Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #2: Assimilation Squared

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured

Comic Book Heroines is a podcast featuring women reading, reviewing and discussing comic books.

 

In this One Shot, Amanda Brand offers her opinions on the Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover comic series, Assimilation Squared, published by IDW Publishing.

Click here for direct download.
Comic Art Cover courtesy of IDW Publishing

HOST INFO
Amanda Brand the comics, gaming, and sci-fi geek behind Geekphoria.net, where she writes about living the nerdy life, crafts, and conventions. She loves everything Batman, has a distinct fondness for the antihero, and will read anything ghoulish or gruesome. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Geekphoria1, and see what’s amused her today at geekphoria.tumblr.net.

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

 

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #1: Doctor Who Special

Category : Comic Book Heroines, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured

Comic Book Heroines is a podcast featuring women reading, reviewing and discussing comic books.

In this One Shot, Toni Adams offers her opinions on the Doctor Who Special series written by Paul Cornell.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Host Info
Toni Adams
 spends her days as a serious, dedicated veterinary assistant (just a inch away from becoming a licensed registered veterinary technician). She manages three local book clubs (Random Book Club, Scifi Chicks Book Club, and VF NoHo Cream Pies) and is a part of ten total book groups.

Her science fiction romance is catered by contributing to two websites: smartgirlsscifi.wordpress.com and scifiromancequaterly.com.

Her loves are further spread shamelessly across many fandoms. Her major fandom is Doctor Who but will gush endlessly about miniature gaming (MalifauxRasputina!), Magic the card game (black/white, she also hosts a monthly Boba and Magic group), anime, manga, knitting, cosplaying, crafting, and critters. Akin to finding a lotus, she discovered her first comic book heroine in Elektra while watching “Daredevil”. That led to X-23, swiftly followed by Runaways and Freshmen. Comic conventions are spent scouring the artist allies for new artists (Stuart Sayger, Jamie Tyndall, Greg Horn,Brian Kessinger), booths for new comics to love, and panels to admire more creative content.

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at podcasts@goodtobeageek.com.

Comic Book Heroines is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Comic Book Heroines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Inside Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe

Category : Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Movies, Television

Tonight Marvel Studios is taking fans inside the studio for a closer look at their cinematic universe which has attained box office success and has pop culture icons back on the big screen.

 

Courtesy of ABC

Courtesy of ABC

Marvel has seen unprecedented success, reminding comic fans why we hold characters such as Iron Man and Captain America in such high regard, as well as introducing a whole new wave of fans to these larger than life icons. Of course, Iron Man has played a big part in the success of Marvel Studios with three films to his credit and The Avengers brought their universe together and provided a spectacle on screen for audiences. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been proving they can also make it work on the small screen. Marvel Studios is looking to keep up their streak with Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters next month.

 

It is difficult to pinpoint the recipe for the overwhelming success Marvel Studios has achieved; whether due to complex character development, well-developed story-lines, or good old fashioned action. In the documentary, Marvel Studios: Assembling A Universe, the studio gives the audience a look at the story behind the studio, exclusive interviews and behind the scenes footage from the Marvel films with contributions from celebrity fans and pop culture icons.

 

Delve into the Marvel Universe tonight, March 18th at 8/7pm C on ABC. Catch a sneak peek with the video below, courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

A Dog, A Rabbit and A Stinkbug Walk Into A Strip: Mel Henze’s Gentle Creatures

2

Category : Comics, Entertain Me, Featured

It’s ritual. Almost involuntary, like whatever it is my spleen does when I’m not looking. Wake up, turn on news, make espresso, read funnies. I’m still Old School enough to prefer my funnies in the dry, gritty, analog, format of newspaper. Of course, I am no Luddite either and, as is the most convenient today, and cleaner for manicured hands, I take my funnies online via GoComics.com.

The ease and access is beautiful: funnies on my phone, funnies on my tablet, funnies on my laptop. It’s never been easier to chase friends and family around the room urging, “OMG! You have to read this one!”, almost always answered with a patient smile, a single eyebrow-lift and an obligatory, “That’s funny.” Is it? Then laugh.

Gentle Creatures artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

Gentle Creatures artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

The traditional comic strip, a linear set of panels delivering a quick, wry joke, une blague, as the French call it and which I find a much funnier word than “joke”, seems to be holding its own nicely in our contempo, digital world. Stretching as far back as the Bayeux Tapestry, I would argue, the linear storytelling model feeds man’s need for a brief, pithy respite of humour (not that the Norman Invasion was all that funny), whether on his way to a clan war in the Scottish highlands, a revolution in Yorktown or a pitch meeting on the Loews Santa Monica patio bar.

First published in a Sunday supplement to William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal in 1897, The Katzenjammer Kids, created by Rudolph Dirks and drawn today by Hy Eisman, remains America’s longest-running comic strip, still appearing in over fifty newspapers and magazines across the globe, distributed by King Features.

Like any commercial art, cartooning is a tough and tight-knit crew. Becoming an internationally syndicated cartoonist is harder than figuring out WTF happened on the final season of LOST. However, if you have tenacity, an innate sense of humour, drawing skills and a cocktail napkin, you might have a shot at the Big Time. Mel Henze had all that and now look at him. Of course, “all that” minus the drawing skills. Even he admits, “As far as the drawing goes, it’s a struggle at times. I need lessons and/or books.”

Gentle Creatures "actual submission". "Artwork": Mel Henze, image copyright, GoComics.

Gentle Creatures “actual submission”. “Artwork”: Mel Henze, image copyright, GoComics.

Mel Henze, a jovial, approachable chap who could sumo wrestle Ron Howard for the title of Mr. Nice Guy, lives the beauteous life on a quiet, wooded beach somewhere in British Columbia. He seems impervious to criticism, indeed values it, and, like any good artist, flays himself mercilessly before others can do the job. He is open to comments and questions and happy to chat with his readers; it is merited to this failing that he fell into my trap and was kind enough to allow me a brief interview about his newest strip, Gentle Creatures. Rumoured to be actually written by a chain-smoking, ex-circus clown, my due diligence has not turned up any hard evidence to this fact and it appears Henze is indeed the real creator and artist. Here’s the story he’s selling. (Caveat emptor.)

  • Gentle Creatures is the story of a fat-headed bunny named Radish Cheeseweed, his good natured but dim witted dog Jingles and their pal Cecil, an opinionated stink bug. While it may be true that the bunny-dog-stink bug combination is an age-old classic, Gentle Creatures breathes new life into the union in a way that has been seen only a few dozen times before.

A truism since we crawled out of the primordial stew and up onto Canadian beaches, the bunny-dog-stinkbug combo is timeless. In the case of GC, Radish Cheeseweed, his dog Jingles and the snarky Cecil work well together, Radish’s general beef with the universe being the swizzle stick that stirs the Singapore Sling.

Animals-as-people is also an age-old classic. Be it Snoopy, Garfield, The Far Side dinosaurs in cat-lady glasses or Get Fuzzy‘s Bucky and Satchel, anthropomorphized animals make the best friends, and comic characters. I asked Mel why we love them so.

  • I remember being drawn to Richard Scarry books as a kid. I’d spend what seemed like hours looking at how all the different animals were drawn and all the funny things they were doing. For me, it’s just something I’ve always identified with. It also makes sense from a cartooning perspective. Cranky bunny, lovable innocent dog… one is easily distinguishable from the other, even at a glance.  And they’re often easier to draw… another bonus.

If you follow the philosophical teachings of animators, Seth MacFarlane and Walt Disney have both said that the eyes, especially where animal characters are concerned, are vital to a character’s connection with the audience. Jingles’ eyes are beckoning and innocent; one wants to protect him, mostly from Radish. Academically, Mel knows this, yet is horrified to realize he has failed here, miserably.

  • Cecil has no eyes. Well, no pupils really. Wait, now that you mention it, none of the regular characters have pupils. I think [MacFarlane and Disney] might be on to something…

Not to worry, fair reader. Cecil the stinkbug might have no eyes and Jingles no pupils, but there exist other features cartoon creatures can possess, which draw them happily into our hearts and souls.

  • In terms of other features, Radish has angry eyebrows and a fat head, both of which contribute to his immediate and recognisable dislikability.

