The Geek Whale team had the amazing opportunity to interview Dave Dwonch creator of Space-Time Condominium, Vamplets and one of the founders of Action Lab Entertainment!
Monday, June 30, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
A: I think it was when I was around 15 years old. I’ve been drawing since I was 3, I took a lot of art courses since then too. I discovered Anime and manga at the age of 10. But yeah, I started taking a serious approach to it when I turned 15. I began buying a lot of comic creation books, educational ones, to learn paneling and sequential art. Then branched out to manga art to catch the differences between both styles and see what I could and could not do.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current and future works?
A: I’ve been working professionally for writers since 2008, so I decided I wanted to stretch my own story telling muscles again and created LifeSpan. That manga recollects a lot of lucid dreams I’ve had for years and condenses them in a cohesive story. I’m also self-publishing it, just to see how far I can get with it; it’s a personal challenge. The future is uncertain for now. All I can say is that we’re working hard to publish two stories (God Shop and Flaming Pie) written by a long time friend/editor Alan J. Porter. We’re closer to transform Flaming into a serialized manga sooner, but I can’t give too much detail yet.
You were published by Tokyopop on 2008 along with Alan J. Porter (the writer of God Shop) how was that experience?
A: It was a fun one, very hard too, a great learning experience. The editors were easy on me, or maybe they thought my work was good enough hahahahaha. But not everything was smooth sailing, Tokyopop was dying, they cut one of my editors on the fly and just assigned me a new one that didn’t seem to care that much for the project. Nonetheless we got to finish it, I got paid and we all lived happily ever after.
Which is the easiest and hardest part of a drawing to develop?
A: If we talk about a technical level, proportions are always a tricky part of art. In the sequential part of things is continuity, making sure that your character looks the same in every panel. And in context of creation, the background of a character, making him/her interesting for readers.
A: Reading my favorite manga stories is always a great source for inspiration. Also, listening to great music gets my hype rolling…
What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Gaming, watching movies, and spending time with my wife J.
Do you have any tips for those future mangaka?
A: Well, learn a lot of anatomy, real one, you have to learn how a realistic human body works and looks to then make alterations. Know the rule so you can bend it, practice at least one and two points perspective. Draw your characters in all possible angles you can challenge yourself to, draw a little more. Respect the source material, if you’re drawing manga, research it, learn from “how to…” books, read a lot of it and study them. Manga is not just drawing characters with pointy hair and bloody noses, there’s a lot more to it. Participate in all contests that you can even if you fail all of them. You’ll have professionals giving you feedback that will greatly help you grow. We’re humans and we get depressed easily, just be strong and never stop fighting for what you want.
By Snow Drift
Many months ago, Dan Didio said “Heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests. […] It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand,” emphasizing how people, to truly be heroes, need to have tragedies and sacrifices in their lives. To him, a person cannot care about humanity without them suffering tragedies over and over again. To him, without tragedy, there is no motivation to save. To him, a hero having a happy personal life is a subtraction of their heroic selves. I personally believe him to be incorrect.
I believe that what many readers, since the humble origins of comics, have found so enticing and endearing about comic book superheroes is not simply their fights and superhuman adventures, but the fact that these men and women are symbols of hope. Superman decided to help humanity out of his own will and love for it. Wonder Woman, also known as Princess Diana, saw that Man’s World could still be saved through peace and love. Green Arrow aka Oliver Queen saw that even the most cornered citizens of the world deserved to live in safety. These people loved humanity and its potential so much that they saw their salvation was worth it. It goes beyond the notion of it being simply “the right thing to do”: it’s about how these men and women believe in the goodness of humanity at its core; that every single human, if given the chance and being guided when needed, can become heroes too. Each person deserves to live, to love, to give, and to receive.
For love for humanity to manifest itself to such an extent that Barry Allen would sacrifice his life in Crisis on Infinite Earths, for Superman to do the same when fighting Doomsday, for Charles Xavier and his X-Men to fight for the unity of humans and mutants; it all comes down to their own experiences of love. These heroes feeling that they can belong, that they are loved and cherished by people who will always be by their side, who will always smile at them at the end of the day and say “you did good”, is what motivates many of them to keep getting up every day to fight the evils of the universe. Because we must all remember that these characters, be they humans, aliens, spirits, or machines, still feel. They still experience emotions, from happiness to anger to pain; they still experience loss and loneliness, desperation and hopelessness. For them to have the strength and courage to fight incredible odds every day, they need to be reassured that their struggle has a reason to exist. Lois Lane always being there for Clark Kent to keep him grounded and hopeful and full of love; the Amazons of Themyscira nurturing and loving Diana throughout all of her life, Supergirl and Superboy having found a family with the Kents, Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle, being able to find a home where a family awaits him with pride and love, and the Bat Family, from Dick Grayson to Cassandra Cain to Damian Wayne, finding all of the same in Bruce Wayne, who himself found it in Alfred. In a world where everything is in constant tragedy and suffering, is very hard for an individual, one like any of us, to jump in and proclaim at the top of their lungs that they will save everyone until the very end of time. If they do not have a backdrop, an experience of love and compassion in their own lives, then they cannot see the same in the world outside of their own private lives.
