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26 Nov 2014 | Leave a Comment

MOON Comic Book

MOON Comic Book

Steve Penfold, Moon

Steve Penfold, Moon

As I mentioned over in the Birmingham Comic Con post, whilst at the show, I interviewed a number of the indie comic book guys with the intention of using them on the podcast… However, my recording equipment decided to throw a fit, and thought they’d all sound much better with echoing robot style voices… Funny, but not much use for a podcast! So, rather than let them go to waste, I’m transcribing the interviews to put up as posts. First up, artist Steve Penfold talking about his book – MOON!

Hi Steve, do you want to explain a bit about MOON?

I’m surprised that people don’t know about this, as it is something of a concern, but the Moon has been dropping out of the sky in the early hours of the morning for the last 2000 years, every morning like clockwork. But for some obscure reason, people don’t seem to know about this! However, most recently, he’s been putting on a suit, taking out a gun, and fighting ridiculous crime!

Right… Okay! Where did the idea for MOON come from?

Basically, Dan Thompson (the writer) he entered a film competition for a very short film (about 1 min and a half long), and the theme of the competition was ‘the moon got too close’. So obviously, everyone else did things like ‘tides are rising’ and those sort of things, blah, blah, blah… and no doubt we’ve never heard about any of those ever again. But Dan decided that this sounded like a detective story, and so there we have it. You saw 90 secs of a man with a moon for a head in a car chase and a gun fight!

So, how did you get involved with Dan?

I met Dan at the London Bridge Experience, where we were both actors, and we both had a sort of mutual sense of the silly, so it sort of developed from there. Just working on various different projects, and MOON, which already existed to a certain extent (as the 90 sec movie), so it was a natural progression.

So you’re an actor and a comic book artist! How long have you been drawing for?

Well, I started as a child with computer paper on the floor with a biro, and just never really stopped!

Do you have any artists in particular that influence your art style?

Yes, well, if you go through MOON, you’ll see that I’m quite obviously influenced and fail miserably to try to cover it! Just going through the book you’ll see a bit of Simon Bisley, a bit of Mike Mignola, so artists that have no real visual relationship to each other, so you’ll see random panels of completely different styles… Simply because… Joe Quesada’s old work is also an influence (before he became head of Marvel). I’m absolutely in awe of Joe’s work. The way he melded the Manga and American style of comic book art is sensational. The expressions and the contours of the characters faces and his characterisations… I can fault any of it. His work on Daredevil with Kevin Smith is one of the finest examples of composition I’ve ever seen in a comic book. And it’s not hailed anywhere near as much as it deserves. Page after page of genius, utter visual genius. I don’t know how much of it was Kevin Smith’s indication. He probably gave stylistic points and things like that, but Joe Quesada’s work is just mind blowing.

How are you finding the indie comic book scene at the moment?

The indie comic book scene is thriving to say the least, and is building in terms of importance. The problem is with some of the larger commercial companies. MCM is actually excellent, as they’re devoted to indie comic’s and helping develop it. The problem is, a certain other Con… i’m not going to name names… but the ‘other’ one… seem to treat indie comic people with the sort of contempt I’ve only ever seem with someone that’s committed some sort of crime. They’re just short of kicking the comic books out of, what is actually called a Comic Con… So to those people (I stress NOT MCM!) I have this to say – Don’t alienate a large section of what you consider to be ‘your show’. Comics belong at a Comic Con.

You can follow Steve on Twitter here, and the writer Dan Thompson here.

Find out more about MOON here!

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26 Nov 2014 | Leave a Comment

Todd Haberkorn

Todd Haberkorn

As you know, I am a huge fan of Comic Con. I go whenever I can. Over the years, the event has grown from a relatively small and dare I say it, uber geeky affair, to the huge fan fest it is today.

Every year there is something new to enjoy, and this year was no exception. As usual, the majority of the guest speakers at MCM Birmingham Comic Con were actors, but there were also some prop people there this year and voice actors.

I like to mix things up a bit, so decided to pop in and listen to Todd Haberkorn. In Anime circles, he is a legend, voicing dozens of Anime characters, in English.

Todd is a regular at the Birmingham Comic Con, and is always entertaining, and a guy that will really go the extra mile for his art.

He is most famous for being the voice of Natsu in the Anime -Fairy Tail. When the show got to its 100th episode, he went out and got a Fairy Tail tattoo because he had promised fans of the shows that he would.

Watching him talk, you get the distinct impression he did not realise the show would be such a hit (or wouldn’t go for so may episodes) when he made the promise, so did not necessarily expect to have to deliver, but fair play, he did. The YouTube video (above) of him getting the tattoo gives you some idea of how painful it was, but he said he loves the tattoo now. Judging by the number of fans in the hall sporting Fairy Tail tattoos he started a bit of a trend!

As I said earlier Todd has worked mainly in the Anime field, but he has done other work. Over the years, he has voiced numerous characters for cartoon shows, several movies and a long list of video games.

The amazing thing to me was that I had never really thought about the fact that there are thousands of voiceover artists in London and cities across the world working on a huge range or projects. It is hard to see how the modern entertainment industry would manage without these often forgotten actors.

Over the years, there have been quite a few iconic voice only characters. One that jumps out is of course HAL 9000, from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Douglas Rain was the creepy voice of the sentient computer. Like so many voice over actors Douglas Rain started his career as a regular actor. He appeared in 27 films and TV shows, and is an accomplished Broadway actor yet he is still best known as the voice of Hal. There are also many people that make their living as voiceover artists for video games too, such as Courtenay Taylor, who we saw at the March Birmingham Con, and her fellow Mass Effect co-star Jennifer Hale, who is a legend to gamers as the kick ass voice of female Shepard.

