Am I Mortal? You Are Now: 20 Years of Hellboy, and Counting

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

In case you didn’t pick up a copy at San Diego Comic-Con, never made it to Comic-Con, or never intended on going, but love reading JennyPop’s work … voila! Reprinted from the official 2014 SDCC Souvenir Book. Enjoy!

SDCC, 2014, Hellboy, Souvenir Book, Jennifer Susannah Devore

SDCC 2014 Souvenir Book: Hellboy’s 20th anniversary. Photo: JSDevore

Am I Mortal? You Are Now: 20 Years of Hellboy, and Counting

by

Jennifer Susannah Devore

 

Here, Sheldon. I pulled the new Hellboy for you. It’s mind-blowing!

                                                                                              -Stuart Bloom, The Big Bang Theory

Being human is a pain in the ass: heart-shattering emotion, physical limitations, that unrelenting shoulder-tap called mortality. Any wonder the knell of immortality, even human-hybrid versions, is so alluring? Not simply a fantasy world of superheroes keeping it tight and right, the mass appeal is a micro-fantasy of vicarious athanasia, preternatural strength and invulnerability: forever swinging on that top branch. Sure, weakness abounds, even for the eternal: religious vestiges, beheadings, spells, Kryptonite, wooden stakes, domestic beer. Still, ruination-odds are worth the eternity-payoff.

Conversely, what a quandary it is when immortals bemoan their gifts, even forfeiting them to join the Muggle world. Who knew pancakes, cigars and television were so bewitching?

An analog birth during the San Diego summer of 1993, Hellboy sparked fictively from the NorCal mind of Mike Mignola during the English spring of 1574. Hellboy’s mum was Sarah Hughes, a troubled teen ascended from witches; Pappy was Azzael, a demon high enough in Satan’s ranks he’s what the Mob calls “made”. Sprinkle some German Occult-literature, add carnal, Teutonic Dark Arts, cap it with a midnight ride on the neighborhood goat-demon and … It’s a (half-human/half-demon) Boy!

After that wild night in ’74, waiting nearly four-hundred years in the netherworld, probably playing with Star Wars Legos, Romanov-family soothsayer Rasputin finally summoned the wee Anung un Rama, during the already very busy Christmas season of 1944. For Der Führer and his Nazi cretins, this magic trick was their anti-Hail Mary, a ritualistic conjuring of Ragnarök: the Norse foretelling of the world’s demise and rebirth. A Doomsday subcontractor commissioned by Hitler in a last-ditch effort to save his WWII bacon, Rasputin invoked the child effectively, yet input the wrong GPS coordinates. Rather than the Nazi-laden, party-ready Scottish isle, the demon babe was spewed via impressive pyrotechnics amidst church ruins in East Bromwich, England.

With big eyes and a high forehead, not unlike Tyra Banks or Sheldon Cooper, the wee bairn worked its evolutionary wiles -those saving babies from abandonment in the wild- on the British Paranormal Society and a big-hearted detachment of U.S. Army Rangers. Further coaxed by evolution and the magical smell of a baby’s head -dry roasted peanuts- Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (a.k.a. “Broom”) immediately takes to the nipper. Lured by a warm blanket and a Baby Ruth bar, he leaps into the loving arms of Broom, whom gives him the name, “in retrospect, perhaps not the most fortunate”, Hellboy.

Frank Cho artwork, Hellboy, SDCC

Hellboy artwork by Frank Cho

Nazi-infected England being no place to raise a child, Broom sallies the little peanut to an appropriate locale: New Mexico, cradle of the weird. Within a clandestine Air Force base, Hellboy is raised by the military, but reared by Broom. A.K.A. Red, Rosie, Brother Red and Peanut, Hellboy grows into a fine young creature, fighting for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), protecting Earth from the supernatural ills that be, including cat-eating Fragglewump trolls, undead Nazis and Black Forest tooth fairies.

Sure, it seems all flowers and sausages; but what lies beneath Hellboy’s basaltic surface? His longevity has no term-limits; yet he can still fall to injury, despair and eventual death via extreme physical attack, heartbreak or even his greatest foil, his own temper.

