May 2011

Moon 1.3 – the full process

Moon Page 3. Perhaps the image that went through one of the most extensive additional design work. It passed backwards and forwards between myself and Iv as a black and white, a colour and finally a graphically enhanced image. As it is effectively a one panel page it was a great opportunity to stretch ourselves a little and Page 3 is probably one where I genuinely feel the finished product appeared as it had originally been attended. It also confirmed that myself and Iv knew what we were doing… (at least vaguely)

The original inks. Drawn over pencil line work to decide layout and composition and the finer details. Fairly basic stuff. A detailed description of what we were looking for was sent over to Iv.

Iv applied her own artistry to the page, adding her own ideas to the tones and hues – something she always does really well. In particular, the decision to take the plain black of the sky behind and make it a more interesting blue. The figures at the base of the main image were intended to be uplit red / yellow. However Iv lit them blue to tie them together with the main image and not undermine the central Moon deity figure. It also sets apart beautifully the main abstract poster image and the bottom panel. These are her colours as they were returned back to us before I got my greasy mitts all over them again. Iv is an unnaturally talented colourist and a pleasure to work with.

Next some graphics to enhance the basic colours. Taking existing constellations, one is a lifted selection from astronomoical photography and the other is painted digitally using the template of the original constellation taken from a low res image. I think this one is in CMYK (the standard format you have to put it in to go to print – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (K for some reason)) so the colours are bleeding and the colour map has altered slightly but it is still the same image as the others….

… and slap on some lettering using Illustrator and finishing in Photoshop by creating layers and slicing and placing elements behind the central figure. Otherwise the linking branch of the speech bubble would really detract. Et voila. Page 3 of Moon 1. More of the same coming soon. Danke.

Dropping Science: Timelapse Cityscape

You may have gathered by now that I rather love timelapse photography but with the quality of work that’s flying around at the moment that’s hardly surprising. This is an amazing piece by Canadian photographer, Dominic Boudreault which – in his own words – attempts “to show the duality between city and nature.”

It was shot from late 2010 to early 2011 in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Chicago and, of course, New York.

Be sure to whack the volume up before watching for a bit of Hans Zimmer goodness!

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Does Whatever a Stunt-man Can – Web-swinging Footage From The Spidy Set

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

Having gotten over the “Another damn reboot!?” phase, I’m actually rather looking forwards to the new Spider-man movie. The fact they seem to be forgoing some of the CGI reliance of the Raimi films in favour of a bit of good old, man-on-wire film making also helps to give me a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling. Going right back to Christopher Reeve, there’s just something about seeing an actual man in a superhero suit, soaring above a crowd of people that stirs something in me and I sense I’m not alone in that.

Plus it’s always funny to see a bunch of tech guys trying to get said man in a superhero suit down from his wire once the stunt is over. 😉

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Last Chance for Bristol Comic Con Tickets!

Hey chaps, just a quick message to remind you that this is the LAST day you can buy tickets for this year’s Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo. If you don’t book them by the end of today then you won’t be going to the con, which means you won’t be meeting Weebl, you won’t be going to any of the sweet panels that they have booked this year and you won’t be picking up one of the final FIRST EDITION copies of Moon #1 .

I’m sure you’ll agree that missing out on all this would be a tragedy of Hamlettian proportions, so head over to the Bristol Comic Con site right now and book your damn ticket!

CLICK HERE TO BOOK TICKETS!

(Please remember that Beyond The Bunker will only be at the con on SUNDAY 15th)

See you there!

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Dropping Science: Just How Big do Stars Get?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEheh1BH34Q&w=560&h=349]

We’ve got a bit of a size comparison this week. Turns out that for all his bluster, Moon is just one small piece in a much bigger puzzle. I remember seeing this video for the first time a couple of years ago and it really blew me away just how small our solar system is compared to some of the bodies out there. The fact that it has a slightly sinister soundtrack just makes it even more fun. 😉

I’m rather liking this little science drop at weekends. It’s nice to be able to share some of the stuff that inspires me in indirect ways as well as direct ones. More next week.

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The Extraordinary Tales of Monsieur Poppaleux #11 – Les Retours De Lapin

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 Dr Bacharach 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!


Roll a D6 – Amazing D&D Music Video

I’ve been waiting a while now for somebody to do a modern, hip-hop style parody about D&D and now that it’s here, it turns out that it was totally worth waiting for. It’s made by a chap called Conner Anderson, whose fans already seem to include half of geekdom’s royalty and deservedly so.

I’m not entirely sure it’ll do any favours for my quest to make Steve join my D&D campaign, but we can but hope. In the meantime I’m going to continuously play this video until my fiancée tells me off. Love it.

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BTB gains on Lucasarts as May 4th announcement offers up blank screens!

May the farce be with you. Steadily, and admittedly unbeknownst to us here at Beyond the Bunker (we’re more absorbed with the AV vote) there was a countdown taking place on Lucasarts.com towards a big announcement. May the 4th is traditionally the announcement date of major Lucasarts projects. A countdown has been continuing for some time on the site building up towards what promised to be a major announcement but as the countdown neared zero the site crashed leaving the eagerly awaiting fanbase staring at a dead page which was later replaced with links that redirected them to a site playing trailers for Fox’s latest releases.

