Review: Madefire’s Houses of the Holy # 8

By A Kirana

I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Abernathy, Editorial Director of Madefire, when I had the opportunity to interview him during the 2014 NYCC.  He introduced us to Madefire’s approach to motion comics, and I was excited to peruse some of their titles.
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My first experience with their motion comic, is the beautifully dark, Houses of the Holy #8, written by Mike Carey and drawn by Dave Kendall, and it did not disappoint.  Entitled A Private View and set in 1936, Berlin, we are reminded that monsters, at times, wear a human face.  The monster I refer to is Gottlieb Kunst head of the Nazi party’s Ministry of Propaganda or as he refers to it ‘Public Enlightenment’.  He creates short ‘documentary’ films, using the children of the Roma gypsies who have been rounded up for sterilization.  He films the children in his studio, showing them smiling and laughing while at play, to appease the public, assuring them of the ethical treatment of the Gypsies.  His disdain towards those he perceives as the lesser race is evident when speaking about his ‘work’ to Alfred Hugenberg, whom, upon running into him at a Nazi party event, invited him to see his work.  His ‘masterpiece’ which he willingly shares with Alfred, more to feed his narcissistic nature, is far more nefarious than the films he releases to the public.

Houses of the Holy should be a must read for those who enjoy tales of the macabre.  Every part of the comic, from the music playing eerily in the background to the slight action movements within certain panels, immerses the reader into the story; even the word bubbles that pop up help to give it a more conversational feel.  The rich tapestry of the tale, woven so eloquently is able to convey the horrors of the time without turning the characters into clichéd caricatures.  Being that this was my first experience with Madefire’s motion comic, I was not familiar with the title and was unsure whether I would be able to follow the story, since I was starting with Episode 8.  Instead, what I have read and experienced is more than enough to pique my interest to play catch up with the title as I wait, impatiently, for the next episode.

Issue #4 – Doctor who comic talk

Welcome back to another set of comic reviews! This time I talk about the newly released Doctor Who comics released by Titan comics. I talk about the tenth and eleventh doctors issue and also why I chose Doctor Who! There is spoilers in the video as I talk about the issues of course 🙂

Thanks to everyone who has been watching these and commenting on them! If you’d like to hear me talk about comics more, head over to Ryan’s podcast and here’s a link to the  positively nerdy place –http://positivelynerdy.com/?p=2853

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Watch “Issue #3 – July pickups” on YouTube

Issue #3 – July pickups: http://youtu.be/Py_rH02Aoi8

Payday has rolled around so I decided to go into town and pick up some comics!  I show you what I picked up and tell a little bit about why I picked these issues up! What are you reading at the moment or what do you recommend I give a go reviewing? Let me know in the comments below!
 
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 Check out Chris’ great review on John Carpenter’s Halloween here – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rC8YZ-wCBHY

 Chris also does his first Blu-ray steelbook opening as well – http://youtu.be/wmhnEIRG4Q0

 Simon talks about the Amazing Spiderman 2 here so find out his thoughts –  http://youtu.be/Crp-qN9ylJI

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Comic book review: Big Trouble In Little China

By Robert “Rob Base” Greenwood

Boom studios has release issue one of an on going series based on the cult hit Big Trouble In Little China. IF and I do mean IF you have never seen this film watch below.

The comic takes place after the events of the film.BigTrouble_01_coverE

 

Jack is in his truck and runs head deep into a giant yet lovable demon who is now bound to him. The reason why has to do with the ending events of the movie.

BigTrouble_01_PRESS-9  BigTrouble_01_PRESS-10 BigTrouble_01_PRESS-11 BigTrouble_01_PRESS-12 BigTrouble_01_PRESS-13He heads back to Chinatown to help rid him of his new “best friend” but upon arrival he learns that the only way to get rid of the demon is for Jack to die. In typical film style bad guys crash the party causing a big battle to erupt and a new villain emerges.

being this is the first issue I will let go a lot of what I feel makes this book weak and just wait to see where it is going.  It does try really hard to capture the movies fun and action but I do feel the art is a weak point in this series and could have

benefited with a better artist. If you really love the film and always wanted to see the future adventures of Jack this is your book.

