Bay Area zombies invade Mythbusters

Mythbusters has posted the trailer for their “Zombie Special” which was filmed on the grounds of Alameda’s retired Navel Air Station using many zombies from the Bay Area. The episode will explore zombie myths with the help of Michael Rooker who played “Merle Dixon” in AMC’s The Walking Dead. The Mythbusters zombie special comes out the same week as the launch of the fourth season of The Walking Dead which premieres on October 13. In addition to the episode trailer they’ve also posted “Mythbusters‘ Top 10 tips to outlast the zombie apocalypse.” The zombie episode of Mythbusters can be seen on Discovery October 17 at 10 p.m. (PST).

We’re especially excited about this episode as our very own Maddie Greene was a member of the zombie horde during filming. You can see her in the trailer hanging on a rusty door around the 22 second mark (also screen capped).

Maddie Greene as a Mythbusters zombie

Maddie Greene as a Mythbusters zombie

This appearance on Mythbusters is only the most recent step in Greene’s evolution from Zombie Scholar to actual zombie. She started off publishing the blog “Zomploitation” on which she’s reviewed nearly 200 zombie films (taking a hiatus in 2009), she founded the Madison Zombie Lurch in 2005 (perhaps the first Zombie Protest March in the country), and had a starring role in the original version of Z-Town: The Zombie Musical (she can also be heard on the cast recording available at CDBaby).

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Shaking the comics out of SF’s Litquake

Litquake2013Litquake is an annual Bay Area event that seeks to foster the region’s sense of literary community. Between October 11 and 19 venues open their doors to let in the literature-hungry hordes for readings, workshops, panels, happy hours, and more. Tucked in amongst the established authors, poets, barfly wordsmiths, professors, and publishers are a handful of events focused on the literary form of funny books.

First up is a visit to the Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission Street, on October 15 for Sumos and Saints which features Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham discussing “comics, education, and ‘80s cartoons.” Gene Yang is the creator behind the critically acclaimed and well honored American Born Chinese. Thien Pham is the co-founder of handmade comic distributor Global Hobo. In 2011 Pham and Yang partnered to publish Level Up. The talk starts at 7 p.m.

Inconveniently, October 18 is a night only Jamie Madrox can fully enjoy.

On the 18th at the Variety Preview Room, 582 Market Street, there will be readings from Super Stories of Heroes & Villains. This anthology, edited by Claude Lalumière, features a collection of original superhero focused short stories. According to the publisher “you’ll find the exploits, machinations, and epic mêlées of these superpowered aliens, undead crusaders, costumed crime fighters, unholy cabals, Amazon warriors, demon hunters, cyberpunk luchadores, nefarious megalomaniacs, daredevil sidekicks, atavistic avatars, adventuring aviators, gunslinging outlaws, love-struck adversaries, and supernatural detectives.” Joining Lalumière at this event will be authors Tim Pratt and Camille Alexa. A Q&A about the book will be moderated by Terry Bisson. The event begins at 7 p.m.

At the same time the Cartoon Art Museum will be hosting “Comics on Comix” which will feature comedians riffing on comics ranging from Superman to Mad Magazine. Comedians expected to perform include Joe Klocek, Ivan Hernandez, Karen Macklin, Tom Smith, Mike Spiegelman, and Marc Weidenbaum.
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UNAFF to screen “The Comic King of Guatemala”

UNAFF Logo

UNAFF Logo

It’s always nice when two of my passions overlap. This time it’s film festivals and comics.

The United Nations Association Film Festival, taking place mostly in Palo Alto, will be screening “The Comic King of Guatemala” on October 23 at 5 p.m. The short documentary tells the story of a passionate comic loving duo who tackle the challenge of opening the first comic shop in Guatemala. It’s an uphill battle not only due to the high illiteracy rate in the country, but also the lack of distributors willing to send new titles. The film screens with “Strong Enough to Fight,” which exams Kenyan youth leaving behind ethnic prejudices when they enter a boxing club, and “Familia Araya,” which follows a foundation’s efforts to use hip-hop to create positive change for kids who have been abused. The trailer for “The Comic King of Guatemala” is below followed by the festival’s description.

The Comic King of Guatemala – Teaser from Oh My! on Vimeo.

