2017: A Look Ahead

2016 is near its end or it’s over based on when you read this. It was a rough year in many respects, but it gave us a ton of excellent pop-culture. 2017 as of now promises to do the same. There’s SO much to look forward to. To list it ALL would take forever so I thought I’d just focus on a few things here and there.

NETFLIX is hitting hard with a multitude of shows debuting or returning. Amongst them:
Degrassi: Next Class Season 3 – Available January 6, 2017.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1 – Available Jan. 13
Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1 – Available Feb. 3
Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1 – Available March 17
Sense8: Season 2 – Available May 17
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later- Date TBA

In terms of Network television I can highly recommend the 12th and final season of BONES on FOX premiering Jan 3rd. I’ve seen the first three episodes and they are very hard to comment on without spoilers, but plot twists, reveals, robots and one of the greatest actors of any generation Hal Holbrook are involved.

The reimaginging of the L. Frank Baum saga by Matthew Arnold finally happens with David Schulner (creator of Do No Harm) and so far poorly reviewed but keeps getting work Tarsem Singh at the helm. If anything NBC’s Emerald City looks like it’ll be definite event TV or fail drastically and get cancelled before all 10 episodes even air. One or the other should be fascinating to watch.

legobatman

In terms of films I’d have to say LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is high on my anticipated list. Sure it’s not by the actual writer/directors of Lego Movie (they’re busy making Lego Movie 2) but it has a good pedigree and every teaser and trailer has me excited.

I’m also intrigued by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. For his first follow-up to Instellar to be a WWII flick is fascinating. It’s also his first SOLO project since Inception as brother Jonathan was busy creating and developing the excellent Westworld. Equally fascinating is the amount of work put into this film. It’s not a remake of the late 60’s film, so it’ll truly interesting to see what stories Nolan chose to build upon to coney emotion, gravitas, and character even when the lead character is still the operation and Dunkirk itself (the film was actually filmed there).

Also pulled in by the adaptation of Dave Egger’s The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. James Pontsold makes visually enticing, perfectly paced films and chose the easiest and simplest yet not simple Eggers novels to turn into a film.

There’s a ton of amazing video games coming 2017 too but this site is still without an XBoxOne or PS4 so the focus is on PC games but those that will not require a $5000 rig to run.

First up on the excitement board is Full Throttle Remastered the next rebuild of the classic Lucasart’s games designed by Tim Schaeffer which Double Fine was able to get the IP rights back for. I’m really curious to see how they update some of the worse parts of the game like the combat and the maze puzzles. I’m not completely sold on the art actually but I’ve been happy with DF so far, so I’m in.

Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 3: A New Frontier (First Chapter out, but the rest hits 2017) is awesome. I already reviewed it and I’m excited for the rest.

thimbleweedAlso excited for platform point & clicker A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
Third person action adventure co-op player TROLL AND I.
2-D Shooter with old school animation CUPHEAD.

and most especially, Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox and teams’ THIMBLEWEED PARK, the pixel point & click dream of a game I think many thought Broken Age would be. I loved Broken Age, always will, but Thimbleweed Park is looking bigger and better then I ever imagined it could be. I didn’t get to back when I wanted to, but I wouldn’t been able to back what I wanted anyways. This is probably number one on my experiences for 2017 I look forward to.

There’s a share of BOOKS coming out as well.

First up two genius female writers tackling heroes from Marvel and DC.

Shannon Hale (with Dean Hale) does The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Meets World and Gwenda Bond comes forth with a third in her awesome Lois Lane series with Tripleflaminglips Threat.

There’s a really cool STEVEN UNIVERSE ORIGINAL GN coming out called TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL by the show’s co-creator Ian Jones-Quarterly, Jeremy Sorese, Asiey Barbie and Josceline Fenton

Michael Crichton’s never before published posthumous novel DRAGON TEETH comes out May 23rd. It’s a Western during western times but about dinosaurs!