“Sometimes I get angry. And when I get angry I sometimes do stupid things. Things like charging headlong into a pitch black room. I’m tougher and stronger than any human, but I can’t see any better in the dark,” he first admits in Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1.

His heart isn’t any stronger either. Spending his life protecting humans, and cats, what happens to that big, red heart when it aches for their pain, or eventual loss?

In Dark Horse Comics, Hellboy is sired via Satanic ritual, generated in moody, fictive East Bromwich. In real life, he is conceived from Mike Mignola’s psyche, hatched in sunny San Diego on the floor of Comic-Con in 1993, with half the mess and fanfare of the East Bromwich incident. Appearing first in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (1993), Hellboy timorously stepped onto the stage, far less buff than today; obviously, he’s been working out. In fact, the clearest connection between the original and today’s snarky yet affable cranky pants, is his name.

In the early-1980s, when Doctor Who incarnations included posh Peter Davison and Willie Wonka-wannabe Collin Baker, Mignola was inking for Marvel Comics. Later that decade, when Sylvester McCoy’s quasi-Riddler played The Doctor, Mignola was playing for both teams: inking at Marvel (The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil); drawing/producing at DC (Gotham by Gaslight, Batman: A Death in the Family).

By the 1990s, as Paul McGann sashayed through the Who-niverse as The Oscar Wilde Doctor, Mignola finally tired as gun-for-hire. Strong nudging from Mike Richardson at Dark Horse Comics led Mignola to “quit working on other people’s properties and start creating his own.” Cut to Richardson at a “now-forgotten comics convention” where Mignola hands him a packet, capitulating, “Okay, I’ve got a book for you … It’s called Hellboy.”

In 1994, Mignola, Richardson and Dark Horse issue the graphic novel Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, the later-groundwork for Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 feature-film Hellboy. (Editor’s note: Mignola regards the Seed of Destruction miniseries as the true start of the series, thus the 20th anniversary occurring in 2014, not 2013.)

Since then, Hellboy has fathered myriad offspring: films, animated series, spin-offs (Abe Sapiens, Sledgehammer, B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson), novels, toy lines, video games and beyond.

Gilgamesh, Merlin, Aragorn, Spock and even the hot, boho witches of Charmed, human-hybrids one and all, suffer a special brand of angst. When Kirk queries, “You’re only half-Vulcan, what about the human-half?”, Spock replies, “It is proving to be an inconvenience, but it is manageable.”

Anne Rice’s hesitant vampire, Louis, cannot release his humanness, feeding instead on rats and, eventually, villains; whilst Luke Skywalker briefly fights the Dark lure, a battle his father Anakin loses. The tug of war can be great, even in those with whom the force is strong. Only Spaceballs‘ Barf the Mawg (half-man/half-dog) really gets it, accepting his condition joyfully, stating, “I’m my own best friend!”

Page-to-screen adaptations brim with conflcits. Hellboy is no different. Notably is Hellboy’s identity: comics allow life amongst the people, sans question; films cache him from the public, proving difficult in the YouTube era. Strongest link amongst Hellboy iterations? A human element in a fundamentally wicked creature. “We all have a side we try to hide,” sympathizes Agent Myers in del Toro’s Hellboy.

Hellboy doesn’t struggle with his demons, so much as he is aware of them. He is also aware he’s ugly. “I wish I could change this, but I can’t,” he gestures to his visage, apologizing to his film love-interest, the beauteous, power-incontinent pyro, Liz Sherman.

“He’s complicated,” comics-enthusiast Lesli Thyra suggests. “He’s trying to fit into a human world and find acceptance. A creature from hell, he’s strongly influenced by his adoptive, human father. He’s also a protector of the human race, but must be kept secret, which makes his need for acceptance difficult.”

“Do you need everyone to like you? Everybody? Or, am I enough?” Liz wonders in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, as Red realizes, upon saving Manhattan from a destructive forest god, and saving a baby, the people not only dislike him, they fear him.

As Red endeavours to rid Manhattan of the varmint, Prince Nuada, master of said-varmint, argues for its life. “Demon, look at it. The last of its kind. You have more in common with us, than with them. You could be a king.”

Whispering to Red later, Nuada’s dying words tap into a nerve, “The humans, they will tire of you. They have already turned against you. Leave them. Is it them or us? Which holocaust should be chosen?” Not a happy ending, either way.