Because these heroes are not gods or the Messiah or anything equivalent to those; they are not people who were born with the purest of hearts, chosen by a divine entity to save the universe from the darkness and evil. These are people who were born to have the same probabilities of either having a normal or abnormal life, depending on their future circumstances. None of them are perfect; they have all done their mistakes and erroneous decisions. Some have harbored prejudice where there was none to be deserved, others have not had the ability to be a proper parent, brother, sister, lover, or friend. However, they struggle to do better and we, as readers, witnessing their development and transformations into heroes are what motivate us to keep up with their lives.
Again, is it bad to have heroes whose motivation is based on tragedy and who keep experiencing it multiple times? No, it is not, nor is it bad for someone to have interest in these type of stories. But if every single hero in a comic book universe is made to be tragic from beginning to end, then this fictional plane of existence will drown itself in the darkness and whatever happens in this will affect reality, for fiction does not exist in a vacuum; it has consequences on the lives of the readers.
All in all, there is an incredible importance for these heroes to have a semblance of happiness in their lives. Some of their back-stories might be tragic or maybe their ultimate suffering will come later on in their adulthood, but to have them submerged into absolute darkness takes away what is essential of their beings.
Heroes are not named as such for their capes, their poses, or their powers. Their true heroism comes from not only physically saving innocents, but from also inspiring the same to do better; to fight, to run, and to stand again and again every time they fall, for we all have the strength and hope in ourselves to stare at the darkness and say “No. You may push me, you may wound me, but you will never stop me, for I am strong and live by the power of love and hope.” And so does everyone.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Review by: Samurai Millo's
Writer: Tom Beland
Penciller: Tom Beland
Inker: Tom Beland
Coloring: Black & White
Letterer: Tom Beland
Editor: Chris Ryall
Cover Price: $17.99
Page Count: 200 pages
Sale Date: June 11, 2014
The following excerpt was taken from a post at the Comic Book Resources web page. Click here for the original article.
“In Puerto Rico, there is a girl, Isabel Sanchez, who could be like any other girl you see in high school… except for the creature who lives inside of her that's a ruthless killing machine.”
I bought this book with the pre- conceived idea that I was going to read a very fun, very light adventure story about a girl turns into a Chupacabra, I was dead wrong. This is not your run of the mill fantasy tale, no wayhis is so much more.
This is the story of Isabel Sanchez, a girl has lost a lot and also gains a lot; of Uncle Tony, a man who no matter how hard it may be, must be the rock from which Isabel hold on; of Angel Muñoz, a young man whose own personal journey crosses paths with Isabel’s. This is a story about the human condition set in today’s frantic society. This is a story about the loss of things that are most precious to us and the pain that comes with that, about how easy it is to destroy someone else’s dreams and how hard it is to achieve forgiveness and redemption on account of such transgression. The Chicacabra is the gravy of that big juicy steak of a story.
After putting together this tale Tom Beland has evolved and moved to the next level in that continuous journey that is the process of artistic growth. He has grown and evolved both as a cartoonist and as a storyteller by getting out of his comfort zone and giving us a story that is written and drawn in a very clear, very direct style in order to bring us not only the dynamic and heart wrenching journey of Isabel Sanchez and her Chicacabra but also giving us a most lucid portrayal of today’s Puertorrican youth with all their hopes and dreams together with all their fears and frustrations.
When you read Chicacabra you will find action and adventure, laugh and tears, triumph and tragedy, you will get it all and you will be left wanting more. Buy this book, you won’t regret it.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Story and art by Josue Acevedo
Writer Alan J. Porter
1. Life Span
Life Span is the story of Kazuhiro Takano, a man who has been given a second chance in life after his death. Yet, Kazu with the aid of a medallion, female protector Hozeki, and an anima, he must destroy a threat that has dark plans against human kind and the universe. In chapter 1: Genesis, Kazu defeats an enemy and an anima appears and he must decide either to absorb it or use subordination. Later on, just when he’s arriving to the enemy’s Atelier base he encounters with Hagaro whose master ordered him to test him… by fighting.
