Feb 272013
 

The announcement back in October that Disney was acquiring LucasFilm for a paltry sum of $4 billion dollars was completely drowned out by a collective ‘geek-gasim’ heard around the world following their second surprise of the day. A new hope had sprung to life within us all when the studio dropped the bomb that they plan to continue on with the original “Star Wars” trilogy, starting with Episode VII in 2015. When I first heard that someone other than Lucas would have control of the reins over the project, I have to admit I thought it was some sort of sick twisted early Halloween ‘trick.’ Possibly perpetrated by a group like “Anonymous,” or those Chinese cyber hackers who keep messing with the D.O.J. When reality finally did set in, I (like many of you I’m sure) began to feel equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. I think we’re all still a little scarred and gun shy from the prequel atrocities, am I right? Does meeeza have to explainzza? (Yeah, that’s right. I went there.)

sw1

As an avid reader of comics, and Darkhorse’s “Star Wars” titles in particular, my biggest issue with the acquisition and the subsequent revamping of the extended universe is encapsulated in the dilemma of the following question: Does this mean that all the hard work of many gifted graphic artists and writers, who contributed to what was once considered cannon, now null and void? I’m going to have to table that discussion for the time being, definitely a soapbox for another day.

sw4Since the announcement, the internet rumor mill has been working harder than a ‘man-scaping’ wookie, and conjecture is the current name of the game. And speaking of names, the exclusivity for a director shuffled through anyone who has ever had any interest in sci-fi what-so-ever, or has looked through the correct end of a camera. Every movie site was batting around names like; Jon Favreau, to Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, David Yates, to Zack Snyder, Brad Bird, Mathew Vaughn, Joss Whedon, to the obvious candidate of Lucas’ bestest frenemy Steven Spielberg… you get the idea. Of course we now know that the resuscitator of the “Star Trek” franchise himself, J.J. Abrams (Hey J.J., why no call back for the sequel? I’m so not feeling the love.), is set to direct a script written by Oscar winner Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3″/”Little Miss Sunshine”). That’s just the beginning though, with casting and major plot points still up in the air –  crazy kooks like Super Shadow are going to continue to litter the web with inaccurate or out-and-out false information leading up to the very first trailer of the film and beyond. So let’s see if we can sift through the endless barrage of “bantha poo-doo” speculation, and separate the Sith Myths from the Force Facts.

Continue reading »

Nov 282011
 

By Jason Vaughn

 

As we lead up to our “35 Days with Kevin Eastman” event (Nov. 30th-Jan. 4th), it seems only right that we take some time to spotlight the next generation of independent creators out there who are following in the footsteps of such greats as Kevin, Peter Laird, Jeff Smith, Dave Sim, Eric Powell, Bryan Lee O’Malley and others. Two upcoming indie creators, Kyle Winters and Mike Andersen from Grass Valley, California are on the verge of a “big hit” and have “taken aim” (OK, I’ll stop with the puns) at the “big three” with their self-published title “Trigger Men.” Given the growing popularity of digital comics, it’s refreshing to see new creators with the courage to publish their own books in a market dominated by force-fed multiple Wolverine and Batman titles. Produced and published out of their shingle Triptych Books, Winters and Andersen (with the help of another future superstar, artist Heather Brinesh) have crafted a dark comedic bromance of a story. The plot revolves around the misadventures of two guys, friends since childhood who grew up to be contract killers in high school.  Now, adults who’ve gone their separate ways, they come together for what they believe will be one final job.  Think “Grosse Point Blank” meets “Justified.” I had the opportunity to talk to Mike and Kyle about “Trigger Men”, Triptych books, and what’s coming around the corner in the near future for both.

 

Guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’m digging the story of “Trigger Men” and not just because I’m a narcissist and there’s a lead named Jason in it.

M: We’ll take that.

Also, I was an assassin for hire at one point as well.

(Laughs)

I like the bromance between Matt and Jason you guys have come up with, it’s a lot of fun. Let’s start out with an easy one. What kind of comics were you guys in to growing up and what do you currently read?

M: “I’m really big in to indie comics in general, which is actually kind of a big motivation for us to create comics. We would go to conventions and only be able to find the first few issues of a run. It’s hard trying to find indie comics because a lot of them ended very early. The one I’m really enjoying now is “The Walking Dead.”

K: “I grew up with ‘Spiderman,’ that was a very integral part of my childhood. A lot of ‘Spiderman,’ some ‘Batman’ titles, comics that a traditional reader would pick up when they’re young. Then I basically got out of reading comics from about seventh grade through high school. Right after high school, we all started going to the San Diego Comic Con and that kind of got me back into comics. At that point, I found myself more interested in the independent stuff, the creator owned comics. Right now the things I’ve been into actually are more journalistic comics.”

M: “I’m also a huge fan of “The Tick.”