Still, endings must come. Hellboy: The Fury #3 saves the world, but kills Peanut. Happily, superheroes rarely, truly die; this one merely moves south of the border. Hellboy in Hell just brings a new POV, a Lovecraftian multiverse of new characters, relationships and exploits.

“I always say that when characters die in the Hellboy universe, they just become more interesting,” Mignola told Comic Book Resources’ Kiel Phegley. “So Hellboy now is a lot more interesting. I just felt he’d run his course as the guy who everybody knows.”

Superhero life is not always a bowl full of kitties. Mortal loved ones fade in the blink of an eye, Scottish Fragglewumps will always eat cats and Heaven help you if you’re caught without your protective herbs, rosary or troll-terrorizing canary. The supernatural-half seems glamourous; but the human-half is always worth fighting for … at least for the good guys.

What makes a man, a man? It’s his choices. It’s not how he starts, but how he ends.

                                                                                                                  – B.P.R.D. Agt. John Myers

  • Jennifer Susannah Devore is the authoress of the 18thC. historical-fiction series, Savannah of Williamsburg as well as the contemporary-fiction, The Darlings of Orange County. She also writes for GoodToBeAGeek. She loves Disneyland, Nordstrom, television and playing dress-up. Jennifer lives at the beach; her closet is far too small.

End of article.

 

Note: Past years’ books included J.S. Devore articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics. Additionally, I will covering all our Con shenanigans for GoodToBeAGeek as well as part of Rotten Tomatoes’ SDCC2014 Twitter feed. Follow along @GoodToBeAGeek @JennyPopNet @Eslilay and @RottenTomatoes!

 

 

Let The Gates of Geekhalla Open: SDCC 2014 Commences

Category : Candid Conversations, Comics, Conventions, Entertain Me, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

The Simpsons, SDCC, 2014, geek girl, girls

Always cute boys at SDCC! Mr. Burns is just Miss Hannah’s type! Photo: JSDevore

Aaaaaaand … awaytheygo! San Diego Comic-Con 2014 (July 24-27, 2014, San Diego Convention Ctr.) is officially commenced! Preview Night, Wednesday night’s unofficial kickoff for industry pros, press and others, has come and gone, and whilst crowds may not have peaked to the expected numbers for Friday and Saturday, the crush inside the San Diego Convention Center was as tightly packed and palpably amped as any Con day in recent recall. From the moment one stepped out of the steep, summer humidity and into the blessed, blasting air-conditioning of the Conv. Ctr., there was an energy one could feel through one’s soul, like the floor was made of millions of excitable tribbles. It was as though everyone there, from jaded industry pros to Baby’s First Comic-Con, was just happy, and amazed, to even be there.

Perchance it’s the year-over-year, burgeoning, Herculean task of even getting into the Con, but Preview Night 2014 transmitted a sensorial vibe of sheer joy and unabashed gratitude, like getting a governor’s stay-of-execution or realizing you don’t have to go to the family cabin for Thanksgiving this year. Every minute is a gift. Many a hardcore geek thought WonderCon Anaheim might be it for the year; actually getting into Comic-Con can be a gift from the Nordic gods, a badge to Valhalla.

If folks weren’t simply soaking up the warm and safe embrace of Geekhalla, they were dashing hither and thither, in the brief 6-9p window, to do their part for the economy. Many a vendor offers pre-Con deals, sales and “Preview Night Only” collector’s items. If you think the posh, petite, Asian girls gliding daintily across the marble floors of South Coast Plaza carry impossibly-huge Louis Vuitton and Chanel shopping bags, that’s nothing compared to the sweaty, pasty, peeking-tummy army of Comic Book Guys hefting gargantuan Hasbro and LEGO bags through the carpeted halls of SDCC. Either way, pretty Asian girl or tubby comic nerd … “get out the way, fool!” If there existed any semblance of personal space, it was only due to the fact that Preview Night is not a popular costume day: behold, Friday and Saturday! Wednesday night cosplay was mild, if notable at all. The number of folks in dress could be counted on two hands, if you’re a Simpson.

