Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Crowdsourcing Comics: A Trial By Fire

In October of last year, we cancelled our first Kickstarter campaign before its deadline was up. Our "Imaginos Plus" comic book project received generous contributions from some friends, family and supporters, but it wasn't enough to meet our financial goal. After an encouraging opening push, the donations to our comic book anthology slowed to an ever-decreasing trickle. The campaign stalled at just over $2,000, not nearly close enough to our $8,300 goal. Our first attempt at crowdsourcing our artistic ventures was time-consuming, emotional and ultimately disappointing.

It was also a learning experience; it forced us to take stock of our own work and think practically about what it meant to produce a creative, collaborative project. It forced us to explain the value of our work to other people - a surprisingly challenging and rewarding task. There wasn't a clear-cut reason why our first attempt at crowdsourcing failed. Were we explaining our project well enough? Was our financial goal too high? Did we offer the right kinds of incentives to potential backers? Did we fail to market ourselves properly? Maybe it was just timing. Most likely it was some combination of these factors. And while no one wants to fall short, we learned a lot through the process.


Fast forward to November 2013: our fledgling company Imaginos Workshop is now a registered LLC, and new artists and writers have been brought into the fold. We have a couple extra conventions under the belt, and we've made real progress on our comics. Our new Kickstarter campaign has a financial goal of $5,800 (well under our original asking price from the year before), without sacrificing any of the content. 

This time, the contributions didn't stop after the initial opening volley. People watched our Kickstarter video over 500 times and pledged an average of $46. They shared our project on Facebook, Twitter, Palladium Books and other websites. Veteran writer and columnist Bill Baker interviewed Mark Dudley on The Morton Report, and we provided our own Kickstarter updates every step of the way.


In the end, we finished at 114% of our goal. Our second try at crowdsourcing was an unequivocal success, made possible by the wonderfully generous contributions of all our backers. Perhaps it was important that we fell short on our first Kickstarter. It reminded us that some amount of failure and rejection is an inevitability in this business, and that it does not necessarily mean you're doing the wrong things. We were also reminded of the inspiring generosity of others ... an important lesson during the holidays. Our backers gave us the best Christmas gift we could have asked for. It means more work for us in the new year, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you.

Jon

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 18: Black Zero's Kickstartin' S.H.I.E.L.D. on the Day of the Doctor



What's up, 'Combies? The boys are back with a new episode! It's getting wild in the Hideout as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Doctor Who 50th anniversary and "walmartians" are discussed at great length. And with the Workshop's kickstarter in full effect, the boys wanted to discuss a lot of what's going on with it and into it. Though we were at $1,730 at the time this was recorded, we've now reached $2,560, so we're getting to the halfway point, but we still need more help.

So all of our 'Combies out there on the interwebs, if you haven't contributed yet, there's still time. But even if you can't, just spread the word and link to our kickstarter around to see if there aren't other peeps out there that can help make the awesomeness of "Imaginos Plus" a reality.  :D

Here's the link: The Imaginos Plus Kickstarter

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Oh and don't forget, the Honeycomb Hideout's also available on iTunes for you apple-heads out there.  ;)
And also, for those morbidly curious enough about the insanity that was discussed during the "walmartians" segment, here you go: Walmartians. You were warned.  LOL

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

WE'RE DOING IT LIVE! So get on the good foot and start kickin'!!

What's up, peeps? The Workshop has been insanely busy of late! But there's actually something that people have been waiting for that's finally coming to pass...

THE "IMAGINOS PLUS" KICKSTARTER IS LAUNCHING THIS THURSDAY!!

That's right, October 31st is the day! And it's also going live during Youmacon in Detroit! So for all of our supporters, your patience is paying off because the kickstarter's been completely revamped with better art and even stretch-goals! So stay tuned here and on facebook for more details.

But wait, that's not the only important event happening at Youmacon. The whole Imaginos crew's going to be in attendance and we've got swag! We're going to be selling copies of our latest sketchbook "Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars" for $2.99 and we'll also have copies of our "Imaginos Plus" kickstarter poster available for $5.00. Now, we know that Youmacon's a big show and that everyone attending is going to have stuff that they're going to want to pick and money will be tight. So the folks attending Youmacon are going to be able to pick up both the sketchbook AND the poster in a bundle for just $7.00!

However, that's not all. We're also going to be having two panels this weekend on story-telling and art, so if you're interested in learning what really goes into making your stories and comics, you'll definitely not want to miss these!

And for you fans of our little podcast, here's a little extra icing on the awesome cake, we'll also be recording for "The Honeycomb Hideout" throughout the weekend! We'll be doing numerous topics, as well as guest polls and all kinds of other craziness. So come on down and see how the boys and girls of the 'Hideout get down!

For those of you that aren't going to be able to make it to Youmacon, don't fret. We're in the process of talking to a lot of metro area comic shops about carrying Imaginos products, so stay tuned for that as well. :)

That's about it for right now. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week and even during the weekend, so make sure you're following the blog and our facebook page so that you don't miss a thing!
See y'all in Detroit!

-Joe

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Imaginos Plus:Kickstarting An Anthology(and other Fall Business)




This year Imaginos Workshop has managed to meet all of it's goals so far. From a business standpoint,We took care of our business status and got our tax id. We were 

able to get our legal house in order and procured Stephanie Hammond as our intellectual property representation. 

Creatively, we got our first 120 page film script done. We also were able to get our Reality show Idea in the hands of people who could help it out and we wrote and shot CHANCES with Wrapped Productions and Mill Movement. 





