Sunday, December 23, 2012

Influences and Juda Fist Part 2

Last time we talked. I spoke about how a plethora of art from the 70's help to inform my artistic mantra's as a whole. I want to get a bit more specific now as to some of the direct influences of Juda Fist: 7 Deaths of the Yobi.

I didn't get a chance to mention earlier that I am a HUGE HUGE player of Pen and Paper role playing games. I first played Dungeons in Dragons in 1979 and I was hooked. I loved the challenges and the imaginative aspect of the game. I was also fascinated with the possibility that though played in the ethereal world of the mind, that I could bring my characters into the real world , albeit 2 dimensionally, through drawing.

In 8th grade I got into a unique educational summer program called Horizons Upward Bound. It was there that I finally became serious about comic books. My roommate was a comic fanatic and he introduced me to Marvel Superhero Secret Wars. From then on I was hooked. I loved the fact that most of Marvel's key where in this series. It was with Secret Wars that rediscovered Wolverine. (A character I previously encountered in an X-men themed episode of Spiderman and his Amazing Friends.) 

It was also through my further exploration of Wolverine that I discovered The Uncanny X-Men, and it's penciller and Co-plotter JOHN BYRNE. I never seriously thought about comics, or drawing, as a career choice until I read John's take on this superhero team. Byrne's art had gravitas, his backgrounds and characters felt alive and the stories made me feel for mutants as a whole. This book had DRAMA, and I mean GREAT Drama. It is a crying shame that most of that drama was dismissed in Marvels later attempts to capitalize on it. From this point I devoured anything Byrne did,

I thought that Wolverine was far more visceral than anything that I was familiar with from my early cursory comic readings. He fit the 80's action motif of big dudes, ninjas and impossible action heroes to a tee and I love every minute of it. It was also at this point where my new found comic book fanaticism lead me to a product that was the perfect marriage of comics and pen and paper rpg's, TSR's MARVEL SUPER HEROES RPG.

I really loved the fact that I could create and play my own characters against those from the Marvel Universe. This gave me a huge amount of freedom. It was in this paradigm that I created my very first superhero character, the enigmatic cosmic sentinel and( rip off of Starhawk from Guardians of the Galaxies) Force Phantom.

 I also began to realize that Marvel and DC didn't an shouldn't have a monopoly on cool characters. Later, the catalyst for what would become the most pivotal event in my artist career took root. The discovery of PALLADIUM BOOKS HEROES UNLIMITED RPG. It was in this game that I created THE YOBI a character specifically created to counter Wolverine, to whom over exposure had begun to diminish my favor toward.

In Part 3, we are going to jump head first into two of the most influential mediums of all as it relates to Juda Fist and my process. ANIME and HIP HOP!!!!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Influences and Juda Fist part 1

A few days ago, I finally got a chance to do my influence map. It's a really cool excercise that makes you think alot about what it is that excites you about being creative. After I finished I  just stepped back for a minute and surveyed my life. I have been drawing and creating stuff since I was 3 years old. Then I was a kid whose primary influence was a dynamic family, television and encyclopedias. Man how I loved Ultraman, Giant Robot ( Giant Robo) Godzilla and encyclopedias. I only had a cursory knowledge of comicbooks back then. My uncle Greg, himeself a talented artist , used to draw characters from the comics and since Greg and my youngest uncle Aaron (AD r.i.p) where more like big brothers than uncles, I wanted to do everything they did lol. 

Even at that age, I knew good stuff when I saw it. So I remember at about age 7 seeing the animation "Battle of the Planets"(Gatchman). It was different from most of the animation out there. I had superhero type characters and it took place in space, that was a wrap for me. I had no idea that I was watching the first of many early imported Japanese ANIME at that point. Sorry, I failed to mention that at that age I wanted to be an astronaut lol. So when I also use to watch stuff like Shazam and Isis, Jason of Star Command and movies like Logan's Run I would imagine myself and my friends in those movies, not as the main characters but having our own adventures in that world. I would ultimately draw some of these adventures. Its funny to remember that back then it seemed like myself and my friends, no matter what the backdrop in terms of sci fi tech in these worlds, always dressed in Chinese "Bruce Lee" Suits and or Karate Gi's and we always carried the latest laser guns. We also traveled in one ever the most spectacular, tank tracked, vehicle most popular in sci fi that day LOL. Even back then I was quite creative. Oh, also in my imagination, we never got a spec of dust on our uniforms and we always had perfectly picked Afros picked to the back lol. 