Gentle Creatures is not Henze’s first cat rodeo, although the initial, now infamous, cocktail napkin submission to GoComics, and subsequent, rough draft-feedback, suggests otherwise.

Gentle Creatures, rough draft with "editor suggestions". Artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

Gentle Creatures rough draft w/ feedback. Artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

Hubert and Abby is, in fact, Henze’s first comic strip. Before that, he was drawing single-panel cartoons and was very fortunate, via one his very first panels, to be picked up, and syndicated in the U.S. and internationally, by legendary distributor King Features (Betty & Veronica, Mother Goose & Grimm, Mutts), a unit of Hearst Corporation. Once in the club, Henze was encouraged by editors to “create a comic strip as an alternative to the somewhat flooded panel market.” Henze listened and, “a few iterations later, Hubert and Abby was born”. The lure of the panel still calls like a fat mermaid-siren in the night though, and to quell this lust, Henze occasionally designs greeting cards for Oatmeal Studios.

Henry David Thoreau suggested one write what one knows. One wonders then, like many an artist, is Henze embodied in any of his creations? Is the cranky Radish Cheeseweed an alter ego of sorts? Does Henze/Cheeseweed find daily irritation with what the inimitable writer Hunter S. Thompson called “the inchworms” of the world; or do Canadians love everybody? Might Henze be Jingles, the contented and kindly pup; or is Henze the personification of Cecil, the obdurate stinkbug? It seems Thoreau’s influence made its way into a previous, Hubert and Abby strip. (Makes sense. Most artists living in tents on secluded beaches or in lean-tos in the woods tend to appreciate Thoreau to a fault.)

  • Turtle quoted Thoreau in Hubert and Abby as having said “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion”. Hubert tested the theory with the nearest reasonable facsimile…a can of pumpkin pie filling. Like Turtle, I’m more of a pumpkin-guy myself, though I’d have to say there’s a bit of me in each of my characters. Minus the crankiness of course. 

So, back to the cocktail napkin: readers want to know … is that real? Did a famous, multi-strip, syndicated cartoonist from Canada really submit an idea in this manner? Do we blame Canada? The story goes that the muck-stained napkin was submitted to GoComics editors and the following, visceral response ensued.

There was something about it that I liked,” claimed Editor Joe. “I’m not sure if it was the kind and peaceful nature of the characters themselves, or the gentle way the interacted. I know it wasn’t the art … I mean, really.”

Was it the cranky rabbit, or did Hubert and Abby help get Henze’s lucky rabbit foot in the door? Moreover, what is the ring on said-napkin? Is it espresso, drip coffee (if so, what brew?), bean soup or maybe even a chocolate martini? Well, kids, in this GoodToBeAGeek exclusive, Mel tells all.

  • The napkin sketch wasn’t part of the original submission, unfortunately, but the idea of a submission drawn in five seconds on a (used) napkin struck me as funny. It’s also a jab at my own inability to put a decent proposal together, though it may have come across differently. I created it specifically for the GoComics launch and the stain is “simulated” coffee, thanks to photo-editing software.  I also experimented with bacon grease and tape, both of which didn’t make the final cut.

Interesting. Now that we all feel like fools, having Huzzah!ed the little guy and Fie!ed the “mean and unfair syndicate monsters” the world over who wish only to use artists’ hard-fought work for nothing more than fish-wrap, we can step back and read Gentle Creatures for what it really is: a truly funny, giggle-invoking, daily dash of happy.

How does a mere Canadian, any artist for that matter, make it amongst the ranks of Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson? Can-do, I say! I asked Henze and, naturally, he had an answer.

  • Gentle Creatures, like Hubert and Abby, started on the GoComics Sherpa site, which for me, is a great place to develop a strip.  It gave me the opportunity to work to a deadline while getting valuable feedback from other cartoonists and readers.  The GoComics editors also keep an eye on strips on the Sherpa side … sometimes you’ll hear from the pros on the GoComics side.  The very talented Ed Power, My Cage and Santa vs. Dracula [both GoComics-strips illustrated by Melissa DeJesus], was an early supporter and provided a much appreciated boost early on and continues to get the word out about Gentle Creatures.

As the convention season in SoCal starts its early rumblings, this SoCal geek girl wondered if Henze and his creatures would feature at either WonderCon or the god of all cons, San Diego Comic-Con? SDCC badges and press passes are harder to garner than a birthday party invitation from Hillary Clinton to Ted Nugent. Yet, if GoComics sponsored a Henze appearance, stinkbugs and cranky rabbits from all over the Southland would file in to get a glimpse. Henze himself is open to it all.

  • With any luck, these will be something I can attend in the future. By all accounts, they’re pretty amazing events, and a great place to meet and connect with people, and possibly introduce them to a cranky bunny, a lovable dog, and an opinionated stink bug.    

Besides stinkbugs and small mammals, Comic-Con is also crawling with cartoonists and animators of all strains and species. Henze has a bit of golden advice for the funny-page wannabes, as well as an open email box for anyone whom wishes to pick his brain.

  • If you have an idea, submit it on a napkin.  It’s funny. I really enjoy hearing from people who want to talk about their strip or mine, or cartooning in general, and welcome comments (good or bad!) to the email on my GoComics page. Happy Cartooning!

As Radish Cheeseweed’s recent hospital stay proved, no one is indispensable. Kermit the Frog and Tom Cruise, I have on good authority, are on permanent standby, just in case Cheeseweed meets an untimely end; and keeping it all in The Muppets family, Pepe the King Prawn could serve well as a Cecil stand-in. Jingles, for this reader’s worth, is absolutely indispensable. Jingles has quickly moved up my ranks to join prestigious company with Fox Trot‘s Jason and Quincy, Get Fuzzy‘s Satchel and Peanuts‘ Sally Brown. Jingles makes a sweet first-impression. Moreover, it is rumoured Jingles fancies a parasol on sunny days, much like Yours Truly. Who doesn’t love a wee dog with a pink parasol? Will Henze play God with his characters? Probably.

Gentle Creatures artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

Gentle Creatures artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

  • I hope Jingles is indispensable. As much as cartoonists describe their characters as their children, I’ve found after a few years, they’re like adult children living in your basement. You hope that someday they can stand on their own and eke out a living. Henze added, I love Pepe the King Prawn! Maybe a future cameo?!
An honourable homage! Artwork: Mel Henze, image courtesy of J.S.Devore

An honourable homage! Artwork: Mel Henze, image courtesy of J.S.Devore

Henze’s strip makes me scroll to the bottom of my personalized GoComicsPro page each morning. I am excited to learn what hay is being made in the dew-dappled meadow amidst the burbling, gurgling creek which runs through the smallish hills. (Note, GC is not at the bottom of my page as a ranking judgment; but simply because it is one of the newest I’ve added.) Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts top my list, of course. Gentle Creatures sits nicely snuggled in between Sarah’s Scribbles and Wizard of Id.

Gentle Creatures is exactly what a comic strip should be. Comic strips should make you guffaw, laugh out loud embarrassingly in public, leaving those around you at Starbucks to wonder if you’re actually reading something funny, or if they should have 9-1-1 at the ready. The funnies should make you excited to open the new strip every day. They should make you get up from your seat and force everyone else in the house to read it, too, whilst you stand there, dorky smile plastered on your face, waiting in giddy anticipation and watching their face for signs of the coming laugh, the same creeping smile and chortle the strip elicited from you. Often, this is not the case and we must retreat to our davenports (That’s what they call it in Canada, right?), tails between our legs and resume reading our beloved and misunderstood, under-appreciated comics with quieter chuckles and titters. (That’s a funny word, too. Right, Jingles?) Gentle Creatures accomplishes this, indeed.

Gentle Creatures artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

Gentle Creatures artwork: Mel Henze, copyright GoComics

Find Gentle Creatures at GoComics.com, a division of Universal Uclick, an Andrews-McMeel Universal company. Email Mel Henze at gentlecreaturescomic@gmail.com! To boot, a very special thank you to @Gene Willis @GoComics for the introduction and, especially, to Mel Henze for his time, his humour, his art and, most of all, my panel!

See you in the Sunday funnies, kids!

Follow @JennyPopNet #GentleCreatures #comics

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Jen in Pen … and Ink! Thank You, Mel Henze!

