October 2010

BTB Film: From Tangy Cheese With Love


This is another silly short that Paul and I made a few years ago as a viral for a certain corn based snack (other nachos are available). It’s pretty basic but it is the only film we’ve ever made that can be said to include Crisp Ninjas. I’ll start posting up some of the horror films over the next few weeks as there seems to be a fair bit of interest in them at the moment.

Off to lovely Margate now to see The Devil’s Fork get its first UK screening. It is cold so I shall take my splendid hat.


Knight and Squire

Just read the first issue of Paul Cornell’s British Batman story “Knight and Squire” and I wanted to pop on quickly to urge everyone to go read it. I’ll just link you over to the ign review because I don’t have a tonne of stuff to say beyond what they already cover, other than to say that it’s cheekily British without being patronisingly so like Cornell’s work on Captain Britain & MI13 could be and that it contains a Paul McCartney based pun of kingly proportions.

Steve is obsessed with spelling at the moment. I’m thinking of making him go on Countdown to help with our printing costs but he’d probably just end up punching Vorderman.



'Gah! Symbiote/ Symbiont??!'

A couple of days ago Dan wrote a review of the new Carnage mini series and continuously referred to both Carnage and Venom as Symbionts. Having read Spider-man and Venom series on and off for a bout 15 years I was pretty sure (downright certain) the word, as read in Marvel comics, is symbiote. Having sent Dan a mail to tell him its Symbiote not Symbionte I received a troubling reply. It turns out that the spelling I read constantly in Amazing Spider-man 344-345 and throughout the Maximum Carnage saga in the nineties was wrong all along.


For those not in the know; and because Dan’s taken this off the Comics section – possibly because its more about spelling than comics – Carnage was Cletus Cassidy, a psychotic serial killer with deep seated family issues that was bonded symbiotically to an alien organism that fed from him and supplied him with power and super strength and the ability to morph massive claws he could eviscerate passers by with for a loan of his central nervous system. He looked at the time of his creation to be a villain for Spider-man that finally rivalled Batman’s villains in DC.

Psychotic, unretrievable, unpredictable and massively homicidal – and more wicked than his larger grizzlier counterpart (alien dad) Venom who was the same thing only troubled by the anti-hero bug that Marvel always slaps on any villain that becomes popular.

But here was Carnage, Spider-man’s Joker (bollocks to the Green Goblin – he looks like an Ibizan gay clubber at Hallowe’en and was constantly sorting himself out and apologising), a destructive freak of nature that had to test the heroes no-kill policy simply by dint of being a raging loonface who’d slaughter grannies!! If Carnage turned up you should’ve assumed someone close to the main character was going to die just for being there.

Carnage full on

The 'symbiote' in question

He raged on long after I’d wandered away from Spider-man and comic books in general and when I returned I discovered he was a non-entity, viewed as a shade of Venom rather than the lunatic mutant hick cousin that he was always supposed to be. It seemed he’d never found a niche in the Marvel Universe and been sidelined or thrown in as a gimmick. All from the potential he had in Amazing Spider-man all those years ago. The Sentry flew him to space and tore him in half in three panels of The New Avengers 1. What a crock!

He is yet to appear in the new series – by the end of issue 1- however they’d better have given him some of his bite back – especially with the MAX ratings Marvel can give themselves now. I want to see Carnage do some carnage or I won’t be happy.

But worse than that – It appears that Symbiote – the word that was applied to both the Venom and Carnage organisms – was never a word and Marvel, with no sense of consequence, simply had a guess at a word that means a symbiont.

In the real world of crazy science that sounds made up a Symbiont (or symbiote) is an organism that forms a mutual biological relationship with another so that both organisms benefit. Each of the two provides certain advantages that the other lacks and they don’t impair the existence of each other – except that similar girl organisms might wonder what that thing is on your back.

Marvel co-opted the idea for a suit worn by Spider-man that returned to Earth with him from the Secret Wars crossover in the 80s. It gave him extra spider boing but made him quite more aggressive – which was helpful for a vigilante – and rude to his Aunt May – unacceptable in polite society.

He discovered its weakness was soundwaves and stood under bells in a cathedral as they rang to get rid of it. It worked but found a new home in Eddie Brock – who conveniently had a hate on for Parker too. Crazy alien, brain eating shennanigans ensued – a couple more ‘symbiotes’ appeared and Marvel kept calling them that and still do.