Then it happened. Star Wars and it's television sister Battlestar Galactica, I had no IDEA what the hell I was seeing. NOBODY DID. It is also the first movie that I remember VIVIDLY because it changed my perspective. Then to get that level of special effects on TV in the form of Galactica. I was in HEAVEN at this age. Coolness without end. Still, though my cousin Chris in Akron would let me read his comics when I went to visit my Aunt Della with my Grandparents during our annual trip down south, they still didn't figure prominently into my creative process. That still was all TV and Movies. Then in 1979 another lightening bolt hit, a film by Ridley Scott called Alien. Yeah it scared me to death as it was REAL SCI FI HORROR. The likes of which we haven't seen since, and the Tech was cool. 

I plan to continue this diatribe over the next few days, as I want to talk a bit more about what makes a guy like me and how that has prepared me for working with Imaginos Workshop.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Youmacon Wrap-Up 2012

Youmacon 2012 gave Imaginos Workshop another awesome opportunity to spread the word about our work and talk with fans of comics, anime, manga and storytelling. Youmacon, a relatively young anime convention in downtown Detroit, attracts an enthusiastic crowd of die-hard fans and creative cosplayers. I was impressed with the huge number of people cosplaying in Detroit for the weekend. I'm new to the world of anime and manga, so a lot of the costumes went over my head. But I could appreciate the time, money and creativity of the cosplayers, and there was some crossover: I saw characters from movies and video games as well, along with several Doctor Who's and Walter Whites. The con itself showed some serious growing pains. Registration for many was a lengthy and confusing process, and one that involved waiting in lines, wandering various floors of registration, and walking back and forth between Cobo and the Ren Cen. These are organizational problems that will hopefully get worked out as the convention grows and perfects itself. Despite these issues, the overall attitude at the convention was one of conciliatory excitement.

Star Wars maintained a presence amid the anime and manga cosplayers.

Imaginos Workshop handed out posters, flyers, business cards, stickers and our new "Dirty Weaponry" sketch book. We talked as much as we could with people, and tried to make inroads with a crowd that wasn't our normal demographic: an anime convention is not the same thing as a comic convention, but people still seemed encouraging of our work. This convention also marked our first official, public collaboration with the girls producing the webcomic Mutare Ludum. Their names are Danielle Todd and April Cox, and they've evolved from Mark's students to peers and promising young artists. They are developing a webcomic that is parts fantasy and horror; you can check out their blog here.

Probably the most encouraging part of the whole weekend for me was Imaginos Workshop's public panel How To Create Comics, led by our own Mark Dudley. He led a panel that quickly turned into a fun, interactive discussion on constructing, writing and drawing comics from start to finish. We had good attendance and the people there were enthusiastic and engaged. Nick and Joe also contributed to the panel by leading some of the discussion and answering questions. Even Danielle and April were able to add some words of wisdom. Unfortunately the panel was cut shorter due to an oversight on the part of the convention planners (not the last time that happened over the weekend) but it was still a good experience. After the panel ended, a group of artists, fans and writers hung out and talked with us about creating stories and drawing. It was fun and informative, and it gave us all some great connections and interactions with people that are all part of the wide web of creative industries in Michigan.

Mark Dudley leads the How To Create Comics panel.
We are still working on our Imaginos Plus comic book, part of which will be sent to Image Comics on completion so hopefully we can get a publisher for our work. We also have movie scripts and video projects in the works, and we want to continue pushing our online presence and interacting with what we hope will be a growing and loyal fan base.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Imaginos NOW!!!!!


This year we did five cons; C2E2, Motorcity Con, Motorcity Black Age, Detroit Fanfare and Youmacon.

Youmacon was a lot of fun as we not only got a chance to make new fans with our sketchbook DIRTY WEAPONRY, which we gave out and went like hotcakes... 

...but we were also able to get some very important feedback. We got to spread our working philosophy via our How To Create Comics Panel Discussion, which went really well. And we were able to debut Mutare Ludumthe fantasy horror webcomic from two of Imaginos' newest student-turned-members, Danielle Todd and April Cox.

We kicked off our Kickstarter and made the decision to suspend it in lieu of taking more time to cement our identity in the local comics community. We took at lot of footage for our fledgling YouTube network IMAGINOS TV and made some slight but welcome changes to our podcast, the Honeycomb Hideout.
We also got a bit closer on our script, which we are trying to sell. So whats next? 

Well, by year's end we need to have all 18 pages of the Imaginos Sampler penciled and lettered. We have to get penciling work done on the various posters and other swag for our push next year, and we have to get started shooting our new Kickstarter video. Remember the new Kickstarter initiative is going live FEB 15th, 2013. 

We also have to sit down and tighten up the podcast even more and make sure that it is more informative than it is now, and get ready to start taking live callers via Google Plus. I would also like to see regular updates and interviews on IMAGINOS TV. 

