May 2011

The New Moon Cover?

We here at Moon Towers don’t like to let things lie. And following a truly awful day at Bristol Comic Con (no one’s fault but our own perhaps) we’re cheering ourselves up. With the next edition of Moon 1 going to the presses in time for MCM in two weeks we thought it might be time for a pep up. It won’t simply be limited to the cover either. We’ll be looking at ways to include the events and the ride that Moon has taken up until this point to fill out the surrounding pages. Oh yeah, no short changing with the BTB boys. It’s only the most up to date hot shit when you buy it through us. Keep y’all posted.

Moon 2 and Fallen Heroes 2 is also underway. I also read the one-shot Band of Butchers script by our very own Dan Thompson. Expect heavy artillery and one liners (and unexpected dose of the dark). It’s awesome.

Cheers honchos.
Awesome!
Penners

Star Wars Prequels in 2 Minutes…WITH LEGO!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_HTMMkSx-M&w=560&h=349]

Yeah, so we’re at the Bristol International Comic Expo today. But that doesn’t mean we’re shirking our duty to post up stupid stuff we found on the internet. My love of Lego movies (or “brick-films” as they are apparently known) knows few bounds and this is a fine example as to why.

Damn I love Lego.

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p.s. Follow @danthompson2099 on twitter if you want regular updates on how the convention’s going.

Dropping Science: Terje Sorgjerd’s “The Aurora” is Simply Stunning

A couple of weeks ago I posted THIS video by Norwegian photographer, Terje Sorgjerd. His images of the night sky have continued to blow me away every time I look them up, so I thought it was about time to share another fine example.

This is footage of one of the largest auroras in recent years, captured in and around Kirkenes and Pas National Park bordering Russia. I shan’t say any more about it as it speaks for itself, just watch and feel free to join me in awe.

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The Extraordinary Tales of Monsieur Poppaleux #12 – Cruel Toast

In 1993, famous author and spring onion connoisseur, Dr Jean-François Bacharach created a series of books for children. The aim of the project was to use state of the art digital technology to educate and inform on a wide range of topics from maths and theology to poetry and tennis. Using pioneering clip-art techniques, he produced a staggering portfolio of work that continues to be widely distributed in schools across the world and Belgium. Sadly DrBacharach himself was eventually imprisoned due to his being ahead of his time and because he killed a quite staggering number of cats. However his work lives on here at the Bunker! We have secured the entirety of Dr Bacharach’s monumental work and now present it to you. C’est formidable!


Small Press Big Ideas

Back in February, Steve and I were preparing to attend the London Comic and Small Press Expo in New Cross. It was the first con we’d ever done (we hadn’t even had the books printed at that point) and the plan was to have a nice quiet one in order to learn the ropes before hitting the bigger summer cons. Didn’t really work out that way in the end…

A few days before the con, an email went out from the organisers stating that one of their panels had been cancelled and they could really do with somebody to fill the spot. Being the humble, introverted souls that we are it took us all of 2 emails to decide that we were the people to fill that spot. I threw together some ideas stuff that Steve had talked about at the Fallen Heroes panel in Cardiff, mixed them with various pub rants the two of us had engaged in over the years and the Small Press Big Ideas Panel was born. This is the blurb for the panel:

With the falling cost of producing comics and the rise of the internet as a tool for marketing and distributing comics, it’s becoming more and more viable for creators to publish mainstream, commercially viable comics by themselves. These books share little in common with the more artistically driven labours-of-love that are traditionally associated with the small press so is it right that they are all classed under the same banner? We will examine whether there is a difference between a true small press book and a mainstream book that is printed in small numbers. Is it damaging creators and limiting ambition by creating an artificial underclass of comics? Is it time for up and coming creators to abandon the term ‘small press’ and just make comics? 

Now, I’ll be honest, when I first wrote that I wasn’t totally sure how true it was. I knew that we definitely didn’t feel that Moon fitted into the classic definition of Small Press but I wasn’t sure if that was part of a wider thing or whether that was just a personal preference thing. I figured that at the very least it’d be an interesting academic debate about the terms we use to define our industry. Besides, it was Steve that was going to be on the panel so if a lynch mob formed I’d have plenty of warning and would be able to flee the scene while he heroically, if unwillingly, sacrificed his life for the greater good.

