Beyond The Bunker

Moon's Song of the Week – Octopus by Bloc Party

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkeUFRK4i7w&w=853&h=480]

The first slivers of content from Bloc Party’s forthcoming sort-of-comeback (I’m not sure how long you have to be away to be able to “come back”) album “Four” began to hit the internet this week in the form of a new song and video. The track is already causing debate amoungst fans but that’s kind of par for the course with a new Bloc Party track.

I’m a little on the fence about it right now but that’s how I generally start off with the band and I always end up loving the music so I’m willing to let this one settle for a bit. It has to be said that Bloc Party off form are still better than many bands at their best.

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The Moon And The Stars – One Week Til LFCC!

It’s been a year of showing off for the rapidly expanding UK convention circuit with mega cons old and new all duking it out to put on the best possible event for fans. Next week is the turn of one of the veterans of the scene, The London Film and Comic con and if the guest line up is anything to go by LFCC intends to come out of the corner swinging.

LFCC All Stars (left to right): Gillian Anderson, Karl Urban, Charles Dance, Alex Winter, Gates McFadden, Adam Baldwin

LFCC always have an impressive line up and this year is no different. Fans will be able to meet like likes of Alex Winter (Bill & Ted), Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings, Dredd), Gillian Anderson (X-Files) and about half the cast of Game of Thrones and Star Wars. They also have a real life Batmobile and the usual army of dealers who will be happy to sell you everything from light sabers to figurines.

The exciting thing for us however is that for the first time LFCC is hosting a dedicated comic book section, complete with signings, industry experts and (naturally) a certain Moon headed detective. Beyond The Bunker will be at LFCC for all three days so feel free to come and chat to us about comics, the creative process or whatever you fancy really. We’ll have some new badges and our fine selection of prints for sale as well as the award winning comic itself! As always, there’s a free badge with every copy so if you know anyone who doesn’t own Moon yet, drag them along and badge them up!

No copies of Moon #2 just yet but ask us about the impending Moon Launch Party for some insider info.

LFCC is next weekend at the London Olympia Grand Hall. Tickets can be bought on the door and cost a mere £6 (for regular entry)

See you there!

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Sketches from MCM Expo

We’re a couple of weeks on from last month’s MCM Expo but I still keep finding left over bits and bobs in our various boxes and bags. One such find was some pics of sketches that Steve did for a couple of fans during the event, so I thought I’d throw them up here:

Nice little sketch of our hero.

 

An unorthodox request for a sketch, but as always, Steve obliged.

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Moon 2: The News

Hello all!! Thanks for bearing with us as the almighty engineering process that is Moon 2. Ivanna Matilla – colourist to the gods – continues to complete the pages in pencil and ink. Once completed they are coming back here to Bunker Central to be finished – and we are well passed the half way mark. Stu at Ukomics waits like a coiled spring with an orange cap on and will put Moon 2 to print as soon as it comes in. So to clarify, the final colours will soon be in – lettering has begun. As soon as that’s completed it’s going straight to print.

We understand it’s been a hell of a wait for Moon 2 and we’re confident that it’ll be worth the wait – with major reveals, major plot moments and dramatic changes ol’ Moon Head. Everything you understood in Issue 1 may change – or will it? Frankly, it depends on how much you understood.

Much discussion has taken place at the various cons we have attended regarding the physics of bringing a Moon down to Earth. To that we say this; this will be firmly dealt with in Moon 2. We know who is responsible for all this and we are finding them. We here at Beyond the Bunker know that the truth must now be revealed. It’s very simple as you will find out…

Also – following Kapow and MCM we can confirm what we told many who came to see us (so many in fact we sold out on the first full day of MCM) that with the completion of Moon 2 preparations will begin for Moon Launch 2. Following the success of Moon Launch 1 and frankly the strength of the pun it seems inevitable. We will be looking at booking a venue in London town (as central as possible to ease the journeys of those not in the capital), throw in some comedy and musical acts – from our extensive contacts we accidentally picked up while doing stand up and artwork – charge a nominal fee at the door with which you will receive a copy of Moon 2 – numbered, signed and hopefully with an alternative cover – or a signed Moon 1 to anyone new to Moon! So determined are we that this will take place that I spent part of my Bank Holiday Monday trying to complete a logo for the new Moon Launch.