We are planning on getting our film script done and ready for final edits, along with other super secret things going on in the TV Arena, so stay tuned. We are starting to get our ancillary stuff like T-shirts, Stickers, Business cards and the like ready for C2E2. We need to utilize social media far more effectively than we have to start connecting in a  more meaningful way with our fan base. Finally, we are getting ready to solidify our educational drive by preparing to teach a comic book and storyboarding course at Youthville, in Detroit's New Center Area and at Comic City Pontiac.

The work is never done. We are working to build something really strong here and its going to take everyone involved to do so. I am confident that we have what it takes to make it happen. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Youmacon 2012: Day 2 Update

It's Friday night at 2 AM and the arcade in the Ontario Room of the Renaissance Center is humming. The lights are dim and groups of people crowd around the glow of flat screen TV's or stand, mashing buttons at old-school arcade kiosks. Here, after the main events of Youmacon's second day have ended, people show no signs of sleep just yet. There is a truly eclectic mix of games present, creating a hybrid sort of arcade that sits old school and new school side by side. Players can get a heavy dose of nostalgia with classics like TMNT, Captain America: and The Avengers and the 6-player X-Men arcade. These occupy the same space as popular newer series like Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War. Gamers crowd around several TV's of Super Smash Bros, both on the GameCube and the Wii. For gamers and curious cosplayers, the Ontario room arcade represents an intoxicating and unique time warp, representing decades of gaming all in one room.

The Renaissance Center shares hosting duties with Detroit's Cobo Hall.
Youmacon, Detroit's fastest growing anime convention also attracts fans of manga, comics, video games and movies. 10,000 people attended the convention last year and the event has been growing since its inception in 2004. The event held in downtown Detroit brings out passionate fans and a remarkably high number of cosplayers: the variety, quality and uniqueness of the costumes are impressive. After the convention's normal hours wrap up and artists' alley closes down for the day, many attendees are just getting started. There are panels and events well into the night, and places like the arcade room never close down. It is a four day, 24-hour long event, and the Renaissance Center is completely booked for it.

Friday was a busy and eventful day at the event, and we spent the first part of the day at our Imaginos Workshop tables, talking with people, taking pictures and handing out swag like posters, stickers and sketch books. We recorded an interview with veteran anime voice actor Sonny Strait, who is most known for his work on Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist and One Piece. He has also done voice acting for video games including Splosion Man and Borderlands 2. Later, we held a panel on creating comics and stories: the process from beginning to end. By that point in the night it was time for many to get some much needed rest. For many others roaming the halls and rooms of the Renaissance Center, and sitting down to play some of their favorite games of yesterday and today, the night was still very young.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kickstarter Update: Proposal Delayed, Work Continues

As you probably know, we have recently been promoting our Kickstarter bid as a way to help fund our comic book Imaginos Plus. As of last week however we have decided to cancel our Kickstarter bid for now. We were not on track to meet our financial goal, and we decided to postpone the crowd-sourcing project so we could retool our proposal, as well as continue working on our project. Just because we have postponed our Kickstarter bid does not mean we've stopped working on the project itself. On the contrary, we are working harder than ever on our comic book and the artwork is coming along great. While we're disappointed that our first Kickstarter bid didn't make it, we feel confident in our work and we will definitely try again in the future. In the meantime, we keep working.

Thank you so much to those of you who donated and shared our project while we were promoting it. You people are amazing, and we're going to need your encouragement and support while we keep doing our thing. The cool thing about Kickstarter is all the money is automatically returned - so nobody lost anything except a little bit of time and effort. We are sincerely grateful for those of you that showed your belief in us and our work. Stay tuned, because we haven't slowed down and we haven't given up on crowd-sourcing our projects. Despite not making the goal, it was a great learning experience.

And just so you know, we are going to be at this year's Youmacon 2012 in Detroit! Look for our table there where we will be selling copies of The Door and showing off some of Mark's awesome artwork! The event is this Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 1-4. Find out more info at their official site. Thank you, hopefully we will see you there.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Honeycomb Hideout - Episode 12: Start Kickin'!

Alright, folks, we're back again for another round of hilarity with the boys at Imaginos Workshop! The sparks they are a flying as things with our kickstarter take center stage and we discuss upcoming plans for "Imaginos TV" and Youmacon, a rather deep discussion of comics, the election, "foodies" and, for some reason, the term "combies" actually has to be explained. It's an all kinds of special episode in the Hideout this time around. Join in on the fun!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Imaginos Plus: A 3-part Comic Adventure - And You Can Help

Everyone knows that Detroit has fallen on hard times. This is nothing new. It is and has been suffering from financial crisis, joblessness, urban dilapidation and political scandal. It has become something of a warning sign for a nation feeling the pangs of unemployment and political stalemate. Detroit has also become something else in the meantime: a symbol of pride for the entire state. There’s something about its working-class, damaged goods persona that appeals to a certain crowd. People in this country can’t help but root for the underdog. Young, college-educated people are actually moving into Detroit, and the city is experiencing something of a mini-Renaissance, even amidst some of its darkest hours. A product of this professional influx is an export that will be very important if Detroit is to come back: The Arts. Detroit has some very real and ongoing problems, just as it is experiencing a resurgence in cultural pride and artistic output.

