Saturday, August 19, 2017 • Morning Edition • "*the sound you hear when PAC-MAN dies*"

Indie at C2E2

Written by The Indie Huntress on Tuesday, April 05 2016 and posted in Features

Indie at C2E2

I finally got over the plague and got down to some writing. Check out some of the best of the indie crowd at C2E2 as I dive headfirst into artist alley and interview anyone that will talk.


Source: The Indie Huntress

Hello and welcome back everyone! This week has been quite busy for me playing catch up on some other interviews I had made commitments to, but at long last I am finally reporting on the events at C2E2! Yay! As we all know, I primarily report on independent comics. (Hence the name, The Indie Huntress.) As a result, that is my base for my coverage on the convention. I was loaded up with a recorder and a camera, and did the best I could with getting quick interviews. I think I got fifteen in all, but we'll count em down as we go along. I *did* manage to hit a few of the 'names' that were at the show: Todd Nauck, Tom Richmond, Mick Foley, and Tim Vigil. However, I had my eyes set on Mignola and it just was not happening. Thanks to Zechs for trying to help me out on that end. Overall it was an INCREDIBLE show. This was my first major convention, and the first show I had received a press pass for. Naturally, I was pretty ecstatic about being there. I briefly met The Outhouse's own Ali (sorry I had to run so fast to a panel!) and even roomed with Zechs. On top of all that, our room was on the 27th floor, overlooking Chicago and it was beautiful to say the least. Also, my boyfriend was in all the way from Italy and proposed! Spoiler: I said yes. That wasn't the only romance at C2E2, master podcaster from Comics Pros and Cons- Derek Becker popped the question to his lovely lady, Melissa Wong as well. I would say that it's safe to say comic con brings out the romantic in us. I couldn't be more thrilled for them, or for so many other people at the show.

C2E2 was THE place to be for new releases in independent. I mean, I came home with a backpack full of comics. So much for my budget... worth every penny of it, I tell ya. I hit up as many creators that I felt I could handle during those two days. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of action being under the weather. I blame over stimulation and the Chicago dogs! I was so happy to be there and to see many people I am honored to call friends, and even a few people that I hadn't met before in person like Bob Salley, Ruben Romero, or Eric Palicki. Three men that I adore the work of, yet didn't have the distinct honor of shaking hands with until this convention. I consider myself truly blessed that I was able to obtain a press badge and be at this show. Not much in life makes me happier than being able to support the independent creators.

My first stop was artist alley. Of course. That's the place to be at a show. You can buy Funko POP! Anytime of the year, the connections you find in artist alley are magic and don't come around often. It is always good to make new connections. You think you're doing good with your fan base and know everyone you need to know? I guarantee you couldn't be more wrong. Out of artist alley, I would dare to say I knew ⅓ of the people at tables. I was shocked at how many I didn't, and stopped by whoever I thought had something interesting to offer. Networking is half the battle in this industry. Especially if you are an independent creator. One person can tip the balance as well, sending an avalanche of new people your way and expanding your reach in ways you never dreamed possible. For me, I can trace everyone I know in comics back to one person: Dirk Manning.

john and Chris

El Arto Press and Dirk Manning

Yes, Dirk. He is the reason why I am even sitting here now, writing this. Immediately I sought out his table, for there was a new book to be had. Mariachi! A collaboration between him, Christopher Sanchez, and John Marroquin. This is a new run of El Mariachi, a collection of short stories about Mariachi (an undead character that is simply a skeleton with Mexican roots) who is a badass on all accounts. He's been through death, the hell of losing his lover, and many other trials. The collection of the first three issues (which each had two stories within them) have been collected into one book now for the special relaunch of the series. The relaunch is a new set of stories taking place, but still in correlation of the same character. However, it is in my personal opinion that you pick up the first collection as well. There was something really special about those books to me. Especially the story where Mariachi's lover is murdered. You can see the clear progression between the artwork and scripting then, to what it is now. I strongly believe that to truly understand what a creator is trying to accomplish, reading their first books is a must. You grow with them and love them more as time goes on.