Moon

Dan's Blog: MCM Debrief

For my part, I spent Sunday cosplaying as white trash.

The very first year that Steve and I appeared at the MCM Expo the event fell upon the same day as a Millwall game. It’s not a detail that I would remember were it not for the fact that it meant that my first experience of the con was sitting on a packed tube full of confused skinheads and teenagers dressed as cats. There has probably never been a more perplexed railway carriage anywhere in the world and I found myself developing an instant fondness for this oddball of a con.

I mention this story first because really the teenagers dressed as cats (and Pokemon and cardboard boxes and pretty much anything else you can imagine) are the heart of MCM. That’s not to say they are the only audience there (in terms of floor space, it’s probably the biggest comic con in the UK) but at its very core the event is about people who say the word “random” a lot, cutting loose and having fun. As a result, MCM has always had a kind if energetic buzz about it that you just don’t find anywhere else and it’s this buzz that is the key to why this year’s event was so successful.

MCM has taken some flak over the years for its rather diverse (random, you might say) range of exhibits. While other cons focus on comics or movies or trading or whatever, MCM goes for a bit of everything but in times such as these it’s exactly that kind of diversity that you need. If you’re only going to go to one comic con then the obvious choice is the one that lets you see as much as possible. MCM is not so much a comic convention as a convention for the sort of people who like comics. It’s a subtle distinction but one that breeds the kind of extremely loyal fanbase that descended in droves upon the Excel Centre last weekend.

Shot of the convention floor. It’s very hard to convey the sheer scale of the event.

For our part, we were taken completely by surprise by just how busy the con was. We brought our usual hefty amount of stock, expecting it to last the entire event (especially given a slightly disappointing audience turn out at Kapow) but instead found ourselves completely sold out of copies of Moon by 5pm on Saturday. The result was that Steve had to scurry back to Essex on Sunday morning, while I tried to learn how you sell prints of characters from a book you don’t have (turns out, you generally don’t). By 11am we were back up and running however and went on to smash our all time sales record by some way.

Moon #1 completely sold out.

I should mention, in the interests of fairness, that we had a much better pitch than at Kapow, being as we were right next to the auditorium and the booth for ASDF (who I’d never heard of before the weekend but who I’m pretty sure most teenagers would readily kill for.) This naturally translated into better sales but the fact that we took more than twice what we made at Kapow and paid less than half for the table left me pondering whether we’ll keep Kapow on our calendar next year.

Organisation wise we’ve got no complaints. Comics Village (who run the comics side of the event) have gotten very good at pre-show communication this time around and having every table get a small blurb in the program was a nice touch. Despite the huge crowds, there was always a volunteer on hand when needed and they were (as has always been the case) extremely helpful and friendly.

The aftermath. Huge thanks to everybody who bought the book and to those who have sent us such kind feedback on it. You guys are awesome.

The one part where the organisation fell down slightly was in the execution of the Eagle Awards on Friday night. The Eagles themselves are probably a topic for another day but the very low audience turn out was a bit of a shame. Steve and I certainly appreciate being able to hog the free beer but I can’t help but think that if they were properly publicised and perhaps held on the Saturday night, the turn out would have been far better. We ran into only two non-comics industry people at the awards and they confessed that they’d only found the event by chance. Given the announcement about the demise of the Eagles, I wonder whether the lack of publicity was a deliberate move to send the awards off quietly with an eye to focusing on next year’s new “MCM Awards.”

The Eagles is but a small part of the overall event however and a low turnout for one small part is not enough to spoil the experience of what was in all regards a fantastic convention experience.

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If you picked up a copy of Moon #1 at MCM then we’d love to hear what you think. Send us an email at btbcomics@gmail.com or let us know on facebook or twitter!

Dan's Blog: Kapow Debrief

I was pretty tired in this photo. If you have a chirpier one of me, please let me know!