Somewhere out of this imperfect love comes Imaginos Workshop, but one of many professional and artistic endeavors owing to the history and people of Michigan and the Detroit area. There’s nothing special about us except that we love comics and movies and just about anything that tells a story. Imaginos Workshop is just the name we decided to give ourselves when we decided we wanted to write movie scripts and produce comic books. We recently became a Limited Liability Company, and our first stab at a self-produced comic book, Imaginos Plus, is in the works (as you’ve probably read on here by now). It is three storylines in one – kind of ambitious for a first project, but we just really like these properties.

The first is called Requiem, and I can use the word “epic” here without feeling too hyperbolic. Joe and Mark have been crafting this storyline for a long time, and it has evolved accordingly. What we’ve written for Imaginos Plus is just the tip of a very big iceberg: they’ve written millions of years of bloody history for the multiverse that holds the story. Despite all this grandiosity, the story lives and dies by its character development, as a group of “black-bag” agents provide our key-hole into a mysterious and dangerous world. There’s almost too much to summarize here, but let’s just say it involves brutal action, multiple dimensions, the occult and corporate corruption.

The second property is the ridiculously-titled Candy Coated, a unique and truly spontaneous action adventure that employs an interesting writing style. The basis of the comic comes from Palladium Books’ Heroes Unlimited pen-and-paper RPG franchise. In case you haven’t reached the level of monumental geek that we have, RPG stands for role-playing-game, and it involves a group of people sitting around together using characters they created to explore a world that exists as dictated by their GM, or game-master. They use their imaginations to move through the world, and usually a set of books or rules to give shape and stats to the world and what they can do in it. Dungeons & Dragons is the most famous example of this, and only partly deserves the stigma it has gathered over the years. Candy Coated is written as it happened during these gaming sessions: it is truly spontaneous and organic. We “wrote” the story insofar that we experienced it in-game and responded to the events in Mark’s story with a disturbing lack of forward thinking. The story itself is about a group of damaged superheroes who mostly attempt to do good but almost always end up damaging things in the process. They are dysfunctional, confused and selfish, and their powers mostly the result of dangerously irresponsible experimentation that they don’t understand. This was a fun comic to play through, and we hope it’s just as fun to read.

The third and final property is called Juda Fist: 7 Deaths of the Yobi, and it is a story truly many years in the making. It is the brainchild of Mark Dudley, and it is a truly cool mix of genres. It is a sci-fi dystopian action-epic, with heavy doses of hip hop culture and blaxploitation, influenced by Hong Kong cinema and inspired by the books of Octavia Butler. It is stylish, dark and violent, and always gets a great reaction from people checking out Mark’s artwork. The story centers on a group of antihero mercenaries living one day at a time in futuristic Detroit. Their journey intertwines with an ancient conflict that threatens not just their lives but the fate of the solar system.

So there’s Imaginos Plus – and here comes the pitch. We have recently put the project up on the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter in an attempt to get the thing funded. We are going to get the book done at some point either way, but if we could get some funds from Kickstarter it would happen a whole lot sooner and we could afford to pay the awesome inkers, artists and colorists that would help us finish the project. So if you feel so inclined, we would absolutely appreciate any contribution you could make to our book. We also really appreciate you telling others about the project: friends, family and fans sharing the project are the only way we’ll reach our goal. Thanks to all of you that have supported us and worked with us. Hopefully we can reward you with some cool stories and art in the future. We’re enjoying the process.

Author's Note: As of October 2012 we were unable to reach our monetary goal for our Kickstarter project. While this is disappointing, it does not mean that we've stopped working on our projects. Work on the comic book and scripts continues just as before, and we look forward to showing you more and more and trying again with crowd-sourcing in the future. A sincere and heart-felt thank you to everyone who donated to our project - your encouragement and donations help keep us creating.


Friday, October 5, 2012

"READ ME OR ELSE!!!" - the shameless attention grabbing title
Hey Everyone,

             We’re almost two weeks into our Kickstarter campaign for the Imaginos Plus Comic Sampler.  So far I’d say that this process has been exciting and maddening but more importantly its fun.  Seriously, it is.  Mark would have a slightly different opinion because he’s our only artist and while he loves the actual art portion his perspective is naturally going to be different compared to mine or Joe or Jon’s. 

             I imagine that having your artwork evaluated is deeply personal because for this particular project that is the first thing everyone notices.  George Clooney had an interesting comment regarding actors and the process of auditioning, where people are evaluating ‘You’ directly so it’s impossible to not take their critique personally.  I agree with that because as writers and creators the rest of us sometimes feel that sting when a person hears your idea and goes “Meh, its OK” or “Nah, not really interested in that, but good luck though”. 

