August 2011

Lost Jedi: Padawan Man El Perio

Man El Perio (Alan Mandel Butler) is a reliable and serious minded Padawan. While at times easily distracted when focussed on things less relevant to the immediate cause, Man El Perio focusses like a laser on the subject at hand when the situation requires it. During a Jedi incursion on a Separatist Communication Junker in Deep Space, Man El Perio is sent into the recesses of the hulk to identify the communications array and disable it. While hidden in the confined spaces of the cable ducts, the Clone Troopers turn on their Jedi Generals. Man El Perio is trapped and forced to watch as his Master and fellow Jedi are slaughtered. With the fall of the last Jedi, only three Clone Troopers remain. However, a vengeful Separatist Security Droid is haunting the halls too – looking for someone to blame for the destruction of his deep space home. Its a matter of who finish who off first – Man El Perio’s only advantage – they don’t know he’s there…. yet.

A BTB Landmark

I was checking in on our daily stats (because I’m a titanic loser) and noticed that we dinged 300 hits today making it by far and away the busiest day we’ve had since…well yesterday which was also a record day. Regardless it means that August was our best month ever and since the big 300 is something of a milestone for a relatively new site like ours, I thought you all deserved a treat.

Here’s a photo of Steve and I looking really really happy.

See you at the 600 mark!

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The True Origin of Batman Revealed!

 

While browsing a Chinese dollar store, Redditor whynow stumbled upon the true story of the Dark Knight’s origin. How the sinister Jackstraw ever thought he could avoid the Batman’s deadly stroke, I’ll never know. Gete can sleep safe knowing that it has the hero it needs.

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Moon #2 Update

Some of you will probably have noticed that we’ve been banging on about releasing Moon #2 at the end of summer for quite some time now. You may also have spied that it is in fact the end of summer and Moon news has been a little thin on the ground. With that in mind I thought it would be good to jump on and give a little update on where the book is at and how long you can expect to wait to get it in your hands. So let’s get the difficult yet obvious statement out of the way right now:

Moon #2 will probably be out in November.

The reasons for the delay are a mix of personal issues and scheduling clashes which unfortunately took Steve out of action for a couple of months. While that may not seem a big deal in the scheme of things, when you’re dealing with a creative team which spans two hemispheres and who all have other professional commitments to work on, a couple of months can really knock things out of sync.

We looked at the dates a week or so ago and realised we had two choices: do it fast or do it right and for all three of us there is simply no debate on that point. Moon is too good a comic and its fans too good a bunch of people to turn in a half baked end result. The support that we’ve received from both the public and the press since launching Beyond The Bunker has been utterly overwhelming and to publish a book that we were not 100% happy with would feel like a betrayal to all of those people.

So what’s the plan? Well Steve is now working night and day to get Fallen Heroes #2 & Wrath of God finished and away to the folks at Unseen Shadows so that he can turn his full focus to Moon #2. Iv is fired up and ready to deliver some more mind blowing colours and I’m trying to sort out some more distribution methods so that you can get your fix as soon as possible. Plan A at the moment is to hold a launch event in London some time in mid-November and then have the con debut at Thought Bubble in Leeds.  If we can bring the book to MCM in October, we will, but right now we can’t promise anything.

Are we happy about this? Obviously not. When we started BTB one of the main things we wanted to do was get away from the slow publishing schedules of a lot of independent comics. While we know you guys are incredibly patient, we’ve never felt like that gives us the right to be sluggish in delivering stories to you. We promised to keep bringing Moon comics and we will keep bringing Moon comics, but this one’s taken longer than we wanted and for that we are honestly very sorry. The good news is that we’ve tackled the issues that caused the delay and lunar-gods willing, we should be churning these books out at a more respectable rate from here on out.

We’re going to try and be a lot more communicative with you guys in the run up to the book’s launch in order to ensure that as many people can get their hands on it as possible as soon as possible. Please keep checking back here for regular updates and remember to follow us on twitter @beyondthebunker and @danthompson2099. Whatever other work we do, Moon and its fans will always be priority A number 1.

It’s great, it’s coming, thank you for hanging in there.