1

Category : Candid Conversations, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out

Honours come in many a form and fancy. Some strive for awards and trophies, some shoot for honorary mentions and notice. Mine, like many a dyed-in-the-wool geek is to be a cartoon character … and not via those cheesy, “Turn yourself into a superhero!” ads, the product being little more than a selfie morphed by mildly impressive Photoshopping.

No, a truly organic, artistic character is what I crave and not necessarily a Marvel-style superheroine (Although, I do envision a metal bustier, Manson boots and coal-black locks, tipped with poisonous scorpions, à la Blackbeard’s fuse-tipped curls, with which to sting villains, those being folks using “your” and “you’re” interchangeably, as well as those asking really dumb questions like, “I can never remember. Which was first? The Civil War or the Revolution?” Scorpions, dispatch with the obstuse! Away!”)

An honest to goodness Sunday funnies, cartoon character suits me raw-ther nicely. Well, my Fairy Godmother waved her wand and Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo! Unexpected and a true honour, this drawing was a thank-you from syndicated cartoonist Mel Henze, of GoComics new comic strip, Gentle Creatures. Weirdly, he nailed me with surprising accuracy! The parasol, the red shoes, the hat, sunglasses and flower! (Not the boobs, so much; but I love The Far Side approach to anatomy!)

An honourable homage! Artwork: Mel Henze, image courtesy of J.S.Devore

An honourable homage! Artwork: Mel Henze, image courtesy of J.S.Devore

I oft describe myself as Ken Burns, minus the funding. When something strikes my fancy, I write about it: Disneyland, Nordstrom, The Simpsons, Comic-Con, Colonial Williamsburg, Orange County, etc. Gentle Creatures struck my fancy and I wanted to write about it, where I scribe so often on geek culture, comics and animation: GoodToBeAGeek.com

Fortunate enough to interview Mr. Henze, I learned a great deal about his process, the maze and diligence that can lead to U.S. and international syndication and something called “panel-heaviness”. I met a wonderful little doggy named Jingles, a curious stinkbug named Cecil, learned not all rabbits are cute and cuddly and The Muppets’ King Prawn Pepe is on possible standby … for what, I’m not sure. Check back very soon for my full interview with Mr. Henze and his Gentle Creatures!

Thank you, Mr. Henze! Thank you for the introduction, to boot, Mr. Gene Willis @GoComics!

The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror: Lovecraft, Existentialism and Free Donuts

Category : Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Literature

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

- “The Call of Cthulhu”, H.P. Lovecraft

Dieticians might be shocked; fast-food might be far better for our health than previously thought. Krusty Burgers, to be specific, may very well save mankind, or at the very least, save us from a mass, alien enslavement of the human race. Yet, let’s save that for later.

Whilst each Halloween blissfully brings FOX’s Animation Domination Treehouse of Horror, this spine-chilling time of the year also brings bliss in analog format: Bongo Entertainment’s own Treehouse of Horror. (For the uninitiated, Bongo Entertainment is the comic book publishing and distribution arm of the Matt Groening empire, spawned in 1991 by the ravenous needs of Simpsons fans the world over.)

Free donuts or true love? Photo: JSDevore

Free donuts or true love? Photo: JSDevore

Narrating three spooky, Simpsons tales, similar to the televised format, Treehouse of Horror the comic book delivers a sometimes darker, more sinister version of the bright and cheery, if not ever-twisted Springfield we visit via the beloved Boob Tube. Neither a companion piece nor an official complement, the comic book may be a different beast altogether (artists, writers, creep level), but like any Simpsons offering, it is replete with academic frames-of-reference, historical nods and cerebral asides. Never one to spoon-feed the consumer mushy peas for the mind, the Groening network presumes you know a thing or two about a thing or two; and if you don’t, that’s your referential loss. Treehouse of Horror #19 is no exception.

Though each of the three tales is a stand-alone, there exists a clear theme throughout this year’s issue: World Domination. Via public school lunches or ancient, dormant overlords, be ye warned: thy cushy, quirky, sunshine-yellow life is available only for a limited time. Inspired by a 1928 short story titled The Call of Cthulhu by American horror-writer H.P. Lovecraft, the final yarn of the Treehouse triad best connects the philosophy of 1920s existentialism with our ageless Simpsons. Lovecraft’s story tells of a slumbering sea monster -part-octopus/part-dragon/part-mustachioed gentleman- at the ready for an Earth-shattering awakening, enabled by any accidental and naive repetition of a bygone curse: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. (Thank you, Bart and Milhouse.) Coming off the heels of WWI and riding the sunrise of the Great Depression, the concept of a deadly, sleeping, unseen giant must have been a useful literary tool in Lovecraft’s paranoid day.

Fitting for Halloween, the holiday’s pagan roots stretching the tissue-thin layer of protection betwixt this world and that of the spirits, Treehouse of Horror is always a full-colour, hilarious reminder of the evil that forever lurks. When the pretty, lace veil of perceived reality is finally lifted, the cavernous, black hole that is the charred face of true reality screeches her call of annihilation like a banshee in an abandoned, Irish castle. The jarring, depressing, futility of modern life exposed in Lovecraft’s stories is confirmed by the realization of a secret, malevolent, alternate universe. Lovecraft called it “cosmic horror”, this diseased and hopeless contemplation that humankind is worthless, insignificant and mindless, that the universe at large is innately hostile towards and conspiring against the very existence of the woeful human.

Writing in the first quarter of the 20thC., Howard Phillips Lovecraft was cosmically attached at the skull, like a conjoined litter of depressives, to fellow brooding, turn-of-the-century thinkers like Nietzsche, Kafka, Sartre and Woody Allen. (Okay, Woody’s quite a bit later, but you get it. Fretful, pensive to distraction and dizzied by death and dying.) What is man’s place in this mad, absurd, pointless world? Why bother? What does it all matter, when clearly we are slated for a brief, impotent sojourn on Earth, only to be ultimately condemned  to death, deterioration, desiccation and dust.

Meh. Lighten up, already! Existentialism, smexistentialism. Springfield still has Kwik-E-Mart squishees, Krusty burgers and Lard Boy donuts. Plus, it’s Hallowe’en! How bad does mankind really have it in this cruelly short, dismally-fated, rat race? Well, don’t ask Friedrich Nietzsche, ask Ned Flanders.

  • Tale No. 1: “Monster Mash-up”

Free beer and donuts vs. true love? Easy peasy call, right? Homer is lured into a haunted house by the Bacchanalian siren and finds himself accosted by a host of local characters, all morphed into classic monsters of lit and film. Krusty Hellraiser, Barney, Moe & Duffman zombies, Comic Book Guy From the Black Lagoon, and Reverend Lovejoy as Satan, of course. As a ghost-Marge entices Homer to join her in the grave, he must decide if true love or donuts and beer shall comfort his mortal soul. Plus, there are the cavity probes. You know you like it.

And this door doesn’t hold anything better! Nothing but a post-apocalyptic cityscape’s bleak nothingness of rubble and ruins. And zombies probably.    -Homer

  • Tale No.2: “Alienated”

School cafeteria lunches never tasted so good! With lunch lady Doris and her usual gruel M.I.A., students are dining on substitute vittles. With the new chow, kiddies become smarter, more efficient and develop a serious case of what Ned Flanders calls ‘sass mouth’. Yet, will the fast-food tables turn? Will Professor Frink and little Lisa uncover the mystery of the missing cafeteria meat food?  Will Krusty Burger and its foodesque, lethargy-invoking, quasi-edible slurry save the world; or will Krusty simply teach the aliens how to serve man?

Rod and Todd have taken to answering me by using the word ‘whatever’. Also, I think they’re mutilating cattle.     -Ned Flanders

  • Tale No. 3: “Cthulhu? Gesundheit!”

Be careful what you wish for, Milhouse. Borrowing heavily from the Cthulhu mythos, or the Lovecraftian milieu (Fun to say, right? Try working it in at Thanksgiving.), Bart and Milhouse are assigned to catalogue the long-forgotten tomes of Springfield Elementary School’s basement-library. There they find an ancient spell book of the dead: Necronomicon. (Good name for a Comic-Con goth panel.) By speaking one simple tongue-twister, Cthulhu and his ilk can be called from the depths of the sea, like a genie from his bottle, to do the bidding of his new master. Will the Kraken-like sea creature enslave and devour the human race, or will Santa’s Little Helper be a good doggie and save the day?