             Our marketing campaign has been pretty comprehensive considering the various outlets and media we’ve been utilizing.  I’ve personally taken to pestering my friends and family into supporting our Kickstarter project either by pledging or by spreading the word.  Is it shameless?  Nah not really.  Am I capable of shame?  Even better question, but the same answer applies.  So far the support has been pretty steady and with just over a month to go we expect things to pick up. 

            In the coming days you’re all going to see some pretty nice ‘Behind the Scenes’ material – especially what it’s like to work on these projects and with each other.  We chose to try our hand at Kickstarter because it was our chance to see how well we could organize and carry out the process of producing an actual comic book.  Yeah I could probably draw a bunch of stick figures and staple the pages together but that’d just be sinning against nature. 

           I’d like to invite everyone to listen for our next podcast on the ‘Honeycomb Hideout’ where you’ll get an idea of what its like inside the ‘Workshop’ – those of you who have listened to the show can vouch for the entertainment value once you put aside the egregious rips and merciless hate that we fling at each other.  We’ve posted a video update on our Kickstarter page and stay tuned for a few more so you can follow our progress.  My idea to use third world child labor was voted down by the guys, bless their hearts and for that reason we won’t have to do much creative editing for our upcoming video updates.

           Seriously though, thank you to everyone who is supporting us and have pledged to our Kickstarter project thus far.  Outside of our own personal joy in working on the project, your support and the desire to have you all enjoy it is of great motivation for us.  Please keep up the support and hang on for the ride.....or else :)


Friday, September 28, 2012

Going Forward

Well, things are most definitely underway. The kickstarter is in full effect and we're taking to the streets, getting the word out. But in knowing the road ahead, you must also acknowledge and accept the path behind as well.

The interesting thing when it comes to business is that a lot of people believe that you can be one way in one and another way in the other. But that only really applies in certain situations. There are times in which what you do in business can actually define you as a person... and I don't care what anyone says, that can be really scary. The standard idiom was at one point "work hard so that you can play hard", that wanes a bit in this day in age, but it can still be considered sound. However, it all depends on what you're trying to do and where you're trying to go.

Let's say that, your goals are sending you towards becoming a lawyer or a doctor, those careers in particular require a great deal more than a "9 to 5" mentality to even be attempted, much less achieved. And honestly, whether people know it or not, the same goes for creative endeavors as well. But any artistic mind will tell you that the work doesn't stop just because you aren't at the office. And that's the difference. A job is what you decide to do to pay the bills; a career is what you're driven to do and can ultimately provide your life with a great deal more fulfillment than any job.

But above all else, it's all work and you're only going to get out of it what you put into it. Imaginos Workshop is no different. We're striving, to do more, to do better, to do what we are driven to do. And it's something everyone's capable of doing, but it's about what you want, what you're looking to get out of it. I don't believe in destiny, I believe in possibility.

This kickstarter is just the beginning for us here at Imaginos Workshop. We're anxious to see where it takes us and hope that you all will join us on the journey! So check out the first step and let's keep moving and striving together!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Phase One and Done. Kickstarter Proposal Turned In 9/11

Any good plan has phases, and we just complete phase one of our grand plan known as operation Imaginos Kickstarter. We got the sucker turned in last night, now we have to wait up to 7 days for Amazon to check us out and allow us to Let them handle the pledged moneys. Then we will have to wait up to 14 days for Kickstarter to look at our proposal to tell us whether they deem it worthy or not.

In the meantime we will be moving to the second Phase, which is going to be firing up our marketing campaign. See there are a lot of comic shops in southeastern Michigan and we plan on hitting every last one of them to spread the word. We will be putting up some exclusive Kickstarter signage to let people know who we are and what we are doing.

We need to reacquaint ourselves with the local comic community and let them know that there is a group of creatives who care about and love our Michigan roots. We are betting on Michigan and hope that the Michigan Kickstarter community bets on us. 

I am also doing the last of my preliminary design and thumbnail work so that I can get back on these pages.
Got over 25 pages to do in the next 2 months , gotta get crackin nuff said.

Till we start the next Phase


Monday, September 3, 2012

Kickstarter Proposal Video DONE!!!!

It's finally done, the Imaginos Plus Comicbook Sampler Kickstarter proposal is finished. We are gonna leave it up here for a few days to get your feedback then we are going to send it to Kickstater for review and posting.

What we want to know is what you think about the video and what can be improved?

I would like to take this time to thank April Cox, Danielle Todd, her Mom Bridget and her sister, as well as Joe Young and Danielle's family friend Jim for helping us shoot this thing. April and Danielles background in theater really made all the difference. They were ready and comfortable and this was done all in like one or two takes.