Todd Haberkorn has also done a bit of live action work. He currently plays Spock in the fan produced Star Trek Continues web series. His Mr Spock haircut story was another example of his dedication to his art. The worst thing was the hairdresser did it wrong, so Todd ended up looking like Friar Tuck and had to wait for it to grow out to be cut into a Mr. Spock style!

All in all, his appearance a great insight into the world of voice acting and a good laugh too, so well worth looking out for at a Comic Con near you in the future!

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24 Nov 2014 | Leave a Comment

Me as Red Hood

Me as Red Hood

It’s November, so that means it was time once again to delve into the wonderful world of MCM’s Birmingham Comic Con! This year, I decided to join in the cosplay fun, and donned my Red Hood costume to wander around the Con. :D The event was massively popular this year, with Saturday in particular, packed with fans of comic books and movies.

The Guests

There were a huge array of guest this year. Some from film, some newer tv shows, some from old. The boys from the Dwarf where there once again, minus Craig, obviously. There was a large contingent to help celebrate the Goldfinger 50th Anniversary, and a large group from classic British sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo. Special mention to Kim Hartman and Richard Gibson, both of whom were there in their full ‘Allo ‘Allo outfits! On the Saturday, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) did an excellent talk, although it was hard to even get close to the theatre tent when he was on! Also Cary Elwes from Psych, X-Files, and of course, The Princess Bride. However, the biggest draw for me, was the fantastic RJ Mitte, aka Walt Junior from Breaking Bad, and Colin Ford from Channel 5’s excellent Under The Dome (and also young Sam Winchester in Supernatural). Both the videos can be seen below.

Colin Ford – Joe McAlister from Under The Dome Video

RJ Mitte – Walt Junior from Breaking Bad Video

The Comics

Some of the awesome indy comics at Comic Con

Some of the awesome indy comics at Comic Con

Will all the other stuff going on, one thing that rather gets overlooked at Comic Con, ironically, is the comics… There’s a great Comic Village section at the Con, with some massively talented independent comic book writers and artists. I managed to interview a number of them whilst I was there, which I was planning on putting onto a Podcast. Annoyingly, there was an issue with the recording equipment, which did record, but rather made the voices sound slightly robotic… And whilst that’s entertaining, it’s not massively helpful when putting a podcast together. So, sorry guys, it was great talking to you, but it’s not going to be a podcast. However, over the next few weeks, i’ll transcribe the interviews and put them up as individual posts, so you’ll still get the coverage you deserve. :)

The Cosplay

As usual, there were lots of people in costume, and once again Harley Quinn proved to be one of the most popular for the girls, and Joker was hugely popular with the guys. DC was extremely well represented over all with this wonderful group of DC based cosplayers, who posed for a large group photo.

Group of DC Comics Cosplayers

Group of DC Comics Cosplayers

There were of course a number of Spiderman, a few Iron-men, Captain America’s and Winter Soldiers representing for Marvel, and various people from Manga cartoons (not being into Manga, I couldn’t tell you who!). And of course, the guys from 501st Legion once again did an excellent job for the Star Wars contingent.  Gallery below of all the photos. :)

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20 Nov 2014 | Leave a Comment

Technological advancement is an inevitable aspect of modern life, and something that will undoubtedly change the world in which we live. While we consider innovation to be a positive entity that has revolutionised our life for the better, however, it is important to consider that the fact technology remains malleable to each individual user. There are incredibly fine lines that separate the use and misuse of technology, and in the future there will be an even more pressing need for such boundaries to be protected.

This is where Kaspersky Labs come in, as the company have released an exciting new brand video that underlines the importance of secure content and threat managements systems in the online space. As a developer of the worlds’ most innovative and coveted security software products, it is well placed to discuss the potential scope of cyber-crime and the impact that it can have on its unfortunate victims. In this respect, it treads the fine line between good and evil in the online space, imagining the ways in which technology may shape our future and minimising the risks that it will pose.

If you are curious about our future relationship with technology and the role that it may play in influencing the world around us, check out the video below.

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20 Nov 2014 | Leave a Comment

The worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Danny Strong and Peter Craig and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the third in a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins that has over 65 million copies in print in the U.S. alone

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17 Nov 2014 | Leave a Comment

Arriving next month (12th December 7.01pm), Marco Polo is the new original series from Netflix following the adventures of the legendary explorer. In a world replete with greed, betrayal, sexual intrigue and rivalry, Marco Polo, starring newcomer Lorenzo Richelmy, is based on the famed explorer’s adventures in Kublai Khan’s court in 13th century China.

The sweeping drama’s ten episodes were shot in Italy, Kazakhstan and Malaysia.  The global cast includes Richelmy, Benedict Wong (Prometheus), Joan Chen (Twin Peaks), Chin Han (ArrowThe Dark Knight), Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), Olivia Cheng (The Flash, Broken Trail), Claudia Kim (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Mahesh Jadu (Neighbours), Tom Wu (Skyfall), Remy Hii (Treading Water), Uli Latukefu (Devil’s Playground) and Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen, The Fast and the Furious). John Fusco, who wrote the Academy-Award nominated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, created the series and is executive producer and showrunner along with Dan Minahan, whose previous work includes Homeland and Game of Thrones. Academy-Award nominated directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) directed the first two hours and serve as executive producers. Marco Polo is produced by Netflix and The Weinstein Company.

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