Neil Gaiman ventures into both old and new territory retelling the tales of Odin, Thor, Loki and more in NORSE MYTHOLOGY scheduled for February 17.

George Saunders first ever complete novel, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO comes out February 14In music I’m mainly excited for one album.

The new The Flaming Lips titled Oczy Mlody. AFAIK I believe I’m seeing them live in March as well so that makes 2017 awesome.

2016: The Year That Was (Making The Best of a Bad Thing)

2016 isn’t over but it will be soon. It’s been a really rough year for many folks, for pop-culture, for the world as a whole. Yet, many of us still stand and we can’t just stop. We must keep going. On that fact I want to reflect on the good things that happened in 2016. For myself, for my friends, for pop-culture, so I’ll do my best. In terms of movies, TV and music I’ll only mention those that were at least from my view less mixed and truly favorable opinions of what was delivered and even if some mixed what I felt were a really nice thing to make 2017 look happy and smiley. These are incomplete lists, not definitive and just trying to capture some of the good in such a bad year. This also was an incredible year for professional wrestling. From debuts, to folks making it to a bigger show, to smaller shows becoming bigger, it truly was way too many grand things to truly list.

MOVIES (this list should probably be longer, but I’m way too critical and also have not seen many of the films being given FYCs for Awards)
Zootopia
Deadpool
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Kubo and the Two Strings
Hardcore Henry
The Jungle Book
Zoolander 2
Captain America: Civil War
Keanu
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass
The Secret Life of Pets
Nerdland
La La Land

TELEVISION (both Network, Cable, and Internet)
Mr. Robot Season 2
Gravity Falls – “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls”
Regular Show in Space
Grease Live
The Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Trial
Westworld
Suits
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Elementary
The DCTV CW Crossover (and all of Supergirl, Flash, Legends… only some of Arrow)
Luke Cage
Shut Eye
Fuller House
Preacher
Blindspot
Gotham
Timeless
Lucha Underground
Devs Play by Double Fine X 2 Player Productions
The Venture Bros.
Braindead
Planet Earth II
Dreamcorp. LLC
Royal Pains final season
Steven Universe
Blunt Talk
Girl Meets World
Degrassi: Next Class

MUSIC (This is way more a personal thing)
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
Sixx A.M. – Prayers For The Damned and Prayers for the Blessed
Lady Gaga – Joanne
Panic at the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
Miike Snow – iii
Sia – This Is Acting
Animal Collective – Painting with
Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello
Pet Shop Boys – Super
Travis – Everything At Once
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
Sabrina Carpenter – EVOLution
Waterparks – Double Dare
David Bowie- Blackstar
DNCE

VIDEO GAMES (again this is personal and to stuff I played & loved and stuff I wish I gto play but didn’t have the console of required PC power)
Oxenfree
Not A Hero
Uncharted 4
Firewatch
Amateur Surgeon 4
Batman – The Telltale Series
Slayaway Camp
Dots and Co.
Watch Dogs 2
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Samorost 3
Quantum Break
The Final Station
Dishonored 2
Headlander
Kathy Rain
The Witness
Small Radios Big Televisions
Mother Russia Bleeds
The Banner Saga 2
Quadrilateral Cowboy
This is the Police
No Man’s Sky
Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre
Obduction
Mafia III
Let it Die
The Last Guardian
The Walking Dead – The Telltale Series: Season Three
INSIDE
Yakuza 6