The last thing we need to do to make this year perfect is RELAUNCH, to a certain extent of IMAGINOS PLUS. When we first concieved the project a year or so ago we thought it would be more of a Sampler, that we could share with our audience to kind of gauge the popularity of our comic book ideas. 





However, as I thought more about it, and found more stories from friends an collaborators that I thought needed to be told, we decided to try to make Imaginos Plus a bi annual ( and maybe quarterly if demand is strong for it) anthology magazine. We want the magazine to be a place where people can show the work and talk about the industry, ideas and people who do the work. Sure we want stories launched from the anthology to move on to other forms of media and other publishers, but we want it help showcase people who we think are really talented and mostly overlooked. 


To kick this thing off, We decided to take some of the heat off yours truly and bring in some help on the penciling side. While I am currently penciling my own contribution, Juda Fist: 7 Deaths of the Yobi, We have hired to amazingly talented young people to do the rest of the penciling chores. 


Enter Dimitris Moore,Cassie Henry,Gary Mitchell,  and CJ Howlett. I met the first two artists at last years Detroit Fanfare and this year Motorcity Con respectively. I knew I wanted to work with them the minute I saw their work. So I showed the rest of Imaginos and they agreed.





Gary and CJ I met on Deviant Art, I saw there work and again, knew they had the inking chops and Unique colors respectively to bring something extra ordinary to the cause.

Returning from last time are veterens Ylenia Di Nopoli, Shauna Grant, Ka Xiong and Brandon Clark. I found Ylenia's work on Deviant Art and she fit exactly the vision I had for how Requiem needs come across. Shauna I met a Youmacon and new then that her playful and vibrant style would make Candy Coated pop color-wise.






Ka Xiong and Brandon Clark along with myself and Ryan Csazar and our extended family formThe Mighty Drunkenstyle Studios.

Back in 1995 we came together because of shared philosophies as it relates to comics, anime, hong kong cinema and visual story telling. So its no accident that Ka and Brandon would be coming in to lend some ink assists to truly make this anthology not just and Imaginos Workshop project but a bonifide DRUNKENSTYLE JOINT!.





So set them calendars for OCTOBER 31th, and before then look for information on this very page and the Imaginos Workshop Facebook pages, as from here on in we will be releasing more and more information up and until and after the launch of the Imaginos Plus Anthology Kickstarter.  I will be at Detroit Fanfare Oct 25-27 sitting with Palladium Books doing sketches and talking up the Kickstarter. The following week is gonna be huge as IMAGINOS WORKSHOP will be at Detroit only anime convention YOUMACON. We will be selling things and giving away Imaginos Plus related Swag. We will also be talking up the Kickstarter and our doing some really cool how to create comics seminars.


Ah here is a treat from CJ's Youtube page Art Tips and Life Blips.Rage .Droppin science.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 17: Yet Another Hot-Button


What's the best cure for the hump day blues? A brand new episode of the Honeycomb Hideout, that's what!! So, buck up, 'Combies, and get ready to open your ears and your mind because the gang's delving into uncharted territory. With special guest Sara Jakubowski, this week's discussion cascades around the arenas of gender and sexuality and how the world and counter culture deal with and interpret them. We get serious on this one, but we do it in our own way. So come on down, you may just learn something this time around.  ;)

And don't forget, gang, we're also on iTunes! So, feel free to download the show there as well.  :D  And don't hesitate to comment or suggest topics you like to hear us discuss! After all, the Honeycomb Hideout just ain't the same without the 'Combies.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Imaginos Double Feature (Spoiler-Free Movie Reviews): "The Wolverine" and "The World's End"

Well, the summer movie season's come to an end but that doesn't mean that there aren't still some flicks worth seeing (depending on your perspective). This time around, we'll be looking at two highly anticipated "sequels" and we'll go into the "whys" of that as well.





First up is the latest "sequel" to Fox's X-Men franchise, "The Wolverine". Now, after the utter disaster that was "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (this is my personal opinion, but I've met people that actually liked it... somehow), Fox decided to change directions, so after doing "X-Men: First Class" (and to maintain their license on the X-Men property), they went back to Logan for another solo romp inspired by some of the character's most popular stories. This time, they took him to Japan in a story inspired by the character's history with the country and culture but placed timeline-wise after the events of X-Men 3.

The story centers on Logan as he's returned to seclusion while still reeling for the death of Jean Grey in X-Men 3. He's sought out by an associate of someone from his days in World War II; a dying soldier whose life that he saved has sought him out, wishing to return the favor. Unfortunately, things get even more complicated as the soldier's granddaughter is targeted for death and the mysteries continue to build as Logan's healing factor inexplicably starts to fail.

Now, considering how much I hated the first Wolverine solo film, my expectations were extremely low when I heard about this one. Even when I started to see the cool trailers, I still can't say I was "excited" to go see it; the biggest of my "lukewarm" desires for it was "I just hope it's not as bad as the last one". And honestly... it wasn't. Like all the X-Men films, comics continuity means absolute jack, so don't go into it hoping for that. Some comics fans will recognize many of the characters, but trust me, don't go see it for that. But just as a story/film, it was actually quite good. The action was exciting and well done, there's significant character development (there could've been more, in my opinion, but oh well) and there was a more honest sense of continuity. For action lovers and fans of the X-Men films, this definitely is not a film to miss! For the more casual movie-goer, it's not a terrible way to spend an afternoon.