As for the newly relaunched Mariachi! ?. I couldn't be more pleased with the results. I have been waiting anxiously since the announcement came that year that this series would be rebooted. Normally I would disagree with any reboots. I'm cranky when it comes to books and films, and wish them to be preserved in their original formats. However, this trio certainly proved me otherwise. The first issue introduces Mariachi as he is coming back from the grave. He is being taunted by one of the men who had a hand in killing him. Of course, in true Mariachi form- he gives his tormentor a little taste of revenge. But not too much. Oh no. Mariachi wants him suffering but alive so he can tell the others he is coming with a vengeance. One of the things I really appreciate about this book is the way that it is so carefully presented. It has a slow lead in with visuals in the desert. The man who is waiting for Mariachi to rise from the grave, goes on about an analogy about a scorpion. Stating that Mariachi is like the scorpion because he is impatient and violent. Suggesting that he is in this predicament because of his carelessness. It's written in a way that really puts the scene together. Though, I am not surprised. I have been a fan of Dirk's work for sometime, and he is by far one of the most prolific writers I know. His writing capabilities know these two gentlemen put out. In fact, I own a few pieces from John and have a commission enroute from Chris as well. This first run of Mariachi, which was limited to 100 issues was the 'bare-bones' C2E2 edition. They are currently working on a full release due out for Motor City Comic Con that will be fully gray toned. Chris told me they are intending on launching a kickstarter to fund further issues, also to have the opportunity of coloring the comic. Follow them on Facebook for updates here: 

https://www.facebook.com/el.arto.92

dirk

When I spoke to Chris and John they told me that Mariachi will continue on for a foreseeable future, as there is plenty of story to tell. At some point we will go back to Mariachi's roots and see him before he became the skeleton. John also stated that he was beginning the illustrations on another book Mexica- an Aztec warrior story that has been co-created and written by Kasey Pierce of Source Point Press. Chris and John are also assisting with illustrations on the acclaimed Deadworld comic, written and created by Caliber's own: Gary Reed. Additionally, Dirk confirmed that The Tales of Mr. Rhee (vol 3) kickstarter will be live in April (by the second week for sure.) He also dropped the news to me that a double issue run of a comic called Love Stories To Die For, (which was originally printed and distributed by Image) will be receiving a reprinting by Devil's Due/First comics. In addition to that, two NEW stories will be written for the book as well. This was a series I felt really deserved to go on for and I am excited to see it's second coming. Dirk also made mention that for the Mr. Rhee kickstarter, special coffee and mugs would be available as reward. The man knows my weaknesses all too well. I consume coffee as if my life depended on it. Looks like I'll be throwing several dollars to that campaign. Which, if you've never backed Dirk Manning on kickstarter, please do consider it. The last campaign backers received extra prints, a whole extra story in the comic, book plates and more. He doesn't pocket the extra cash, he puts it back into the backers' hands when stretch goals are hit. You can check out ALL of volume three for FREE on the Devil's Due/First Comics website here:

http://www.devilsdue.net/#!tomr-v3/c237e

TAP: Think Alike Productions

Bob ruben

http://thinkalikeproductions.com/

I would dare to argue this was the best small publisher's booth to stop at.

I may be just a little biased because of my dear friend Bob Salley, BUT this company truly does give you your monies worth in comics. They offer several titles from multiple creators. I have been following Ruben Romero (owner of TAP) and Bob Salley for nearly a year now. I thought I knew about everything they had to offer. Boy was I wrong. In addition to the titles they already have available like the heavy hitting, award winning Salvagers (a sci-fi story about junkers in space) and Prey for Angels, another award winning book written and created by Ruben Romero, these gentlemen have several other titles to offer- with more on the way. Ruben and Bob came together to co-write Three Swords, a three musketeers based book, that has had the fantasy element added to it. Rather than it being a traditional musketeers story- we now have dragons, witches, and magic thrown into the mix. Ruben said to me, "imagine if George R.R. Martin were able to go back in time and write The Three Musketeers with Alexandre Dumas."

.....Good enough for me.

You can check out the kicksarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/647302577/three-swords-1?ref=nav_search

I have read some of Ruben's other titles, Prey for Angels and The Agency- both of which were well written. I look forward to seeing what comes from this book as both Bob and Ruben are highly talented gentlemen that play off of each other well. They're offering an Ashcan version of the book, the color version, sketch cards, original artwork, and several options that include bonus digital copies of the full trades to Salvagers as well as The Agency.