I also really need to to give a huge thanks to COMIC CITY. The owners, Bob and Jill Smethers have supported and pushed me and the local Southeastern Michigan comic scene for years and even allowed us to film in the Pontiac, MI store.

Other people in the Comic City family who have been super supportive are Jen Swackhammer, who I would love to point out is a new mom, and Comic City West Bloomfield's Gretchen Bogdanska who is ever ready to help us out any way she can.

Please let us know in the next few days what needs to be tightened up on the proposal video and if at all possible that will be addressed.

Thank you all for coming on this journey with us.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 11: The Summer Rundown

What's up, 'Combies? The boys are back with a solid rundown of some of the major events of the summer. We cover the big film releases, their aftermath and what the "folks in charge" should really be paying attention to as result, as well as major video game releases still to come that we're excited about. On the more serious tip, we cover a number of the tragedies that have taken place in the past few weeks, as well as some of the possible sociological factors that contribute to these events.  That's right, we're deep and funny here in the 'Hideout! Also, enjoy the special behind-the-scenes snippit at the beginning. Yep, y'all are going to get a taste of how we at Imaginos really tend to interact, which really isn't that different than how we do on the show, but Nik didn't realize we were recording at first so that adds to the awesome! So come on down and join in the fun!

*SPOILER WARNING: We go into significant detail about the overall plot and resolution of "The Dark Knight Rises" during the show, so if you haven't seen it yet and would rather still be surprised and whatnot when you see it, hold off on listening to it until after you've seen it. If not, venture forth and enjoy!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Honeycomb Hideout Episode 10: C2E2 Post-Game Show

Alright, now while it has been a while since our last episode, surely, you knew we'd be back eventually! This time the host is flying solo (god help us) as Joe gives y'all a rundown of the C2E2 convention that Imaginos Workshop attended back in May. He also gives all of you convention noobs out there a decent list of handy do's and don'ts. Listen carefully, it might save ya' ass!  LOL

Also mentioned in the show are a couple of our peers in the podcasting community, as well as friends of the show, that you all should check out when you get the time:

Geek Fights

The Gorgeous Geeks

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creator-Owned Heroes: Image Comics Alive and Well

I have been reading Image Comics since it's inception. I have seen the company at its highest, then watched it sink into the toilet because of juvenile approaches to putting out comics. Today, however, I am here to tell you that IMAGE COMICS is back and better than ever.

It seems that as of late, the little company started in the 90's by Marvel's disgruntled top artists is putting out amazing book after amazing book. Not only is Image the home of Robert Kirkman's blockbuster treatment of the zombie apocalypse, Walking Dead,  Even books by Rob Liefield's Extreme Studios (once the laughing stock of the company for its often late, poorly drawn, hyper-sexualized, sophomoric stories) are now enjoying innovative and thoughtful relaunches. 

Just yesterday, I was glad to have had the opportunity to purchase an Image project which I believe to be the culmination of all of the companies creator owned beliefs. Now it is widely known that the printed comic book magazine has seen better days. With the demise of Wizard Magazine, the premiere comics news magazine, I thought I would never see anything in print as far as comic book news and information again. I'm happy to say I was wrong!

From the minds of long time Joe Quesada collaborator, Jimmy Palmiotti and 30 Days of Night creator Steve Niles comes  CREATOR-OWNED HEROES!!!!

The format of the book intersperses two fully realized stories featuring creator owned  properties with a magazine format. I can remember Heavy Metal Magazine doing some stuff like this in the past and I loved it then. This time, however, all of the content in this magazine is creator owned from the sequential work to the interviews. 

The Inaugural issues boasts stories by Steve Niles and Kevin Mellon, as well as content by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Noto.With the current firestorm surrounding the treatment of comics professionals by Marvel and DC, I think that Palmiotti and Niles couldn't have picked a better time to debut this Mag. I also strongly believe that the venture could not have picked a better home than Image Comics to publish it. I hope that the magazine becomes yet another showcase for the talent that Image is attracting and I also sincerely believe that the magazine will serve to inspire even more creators to take the plunge. 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Camera Mart's Demo Days returns with sales, swag and newest models of cameras

Calling all Metro Detroit photographers! This month features the event Demo Days at Camera Mart in Pontiac, the area's best location for cameras and photography equipment. The event is on June 15 & 16 at Camera Mart on Telegraph Road in Pontiac.

There will be manufacturer and vendor representatives there to show off the latest models of cameras and to answer any of your questions. You can get a free sensor cleaning (on a first-come, first-serve basis) for two of your cameras and win Camera Mart swag.