Now, this is definitely one of the films that I personally was looking forward to all summer! As a fan of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, I've been anxiously awaiting the finale to the trio's "Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy" and I'll go ahead and say it now... it did not disappoint.  :D

As the trailers imply, Gary (Simon Pegg) attempts to pull his more successful and responsible childhood friends (played by Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine) back together for an epic, 12 pub crawl (dubbed the "Golden Mile") in their hometown that they failed to finish in their youth. And despite the inherent difficulties in gaining momentum, things start to escalate as their homecoming goes from odd to weird to, in the ever-repeated words of Oliver (Martin Freeman's character), W-T-F.

The boys did their diligence with this film as it's chock full of actors that have appeared in the previous two films "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" in various roles. This film actually has a little bit of everything; cameos, drinking, fighting, drinking, interpersonal conflict, drinking, character development in various forms, drinking, plot twists galore... did I mention drinking?

If you're a fan of anyone that was involved in this movie, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not seeing it. This is definitely a must-see for serious and casual movie-goers alike!

-Joe  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode16: "THe Magical Negro" and other sociological schisms



Look, 'Combies!! Less than a month between episodes! Progress!  ;)

The gang's back on the counter culture commentary kick and they've brought some friends (new and old) to shed more light on the subject. Partake in the discussion as Joe, Mark and Nik are joined by Kelly Guillory, Jen Kitzman and Kristina Neuville as they discuss in greater depth than before an extensive range of counter culture tendencies, good and bad, discuss Pacific Rim, Matt Smith's successor on Doctor Who and the ridiculous reactions it's elicited, the concept of the "magical negro" and so much more.

Be sure to stop by the Ashur Collective to see the awesome works that Kelly and her partner are shelling out!  :D
Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Imaginos Double Feature (Spoiler-Free Movie Reviews): "This is the End" and "R.I.P.D."

Alright, gang! The summer movie season has born fruit and we're gonna let you know just how they taste! (Hey, the analogy sounded like it worked in my head, so I'm going with it.)

"This Is The End"
With the entire cast playing exaggeratedly douchey versions of themselves, the film follows Seth Rogen, Jay Barouchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill and Danny McBride as the attempt to whether the apocalypse. Now, as yet another entry in the Apocalypse movie craze from last year, it'd be easy to write this one off. Not to mention that this film had nothing but hilarious trailers during its initial press hype, so that automatically makes a lot of us weary as that sometimes means that all of the funniest stuff was in the trailer. Surprisingly enough, that wasn't the case.

The film is surprisingly well written and it actually has a lot of surprises to its credit. The first 20 minutes of the film alone took me by surprise, despite knowing what the movie was about. And the number of cameos by other stars of the core cast's level and above took me by surprise as well; Aziz Ansari, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Channing Tatum to name a few  and you all will likely be able to name even more after watching it (Emma Watson makes some interesting appearances and let's just say I'll never be able to look at Michael Cera the same way again after this).

It's pretty clear that everyone involved was pretty cool with each other outside of the film and that everyone was very enthusiastic about and while filming it. And in my opinion, it definitely adds to the fun of the film. I'd say that if you're a fan of any of the core cast in any fashion, this movie is definitely worth checking out. I laughed my ass off and "Oh shit!"-ed on more than a few occasions. This movie is definitely more than it seems and is worth at least one viewing. Hey, an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes must count for something, right?

P.S.: If you're Catholic or another form of Christian but can't deal with humor in relation to your beliefs, this movie might not be for you. Just a warning.


"R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department)"
Now, this is definitely one of those movies that is exactly what you think it is. But the thing of it is, this movie's strengths don't lie in its premise (though it's definitely high-concept and cool in its execution), it's strengths lie in the characters.

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker and Kevin Bacon (he was a surprise for me because I never saw him in ANY of the trailers or promotions for this movie), the film centers of Reynolds and Bridges' characters (Reynolds playing a recently deceased cop and Bridges a sheriff that lived during the days of the Old West) who, in exchange for a little padding on their records when it comes time for their final "Judgement", agree to protect the world of the living from souls that slipped through the cracks. Now, there are the standard tropes to endure due to it being entrenched in the buddy-cup genre (but I'll avoid listing them off for the sake of "spoilers"), but all in all, they don't hurt the film as it makes fun of them as well.

While this film was based off of a Dark Horse comic series, I can't speak on how faithful it was because I never read the series (or heard of it, for that matter, but that's another topic for another time). But I will say that the movie was absolutely entertaining and I think that it was all thanks to the characters. And as a fan of high-concept films populated by interesting characters, I enjoyed a great deal more than I expected. "R.I.P.D." is definitely the kind of movie that fans of films like "Ghostbusters", "Men In Black" and buddy-cop comedies in general will love.


-Joe

Monday, July 29, 2013

Official short film 'Chances' in Canon's "Project Imagination" film contest


In June of this year, Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard and Canon photography began accepting video submissions for the 2013 "Project Imagination" short film contest. Twenty finalists will be chosen on August 19, and in Fall of 2013 five winners will be screened at the Project Imaginat10n Film Festival. Imaginos Workshop's own Mark C. Dudley accepted the challenge and teamed up with local videographer Phil A. Brown and Wrapped Productions (along with Snook Tucker and John Miller, Jr.) to create Chances.

It is a stylish short film about a man's last day in prison, as he muses thoughtfully about life inside and outside the walls that confine him. A series of photographs, taped to the wall near his cot, transport him outside his spartan cell. His voiceover provides a poetic and esoteric narrative thread, along with a fresh hip hop soundtrack that permeates the nearly 10 minute film. The film also features an appearance by Mutare Ludum and Imaginos Workshop's Danielle Todd and April Cox.