Ruben also tells me that they are currently putting together a catalog for retailer's and will be marketing themselves to more locations within the coming months. Currently they are being carried at some stores in a few states. I asked Ruben what else he was working on and he showed me a new release I had not yet heard of: The Throwaways. Ruben tells me,

"The Throwaways, is my love letter to Spielberg and all 80's movies like the Last Starfighter, E.T., Goonies, etc. I've always wanted to do this, for the premiere at C2E2 we did a limited Ashcan run of 200 copies for this event. It will be colored by George Cortez and the illustrator is Clara Meek. I asked her for something that would look like Disney/Pixar with an 80's feel and she really delivered on this. We will be having a fully colored version next month."

Ruben really doesn't stop. I often wonder if he has clones and he just hasn't told me. Regardless, it's always nice to catch up with him and check out his work!

Bob is currently working on a new story called Voodoo: The Devil's Tin, co-created and illustrated by Italian artist: Elena Cesana It is a black magic story that takes place in present day. A cult that was performing a ritual that backfired and caused hurricane Katrina. The ritual wasn't finished and the cult disappeared for several year. Now they are back and in search of this Devil's Tin, to finish what they started: summoning the anti-Christ. He is also working on a noir, fantasy, sci-fi story titled Shelter Division (working title), with a tagline of, "When the investigated become the investigators." He has hired artist Francesco Tomasellito collaborate with him on this project. Bob has also recently been approved for an anthology from Gray Haven Comics that is a horror collection. I have read the script for this short story, and was impressed. About a haunted prison that was turned into an apartment building. Too bad for the new family moving in...

Bob is really showing no signs of stopping. His talents with writing never stop amazing me. Additionally, he has been nothing but wonderful to me as a friend and a colleague. Kindness and hard work always take priority in this industry. I was beyond elated to finally meet Bob in person, and couldn't be more proud of him as a friend for all of the accomplishments he has made within the past year.

richard bunny

richard bunny 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another gentleman I spoke to at the TAP booth was a fellow by the name of Richard who had a comic that I couldn't resist picking up (and am now mad that I didn't buy.) called Stabitty Bunny. He tells me that it is basically Nightmare on Elm Street meets Leave it to Beaver.

"I've written 36 issues. Now it's just a matter of producing them. We've already put out three, and now we can just keep going. It's about a little 7 year old girl, her mom, her grandma, and a stuffed rabbit that's been in the family for 100 years. Nothing bad ever happens in their town until this guy comes along that has these tattoos that he uses to draw on others with and make them as his servants. There are a lot of different things going on within this book, people that have abilities, the use of magic, guns, etc... but what is the most remarkable is Grace: the little girl. At one point in the book she meets another child that is going to take a broken winged butterfly and stick it to her wall. Grace is horrified by this and offers to trade a fancy butterfly pen her grandmother gave her for the broken winged butterfly. The trade is made and Grace takes the butterfly back to let it be in a bush. The wind blows with a soft whisper of 'What a sweet child..' Grace opens her hands to reveal the butterfly is healed and it flies off. Grace's abilities come from her unending kindness. The story takes shape through various events happening throughout the book, but is centered around Grace."

Richard also showed me a coloring book that he has available of Grace's story that is designed for children. It takes place when she was four years old before any of the bad stuff started happening. It is a full comic, additionally the second story has blank panels where the kids can attach their own word balloons and write their own comics. It's designed so that a parent can work with their child to create a book together. Stabbity Bunny is meant for ages 12 and up (or younger depending on your family) but the coloring/comic book is meant for all ages. You can you check it all out here at:

http://stabbitybunny.com/

Source Point Press

spp

The folks from Source Point Press were all smiles at C2E2, and rightfully so. They were releasing several new books, among them was Norah. Fresh off of a wildly successful kickstarter, the team printed a limited amount of copies for it's debut at C2E2. I swung by to pick up an additional copy, as I chose to back the sketch cover commission option through the kickstarter. Author Kasey Pierce was beaming as she signed my copy. This being her first comic, as she has traditionally written prose, (Pieces of Madness, The Prophecy Effect) was a smash at the show. It had been talked about and poured over since December of 2015. This comic is a direct representation of her sci-fi prose story, The Prophecy Effect, which can be read for FREE by visiting her website www.kosmickasey.com

Artist Sean Seal provided the illustrations for this comic and it was digitally painted. As far back as I can think, I've never seen a comic that was painted. I was thoroughly impressed by his perception, use of colors, the soft palate that was used, and how there was still an appearance of brush strokes. Beautiful. Truly.