COMICS (this is personal as because of limited funds and the higher cost of comics while pay checks stay the same I don’t get to read as much as I like these days and hence do not get Previews to explore independents more then I’d like)
West Coast Avengers
Howard the Duck
Future Quest, Wacky Raceland, The Flintstones, and even Scooby Apocalypse (the HB reboots)
Sugar & Spike-Metahuman Investigator from Legends of Tomorrow
The Adventures of Miru
The Twilight Children (Darwyn Cooke’s final published to date interior art work)
CAGE by Genndy Tartovsky & Stephen DeStefano
Superfuckers Forever by James Kochalka
The Red Hook by Dean Haspiel

and here’s a few PERSONAL highlights for the author of this (me)
Kaiju Big Battel with Liza followed by FTW Wrestling where I hung with the workers during. Saw Scotty Too Hotty do the worm.
Day out at mall in CT with mom, Al’s and Al’s family.
Becki’s Moving Party.
Passover with mom, Al and Al’s family.
Mike and Lauren moving into a house.
Trip to Philly with Nick and Terri.
Best man at Nick and Terri’s wedding.
Guns n Roses: Once in a Lifetime with David S.
Tarin becoming a full fledged hairstylist.
Hanging out with Brad at my place and his place and other places.
Hanging out with David at his places, other people’s places, parties, events.
Robots Will Kill 15 Year Anniversary.
Ad Hoc 10th Anniversary party.

Here’s hoping 2017 will be better in the ways that 2016 was not and that in terms of pop-culture things will continue to be excellent.

BEA 2016: What I’d Get If I Was There

I won’t be able to attend BEA this year. I could not expense for airfare to Chicago as well as hotel near convention center + expenses for 3-5 days, not to mention whatever the costs even with book rate to mail all the following books I’d want (and more) back to NYC. That didn’t stop me from imagining if I was there and writing a little bit of stuff I think folks going should be aware of.

I’m not dropping table numbers or times, if you’re going to BEA you can go the website, log in and use my info that I spent time on to just create your own itinerary  of people who will be there that I want to meet, meet again, and get their latest work in some format.  The list is focused on what I like personally but I like a lot of things so there should be something,.

So without further to do:

Jeffrey Brown, the cartoonist behind many an awesome comics including Bighead and Incredible Change-Bots but who really blew up with his Star Wars humor books debuts the first full length edition of his new series Lucy & Andy Neanderthal.

Jay McInerney (most famous still for Bright Lights, Big City but has six other novels and tons of colums) with Bright, Precious Days… a follow up to The Good Life. (also scheduled to come out in August)

George Saunders, the noted essayist with his DEBUT novel Lincoln in the Bardo, not coming out till Feb 2017. There’s lots of books I’d want at BEA, but this to have in hand so early AND to meet Saunders? *sigh *

Gene Luen Yang with a second Secret Coders book. Really fun stuff here.

Eoin Colfer‘s IRON MAN aka Iron Man:The Gauntlet scheduled to come out in October and which has been a very hyped book makes it ARC debut and Eoin will be in attendance to sign too. The Gauntlet seems like a great read.

Bill Ayers, former member of the weatherman group, professor and political activist will be there with his latest Impossible! A Radical Manifesto.

Aaron Reynolds, a great Children’s book author gets teamed up with awesome artists always, for his next book coming out and presented at BEA, President Squid, he worked with Sara Varon, so totally a picture book I’d be happy to own.

Skottie Young will have the collected I Hate Fairyland Vol. 1 that he’ll be signing. I LOVED this book in floppy. To have a collected edition with probably a little sketch in it too? But again alas.

Here’s a major one, Ransom Riggs, author of Pecular Children (also a major upcoming film) will be there with upcoming hotly anticipated Tales of the Peculiar. An awesome side book.

Judd Winnick, of Marvel comics, Frumpy the Clown, Barry Ween fame will be at the Expo promoting book two in his awesome HILO series.

Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close will be there with his latest Here I Am scheduled for a September release.

Kenny Loggins, the musician extraordinaire has turned Footloose into a a children’s book.

Raina Tegelmeier, the artist/writer of Smile, Drama, and Sisters brings her latest Ghosts, which comes out in September.

Dav Pilkey, of Captain Underpants fame, brings the latest side comic “created by George and Harold” with Dog Man scheduled for August.
Matthew Reinhart, king of the pop-up, tackles LEGO in his latest which comes out September.

Box Brown, cartoonist of Andre, Legend, Bellen and more, tells another comic book story of a major icon with Tetris! Out in October.

