Confession: I’m one of those Baddicts

Baddict: fan addicted to the AMC drama Breaking Bad, the story of a wimpy teacher who becomes a drug kingpin

Hi, my name is Patrise, and I’m powerless over Breaking Bad.

(my sincere apologies to real meth addicts)

It’s a show that I never intended to watch, as the premise sounded preposterous and revolting. But at the urging of a close friend, who’s mother was besotted, I caved and watched an episode from season 2. Before long I was hoovering up season 1, craving back-story on these characters.

Early Walter White

You’ve got Walter White, the nerdy chemistry teacher that everyone underestimates, his bored, pregnant wife Skyler, her sister Marie the kleptomaniac. Marie is married to Hank, a DEA agent. Hank dares his nerdy brother-in-law to ride along on a DEA raid and experience what real men do for a living. It’s on this odd mission that Walt meets Jesse Pinkman.

Jesse Pinkman

More accurately meets him again. Jesse is Walt’s former student, who showed no particular promise as a chemist, but is now a small-time meth cook. He escapes through a window while Hank’s guys are busting the rest of the house. Walter recognizes Jesse and lets him get away. Then looks him up later, wanting to team up to make methamphetamine.

See what I mean?  Preposterous! Oh, I forgot to mention Walt has lung cancer. Which might make some kind of motivation for his sudden interest in a life of crime. Maybe.

Despite my early reservations about the subject matter, the writing and performances have kept me riveted. It’s exactly like that train wreck: you cannot look away.

Digital illustration by Denis O'Sullivan
Digital illustration by Denis O’Sullivan

The transformation of Walter from nerdy loser to risk-taking anti-hero to dastardly villain has been amazing to watch. Everyone working on this show, from creator Vince Gilligan to composer Dave Porter and everyone in between, have concocted an epic tragedy in the guise of tv entertainment.

Much has been written about this show, by critics, fans, culturati. I count 19 podcasts about the show.

As we count down to the last few episodes interest is in full flower, social media is abuzz, theories abound and amazing fan art is being created. Here are just a few of the amazing things I’ve seen around the web.

Oh, and, for the next 4 weeks, don’t call me Sunday nights between 9 and 10.

Writers on Breaking Bad

Harvard Institute of Politics: The Haunting Philosophies of Breaking Bad

Chuck Klosterman: Bad Decisions – why AMC’s Breaking Bad beats Mad Men, The Sopranos, and The Wire

The Atlantic: Walter White was Always a Bad Guy

The New York Times: Bad in the Bones

The New Republic:  the women characters of BB

Infographics:

Proximity to violence =amount of hair

Colorizing Walter White’s Decay

Fan Art:

Gallery 1988’s Breaking Bad Art Show

http://www.fadedindustry.com/art-from-fans-of-breaking-bad/

The (self-proclaimed) Best BB Fan Art (pretty good stuff)

Music:

all songs and score tracks by episode

An interview with Dave Porter, BB’s composer

Video:

Walter White actor Bryan Cranston reads “Ozymandius”

another chapter comes to an end

When the film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, opens July 15, yet another chapter of the Harry Potter phenomenon will come to a close. Just before the final book was published in 2007 I discovered an entire world of HP fans online, including lots of fan artists and writers creating fanwork in great abundance.

The desire for more of JK Rowling’s amazing world drove many of us to generate stories and images to sustain us between the books. I jumped in to the fun, experimenting with digital art, learning from my (much younger!) new friends, rekindling an interest in drawing the human form.

Portrait has always been my weakest skill, and I have been tested, mightily, trying to render beloved characters. Here are a few of my fan artworks from the Harry Potter universe:

Maiden, Mother & Crone

This painting was made for the 2009 HP Crossover Challenge, and my prompt wasShakespeare’s Macbeth. All the art I found for Shakespeare’s 3 witches were negative portrayals of witches as ugly hags, so I chose to paint the Good Witches as the Triple Goddess, and as representatives of Air, Fire and Earth (Baby Teddy and his dragon are Water)

Last Kiss

I painted this for the 2008 Lily Evans/Severus Snape gift exchange. I chose a moment implied, but not written, in the text, where Severus Snape says farewell to his childhood love, as he leaves to join Voldemort’s Death Eaters, and Lily marries James Potter. Snape holds an Aspohodel lily in his hand, significant in potion-making.

Thanks, Dad

Here’s a pastel drawing made for a fanfiction story, Light Between the Cracks and it’s sequel,  where Snape maintained a secret muggle family, along with all of his other secrets! His eldest daughter is of course presented with a Hogwarts letter when she comes of age, revealing who her father really was. Here she is, a successful Ravenclaw student, having visited her father in portrait form for some advice.