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Dropping Science: A Diamond The Size Of A Planet!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylGwsIIyZf0&w=640&h=390]

It sounds like something straight out of a Jack Kirby story but nonetheless scientists in Australia believe that they have discovered a diamond five times the size of Earth, orbiting a distant star.

It began when astronomers discovered a neutron star about 4,000 lightyears away in the constellation Serpens. A neutron star is a star which has collapsed under its own gravity to produce an object which is both tiny (in this case just 12.4 miles in diameter) and incredibly dense. What’s interesting about this particular neutron star however is what’s orbiting around it: a carbon based planet more dense than any previously discovered. Due to the density of the object it is thought that the carbon must be crystallised meaning that large sections of the planet are probably comprised of pure diamond!

This whole drama is played out in an orbit so tight it could fit inside our own sun!

The likely explanation is that the planet was once a white dwarf star which got caught in the pull of the neutron star. The neutron fed on the mass of its neighbour, accelerating as it did so until the dwarf star was all but consumed. At some point however, rather than completely merging with the hungry neutron, the dwarf moved to a safe distance and entered a stable orbit around it. Unable to perform fusion reactions the dwarf was left with only a dead, solid core, now classified as a planet…a diamond planet!

The good news about this is that given 8,000 years and a big tow-truck we should be able to totally solve our economic problems! The better news is that I now have an excuse to post this video of Brian Cox explaining pulsars.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYEprFXTdDQ&w=640&h=390]

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TWO Major Convention Appearances This October

Following a couple of phone calls today, I’m pleased to announce that we will be attending both the Entertainment Media Show and the MCM Expo this coming October! These are two of the biggest geek/comic cons in the calendar and we’re very excited to have Moon as a part of them.

The first port of call in our autumn tour of the capital will be a return to Earls Court on the 1st & 2nd of October for the annual Entertainment Media Show. Guests this year include John Hurt, Alex Winter and Mother Effing Bossk! EMS is a chance to meet the stars of geek film and TV as well as browsing hundreds of stalls selling everything from comics and artwork to swords and robots. Check out our gallery of photos from the London Film and Comic Con in July for an idea of some of the great stuff and cool costumes you’ll get a chance to see.

It’s also only £6 to get in so it’s well worth it if you want a fun day out with some mates and don’t want to break the bank.

You can find details and tickets at their WEBSITE

Not long after the madness of EMS we’ll be heading to the other end of Londinium for our second appearance at the MCM Expo. MCM takes place at London’s Excel Centre from the 28th until the 30th October and is about as big as UK comic cons get. Over 60,000 people will descend on the con over a few days, clad (well many of them at least) in some of the most elaborate costumes ever conceived by the mind of geek. The show will be hosting panels and demos of all the biggest comics, games and movies of the coming year so if you want to get ahead of the game then this is the place to go.

You’ll probably want to book a weekend pass for this one as the Comic Village alone can take a whole day to properly explore.

There’s also wrestling.

Full details can be found HERE

It’s gonna be a busy month!

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How to propose to a geek

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QIsHQfKZ4g&w=480&h=390]

 

As a man who proposed to his wife in front of a massive skeletal dinosaur I can appreciate the desire to mask the terror of asking someone to marry you buy locating the event somewhere awesome. This video however (filmed rather disturbingly in iPhone sideways-letterbox-o-vision) takes that whole concept to a beautiful level. Saying more would spoil it so just enjoy and I hope you cheer as much as I did.

Thank god she didn’t say no!

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George Lucas: When William Shatner’s invited to Dinner

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDIBchVxSmE

How, after 30 years of success can you honour a man like George Lucas? A giant in the movie industry, creator of Industrial Light and Magic. Funder of Pixar and John Lasseter. Creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones? Well thats simple. Let William Shatner wander out on stage to have a chat with him. Truly, one star voyager shows another how its done!!

This is why no-one is better than the Shatner.