Bart, where does A Tale of Two Cities go?     -Milhouse

How about in the trash? Any book that can’t make up its mind where it wants to be set can’t possibly be any good!     -Bart

Pay attention, humans! Cthulhu has been awakened!

Pay attention, humans! Cthulhu has been awakened! Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom

Happy Halloween, Earthlings!

Ooh! An actual beer and donuts joint?! Well … I guess I have a little time to stop!    -Homer

 

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet

When Tom Cruise Stops Singing: Comics Quietly Continue to Float SDCC 2013

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Category : Comics, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, San Diego Comic Con, Travel, WonderCon

If San Diego Comic-Con was a geologic feature, it would be the Grand Canyon: strata upon strata of distinct, well-defined, colourful variants comprising an arresting, alluring travel poster for destinations Geekward. Every summer, America’s Finest City hosts Hallowe’en in July wherein layers of sci-fi, fantasy, history, science, IT, comics, gaming, cosplay and countless other substrata converge on the San Diego Convention Center to make each year’s Con more popular, more profitable and more prohibitive to entry than the last.

It’s arguable which strata top the bunch, but it’s clear the lone comic dork is at the bottom of the pile, at least where acquiring a badge or an independent press pass is concerned. Press passes, unless associated with a major outfit, are becoming more difficult to garner; online badge purchasing for the individual comes earlier and earlier each year and your clicking finger better be younger and faster than your competition’s. Badges sell out in mere minutes and second chance lotteries just play with a dork’s heart like a cat with a wounded bird. Still, if you can get in the air-conditioned doors, press or otherwise, the event will present you with an experience fantastic and powerful enough to drain you of all common sense, vacuum up all your hard-earned dough, morph your feet into Chinese feet-binding and deliver claustrophobic flashbacks for years to come … and leave you salivating and shaking to do it all again next year.

The joy of Comic-Con: meeting old friends! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

The joy of Comic-Con: meeting up with old friends! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

San Diego Comic-Con, the grandfather of all DorkCons and once a purist, geek Mecca, is now a Gigantor, world-class, Cannes-scale, multimillion-dollar, media bash of Big Bang proportions. Always something of a boon to the local economy, SDCC has become a veritable pot o’ gold over the past decade, the rainbow streaming in from Hollywood-way and infusing hundreds of millions of dollars into San Diego coffers and wallets, not to mention luring paparazzi, as well as legitimate photojournalists, to San Diego’s sunny harbor for five, titillating days. The byproduct of the manic, short-lived press coverage? Unquantifiable results in healthy tourism the rest of the year.

Although no exact figures have been released yet, attendance for 2013 threatens to easily top 130K. As far as local pockets? Last year’s Con delivered the area a vintage, Adam West-era Batman KAPOW! of 180 million clams. Add approximately three million more clams in local tax revenue and no wonder San Diego and The Simpsons‘ Comic Book Guy have been scratching, clawing and letter-writing to keep The Con in town and out of Anaheim.

Why would anyone want to move The Con, other than the obviously jealous Anaheim? (Anaheim, you have WonderCon for a bit; be happy with that.) The Hakken-Kraks, Buzz Killington and young and old biddies alike will complain about the crowds, the late-night boozing in the Gaslamp Quarter and the annual, predictable proliferation of Leeloos, Slave Leias and Sailor Moons. No worries though, Comic Book Guy. Leeloo’s ass, Slave Leia’s gold bra and Sailor Moon’s navel will remain in place, relatively firmly, in San Diego at least through 2016.

A lovely Leia, who goes by the name Lala. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

A lovely Leia, who goes by the name Lala. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Conventioneers and the correspondents covering them bound in from around the globe to gather and gawk at all Comic-Con has to offer: the costuming being the loudest Call of the Wild. Cosplay becomes more and more the focus each year. When Charlie Rose reads “The Babes of Comic-Con” on his Teleprompter with a stilted discomfort in his voice, the Con is reaching its alternative threshold. What used to be counter-culture and Mom’s Basement-nerdy, is now the pinnacle of geek chic. Comic-Con is, for now, the Hurley of Geekdom. Even though H-town seems to have taken over, the core elements are still there, like Spanx: tightly bound and working feverishly to hold the whole thing in place. Akin to the Colorado River, subtly trickling through the Canyon it created it in the first place, the Old School comic strip and graphic novel can still be found at Comic-Con. You have to walk your Duff Man off to find them, but they’re in there.

Clearly, Comic-Con’s focus is still based in comic-as-art-form; just look at some of this year’s themes. Superman, Sandman, Bongo and Aspen Comics are all celebrating milestones of great note. Still, H-town’s involvement, Hulk heavy-handed since the mid-2000s, turns the global focus over to the folks at Entertainment Tonight, Huffington Post and the heaving, final gasps of air coming out of the crew at Variety. Every one of their correspondents tripping over their own phone chargers to cover Halle Berry’s baby-bump, Hugh Jackman’s stubble and Tom Cruise’s impromptu, Rock of Ages serenade. Meanwhile, the Clark Kents of Comic-Con quietly and sagely keep the homefires burning in small, cheerful booths, oft near the lavvies, along the side doors or buttressing Café Express, the indoor, overpriced hot dogs-and-shady-nachos stand. The booths are manned by company execs themselves whom happily snap and post Instagram pics of their fans and heartily shake each and every hand that wends through the maze of aisles to seek their comic wares.

Whilst the Craigslist-hire, brand-ambassador models and bouncers working the behemoth, Hollywood studio booths poorly hide their sneers and eye-rolls at overzealous fans and, with tight-lipped smiles, begrudgingly hand out buttons and bandanas for shows they will likely never watch, the head honchos, chiefs and veeps at smaller media companies like IDW, Diamond Comics and GoComics are happy to stand with a fan for a picture (Plus, help her find the last X-Files: Season 10 comic book in the booth … sadly sold out, though.) or enthusiastically proffer pro subscriptions “for special folks” and other goodies produced from behind the curtains and posterboard.

Whether they be creators and publishers like IDW Publishing (X-Files, Star Trek, 30 Days of Night, Doctor Who) and SLG Publishing (Haunted Mansion, Tron, Gargoyles), distributors like Diamond Comics Distributors (Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics) or syndicators like GoComics (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Get Fuzzy, Foxtrot) and its parent company Universal Uclick, these folks are the lifeblood of any comic book convention, the River to the showy Canyon walls. Without their conveyance, nobody gets Wolverine costume claws, The Big Bang Theory t-shirts or Sandman annotations. Even within the river, notable and gifted creators like SofaWolf Press fight the current of mass media, straining and mushing like sled dogs just to get the Kudos they so deserve. Read Caterwall or Nordguard? If not, acquaint yourself with the Disney-level artwork and storytelling of Jack London proportions.

True, the course of the river has shifted dramatically; it’s more of a culture-con now, and that’s fine. Most folks love some glam, some flash and even boobies, naturally. To boot, when more eyeballs seek a curiosity such as Comic-Con, it can mean a lucrative, pleasurable outcome for all. Art and the creatives will always progress, should progress; it’s the nature of the beast. Still, amidst the après-hours, high-end hotel-bar, cocktail parties, the Gaslamp pub networking circuit and even the intrageek debates about cosplay inaccuracies, it’s nice to recall the original trickle from whence such a gathering came.

Peanuts. That is all. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Peanuts. That is all. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Comic-Con International has a mission statement. Brief and to the point, it reads:

Comic-Con International: San Diego is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

Clearly, the hot Poison Ivys, the intricately detailed Walking Dead, the frenzied sightings of Halle Berry and Neil Patrick Harris and the rumours of surprise appearances by Tim Burton or Guillermo del Toro will always win the gaze of amateur phonecams and AP entertainment reporters alike. Yet, even when the Con is gone, if years down the road the flash and dash dim, all our fave comic characters will remain: Betty & Veronica, Citizen Dog, Sherman’s Lagoon, Calvin and Hobbes, Vampirella, The X-Files, Peanuts, Haunted Mansion, My Little Pony, Wonderland, Gargoyles, Foxtrot, Get Fuzzy, The Simpsons, Sandman, Superman, Spongebob Squarepants, Dick Tracy, Savage Chickens, The Avengers, The X-Men, Pearls Before Swine and so many other familiar, longtime and new-found friends. Tiny, tireless warriors one and all, they will surge ahead quietly, like the greenish-grey Colorado River forever playing second fiddle to the colour-saturated travel posters of breathtaking, Canyon sunsets. Diligently they will trudge so we might enjoy their quirky company all year long … until the Con, the crowds, the chicks and the claustrophobia return to San Diego next year, at least through 2016. Better start getting your clicking finger in shape now.