Watch the official video submission Chances on the Canon Project Imagination website. "Likes" and comments help the visibility of the video, so please vote and leave feedback!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 15: "Counter Culture Shock part 3" or "The Great Milenko's Thunder-Love!!"



New entry in the Imaginos Workshop dictionary:
"Blackwash": An instance in which a fictional character that is traditionally portrayed by white person is portrayed by a black person in modern adaptations without actually changing or affecting the fundamentals of the characters.

Your patience has been rewarded! Here's the final piece to the "Counter Culture Shock" series... for now. This time the gang's coming together to discuss the generational-based issues inherent in counter culture, often ranging from hipster-style fandom-based elitism to flat-out infighting and geek bullying to unfortunate remakes and adaptations. I know, right?!

Joining the boys this time around is long-time 'Combie Kristina Neuville making her return to the 'Hideout and first-time 'Combie Imaginos Workshop art student/intern/gopher Joseph Young making his 'Hideout debut! This episode is a bit crazy as the gang jumped in face-first but you'll get the gist with some quickness. Come on down and see what shakes out but watch your head because it gets a little raucous. You know how we do.  ;)

Beware the great Milenko and his thunder-love!!  LMAO!!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pacific Rim Brings The Pain......(Oh So Much Lovely Pain)

OK, myself and the Imaginos Gang went on an excursion to see Guillermo Del Torro's Mecha vs Kaiju romper-stomper Pacific Rim. As a student of Robert McKee, I found that the film did have its holes and certain pieces we could see a mile away. However, the film was very enjoyable.


It managed to transport me back to the days of Ultraman, Giant Robo and the week-long Godzilla  and Gamera marathons, particularly the venerable Godzilla dust-up DESTROY ALL MONSTERS. Pacific Rim manages to keep the best of the Kaiju movie traits without giving in to the the foibles that plague the genre, such as hyper non-believability and camp. Though Del Torro decidedly based the Kaiju on the old men in rubber suits creatures of the genre, the 3D special effects more than create monsters that are scary and at times absolutely frightening. 




What I really loved about the film was the believable relationships between the various characters. The protagonists  Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) are both scarred by traumatic incidents in their lives and over time grow sympathetically close because of it. There is a father and son team of Jaeger Pilots who we get to see grow through the adversity they face. The most compelling character is by far Marshall Stacker Pentecost, portrayed by Idris Elba. Behind his focus and hard as nails demeanor is a truly compassionate soldier who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his people.  



I can relate to Del Torro's needing to make this movie. He remained true to his (and my) childhood fascination with all things Kaiju and managed to create a film that makes me not feel so bad for still getting a little bit excited at seeing and loving new Kaiju movies like the Gamera: Gaurdian of the Universe series and Godzilla: Final Wars. Pacific Rim is a thrill ride and you feel truly happy for the protagonists when all is said and done. If you haven't seen it DO SO ASAP!!!

Mark

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Can't forget about the cool exec with the heart of steel! Iron Man 3 Review


With the summer movie season already kicked into high-gear and Nik's awesome review of Man of Steel, it occurred to me that we neglected to do a review of the comic book movie that kicked off this summer's blockbusters: Iron Man 3!

Since it is still in theaters and some people may still have not gotten around to seeing it, this review will be spoilers-free.

Now, after the unfortunate let-down (story-wise) of Iron Man 2, it was going to take a hell of a move on Marvel's part to get the hardcore fanbase back behind shellhead's solo films. Even the excellent casting of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine only bolstered it slightly. Then came The Avengers and every fanboy, fangirl and casual fan alike collectively splooged themselves over Marvel Studios' franchise culmination. But then comes the inevitable question: what next?

With Marvel announcing their film production dockets in "Phases" and "Phase 2" on the way, you have to ask, "what are they going to follow The Avengers up with?" Thus, Iron Man 3 was announced and as much as the character soared in The Avengers, there wasn't quite as much excitement for a new solo adventure starring Tony Stark. So, knowing how much they were going to have to step up their game for this capper to the solo franchise that originally gave Marvel Studios a future, they not only stepped it up, but they changed it in the same swoop.

Taking on narrative more in tune with an espionage thriller/mystery, Iron Man 3 definitely stepped up with guns blazing. As Tony Stark deals with some unexpected aftershocks from what is simply being referred to as "New York" (the final battle of the The Avengers), some faces from his past and mysterious new menaces turn his world upside-down and may potentially even render Iron Man and his creator obsolete in the process.



To be honest, I was extremely hesitant about this film when it was first announced because of the bad aftertaste of Iron Man 2. But as I heard more and more about it, including the story line being inspired by the comics, I started to loosen up and get a bit more excited for it. And when I finally saw it in the theater, I was not disappointed. It was a suspenseful, emotional and action-packed thrill ride that kept you wondering from scene to scene. The characters remained engaging as each went on their own emotional journey and the action kept you at the edge of your seat. If you were to compare it to The Avengers, what Iron Man 3 lacked in scope and scale, it made up for in emotional content and suspense with just as much action. Any fan of Marvel Studios' productions will not be disappointed by the opening salvo of their "Phase 2."

And just so that I get to geek out a little (and this is actually not a spoiler because it was released months before the film as promotional material), and regardless of the clowning I'll get from the guys for this, one of my favorite armors made a significant appearance in the film. And by that I mean, the armor that Stark wore when I first started collecting Iron Man comics: the Silver Centurion! Yep, it wasn't quite on par with the nerdgasm that was the first appearance of Helicarrier and the first assembly of the team in The Avengers, but it was damn close!