And as a final note, on an Author stage:

Berkeley Breathed, the Bloom County cartoonist, collects the NEW strips and presents them in a talk with Scott Dunbier.

All of you going to BEA who read this.  Have fun.  Those of you in my place, well, there you are.

BATTLING BOY is truly an epic!

Paul Pope has done some awesome comics. Some of my favorite comics of all time actually. From his beginnings of Sin Titulo to the magic of THB, his mainstream work with an issue of the long lamented Spider-Man’s Tangled Web to his amazing Batman: Year 100 I was riding along. I was fortunate along that ride to have met him and spent time with not just as a fan but as an acquaintance and colleague so while we joke about it all the time, we go way back. It was things like his issue of SOLO and the 2007 PulpHope collection that cemented as a lifelong fan.

In 2012 though I saw a side of him I never realized existed. His work has always been dark, maybe even depressing and definitely adult. That year though he actually contributed a charming tale to the Adventure Time comic from BOOM! Kids which showed me he had heartwarming sensibilities that were still decisively Paul Pope.

Now with the upcoming BATTLING BOY (October 9th, 2013 with a a premiere release days later at New York Comic Con) he has shown me what charming, all ages work from Paul Pope can truly be with original characters, fisticuffs, fantasy, magic, and even sexiness in an accessible way while keeping that trademark style of heavy black inks, intricately detailed designs and just over the top weirdness.

BATTLING BOY seems to be telling two stories in one, but truly it is just one large story about that coming of age which can occur at various ages and for a variety of reasons.

Before we even meet the  eponymous character at around what would be around the 10th page of issue 2 if this was released as a comic instead of a GN we meet a ton of characters, but most importantly a girl who soon has to grow up faster than she ever planned to in the most tragic of circumstances. One who feels she is both more than ready and who will never be ready for the challenges about to come her way. The city/world that BATTLING BOY exists in is fraught with danger, monsters, creatures, and even cosmic gods. Aurora West and her travails and tribulations are as important here as the ones we soon meet with the young Battling Boy. This lead character is from a lineage of warriors who force their young men to start adulthood early and possibly too early, but this is their way and it always has been. I almost feel like despite the very appropriate material for ages 10 & up that Paul is putting a little commentary in here. He could just of been influenced by some of the the greatest science fiction and fantasy novels of all time, but those themselves were social commentary.

What is so wonderful about BATTLING BOY is that as Paul intercedes this two young lives together with believability and a proper pacing, he also gives us insight into the everything surrounding them. We get an understanding of the government, the situations that the soldiers must deal with in a city under constant monster bombardment and we even peek into the minds and social lives of the evil ugly baddies at their secret shared watering hole.

On top of all that is the battle scenes. These are some of the best battle scenes ever. It helps that Battling Boy has a cool power associated with character shirts. It’s some really more hinted at in this first volume but knowing Paul it’ll really come to a head in the second. Luckily, based on my last conversation with Paul (at a watering hole actually) he’s deep into that second volume with even longer, better, crazier battles and I’m sure more of that great character and story.

BATTLING BOY is a hit out of the ballpark, grab it on October 9th at your local comic or book store (softcover $15.99/hardcover $24.99_ or if you’ll be at New York Comic Con grab it from First Second and since you’re in town head out to Society of Illustrators on October 11th for a special Paul Pope/Battling Boy event. Check out their site for more information and if you head to the Battling Boy book site you can also order the book there and see a preview from Issuu.

THE FIFTH BEATLE shall rocks your socks…and more!

At Book Expo America 2013 I had the privilege and pleasure to sit with Entertainment producer and the writer of the upcoming (November 19th 2013), THE FIFTH BEATLE, Vivek Tiwary. Since then I have expectantly watched the news and excitement for the forthcoming Dark Horse book with baited breath. I have also unfortunately sat and then lost my notes from my short but insightful talk.

