Saturday, January 31, 2022

Exclusive interview with Moore & Reppion on Creature Feature #2

A few months ago I did an advance review of Creature Feature #1 from Th3rd World Studios. As part of this feature I was lucky enough to interview many individuals involved with the project, including, Mike Raicht, C.B. Cubulski, Leah Moore, and John Reppion.

This Wednesday saw the release of issue #2 of the two part mini-series, featuring the story Imago by Leah Moore, John Reppion, and PJ Holden. In case you didn't read the original feature (shame on you), I thought I would reprint the interview here, so you could see what the story is all about.

This is not your first work with Th3rd World Studios, having contributed the story "Project: Obeah" to Space Doubles #1. How did you guys get involved with this project? Do you see yourself doing more work with the publisher in the future?

Leah: We got involved with Space Doubles through Mike Devito asking us to contribute, and because we thought Th3rd World’s stuff looked really cool and fun, and well produced we jumped at the chance!

When Mike Raicht later suggested doing a story for Creature Feature we were delighted to do it. Mike Raicht’s a great writer and a great guy, so we were happy to do a story, and happy to work with Th3rd World again. We’d be up for doing more with them in the future, to be honest the only thing that would stop us is being swamped with other work, so hopefully they wont be seeing the last of us!

Your story is appearing in issue #2 of Creature Feature, why don't you give us a little taster of what you have in store for readers. Something to make sure people come back for more.

John: Well, without giving too much away, the story is called Imago which (according to that font of all disinformation Wikipedia) is a term defined thusly:

In biology, the imago is the last stage of development of an insect, after the last ecdysis of an incomplete metamorphosis, or after emergence from the pupa where the metamorphosis is complete.

Basically, its sort of like The Goonies ran into The Thing… sort of…

I sense a hint of 80s influence in the story, were you guys big fans of those 80s horrors that were "so bad it's good" I.E. Toxic Avenger etc.

John: I’ve always had a bit of a problem with Troma’s output since they try to do “so bad it’s good” deliberately which never quite works for me. Films like Critters, Piranha, Alligator, Q - The Winged Serpent… all that good stuff on the other hand; they were just great despite the limitations! [ED NOTE: All great films, some of the Critters sequels though... not so much!]

You guys have written quite a few horror stories before. Is this a genre that you enjoy writing?

Leah: We seem to don’t we? I think its mainly John’s fault as he sees everything in horror vision, so if I draw a panel, he’ll say “yes like that shot in Brain-dead!” or something. I hadn’t watched many horror films until I married him, so I blame him mostly. I suppose on balance that I did read a fair few horror comics throughout my life too, so it must just have filtered in that way too.

How did you first get into the genre, and do you have more horror stuff in the works?

We got to the end of either Wild Girl or Albion and someone asked us in an interview what we wanted to do next. We jokingly said “Horror! Loads of zombies” or something like that, and someone must have been listening. We did a giant octopus story for Accent UK’s ‘Monsters’ anthology, then we did Project Obeah for the Th3rd World guys, (we might have actually written that one first…) then a zombie story for Accent UK’s next anthology ‘Zombies’ and since then its been zombies and tales of the macabre ever since. Be careful what you wish for!

PJ Holden is mostly known for his work on 2000 A.D. How did PJ get involved with this project, and what was it like working with him?

John: We’d met PJ a couple of times when we were over in Dublin for the Phoenix Convention and in Belfast for MeCon. Basically, we just kept bumping into each other at al these different events and we got on well so he went to the top of our “artists to work with” list. The project came along soon after that and so it was straightforward logic that we ask him if he fancied doing it and it turned out that he did. Simple really.

The two person writing dynamic is something that has always interested me. How does the process work with the two of you? Is one of you the ideas person, and one the dialogue person, or is it not quite so strictly defined?

Leah: Its almost like that, but we do a lot of talking about all of it as we go so the edges get blurred a bit. John’s very good at writing pitches and proposals, so he usually take s the first crack at them, but normally we already know what’s going into it before he starts, so all he does is go though it in logical fashion making it all fit. We talk through the story and how it fits into the issues/pages we have and we break it down into chunks. We make sure we know what’s gong on each page of the issue in terms of plot, and then we start drawing out the pages. I do the drawing because John’s drawings make no sense to me at all, and we go through the pages putting in each panel at a time until we’ve covered the plot for that page, and left it at the right point for the next page. We sometimes have several pages to work with in a scene, so we have to figure out how to pace the action and stuff, but the process is the same. Go through panel at a time and draw them in until you’re done. Sometimes we start at the end of the scene and work backwards from it, sometimes we just plough through really fast from the start. We have to know what the characters are saying at least roughly, at this point, so we make notes to remind us later. Once we have the pages all drawn up in my scribbled biro, then we grab a few pages each and sit down and type up the script. John then has the job of typing in all the dialogue roughly, and I go through at the end and reword it and tweak it a bit to make it perfect. He can get the words down fast without worrying about it, but I fiddle about with it for ages afterwards. It really works well.