Pray away the Poke! Not everyone loves SDCC! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Pray away the Poke! Not everyone loves SDCC! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame (a.k.a. authoress Jennifer Susannah Devore) contributes regularly to the official San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Guide. Read her articles here: BongoComics/The Simpsons, Peanuts & Tarzan! She also loves a Pikachu!

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet  JennyPop.net  amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

All photos by Twisted Pair Photography

Bartbarians at the Gate: 20 Years of Bongo on the Digital Frontier

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Category : Candid Conversations, Comics, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Literature, San Diego Comic Con

So, for those whom did not make it to San Diego Comic-Con this year, or did and unwisely tossed your official Souvenir Guide, my pally, author Jennifer Susannah Devore, made it into the book once again! She tells me this year’s is her favourite thus far: article and Souvenir Guide in toto. Sandman, the cover art commemorating twenty-five years of Neil Gaiman’s Gothic oeuvre, has hit Miss Jenny’s radar anew, having not read it since the glorious, gloomy, gringy Nineties. After reading the Sandman articles and delighting in the accompanying gorgeous and ghoulish artwork, The Annotated Sandman has made her very particular birthday and Christmas lists: as there are multiple volumes, it is worthy of both.

For now, enjoy a posting here of Miss Jenny’s article, Bartbarians at the Gate: 20 Years of Bongo on the Digital Frontier.

 

Research at WonderCon 2013 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Research at WonderCon 2013, J.S. Devore Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Bartbarians at the Gate: 20 Years of Bongo on the Digital Frontier

By Jennifer Susannah Devore

 

‘Cause he’s an old [comic junkie] and he don’t know what to do.

Should he hang on to the old, should he grab on to the new?

He’s an old [comic junkie], this new life is just a bust.

He ain’t trying to change nobody, he’s just trying real hard to adjust.

-David Bellamy

 

November spawned an empire. Like an impatient, petulant newborn, Bongo Entertainment spewed forth, squealing and sliding into our arms like a greased up Spiderpig. Present in the room for the birth were Radioactive Man, Bart Simpson, Itchy & Scratchy and, naturally, The Simpsons. Waiting in the hallway, anxious friends and family would queue up for years to administer the requisite welcome-slap on the bum: Bender, Comic Book Guy, Leela, Professor Frink, Ralph Wiggum, Fry, Li’l Homer, Zoidberg, Maggie, Poochie, Mr. Burns, Akbar & Jeff, all the denizens of Treehouse of Horror and dozens more.

“Welcome to the world of print comics, you magnificent bastard!” the masses cried outside the gates. “It’s about time!”

No matter how you manage the journey, it’s a long and sketchy trip from the overcast, damp alleys of Portland to the sunny, ocean-misted offices of Santa Monica. Matt Groening and Bongo the Überhip Rabbit are no longer hawking Macintosh computers for laser printers. With a Lewis & Clark deftness, Bongo Entertainment has successfully navigated the choppy, brackish waters where analog and digital converge.

The 1990s came flying at us like those imminent asteroids Dr. Michio Kaku warns will eventually slam into Brooklyn. Many smart folks, especially those in print journalism and book publishing, are getting nailed regularly by turn-of-the-century fallout, like digital mosquitoes carrying a cheeky, cutting-edge virus which grows more and more immune to the amusingly ineffective slaps of indignity and Old Guard pride. The likes of newspapers, authors and artists who remain certain newfangled progress is for guys with neck tattoos and film school girls sporting Boy Scouts shirts, are likely to go the way of the original dinosaurs, especially those living in Brooklyn. Happily, Bongo knows better, even if Comic Book Guy is still lamenting years-old chatter about San Diego Comic-Con possibly moving to Anaheim.

The precise number of ventures poorly judging a turn-of-the-century is up for debate. Victorian gas proprietors loathed Thomas Edison as much as the fading Vaudevillians did. John Henry fought tooth and railroad nail against the steam engine, whilst across the Atlantic, Luddites vilified machines taking labor from textile artisans. The 21stC. Technological Revolution is no different, in theory, than the 20thC. Industrial Revolution. In both wakes lie more dead ideas and failed executives than Jack the Ripper had bad dates. (R.I.P. Kodak Film and Thomas Bros. Guides)

What is certain is that each era is replete with dogmatic examples subscribing to the maxim: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Surely, some monk complained about the lack of work for illuminated-manuscript artists when that hipster doofus Gutenberg and his skinny jeans set about developing the printing press; and if there wasn’t a Neanderthal grumbling about Cro-Magnons and their fancy, sloping foreheads, I’ll eat my Bluetooth.

Like responsibly farmed, Whole Foods mussels, Bongo’s road to sustainability began with integrity, tenacity and probably a lot of ice. Briefly, Groening created “Forbidden Soaps” in 1978, a lengthy, Life in Hell soap review for Wet magazine and founder Leonard Koren. His soapy stories seduced Tracey Ullman Show producer James L. Brooks and by 1989 The Simpsons were standard TV fare.

Like Toulouse Lautrec’s 1880s cabaret art, Matt Groening’s 1980s Apple art is collector-worthy. Early advertising material for Apple featured Life in Hell residents. If Lautrec’s 1889 La Danse is worth a pretty centime, 1989’s Dream Dorm is sure to be worth half that. Bongo’s Dream Dorm: Macintosh. Part of Every Student’s Wildest Dreams (full title) features the original Bongo, “jungle passion” offspring of Binky, living large in a four-story dorm, complete with helipad, moat, robot chef, pet octopus and a Mac, naturally.

In 1991, fueled by rabid Simpsons fans, Groening with Steve Vance (DC Comics), Cindy Vance (Disney Adventures Digest) and Bill Morrison (Futurama) co-published the fan mag, Simpsons Illustrated. Naturally, this led to more frothing Bartbarians at the gate and in 1993 they published a one-off: Simpsons Comics & Stories. Finally crying Uncle! in November 1993, Bongo Comics Group was birthed: slippery Spiderpig and all.

Today, twenty years later, on the hip side of Santa Monica where crunchy, lunchtime surf sessions beckon, and after infinite Pantone #116C, Bongo Entertainment thrives, more Monty Burns than Comic Book Guy these heady days. Their catalog encompasses an impressive compilation of calendars, trade books and comics: Futurama, Simpsons Classics, Summer Shindig, Lisa, Milhouse, Krusty, Futurama/Simpsons Crossover, Treehouse of Horror and Professor Frink to list a few.

Adding Futurama in 2000 and with reprints of Simpsons in Mexico, the U.K. and Australia, the amount of print around the globe is growing at a fungal rate. Bongo has produced and distributed at least twenty different series for Simpsons comics alone. Currently, at least ten of those original titles are ongoing. Add trade books, calendars and the occasional beast, like the 1,200-page omnibus Simpsons World: The Ultimate Episode Guide Seasons 1-20, and it’s a wonder the streets aren’t as coated with Bongo mags as Charles de Gaulle’s runways are with Gauloises cigarettes and absinthe bottles.

Like any sage impresario, Bongo Entertainment has brought fellow artists to its stage, recently adding Spongebob Comics and Mylo Xyloto to their catalog. Moreover, to please burgeoning generations of readers allergic to paper, Bongo Digital offers select issues alongside traditional, print format: at least two per week, they pledge.

Although you must wait one month after newsstand-release, download versions are available via comiXology for iOS, Android, Kindle, Windows 8 and Windows RT. Bongo Entertainment partnered originally with comiXology to develop the Simpsons Comics app for iTunes. Along with the freshest issues, Bongo pledges to reach way back into the dairy case of archived content to bring readers tasty treats from the past.