Kapow’s something of a special convention for us. The con’s first outing last April was also the first time that Moon saw action at a major convention and Kapow 2011 remains one of my highlights from last year. In the end Kapow 2012 turned out to be something of a mixed bag, not awful by any stretch but certainly a very different to last year.

It was pretty hard to get a sense of the overall vibe of the con as we were kinda tucked away in the new Artist’s Alley on the upper level but on the whole the atmosphere definitely seemed somewhat muted compared to 2011. That’s not to say that people weren’t enjoying themselves but the electricity which permeated the air last time was lacking and the audience numbers certainly looked to be down (though this is pure speculation).

Ultimately I think you have to put this down to the decision to postpone the convention until May in order to allow Marvel Comics to attend (they were a little busy in April with a certain movie). This move placed Kapow exactly a week before one of London’s other Goliath cons, MCM and just 2 weeks after the Bristol expo. To be fair, all three cons have slightly different audiences but cramming them all into one month was always going to force fans to pick one or two and both Bristol and Kapow appear to have been hit by this (though, let me again stress that this observation isn’t based on concrete attendance figures).

The Kapow Floor begins to fill up.

One thing that wasn’t lacking was the work that the guests and exhibitors themselves put into the event. Of the few events I got to see the Lucha Britannia‘s wrestling shows remain the highlight for me. Wrestling shows at comic cons have become a pretty common sight but the Lucha Britannia guys put on by far the best show I’ve seen in this country and I heartily recommend that you catch one of their shows if you get the chance. Jonathan Ross also continued to carve out a reputation as the ultimate convention guest, at one point even diving into the ring to help the good guy wrestlers win the day.

Lucha Britannia

Reactions to the new Artist’s Alley seemed to be kinda mixed too. Some people enjoyed the quieter atmosphere as it allowed them to talk to fans without clogging up the isle and certainly for the fans who found their way up there it offered a lot of opportunities to spend time meeting creators. Of course the down side is that not all the fans found all their way up there and because the layout didn’t funnel people directly past tables, it was tough for exhibitors to strike up conversations and ultimately sell books.


 In all honesty, use of the upper levels of the business design centre was inevitable given how crowded the main floor got during the day. I take some issue with the price that was charged for the tables in the Alley, given that they were always going to be inferior to the main floor in terms of sales. Other cons justify the existence of these less desirable plots by renting them to small press publishers and creators for a reduced rate. It’s a deal that works for everyone as you essentially get what you pay for. Kapow’s stance has always been that they don’t do small press and everyone pays the same for a table. This was fine last year, we paid a premium sum but we got a premium table in a premium location. This year however I can’t help but feel that we paid way over the odds for a less desirable location. Die hard critics will leap on this as “another example of Kapow stiffing small press” but I’m not sure I see it in quite such extreme terms. The Artist’s Alley was a new venture and it takes a year or so to work the bugs out of things like that. Jumping to conspiracy theories serves nobody and it’s far better to offer organisers constructive feedback than jump down their throats. So here’s the feedback, Kapow: The Artist’s Alley works, it’s a good addition but it’s too expensive and you need to make it clearer during the booking process that it’s located on the upper level…oh and if you could book even more luchas, that’d be great too.

While we’re on the subject of feedback, I want to offer one additional thought. Kapow, your wristbands suck. They look like creepy, escaped hospital patient bracelets and they are scratchy as hell (my poor wife has the scars to prove it and that’s just from rolling onto my arm in her sleep during Saturday night). Give exhibitors lanyards. Lanyards are cool, you can take them off at night and they sound like the name of a family from Game of Thrones. There’s no reason not to use them.

Scratchy scratchy!

On the whole, the weekend was a lot of fun for us. Despite the disappointment of our table, we sold reasonably well, met a lot of incredible Moon fans (seriously, you guys are incredible) and had a lot of fun. I want to send out some congratulations to Band of Butchers artist Rob Carey who not only successfully launched his Lightning Strike project but (justifiably) had big name editors drooling over his artwork. Never get tired of seeing people I know get recognition they deserve. Also want to give some thanks to Stuart Gould from UKComics for coming through again with some amazing print work for us. If you make comics and you don’t use Stu for your printing then you’re possibly mad.

