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A Fascinating Look at Trona, CA from Two Very Disciplined Filmmakers

For the last year, filmmakers Alex Jablonski and Michael Trotten have made one short documentary film every month -- twelve in all. They were inspired by a musician friend who consistently released one album a month for several years. It sounds insane, but the films are quite good, and beautifully shot, and often moving, so the proof is in the pudding. Totten says, “In the past I’ve let this idea of ‘I don’t have the right money or equipment or subject matter’ prevent me from moving forward. Sparrow Songs has taught me to get rid of the idea of perfection because it doesn’t exist." I think that's something a lot of creative people would do well to take to heart.

The final doc of the twelve-film cycle, "Fall Comes to Trona, CA," was just released, and it's a really nice portrait of a town I visited and became totally fascinated by last year, when I took pictures there for one of my strange geographies columns. It's a hot, bombed-out-looking place that's closer to Death Valley than a major city. It has the country's last in-use dirt football field, which it turns out is kind of the heart of the town. It's impossible to pass through Trona without wondering why on earth people live there -- which is exactly what this documentary sets out to discover.

Sparrow Songs - Episode 12 - Fall Begins in Trona, CA from Sparrow Songs on Vimeo.

If you liked that, check out all the other Sparrow Songs.

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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