There will also be a raffle for a FREE Canon Rebel T3i camera! Camera Mart's Facebook page explains the details of the event, as well as what you can do to increase your chances of winning that T3i (for instance, tweeting or sharing Demo Days or, ahem, writing about it on your blog).

This event is a great way to shop for that camera you have in mind or to get some new equipment (there is NO SALES TAX on most items during Demo Days).

Camera Mart is located at 11 S. Telegraph Rd, Pontiac MI 48341. Demo Days will be on Friday 15 (9:30 am-7 pm) and Saturday 16 (9:30 am-5 pm).


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer movie preview: 5 under the radar films to watch for

The days are getting longer. Memorial Day has come and gone, beaches are open and school will be out soon for the summer months. Although summer doesn’t technically begin until June 20, it is already summer in many peoples’ minds. For the movie industry this means it’s time to release the biggest movies of the year. The Avengers has already gotten the ball rolling with a record-setting spring release, and there are some huge films on the horizon that studios (and theaters) are hoping will get people off the beach and into the cinema.

You will hear plenty of talk about Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic Prometheus which appears to be a spiritual successor (prequel?) to the Alien series. Then there’s Pixar’s Brave, which features a roguish red-headed heroine (a first for Pixar) that people will see no matter what the trailer looks like because, well, it’s Pixar. And of course Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy will come to a conclusion in what is undoubtedly the summer’s most highly anticipated film – The Dark Knight Rises.

But what about the rest of the lineup? I could give you a list of my most anticipated summer films but my guess is that you don’t need me to convince you to go see The Dark Knight Rises. So instead I’ve put together a list of a few promising movies that are getting far fewer headlines than the big dogs. This doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily small movies (although a couple are) but my guess is that you’ve heard far less about them than the sequels and superhero movies. Here are my Top 5 under the radar films of the summer season.

Editor's note: If the full screen option is not working for the trailer videos and you would like to enlarge them, I would recommend clicking on the title of the video above it in white letters. It will open the video in a new tab on the YouTube website.

The Pact   Release Date: June 8

One of the few horror releases this summer, The Pact is director Nicholas McCarthy’s feature length debut. The movie itself is based on his short film of the same name that debuted at Sundance in 2011. It is about a woman (Caity Lotz) who stays at her childhood home after attending her mother’s funeral, only to sense a mysterious presence in the house. The short was well received at the film festival, and early reviews of the full length version are positive, praising its eerie atmosphere and suspenseful pacing. So much of horror films’ success lies in execution; here’s hoping that The Pact is able to deliver.

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap   Release Date: June 15

Legendary rap icon Ice-T is the director and interviewer in this ambitious documentary that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film explores the prodigious rap game: the music, the inspiration, the history and the characters of a music that is much more than just a genre. It features a ridiculous list of artists and interviewees including Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Afrika Mambaataa, Grandmaster Caz, Mos Def, Ice Cube, Chuck D., Common, Kanye West, Q-Tip and Rakim (to name just a few). Based on the trailer it’s hard to discern exactly what the mission of the documentary is but at the very least it looks to be a fascinating and funny journey into the history and ambitions of a type of “folk music” that has evolved into a movement.

To Rome With Love   Release Date: June 22

After Woody Allen’s Oscar-nominated Midnight in Paris last year, Allen turns his unique cinematic eye to Rome in a movie that appears to be comfortably in the auteur’s wheelhouse. A large eclectic cast, snappy dialogue and luxurious shots of Rome’s sun-warmed streets will perhaps do for Italy what Midnight in Paris did for France, although there are no implications of magical twists of fate this time around. Allen himself returns as a character among a cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Ellen Paige and Roberto Benigni. If Allen can keep ahead of his formidable (and sometimes misdirected) intellect this film should be a pleasant alternative to the summer’s heavier hits.

Savages   Release Date: July 6

Director Oliver Stone’s latest movie looks more like Natural Born Killers than anything he’s released in over a decade. It eschews the political trappings of much of his filmography in exchange for Mexican drug cartels and high octane violence. There is a love triangle that includes Blake Lively, a federal agent played by John Travolta and some drug-dealing baddies in Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro. It’s nothing too intellectual, but if Stone can make us care about these characters then the guns, drugs and explosions should do the rest.

360   Release Date: August 3

This globetrotting drama is directed by Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles who directed City of God (that alone is enough for me to watch it) and written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland). It weaves together the storylines of various characters across several continents while examining the dynamics of social and sexual relationships and how they shape our lives. It debuted at the Toronto Film Festival to mixed reviews, with some complaints that the connections between its characters were too tenuous but drawing praise for the breathtaking cinematography that has become director Meirelles’ trademark. It stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster and Anthony Hopkins. For some reason I wasn’t able to find an American trailer online so I’ve put up a Thai version. Sorry about the poor quality.