We both say we couldn’t write comics without the other person, and its true, but maybe what we mean is we would write crappier comics without each other!

Obviously, arguments over storylines have the potential to get a lot more personal, as the two of you are married. I think that if my wife and I were to work together, one of us would be dead within the week :) Do you find that writing ever generates friction between the two of you? How does one work through that?

John: It’s fairly rare that things like plotlines or character arcs generate any friction between us (although it does happen sometimes). Mainly, the hardest part is getting us both motivated at the same time, especially when we’re just starting a new issue of something; you need to take a bit of a run up at these things and sometimes it’s harder to give yourself that push when there’s another person involved. One of the most positive things in terms of quality control that comes out of writing as a duo is the fact that it’s a lot harder to accidentally waste your time writing a load of crap that will have to be deleted. I can imagine that people writing solo sometimes “push through” a block and just write and writ only to discover that they’ve really written a load of rubbish. We always have the other person to say “Stop!” then we waste out time in other ways instead.

What future comic work do the two of you have on the horizon?

Leah: Good lord we have a metric tonne of work coming up, but nothing we can talk about at the moment. We can’t announce anything we are working on now, so we can only say we have three big new projects coming up with Dynamite and one smaller but very tasty project coming up with another publisher.

[ED NOTE: Since this interview the guys have announced that their next project will be The Complete Dracula]

So, remember to pick one up at your local Comic Shop if you haven't already. Though note that in this economic climate, I have noticed that many stores are stocking much smaller amount of non DC/Marvel titles, so it might be a good idea to call your retailer to see if they have any in. If they do not, they will probably be able to put in a re-order for you. Failing this, hit the store on the Th3rd World site.

Tuesday, January 27, 2022

Advance Review of Studio 407 Titles

Believe it or not, I get sent review copies of comics from time to time. Don't worry, Marvel aren't knocking down my door, trying to get me to review the latest issue of New Avengers. They usually come in from smaller companies who don't often get exposure on big sites like Newsarama and CBR etc.

Sometimes I get a few duds, and with these I normally stay quite, and kindly decline, because I would feel really bad telling someone I hate their product. Every so often though I get send some real gems to review. Fortunately, the comics recently sent to me by Studio 407 fall in to the latter category.

This is the first I have actually seen of Studio 407, but it seems that they have been around for a while now, and have several series in print. The mission statement on their website states:

Studio 407 brings together the imagination, storytelling traditions and creative talents of artists and writers from North America and Asia to generate a flow of distinct and kinetic East-meets-West entertainment.

We are a writer-driven creative lab that blends innovation with tradition to create the highest quality in the medium of comics and manga across a wide variety of genres. From capes to kung fu. From giant robots to vampires. From secret agents to mad science. And from our world to yours.

I was sent several comics for review, which seem to cover many different genres, from sci-fi, to horror, to hard boiled, to straight up superhero stories.

I won't give every title big, individual, reviews, but instead give a mini review of a handful of the titles provided.

Nether World

Nether World is an action-orientated space sci-fi. It is set in a time when mankind is battling the inhuman Thanati race for territory in the universe. The Humans come across the Thanati territory world of Erburus, only to find it completely devoid of life. Suspecting that the Thanati have developed a super-weapon that has backfired, a crack team of commandos and unwilling scientists is sent in to investigate.

The comic wasn't the usual sort of thing I would read, but it was pretty good fun. It felt like a strange mix between the new BSG series, and Starship Troopers. There is a lot of action, and alien blasting, with a bit of comedy thrown in in the form of the interaction between the commandos and the scientists. Worth checking out.


Helix is a completely different beast. I have to say, whoever came up with the concept must have a screw loose.

The book concerns the story of a Vatican sanctioned exorcist, who, when an exorcism goes terribly wrong, ends up with all the legions of hell stored inside his glass eye. Now, the demons constantly chatter inside his brain, and he must find an artifact called the Macaber stones in order to free himself of the curse.
Having demons inside his head also gifts him with superpowers, a bonus on his mission. However, there is one small catch, if he dies before finding the stones, all the legions of hell will be let loose on the Earth.

Like I said, nutty concept. This is one I might definitely check out!

Smuggling Spirits

OK, first things first. The art in this book has a pretty obvious Frank Miller influence to it. It is rather similar to the artwork used in the Sin City series, with masses of black ink, and a very noir atmosphere to it. There is a lot more to this book that crime noir though.