 

 

comic review: codebreakers 1-4

by Shawn Morales

Codebreakers #1

Ciphers. Codes. Encryption. Passwords. Meet the best of the best elite Cryptanalysis Unit of the F.B.I. as they puzzle out the truth and protect all of us from those that would steal information in ways that can shatter the global community. But what happens to the Cryptanalysis Unit when one of their own goes missing? Is this a puzzle the puzzle-solvers can’t solve? And will this cipher reveal things about themselves?

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Welcome to Noob Reviews today I am reviewing Codebreakers #1   . This series is about a squad of so called “codebreakers” in this issue we get a brief intro to the team, a bunch of seemingly genius level analyst and there “handler” who im guessing becomes the muscle they will no doubt need because one of the codebreakers is captured and the government secrets are in danger oh no! Yeah this ao far sounds like a recycled plot line with nothing special to make me want to read the next issue (even though I will).

Rating 2/5

Lets hope this old dry plot has a big twist in issue #2

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Codebreakers #2

Another Codebreakers review and let me tell you it hasn’t gotten any better than the first issue, more recylced plot with motive-less characters and nothing to keep me reading (except that I said I would)  Ill tell you one code that needs to be broken how did this series get sent to print?

Rating 2/5

If you like cheesy hollow stories oh boy is Codebreakers the series for you!

 

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Codebreakers #3

 

Here we go again the 3rd issue in this dull but thankfully short series. Ok so the problem with having such short series is that you have to cram all the backstory and plot into 20 or so pages and its hard to pull off for anyone. Codebreakers does a poor job of making you care for the characters I can barley remember any of there names! but in this issue I will say they did a good job of melding the flashbacks with the ongoing story all though the “big twist” was easy to call the balance between action and the flashback made this bad series somewhat bearable even if only for a moment.

Rating 3/5

Good story telling, bad story.

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Codebreakers #4

 

Its over its finally over thank the heavens! Let me not waste time here I’ll make this short (like all my other post really) it all ends in a convenient happy ending for a bunch of characters we don’t care about anyway. I can see no reason to pick up this series unless you enjoy a series filled with spy troupes executed at the skill level of a 13 year old.

Rating 1/5

Way to end an already disappointing series with disappoint .

 

Series Verdict

Analyze-Read-Skim-Pass

Lil Vampi Review

By Robert “Rob Base” Greenwood

For the better part of 20 years, my wife and I have enjoyed the adventures of Vampirella. Our collection is just shy a few early issues from Warren magazine.

Our collection continues till this very day. With all this in mind, I came into reading Lil Vampi with a huge open mind. All I can say is YES!

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Lil Vampi is to Vampirella as Itty Bitty Hellboy is to Hellboy, sheer genius. The artwork is playful and, at the same time, solid. Never once does the art feel cheap or too “kiddish.” It doesn’t throw the aspect of it being a kid version in your face.

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I know that sounds dumb, but it’s the best way to describe how well the artist, Agnes Garbowska, handles the book.

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The writing fits with the art perfectly. The story reads like a noir/crime drama mixed with a young girl’s diary. Eric Trautmann and Brandon Jerwa take nothing away from Vampi and adds all her history into this one comic.

The subtle addition of Pantha makes for some amusement. Unlike how Vampi usually shared half a book with The Pantha, in this, Pantha is almost like her own inserted Bazooka Joe strip strung together at the bottom of each page.
Each funnier than the next.

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If I can give any negative feedback on this book is it’s a one shot. This book needs to be monthly or a seasonal title. Fans will buy this book as well as non fans. The style and content of this comic will somewhat douse the flames of sexism that has always been attributed to Vampirella.