Anyway, I’d long since accepted that a printed word is a correct spelling and hadn’t retrospectively altered my thoughts in spite of having read the Metro every morning on the way into London, which every Londoner knows appears to have been copied down from the internet by a cheeky twelve year old truant with Tippex and a felt tip pen during a particularly arduous detention.

For me, it was vaguely permissable for a mainstream newspaper to have the odd typo as it’s momentary white knuckle communications by its very nature – even if the Metro is invariably yesterday’s news. But the idea that Marvel put out the wrong word for literally years in a mainstream global publication that spawned movie franchises and single handedly saved Marvel Comics from administration (Spider-man that is – not Carnage himself though I’d imagine a 5’11 psychotic lava lamp with claws’d put off the solicitors) is just mental to me.

It has writers – ergo – people who use words (I checked). Dan is one and he apparently used the right word straight out the gate. Who is monitoring these people? Is America spelt America? Is Authority spelt Authority? Is Super spelt Super? What’s going on?!

I’ve checked Oxford online dictionary and it couldn’t give a return for Symbiote but politely enquired if I meant Symbiont. This, according to the dictionary, is ‘an organism living in symbiosis with another’ which was definitely what I was looking for. This, I would suggest, might not help someone who was looking up the word ‘symbiont’ as they might then have to look up ‘symbiosis’ as well in order to unravel the mystery. ‘Does Symbiosis mean sharing a shower?’ they might say.


'All I said was Sybionts...'

Tut, Oxford online dictionary. Tut.

So I’ve tried the US English dictionary to see if it was one of those words they changed the spelling of to pay off the French for winning the American War of Independence for them and it turns out its the same. This poses several questions to my mind.

1. How did Dan come across this word in first place? Are there a lot of symbiotic species in Kent?

2. Why is it Symbiont? Its Symbiotic and its symbiosis so what pleb staked his reputation on calling it a Symbiont? It doesn’t even sound as good. I’d rather be attacked by a Symbiont than a symbiote as a Symbiont sounds slower, like a bear sharing a central nervous system with a flipping Narwhal.

3. Why did no one spellcheck this in Marvel? I know the 90s was a big decade for them but still. DC must’ve left notes up somewhere just to bate them you’d think.

4. Should I have relied quite so heavily on comics to supply me with correct spellings of things?

The answer to this is probably not. I’ve checked a map. America is indeed, spelt America. Phew.

Practitioners 1: Simon Bisley

Black Heart 2000AD ABC Warriors: The Black Hole

Blackheart claims a guardsman 2000AD ABC Warriors: The Black Hole

Simon Bisley, born March 4, 1962 might have well have been born toking a mighty cigar made out of dragon skin and playing an electric guitar made of human bone and bits of broken tank. Simon Bisley is the ultimate British artist thanks to his work on 2000AD (ABC Warriors, Judge Dredd) Lobo and Heavy Metal.

Simon Bisley is a fine artist gone nuts. Much imitated, he inspired a generation of artists to draw the extreme in intricate detail. His work relies entirely on an intimate knowledge of human anatomy. He uses this to stretch, distort and excensuate in equal measure. He is a practitioner in the purest form. One that learned his trade intimately so he could turn it on its head and rape it silly.

Its hard to come up with enough superlatives about Simon Bisley’s work. His artwork looks like a methadone freakout in a schizophrenics wet dream. Muscles and sinew stretch across blood drenched and eyeball bursting panels lined with delicate and sumptuous colours or intricate crosshatched fine inkwork. Whether capturing an embattled mecha or a languishing nymph in minute (or no) clothing, Simon Bisley ruled the 90s in British comic books. No artist came closer in that period at capturing the grit, the savagery and the downright wild untapped sexiness and humour that the British comic book reader wanted.

He is a rock god with a pencil. Said to now be drawing for European magazines and having lost the legendary mojo of his youth I would have to say that there was little or no way he was going to keep the work he was doing without setting his right hand on fire and trying to paint with the stub of his finger while wanking crude oil into a cup. This is how I think when I’m faced with Simon Bisley’s work.

Slaine: The Horned God (1988) by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley

2 Days Later

Steve and I will be down at the Theatre Royal in Margate this Saturday for the 2 Days Later film festival. The Devil’s Fork is in the final 12 of the competition, which is something of a remarkable feat for a rather silly film, so we’re going along to support. It’d be lovely to see you chaps down there if you fancy it as it should be a good laugh.

Full details are available from here!