As for the story? It begins a little slow, and naturally there is a major cliffhanger at the end of the book. I look forward to seeing what issue number two brings. Without spoiling too much, Norah is a coma fisher for hire. She possesses the ability to step into the mind of someone who is in a coma and help them either come out, or cross over to the other side. The first issue begins with her performing on a patient, and then leads in to reveal a little taste of how this power came to be.

Kasey

Additionally, the premiere of horror comic The Rot (created and written by David Hayes, illustrated by Sean Seal) was on their table, as well as a brand new stand alone issue of Dead Duck and Zombie chick, by the one man band- Jay Fosgitt, and finally the launch of Savants (created by Gary Reed, illustrated by Seth Damoose, lettered and colored by Sara Sowles)

You know, I really enjoyed reading Savants. It isn't too often that I buy something, or receive a request for a review without knowing what it is I am walking into. I picked this book up simply to support Gary and Seth, because I knew that the team-up would make for a good looking book. Afterall, Seth is one of my favorite artists and Gary is a fantastic writer. Savants focuses primarily about a young girl by the name of Amy Berg. Through a series of rather unfortunate events, she became adopted by another family. Amy possesses special powers that allow her to see certain things and remember everything. Now, a branch of the government wants to harness her powers for a side program. I don't want to give spoilers, so I'll cut it off there. BUT, I will say this, Gary Reed knows how to maximize 24 pages to their fullest potential. There was a lot of dialogue on the pages and it was a hell of a story. It is written with rich detail and it was translated beautifully with Seth's illustrations. I am looking forward to reading more of Savants in the future.

Source Point Press has announced they are currently in production on a graphic novel titled Holliston: Friendship is Tragic, based on the horror sit-com Holliston tv series created by filmmaker Adam Green. Writer Greg Wright, artist Stephen Sharar, Editor Travis McIntire, and colorist and letterer Joshua Werner will be in attendance and available to sign the prints. The characters from the tv series appear in this brand new stand-alone adventure, being brought to comics for the very first time. Adam, Joe, Corri, and Laura are about to discover just what their friendship can handle when Adam finds a cursed credit card and buys his friends some Halloween gifts. The presents are perfect... a little too perfect. Soon, mad killers, giant monsters, and evil aliens are on the loose, as well as the deadliest threat of all: success! Will the gang sell out? Will they ever speak to each other again? What's the return policy for cursed credit card purchases? Find out in Holliston: Friendship is Tragic! "For a newer publisher like us to be given an opportunity of this magnitude, by a creator like Adam, is beyond huge," says Editor-In-Chief Travis McIntire. "Our number one priority is to release a book that he'll be proud has the Holliston name." Holliston: Friendship is Tragic is based on a concept by Gary Sobek, and has been fully scripted by writer Greg Wright (Monstrous, Wild Bullets) and is currently in the process of being penciled by Stephen Sharar. The graphic novel is scheduled to be released in October of this year.

 

Additionally, SPP offers several other titles from various creators. You can find them all for sale here:

http://sourcepointpress.storenvy.com/collections/747492-comic-books-and-graphic-novels

Headlocked 

MICK. FOLEY. *internal screaming*

fol3

Okay I'm done. Yes, THE Mankind was present at C2E2, which was awesome. He was so very kind to everyone that approached him and requested photos and autographs. I ended up missing Mean Gene (FOR SHAME!) However, I did get a nice interview with Michael Kingston: creator of the indie comic Headlocked. Which is currently being funded on kickstarter for a second book. Headlocked brings together the best of two worlds: comics and wrestling. Now, there may be some naysayers out there about the fine world of WWE/NXT/RAW etc, but it's all in the name of entertainment. And let's be honest, in the world of sports- is there really a more entertaining platform than wrestling? Not a chance in hell. Until the NFL starts cuttin' promos, I'm not changing the channel.