Now that SDCC 2014 is in gear, keep up the energy, folks! Keep doing your bits for the local economy, too! San Diego loves geeks: local and tourists! Spend freely in our bars, restaurants and shops; and tip generously! Most of all, be kind. Of all that body-crush and shoulder-bumping last night, in the Con and on the streets of the Gaslamp District, I received one, only one, “Excuse me!” It doesn’t hurt your vocal chords, take any time or cost a dime to say something nice when you nudge a fellow geek. Give a pleasant “Hello!” or “Thank you!” to the crossing guards around the Con, too! Armed with little more than a whistle and a smile, these folks have guest control at Disneyland levels! Thanks, guys!

Remember, Yours Truly was picked up by Rotten Tomatoes’ official SDCC 2014 Twitter feed and Dr. Lucy and I will covering all our Con shenanigans for GoodToBEAGeek. Come along with us @GoodToBeAGeek @JennyPopNet @Eslilay and @RottenTomatoes!

SDCC, 2014, Hellboy, Souvenir Book, Jennifer Susannah Devore

SDCC 2014 Souvenir Book: Hellboy’s 20th anniversary. Photo: JSDevore

Finally, if you’re keeping track … Yours Truly’s Hellboy article was published in this year’s official SDCC Souvenir Book! That’s #4, kids! Fun times! Past years’ books included J.S. Devore articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics.

Abyssinia on the Con floor, cats!

 

Comic Book Heroines Podcast – Bonus Issue No 1: Female Superhero Movies, Fan Web Series and Shopping our local Comic Book Shops

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

In this Bonus issue, Kellen Harkins, Amanda Brand and Jessa Phillips started with talking about the All-New Captain Marvel. The conversation took a turn and we spent some time discussing the troubles with making a female superhero movie, fan produced web series and the highs and lows of shopping at our local comic book shops.


Click here for Direct Download.

HOST INFO
Kellen Harkins -
 Star Wars triggered a passion for geek in her which spurred her to publish and edit a fanzine, pursue costuming and and education in film/tv production. She has been attending cons for a long time, participating in fandoms from writing and web series to gaming, costuming and more. For some years now, she has been running one of the big media tracks at DragonCon. You can follow the DragonCon track at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmSFFMedia/

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[at]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-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Comic Book Heroines Podcast – One Shot Issue #7: Peter Panzerfaust Volume 1: The Great Escape

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, Samantha Cross tells us about Peter Panzerfaust Volume 1: The Great Escape,  the reimagining of Peter Pan set against the backdrop of World World II. Peter Panzervaust is written by Kurtis Wiebe with art by Tyler Jenkins, published by Image Comics.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Image Comics.

Click here for the Direct Download .

HOST INFO
Samantha Cross is a writer for Word of the Nerd (www.wordofthenerd.com) and co-host of the DC Confidential Podcast (http://podcasts.wordofthenerdonline.com). She has a Masters in History and works as an Archivist in Seattle, Washington. A long-time DC Comics fan, Sam is also a big fan of titles like SagaGhostedPretty Deadly and Quantum and Woody.

If you like inane comments or the occasional rant, you can follow Sam on Twitter @darling_sammy or check out her blog, The Maniacal Geek (www.maniacalgeek.wordpress.com), where she writes about comic books, television, movies, and whatever else suits her fancy.

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-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Comic Book Heroines Podcast – One Shot Issue #6: Please Save My Earth

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, Rachel Pandich shares the manga Please Save My Earth, art and story by Saki HiwatariPlease Save My Earth is published by Hakusensha in Japan and by Viz Media in the United States and is available in print at Barnes & Noble (check your local comic shop), as well as digitally (Kindle & Nook too!)

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Viz Media.

Click here for Direct Download.

HOST INFO
You can find her at the Webcomics site, SkinCrawlingComics.com, or on podcasts, such as Greatest Movie Ever or Heroes & Villains.

 

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 #5: Rat Queens

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

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

In this One Shot, Samantha Cross tells us why she enjoys Rat Queens, created by Kurtis Wiebe and published by Image Comics.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Image Comics.


Click here for Direct Download.