Practitioners 40: Dan Jurgens

Now, let’s make this clear. Dan Jurgens killed Superman. There were others involved of course, talented individuals -each with their own individual styles, across the four titkes of the time – most of whom will appear here. The editorial team was monitoring the whole process as well – however, one man wrote and illustrated the moment the man of Steel and his mysterious opponent, Doomsday, struck each other for the last time, shattering the front of the Daily Planet in the heart of a decimated metropolis. He captured the two characters hitting the street and the shocked reaction of the surrounding onlookers. Jurgens presented a moment a determined and fatalistic Superman embraced a desperate and frightened Lois Lane, shrouded in steam and smoke before the final, tumultuous cataclysm. Jurgens was responsible for all of the editions of Superman, the most popular of the four titles at the time (the others being Superman: Man of Steel, Adventures of Superman and Action Comics) and a Justice League of America issue in the story arc in which Doomsday took apart the current members. In the intervening time, the Death of Superman has become an irrelevancy – not least because of his return a year later – and even a joke but at the time the images of Superman’s cloak ripped and torn on a post in the heart of Metropolis made world news. At the centre of the story was the writing and assured artwork of Dan Jurgens.

Dan Jurgens, born June 27, 1959 is an American comic book writer and artist with a clear, concise and uncomplicated style that has earned him a reputation as a safe pair of hands. He is best known for creating Booster Gold (present in the JLA taken apart by Doomsday in ’93) and his lengthy runs on the Superman titles Adventures of Superman and Superman (Vol.2). In spite of this notable writing and artistic accolades, making news globally with the death of arguably the most iconic hero in comics, he appeared in books that , perhaps unsurprisingly, never reached the same level of popularity and critical acclaim. These included The Sensational Spider-man, Captain America, Thor (Vol 2), Justice League America, Metal Men (Limited Series), DC Crossover Zero Hour, Tomb Raider. Aquaman and the creator of DC Comics’ imprint Tangent.

Jurgen’s started out in comic books for DC Comics on Warlord 63 following a recommendation from Warlord series creator Mike Grell who was deeply impressed by Jurgens’ work after being presented with his portfolio at a convention. He began, naturally, as an artist for the Sun Devils limited series from 1984-1985 with Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas. Jurgens’ took on a writing role as he scripted from Conway’s plots and took over the writing duties fully within 2 months (artist for issue 8, writer/artist by issue 10).

His successes in his early career were with DC – Jurgens is credited with creating Booster Gold, who became a member of the Justice League, whom Jurgens wrote and drew with the introduction of Doomsday in his rampage to reach Gotham City. As to who created Doomsday, this remains a mystery. He has enjoyed successes with other companies, namely Dark Horse – with Superman vs Alien – and Sensational Spider-man during the Ben Reilly period with Marvel.

But it was with DC that Jurgens proved most notably to be a safe hand. He pencilled and wrote the wide scale Zero Hour crossover in the mid nineties which incorporated all of the DC Universe in a rarely coherent and accesable storyline that tied the threads of a faily convoluted universe together well enough for laymen to understand what was going on – something perhaps only recently valued by DC with the recent title relaunches. This is perhaps Jurgen’s greatest strength. His style assured and uincomplicated, Jurgens presents very clerly the events being portrayed in any series he involves himself in. A less stylistic artist than most, it can be arged he lacks flair which is perhaps why he hasn’t been hailed in the same way as others. But his line work and naturalistic style is as distinct and effective as George Perez and more so than old hands like Jerry Ordway yet fresh and clear. Relatively timeless, it is often difficult to place Jurgen’s work into a particular period if you are unfamiliar with the storyline he is working on. It is a hard case to push to place Jurgens among legends but he is the professional Practitioner, hard working and diligent, efficient and clear – and perhaps unusually – unselfish in his style. His is a page of creative draftmanship, and his pride is in the simple imparting of feelings, ideas and story – setting him apart from the many peers of his that arew notable for their distinct style. Jurgens is a legend because he appears not to be. His stories live on in legend where his name, perhaps, does not. Surely, when a true artist is pressed that is the value of his work and for me, it is something that Jurgens represents. Unsurprisingly, without even trying.

What is The Super Comic Convention?