How does an enterprise prosper throughout a lifespan of Apple IIe to iPad5? Quality, intelligence and old-fashioned zeitgeist. Plus, though Bongo Digital makes instant gratification easy, Bongo understands there remains a tactile courtship with comics that is unlikely to fade in the wash.

If you’re Old School, subscribing to your comics via Snail Mail, you’re one of the few delighting in a fed outside your door. Whether you haunt your local comic store or scour eBay, there is visceral happiness in holding that paper. Carrying it in your purse, backpack or briefcase, it’s your secret to be enjoyed throughout the day. Everyone has a ritual with a new issue. Maybe it’s de rigueur for business flights; maybe it’s summer beach reading. If you’re proud and loud, it’s at Starbucks with an espresso. If you’re the rare, outdoorsy geek, Treehouse of Horror is great, camp reading. Whatever your liturgy, it helps breathe life into the likes of Bongo. There’s a reason we attend Comic-Con; in the end, it’s Comic-Con, not Culture-Con.

In the new age of distribution, be it anti-copyright love-ins, or “everybody-is-an-artist” curses, the ancient, runic tablets of publishing are crumbling. This means your shelves and devices are bursting at the seams, like Slave Leia’s bikini, with more content and ways to blow your day than imaginable. Solution? Choose wisely. Anyone can sketch a doodle, add some Japanese space boobs, slap on a knock-knock joke and call it a comic. The point is, even if it’s free –and so many are- is it worth your time?

Bongo is the New Yorker of comic books. Thus far, only Bongo has proffered a truly funny iteration of Jack the Ripper (finally) in From Hell and Back, Or: The Truer Story of Jack the Ripper (Treehouse of Horror #9). Bongo also stepped up with a “Yo Mama So Ugly”-style poetry slam in Rhymes and Misdemeanors (Simpsons Comics a Go-Go). I additionally wager they solely have recognized the obvious humor in Olmec vs. Aztec traits in The Return of Xt’tapalatakettle (Simpsons Comics #98).

Thirty-four years after “Forbidden Soaps” and 1,669 strips later, Groening ended Life in Hell syndication on June 15, 2012. The groovy rabbit who started it all and the rest of the wonky and fez-capped crew are on extended leave. As if to assuage the masses, February 2012 saw the resurrection of long-dead (1991-1993) Simpsons Illustrated: now a quarterly with catalog reprints.

Choose intelligently, folks; there’s a lot of shlock out there. Anyone can pick a comic book worthy of T&A; pick one worthy of an M.F.A.

 

Novelist, correspondent, geek. SDCC 2013 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Novelist, correspondent, geek. J.S.Devore SDCC 2013 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Reprinted from the official SDCC 2013 Souvenir Guide

Read Miss Jenny’s previous SDCC articles on Peanuts and Tarzan!

Abyssinia, cats!

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net  amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore


San Diego Comic-Con 2013: Under A Simpsons-Blue Sky!

Category : Comics, Conventions, Featured, Geek Out, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

Not much time to post today, kittens… it’s Day 1 of San Diego Comic-Con! The weathers is bonkers-gorgeous and I am chock full of comic book glee for my pally Jennifer Susannah Devore! Third year now (Peanuts & Tarzan marking previous articles), she’s published in the Official Souvenir Guide! This year’s theme? The 20th anniversary of  Bongo Entertainment: the fine minds behind The Simpsons, Futurama, Bartman, et al.

Souvenir Guide 2013, Bongo article by JSDevore Photo: Rebecca Lane

Souvenir Guide 2013, Bongo article by JSDevore Photo: Rebecca Lane

So, off to the Con! Will certainly post more later. In the meanwhile, follow @JennyPopNet, @Eslilay and @GoodToBeAGeek for up-to-the-minute Tweets and snaps! Now, so much to do today, like buying one Rebecca Lane of Rotten Tomatoes a G$T for snapping this shot of my article for me and Tweeting the following:

“Some pre #SDCC reading; penned by my talented friend @JennyPopNet Souvenir Guide pg 164…check it out!”

Cheers, Beki!(Look for her at SDCC; she’ll be the one in giant tomato suit!)

 

Bongo and Jeepers, Kids! Danger-prone Daphne Heads to SDCC 2K13

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Category : Comics, Conventions, Featured, Geek Out, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel

Cheers, kittens! If you’ll kindly check your calendars, you’ll see it’s summertime and if you regularly follow the scribblings and adventures of Dr. Lucy Devereaux and Moi, you’ll know summer here in sunny San Diego means just one thing: San Diego Comic-Con!

IMG_20130212_132925

Bits of Hannah’s private Bongo stash. Photo: JSDevore

Summertime lists of entertainment alternatives for the geeky and the pale put SDCC firmly on top of the pile. It’s air-conditioned fun where we ghosties and our fellow friends of pasty pallor can hide from the vile sun and retain our dewy freshness. It’s a venue where geeks, dorks and nerds of every shade of pale can gather in costume, greedily clutching their comic books and collectible figures whilst dork-walking at revved speeds to snag front-row seats to panels such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Action Figure Showcase and I Can’t Write, I Can’t Draw, But I Love Comics!, all without fear of a wedgie anytime during the day … as long as conventioneers don’t wander too far into the neighboring Gaslamp District. The Gaslamp is no place for a lone nerd in costume, especially at night when the surfy sportos, apathetic hipsters and sloshed beach thugs roam, and own, the darkness. Travel in nerd packs if you must; but be assured, like any Star Trek exploratory mission, the one in the red shirt will be sacrificed. Don’t be the red shirt.

Dr. Lucy, her EOS Canon Digital Rebel XT in-hand, and I will be covering all the geeky goodness of SDCC 2K13 for you and Tweeting snaps, sightings, booths of note and nerdy news all weekend long from the floor and beyond the ether! Panels will be plentiful and will run the gamut of information and instruction from Inside The Big Bang Theory’s Writers’ Room to Steampunk 101, and Showcasing the Best in Korean Comics to Snoopy: A Retrospective. As always, SDCC is also a bit of a celeb trek and this year, expect to see the likes of James Spader (Lincoln, The Blacklist), Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline) and  J. Michael Straczynski (Superman: Earth One, Before Watchmen). Of course, Dr. Lucy is always on the hunt for Seth Green and one can hope one bumps into Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, George Lucas or Adrianne Curry in one of the aisles. (Bring the smelling salts, Dr. Lucy!)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a comic book convention if I wasn’t interviewing somebody fabulous for your reading pleasure! (WonderCon offered Leah Cevoli (Deadwood, Robot Chicken) and Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak). Dr. Lucy and I will be squeezing our fine, cosplayed cabooses into the SyFy Press Room once again: this time, a table chat with the cast of SyFy’s Warehouse 13. Interview and candid pics, à la last year’s Being Human interview, will post after the Con concludes.

In past years, I’ve been … I mean, my pally Jennifer Susannah Devore  has been fortunate enough have her articles selected for the official Souvenir Book: 60th anniversary of Peanuts (which earned her a citation in TIME magazine) and the 100th anniversary of Tarzan (which garnered her an invitation to meet Dr. Jane Goodall). One never knows what good fortune and opportunity this year’s submission, if accepted, will bring her. Cross your fingers, kids!

The themes for this year’s Souvenir Book are many and varied: amongst others, the 75th anniversary of Superman, 50th anniversaries of Marvel Superheroes and Doctor Who and 25th anniversaries of The Tick and The Sandman. Miss Jenny’s selection? The 20th anniversary of Bongo Comics. Known as Bongo Entertainment since 2012, it is the comics publishing empire founded by The Simpsons-creator Matt Groening with three BFFs in 1993: Steve Vance (DC Comics, Disney Adventures Comics), Cindy Vance (Disney Adventures Comics) and Bill Morrison (Roswell: Little Green Man). Navigating twenty years of analog-to-digital waters is no easy task; yet, Bongo has flourished, combining classic comic core and the moving target that is modern zeitgeist.

The frosting on the Comic-Con cupcake? Getting to dress up months before Hallowe’en! Last year’s costume was Steampunk, WonderCon was Abby Sciuto and this year’s con will be Scooby-Doo‘s Daphne Blake. I thought about Velma. Surely, the scholarly, brunette geek girl does seem to suit me better. Still, Velma’s sweater is ugly and unflattering and, quite frankly, she’s too good of a ghost hunter. I can’t abide that, really. Danger-prone Daphne, though?!  She’s hot, she’s nice, she’s wealthy, what’s not to like? Plus, I’ve always wanted orange hair for a day and what girl doesn’t love hot pink tights, lime-green accessories and a purple micromini? Jeepers!