Enjoy the movie, y'all! And be sure to post your comments (sans-spoilers) about it. Liked it? Disliked it? Share it in the comments!  :)

P.S.: And just so we're clear, I was actually completely okay with the so-called "twist." I thought it was damn clever and really well executed.

-Joe

Friday, June 14, 2013

Superman Has Arrived!




I would like to assure everyone reading this that I have kept the spoilers to a minimum for this review of Man of Steel. But if you are new to this property, you might want to be careful all the same.

Allow me to get right down to the point: this movie was very entertaining. It delivered Superman to an entirely new generation of fans and supporters while still holding true to all of the key points of Superman’s origin story. For longtime fans of Superman, the basics are pretty well covered. The planet Krypton does get destroyed, Superman’s parents do put him on a ship as a baby and send him off to Earth in order to save his life. He is raised by the loving Kents from Kansas and does eventually learn of his true heritage. With those pillars in place, the trio of Zack Snyder, David Goyer and Christopher Nolan proceed to tell a fantastic story at a frenetic pace. 

If you are expecting the "happy go lucky" feel of the previous Superman films done by Richard Donner and attempted by Bryan Singer, you had better temper those expectations. Snyder and company have set out on a different but mostly welcome path in re-telling us the origin story of one of the most iconic superheroes ever. 

Henry Cavill is Superman and this story focuses primarily on Clark Kent coming to terms with who he is.  Snyder dedicated a great deal of time in showing us how young Clark Kent struggled to adapt to our world.  The casting for this movie was amazing; even some characters who did not get used as much managed to find precious moments to connect to the audience.  Did I mention that Henry Cavill is Superman? Because he is, and he'll do a tremendous job in guiding Superman into the 21st century.  Much like Doctor Who fans debating their favorite Doctor, Superman fans will be happy to  include Cavill's name in their own debate.


The action of the movie definitely fits Snyder’s style and I could easily see it overwhelming certain facets of the audience. However if you wanted to see Superman simply glide through the air, rescue kittens out of a tree, flash a smile while spouting boy scout mottos, foil bank robbers along with insidious real estate schemes, then I recommend popping in your old VHS tapes. This current incarnation of Superman has not had a chance yet to partake in the little everyday deeds of a superhero. Why?  Because of a super villain known as General Zod portrayed by the sublime Michael Shannon. 

General Zod of 2013 is a man on a mission, pure and simple. Shannon’s take on Zod gives us an exquisite mix of quiet rage that transforms into a volcanic fury, all wrapped around an obsession to duty. He definitely ranks high in the upper echelon of modern day villains, and his lieutenant Faora-Ul (played wonderfully by Antje Traue) is the perfect complement to Zod. 


Both sets of Superman’s parents help give this movie a soul. Russell Crowe’s depiction of Jor-El deserves to be placed in the same breath as Marlon Brando’s iconic performance. Kevin Costner delivers such a powerful act given his relatively limited screen time while Diane Lane brings such warmth to the role of Martha Kent that you could understand where Clark acquired his compassionate and moral core.

Snyder and Goyer take a refreshing course when it comes to the relationship between Lois and Clark. The idea that a pair of glasses could be enough to mask his identity from one of the world’s best investigative journalists was plausible only in a bygone era. If the eventual romance between Lois and Clark was ever going to have a chance, it needed a little touch-up. While a certain sect of fans will bemoan the loss of the little cat and mouse game Lois had with Clark’s secret identity, it was finally time to retire that concept. I admit that it seems odd to not have that security blanket but now Snyder and Goyer have an opportunity to show us different layers of the relationship between Lois and Clark. And while I've heard of people complaining that Amy Adams was not used enough, I think she did a marvelous job for what she was given.  I would also imagine that this relationship will get a little more attention in the already green lit sequel.


The expanded back story of Krypton was gratifying, and while opinions will vary about the representation of Kryptonian technology, I for one did not have a problem with it. Snyder and Co. have set up a couple of very nice Easter eggs that hint at an expanded DC Universe. Man of Steel is undoubtedly the tent pole to hold up DC's fresh endeavor to replicate the wildly successful approach taken by Marvel Studios. 
The movie does have its requisite flaws - one that stood out was the hurried transition from scene to scene throughout the movie. Even with two hours and twenty three minutes, Snyder still needed to rush through some parts in order to tell this over-packed origin story. Hans Zimmer has delivered a terrific score that can stand on its own. The theme created by John Williams will always be the standard, but it is good to know it has some worthwhile company. 

Overall I’d give Man of Steel an A- and to give a sense of reference I would grade Superman Returns at a D+. Man of Steel was simply a good time at the movies - exactly what we're looking for in a summer blockbuster.

Nick

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good vs. Evil in Storytelling

Good versus Evil is the oldest conflict in the history of mankind. Truth be told, the particulars of what makes each one what they are is extremely relative and also open to interpretation. And it's those interpretations that make them so fascinating. Fairy tales, religious stories, cautionary tales; every kind of story you can think of ultimately hinges back on that one basic conflict in one fashion or another.

Now, when most people apply that to life as many tend to, it creates a very black-and-white perspective. The media obviously has been capitalizing on this ideology for as long as there are been means of communication. Cowboys and indians, cops and robbers, man vs. beast and so on and so forths; these stories have always dealt with a protagonist and an antagonist, a hero and a villain. However, one of the unfortunate tendencies during those times was to vilify beings or entities that weren't understood at the time or that propaganda ruled as "the enemy". The idea that things weren't as black-and-white as those in control of the media flow wanted you to believe wasn't a popular concept in the earliest days of fiction. But it's my belief, that those are truly the best stories.

