Influence Map - 2014 Picture

It's been a long while since I've done something on here, so I figured I should kick the year off by making a small influence map. A lot of these took up the latter part of 2013-2014, and there were a bunch of shoutouts that I really wanted to include but didn't have the space to.

Anyhow, here's some clarification on everything going from top to bottom, left to right:

1. Hawkeye/(Matt Fraction/David Aja)
I've personally really enjoyed Hawkeye and wouldn't hesitate at all to call it the best superhero comic of 2013, hands down. I love the art, I love the style, I love the direction, characters, everything. It's just unorthodox to work, and both Fraction and Aja pull their A-game to the book. Plus, Katie-Kate Bishop! I love Kate Bishop.

2. Breaking Bad/Walter White
Even though the TV Show just wrapped up last year, I was not in fact an avid watcher of the show and only caught it after the ending had aired. But it's had a real profound effect on how I write and create stories and characters. Just the nuances in the show itself really caught me. You see the characters go through extremes highs and lows, you see them at their best and at their worst. Everything is structured perfectly. I love Walter White so much as a character. I've also adopted "I'm in the empire business" as my new life motto.

3. Tony Stark
I love RDJ as a whole, but Tony Stark has to be the best character I've seen him play. Everything about his portrayal is perfect; the ambition, the pride, the cockiness, the intelligence. Tony Stark is one of those self-made men that people that look up to him love and people that look down on him hate. He's the posterboy of envy of the post-millennial generation, and boy do I love him for it.

4. RoosterTeeth
Everything about this company inspires me, the biggest being their ability to adapt. They started from before online content was ever a thing and now are one of the biggest independent production houses on the web. From the first episode of Red vs. Blue to the quasi-anime actionfest RWBY, I look forward to everything they come up with.

5. Futurism
This is perhaps the biggest inspiration for me (hence the size of the image). Futurism is perhaps the singular thing that I can point to that really gets me truly inspired. Technology, integration, advancement, everything about it. I love it.

6. Saga/(Brian K. Vaughan/Fiona Staples)
I can't gush on more about this book enough. Although there's a bunch of mature content you have to sift through, the end result is something indescribable. It almost reminds me of the early Star Wars, with a smelting pot of so many different genres and characters you think it shouldn't work at all, but yet it completely does. I really love how it starts with the main protagonists being a family, and not spending time with an ongoing romance. Something like that keeps this series fresh, what with the science-fantasy environment. Staples also has this uncanny ability to capture every nuance of human expression and it really shows.

7. Andrew Kim/Minimally Minimal
Andrew Kim runs a very popular design blog called "Minimally Minimal" and has redesigned a plethora of things including Microsoft's branding and the US Voting System. His blog was one of the things that really turned me onto learning graphic design, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for design process. I can't recommend it enough.

8. Avatar the Last Airbender
Perhaps the single best animated series to come out of any mainstream network in recent years, Avatar the Last Airbender is everything I've ever wanted in a cartoon. Rich mythology, tense action, dramatic storylines, dialogue that didn't talk down to kids...everything about it was fantastic and I am sorely disappointed that I missed out on it while growing up. Nonetheless, I'm a very adamant fan and look forward to the Legend of Korra coming back on air this year.

9. Ace Attorney
The best visual novel I've ever played, hands down. Ace Attorney manages to weave some of the most intriguing cases and characters together while having you take on the role of a defense attorney. It really does have the best mysteries I've ever had the pleasure of watching, and the presentation is top notch.

10. Mike Allred
I was previously on the fence on Allred's art, but his recent art on Future Foundation has really made me come around. The very bold, cartoonish look meshes well with the expression-filled antics of the smartest kids alive and his style really made the book work for me.

11. David Marquez
I love this guy's art, especially with Ultimate Spider-Man. His lineart is always clean, crisp and smooth, with just the amount of detail. It isn't too abstract, but it has a warmth to it that is more than what you consider "generic" comic book art. He also draws Ultimate Gwen. Ultimate Gwen! I can't get enough of Ultimate Gwen, guys.

12. Bionicle
This toyline impacted my childhood like nothing else, and it led me to do all kinds of things (graphic design, video production, content creation, business management) that I would have never gotten around to otherwise. I still do stuff with it on a very regular basis thanks to the guys over at The Three Virtues Podcast. I've made friends and had experiences that are unforgettable due to this toyline. It definitely has had a bunch of influence over the years.

13. The Walking Dead
I can't get over how much I love the Walking Dead. The game was one of the best games I've played in a long while. The TV Show is also great, although it has admittedly had it's up and downs. But the franchise as a whole has been doing very strong and I'm looking forward to what it can do next.

14. Mass Effect
For a while, Star Wars was my go-to science fiction universe. Not anymore. Mass Effect is one of the greatest games I've ever played. The customization, the world-building, the lore, everything about it. They were able to actually make galactic politics both integral and interesting, something that the Star Wars prequels really needed to learn from. Add to that the wide choices made available to you, alongside some of the best cast members in video history, and you have an epic that sincerely no equal. Granted, that ending was weak. But then again, Star Wars prequels.

15. Lorde
I can't stop loving her music. Seriously. While I get that a lot of people think Royals is overplayed, there's a bunch of stuff in her album that I legitimately love. Buzzcut Season, Tennis Court, Glory and Gore...I feel like she's the anti-thesis to the generic teen pop star. Granted, a lot of her stuff sounds similar, but I like the sound and it's different enough from what is considered "normal" for kids her age to make that I'll take all I can get. Glory and gore go hand in hand, after all.

16. Kris Anka
Although he's a newcomer to the comics scene, Kris Anka has been redesigning superhero uniforms for a long time over at Project: Rooftop and he's a definite pro at it. I love his art and his sense of design; they're clean and efficient, keeping in form the essence of the character while creating a very definitive look to them. He's definitely one of my favorite artists on the market right now.

Also sprite me! Because I want to be rolling out my new project soon, I thought I'd give a sneak peak.
Continue Reading: Ages of Man