2. God Shop vol.1 and 2
Mr. Ronald Drake, a weather man, wishes to have respect in the town he lives as he predicts the weather every day in the wrong way. When suddenly a waiter appears with a free drink that has a paper under it that reads “Think about the answer”. Later on, Mr. Drake appears at a special store called The God Shop in which the waiter; called Joshua and “the caretaker” offer to loan him the powers of a god for one day… Which god’s power will be borrowed from? Is Mr. Ronald Drake the chosen one? And who is this mysterious guy that wants to take over Joshua? Find out….
Life Span is a really good story in which I’m crazy to know more about Kazu’s past. Like why and how he died and who gave him a second chance; also, about his enemy, the anima, the kingdom, and just about everything. I really can’t wait to see how this story will keep growing. With God Shop I hope there are more volumes about this story as I love Greek gods/goddesses and I’m hoping to see Mr. Drake again, and to finally know more about the mysterious guy and know why he wants the caretaker position. Really awesome stories I wish to keep reading!
By Snow Drift
Ah, tragedy. You’re misery, you’re pain, but gosh darn it aren’t you so luring. From Oedipus Rex to Romeo and Juliet to Batman, you follow us all around the world, across all of time, giving us an infinitude of stories where men and women suffer and die. And sometimes we love it so much.
Tragedy has always been a literary aspect for thousands of years that have helped create drama and compelling and memorable characters. And sometimes, within our hearts of hearts, we love to see this side of characters. It’s interesting, one has to admit, to witness the growth of a man or woman from their fall into the metaphorical darkness of misery and despair to their stand as beacons of light for humanity, both in the fictional universe and the real one.
However, ever since the birth of what can be called the Dark Age of comics (what many believe began with the death of Gwen Stacy, but that is still being debated), but especially with the explosion that was the DC Comics company-wide reboot, the New 52, almost every single superhero, no matter who they are and where they come from, have a massive pile of tragedy thrust into their lives, with an added dose of the oh so famous “grim and gritty”. Superman’s adoptive parents are now dead; Barry Allen’s, the Flash’s, mother was murdered by one of his enemies and his father was erroneously condemned to life in prison because of it; Hal Jordan’s, the Green Lantern’s, father was killed in a plane crash; Bruce Wayne has had two Robins actually die, including his son; the Amazons are now men-and-baby killing warriors; Buddy Baker’s, Animal Man’s, son has been killed and so on and so forth.
Bruce Wayne could have ended up hating the world that he lived in. He could have witnessed the crimes, the injustice, and the corruption of the police and justice system and determined to himself that society was a lost cause; that it did not deserve, or was unable to reach, a future of happiness and peace. But he didn't, because within the tragedy of the murder of his parents, he had the opportunity to witness love and comfort from Alfred Pennyworth, hope in the police from Commissioner James Gordon, joy and innocence against all odds from Dick Grayson back when he was Robin, and so on. He saw all of that and understood that life, and the world, was made up of more than just hate and misery: it had love, it had happiness, and it had justice.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
By Lil Leia
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Hi guys! In this post I will be reviewing "The Fault in Our Stars", a movie you may have heard of, based on the novel by John Green. I will first proceed to explain the quote above. The quote is from the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare, and it's the source for the title of both the book and the movie. As you can probably see, EVERYBODY (including me, had to admit it at some point) is going absolutely crazy for the movie and has prompted everyone who hasn't read the book to read it before they see the movie. The movie stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort (which play brother and sister in Divergent, weird right?), Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern, among others, with Josh Boone directing. You probably know the basic plot, which is about two teens (Hazel and Augustus), Hazel with cancer and Augustus in remission, and that fall in love in a cancer support group. You're probably imagining a boring, unfunny cancer story, but it's not. Actually, it's a funny, romantic love story that almost doesn't talk about cancer until certain points of the movie. So, on to the review part. I'll *try* to make it as spoiler-free as possible, but I don't make any guarantees, so here we go:
Having read the book a LOT of times, I expected the movie to live up to the standards of the book (obviously, who doesn't?!?), and it DEFINITELY did. Have Kleenex (preferably a whole box, 'cause you'll need them all) ready, because the movie is VERY EMOTIONAL, especially nearing the end of the movie. If you don't like emotional movies, this is certainly not the movie for you. You're going to cry, and by cry I mean UGLY CRY, but you can burst into tears at any moment randomly for many reasons, especially because you see the love between the characters progressing through the movie. Shailene (Hazel) and Ansel’s (Augustus) acting is spot on! They perfectly capture the emotion and the love between Hazel and Augustus, and couldn't imagine anyone OTHER than Shailene and Ansel in their respective roles. Overall, all acting was well done, and there were no plot holes. I like movies based on books to be very true to the book, but some movies either don't achieve it or do it very badly, but The Fault in Our Stars does it almost perfectly. It captures the true spirit of the book beautifully, which is that you have to learn to embrace whatever time you have, with all its pain and wonder, because... "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities" - John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.