Overall, the comic is fun for everyone and you don’t need to be a Vampi fan to read it (it helps, though). If you love books based on My Little Pony, Adventure Time, and cartoon greats like the Powerpuff Girls, then you must add Lil Vampi to your collection.

I give this comic 5/5. Buy it now and share the Vampirella goodness with your family.
Follow me on Twitter @AltMindz

2013: A Comic Book Comeback

By Robert “Rob Base” Greenwood

Most sites do a year-in review (or the best of), but this time, I want to talk about the feeling of nostalgia and the return of comic book royalty.

With the massive success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon show,

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it was only fitting that someone would make a comic based on it and IDW  knocked this series out of the park; not only making a tie-in comic, but continued the stories of TMNT past history.

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While, for the purist trading all the past works from Mirage and Archie comics, this is truly a come back in all its forms, making Turtle power and kicking bad guys back sides fun and entertaining once again.

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Next brings me to something I didn’t expect to ever see done. Once again, IDW comics grabs a property by the neck and brings in a winner with the remastered issues of The Maxx. That’s right, IDW and Sam Kieth have brought The Maxx to a new generation of fans and all Sam did was punch up the color palette.

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The remastered editions are not the “Star Wars” of the comic book world. All they have done is given the comic a prettier paint job and said this is what it is and we like that way!

I am so pleased with this series and I hope it finds and inspires a new audience.

IDW isn’t the only comic book company making good on history. Some do it by reinventing the way we look at comics.

Dynamite, for the better part of a few years, has taken pulp fiction icons and gave them a home to be heroes in.
But most recently, its crossover books are just amazing. With The Kings Watch leading the charge

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and  DC crossing paths with IDW on a Spirit/The Rocketeer,

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the past worlds collide and tell some fun and action packed stories.

If 2014 can continue this trend, then we are in a wonderful time for modern comic books.

Enjoy the New Year and Follow me on Twitter @AltMindz

All You Need Is Love: An Interview with Vivek J. Tiwary, writer of The Fifth Beatle; The Brian Epstein Story

Fifth Beatle

Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles: John, Paul, George, Ringo, Brian! Wait? What?

Vivek J. Tiwari wants you to know there were actually five Beatles. Who is the Fifth Beatle?

“So I’m saying the fifth Beatle is Brian Epstein, the man who discovered the band when they were in small clubs, The Cavern Club, Brian saw in the band music that would inspire the whole world, their message of love and he said they would be bigger than Elvis.”

Brian was also gay and Jewish. In the 1960’s it was against the law in the United Kingdom to be gay. There was also a lot of anti-Semitism. Liverpool, England was a small working-class port town, so for a gay Jewish boy who finds a local band and he says they’re going to be bigger than Elvis it was laughable. But it was a dream he had. He managed the band to international stardom.
“He persevered and it is an incredibly inspiring story. He fulfilled his dream against all odds. But its also a tragic story; he never had a proper relationship so here is a man who brought this message of love to the world and yet he died a lonely man. It’s an incredibly inspiring story, a story that inspired me in my life. It’s a labor of love for me so I’m honored to be sharing it with the world now.”

Vivek is no stranger to the entertainment world. He was a producer for the revival of A Raisin in the Sun (yes, the one with P. Diddy) and co-producer on the Broadway productions of Green Day’s American Idiot and The Addams Family. His Broadway productions combined have 44 Tony nominations, winning 25 of them. So what drew him to Brian’s story?
“I first discovered this story 21 years ago when I was in business school,” That’s the Wharton School of Business, you slackers! Magna Cum Laude by the way. If you have aspirations to become an artist, you study the masters, Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh so if you are studying to become an entertainment producer, you study the man who managed the most successful band in the history of ever, except he came across one problem. “There were and are no books about Brian Epstein in print. Literally when this comes out on November 19th this will be the first graphic novel or book out about Brian Epstein.”

