Answer the Call

Answer the Call

Every year, a new Call of Duty game for the masses. The multi-billion dollar franchise has sold millions upon millions of copies all over the world, has a competitive and dedicated fanbase, and continues to up the ante with each new sequel.


Every week on Geekology, I take a closer look at what’s happening in the geek world. The opinions expressed in Geekology articles are mine and mine alone. Blame me, everyone. Blame me.


The Call of Duty Endowment

It’s like clockwork.

A new year, a new Call of Duty.

With Infinite Warfare, the franchise heads above and beyond to space, and special editions come bundled with a remastered version of its most lauded game — the venerated Modern Warfare.

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Fact Meets Fiction

Fact Meets Fiction

Say what you will about Edward Snowden, the former CIA agent and United States government contractor who fled the country after leaking National Security Agency information to journalists.


Every week on Geekology, I take a closer look at what’s happening in the geek world. The opinions expressed in Geekology articles are mine and mine alone. Blame me, everyone. Blame me.


Snowden Live

To some, he’s a whistleblower. To others, like legendary pilot Chuck Yaeger, he’s a traitor.

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Whatever your particular thoughts on the man, Snowden and his leakage of sensitive government secrets had a tremendous affect on the United States. On the one hand, conspiracy theorists who believed the government was spying on its citizens had their suspicions somewhat validated. For everyone else, the leak threw several stories out into the court of public opinion. Questions were asked, opinions debated.

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For the Kids

For the Kids

Every week on Geekology, I take a closer look at what’s happening in the geek world. The opinions expressed in Geekology articles are mine and mine alone. Blame me, everyone. Blame me.


Extra Life

I’m walking to a meeting at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. I pass by the emergency room, and I peer through the glass doors.

The last time I was at a hospital like SVMH, I was a child going through a routine procedure. I was calm — from the wheelchair ride to the operating room and up until the nurse put the gas mask over my mouth and nose.

I breathed in deeply at first, but something came over me. I panicked and started to thrash, pulling against the arms that held me down. I think I screamed — I definitely started to kick. I fought the drowsiness as long as I could until I finally fell asleep.

Since then, I’ve been afraid of hospitals — a feeling many others probably share. No one wakes up wanting to go to a hospital. For many, it’s a last resort or a final visit. It’s having to say goodbye or finding out how long you have left before your body totally falls apart.

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Everything I Know About DC Rebirth

Everything I Know About DC Rebirth

Rebirth starts May 25, 2016 with a one-shot that will lead to a relaunch of all but two of DC’s current titles — Action Comics and Detective Comics will go back to their original numbers with the New52 issues added on for the count. The aftermath will result in a two-year event that’s “more of a greatest-hits situation that pulls from all eras of DC lore to build a cohesive storytelling universe (USA Today).”

www.hypergeeky.comDC used its time at Wondercon 2016 to talk details about its new creative teams and new titles. Rebirth so far has been a bit of a mystery, but I’m hoping this compilation of information will help fans figure out where they stand.

The first thing fans will want to do is grab an issue of Justice League #42 if they don’t have one already. Batman learns something that will be given more weight in Justice League #50.

The current Titans Hunt title also contains clues as to what will happen, and Geoff Johns said the title “will tie directly in to DC Universe Rebirth” with the new Titans title spinning “directly out of Rebirth (Newsarama).”

Various titles will get a one-shot special in June, July, and in the fall leading into new #1 issues. A good number of titles will hit racks on a bi-monthly basis, so you might want to check your pull-list against your comic book budget. All books will be $2.99 — that includes the 80-page special #1.

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An Interview with Legion M’s Paul Scanlan and Jeff Anison

An Interview with Legion M’s Paul Scanlan and Jeff Anison

 

I had a chance this past weekend at Silicon Valley Comic-Con 2016 to interview the cofounders of Legion M, a new company owned by the fans. Paul Scanlan and Jeff Anison, CEO and President, gave me the lowdown on what their plans are for the company, how they created it, and why fans should get onboard.

After the interview, Paul also noted that content creators could have chances to submit material to the company, so all you future directors/producers/screenwriters/etc. should start polishing your skills.

HyperGeeky: First, can I get an introduction from you two?

PAUL SCANLAN: Hi, I’m Paul Scanlan. I’m cofounder and CEO of Legion M.

JEFF ANISON: I’m Jeff Anison. I’m cofounder and president of Legion M.

Continue reading “An Interview with Legion M’s Paul Scanlan and Jeff Anison”

To Be Or Not, Diversity in Question

To Be Or Not, Diversity in Question

Alex Abad-Santos over at Vox penned a great article summing up a lot of the controversy and background regarding Marvel and Netflix’s next superhero venture — Iron Fist. Go ahead and read that first if you need a primer because Abad-Santos makes some really fantastic points that I’m going to use as background for this piece about a very complicated subject.