The book is set on an Earth infested by macabre, Lovecraftian monsters and demons. The main protagonists of the story are a liquor smuggler, and a boy that he has given sanctuary to. We follow them on their journey across the country, through harsh and hostile territories, as they combat various creatures and ghouls. What makes the story even stranger is that the main smuggler refuses to see the world as it really i. Instead of seeing a fire breathing dragon, he sees a murder of crows, instead of an evil demon, he sees a homeless drunk. He refuses to admit the existence of the macabre, and is able to rationalize anything.

It's a really good mix of noir and horror, and I found it pretty damn enjoyable.

Havoc Brigade

Havoc Brigade is another sci-fi book. This one is set on a future Earth, which is going through another World War. As the book opens, the forces of axis and allies are at a stalemate, that could last twenty years. Then, the US unveils their secret weapon, which is equivalent to that generation's Manhattan Project, robotic battle suits. With these suits the special US force known as the Havoc Brigade ends the war in seconds. After the war is over though, the Havoc Brigade is decommissioned, but one soldier is not willing to accept this, and has his own plans, which is where the first issue ends. It might be interesting to see where this one goes next.


Spark is a superhero book about a solar flair event that gives random people superpowers. At the start of the book we learn that the same thing happened many years ago, and that it had dreadful consequences. For this reason, the government are keen to find and contain the new superheroes immediately. In this respect, it is quite a bit like Marvel Comics' New Universal series. This is no where near as dark though, and the action centers around a hapless high-school student who gains superpowers, so it has quite a lot of the type of fun seen in Invincible.

So, it looks like Studio 407 have some pretty good titles coming out, I'll be sure to check a few of them out. If you want any more information on these titles, or their release dates, just head over to Studio 407's website.

Facebook Comic Con

A few days ago Michael Netzer started a new group/concept on Facebook called Facebook Comic Con. In his own words:

Facebook Comic Con is an unofficial virtual comics animation and media convention at Facebook which provides a 'convention away from conventions' to its members and to the countless professionals and fans registered on Facebook.

More info:

Creators' Corridor | Guest Artists and Writers

Stores, dealers and reporters info coming soon.

As an incentive to launch Facebook Comic Con, founder Michael Netzer is offering a free online convention sketch to the first 1,000 members to register at the con and who request a sketch. Requests will be accepted as a wall post on the events page. Sketches will be uploaded to photos section in low rez web format. High rez files for printing will be emailed to everyone wishing them.

Let's get the show on the road with an effort to inform every comics fan (and non-comics fans) about Facebook Comic Con. Tell your friends and tell them to tell their friends. Facebook Comic Con is here!

Don't forget to urge your favorite comics professionals, in your friendly network, to register as guests and take advantage of the grand exposure this convention provides. All guests will receive their own group page within Facebook Comic Con as their own convention table.

A big day for the comics awaits on Facebook! Help us bring this great day!

I thought that this sounded like a great idea, so I joined up straight away, plus a free sketch by Michael Netzer sounded pretty damn good. I think there were about 14 members when I joined two days ago, but the numbers are already up to about 1000 members, which is great! Michael already has discussion groups going, sketches and artwork up there, and there is loads more to come. His latest wal posting had this to say:

Hello everyone. We're moving along with an idea to create tables for guests, dealers and other professionals at the con. We choose not to use outside applications which many users might not like. We'd also prefer not to ask for any special privileges from Facebook at this time. The present structure being explored is to create a group page for every guest, dealer and professional attending the con.

Our first test foray into this system is now ready for your perusal. Notice the group info at top has changed. It now has a link to a Creators' Corner which will list all guest creators. Everyone who registered here and indicated a special status will receive such a page and become listed at Facebook Comic Con.

So, please visit our first test guest table, comics and fantasy artist Craig Archimedes Hamilton, join his group and show your support. A more robust listing including dealers and other professionals is in the works.

Thank you all for the fabulous enthusiasm and support

So, I would urge you to get in on the game, and join the group. I have invited anyone even remotely interested in comics on my friend list, but I thought this was a great damn idea, so I thought I would spread the word. If you're not on Facebook, what are you waiting for, get too it.

Now to wait for my Martian Manhunter sketch, I think I am next in line....

P.S. If you want to friend me on Facebook, feel free, just click here

Sunday, January 25, 2022

I hate you all!

Paul Blart: Mall Cop is number one at the box office in the U.S. and Canada, and the sequel already has the green light. I have lost faith in humanity. The apocalypse cannot come soon enough.

When did we get so stupid?

Wednesday, January 21, 2022

Lost S5 Premiere

God damn! That was amazing! I can't really say much about what happened, because many places around the World haven't seen it yet. Also, if you haven't watched S1-4 yet, then I would just fuck stuff up for you anyway.

I have to tell you though, that was two of the best hours of TV I have ever watched. Things are really coming to a head, and we are starting to get answers to some questions. The episode was tense, action packed, funny, intelligent, and mind-boggling at times. If you are one of those people that has decided to give up on the show, then I would urge you to get back into it, there are only two short seasons left, and everything feels like it is rushing to the conclusion.