Iconic Daphne Blake: a variety of iterations, from sexy to saucy to classic.

Danger-prone Daphne is on her way! Let’s go, Freddy!

Abyssinia at the Con, kids!

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet @Eslilay and @GoodToBeAGeek for SDCC floor updates!

“The X-Files: Season 10″: Taking Scully Under The Covers

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Category : Candid Conversations, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, San Diego Comic Con, Television

The dark, dicey harbors and grand, Georgian suburbs which spiral outward from the nation’s nexus of Washington, D.C. maintain a consistent ripple of clandestine rendezvous and the hiding-in-plain-sight, double-dealing that keeps the Capitol flowing. Amidst the briny, back alleys of Annapolis and Fell’s Point, and the wainscoted, chintz-covered parlors of McLean and Georgetown, secret lives meet with secret identities in an effort to keep us safe from government conspiracy and monsters lurking in the shadows … maybe. Even D.C. has room for only so many two-faces; lucky for us, the X-Files have been reopened.

"The X-Files: Season 10" #1 Cover by Carlos Valenzuela, photo courtesy of Denton J. Tipton

“The X-Files: Season 10″ #1 Cover by Carlos Valenzuela. Photo courtesy of D. J. Tipton

Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder are back in town as The X-Files: Season 10 returns to us that which we lost so long ago: haute conspiracy theory, paranoia and the dry snark of runway model-ready Fox Mulder. It’s been a long time since we’ve peeled into the grey matter of an agent hell-bent on exposing and combating the tightly-woven, non-existent, government syndicate. Surely, if anyone understands the pebble in Washington’s loafer today, Edward Snowden, and his supporter, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it is Spooky Mulder. It’s also been a long time since we’ve been mesmerized by the marmoreal, porcelain skepticism of Dana Scully, M.D., tossed regularly to Mulder via beauteous, sideways glances. You may not be able to watch Scully’s enhanced, ginger beauty by TV’s blue haze this time around; but you will be able to take her under the covers with a flashlight at lights-out, just like summer camp, and read the continuing, cloak-and-dagger, comic book adventures of the F.B.I.’s Most Desired.

"Believers" #1 Interior Art by Michael Walsh, colors by Jordie Bellaire. Photo courtesy of Denton J. Tipton

#1 Interior Art: Michael Walsh, Colors: Jordie Bellaire. Photo: D. J. Tipton

Serving as a “Where are they now?”, The X-Files: Season 10 picks up alternatively, which suits it well, in comic book form: hence the summertime, undercover, late-night delectations. Set in  present-day D.C. Metro, our favorite agents in navy blue are living, à la Rob and Laura Petrie in Arcadia (S6e15), as a married couple in suburban bliss under the aliases Dr. and Mr. Anthony Blake: Scully working in pediatrics private practice, Mulder writing his memoirs, I Want To Believe. Many a fan “just want to see Scully and Mulder hook up”. Well, we got our wish, kind of.

“They are indeed living under the same roof as a married couple,” divulges IDW Publishing editor Denton J. Tipton. “The relationship between the two has always been the heart of The X-Files, and we will carry on that tradition. But things are far from “happily ever after.”

Winter has come and gone nearly a dozen times since we last spied on our basement odd couple: Mulder forever nursing his neuroses, Scully forever rolling her baby blues. 2013 brings them well into the 21stC., giving them a whole new arsenal of wireless weapons to fight. Walter Skinner, now Deputy Director Skinner, knows this and arrives in the burbs to alert Scully and Mulder that someone, or something, is systematically picking off those formerly associated with the F.B.I.’s X-Files division.

“I’d call you DD Skinner, now, but that just makes me feel dirty.” Mulder gives us what we want, as his revived character is spot-on from the first moment we see him in print, interacting with neighborhood kids playing baseball in the street, proffering advice in form and philosophy. “Play deeper when the big guy hits.”

Some will note Mulder’s alias, Anthony Blake as a nod to The Magician (1973/4): a short-lived mystery series, starring The Incredible Hulk‘s Bill Bixby. Centered on playboy philanthropist Tony Blake, he was a  “master of magic, romancer of women the world over and solver of even the most stubborn crimes”, as Mulder explains the origin of his new identity to a clueless Skinner.

A bigger fan of the supernatural than duplicitous, government syndicates? Fret not. Season 10 will weave in classic MOW’s (Monsters of the Week) “to let things breathe, explore other mysteries, and give us a break from the mytharc,” assures Tipton. “There will be some direct sequels to fan-favorite episodes, and lots of new threats and thrills for Scully and Mulder.”

“But rest assured that many other familiar faces will be returning in the comic,” Tipton continues with a tease. “Krycek is a favorite of the writer Joe Harris, so I suspect that he’ll [Krycek] turn up in some fashion sooner or later.”

“Who doesn’t love Alex Krycek?? Maybe Skinner, I guess… ,” ponders Harris.

A collaboration of 20thCentury Fox Consumer Products, IDW Publishing and 1013 Productions (a.k.a Ten Thirteen Productions, founded by Chris Carter in 1993), The X-Files: Season 10 has the ultimate blessing of original-creator, now-executive producer Chris Carter.

“He sees and comments on everything we do, from outlines, scripts, art, to final product. Nothing will be released without his final stamp of approval,” relays Tipton. “The X-Files remains very near and dear to Chris Carter’s heart, and it’s been an honor to collaborate with him. I don’t think he’ll ever truly have Scully and Mulder out of his system.”

XFS10 commences with Believers, a five-part segment within the series. It seems a quizzical turn, this continuation of such a storied series in comic book form, versus television. Still, in the new age of mobile and personalized media, who needs broadcast television? To boot, the artists behind this endeavor bring most everything we need to the inked page. The spooky docks, the robed villains, the dead-eyed children, Mulder’s smirk and Scully’s cheekbones all come through gorgeously through the art and colors of Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire, respectively. If you’re curious as to how different Scully and Mulder (originally played by Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in The X-Files TV series and films) will look in pen and ink, fret not.

“Gillian Anderson (Bleak House, Hannibal, The Fall) and David Duchovny’s (Goats, Californication, Things We Lost in the Fire) likenesses are being used in the comic, and all our artists must be approved by both. We’re as official as official can get!” guarantees Tipton.

The X-Files television series aired for nearly a decade, spawned two feature films and birthed a regiment of rabid fans known as X-Philes, most of whom would be shocked and amazed to know there actually exists another Chris Carter. (What?! ‘Tis true. A sports figure, it seems.) Will the franchise sustain as a comic book? Just as this year’s San Diego Comic Con celebrates the 25th anniversary of The Sandman graphic novels and the 20th anniversary of Bongo Comics Group (The Simpsons et al), might we be celebrating a milestone anniversary of The X-Files Comics in cons to come? When asked if IDW and 20th Century Fox will be proffering spin-offs like, perchance, The Smoking Man or the one-season, television series The Lone Gunmen (2001), Tipton handed over this hopeful prognosis.

“That all depends on the demand for such a spin-off. As it stands now, the debut issue is selling very well, and the reviews have been great, so I want to believe that there will be!” (See what he did there? ” … I want to believe … “)

"The X-Files: Season 10" #3 Cover by menton3, photo courtesy of Denton J. Tipton

“The X-Files: Season 10″ #3 Cover by menton3. Photo courtesy of D. J. Tipton

Despite the fact that reading issue #1 causes involuntary, over-and-over flips of the book to see how the tale continues, then an obsessive countdown until next month’s issue #2 hits the shelves, there is still one component missing from this satisfying new series: the azure candescence of TV. Minus the hypnotic glow of tel-e-vi-sion, however, XFS10 is a welcome, long-awaited return of the crew on the Potomac.

Going to San Diego Comic Con this year? Do yourself a favor and stop by IDW Publishing (booth #2643) and give the other X-Men & Women a little of your own glowing kudos; I certainly will.

Barenaked Ladies sang it best: Watching X-Files with no lights on, we’re dans la maison, I hope the Smoking Man’s in this one.

