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#477: Copycat

June 3, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Short one this time!

In case you weren't aware, Avatar director James Cameron "was among a group of scientists and other experts who met Tuesday with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies for a brainstorming session on stopping the massive oil leak"; he is "considered an expert on underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies," according to the Washington Post. Despite the snarky undertones of this strip, I think anyone who's read an in-depth interview with Cameron knows that the man knows his technical stuff inside-out.

Here's a decent article from Vektorrum with a little background about Jim Cameron the inventor. It notes that Cameron is "collaborating on the design and construction of a new deep sea exploration vessel that will explore the Marianas Trench in the South Pacific." Yeah, he might be worth having in the room while people brainstorm ways to fix the leak.

Dances with Wolves director Kevin Costner, for his part, was motivated by the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to help fund a consortium of scientists dedicated to developing technology that "mitigates oil-infected water before it hits the coast." He has invested $24 million of his money to help develop a centrifugal oil separator that BP says it will test soon.


So yeah! I've recently updated the Kickstarter backers, but thought I would share some of the same information for you:

Month four of the two months off from taking any other freelance work has begun, I'm sad to say. :1 As I've mentioned before, to say that I vastly underestimated how much time it would take to complete the new material for the book is a big understatement. The prequel story is proceeding, however — I've got the script where I'm happy with it, and I'm starting to draw it.

I've got backgrounds dropped in for many of the pages and I'm getting the main characters in place, so that I know where I'll be dropping in the reader cameos (and other background characters). Kickstarter backers will get sneak peaks at the story, but as I've also said before, this story is exclusive to the print book, so no one's seeing the whole thing until the book is out.

Speaking of which, I am still confident that it will be in my hands (and yours, soon after) this fall, thanks to finding a US-based printer that was within my printing budget. Their significantly faster turnaround compared to the Chinese printers will hopefully balance out my own delays.

However. Since I've gone a month longer than I'd budgeted for (and counting!) with the Kickstarter project and Multiplex does not currently bring in enough money to pay all of my bills — as you can imagine, my living expenses are spreading a bit thin. Because of this, I've reluctantly added a little button for PayPal donations at the main site (as you may or may not have noticed already). For those of you who aren't already Kickstarter backers, please consider making a SMALL donation — or buying something from the Multiplex Store to help support the strip just a little bit longer. Hopefuly the print collection will make Multiplex a self-sustaining business, of course, because I would love to continue doing the strip full-time — and be able to leap straight into the second print collection. :)

PayPal donors (in any amount) will get access to an exclusive desktop picture featuring Melissa from the prequel story in a Slave Leia costume. You can see a little preview in the right sidebar, on the new PayPal donation button. It's similar to the Tinkerbell desktop pic of Sunny. It's not PG fan service, I swear — it's just nerdy! I'll update the desktop pics periodically, of course, to encourage you to keep supporting the strip.

Thank you all for reading!


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Review: Coherence (2013)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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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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