Caution: Crawford

The Black Widow Agency has identified a connection between NoirCat and noir icon Joan Crawford.

Caution is advised. No wonder NoirCat is in hiding.

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The Night Driving Killers

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When I saw a screen shot of Night Driver it immediately made me think of the driving scene in The Killers that Jim giffed a while back. I started thinking about how to combine the two. You could use the silhouette of the car interior and the two figures as a mask, and have the game run in the windshield, but you’d have to approximate the upper outline because it’s in the shadows. I let the idea slide because it seemed like it would be better as a concept than a product.

Isabelle “Red” McIntosh of the illustrious Noir Illusions Agency captured a video of some of the gameplay, which made me rethink the idea.

I took Jim’s gif and cut it down to 9 frames. I took the Night Driver video and made a gif of it, which I then edited down to 16 frames. I resized he gif to match the pixel height of the Killers gif, then adjusted the canvas size to match. That cropped the image a bit, but that was okay. In my Night Driver gif, I inserted a new layer above each existing layer, so I had 16 layers of Night driver interspersed with 16 blank layers. I copied each layer of The Killers and pasted them in order in the Night Driver. Since that had double the number of layers, I repeated the process. I set the blending mode of each Killers layer to darken, so the game play would come through in the light parts of the image. I set the opacity of each layer of Night Driver to 70% so the image wasn’t near-totally black. Then I merged each Killers layer down with the corresponding Night Driver layer below. I won’t go into the amount of trial and error that went into figuring the process out.

Was the end product worth the effort? Maybe, maybe not – I didn’t get enough of the game to come through to make it actually look like a game. But the process was a learning one, and that’s worth it.

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Commie?

I think some left-coast reporter has been casting aspersions on my character:

I suspect this is a deliberate misreading. As we all know, CCCP = Come Celebrate Christmas, People! There is nothing more American than that. The symbol represents the tools used by the elves in Santa’s sweatshop. Christmas is a time when all good Americans engage in the ritual retail celebration of sacrificing their hard-earned wealth in honor of corporations large and small, for their wisdom and benevolence. There’s nothing communistic or conspiratorial about the hoodie.

We do not support such things in Noir106. In the immortal words of Col. Ripper:

Amen.

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In memory of…

I have no idea what this all means…

16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Help me figure it out.

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Report from the field

cc2012 Roger from https://www.flickr.com/photos/71380981@N06/7692058706

cc2012 Roger from https://www.flickr.com/photos/71380981@N06/7692058706

As you know, I was away on a mission over the past week. My investigations took me to Portland, a town crawling with dirty hippies, people sleeping in the streets, and beggars with pit bulls. I could totally see myself living there.

Purely by accident, I uncovered some potentially important evidence. The NoirCat, it seems, has accomplices.

BookScanCenter_1They are well-armed, and appear to be quite comfortable with their weaponry.

BookScanCenter_2They should be considered dangerous. Note the threatening snarl of the one on the left:

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photos from How To Talk To Your Cat About Gun Safety (c) 2013 The American Association of Patriots http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/artist/the_american_association_of_patriots

We had been previously warned of the danger of NoirCat when someone hacked Black’s video channel a few weeks ago. The cats in the video were highly aggressive, and one had serious issues with a computer. Could it be responsible for the hacking? Or is it some kind of Luddite? It would seem that the cats are up to no good. Trouble lies at their door.

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binx

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Haves vs Wants

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NoirCat by Grant Potter and Talky Tina

One of our ds106 Noirsters regrets missing last night’s broadcast:

and it was a night not to be missed! But I think they all are. It’s like I said in our video this week – you have to listen to one show, but you WANT to listen to all of them. They all bring something different to the table, but they all have high degrees of creativity, effort and enthusiasm. And they really tie the class together.

So far, we’ve listened to:
House of Noir (Janelle, Janaye, Mariam, Rhiannon)
Noir We There Yet? (Spencer, Emily, Brenda, Barbara, Cody)
Noir D&D (Ellen, My D&D group, Jason, Maxwell)
maNOIRpulators (Amanda, Aubrey, Brianne, Kendall)
Dead Silence (Chelsea, Abigail, (#TrueCrimers #4life) Justin)
The Steadfast Sleuths (Lauren, Kim, Kayleigh)

and coming up tonight we have:
NOIR not the father (Mia, Kelsey, Cuyler, Brian)
NOIRTalk (Jonathan, Mariah, Nelia-Sol)

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Home of Elvis and the Ancient Greeks

University of Memphis writing professor Sonja Livingston sent me this clip the other day, asking for my thoughts. She was actually interested in the singer, Valaida Snow, while I was curious about the movie, Pieges, also known as Personal Column, which has something of a noir pedigree.

valaidaWe read one of Livingston’s works in our True Crime class. “Mad Love: The Ballad of Fred & Allie” was the story of a love affair in Memphis in the 1890s that ended with one woman murdered and the other committed to an asylum. That tale will be part of an anthology of the forgotten famous, which will also include Valaida’s story. A world-famous stage performer in her day, she was jailed by the Nazis in Denmark due to her Oxy addiction – a woman ahead of her time. She had been previously convicted of bigamy in the US.