Every week on Geekology, I take a closer look at what’s happening in the geek world. The opinions expressed in Geekology articles are mine and mine alone. Blame me, everyone. Blame me.


As a Korean-American, my opinion on the topic at hand of changing a character’s race often surprises those who expect me to be perfectly fine with, say, a character like Batman being played by someone who’s Asian. I actually believe a character should remain as close to the source material as much as possible, an opinion and preference based on keeping things consistent and honoring created work. Blame my OCD or my old-fashioned ways — racism has nothing to do with it. For me, it’s about seeing something I cherish in another form and not having it “fixed” or manipulated to attract a fanbase that didn’t buy into the original property.

Continue reading “To Be Or Not, Diversity in Question”

An Interview with Nigel Twumasi

An Interview with Nigel Twumasi
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mayamada

With a dash of dramatic flair, and the subtlety of a bull in a China shop, the Samurai Chef judges his contestants’ dishes with his katana. 

The various Kitches competing for an ultimate victory know their dishes live or die by the blade, and they’ll have to come up with some interesting tactics to defeat the Samurai Chef. 

Nigel Twumasi of publishing house/clothing company mayamada answered a few questions about their newest project, what inspires him to do what he does, and what fans can expect from a story that involves food, samurai swords, and chefs who’ll have to cook up something tasteful and deadly.

Check out the website for the first volume of Samurai Chef and think about supporting them through crowd-funding sources like Kickstarter.

And to whet your appetite even more, check out this Samurai Chef Origins story arc that Nigel sent over.

Can you introduce yourself and give us information on your company, mayamada?

My name is Nigel, one of the two mayamada co-founders and writer of the Samurai Chef comic. mayamada is a story-driven brand inspired by the anime / manga art style. We’re based in London and our company is a creative mix of clothing, comics, and original characters. Everything we do revolves around on a fantasy television network that we’ve created and filled with an all animal cast of characters.

Think Looney Tunes meets Japanese television, and you’ll get the idea.

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mayamada

Can you give us a quick synopsis of Samurai Chef?

Samurai Chef is an action-comedy story with a lot of food. It begins as a simple cooking competition a la Iron Chef, but when the Elite Chefs turn up with special ingredients that turn their dishes into battle-ready opponents, the contest between dish and judge is taken to a whole new level!

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mayamada

The comic is obviously inspired by Japanese manga/anime and cooking shows. How are these elements being used particularly for Samurai Chef, and what are the creators hoping readers will get out of the story?

The entire mayamada universe is inspired by that style of art and personality in the characters and story. It goes through from our comics to our clothing designs. The Samurai Chef is one of the stories within mayamada, and there are others including 11th Hour and Hot Lunch. We’ll be getting into those once the Samurai Chef story is done.

With Samurai Chef, we want readers to have a light-hearted and accessible entry into reading comics and manga. Different mayamada stories will have a different tone and theme, but overall, our aim is to make them accessible so more people can get into comics, manga, and reading in general.

For instance, we’ve taken Samurai Chef to local schools and bookshops, and the reaction has been great. We’re hoping this continues as we produce more stories.

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mayamada

One of the things that really impressed me about the issue was the art, especially the food panels which actually made me hungry. Are the creators foodies or experienced working in kitchens?

We have a great artist on our team by the name of Pinali (@Pinalinet). She has been working with us from the beginning and does the majority of our artwork from t-shirt designs to the website and, of course, the Samurai Chef comic.

To my knowledge, no one in the team has worked in a kitchen! Both myself and my co-founder Lao are somewhat interested in food, though. Lao likes cooking shows, and I like to parody things, so that’s where some of the influences came from.

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mayamada

The Samurai Chef — is he an actual chef? And what is his scoring based on?

I can confirm Samurai Chef can cook although you won’t see it in either volume 1 or 2 or the story. Last year, we created a free prologue comic called Samurai Chef Origins which gives the background into the character and where his skills came from.

The scoring in the show is based on the difficulty Samurai Chef has dispatching a Kitchen’s dish. Over the course of the show/story, the contestants become increasingly clever in how they cook their dishes until Elite Chefs enter the show, and the competition goes up a few notches.

The story seems to revolve more on the individual kitchens working on beating the Samurai Chef at his own game. What can readers expect to find out about the individual teams?

They can expect each Kitchen to bring its own personality to the story. This is seen in the particular dish each [Kitchen] cooks and the way Kitchen members respond to the Samurai Chef and sometimes each other.

You’ll see the personalities from each Kitchen grow stronger as the book progresses and even more so in the second book which will be out this year.

In the later stages of the story, there is more focus on individuals within Kitchens which allows us to shed some light on what happens outside of the show itself.

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mayamada

You’ve used crowd-funding for your projects. Tell us what the experience is like and what you’ve learned in the process. What advice can you give other comic creators looking to self-publish?