Now, anybody that knows me knows my love of superhero stories. But one thing that is evident, in the earliest renditions of superhero stories, they were basically black-and-white stories of a grandiose, benevolent hero fighting stopping the machinations of some criminal or super-villain. But ultimately, they had the tendency to fall under same black-and-white purview as all other conflict based fiction. Finding the point of the deviation from this norm would make from one hell of an essay, but I don't think I'm the guy to write it. LOL

I guess what I'm ultimately driving at is the basic idea of the gray area... the balance. I believe that the universe abhors a vacuum and that, if it exists, it likely serves a purpose of some kind. Without evil, there's no good and vice versa. Thus, when it comes to telling stories of the greatest substance, there's a degree of understanding that's necessary to tell the most well-rounded story possible, regardless of the genre; push and pull, action and consequence, good and evil.

You'll often hear that people say that the villains are the more interesting characters, but they wouldn't be if there weren't "heroes" to contrast them. So, it's always best to remember that "good vs. evil" is only boring when you don't understand what goes into making each side what it is. So, the best advice I can give is the best advice I've ever received; "a protagonist and antagonist are not restricted to being good and evil respectively and a good story doesn't require them to be". Take heed and keep striving, y'all!

-Joe

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jay Anthony White's PAWN. The Joseph Cain Review.




At one point Michigan (and hopefully again soon) was an incredibly fertile ground for the film industry. Between the various films and television series that have been filmed here, the metro Detroit area has been getting a lot of great exposure, and a film was just released by a local talent that might help increase it even more.

Pawn, written by Michigan-born writer and friend of Imaginos Workshop Jay Anthony White, is a suspenseful crime drama centering on a diner robbery that escalates into an intense hostage situation. With an involving plot and an impressive list of stars (Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta and Michael Chiklis, who also produced the film), the film definitely sneaks up on you in surprising ways.




The plot is very involving and filled with interesting story-telling techniques to both establish the world and keep the audience on their toes. As is necessary from any suspense drama, there are plot twists and turns throughout the film that will keep you guessing for the majority of it. But there is also a relatable quality to the plot that will make you wonder what you would do in the given situation.

As it was the actual Red Carpet Premiere myself and Mark were able to attend at the Royal Oak Emagine theater, there were numerous local talents in attendance, as well as news coverage. It was a new experience for me and Mark, but a good one, as it was obvious that making sure this film got a Detroit premiere was very important to everyone involved.

Pawn was most definitely an entertaining film and it was also a great bonus to have been written by a local talent, so I was happy to be able to support it. As entertaining as it was, I got the impression that it didn't get a very wide release, so I’m anxious to see how it will do on DVD (because of the nature of the film, I predict it will do VERY well). If you get the chance, whether it be in theaters or on DVD, give Pawn a viewing. If you are a fan of crime dramas/thrillers, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

-Joe

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 14: Counter Culture Shock part 2!


Alright, 'Combies! Your patience has paid off! Here's part 2 of Imaginos Workshop's  examination of the dark side of counter culture, this time looking at the ethnic issues and politics within it. Joined by our guest Tobi Ogunyemi, founder of Multimedia Pop-Culture site "SpaceLion", the gang examine how ethnicity comes to play in the various aspects of comics, films, cosplay and even from the production standpoint. Get ready for some major deep (and always humorous) conversation and debate!

Also, make sure to check out Tobi and his crew's  website and 'Like' them on Facebook:
http://www.spacelioncs.com
https://www.facebook.com/spacelioncs


Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Imaginos T.V. !!!!

Between all the RPG and Comic artwork I have been working on. I have had a chance to actually get a little bit more done. In the last 24 hours I have managed to get a Guerilla Style Interview and Promo video edited for our fledgling Youtube Channel IMAGINOS TV.

Now this stuff is kinda rough in that we had limited technology when we did it. Our tech is a lot better now, so we should be able to really have some cleaner, prettier stuff for you later. I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated. IMAGINOS WORKSHOP continues to refine and define itself and this could not be possible without you guys. 


Mark


Friday, March 8, 2013

A DYING BREED......(aka A Dissertation On Haters)

What the hell is a Hater?  Our friends at Urban Dictionary define the term as:

hater5596 up1373 down
A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person. 

It goes on to say about the term, 


Overused word that people like to use just because someone else expresses a dislike for a certain individual.
I am utterly tired of the term because it gives people who produce wackness a shelter for being irresponsible artists. The visual arts, as a craft, can only be improved upon through practice and dedication. Often times people can't deal with this, so they cut corners and attempt to sell (as genuine) a watered down version of something that is, in and of itself, Cool as hell!!!!

After money has been made and accolades garnered for the rip, then the bad taste of buying inferior products begins to permeate the pallet. As the aforementioned "perpetrator" (as we called these types in the 80's) attempts the same ole tired formula for maintaining his or her dwindling fame and status as an artist a bewildering thing happens. The artist finds that his or her efforts meet with quickly diminishing marginal returns. Ultimately, this person and his or her works will fade into obscurity and be forgotten as quickly as their meteoric rise. 

However, during this person's fiery ascent, anyone who calls this poser out on his merits and that of his or her artwork is considered a HATER!! Why? Because a concept (being a hater) which once was reserved for people who disliked anything that they as the mainstream couldn't readily touch and take, is now turned on its ear to mean something new.