To those bereft by the absence of decent updates welcome to Beyond the Bunker. We update regularly and never count down – as we never know when there’ll be something good to look at (though there often is). While here you can peruse the Practitioners articles (a breakdown of all the greatest and most influential comic book artists and writers in history), check out updates on the Avengers, Marvel, Batman, DC and independent movies from around the world on our film feed and more importantly, and very soon, get updates on the multitude of titles BTB is about to put out – including Moon 2, Fallen Heroes 2 and Clancy Wallencheck: Band of Butchers. If that weren’t enough. Check back here in 4 weeks. A set of alternative Jedi designs will start to appear in bi-weekly chunks in the Lost Jedi section that’s about to begin every other Wednesday…. replacing the almost finished Destroy All Robots.

So forget the force for now – buy yourself a copy of Moon 1 or Fallen Heroes 1 and get ready for the new age…. (see below)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1spwIxxJCwM

Destroy All Robots 1: Eve

Trading Card design introducing one of the characters from Destroy all Robots by Darrin Grimwood, a novel in which a disparate group of robots specialised for specific industries are pitched against each other in a televised fight to the wrecking yard on an isolated Island on the South China Sea. Completed in 2010, Darrin is currently pitching the idea in the US. More info is available at www.destroyallrobots.com.

Practitioners 28: Kazuo Koike

We here at Beyond the Bunker hope to list the greatest and best creatives in the history of comic books. In a continuing series (available every week on Tuesday) the most innovative, inspirational and important comic book visionaries will be appearing here. Check on the link below to see if one of your favourites has been included yet.

Born May 8th 1936 in Daisen, Akita Prefecture Kazuo Koike is one of a prolific and one of the most enduring and globally popular manga writers as well as being a novellist and entrepeneur.

Early in Koike’s career, he studied under Golgo 13 creator Takao Saito and served as a writer on the series. Golgo 13 was a Manga series, ostensibly written and illustrated by Takao Saito. Running in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Magazine since January 1969 and is the longest running Manga still in production. This was a strong start for a writer who would spreda to the world stage extremely quickly with his independent work; most notably perhaps – particularly to cult comic book fans globally his masterpiece; Lone Wolf and Cub.

Uniting with master artist Goseki Kojima first published Lone Wolf and Cub in 1970. A masterclass in slow burning plots and simple, effective storytelling utilising mesmerising and beautifully detailed black and white line work, Lone Wolf and Cub was designed to be accessable and the format and simple and beautiful imagery and telling made it an enormous success.

Lone Wolf and Cub (Kozure Okami) was adpated into six films starring Tomisabaruro Wakayama, four plays, a televsiosn series and is widely considered an important and influential work. It chronicles the story of Ogami Itto, the Shogun’s executioner who uses a dotanuki battle sword.When falsely accussed from the Yagyu Clan, he is forced to take the path of an Assassin. The one thing that perhaps sets the series apart entirely from all other Manga fare is that he moves out to seek revenge against the Yagyu Clan along with his three-year-old son, Daigoro.

Under Koike’s considerable skill, Lone Wolf and Cub takes in almost all aspects of Japanese life during its isolation from the world in the 19th Century. Honour, bravery and revenge are common place characteristics of the script but absent more often is the theme of paternity. While the stern Ogami protects and guides his son, usual paternal mores are distinctly absent. The script itself makes savage use of the tiny character of Daigoro as he and his father make their way through the landscape.

Koike’s main distinction is the control he exudes over his storylines. Meticulously detailed in accuracy, there is no sense of rush. There is a good reason for this. Both Koike and Kojima created 28 volumes of Manga before the epic concluded, with over 300 pages (in total 8,700 pages in all). Koike was prolific even by Manga standards. The storyline was episodic but steadily began to begin to feed on itself as the two characters continued their journey. A slow burning epitaph to a long passed age loaded (thanks to Koike’s ability) with incredibly memorable moments. Lone Wolf and Cub has been released through Dark Horse for international markets and continues to sell well.

One piece from a million strong catalogue of fan art relating to LWC

Koike also wrote Crying Freeman, Illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami, which again was adapted into a 1995 live-action film by director Christophe Gans. The simple premise relied on Koike’s previous writing assignments for influence but simplified and honed the ideas for a modern feel. Sharper and more concise, Crying Freeman followed a Japanese man kidnapped and conditioned and hypnotised and trained by the Chinese Mafia to kill. As a result the titular character cries after each assassination.

Kazuo Koike started the Gekika Sonjuku, a college course meant to teach people how to be mangaka. Included in the roster of students that attended are Tetsuo Hara – manga artist on Fist of the North Star, Yuji Horii – game designer and freelance writer who worked on the Dragon Quest series and others significantly more famous in Japan than to the western world.

In addition to his more violent, action-oriented manga, Koike, an avid golfer, has also written golf manga. He has also written mahjong manga, as he himself is a former professional mahjong player.

A distinctive and powerful writer, Koike elevates simple ideas and offers them in an accurate and incredibly indelible way. His greatest works are among the mot well known and well received Manga creations. Most notably perhaps is that this master of the form is no passing his own skills to a new generation of artists and writers as the gap between Japanese and global markets begins to close no doubt we will see more of Koike’s influences on the shelves in many western comic book shops. We just might not be aware of it. Like a master assassin in the night.

A page from Crying Freeman (written by Kazuo Koike)

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