We’ve learned that you have to be consistent about getting news of your project out to those that will be interested in it. Friends and family are an important first step, but it’s also important to find those people interested in your project’s particular niche and start speaking with them.

Ideally, this would be done before the project goes live, but it’s essential either way.

You also have to be realistic in setting your funding goal. That means not going too  high that you can’t make the goal and not too low that you can’t afford to fulfill the project if you do get the money.

It can be worrying not knowing if you’ll be funded or not.

As well as the financial side, we’ve learned that is almost as important to use a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness of your project as it can bring up some unexpected opportunities once it goes live.

After that it’s about being consistent and continuing to find ways to get word of your project out from the first day to the last. There is no guarantee, but it can be done.

An Interview with John Hageman

An Interview with John Hageman

 

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At first, The Woodland Welfare Manifesto looks like something you might see in the children’ section of your local comic shop. The colors are vibrant, and most of the characters are … cuddly-ish animals.

And then, the main character urinates on a government document.

The Woodland Welfare Manifesto, narrated by Uncle Stas, details the adventures of Burnt Bear in his quest against the Capitalist Government. The pacing is quick, the characters nutty, and the artwork is brilliant. 

I got an interview with artist John Hageman on the process of creating a comic that will be released June 18 on Comixology. Web comics are getting bigger, and it’s given artists and writers a more level playing field to show off their talents, tell their stories, and to play alongside the big boy. Taking a look at Hageman’s art, there’s a beautiful polish to it that rivals the computer-designed artwork prevalent in many Flash-cartoons.

But, as Hageman warns: The comic isn’t E for Everyone.

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Can you tell us about yourself?

Well for starters, I’m 38 years old. Married with 3 kids ages 12, 8, and 5. By day I work for an ad agency, and by night I’m doing my art into the wee hours of the morning sometimes. Kind of like a Batman that doesn’t patrol the streets, doesn’t know how to fight, and stays up watching random documentaries on Netflix streaming.

What’s your background as an artist?

When I was 16, I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist. I used comics strips like Garfield and Mother Goose & Grimm to teach me how to draw. As I got older, TV shows like Ren and Stimpy influenced me in how to use expressions in my characters. When I got to community college, I took as many different art courses as I could from printmaking to painting and even sculpting. My final two years there, I was drawing one panel cartoons and various illustrations for the school paper.  During the last year, I was continuing to do the one panel strips as well as a three-to-four panel strip toward the inside of the paper. I transferred to San Jose State for about a semester and a half then had to drop out. Years passed, and I was trying to develop a comic strip for newspaper syndication. I then discovered the world of Webcomics in early 2006. From 2006 to 2013, I posted a weekly webcomic called Social Vermyn. The story was about being anti-social and the problems that causes in everyday life. From that work, I was able to get attention from others to work on different projects, so my site has been on hold. Aside from the comic I have participated in many art shows selling a few paintings here and there.

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How did this project get started? 

I attended a Free Comic Book Day event at the Slave Labor Art Boutiki last year. I met with and sat next to Justin Sane who had already published many books through SLG. We connected on Facebook, and he asked if I wanted to do the illustrations for his script. The rest is history.

From the get-go, it seems like the comic is meant for humor — from the name of the writer to fake record. Is humor something that’s difficult to do, more so than drama or an action comic with superheroes?

For me humor is the easiest. It starts with my art style which allows me to contrast it with darker or more adult humor. It throws people off because they see this very kiddie cartoon style, and they think it’s E for Everyone. I like throwing people off with that. I think it makes for good entertainment.  This particular comic takes its inspiration from the Rankin and Bass Claymation specials you usually see during a holiday. Justin’s dialogue comes from the narrator Uncle Stas who is a Russian that speaks broken English. For me, it added a nice layer of humor that went perfectly with the story and the art.

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Can you explain the method to your madness? Did the art come first, or was it more of a direct/indirect collaboration with others? How long did it take from start to finish?

Justin had the entire script written out. He sent it to me, and right away I knew this was something I wanted to work on. I created the character designs and the first four pages to pitch to SLG for publishing. Once they liked what they saw, I began to work on pages. I penciled, inked, then scanned the pages into the computer, then used a Wacom Cintiq tablet to do the coloring. Once all 50 pages were done, I did the lettering. Once I finished all that, Justin would go back and look over the pages to make sure the story flowed, corrected any writing he wanted to tweak, and even added a page here and there to help the overall story along. The process on the whole took a little over a year which wasn’t bad considering it was the largest comic project I’ve done to date.

Your comic will be listed on Comixology. What was the process like working with them?

