system. There is actually a lot I want to talk about recently, been going to therapy and been looking around for a new job, all the while doing my best to bust out as much art work as possible while trying to learn more and more art techniques. Not to mention the constant feeling that life and most people are leaving you behind, not a great feeling. But you know what, I am here now and I am going to do my best to bust out as much work as I can. It's the only thing I can do, so let's shoot the shit and talk some comics. Let me know what you thought about this issue and this run of Mighty Avengers. Are you a fan or did you hate it? Let me know in the comments below. Going to try and write something up more and more, but I might do some more personal ones, trying to make sense of it all and what not. But the Storm is back, so as I said before, stay sassy n classy and until then, keep chasing the storm.