Back to the comic. What is Headlocked? In one sentence, it's a wrestling cable drama in a comic book! Headlocked is a coming-of-age story chronicling a college theater major's quest to become a professional wrestler. It begins from the moment he unexpectedly falls in love with wrestling and follows his journey through the insanity of the wrestling business as he chases his dream of making it to the bright lights and the big stage of the WFW.

headlocked

I pulled this quote directly from the Kickstarter Campaign site. I spoke with Michael Kingston (creator of Headlocked) for some time at C2E2. He was lit up as he spoke to me about his passion project. Comics and wrestling are two worlds that he holds dear, and desperately wanted to see them come together in a whole new way. The first book that he had made was a collaboration of several people. This book is really something that is truly unique. As Michael said to me, "there are plenty of books out there with wrestler's doing everything but wrestling. I wanted to see something different. I pitched the idea to every publisher I could find and was turned away. I decided to go after it myself. I had to work two jobs constantly for over a year just to fund the first book. I've been touring everywhere I possibly can since the book has been printed, and since then I've gained more interest from other wrestler's who want to be a part of it: Samoa Joe, Foley, Mysterio, The Young Bucks, as well as some help from The Scary Godmother creator Jill Thompson.

Michael's new kickstarter launched that night at C2E2 and is online for another month. Most of the high end rewards have been picked up, but there are a lot of great opportunities to get in on this project and snag yourself some books, t-shirts, artwork and more. You can check out the kickstarter here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/180977151/headlocked-a-single-step-remastered

Beautiful Zombies

tom finley2

Wow. Just wow....

What can I say about this fabulous glitter bomb that has been leaving bits and pieces all over my bed for two weeks? It is the most flamboyant thing I've ever read in my life (I mean that in a complementary way). It's about a guy that tries to 'cure' his homosexuality through scientific experimentation, but ends up turning himself into a zombie. His love and lust for men is still very much present. He feels the need to hide his sexuality from the world, especially his mother. Who, (big surprise) is a bigoted old woman who can't stand the thought of her son being gay. The comic takes on an erotic tone that is completely over the top as our main character discovers his hunger for human flesh. His first victim doesn't just become a human buffet, he falls slave to Billy as he loses control of his mind after becoming a zombie. Billy takes advantage of this to use him in ways that fulfill his inner most desires.

It really is a twisted tale and honestly the art isn't anything special and I could just about choke Tom for the glitter edition but.. I loved it. I really did because of it being completely over the top and ridiculous. While it may be insane, it does deal with being a homosexual and hiding from the world. Not only that, but what hiding can do to a person. Living a life hidden away from one's true identity can result in indulging in less than savory behaviors because of repression. While the zombie part isn't much of a factor here, the rest is. And it is beautiful for that reason. Aman, Jack Fragg, and Tom Finley came together and brought us this madness. While the art may be a turn off for some, please consider investing in a copy. I think this is one of those books that you have to read at least once to understand it, and a second time to fall in love with it. 

tom finley

I had interviewed Thomas Finley for a bit on this book plus others. He also creates a LARGE selection of kids books. They started with one book called AlphaPets (an alphabet book featuring various animals) now he has expanded on that and is doing a separate book for each animal, as per the request of his children. His kids books are really successful among children and parents. He also has a variety of little toys, lanyards, sketch cards, all kinds of stuff. He is also doing the cover to the second issue of Max: The Inebriated Rabbit for creator Erick Gutierrez. Tom was one of my favorite people to talk to at the show. Every creator is great to talk to, but Tom is a rare breed. He was fun to talk to and excited about the work he was doing. Friendly and easy going, happy to answer questions and happy to be there. This was the first time I had met Tom, or even spoke to him. That was a fun booth to stop by and I hope next time I can drop a few extra bills while I'm there.

Monolith

Ahh... I finally met Josh Dahl. There were so many people at this show that I had been engaged with for many months on social media, and through correspondence for interviews on the Outhouse- that I finally had the distinct pleasure of meeting face to face for the first time. Josh writes a favorite of mine, Rapid City: Below Zero. A comic about a girl who is seeking revenge after her lover was brutally murdered by her former boss. A part of an underground crew that possesses powers, the explosion that killed him was meant to take her out as well. Too bad for her boss, she lived and she will stop at absolutely nothing to exact her revenge.