Now a hater is anyone who has a legitimate gripe about the organic nature, authenticity and/or social proclivity of a work, and who is not willing to congratulate the author for making such an effort. But, isn't wack still wack? When did that change? 

I notice that especially when art is corporatized to the extent that art forms such as music find themselves radically altered. Then the people in the boardrooms force the taste down your throat via control of distribution channels. Often, people who are truly talented in their field, e.g. Vanilla Ice (yeah I said it), are forced by the corporatocracy to allow themselves to be Terraformed by the corporate B.S. and become a tool of the very things they hate. 

Often times it's the money (an all-powerful motivator) that drives otherwise talented people into mediocrity. After all, who is going to turn down millions of dollars in exchange for something as ethereal as artistic integrity? No matter what the reasons, society seems to believe that if you're rich, no matter how you got there, you should be celebrated. Anyone who dissents on this notion is viewed as a "Hater," a person jealous of another's fame and wealth, even if their reason for "hating" on the artist's work is academic and not personal.

I personally refuse to not speak my educated opinion on anyone's art. I can take the criticism as a creator as much and maybe more than I can deliver it. If you don't like my work that doesn't make you a hater, because it could simply not be your aesthetic cup of tea.

I also reject the assertion that everyone who envisions something and puts it out there for all to see is an artist. All ideas aren't good ideas and knowing how to best display your ideas is an important part of art. In comics I have seen a plethora of malformed ideas from people who don't possess the necessary skill sets at that time to help display these ideas properly. They usually  get clowned on by other more accomplished artists, only  to erroneously  brand the more accomplished art a HATER. This has become so prevalent that accomplished artists seldom want to comment on such weak displays for fear of being branded a hater.

Where I am  going with this is ultimately: just because I don't like your work doesn't make me a hater. If you ask me I will tell you, and expect anyone with issues with my work to do the same. Art is subjective, not everyone is going to like everything. However, everyone can appreciate skills. If you see a guy with damn good skills and you continue to not respect those skills, then not only are you a Hater in the true sense of the word but you're also and enabler of  wackness. You should end this practice immediately for the sake of all art forms. 


Mark 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Confessions of a Rabble Rouser

Holy Crap! I’m finally writing another blog post – this has been a long time coming.  After several subtle reminders from the guys including re-enacting the first five minutes of 'Zero Dark Thirty' (Recommend to check it out) I decided now was the time to put up this post.   I’m kidding, the guys never used violence since their methods only result in emotional and spiritual damage so it’s OK.  Fortunately thanks to some dynamite coffee and a bit of sunshine I’ve been afforded a period of lucidity which I’ve chosen to spend on this blog post instead of perusing such treasured YouTube classics like ‘Kate Upton Got Served’, ‘Beyonce’s –Naughty Girl’ and ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’.

Amongst the guys here at Imaginos Workshop I would be someone you could call a ‘Rabble Rouser’ among other more colorful titles.  I have to be honest, even when engaging in something such as rabble rousing, it is best to have a purpose otherwise it becomes nothing but senseless background noise and I reserve those moments to help deal with my insomnia, so that my descent into madness is gentle.  By the way I love run-on sentences. 

I prefer to rabble rouse because more often than not aside from the screaming, crying and general chaos, occasionally something constructive comes out of it.  Here at Imaginos Workshop we use all methods to our advantage.  I find that I’m more creative when stirring things up because by accident you may stumble upon a certain perspective that you never noticed regarding a project.  For example, whenever I manage to sneak in to the Honeycomb Hideout which is the official podcast of Imaginos Workshop, I do my best to leave tact and decency at the door much to Joe’s chagrin.  He’s the host of the podcast and usually spends some of his time regretting my presence on the show and at times even my existence (It’s all love though).

One topic covered over the course of the episodes (now on iTunes) was in regards as to how ‘Geeks’ were ridiculed for their mad love of Comic Book movies, going as far as dressing up in costume, camping out early, and counting down the days to the release date.  Usually the ridicule comes from people who say they aren’t into comics, outgrew them, or do ‘cooler shit’.  As a rabble rouser, I’d turn my attention to these people and point out that some of them have ‘Fantasy Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey’ Draft parties and leagues where they’re the ‘General Managers’.  If you think a thirty five year old dude dressed up as Iron Man is lame, imagine how fucked up it is to think that you’re the ‘owner’ of a sports team that is NOT on Madden 2013. People in the Fantasy Leagues follow players on levels that make the Paparazzi and actual stalkers jealous.  I mean damn.

Then you got the ‘Oscar, Emmy & Golden Globe’ Viewing parties to discuss several aspects including snubs, fashion, & results, which could be seen as a Book Club that just gave up and said ‘Fuck it, we’ll just watch the movies instead.’  Then you got the people who are fanatically aware of world events and politics that they feel it’s their job to educate the rest of the ‘Honey Boo Boo’ & ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ crowd (Yes I’m judging while defending) but doing so with all the charm of a rectal hemorrhoid.  I mean come on.

So, if you felt anything other than boredom and regret after reading this blog post, well consider that part of the overall purpose of a Rabble Rouser.  Those duties could also include provoking anger, hate, disgust, burning bags of poop on the porch, or constructive conversation (preferred).  Sometimes it’s saying things so outlandish that it wavers between courage (very rare) and provocateur (yeah that’s it) in order to help advance the general conversation as in “Yeah now we know where not to go!” Or “Huh, that was unexpectedly insightful, let’s find a way to say it better though.”  And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, I do not speak for all rabble rousers, but that is part of the method to my madness.  Now then if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a YouTube ‘Yoda Gangnam Style’ video that requires my attention.  Oh look…it comes in HD too!