Minimum Carnage

I’ve been trying to get back into reading monthly comics again, following a couple of years of being (like Steve) a strictly trades man. I’m pretty out of the loop on current storylines so it’s been rather nice to wander into a comic shop and just see what grabs me. Of course, getting back into Marvel or DC in these days of decompressed storylines and mega-crossovers can be a little daunting – I’ve already spent far too much pocket money on back issues of the various Avengers books and attempted to work out what the hell’s going on, with varying degrees of success (Iron Man feels like putting on a comfy old hoodie that I’d forgotten I owned while Shadowland may as well be written in Japanese). So I was rather surprised to see that on the very month that I was setting to work on building my collection again, a new mini series was starting up centring on a true guilty pleasure of mine.

Ok, let’s get this clear right from the off: I know Carnage is rubbish. He’s a shameless knock off, he has all the depth of an earwig’s paddling pool and his entire gimmick (that he, you know, creates carnage) is hopelessly neutered by the fact that he inhabits a teen rated book. But the fact is that I am a child of the 90s (or more specifically an early teen of the 90s) and as such am as hopelessly wed to Venom and Carnage as they are to…well I won’t make a dumb symbiont gag. As much as the cynical adult in me wants to run a mile from “The return of Carnage”, the kid in me won’t let it happen. If the book has symbionts in, it’s going on my pull list.

Which leads me to my second surprise, Carnage #1 is actually rather good. Clayton Crain’s art is really well suited to the tone and it turns out that goofy 90s villains actually look pretty scary when you’re not drawing them in goofy 90s colours. I’ve not encountered Zeb Wells before, but he seems to be from the school of super hero writing that I like, fun but high stakes. Maybe it’s the art style but it actually reminds me a little of Iron Man or Captain America, which can never be a bad thing. There is one minor issue with this Carnage story…Carnage is actually in it. Not yet anyway. This either means that the book is building its bases carefully ready to open up with a big payoff once the big gun arrives (like a good game of Starcraft) or this issue was a one off and as soon as everybody’s second favourite alien shows up it’ll descend into a mess of tentacles and brawling (like a good game of Starcraft). Time will tell, but for now I feel like I’m in safe hands and while it probably won’t be a classic, it’s nice to know that I’ve got something fun to follow while I work out what the hell is going on in X-Force these days.


Friday Film: The Day The Moon Got Too Close

Every Friday we descend into the vaults here at Bunker HQ and dig out one of the many fine (and occasionally not so fine) films that we have produced over the years. Come join us for another instalment of cinematic silliness.

We have a fair few old film projects to get through over the next few weeks, so I thought it made sense to start with the one responsible for this whole daft endeavour. This is the origin of our beloved Moon. A 90 second film, produced several years ago for some Motorolla competition. The brief was to make a film based on the tagline “The Day The Moon Got Too Close” and after a quick brain storming session with Paul, the cop with a Moon for a head was thrust upon the world. The guy playing this early version of Shades is a buddy of ours from a band called Silvers who are rather wonderful. Apologies for the image quality, it was uploaded back in the days when youtube only liked very small files, there’s a better quality one over on the (infuriatingly hard to embed) vimeo page if you prefer.

It is now my birthday and there is fudge to consume.


-edit- Steve worked out Vimeo embedding so I’ve replaced the Youtube link for the vimeo one. If you’re particularly fond of Youtube then you can find that version of the vid here.


Final post of the night as Dan has finally remembered to up my status to partner / editor as opposed to contributer. Par for the course perhaps?

Basically, the story so far….

Dan Thompson and Steve Penfold;  2 hapless souls with an affinity for absurdist lunacy and between them one third of a degree in television and video production and a masters in comedy (no, really) met in a darkened section of an obscure historically themed attraction in central London, as actors.

They admittedly set about encouraging members of the audience to pile up all props in a faux burglary of 1600s London Bridge and are awarded, as previously mentioned, the auspicious, inaugural and one and only – Best Comedy Duo act at the attraction award ceremony – arguably due to a decision for one of the pair to play retarded.

This, obscurely, only encouraged the idiots and they promptly set about looking for weird shit to start putting out.

Shortly afterwards following a short film attempt for the 2 Days Later film competition – Ragnarok Dawn – soon to be appearing here – which was shortlisted but won nothing (causing Dan to throw a hilariously almighty strop in the theatre) they found that this somehow only encouraged them yet further.

Before long; a cavalcade of material began to pile up.

Most that Dan bothered to put into practice to meet with considerable success at the 2 Days Laughter competition – winning Best Editor ((Box) Fresh (2008)) and Best Stand Up (Dan Thompson vs 2 Days Laughter (2009)) and Audience Choice (Edd: Ducking the Past (2009)) while Steve was shortlisted at the 2 Days Later competition with his first solo effort; Cock (2009) which won special mention for Special Effects.