Monolith Josh

 

What I love about this comic is the main character Stephanie. Sure it's a story about revenge, what comic doesn't have that? It isn't her super cool ice powers either. It's her. Her story is normal. Something that you would expect to see anywhere. She comes from a broken home that was heavy in alcohol abuse. She was abandoned in her later years as a teenager, but as a child she was largely ignored. Treated as a nuisance more than anything. It's why she found a home in some unsavory activities. She found a family in the people that would pull heists and other shady jobs. People that treated her with respect because of her power. That's the other thing. Powers aren't used as a means of showing off in this book, nor are the special characters. You don't see a lot of action shots or splash pages. What you DO see is a story. The pages are filled with thoughtful dialogue that weave a story of passion and pain. But it is all very real experiences that could be had by any number of people. I think that is what makes that comic so special. That and paired with the illustrations of Shawn Langley, who interprets the script in such a meticulous way. You can tell that both of these men know these characters well. As if they were meant to work together all along creating them, making them grow... it's really well done on all accounts. Including masterfully done covers with color work provided by the awesome Micah Faulkner Who I also met for the first time. (Head explodes) Josh told me that the latest issue, (which was recently funded on kickstarter) is being wrapped up as we speak and should be shipping out soon. In the meantime, you can get caught up on it here on comiXology: 

https://www.comixology.com/Rapid-City-Below-Zero-Vol-1-The-Descent/comics-series/37370?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9zZXJpZXNTbGlkZXI

monolith resistants

K.J. Kaminski was also present who is the letterer on the Rapid City franchise. He has his own comics available as well. I got a special preview mini issue of The Resistants. The synopsis for The Resistant: The year is 2121 and the alien refugee, Interval, leads the rebel strike team known as THE RESISTANTS. In the last few years, they have helped build a large-scale humanitarian aid group to help the downtrodden and unemployed. They go on frequent raids in the Takeo Corporate-State to get food, water and technology for the needy people in the desert marketplaces. Their efforts are noble, but fleeting, as precious supplies and resources continue to dwindle faster than they can be attained. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The preview issue was certainly fun to check out. Had a few sample pages of the coming comic and a lot of concept art.

You can check out The Resistants for free on this site:

http://bigbluecomics.com/comics/

Jay Fosgitt

Well of course I had to stop by and see Jay. I was first introduced to Jay's work around this time last year, actually. He was looking for people to review Bodie Troll: Fuzzy Memories issue #1, so I took a shot at it and reviewed it on a guest spot for The Basement Fodder Podcast with Todd and Michelle Gallagher. Bodie Troll is an all ages book about a troll that tries to be scary and bring fear to people- but is a lovable cuddle bug at best. Bodie gets into plenty of mischief through his adventures and his keeper (miss Cholly) is always chasing after him. This book is delightful to read for kids and adults. He is a very sweet character that is just a lot of fun to read and to absorb visually. Inks and bristol are a natural extension of Jay's hand. His work is masterful and his animated style flows beautifully. Jay is also known for his work on illustrating IDW's My Little Pony, along with another creator owned run called Dead Duck and Zombie chick, which recently had a new stand alone issue released via Source Point Press. I purchased the first trade and the stand-alone issue as well. I flipped through the first issue and this is definitely a comic for an adult crowd. Jay was also recently commissioned by Tom Brevoort to do a variant cover for Avengers Standoff. Also, he will be illustrating an issue of Rocket Raccoon due out in May in conjunction with Skottie Young. Jay has his plate full right now and shows no signs of stopping. He is gifted in many ways, and I am thrilled to see how things are taking shape during 2016 for him.

http://jayfosgitt.com/

Jay

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Eric Palicki

Finally! I met Eric! He didn't have a table at the show but he had sent me a message saying he would be there and we agreed to meet up. I had interviewed Eric two other times for The Outhouse. He has become one of my favorite authors and it is always wonderful to hear from him. He was kind enough to bring me trades of Red Angel Dragnet and Orphans (both of which I had reviewed previously) and we talked a bit more about his latest creation: Fake Empire, which I had recently reviewed and discussed with him here. The first trade for Fake Empire will be available during May. Fake Empire tagline is, "What if someone killed the tooth fairy?" This is a story that is about a family of faeries trying to keep their secret, while living among humans. I just finished reading the second issue last night on ComiXology, and let me tell you, the more I read it, the angrier I become. It is clear there is a thick layer of deceit and many lies woven into the stories people are telling. Eric knows how to write suspense and noir well. He proved that once before with Red Angel Dragnet, and with Fake Empire he has shown us even better skills. Eric has also landed a shot at writing a side story about Gamora of Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. This issue will be out in May as well and I look forward to seeing the magic of Eric Palicki at work.