Damn! Now I have to wait seven days for another episode :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2022

Jumping on the Band Wagon

It looks like everyone is generating these Obamicon images at the moment, so, I thought I would jump on board and try my own.

This is my nemesis Crisssss Angel, "Mind Douche!"

This is my Maroon Bellied Conure, Cheeky, whose favourite phrase is "What'cha Doing?"

The last goes without saying.

In other news

The nice people over at Studio 407 have send me some free comics to read. I've been a little busy for the last couple of days, but I plan to have read them by the end of the week, and will pass my thoughts on to you guys.


Season 5 of Lost starts tomorrow night, so clear your schedule for the evening, make a pot of tea and get ready for 2 hours of pure brilliance. Unless you've never watched Lost before, because then you will be really, really confussed. So go out and get the DVDs so that you cn catch up. I'll probbaly be doing some post show analysis on here or something, so stay tune.

Last but not least

I went to Warren Ellis' website today, and he has put a link up to a very disturbing comic book... short film... shall we say. Go check it out

Monday, January 19, 2022

Better Living Through Chemistry?????

Hi guys!

I know how badly maintained this blog is, and I just felt like I should post something. I'll make no excuses, and I won't make any promises to keep it all up to date, because I would hate to lie :)

Lately I have been getting really behind on everything, I have over a months worth of comics to read, and I have pretty much just stopped doing my photography, drawing, writing, playing the guitar, or any other activity I enjoy. I think the reason for this is the medication that I have been taking for my OCD. I have been taking a type of SSRI (antidepressant) called Luvox for almost a year now. When I started out on the drug I was only taking about 50mgs a day, and I wasn't really getting any side effects. However, I wasn't really getting the desired effects either, so the Doctor has been slowly upping my dosage ever since. I found that after I hit about 250mgs a day I have been getting this insatiable urge to sleep, I can sleep for 15 hours, and not even feel rested, I can then slip in an hours nap during the day time. The flip side of this is that they give me terrible insomnia, so it is impossible to get to sleep in the first place, and it makes me want to pee all through the night, so I am constanly getting up in the night. This has resulted in me walking around in a zombie-like state for most of the day, which is really hard to snap out of. The other thing that these drugs seem to be to make me really passive and apathetic, so it is really difficult to get the energy to keep a blog, or read, or do anything else I enjoy!

When I went to the Doctor last week, he decided that I needed to go on to 400mgs of this poison, so the last week has been really rough, and everything seems to require more effort and energy than I can muster.

Not to worry, as I have been looking around for more information about the drug, and I read somewhere that if you are taking more than 150mgs, you should be taking half in the morning, and half at night, otherwise you have periods of depression, and periods of mania! Thanks Doc! Douche! I have been trying this for the last couple of days, taking 200mgs in the A.M. and 200mgs in the P.M., and I am feeling a little bit better. It seems that my body is starting to adjust to this level of the drug. I still feel like I have a fog over my brain sometimes, but I am no longer coming home from work, eating, napping, then going to bed.

If this all works out, I should be updating this more frequently. Also, I should be able to read my way through this massive backlog of comics that I have. Good Grief!

Saturday, January 3, 2022

PJ's Caricature of Chrissy

As I mentioned yesterday, I asked PJ to draw a caricature of my wife.

Here is what I sent:

Here's what he did:

I particularly love the snow in the background. Nice Job PJ! Hey, how come she gets a nice small nose, and I get a big pudgy nose? Why I aught'ta.... Just joking, that's the joy of a good caricature, and I love when someone gets one done and they go "what the heck! My eyes aren't that piggy!" and everyone else around them just shifts uncomfortably.

Anyway, make sure you head over to PJ's blog to see the other caricatures he has done so far, and more of his awesome work.

PJ Holden's Goofy New Year Project

His words, not mine :)

If you head over to PJ Holden's blog you will see that he is doing a project for the new year. The idea is that to hone his caricature skills, he is planning to draw a caricature a day, every day of the year, or until he gets bored :)

Yesterday, I emailed him this picture of me:

This morning I awoke to find this in my Gmail inbox:

How cool is that? He tells me that it took 15 minutes, and was done in brush & Indian ink on photocopy paper. I asked him if he would mind doing one of my wife too, so I'll post that if he does.

Meanwhile, in the Bat Cave...

I'm sat here bagging and boarding a few hundred comics. It is a menial task, and I wish that I would keep on top of it, and not let it pile up like this (literally). I am passing the time by listening to an audio book of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time Book II: The Hunt for the Great Horn. I don't normally listen to audio books much, as I prefer to read the proper thing, but I decided to try listening to them while I cycle to work. It seems to work out pretty well, and isn't as distracting as you would think it would be. Though if I do get into some sort of accident, it'll be a fair bet that I was at a really tense part of the story!