Ever since we got word that a non-MCM event would be taking up residence in the Excel Centre next February there’s been a lot of speculation about the identity of the newcomer (I say a LOT of speculation, in all honesty the topic has been mentioned once or twice and then dropped again because there was no new information to go on). We knew it was going to be comics focused, we knew Harry Markos (of UK publisher Markosia) was involved and that MCM were a bit peeved. Now though, with tickets on sale, the organisers have started to offer up a little more information. In an interview with Bleeding Cool the mysterious group of anonymous backers came clean on some of the events goals as well as tackling the question of why it exists in the first place.

“London Super Comic Convention is being organised by a number of people that have been brought together for the express purpose of providing what the UK has been lacking – a comic convention with not just 2 or 3 American guests, but with a substantial amount of American creators spanning the decades, from 60’s through to present day. As such and given the enormity of the task, the collective encompasses individuals from both the UK and US, who have both financial acumen and experience in different fields, with one common denominator – All are comic fans, who want nothing more than to have a UK show that can go toe to toe on a guest list basis with the larger American Shows, and have a show that truly rivals its American counterparts..”

If that statement sounds familiar, it’s because it’s almost the exact same statement that Mark Millar made when he announced Kapow! back in 2010…it’s also very similar to some of the claims made by MCM in this year’s publicity. It seems that if you want to sell a comic con to a British audience then you better damn well make it as American as possible.

So how does the new kid rack up against it’s competitors? Well for all the similarities in marketing, there are some key differences between Kapow! and SCC. For a start the newbie is about 4 times the size of Kapow in terms of raw floor space (though anyone who’s been to the Excel will tell you that just because they have the space, doesn’t mean it’s actually filled with anything).Secondly, while Mark Millar revelled in the film and game aspects of Kapow, SCC’s organisers have promised 100% comics and nothing else. This of course raises the question, are there enough convention going comic fans to justify filling the entire Excel with them? I hope so, but I suspect that they’re going to have dip into the Manga market quite heavily in order to do the numbers they want. Finally, if the SCC cabal are to be believed, they have a budget at their disposal that would make other comic cons weep. For all it’s killer line up Kapow did suffer from having very few American creators (Leinil Yu and John Romita Jnr apparently paid for their own flights to attend the con) and while it’s perfectly possible to produce an A list line-up without going abroad, there’s a lot of people who would pay good money to meet the likes of Brian Bendis and Matt Fraction.

Oddly enough, despite sharing a venue, MCM may well suffer less than a lot of people think from the encroachment of the new dog. For a start MCM isn’t really a comic con (shock horror). Sure it has a comic section, a very nice comic section, but it’s far from the focus of the event. MCM is about Manga, Cosplay and gaming and the comics are there as an icing on the cake rather than any kind of major jammy filling. Secondly the MCM events take place in May and October, well clear of SCC’s February show. If anything we should be sparing a thought for the poor Cardiff Comic Con who have suddenly found themselves with a juggernaut of a con taking place on exactly the same day as them!

The MCM and the SCC target crowds do overlap, but I’m not sure it’s quite as big as some people are making out. Despite fears that Kapow would dilute the attendance rate for existing cons, 2011 is shaping up to be a bumper year for convention attendance across the board. With geek culture on the rise, I don’t see the market as being at saturation point just yet. If anything the addition of a major con in the normally bare spring may help to stir up interest for events throughout the year.

So what about SCC’s own merits? Well the lineup so far is solid (but the first names announced always are) however the continuous references to “stars of the silver age” sets of a few alarm bells for me. Getting in the guy who drew Superman 30 years ago is fine if those were landmark Superman comics, getting him in because you can’t afford the guy who draws Superman now, not so much.

But that’s speculation. Right now the presence of a major con with apparently bottomless pockets seems largely positive to me. If done right it will draw in new fans, offer another chance for creators to get their books noticed and force the other cons to stretch for new levels of success. If it fails, well there’s still a whole year of cons to enjoy.

As for whether we’ll be attending, that will have to wait and see. Exhibitor prices haven’t been released yet, but once we know those, we’ll have a better idea of whether we can expect to see Moon kicking in the doors and demanding the shady council of SCC unmask…or more likely, buying novelty T-Shirts.

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