http://ericpalicki.com/

palicki rad

palicki orph copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unshaven Comics

unshaven copyI stopped by to see this bearded trio. They were a fun group of gentlemen to meet and had a helluva story. The three had been friends for nearly twenty years and have made some comics or podcasts in some capacity over the past two decades. Matt Wright, Marc Alan Fishman, and Kyle Gnepper are the men behind this production company. Matt and Marc are illustrators and Kyle writes. The comic I picked up from them, The Samurnauts is a comic about a monkey from outer space that happens to possess samurai skills and has survived for hundreds of years. He is currently training a group of men to be better samurnauts (samurai/astronauts) when they are attacked by a zombie. It is found that this zombie was part of a clan thought to be long extinct, Deadnauts. Now the troop has set out to see how and why this has happened.Unshaven comics also offers podcasts and other comics. All of which you can check out here:

http://www.unshavencomicsonline.com/

 

Sean Forney

seanI have been admiring Sean's illustration work from afar for awhile now. He was another person that I had met for the first time face to face at C2E2. He was delightful to converse with. You know, I watch a lot of social media and let me tell you, photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc do not come close to doing the real thing justice. I'm glad I left my wallet in the hotel room because I may have drained my bank account at Sean's booth. I am looking to go back to him at some point to pick up a copy of a book he had on his table called Zen, from Devil's Due/First comics. It's a six issue mini-series that Sean provided the color work on. Zen is a character from the 90's that is a bounty hunter/ninja from space. He goes around to various planets

Right now he is coloring a book for Dan Lyser, for Devil's Due. He has been working primarily as a colorist; however, he has done several covers and some sequential art over the past few years. He makes himself available for commissions as well.

https://www.facebook.com/SeanForneyIllustration/

Kelly Williams

Another cool cat I have been admiring the illustration work of for some time. I picked up a few books from him, one was a collection of art he did for Inktober a homage to Charles Addams and the Addams Family. I follow Kelly on social media and remember watching him post all of the drawings he did. So to be able to pick them up in a collected edition was wonderful. His gray tones and ink-washed illustrations are wonderful. The spin that he put on the Addams family characters in a cartoon sense was cool. 

kelly w

In addition to picking up the inktober book, I also purchased a copy of one of his short comics: Boo Hag. He packed a punch in this brief 8 page comic. A story about a witch that skins her victims. The horror element is definitely a home for Kelly. I wish I had picked up his other short books he had available. Perhaps we can be lucky enough to see these put together in a short anthology someday. At any rate, it scared me a bit and that takes a lot to do. You can check out this and other works from Kelly here:

http://treebeerdstuff.com/

Jacob Halton

He contacted me post C2E2 looking for a review. I will be checking out his book more in-depth soon and interviewing him as well. Boke' Expressway is insane from the pages I've flipped through so far. There is a bit of NSFW, but the art looks killer. I really dig the cover, half of which I had to crop off to keep it clean for the kids. The tale of the Siren is one I have always been a bit obsessed over. I look forward to being able to dig into it soon. For now, here is the synopsis. Jacob released the book at C2E2.

siren 2

Boké Expressway Vol. 1: Chasing a Song, is a trippy techno fairy tale, and modern urban take on the myth of the Siren. An old school raver hears a song at a club that compels him to follow it and find out what it is. In his search, he finds the song is being sung by a ghostly woman at the club who leads him on a kaleidoscopic roller coaster ride into madness. His only way back to reality is to give up his obsessions for the song, but he might rather find more happiness in the insanity the song is leading him towards. Boké Expressway is also published as a weekly webcomic at:

http://bokeexpressway.com

 

Saving the best for last with...