The movie was awesome! It really lived up to my expectations, and boy did I cry! I wasted an insane amount of tissues (don't judge, I'm a pre-teen who's hormonal) :P I loved the book, and now I love the movie just as much... I think I'm gonna go see it again. See ya next week!
VIZ MEDIA PREMIERES ANTICIPATED SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL ANIME SERIES ON
NEON ALLEY AND HULU ON JULY 5TH!
Based on Naoko Takeuchi’s legendary manga (graphic novel) series, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL (rated ‘TV-PG’), retells the story of Sailor Moon as she searches for her fellow Sailor Guardians and the Legendary Silver Crystal to stop the dark forces of Queen Beryl. Visit www.NeonAlley.com and Hulu.com/sailor-moon-crystal for more information; the trailer may also be viewed at http://www.hulu.com/watch/651047 and http://youtu.be/I0B5gnKvHKQ.
SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL will be available through NeonAlley.com, VIZ Media’s consolidated online destination for FREE streaming anime content in the U.S. Episodes will also be available on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service, where users can watch on a variety of devices including Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation®3 (PS3®) or PlayStation®4 (PS4™) systems Roku, Chromecast, and mobile devices. A full list of Hulu and Hulu Plus-enabled devices can be found at http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices.
“Fans everywhere have eagerly awaited the launch of the new SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL series, and we are very excited to announce its premiere on Neon Alley and Hulu starting next month,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “More than two decades after it first captivated millions of fans, the smash hit story of the valiant sailor guardians returns in a big way to thrill a whole new generation of viewers. Join in the celebration throughout the summer as VIZ Media marks the return of this legendary anime property!”
The original smash hit SAILOR MOON anime series was inspired by the bestselling manga (graphic novel) series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation!
Additional information on Neon Alley is available at: www.NeonAlley.com.
For more information on SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan. Owned by three of Japan's largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages. VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products. Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.
By Lil Leia
Hi guys! Today I will be discussing my experience at the 2014 PRCC. I was only able to go on Sunday, because I had to go to my grad party on Saturday (it was awesome by the way). But, nonetheless, I was aware of what happened on Saturday with the events and panels, the time extension, the bomb threat, the protests, and the extremely long line outside. Back to the main subject, I went on Sunday as a casual Wonder Woman, and I arrived with my dad at about 9:30 A.M.-ish. I didn’t wait for more than 30 minutes in the line, and based on Saturday we were ready to expect a 2 hour+ line outside. Well, we were wrong. :P Anyway, we entered maybe about 15 minutes after the doors opened, and what was waiting for us was pure awesomeness. We started with the right side of the convention center, and then made our way through. We stopped at lots of booths to look at the stuff they had and if we liked something it was very likely that we would buy it either on the spot, or later on when we made the first run through the con. We stopped at the HUGE booth that Atlantic University played the games they had made to exhibit at the PRCC. Then we entered the Artist’s Alley, and we picked up a couple of things from some booths, had a chat with some of the artists we knew and were friends with beforehand. And then came the Autographs Area. We only made the line for Max Hernandez (Agent Jasper Sitwell from The Winter Soldier and Agents of SHIELD), who was a super cool person! We took a couple of pictures with him and he signed a Funko Pop Agent Coulson figure we had, he wrote “I touched Lola!” (if you don’t know already, Agent Sitwell is a Hydra double agent, and Lola is Coulson’s precious 1962 Red Chevrolet Corvette). Afterwards, I crossed paths with Dalai Dama, DLaw, and Temper, then with a couple of my Dad’s friends and coworkers, took a couple of more runs across the con to see anything we might have missed, bought some last-minute stuff, watched the last part of the cosplay contest, and sadly left. It was an awesomsauce experience, and I cannot wait for the 2015 edition! See ya!