Luckily, SLG handled that process. What I hear from the editor is that with the advent of comics going digital, there’s a lot of formatting that needs to be done outside of the normal work you would be doing if it just went to print. From what I understand SLG does this process with all their books now as a way to publish digital as well as print. So from my stand point, it’s great when you can pass that task on and just focus on doing the art.

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What are some of the challenges you’ve faced from creation to finish? What lessons have you learned?

Mainly the size of it. ‘Til [now], I had only done weekly comics which was like a page a week from drawing to lettering. A 50-page book seemed like a lot at the beginning, but once I got into a rhythm it became much easier. My next challenge was making the pages look dynamic and interesting so the story would flow in way that wouldn’t seem stagnant while you read it. Justin’s writing made this task easy since he didn’t cram too much story/dialogue onto each page. This allowed me to push myself and try things I had never tried before artistically on my own comics. I was proud of the outcome on certain pages in particular, and I think it made me stronger as an artist so that I can use what I learned to push myself further on the next project I get to work on.

An Interview With Random Cushing

An Interview With Random Cushing

 

There’s very little setup for the main character in the first two episodes of Random Cushing’s comic series Refill. 

What’s present are quickly paced stories filled with action, characters, and unpredictable plot turns. The art doesn’t settle for two dimensions — the layouts feel incredibly alive with movement.

That each episode is a self-contained story that adds something to the whole gives the series a bit of mystery with a compelling draw.

Check out Refill after reading the interview.

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Random. I was born to a nomadic, scientific family at the start of the 1990s. I’ve always had an imagination for stories and practiced drawing and at a certain point the hand of fate face-palmed me into comicking. I want to adventure and make cool art. I love the work of Bill Watterson, Tatsuyuki Tanaka, Jamie Hewlett, Shinichiro Watanabe, and Ralph Steadman, to name a few; but I am influenced by a wide range of media.

Your comic Refill — what’s the background on the main character? It’s obvious he’s more than just your average errand-boy.

Phil is a grizzled cat from back in the day. He’s seen major changes in the scenes and players and learned to keep it close to the vest. He’s been doing this long enough to be discerning about the jobs he’ll take, so if he’s taking your money it’s either a favor or a worthy cause.

And he can Refill things.

www.hypergeeky.comThere are a lot of twists and turns in the space of a few “pages.” How do you come up with the various stories, and what influences you?

The stories are character driven with the idea being to develop the scope of the world in which Refill takes place. It’s a post-power world. People have had super powers and special abilities for generations, and the society is built around it. It all started with the character Refill and just building his personality and relationships to other groups and individuals. To be natural, it has to be thorough, so there’s a lot to explore before we get to particulars. I like keeping things at a brisk pace. Dynamic scenes are more fun to draw than conversations.

As for the art — there’s a lot of detail and a great sense of setting and movement. How do you go about creating the scenery and panels?

Goodness—I’ve been trying to tone it down for speed. I try to arrange scenes cinematically: character enters here, falls over that, chases that guy there… so the environments are developed around the actions and tone of the scene. I work with rough layouts before I form every scene.
I want Refill to be animated as much as possible using the sense of movement and time generated by paneling. I’m fascinated by movement in static images.

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As a writer/artist all-in-one, what’s the process as you create an episode, and what mediums are you using? What made you decide to produce a black and white comic?

I came up with Refill in 2008 and began drawing it — in pencil and Prismacolor fine pens and markers — in 2010, and since then I have co-written the series with Nick Sudar, third-year PhD student in physics at UCLA (he’s the smart one).

Many of our stories start with “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” and then creating a character with that particular power. Then, it’s a matter of fitting them in to Phil’s world in a way that progress the story and world.

A long time back, Negative — one of the last big villains — succeeded in altering the scatter of light through the atmosphere: removing color from the world. The villain purge that followed established super hero dominance. The world’s been black and white since.

How long does it take for you to create an episode, and what are your plans for future stories? When can we expect the next episode?

When I’m really on my game I have done up to four pages a day. But usually it’s a bit harder to get in the zone. The last month we worked out our next script and character designs, and this month I have begun the pages of Episode 2: DP Slid; out at the end of July.

Is Refill something you’d ever want to Kickstart or bring to a major publisher?

That’s the plan. We’ve begun drafting the submission, and after DP Slid that will be our focus.

Big Wow! 2014 Cosplayer Gallery

Big Wow! 2014 Cosplayer Gallery

The cosplayer talent at Big Wow! 2014 was a sight to behold.

I especially enjoyed the group pictures taken downstairs in the foyer. Bill Watters set the groups up, gave directions, and rotated photographers in and out.

(Bill deserves muchos kudos for giving the cosplayers a great outlet that also considers accessibility for the photographers. I had an amazing time, and Mr. Watters did not discriminate between DSLR holders and point-and-shoots. I recommend it for any professional, budding, or amateur photographers next year!)

That provided for some keen photographs, and I had a great time snapping shots.