Release Date: August 3


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Huffpost Detroit interviews Detroit Tradecraft

Last week Detroit Tradecraft's Mike Marcus was interviewed by Huffpost Detroit. The article talks about the Motor City Comic Con (wrapping up today in the D) as well as the pros and cons of producing independent comics. He also gives a shout-out to other local artists (such as Pat Jackson and Mark Dudley of Detroit Tradecraft). Read the article here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

C2E2: Thoughts and Recollections

This past weekend I attended the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo as a writer for Imaginos Workshop. We had a table there in Artist Alley where we were promoting our upcoming comic book sampler with posters, stickers and business cards. We also were selling Issues 1 and 2 of Detroit Tradecraft’s The Door. It was a jam-packed and exhausting weekend, and a valuable experience for our upstart company. We had the benefit of sitting between some great artists. On one hand we talked to Jeff Delgado of Dream Gear Studios, who does prints, t-shirts, tattoo design and commissions. On the other side of our table was Carlos Gabriel Ruiz, with a group of artists and illustrators from the St. Louis region.

The most striking and immediate impression of a comic convention is the people attending it. People-watching is at a premium at a con, which attracts a vast number of people that come in many shapes and sizes. The easiest response (especially for a “normal,” or someone not used to the culture of the con) is mockery: the con environment is ripe for satire, or at least good-natured ribbing. You will see people dressed in costumes, capes and tights. It’s no secret that a con is a circus of nerds, geeks and freaks. Even such terms are necessarily alienating, applied to a type of person that has been classified as fringe. But the real reason one is at first drawn to mock conventioneers is not the get-ups or the bad fashion: it is the bald-faced sincerity. There is a certain high school mentality in ridiculing earnestness, and there is nothing more earnest than a bald 42 year-old proudly sporting an R2D2 shirt. But once the initial shock wears off from seeing an auditorium full of unabashedly nerdy adults reveling in comic book culture, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself.

There was a slew of celebrities and sub-celebrities there with ties to geek culture and probably something to promote as well. I got an autograph and an awesome picture with Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine. Later he did a Q&A session in which he talked about his comic book epic Orchid and how collaborating on a comic is different from playing in a band. He talked about his career in the Los Angeles music scene as well as the future of the music industry. In response to a question regarding downloading music, he said that it was hard to support giant record labels that sue kids for downloading music when the companies produce CD’s for ¢4 and sell them for $18.99. Morello: the music industry as we know it may be on its way out, “and that may not be a bad thing.” Later in the session he encouraged people to listen to a certain Nightwatchmen song but insisted: “This isn’t a plug. Go download it illegally or something.” He also answered a variety of geek-influenced questions such as what his least favorite comic book-to-movie adaptation is (Watchmen. His favorite? Iron Man). Incidentally, Morello is credited on IMDb as playing a guard in Iron Man. And when asked about the state of Rage Against the Machine Morello answered somewhat exasperatedly that there is no state of the band: “Go tell your friends so they can stop asking me. If we do anything we will tell you. We’re not hiding from you.”

Shia Labeouf made an impromptu visit to the convention promoting his book of self-styled art and observations. It exists somewhere between a memoir and a comic book, and people seemed to be buying them at a quick pace for $10 apiece. I didn’t buy his book but I did get a picture and ask him a question. It went like this:

JR: You were a voice in NausicaƤ [of the Valley of the Wind].
Labeouf: Yes.
JR: Did you meet [Hayao] Miyazaki?
Labeouf: I met Miyazaki for a total of 15 minutes. I basically did the movie for him. I view him like you do [as a fan].
JR: Did you go fanboy on him?
Labeouf: I totally did. I’ve only ever really freaked out when meeting someone a couple times. Miyazaki…and Kramer, strangely enough. Them and Dustin Hoffman.

For those who don’t know, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese director with a slew of critically claimed animated movies (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc.). He is an unparalleled auteur and demigod in the cinematic world.

It was a short exchange but Shia was visibly excited to talk about a cinematic idol and I appreciated his enthusiasm. He struck me as surprisingly grounded for someone that’s really gotten a heavy dose of celebrity in the past several years. When my friend Alexa introduced herself to him she shook his hand and said, “Hi, I’m alexa.” He responded, “Hi, I’m Shia.”

There’s something refreshing about a mass of people sincerely reveling in a common bond. It has the feel of a community of sorts, a hodgepodge of personalities that probably wouldn’t look twice at each other on the street. Like a concert or a sporting event, a convention is a state of mind, where you are united with complete strangers with a common and undying bond. It is also the only place where you can rub shoulders with Catwoman, Dr. Doom, Pikachu and Captain America in a matter of minutes. C2E2 was an exhausting parade of artists, onlookers and superheroes that more than once put me into a peculiar and satisfied daze. It was only the second comic convention I’ve ever attended but I hope there will be many more in the future.