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The Shared Zineverse

Do you have old zines lying around that you may be considering throwing out? Don’t do it! San Francisco ZineFest is seeking old zines to add to their growing library and reading room in an effort to keep a comprehensive archive of zine culture. Pop your zines in the mail and send to:

SF Zine Fest
c/o Library Donation
P.O. Box 410073
SF, CA 94141

 

“So Super Duper” creator interviewed on 10 Percent

So Super Duper Issue 3 coverSo Super Duper follows the journey of Psyche, a gay superhero, as comes to terms with and embraces his sexuality. Earlier this year, creator and San Francisco resident Brian Andersen has collected the first 12-issues of the series into a shiny 326-page trade paperback. This week Andersen appeared on locally produced LGBT focused talk show 10 Percent with David Perry. You can watch the interview below, but also read some recent interviews with Andersen at ComicBook.com and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Searching for “The Immaterial Girl”

I was scrolling through my tumblr last night and arrived on a teaser I had very excitedly posted for the next story in Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen’s Phonogram Universe called “The Immaterial Girl.” The teaser was from February of 2012 and 19 months later it still hasn’t hit shelves. Out of curiosity, I did some very simple googling and the last official mention of the book was in September of last year on the Phonogram website:

“The bad news is that PHONOGRAM: THE IMMATERIAL GIRL won’t be happening this year. We were holding back from mentioning it, in hope we’d be able to make a better prediction of when the story will drop. But, due to a variety of other things, we still don’t know. We’re pretty sure it’ll be 2013. I’ll be highly surprised if it’s in the first half. What happened? Basically, life happened. ‘Scheduling issues’ and all that. Sorry we can’t be more specific. And we’re sorry we announced it as early as we did.”

I adore Phonogram, but also know that McKelvie and Gillen are both very busy these days with multiple projects. Notably, the brilliantly executed effort to tackle the frustrations and confusions of modern adolescence through the filter of superheroes in Young Avengers. The point of this post and mentioning “The Immaterial Girl” is to simply keep it in the ether until the stars align. I have plenty to read for the moment, but when “The Immaterial Girl” does materialize I’m hoping for a big Phonogram dance party in the Bay.

 

phonogramimmaterial

Superhero Street Fair returns to the Waterfront

Ever want to dress up like a superhero (or villain) outside and in public, but were nervous about doing it alone? Good news, all of your dreams can come true on Saturday during the 4th annual Superhero Street Fair where a few thousand are expected to don tights, capes, and masks. While you’re perfectly welcome to slip into that Speedball costume you typically reserve for only wearing around the house, the Superhero Street Fair encourages attendees to become their own superhero (or villain). It provides an opportunity for those folks who don’t have a well stocked costume closet to hodge podge a costume together out of items around the house, dream up their own powers or skills, and invent an alias. Showing up as a hero (or villain) will grant you a $10 entry fee, a sticker declaring you a SF superhero, a drink ticket, and free access to activities throughout the fair. The Saturday event includes a Superhero bootcamp, a visit from the Jack Kirby Museum, a number of DJs, fire performances, android performances, a costume contest…and more. Many of the details are below using my superhero powers of copy and paste. The rest can be found at http://superherosf.com/ or the event’s Facebook page.

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Bay Area enters unofficial film festival season

Cinephiles are spoiled in the Bay Area. Film festivals in the Bay are as common as tourists on Fisherman’s Wharf with a fest seemingly every other week. The rich tapestry of culture that is the Bay is well represented in the festivals with fests dedicated to specific nationalities, sexual proclivities, various causes, and a wide swath of genres. It can be difficult to navigate — especially if a film fan is willing to travel for the sake of celluloid. If any season had to be declared “festival season” in the Bay Area it would likely be these last three months of 2013. Starting at the end of September there are very few opportunities for movie buffs to get out of darkened theaters into the daylight. Below is an effort to create a comprehensive list of film festivals in the region from the end of September through December.

Oakland Underground Film Festival (September 25 – 29, 2013)
Tonight sees the kick-off of the fifth annual Oakland Underground Film Festival with a free screening at Grand Lake Theater of Citizen Koch. As a former Madisonian this film holds a special place in my heart since it features numerous scenes from the 2011 Capitol uprising. That film will be followed by a biopic of Bikini Kill/Le Tigre’s Kathleen Hannah, who is considered one of the pioneers of the riot grrrl movement of the early-90s. The festival continues over the remaining four days with a mixture of narratives, shorts, and documentaries. From the website: “a showcase for independent and Do-It-Yourself film, video, and projection-art based in Oakland, California. The Oakland Underground Film Festival places special emphasis on local filmmakers, social justice, urban life, the environment and works of fiction and non-fiction that thrive outside of classic narrative filmmaking.” OakUFF’s website: http://www.oakuff.org