Kapow closes down for the night.

I now have four days to “relax” by doing my day job, meeting with my film writing partner Jim Eaton to work on our next big project and finalising the new Unseen Shadows comic I’m doing and then it’s off to MCM for three more days of madness. I’ll be live tweeting the Eagle awards from @danthompson2099 on Friday and given how much free beer they gave me last time, this should be something that’s worth tuning in for.

Well done, Kapow for pulling off the difficult second album. There were some logistical issues but every fan I spoke to had a cracking time. Here’s to another year of a very unique convention.

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Moon Hits Kapow!!

Of course Moon will be at Kapow! (Wouldn’t be Kapow if we weren’t quite frankly). We will be bringing Moon 1 to a whole new batch – and anyone who already has a copy will get a free badge if they come by the table… and sketches will be available as well!! How about a picture of you and Moon?! Eh?!

Stop by for news on Moon 2!

Moon 2 will be out soon!! Watch this space!!

Major (but awesome) Spoiler about the Avengers Villain

Back in November, we wrote an article about whether or not Thanos was secretly the true Avengers movie bad guy. It was thrown together with ideas of Whedon’s natural layering of threats in previous projects, Marvel’s cavalier attitude to plots and introductions of unusual and exciting characters and Thanos himself being cool as all hell and associated with cubes. The whole article effectively gave reason after reason as to why it should be true then I crapped out in the last paragraph and said no probably not.

But word is beginning to spread that ol’ purple radiator face does indeed make an appearance in the Avengers movie. Also, that shots showing Loki working alongside the Avengers (Oh Loki, when will you ever learn) suggest that things go awry and that a dark force more powerful than the God of Mischief intervenes. This, I believe, ain’t Thanos but we have recieved a comment from someone fortunate enough to see the Avengers Assemble claiming that Thanos is right there at the end of the credits. Other sources are saying he’s perrenially involved in Loki’s plot though not the prevailing threat of the film.

Nevertheless, if Thanos is in the all important final reel at the end of the credits then Marvel is beefing him up for something. Io9.com was mentioning the other day a veiled reference by a Marvel Exec about a feature involving a Raccoon and a tree and Marvel Galaxies saw Thanos versus Nova, Gladiator et al just last year. This points to an incredibly promising possibility. That Marvel intend to move their new features further out perhaps than anyone would expect and push out a Galactic movie. Guardians of the Galaxy: the Movie anyone?

The worst part is we had Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning right in front of us just this weekend and all I talked to Andy Lanning about was what ink to use and I spoke to Dan and his lovely wife about embarrassing myself in front of Simon Pegg at a Star Wars Con I was working at. I was priding myself on my restraint after embarrassing myself in front of Quitely a year ago (something Dan brings up whenever he can and will glefully tell you if asked) but this time fanboy bloghead would’ve actually helped!! Mother f…

100,000th!

We don’t mark stuff like this very often but the BTB hit counter ticked over the 100,000 mark today. For a young site, entirely run by 2 people, it’s a good number and we’re very proud of it.

Thank you for all the support that has been shown to this site since we opened our doors just over a year ago, we’ve grown massively and we continue to grow every day. Please keep telling your friends about us, checking back for new content and (if you can afford to) buying our comics. In return, we will continue to put out as much content as we can over the next 100,000 hits. More Practitioners, more comic and movie articles and of course much much more Moon.

Here’s to the future, Bunkerites!

Dan & Steve
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Moon: Seven II



Just a few more sketch works of Moon’s first nemesis. Agent Seven wants nothing more than money to fulfill his job. That, and to cave in Moon’s stone head with a giant club hammer. The combination of the two proves irresistable when the contract on Moon is up for dibs. As for what happened to Agents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Who knows. Seven remains the lowest number among the Bingo Mole ranks. Are they really called Bingo Moles? No. No, they’re not. We’ll call them soldiers. How’s that?

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