London Comic & Small Press Expo 2011

What happened was that the panel ended up being the talk of the town. Steve argued our points superbly and the discussion got so in depth that the panel over-ran by over half an hour. After the show was over, the organisors came up to us and asked if we’d be willing to repeat the panel at Bristol. So here we are.

Ok, before we go any further, I should probably clarify what my actual stance on Small Press is. I have absolutely no problem with tradition Small Press books – by which I mean those labours of love that are produced in very small numbers, often using home printing equipment and sold almost exclusively at small cons. Some of the most interesting things I’ve read are exactly these kind of books; produced by hobbyists whose only desire is to share their work of graphic literature with people and hopefully pay for a pint at the end of the event.

Badger from Cute But Sad Comics is a perfect example of a true Small Press book and it's absolutely wonderful

But that isn’t what Moon is. We have a budget, we have a business plan, we have objectives for every event we go to. Our books are printed to a professional standard, they are 22 pages long, they have advertising, they have far more in common with a Marvel book than they do with many Small Press books. The only real thing that we have in common with the traditional Small Press is that we are largely self funded. Again, I’m not saying that this automatically makes us better than Small Press, but we are different and I think that’s worth acknowledging.

And it turns out that we’re not alone in that regard. Since LCSPE we’ve met creators from all over the UK (and beyond) who are thinking exactly the same thing. People who got into the industry to be considered ‘Comic Book Creators’ not ‘Small Press Creators,’ people who are after a lot more than a pint at the end of the con.

Barry Nugent's Fallen Heroes is a great example of an indy franchise with big ideas

We are living through an extremely exciting time for comics. The internet revolution that the music industry went through a decade or so ago is just starting to reach our shores. For the first time in our industry’s history we have the power to create, print, market and distribute our comics without ever having to involve an established publisher. All you need is a bit of start up capital and a willingness to throw all of your free time into it.

To me, trying to place a label like “Small Press” or “Big Press” or anything on your book is entirely redundant. We are in new territory here and while the old institutions do still exist, they are far from the impregnable fortresses that they once were. Comics are changing and if we as new creators have the will to do so then we can be a part of shaping that change. But to do so we have to think big.

Companies like UKomics have made it possible to self publish indy books that are totally indistinguishable from mainstream comics

Stop thinking in terms of Small Press and Mainstream Press and just make comics. Your book is what you make it, not what convention tells you it is.

Is that the sound of a lynch mob? I’d best find Steve.

Take care, chaps.

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For more on this topic be sure to check out the Small Press Big Ideas panel at this the Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo this Sunday. Details HERE!

The ultimate Slaine trailer (in spanish!!)

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while just waiting for the right moment to release it but I realise there’ll never be one so here it is. Its been almost 20 years since Mills and Bisley’s Slaine McRoth stormed the pages of 2000AD. In all that time there’s been no approaches from Hollywood to attempt to bring the celtic cheiftain and his mythical shennanigans to the big screen. So, leave it to a spaniard named Miguel Mesas to bring it to rude life. Astonishingly for a fan film, the core visuals of the original are brought to life frankly as kick-ass, sumptuous battle porn. There’s even a brief warp spasm.

Practitioners 29: Goseki Kojima

Goseki Kojima is the artist of the stunning Japanese Manga Lone Wolf and Cub, written by Kazuo Koike. Kojima was born in Yokkaichi and began his career as a poster artist and painter, before finally settling in Tokyo in 1950. There he worked as an artist on ‘Kamishibai’ (illustrated stories) for a number of publications. In the late 1950s, he was also turning to mangas and created serials like Omnitsu Yureijo (1957), Yagyu Ningun (1959) and Chohen Dai Roman, a series of classic novel adaptations (1961-67), all distributed through libraries.

In 1967, he switched to a more conventional distribution and made appearances in several magazines. Tgether with Kazuo Koike, he created ‘Kozure Okami’, published in Manga Action form from 1970 through to 1976. The legendary series was finally introduced to English readers as ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ in 1987 and the influence of it should not be underestimated. Lone Wolf and Cub influenced a great many Practitioners globally. Its paired down, naturalistic, imperceptibly detailed ink line work has certainly and notably influenced Frank Miller in particular, Kojima’s sharp and emphatic black and white line work visible in works as disparate as Sin City and 300. The later works of industry leaders such as Jamie Hewlett have they’re basis Kojima’s work whether it is immediately obvious or not. The artwork for Monkey (Hewlett and Damon Albarn’s recent foray into media-opera) is toned perfectly with period material lifted from that referenced in Kojima’s work. Most artists working in the comic book industry (and most likely in Illustration as a whole) will know Kojima’s name as a global mainstay of the industry. Truly representative of Japanese Manga artists, Kojima is efficient, technically acute, lavishly artistic and truly prolific. Lone Wolf and Cub accounts for more than 8000 pages alone (completed between 1970 and 1976).