Seth Damoose

*fireworks blow up*

YAY! Finally! I met the man to meet at C2E2! Or at least in my opinion, THE Seth Damoose. Someone who has brought so much joy and wonder to my walls and heart and I hadn't even been able to shake his hand yet. I was really giddy at the chance to finally meet him as I have commissioned him for two pieces of art that touch my soul in ways that I couldn't possibly express. I'd like to share those with you. The first being of my best friend Michelle Gallagher and I about to pounce on Mr. Rhee (a character created by Dirk Manning and illustrated by Seth, if you haven't read it: Do it. Go now.) I had this done as a gift for Michelle and myself shortly after we met.

seth michellle

The second is a piece I requested as something to keep me in check. To remind me why I support the independent community, and a reason to not give up on making my own stories. I requested that the characters from my favorite independent books be brought together in one spot. Here you see Mack and Panda from Jason Pearson's Body Bags, Smith from Victor Dandridge Jr.'s The Samaritan, Mr. Rhee from Dirk Manning's The Tales of Mr. Rhee, Nate from Eric Palicki's Red Angel Dragnet, and finally Ada from Dan Dougherty's Touching Evil.

These two pieces are what I see when I go to bed and what I see when I wake. They keep me balanced so I continue on this path, even when I become discouraged. So, when I finally got to meet Seth face to face, it was a big deal for me. He was really friendly and happy to speak with me, his wife was also present who was a lovely woman as well. Again, I consider myself fortunate to be in the company of so many pleasant people.

seth final

I had to get the scoop on Seth and how he came to be. I just hit record and let him talk, this is his incredible story:

I came down here for Wizard World Chicago in 2002. I put together a portfolio in four days I drew 27 pages and I came down here and showed it to EVERYBODY. Then that go me this with now a friend of mine Jeff Stevenson. We tossed some ideas back and forth and decided on norse mythology Gods and Goddesses as elementary school kids: Brat-Halla. It's an all ages story. Loki plays with dolls, Tyr the God of War is a teenage pacifist and a hippie.. It's all about parenting and kids. This is where I cut my teeth, where I taught myself how to do sequential art and follow storytelling. Over the next year or so I kept working on that and I met Jim Valentino. So I started posting things on the Shadowline forum of different character drawings. The next year when I came back, Valentino sought me out specifically to tell me he enjoyed my work. Which was a big deal for me, I can remember tracing Guardians of the Galaxy as a kid. He got me talking to Jimmy Robinson and I did the fill in five pages for Bomb Queen, then that turned into doing I Hate Gallant Girl for Image, then Xenoholics for Image...THEN throughout doing these shows I met Dirk Manning and he asked me to work on some of Nightmare World for him in between doing issues for Xenoholics, and then he said well let's do this and he brought me on board for The Tales of Mr. Rhee Vol. 2. So it was like a snowball effect. You meet one person and that can change everything. I met Gary Reed just hanging out at the after party scenes of the cons and we were talking about what books we had been working on and decided to get together to do Savants. Like I said though... four days and this is what happened. I would get up in the morning, got to work and come home and draw until I fell asleep. Four days to make a portfolio and I showed it to everyone. I had a lot of people tell me I was terrible. But I had that one person (Jeff Stevenson) who gave me a shot at Brat-Halla and I just went up and on from there. You have to get out and do this if you want it. You know, I used to be that guy that would sit at home and say, Well I should be drawing Spiderman! But I wasn't out actually trying to get my work seen. I just kept it all to myself. I had to force myself to get out of that mindset and move on. Actually put myself out there. You CAN do this. The only thing that is holding you back is yourself. It doesn't matter if you're the best artist or writer in the world, if you just keep it to yourself- you're never going to be seen."

http://toocartoony.com/ (under construction)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/seth-damoose-a6074736

https://www.facebook.com/seth.damoose?fref=ts

"The only thing holding you back is yourself." Truer words never spoken. Thanks for that, Seth. It is something I will carry with me always.

seth savants

That wraps up everything from C2E2! Thank you to all involved for being patient with me! It's been crazy the past few weeks. Below you can see a gallery of other photos I took while I was there, primarily of some fantastic cosplays. I didn't take nearly as many photos as I would have liked. If you want to use any of these, they are fair game, just credit me as the photographer is all I ask. Thank you to everyone who let me steal some time for interviews and to everyone who was so sweet to congratulate Will and I on our engagement. I hope to see you all at Motor City Detroit for the next show. Until then, keep doing what you do!







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About the Author - Crystal O'Rourke


"ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!!!"
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