Spoon! (The Tick’s battle cry, I’d explain but it’d take too long. Hit Meltdown and grab a trade instead.) Continue reading »

Aug 152011
 

by Jason Vaughn

Long before the world was forced to choose between camp Edward and camp Jacob in Twilight, and well before Sookie became the never ending damsel in distress on True Blood, the genre world got its fix of horror/romance by the queen of all things supernatural, Anne Rice. Now longtime fans of Rice have a new reason to be excited with the release of IDW’s latest limited series, Servant of the Bones. Thanks to my sister, I grew up a big fan of Rice’s Vampire Lestat series. This eventually led to me reading her other books outside of the series such as Servant of the Bones, a dark tale of the demon Azriel who’s hunting down a murderer in New York City. (A murderer in NYC, go figure.)

IDW describes the comic version of the story as a “six-part tale of murder, demonic revenge, and the redemptive power of faith.” The series is written, of course, by Anne Rice, the multiple New York Times Bestselling author of Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned, with art by the New York Times Best-selling team of The Last Unicorn, Renae DeLiz and Ray Dillion. And if that isn’t enough, there’s a little extra nugget of goodiness for all the die-hard fans in the form of a new essay by Rice at the end of this first issue. For first time readers of Anne Rice’s work this issue is an excellent jumping on point, and for those of you familiar with the book the adaptation is as close to the original source material as one can possibly get. I could go on for days about how brilliant the art is or how DeLiz and Dillon go out of their way to perfectly set the tone of the story, but just go out and get a copy and see for yourself. Servant of the Bones hits the shelves this Wednesday the 17th, so don’t forget to log on to Comixology and add a copy to your pull list or you just might miss out on the first issue of what is sure to be IDW’s latest hit, and that would suck. (Get it, “suck”? Come on, we’ve been talking about vampires! Ah, never mind.)

Go ahead and follow me on Twitter: @GoTodash

Jul 202011
 

by Jason Vaughn

“Evil isn’t a force…it’s a choice…I’m weighing my options.”

– Jack Springheel

Digital comics have exploded on to the internet at such an exponential rate, it’s no surprise when top industry creators collaborate to craft passion projects online. Artist Dennis Calero, who is best known for his work in Platinum Comics’ “Cowboys and Aliens” as well as his Harvey Award-nominated run in Marvel’s “X-Factor,” has teamed up with writer/actor Todd Stashwick (“Heroes,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “The Riches”) to create one hell of a story about the Devil questioning his own role in the grand scheme of the universe. The “Devil Inside” has become such an underground cult hit that the web comic is vastly approaching eight hundred thousand hits in just its first year. The log line on Todd’s website describes the series better than I could:

“A guns blazing, white knuckled, preternatural joy ride to hell and back. Go on the road with the Devil himself, Jack Springheel. A man with a bounty on his head, Jack is running from a past, searching for a new truth and trying to keep the Devil inside.”

I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Todd and Dennis (albeit through several interruptions due to technical difficulties, thank you very much AT&T) about the inception of their successful indie strip, “Devil Inside.”

Thanks for taking the time guys; I’m a big fan of both of your work. Todd, I still have your “Scarpulla rap” on my DVR (“Men of a Certain Age”), I think you missed your calling.

T: I apologize for that posthumous.

And, Dennis, your run on X-Factor is still one of the best in the series so far.

D: Thank you so much!

 

You guys are professionally from two different worlds, how did you end up collaborating on this web series?

T: Well, it sort of happened on Twitter actually. I was on “Heroes” and they introduced the character in a web comic before the TV show, and Dennis was the artist on that comic. I’m a comic book fan myself, so when I saw a promo of the online book, I immediately ran to check out how I was being represented, and I was being well represented. So I started using Twitter, and I made my avatar on Twitter one of his drawings. Then I contacted Dennis just to touch base and also that I dug this (the avatar pic), and he was a fan of the show I was on called “The Riches,” and so we built a friendship that way. He said that he was coming in to L.A. and wanted to meet up for coffee. We started discussing all the things we were  into, our favorite video games, comic books, movies, all assorted types of geekery. I had a germ of an idea about the Devil having a crisis of conscience and he said ‘Hey, let’s do that as a web comic.’

That was actually my next question. How did you come up with the idea?

T: Well, I play villains all the time, so I’m often fascinated with the idea of the occult. Sort of getting into the psyche of a villain, and I’m always trying to find the layers on the other side. There’s just too many to deal with. So all in all, almost everything I play on TV is a lot like the guy with a bullet in his head. My objective basically was to make a protagonist by extenuating circumstances into this space. And so I thought who is the ultimate villain, and obviously the Devil, so I went “what if the Devil was having a crisis of conscience, and started questioning his own path?” Then I turned to Dennis and he and I created a whole cosmology as well a series bible for the first arc of the story. Continue reading »