Not only that, this was 21 years ago, before there was Wikipedia, Google or Internet (that was available to the public, at least) It was the stone age! So, how did Vivek continue his quest to learn more about Brian Epstein? “I got my hands on as many Beatles books that I could find and I slowly began to piece together a story. I read about the people in his life, his friends and I just started contacting them. I said I’m a young guy, trying to learn more about Brian Epstein, his story is inspiring me. At first they were a little wary, a lot of these people were very protective of him and because of his sexuality they learned to be guarded. Even when the laws were repealed it was socially unacceptable. I would say it was just in the last decade that its really opening up. They eventually got to see how genuine I was and I wound up with a lot of research, initially just for inspiration, I wasn’t looking to write a graphic novel or a film or anything like that.”

But here we are, 21 years later and we have a graphic novel out and a film about Brian Epstein in the works. How do we go from inspiration to novelization? “It was about seven years ago, I was producing A Raisin in the Sun on Broadway, I was thinking about my next project, what’s the next story I can tell, I realized it was the Brian Epstein story, a story that was so inspiring to me, that I have a huge amount of…and rare information.”

I wondered why this medium of sequential storytelling, why a graphic novel? “I though about how I would structure it. It starts off in 1961 Liverpool and ends in 1967 London, the years Brian spent with the Beatles. 1961 Liverpool is very dark, gray, industrial, I thought of that as very black & white. It ends in 1967 London, which is about the Summer of Love, the dawn of the psychedelic era, its very colorful, the way I thought of it. I thought of a lot of ways the story can go from black & white to color. You think about the visual forms of storytelling, television screens, graphic novels, film. So I set about to put together the film, the graphic novel took on a life of its own. Its not as though we made a graphic novel to make a film, we didn’t have that strategy that’s not the way we approached it although the projects are connected. I love comics, I grew up reading comics and I love film. So I wrote the screenplay and there are things that are restrictive to the mediums, the film is different from the book, there are aspects to it that work on the page that won’t work in the film and vice versa.”

Now I’m a big music lover but whenever I read a graphic novel or prose about anything that has to do with music or musicians, I find that I get stuck because of the medium. Films have a soundtrack that is played along with the story whereas a graphic novel doesn’t. But Vivek and artist Andrew C. Robinson found a way to convey that in the story. “The music is very emotional and even though I’m not a musician in my background I can talk for hours about how music makes you feel so Andrew and I would talk about that, what is the emotional thrust behind the moment. He was able to capture the emotion of the guys on stage.” Indeed he does, the graphic novel is gorgeously rendered, recalling the aesthetic and feel of the 60’s. The Beatles, more than any other band lend themselves to visual mediums, take a look at Sgt. Pepper, Yellow Submarine, this isn’t the Beatles first foray into comics. I can see how it appealed to Vivek and Andrew to create a graphic novel. But I digress, I shouldn’t read the book here, I’m interviewing Vivek right now. (Check out my review of The Fifth Beatle at whatchareading.com)

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Now, obviously you just can’t make a graphic novel and film involving the Beatles without their blessing, so what kind of cooperation did Vivek receive from the surviving members of the Beatles? “I can’t really talk about that at this point but I will say one of the very first things I did when I started out on this project was to reach out to Paul, Ringo, Yoko and the widow of George Harrison through various agents and reps. I just said ‘I’m not asking for anything, but I jokingly said I will probably call one day and ask you for something but today I just want you to know I exist and I’m working on this project.’ They all got back to me and thanked me for letting them know about this. They do have to sign off on my script in order to get the music rights for the film, I’m very proud of that, we are the first and only film about the band to have ever gotten the music rights, we have to right to any song from the entire music catalog, I’m very proud of that.”