In researching the clip, I found that the film was directed by Robert Siodmak, who also directed the noir classic The Killers, loosely based on the Hemingway story we read a few weeks back. We also listened to the Screen Director’s Playhouse production. I recalled the discussion at the end of the broadcast, which involved Siodmak and the two lead actors. Siodmak made a joke about being from Memphis:

Some say that story is actually true, that he was born while his parents were vacationing in the US. Others say he fabricated the story of his nationality in order to get a visa out of Germany. Either way, I’m fascinated by the way these things all come together. It’s all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.

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The mark of Cain

Inspired by Jim’s post from the other week, I picked up the EC Archives Crime SuspenStories Vol. 1. This volume contains the first six issues of the series, four of which feature stories indebted to James M. Cain. Road to Perdition author Max Allen Collins provides the forward to the volume as well as endnotes to each issue. He talks about interviewing EC author/artist Johnny Craig:

“Not being a truly literary person,” he told me in 1983, “I am not sure I ever heard of James M. Cain, though I surely must have.”

The influences for these stories were B movies and radio dramas, like what we’ve been watching and listening to in Noir106, more than their pulp predecessors. Some scenes come directly from Cain’s tales, others re-situate his model of the femme fatale. Here are a few snapshots:

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Here is a character reminiscent of Cora from The Postman Always Rings Twice

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Another Postman-inspired scene

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The opening panel gives nods to both Postman and Double Indemnity.

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The gender is switched, but otherwise derived from Postman

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Another lust-murder in the plotting…

Both Jim and I had been thinking about a EC-themed ds106. It fits in with both Noir106 and the ds106Zone, but it also connected to Hardboiled and even True Crime, although that’s a stretch.

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Guardian of the galaxy

Groom wrote about his favorite Groom art, which included Sharla’s revisioning of I Am Legend. But since I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy last weekend, I had to interpret it differently. At first I was going to use the Groot character in place of Will Smith, but I didn’t want to steal any of Sharla’s thunder by using the same poster. My next thought was to apply Groom to one of the Groots floating around online.

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Or I could take it back to the beginning with the original Groot.

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What I should do is find a way to animate it, but that seems like it will take work.

With the first image, I payed with the layer blending mode until I found one that brought in some of the color from the background layer. The image has a grayish cast anyway, so it fits pretty well. The second image came in the Index color mode rather than RGB, so when I pasted Jim’s face on it, it didn’t make a new layer – apparently Index color doesn’t work that way. Luckily the grays match, more or less. I changed it to RGB then, and did a lot of copying and pasting to change a couple Ts to Ms and to get the punctuation in the right spots. I had to look for a custom font for the big name below the title. I scrolled through Dafont until I found Marsh Thing Regular, and I used their generator to make the name, then took a screen shot and brought that into Photoshop. I changed the letters from black to white and applied a 4 point stroke, in black, to them to get the outline. I had to copy and paste parts of the hands to bring them in front of the letters. It was kinda a lot of work, but Groot is worth it.

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Tales from DS106

Jim wrote a bit about sharing comic books with his kids and talked about making an animated GIF out of one of the covers

I want to have the dude who is buried alive slamming on the coffin, need to talk to MBS about the best way to do this.

So I thought I’d give it a try. Making the arms pound didn’t seem like it would be too difficult – it’s just a matter of lassoing them and copying and pasting into a different layer. The one in the foreground I did in two parts, forearm and upper arm, and the other arm I did as a third layer. I used the move and rotate functions to shift the arm positions a little, and made my two animations frames – one as is and one with the arms moved. I decided his head should move as well, so I did a copy-paste-rotate job on that too. I copied some of the coffin behind his head and used it to cover up the background layer, so you wouldn’t see both when it moves. This is the hard thing about animating comic book covers – fixing the background bits. I didn’t do it with the hands because I was hoping the double image would contribute to the illusion of rapid beating. I was wrong though, so I had to work on it some more. Then I decided to follow John Johnston’s suggestion about the three hosts in the circles. After doing that, I couldn’t leave “Crypt” in the title. The problem there was finding the right typeface. I’ve seen one with wedge-shaped characters that I might be able to modify, but I don’t have it on my laptop. So instead I looked for a Tales from the Crypt font online and used what I found. It’s not even close, but it doesn’t really have to match anything so it sort of works.

talesfromds106

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