As well as ‘Lone Wolf’ Kojima and Koike cooperated on other series like ‘Kawaite Soroi’, ‘Kubikiri Asa’, ‘Hanzo Nomon’, ‘Bohachi Bushido’ and ‘Tatamodori Kasajiro’. In 1994, he became editorial consultant for the magazine Manga Japan.

Kojima teaches all new artists what it truly means to be a great artist within your own lifetime. The production of pages at the speed he achieved is almost unthinkable to western artists. Dave Gibbons is considered efficient at 2 a day but Kojima is representative of a different breed of artist, perhaps now gone. Personal design work and augmenting and introducing a distinctive or recognisable style was clearly never Kojima’s primary function. To introduce alternative or unusual visuals was not Kojima’s main drive. His compositions are drawn with clarity and an instantaneous sense of scale and visual communication. Basic, simple compositions are given focus and artistic value with the addition of a dropping branch from the top of the panel or his decisions in showing objects in part to allow the reader to be absorbed into the story.

Bizarre Magazine Gives Moon Four Stars!

Moon has always been a fan of the bizarre but now it seems that the bizarre has become a fan of Moon! The latest issue of Bizarre Magazine contains a review of Moon #1 and it seems that they rather like it. In a section of reviews on alternative comic books they described our beloved little child as “vibrant and action packed” before going on to award us a glorious 4 stars!

We had a lovely chat with some of the magazine’s reporters at Kapow and at the time they seemed pretty keen on getting the book mentioned somewhere, but it wasn’t until today that we found out just what kind of mention it would be. A thumbs up from a publication as big as Bizarre is a massive boost to a new company like us so as you can image we’re over the…er…orbital-rock-based-satellite.

You can pick up the magazine from any newsagents as of today. If you read the first Kapow article then be sure to have a little look for Mr Penfold in one of the photos, it’ll be like the oddest game of Where’s Wally you ever played. 😉

If you’re a new follower of Beyond The Bunker after reading the review then welcome to the site. Please have a look around and make yourselves at home. You can buy the comic HERE or read more about it HERE and there’s a metric asstonne of other stuff to read and enjoy around the site, with more added each and every day. Welcome to our odd little family!

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The Tale of Captain Jack Sparrow – New Lonely Island Album Has Dropped

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6CfKcMhjY&w=560&h=349]

I know this isn’t strictly geek related but it is both comedy and pirate related so I think it counts. The new album from Grammy-nominated fake rap group The Lonely Island comes out today. It’s called Turtleneck & Chain and it’s well worth a download. For the uninitiated, Lonely Island are a three piece rap group who began life on Saturday Night Live and have since gone on to work with everyone from Justin Timberlake to Natalie Portman. They’ve also been known to be on a boat.

Lonely Island’s shtick is basically to do funny rap songs with massive production values and big name guest artists and in that regard Turtleneck delivers. I can’t decide yet whether it’s better than Incredibad or not but I’m leaning towards ‘probably not’. The Rhianna track is basically just a rehash of the joke from the Jack Black song on the last album and there are a couple of tracks that are longer than they need to be but on the whole the good far outweighs to bad. Plus, who doesn’t want to own a song in which Michael Bolton professes his love for Captain Jack Sparrow?

Ok, that’s the closest you’re gonna get to a review out of me! Just listen to the damn thing! 😉

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Thor vs Green Lantern

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOHI7RS-84k&w=425&h=349]

So, I saw Thor the other day and while I was perhaps a little less than complimentary about all those “bumming around the desert learning how to not be a dick” scenes, on reflection it’s a pretty good addition to the Marvel studios stable. It’s no Iron Man, but it’s not X-Men 3 by any stretch. Anyway of all the various parodies pouring out of the internet right now, I think “I’m a Marvel/I’m a DC” one nails it pretty well.

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