Here as best I can are portions of that talk to show how much this is truly Vivek’s labor of love and a book all fans of comics, The Beatles, music, life, biography or more would appreciate.

It was always designed and conceived as a graphic novel and Dark Horse was one of the earliest and therefore first to sign it on concept, with it being in production now between research and art for around three years. Vivek  traveled to England and visited Liverpool, as well as the estate of Brian Epstein to truly understand the man as best one could.

Brian Epstein lived in a time when being who he was and equally being successful were quite an accomplishment. To be homosexual in a time when it was actually a crime, forcing him not just to be in the closet, but with no choice but to be, but to also be a Jew, as well a very liberal individual in political views was just not done. Epstein did do it though, while also being a very successful music manager. Not just for The Beatles but for Gerry and The Pacemakers, as well other notable acts. Of course none of them as big as The Beatles, but not many acts were bigger than The Beatles till stupid things like American Idol & Glee came along and that’s just not a fair comparison.

This book won’t be about The Beatles though, despite them being an integral part of Brian’s short life, it will truly be about Brian and pieced together in an exciting way featuring beautiful painted artwork from Andrew Robinson. As a comics artist I best know Andrew for his Image series Dusty Star but he’s also a great painter and he’s combing his sequential skills with his illustration to create some amazing pages.

One of the more interesting aspects of Brian’s life that I believe Vivek is going to focus on are his difficulty at being able to actually have a lover, not because of it being taboo, but being an actual crime to open. He’ll also touch upon some of the rumors and made critical, but basic decisions based on discussions he had with friends and family. A lot of the information he used also exists on the bibliography on the main site for the book, but he states that many of those books are not enjoyable reads and/or are out of print and hard to find. This comic book will also allow a whole new unexplored demographic a chance to appreciate Brian Epstein and his amazing story.

 

THE FIFTH BEATLE will be released in three editions.

A regular edition (although hardcover and oversized) for $20. A collector’s-edition with a textured cover and a bonus section with memorabilia, artist sketches, and alternate covers for $49.99 and a limited edition (1,500 copies) features a signed tip-in sheet and a special slipcase, for $99.99. I’d state that the best, complete version shall be the $50 edition. Although the $20 will give you the complete comic which also includes a Beatles cartoon inspired 9 page section drawn by Kyle Baker.

To end with, here’s an awesome trailer put together for the book.

 

THE FIFTH BEATLE Graphic Novel Trailer from TEG on Vimeo.

Convention Season Catch-Up-Part One (Asbury Comic Con)

As you saw on this website prior to both the Asbury Comic Con and MoCCaFest I wrote preview articles, but I have yet to go back and actually do follow ups and I it’s high time I do that as best as I can.

On the train to Asbury I got lucky enough to end up sitting next to two guys who would actually be tabling with their comic FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE. Co-writer Mike Isenberg gain me issue 1 gratis and like a good drug dealer who knows his product is quality I ended up buying issues 2 & 3 later on at the show and am on board for anymore they release.

When I arrived in Asbury I had no clue where to go so I followed a bunch of folks who were heading in the direction of the con. I knew they were headed to the con because I was following a bunch of cartoonists I knew from conventions. Once I had my bearings I decided to walk around Asbury itself and discover the place.

I saw a bunch of restaurants I wanted to try out if I ever come back. I also found the graffiti and a few stores, although most were closed. There’s also a pinball museum/arcade and a few abandoned spots. Asbury is just an amazing spot. It also has The Stone Pony, which I had totally forgotten.

After I had looked around for a reasonable time I headed over to the show. The Asbury Convention center is a nice sized place. I could see wrestling events, basketball games, concerts, etc, doing really well there. I never made it across the street to the bar where the panels were because the convention was way larger than I expected. It wasn’t just the main floor with vendors, indie folks and the legends together, but in what would be considered the hallways to reach the other levels, tables lined the walls of various indie artists and creators. There was a lot to experience in it all and it was quite exciting actually. I actually ended up buying way more books than I planned on and I got a lot of nice sketches and saw people I totally didn’t expect to.