Nick

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Honeycomb Hideout - Episode 13: Happy New Year!/Counter Culture Shock Part 1


What's up, 'Combies?! Your peeps in the Hideout are back in 2013 with a new episode and a new spin! Joined by Imaginos Workshop's two newest members, Danielle and April and, special guest/homie from the "Geek Fights" podcast, Tess Craft, the peeps take counter culture head on by going through the more negative sides of it starting with the unmistakable gender inequality within it. This is the first installment of the "Counter Culture Shock" series, so prepare to laugh but, also and foremost, prepare to think.

Download this episode (right click and save)
 
Notations:

For those that wish to read it for themselves, here's a link to "Bleeding Cool's" article on Tony Harris' cosplay-girl rant:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/11/13/hey-quasi-pretty-not-hot-girl-you-are-more-pathetic-than-the-real-nerds-tony-harris/

For the "Geek Fights" podcast which both Joe and Tess have appeared on:
http://www.geekfights.net/

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Influences and Juda Fist Part 3

In part 2 we talked about the influence of a lot of  early 80's pop culture on my artistic development and on what would later be called , Juda Fist:7 Deaths of the Yobi. Being black in Metro Detroit, another of the biggest artistic influences of the early 80's to really fire my imagination was the proliferation of Hip Hop Culture.



Hip Hop culture, which  consists of breaking B -boying( breakdancing), Graffitti( writing), Djing(turtablism) and MCing (rapping) began in the South Bronx of the mid 70's. DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambatta are credited with being the pioneers of the musical art forms that would one day become hip hop music as we know it. Spawn from Jamaican DJ Culture  where  Sound Systems ( Jamaican Style DJ's) would use (Toasting) to hype up the crowd  at live block and park parties where the DJ's would steal power from the streetlights to drive their equipment.

Kool Herc

Afrika Bambatta


 the DJ and Rapping components were complemented by the visual styles of Graffitti writing, with notables sucha as Lee Quinones, which consists of bombing ( mural size pieces) and Tagging ( small personal labels which served as both signature and brand). As DJ culture was beginning to take shape, the dance component of hip hop also began to form. Afrika Bambatta, a member of the infamous Black Spades Street Gang and founder of the iconic ZULU NATION, tired of the endless gang wars and envisioned a new form of battle to settle disputes. Combined with the dance styles influenced by popular martial arts films and an African martial art known,in Brazil is Capoera , as well as popular moves of such luminaries as Cab Calloway and James Brown groups like Rock Steady Crew would bring B-boying to the public consciousness.

Rock Steady Crew

This vibrant culture spread from urban center to urban center and began to mold the imaginations of  the young people it touched and I was one of those kids. Hip hop culture, which included cultural references to
the comic books I liked and to the martial arts films I loved, as well as harkening back to the blaxplotation era of the 70's was a perfect backdrop for my stories of black superheroism and as I was raise in an Afrocentric home, the struggle against THE MAN. LOL.

The drug culture of Metro Detroit also had a direct influence on me creatively, as I saw my cousins and friends going from playing basketball and football on the block to wearing 200 dollar Max Julian Leather Coats and Boots and driving big Caddies. One of the most infamous of the crews at that time was a crew started by a group of Teens and made even more infamaous by an ex con by the name of Butch Jones, called Young Boys INC. known in other parts as YOBI's. Thinking myself cleaver I decided to turn a negative into a positive and name the protagonist of my superhero stories of the time THE YOBI, with Butch Jones as his alter ego. So goes being clever. I would later discover that Yobi has meaning as it relates to the Yoroba and the Pantheon of the Orisha , particularly Obatala Elun Yobi which as a term means to "Protect his children and those of his enemies, and brings harmony in the home...".




Rollin Detroit: Gangs, drug dealers, decline of the economy-directed by Al Profit



The second most pervasive influence on me and, in turn, Juda Fist has to be ANIME. I had been watching Japanese Kaiju( Giant Monster) and Sentai(super task force) shows since the 70's. As I mentioned earlier, Gatchaman, Kimba, Ultraman and Giant Robo shaped my childhood. However, I had no idea that a lot of these animations had thier genesis in Japan. Until 1983, I had no idea that these animation constituted a genre , and that what I was seeing was merely the tip of the iceburg.



In summer '83 I was introduced to anime by my homie Vic Green. He showed me Vampire Hunter D, Monster City and Macross: Do You Remember Love and I was like "DAMN!! What the hell is this." The storylines were slower and well paced and allowed for so much character development than anything else that I had seen at that time. Anime also took on genre material that was only broached by live action TV and movie here in the states. Over the years Vic would give me 8 hour super long play video tapes that his brother would bring from Japan.

  Vampire Hunter D

  Macross: Do You Remember Love

With the discovery of Anime I also discovered MANGA. It was the stuff that Studio Proteus would translate for companies like ECLIPSE COMICS and COMICO that would allow me to see a lot of these stories in thier initial manga form. I notices again that the attention to story was far different than with western comics and also the genre choices showed me that I could do anything. 



So with Sci Fi, Fantasy, Hip Hop, Manga, Anime and Afrocentrism the foundation of my work and my seminal story Juda Fist came to fruition.  I have more specific influences than this but they all lead back to these early elements. I am very proud to have had these experiences and of having the open mind to be able to recognize the importance of what I was taking into my psyche. It has taken me very far in my creative life and I hope will continue to allow me to differentiate myself from the rest of my peers. These influences have given me a voice, one that I use in more than just drawing but in writing and animation as well.