HOST INFO
Samantha Cross is a writer for Word of the Nerd (www.wordofthenerd.com) and co-host of the DC Confidential Podcast (http://podcasts.wordofthenerdonline.com). She has a Masters in History and works as an Archivist in Seattle, Washington. A long-time DC Comics fan, Sam is also a big fan of titles like SagaGhostedPretty Deadly and Quantum and Woody.

If you like inane comments or the occasional rant, you can follow Sam on Twitter @darling_sammy or check out her blog, The Maniacal Geek (www.maniacalgeek.wordpress.com), where she writes about comic books, television, movies, and whatever else suits her fancy.

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-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Comic Book Heroines – One Shot Issue #4: Densha Otoko “Train Man”

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

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

 

In this One Shot, Christie Shinn shares her passion for a manga series, Densha Otoko, also known as “Train Man.” Densha Otoko is published by Shogakukan, Inc. in its native country of Japan and by Viz Media in the United States.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Viz Media.

Click here for Direct Download.

 

HOST INFO
Christie Shinn wears several hats when it comes to graphics and illustration. My childhood love of anime and video games comes through as an influence in my artwork. I tinker around with the digital paint and also do product design on accessories. I like faffing about, making up stories, and generally chasing the paranormal. Oh yeah, I love to try new things regarding eats, art, and hangouts.

You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @teriblisgeserit and Like her on Facebook (http:/facebook.com/christie.shinn) and at her website http://www.HoraToraStudios.com!

 

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-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Comic Book Heroines Vol No. 1

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

Vol1_cover

Click here for Direct Download
Superhero Squad – All New Captain Marvel Issue 1 & 2 (00:7)
Published by: Marvel
Hosts: Kellen Harkins, Amanda Brand, Jessa Phillips

Courtesy of Marvel

Courtesy of Marvel

 

No Spandex Required – All New Ghost Rider Issue 1, Shadowlands, Alejandra storyline (26:00)
Published by: Marvel
Hosts: Rachel Pandich, Toni Adams, Jessa Phillips

Courtesy of Marvel

Courtesy of Marvel

Indie Impressions – Star Mage (1:08:27) Available in stores now!
Created and Written by: JC De La Torre; Art by: Ray Dillon (Issue 1) and Franco Cespedes; Published by IDW Publishing
Website: http://www.starmagecomic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Star-Mage/446508222088109
Hosts: April Sackett, Mia Moore, Shanna Choung, Jessa Phillips

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

One Shot: Doctor Who Special (1:35:30)
Published by: IDW Publishing
Host: Toni Adams

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

One Shot: Assimilation Squared (1:41:12)
Published by: IDW Publishing
Host: Amanda Brand

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Courtesy of IDW Publishing

One Shot: The Drops of God (1:45:48)
Published by: Vertical, Inc.
Host: Rachel Pandich

Courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

Courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

 

HOST INFO
Kellen Harkins - Star Wars triggered a passion for geek in her which spurred her to publish and edit a fanzine, pursue costuming and and education in film/tv production. She has been attending cons for a long time, participating in fandoms from writing and web series to gaming, costuming and more. For some years now, she has been running one of the big media tracks at DragonCon. You can follow the DragonCon track at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmSFFMedia/

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.

Rachel Pandich - You can find her at the Webcomics site, SkinCrawlingComics.com, or on podcasts, such as Greatest Movie Ever or Heroes & Villains.

Toni Adams spends her days as a serious, dedicated veterinary assistant (just an 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.

Mia Moore - Mia is an MBA student by day and a geek of all trades by night. She blogs about style, cosplay, and living the geek life at xo Mia (www.xomia.com) and about self-love through a geeky lens at Superheroesque (www.superheroesque.com).

Shanna Choung - You can find her on Google Plus (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ShannaChoung) or Twitter (@ShannAwesome)

 

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 #3: The Drops of God

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

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

In this One Shot, Rachel Pandich introduces us to the world of manga with The Drops of God, written by brother and sister, Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, under the pseudonym Tadashi Agi. The Drops of God is published by Kodansha, Ltd in its native country of Japan and by Vertical, Inc. in the United States.

Comic Cover Art courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

Click here for Direct Download.
HOST INFO
You can find her at the Webcomics site, SkinCrawlingComics.com, or on podcasts, such as Greatest Movie Ever or Heroes & Villains.

 

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 #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.

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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

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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!

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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!