This year Beyond the Bunker’s second official entry, the Devil’s Fork – (all Dan’s previous efforts were under (Production) Box but will be presented here) – in association with James Eaton and Roughlee Films has been shortlisted for the 2 Days Later Horror Competition, the results of which will be revealed next week after the screenings in sunny Margate on Saturday.

Throughout all of this one project has remained constant (although Ragnarok Dawn, ironically, will not die) and that is the story of the Moon, now earthbound and battling the forces of nefarious evil on the streets of Modern London.

Moon was created by Dan Thompson and Paul Wade and brought to life in The Day the Moon got Too Close for  a one minute film competition in 2007. It followed the daily investigations and crook-catching activities of Moon. Seventies-style-yet-modern-day detective and tide-changing satellite of the Earth, Moon returns to the ground at dawn each day and chases crooks until sundown at which point he returns to his place in the sky.

While attempts to bring Moon again to a small screen floundered in a half hour film – the first director walking two days before shooting – prompting a phone call to Steve to take over at the last minute – of which 4 or 5 scenes were shot before we discovered that the timetable of crew available on the weekend and cast available during the week was unlikely to work due to it being utterly crap.

The storyboard and footage still exists; however the budget and frankly the will isn’t there to resurrect the project at present and may never be. The Moon project looked to be over.

However, in the years before Steve P had been working primarily – when not acting at tourist attractions – as an artist – occassionally but arguably most consistently in comics.

For 2 and a half years, working with writer Ben Morgan in Edinburgh and other creatives all over the UK in an attempt to put together a British based comic company (a few years before Mark Millar – HA!).

Steve P completed extensive concept designs and artwork for futuristic sci-fi battle comic Caelum Priory with Thommy Gunn and concept design work and artwork on Zookeeper by Ben Morgan. This was complemented with extensive design work for website, logo, heavy script editing and deliberation and multiple business plans that ignored the non-existent books in question – only for it to dwindle due to over expansion and lack of material. In 2008 Ben Morgan approached the now defunct Insomnia comics with Zookeeper and another artist was offered. Ben accepted and Beyond the Bunker effectively ceased to exist.

Now with Steve at a loose end, the suggestion of Moon as a comic book seemed obvious. Now effectively budgetless and with an existing story, storyboards, concept design and considerable good will it finally made sense. Dan started work on the script in 2008 for Moon: Book 1, following Moon through the story arc introduced in the second Moon attempt, only bigger. Finally, after 2 years of development and not a small amount of shouting and sleepless nights on behalf of Dan; and frankly a lot of hand waving and missed deadlines by Steve; Moon issue 1 is currently only a few short months away from release.

With the addition of Ian Chapman on colours and Ka-Blam comic printing press looking like our most likely printer at this stage we are booked in to attend our first comics convention in March as Beyond the Bunker comics – with a shade of Beyond the Bunker Productions / Studios available in DVD form on the table too.

Exciting times. There’s more to it of course with both of us involved in other projects but that will all be posted here in various forms.

So ‘Semper procedens’ as they used to say at my school.

(‘Ever onwards.’)  Tut.


The beverage maketh the man

Dan T and Steve (Penners)

Dan Thompson and Steve ‘Penners’ Penfold met  2 and a half years ago at an obscure historical theme attraction in central London. Following an award for best comedy double act at the first annual (and only) London Bridge Experience award ceremony for a show in which Steve P accidentally mimicked a mentally ill individual and Dan T simply tried to ride it out, both Dan and Steve have woefully failed to recreate the initial success.

Dan asked me not to post this shot of the pair of us – most likely because his glasses are wonky and he doesn’t look effeminate enough – but this is unlikely to be the last time I haven’t done as requested. Bwa ha ha ha!! Also I think it captures the pair of us better than any other shot taken so far.

I’ve also done it wrong and eaten up some of the very limited bandwidth that’s available on this site right now, which might, in some ways illustrate his point which is a brilliant start.

May the start be with you

Greetings Earthlets,

Welcome to Beyondthebunker.com.

A depository for comic book, video, film, writing and creative outpouring myself and Dan Thompson. Built around a number of projects that both myself and Dan have worked together on and things we have worked on with others carrying the Beyond the Bunker stamp; we hope you find what you are looking for on this site.

Keep your eye on this space. It’ll fill up fast.