More than 50 years later, the Beatles are still relevant today. “Y’know I think its about that message of love, Brian saw it. It speaks to girls, boys, kids, parents, I got into the Beatles through my parents. I have a two year old and a five year old, I sing Beatles songs to my kids. My parents loved it, I love it and my kids love it, they are multi-generational and Brian saw that, and I believe that a large part of that, apart from writing great songs, is the message, this beautiful message. We announced the partnership with Freedom to Marry, for equality and the right to marry for same-sex couples and we are very proud of that partnership. It is a group I have a long history with. When my wife and I got married eight years ago, in lieu of wedding presents, we asked for donations to Freedom to Marry and I think Brian would be smiling and see equality, not everywhere, we still have a fight to fight. But I’m also hoping this book would draw attention to the cause and help spread the message of love and allow someone like Brian to night die alone.”

The standard hardcover edition will be available for $19.99 in an oversized library format. A collector’s-edition hardcover of this groundbreaking graphic novel will also be available, featuring a wraparound, textured cover and a section of bonus materials including Beatles and Brian Epstein memorabilia, artist sketches, and alternate covers, for $49.99.

The limited edition (1,500 copies) features a tip-in sheet signed by creators Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker, along with a twenty-four-page bonus section including rare Beatles and Brian Epstein memorabilia and behind-the-scenes sketches, a unique, textured cover, and a special slipcase, for $99.99.

ABOUT VIVEK J. TIWARY
Vivek J. Tiwary is an award-winning producer, writer, and financier for film, television, theater, music, and graphic novels. He is the producer and writer of “The Fifth Beatle,” a feature film and graphic novel based on the life of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. “The Fifth Beatle” has secured unprecedented access to Beatles’ music and is in development to shoot in 2013. In television, Vivek sold a sitcom pilot “Punk Rock Dad” to CBS, based on the bestselling memoir/parenting manual by Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg, and he is developing a number of additional series including “Ascension,” a historical fiction / thriller juxtaposing the history of astronomy with mankind’s future in the stars. On Broadway, Vivek’s productions have won a combined 25 Tony Awards from 44 Tony nominations—every single one of his shows have been decorated. They include “The Addams Family,” Green Day’s “American Idiot” (the groundbreaking adaptation of the superstar rock band’s multi-platinum album), Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” (the most Tony Awards ever) and “Young Frankenstein”, “A Raisin In The Sun” (starring Sean Combs), and “A Little Night Music” (starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury). Off-Broadway, Vivek produced a theatrical collaboration between electropop/performance artists Fischerspooner and avant-garde theatre collective The Wooster Group (founded by Willem Dafoe, Spalding Gray, and others) that launched the 2008 Sao Paulo Art Bienal. Vivek also serves on the Board of Directors for Valiant Entertainment (www.valiantentertainment.com), a multi-platform company that boasts the third largest and most-loved universe of comic book characters and has been hailed by the New York Times as “Marvel 2.0”. Prior to founding Tiwary Entertainment Group (www.tiwaryent.com) and online music education/empowerment company StarPolish, Vivek held a number of major label music-industry positions, including launching and heading the Alternative Marketing Department at Mercury/PolyGram Records, and managing Video Promotion for Mercury/PolyGram, where he worked closely with MTV and VH1. Vivek has worked with artists covering the entire musical spectrum including Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Kiss, LL Cool J, John Mellencamp, Allen Ginsberg, Oasis, Hanson, 311 and The Mighty Mighty BossTones to name but a few. Among many charitable pursuits, Vivek is the Co-Founder of Musicians On Call (www.musiciansoncall), a nonprofit organization that uses music and entertainment to complement the healing process. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of both the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences. Vivek also holds a filmmaking certificate from The New York Film Academy and is an acting student of Susan Batson/Black Nexxus Acting Studio.

ABOUT DARK HORSE COMICS
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, including The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Serenity, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.

Juan Pineda is considered the 34,876th member of Nickelback, much to his embarrassment.
You can follow him on Twitter @JuanCPineda

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