Mill Valley Film Festival (October 3-13)
Marin County gets in on the festival action with the 36th annual Mill Valley Film Festival. MVFF is a bit more starstruck than many other festivals in the region with spotlights and tributes to Jared Leto, Dakota Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ben Stiller, and others. MVFF is an all-encompassing festival featuring films from around the globe  and in multiple genres. According to the festival’s mission: “With its reputation as a filmmakers’ festival, this prestigious noncompetitive event showcases international features, documentaries, shorts and children’s films — something for every filmgoer.” MVFF’s website: http://www.mvff.com
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Local creator seeking to kickstart the Vatican’s holy warrior

TheCruZaderFive years and 140-pages after first putting ink to paper Omar Morales is hoping to see his Vatican City superhero, The CruZader, make it to print. The Bay Area-based Morales is currently seeking assistance through Kickstarter to help cover the printing costs of publishing the full color graphic novel. As of this writing Morales is a little more than half way toward his $10,000 goal with more than a month to go.

He recently announced that Paul Gulacy, considered one of the pioneers of the graphic novel medium, will be illustrating the cover for CruZader. In 1978, Gulacy worked with Don McGregor to release the first direct market graphic novel Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species. He’s since worked with most major comic publishers and his style has been seen illustrating big name characters from Batman to Star Wars.
Morales has also tapped illustrator Ray Dillon, who’s work has been seen under the banners of Marvel, IDW, and Image, to produce a kickstarter exclusive sketch featuring The CruZader battling a vampire.

Who is The CruZader? According to a press release announcing the Kickstarter:

The story, from creator and publisher Omar Morales, revolves around the monk-like title character, Antonio De La Cruz, a reluctant priest who is re-trained as a holy warrior for the Pope. De La Cruz must embrace his destiny in order to defend the Vatican from an invading army of radicalized terrorists—who are much more than what they appear.

“The story is your classic action-adventure comic book, and what drives it is the inner conflict that Antonio suffers as a result of the often violent duties he carries out on behalf of the Vatican,” said Morales. “There is some strain and tension in his relationship to the Pope, and he keeps a very big secret from the Pontiff, adding to the intrigue.”

RetChronicles: Revisiting “Titans Hunt”

New_Teen_Titans_Vol_2_71For a few of years I’ve been haunted by a story arc from The New Titans dubbed “The Titans Hunt.” Since my original reading of the storyline in 1990, it’s lived in my mind as one of the greatest Teen Titan stories ever told. For a couple of years now I’ve wanted to revisit the story, but haven’t been willing to invest in the floppies knowing I already had them sitting in a long box 3,000 miles away. On a recent trip to my childhood home, I decided to crack open that box, pull out a big chunk of nostalgia, and pack it all in my luggage (I had to steal a second suitcase from my parents because I ended up taking 15 pounds of comics back with me).

The “Titans Hunt” story arc runs from issue 71 through 84, but the fallout from the events in “Titans Hunt” ripple well beyond issue 100.  In the letter section of issue 71 editor Jonathan Peterson promised to “shake things up” as the title had fallen into a rut. Working with longtime Titans writer Marv Wolfman and penciler Tom Grummett little time is wasted turning the Titans inside out like a baboon through a Brundle telepod. By the end of the first five issues in the arc most of the Titans are captured by the Wildebeest Society for a mysterious experiment, Aqualad’s in a coma, Titans Tower has been demolished, Jericho is revealed to be a traitor, and some b-list Titans are “dead” (I run the tally at the very end of this post).

Wolfman doesn’t hold back when it comes to putting these beloved characters (many of whom he created) through the grinder. Peterson definitely got his wish by the end of the storyline with most of the core members who’d been on the roster for more than a decade out of commission.

The storyline was successful in re-energizing the series by planting seeds for dozens of storylines that would play out over the next three dozen issues. It ends with a Riddler’s costume worth of question marks hanging in the air. How long will Cyborg stay a vegetable? Is Raven really dead? What’s going on with Steve Dayton? How will the inevitable battle between Donna Troy and her son play-out? Will Pantha be a good mother for Baby Wildebeest? STAR Labs honestly has no experience dealing with Atlantean biology? Is the Terra from the future the same Terra that betrayed the Titans and accidentally killed herself under a mountain of earth way back in 1984?

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