Puck & Wendigo from behind by Mike Dawson, inspired by his Ink Panthers broadcast

Eventually I felt con exhaustion hit me and I wanted to explore Asbury a bit more as well and since I was going to get a ride back into Manhattan, I had to grab the 2 hour trip back on the train.

Next year they’re planning on making Asbury 2 days. I hope they see about it maybe being during the summer months as well maybe. I could totally see myself coming in on a Friday afternoon and leaving Sunday with a fully full Asbury experience. Hopefully shared with a special someone.

The Convention Season Looms in Spring

As March roles around in 2013 it’s a time of lots and lots of action and adventure on all my favorite pop-culture fronts.

I don’t get to enjoy all of them, being conflicts, financial issues, whatever, but they’re there for the taking.

For the video game lover you have PAXEast which is quickly followed by the Game Developer’s Conference/Independent Games Festival and there’s also E3 (yet that is an industry only event).

For the wrestling fan, the weekend of April 5-7 is big for anyone willing to travel to NYC/NJ for some super craziness. It’s not just Wrestlemania weekend. That show brings with it a sold out Ring of Honor PPV and TV taping the next day, the Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden, after parties to the Hall of Fame such as Shenanigans and MVP at Caroline’s and then there’s Wrestlecon at Meadowlands Colliseum where Chikara, Shimmer, Dragongate, Evolve, etc. are all together along with tons of legends and even Hulk Hogan to throw the best alternative to WWE ever. Although crazy rich people find a way to do everything!

I didn’t make it to PAX or GDC, I will not be at any of the wrestling stuff. I’ll be focusing on another major love of mine, comics. A lot of comics shows are going on as well.

This Saturday is the Asbury Comic Con, equally is Wondercon. The weekend after is both FLUKE and MoCCAFest. I’ll be at Asbury and volunteering at MoCCA so the bulk of this article will be focusing on those, BUT before we get to them, some quick things.

The big deal at PAX and GDC for me were DoubleFine’s first official reveal of BROKEN AGE, the game that has been in development as DFA/REDS from their big Kickstarter project which I am a major backer. I’ll probably write a ton about it eventually, but for now? Here’s the official trailer revealed to the “world” at GDC Awards and uploaded to Youtube directly after.

If I could go to Wrestlecon I’d be all over that Chikara part of it. I really want to see who Mike Quackenbush brings as his mystery partner against Shard & Jigsaw. The ROH show when SCUM should basically decimate a bunch of ROH guys should be fun too, but I can’t go… I made commitments and I’m excited for them.

If you make it out to FLUKE make a point of checking out whatever Kyle Starks has going on at his table, I’m sure whatever it is will be freaking awesome.

So coming this Saturday is the Asbury ComicCon. I have missed it when it started as just a small gathering at a bowling alley. That always sounded quite awesome, but I just never made it out there. Now it’s moved to the convention center, but is still trying to keep the just a comics con feel in a place like the boardwalk of Asbury. There’s a couple of highlights at the show and some of them share an appearance at next weekend’s MoCCaFest as well.

At Asbury there’s the official book release party/debut of the collected DEADHORSE.

As well the only east coast appearance of Box Brown for now that I know of, as he’ll be at SPOKE next weekend. Oh wait, Toronto is the East Coast.

Bryan G. Brown and Dre Grigoropol will be debuting their comic Blueberry Boy of Asbury Park, approriately relaying some experiences from last years Asbury ComicCon!

Asbury also has some amazing panels. In particular Brian O’Halloran (best known to most as Dante Hicks from the Clerks films will be sitting with Mike and Ming of Comic Book Men. Also, John Holmstrom will have a discussion with Asbury Comiccon co-promoter Cliff Galbraith. Both these panels make the entire show worth it. Yet the fact that Danny Fingeroth also has sit down sessions with Al Jaffe and Bob Camp in talk with Craig Yoe just add to it as well. Throw in a ton of creators who actually will not be appearing at any other convention anytime soon and you have what is an awesome pre-Easter (if you do Easter) event.