Then again, indie musician PB3 sang it pretty well, too: Scully looks so hot, just a-standin’ there, and Mulder never seems to care. And I wonder, what must be wrong with Mulder … ?

 

The X-Files: Season 10 #1

Story by: Joe Harris with Chris Carter

Written by: Joe Harris

Art by: Michael Walsh

Colors by: Jordie Bellaire

Editor: Denton J. Tipton

Letters by: Robbie Robbin

Executive Producer: Chris Carter

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet #xfiles #xfs10 #comicbooks #idw #sdcc

Press Release: The Ascendant #2 on the rise at the Boston Comic Con

Category : Comics, Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured

WaywardRaven_logo

(Boston,MA-April 17, 2013) Wayward Raven Media is proud to announce the much anticipated release of their horror/fantasy comic The Ascendant, issue 2. Cail, a Duke of Hell, returns to do penance by sending escaped demons back to the underworld. This time, however, the pursuer is the pursued. Joined by his fellow escapee Faustus (the doctor himself) and a new cohort, Cail fights for his life in one of Italy’s most dangerous and hellish terrains.

WaywardRaven_Ascendant2

Courtesy of Wayward Raven Media

Signed print copies can be purchased first at Boston Comic Con on April 20th and 21st at the Hynes Convention Center. For those who want it sooner, a digital version can be found by going to the Wayward Raven website. If you missed the first issue, don’t fear! It, along with other great Wayward Raven products, can be procured by going to waywardraven.com.

Bring a copy of this press release to one of our tables in Artist Alley (AAW54 and AAW55) at the Boston Comic Con and get a dollar off your purchase or two dollars off any multi-item purchase. Show up in one of our t-shirts (see our shop page on the website) and get a free book!!!!

 

 

Also available by Wayward Raven Media:

The Ascendant, Issue 1 - A tale about an escaped Duke of Hell who begins to feel remorse for his millennia of debauchery and cruelty. That guilt causes him to masquerade as a human and go on a crusade against the other escaped creatures that inhabit the earth, corrupting and harming its citizens.

Horsemen, Issue 1 - An intergalactic team is locked in an ongoing galactic battle with an enemy bent on destroying freewill in the multiverse. Issue two available soon.

The Cell – In this paranormal novel, an aspiring comic book artist loses his way until a call comes from beyond the grave. When living and dead unite in a quest, all souls are saved along with dreams for future days.

Ominous Odes - A collection of short stories that tells tales of the dark and eerie that always lurks just outside of human perception, fleeting upon the cusp of vision. A dark lottery ticket, a future serial killer, a tragic female legend and a detective on the trail of a killer all reside within.

Damn Heroes – Weekly web comic about Sebastian, a hapless norm stuck in a city of overly zealous superheroes with more muscles than sense. Check it out for free on damnheroes.com.

For more information visit www.waywardraven.com or like us at http://www.facebook.com/waywardravenmedia .

Ars longa, vitae brevis. Wayward Raven… soaring on winds of imagination

About Wayward Raven:

Wayward Raven Media’s comic books and prose had their debut at the 2012 New York Comic-Con and have been growing ever since. The ranks include Mark Frankel, Joshua Lee Andrew Jones and Alexander Sapountzis. They can be followed on Twitter: Mark @PantherPitt, Joshua @JLAJones, and Alexander @asapountzis

Shauncastic – Episode 127: Turtle Power!

Category : Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Guest Appearances, Movies, Television

I am a lucky woman with fantastic friends who share my geeky loves. One such friend is Shaun Rosado of Shauncastic. When he put out the call for people to talk about 4 turtles and a rat with ninja skills, you know I had to be there to reminisce about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What transpired was a wonderful conversation that allowed myself, Shaun, Jay Scardina and Samantha Cross (Word of the Nerd) to wax nostalgic about these “Heroes in the Half Shell.” We discuss the comics, classic cartoons, live action films, current animated series and even rumors about the new movie.

Also, Christina and Shaun review Oz: The Great and Powerful in her segment, “Intro to Geek” and later, Shaun is joined by Bree Brouwer to talk video games in her segment “Behind Schedule.”

Click the link below to listen on Shauncastic!
Episode 127: Turtle Power!

WonderCon 2013: Dr. Batman, Monster Man, Fierce Women and Missing Seth Green, Again

2

Category : Comics, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Travel, WonderCon

Steampunk Lucy & Abby Sciuto Photo: JSDevore

WonderCon Anaheim is a fait accompli. These California comic book conventions are like a Tequila Sunrise: equal parts fun, tequila, sunshine and just the right amount of tart. The bar in the Anaheim Hilton, Mix Lounge, was a bit too much fun. Of course, like any trade show or con, those après-show mixers also serve as yummy networking juice. Having an affable, excitable, confident pirate in your corner also helps the networking process.

This con was chock full of crucial contacts, old friends, new Geek Meets and enough pop culture goodness to make the wait for summer’s San Diego Comic-Con nearly unbearable. I met a Batman Ph.D., dined with a Monster Man, met a smarmy yet kindly fellow from Bongo Comics and missed meeting Seth Green, again, by thiiiiiis much. As I covered the event for GoodToBeAGeek, there shall be a full wrap-up and slideshow coming soon. There shall also be interviews. Whilst there, I attended a few panels, including All Shapes and Sizes Welcome and Geeks Get Published – and Paid!.

 All Shapes and Sizes Welcome, moderated by power chica Leah Cevoli (Deadwood, Robot Chicken) featured Miracle Laurie (Dollhouse), Adrianne Curry (Adrianne Curry’s SuperFans), Helenna Santos Levy (founder, MsInTheBiz.com), Amber Krzys (founder, BodyHeart.com) and Lynn Chen (founder, www.theActorsDiet.com). Without giving up too much booty here, the panel was an intimate, inspiring and touching look at the effects of body culture on women in Hollywood and media. Moreover, these strong femmes shared their histories and personal tales of how they came to be the ladies they are and what pivotal, Aha! moments got them there.

L to R: Adrianne Curry, Lynn Chen, Helena Santos Levy, Amber Krzys, Miracle Laurie and Leah Cevoli Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Geeks Get Published – and Paid! was moderated by the sparkling Jenna Busch (Cocktails with Stan), with whom I shared a lovely chat on our mutual fondness for James Michener over Stella Artois and gin martinis at Mix Lounge. Jenna’s panel featured S. G. Browne (Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament), Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak), Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History), Alex Langley (The Geek Handbook), and Dr. Travis Langley(Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight). This panel was partially selfish on my part. Learning how to grow cabbage out of words? Yes, please! Perchance next year, or even at SDCC, she might like this published geek to sit on her panel.

This particular panel was also a lovely chance to meet the quietly sweet Katrina Hill (her kind demeanor being totally anathema to her Action Flick Chick persona),the boyish Alex Langley (His love of Calvin and Hobbes and, I’d bet, Dennis the Menace happily shines through.) and his brother Dr. Travis Langley. Having gifted the good doctor’s Batman and Psychology to my own psychologist-father, it was my pleasure to meet Dr. Langley, discuss secure attachment theory with him and have said-book signed for Dear Old Dad. To boot, Katrina and the brothers Langley are affiliate-partners with GoodToBeAGeek and its editor, Jessa Phillips. My articles there are syndicated via RocketLlama and soon Nerdspan. It was very nice to finally shake their hands.

I also took part in one of the oddest, strangest, most memorable fine dining experiences of my life. Suffice it here to state merely the following: Morton’s Steakhouse, Monster Man Cleve Hall, homemade rum, an à la carte-meat travesty, a renegade pirate and Night of the Evil Dead Corset that nearly killed Lucy.

After I my Con Haze lifts, I shall regale you with full coverage of WonderCon 2013, Morton’s Horrorhouse and my interviews with Katrina Hill, Leah Cevoli, Amber Krzys and Helena Santos Levy. In addition, there will be a powerhouse slideshow by our very own Eslilay Evoreday of Twisted Pair Photography, a slideshow of such proportions that it will take longer to import and load these snaps than it will to write up all the articles. You’re welcome.

Lucy, Hannah and the trademark pineapple martini at Roy's Hawaiian Photo: JSDevore

Abyssinia, cats!

@JennyPopNet

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online? jennypop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

 

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