Monday, June 16, 2014
1. How did you both come up with the idea of creating this unique comic and why?
It started as a final project in college. The assignment was to bind a collection of poems or whatever we wanted; it just had to be more than a few pages. We decided to work together in something different and made a coloring book featuring our Little Reaper. The Little Reaper himself was product of random doodling by Ariana. It was one of those moments were an artist imagines this whole world around a single character. Later on, we spoke about starting a web-comic and after brainstorming a bunch of ideas, we realized that we had the perfect characters and settings all along! And that’s how it came to be.
2. Tell us a bit about both of you.
Both of us were born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. Ariana resides in Carolina, while Jessica lives in San Juan. We graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Arts. In our free time we like to work on original art in various mediums (original characters, fun settings, cute situations, etc.)
DOB: August 4 1989
Zodiac sign: Leo
On her free time she browses the Internet for new web-comics to read. Her favorite comic of all time is Bill Waterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes”. She also enjoys reading Graphic Design blogs and watching series and horror films on Netflix.
DOB: October 2 1989
Zodiac sign: Libra
On the little free time she has, she enjoys canvas painting and watching TV series like The Walking Dead (mega fan!). Her favorite web-comic is “Loading Artist”.
3. What are your current and future works, if any?
For now we’re focusing on The Little Reaper in Love. We’re planning on releasing a graphic novel, which is still in the planning stage. There’s also talk of a mini-comic book series about stray “sato” dogs in Puerto Rico.
4. Talk about Little Reaper in Love and your favorite character.
The Little Reaper in Love is about a group of ghouls and creatures that live in a Municipal Cemetery. Our resident, Reaper, is in love with a ghost –which frightens him, if you can believe it- and decides to turn her into a Reaper as well. The web-comic focuses on the many dates and situations that the Lil’ Reaper has to go through to impress The Girlfriend, bringing along his loyal friend the Zombie and “battling” The Vampyr for The Girlfriend’s affection.
Jessica’s favorite character is The Zombie because even though he doesn’t speak, his actions speak for him. He’s the Renaissance man around the Municipal Cemetery, which means, he does everything.
Ariana’s favorite character is The Little Reaper ‘cause he acts so tough but he’s very caring and naïve.
5. How was your experience in Puerto Rico Comic Con?
Simply epic! It was our first convention and we’re already planning for next year. We’re still dreaming about that weekend like it was yesterday. As aspiring web-comic artists, it was an amazing event to get exposure, meet other talented artists, make business contacts, and of course, talk face-to-face with our readers or like we affectionately like to call them: “Residents of the Municipal Cemetery”.
6. Last words (write anything you would like to say to your current and future followers).
We want to thank everyone for the support! We started back in August 2013 and since then it has been a humbling experience; from meeting and learning from other artists to participating in festivals and conventions. Keep reading The Little Reaper in Love, there are more surprises to come, and to those who haven’t read it yet or are planning to: We welcome you to the Municipal Cemetery!
Authors: JA Comics!
Welcome to the Municipal Cemetery! will be the characters of small lovely stories. Meet Lil’ Reaper, whose girlfriend can become a girl Halloween but turns back into a ghost and the only way to revert that is by kissing her… but Lil’ Reaper is afraid of ghosts! The first issue Lil’ Reaper takes his girlfriend on a date to the best restaurant and to a cavern that he carved but she didn’t uttered a single word! What could it be? But worse than that is when a new resident arrives and likes to hang out at his place: Vampyr. Vampyr is a Goth kid who is trying to steal Lil’Reaper’s girlfriend and because of that both of them decide to compete against each other to see who wins- who do you think the winner?
I have to say that my favorite episodes are: ‘Moon tanning your way to fabulous’ and ‘Full Moon’ but also the one called ‘Let’s get in Shape’. The first one because I can’t simply stop laughing when I saw Lil’ Reaper using a small bikini and the reaction Zombie had- which Lil’ Reaper thought was a compliment; but even funnier was when he started to walk away and you can see the thong (so cute). The second one, because they are both trying to lift weights but Zombie’s little arms just stayed glued to the weights and you can see the cute form of the bones and his reactions is like: what did you think would happen? I also liked a lot the little details like the cavern Lil’ Reaper made which had a heart-shape and how he was looking for a formula to look like a human. It’s a really wonderful and cute comic and I can’t wait to read more lovely characters, and I would really LOVE to see this in the future as small videos because that introduction video in their website was really good.