Head over to the Asbury Comic Con website (the link is in the words or click on that banner to your right) and get your tickets now and enjoy your Saturday, March 30, 2013, in New Jersey… of all places).

As said prior the weekend of April 6-7th, 2013 I’ll be at MoCCaFest 2013. I attempted to find out all the major debuts and such by hunting through Twitter and Google Blog search and didn’t find tons of info, but what I did shall be below. MoCCa is amazing show. This will be my 11th year attending including the one year I almost didn’t go, but went anyways. Crazy to even think that. Here’s some highlights I could find.

Peter Kuper will debuting and signing a limited edition version of his new book.

Matt Miner who recently had the successful Kickstarter campaign for his comic LIBERATOR will be around with exclusives.

Angela Rizza will be tabled with Chase Stone right where there will also be a MoCCa Art Exhibit. They made a pretty cool banner.

Rachel Dukes will have a brand new Cat mini comic

Will Laren will be premiering Slurricane #5

Jenna Trost will have a super super limited (I bet I don’t get one) handmade book of Unraveling Traveling “Never Books”.

Nate Bear and Laura G are working on some new stuff for the show.

Kat Fajardo along with the rest of Cartoon Allies of SVA will be at MoCCA with new stuff. They’re also going to be at Asbury Comic Con so, you have less of an excuse to miss them.

The same goes for Mike Dawson. Not that he’ll have anything new, but he’ll have great stuff that if you missed, get it, and also you know, tell him how great Ink Panthers is.

Oh and Claire Connelly will be at Asbury and MoCCa as well with some awesome comics.

Now I have to get myself together for the volunteer Meet & Greet for MoCCaFest at the Society of Illustrators. I’m probably more excited than I should be.

NYCC 2012: Digital is the Future- The Promise of NARR8 & Madefire

The future of comics is a precarious place, as print is still alive and well and should be for awhile, the digital format is making great leaps and bounds. From the advent of Comixology and its build in sales, not to mention Marvel’s success with their digital subscription, the winds of change have been blowing.

Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown really began the rally in my eyes of what might be possible with the digital format through their comic POWER PLAY. Although Motion comics aren’t a new thing altogether. Even before Marvel started doing their motion comics, companies like Bryon Preiss Multimedia were playing with the idea of combining sound and motion in comics and during its existence Crossgen also worked on it, but the new tablet/mobile format, as well as advances in technology has pushed things to another level altogether.

Two new companies are at the forefront of the movement, MADEFIRE and NARR8 and currently both are offering their applications, as well as their associated books for free. I attempted in speaking to PR people for both companies to get a better understanding of how they got their investment capital and what type of profit return exists in terms of the future of the business, but to no avail. Saying that I did learn a lot of other things about each company and will explain why both are worth your time and quality of life to experience.

Madefire is the brainchild of marketing genius Ben Wolstenholme, founder of Moving Brands, long established comics artist Liam Sharp and Mobile Technology/Cloud Computing Guru Eugene Walden. It features some of the most well known and talented comics creators of both recent and legendary status with features that run from superhero to noir. Some of the folks involved are Dave Gibbons, Robbie Morrison, Jimmy Broxton (or James Hodgkins as rumors state), Sheperd Hendrix, Dougie Braithwaite, Angus McKie, Mike Carey and an assortment of other folks that any comic book fan truly worth their salt should at least marginally know of. The application currently features six series, my personal fave being what is also considered their lead feature, a book based in noir, horror, and war action in a wonderful pastiche of concepts from the one non comics guy on the brand, co-founder Ben Wolstenholme (although assisted by Liam). I’m also very intrigued by the Gary Erskine illustrated sci-fi story written by former video-game producer turned comics writer W. Haden Blackman tackling his first original IP. I am hoping in the future some of Blackman’s understanding of interactive entertainment may be used in Madefire’s future. The infrastructure of Madefire as a whole is actually truly fascinating. Moving Brands unsurprisingly helped a lot with the development of the product and its marketing and there’s an awesome web page dedicated to it in their portfolio.

On the other end of the spectrum NARR8 is a complete start-up full of unknown artist studios based in Russia. The website states that the founder is Alexandr Vashchenko, with the main investor being IMI.VC and naming Igor Matshyneko, the lead at IMI.VC as the CEO of NARR8. Alexandr is also the lead at one of the main arms of IMI.VC, mobile gaming company GameInsight. This suggests to me that they are all one company under the head of very creative, intelligent men and woman with headquarters in Moscow and San Francisco. At New York Comic Con I was more than fortunate to sit with the head of public relations on Narr8’s part, Alisa Faber and get a bit of a more hands on look at NARR8 and I have to admit, as much as Madefire is awesome because of it’s immense lineup of quality ,well known creators, NARR8 ups the ante in terms of interactive application and a new way of reading comics, novels and even magazines. In terms of the magazines they have a popular science magazine titled PARADIGM and a historical one called CHRONOGRAPHICS. In this issue of Paradigm, which was the first episode of season 1 (this is how they are marking issues, as episodes of a season) it showed off the optics how different animals view the world. Through an excellent combination of animation, interaction, well-written text and fantastic photography I could see how birds, butterflies, bulls, and insects among more see with an added bonus at thend of showing how each spieces would see the same exact scene. It was both fun and informative, which can equally be said of the history magazine. In the second episode of that series, the topic is a very vast look titled “Cortez and the Conquest of Mexico” which takes both a very serious look at the history, while evoking some fun with it through very clever animations. The work is broken down into date segments and almost has the feel of when reading through those historical txts in Assassin’s Creed games where you choose to emerge yourself in the world and accidentally get educated, here you choose to get educated, but also have fun while doing so.  Below here’s some soundless video that shows off Paradigm and Chronographics “in action”, just to give you a small taste of the awesome available.  The same work and energy went into the comics I speak of the next paragraph.

The comics I got to see were Final Feat, based in mythology and JAM, which is a mangaesque story based in Video Games and also features some awesome 8-Bit music. One of the cooler features is that when you stay on a panel long enough you’ll get to see some animation and in some cases clicking on the page will show off another interactive element. This was even more clear in the two prose features I got to scope in FEAR HUNTERS and MULTIVERSE. Multiverse actually really holds onto a tried and true concept on some of my favorite sci-fi novels, the random footnote, but displaying it through much more interesting and intriguing means, such as pop-ups or video animations within the screen itself. I am highly impressed that all this work is being developed from script, to art, to technology, music and animation as well as the proprietary engine within the Narr8 page which runs the HTML 5 data or in certain cases Unity.

Narr8 will hopefully be launching sometime soon, with over 11 titles which you should definitely check all of them out. Unfortunately at launch it will only be on iPad, but Android tablets will come next, followed by mobile and according to what I see, on the website itself as well. This last one excites me personally most, as reading comics while sitting at my desk is ideal.

Teen Boat has launched and out to sea!

A couple weeks back I was happy to attend a Launch Party for the collected edition of TEEN BOAT by Dave Roman and John Green. I’ve been reading and enjoying their work separately and together since way with their book Quicken Forbidden and following through with their work in the FLIGHT anthologies, various mini comics, Agnes Quill, and much more. The party featured books, a boat, food, musical performances and fun. I filmed some of it and made a video.

MoCCA Fest 2012 – The Video!

The following video has gotten some praise and heads up from individuals involved in it and now I share it officially on my website.

I’m betting some might be curious of the musical loop I invented for this. Well, I personally titled it “The OK GO Show Around The World Raises the Banner!” Hopefully no one ever feels that I should get punished since I’m not making any money off this thing.