Monthly Archives: February 2016

20 Years of Evil

It began about twenty years ago with a group of executives from games company Capcom, who had an idea for the ‘horror survival’ genre. This game was going to be called Biohazard Japan, but as fate would have it, they would not be able to name it that in America as there was a game and a heavy metal band both with the name Biohazard. So the name Resident Evil was born.
In terms of longevity this franchise has to be the grandfather of the horror survival games. Looking back on the gameplay and graphics alone it’s a surprise that it lasted 2 weeks let alone 20 years. Selling some 64 million is quite a return for a franchise. The game has gone through some changes from that original format even a prequel in Resident Evil Zero and the game – with finally improved game play – in Resident Evil 4. Still, throughout the franchise the shock and dimly lit horror still stays true to its foundations.
Resident Evil has also spawned three animated movies and a range of action figures, as well as six action films staring Milla Jovovich in the lead role of Alice, the last of which – Resident Evil the Final Chapter – is due for release in Jan 17.  
Capcom’s idea has managed to stand the test of time and become a true classic and a founder of the horror survival genre. 

    
   

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February’s Round Up

Well, it’s been an a remarkable month. Thank you all so much for your ongoing support and welcome to all newcomers. We now, incredibly, have over 14.7 K followers on Twitter. 2,500 on Facebook It’s happened so quickly, 
If you’d like a mug, or you might prefer a t-shirt, or something else, we now have a new online store for your delight and delectation. Click to access it here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/swgeeksquad/shop.

All featuring our lovely, shiny new logo, 

Some of you will know that we have also recently introduced some new permanent features, such as our monthly recommend read and the already very popular Hotspot interviews. We are looking at new features such as maybe a recommended watch movie wise. We shall see
We would like to thank Marc Ducrow, Jon Laight, Luke Melia and the world famous Jock for featuring in our interviews in February. You can find out more on the links below.
http://www.marcducrowart.co.uk
http://www.level8comics.com
http://www.4twenty.co.uk
Next month we are looking at podcasters all you geeks and nerds that get behind the mike and entertain us with your banter. Featuring our very good friends The Lazarus Pit Pod and other guests from the Podern Family Group.

http://lazaruspit.podbean.com/

http://we-3-geeks.podomatic.com/
We have also been asked to review some very interesting books by various authors so they will appear in there too.Plus a review of DEVCON Plymouth which takes place Sun 13th March tickets are available from the guys at Final Frontier store in Plymouth on 01752 226660
If you would like to contact us or have any ideas about other features you’d like to see, please email Bob or Jules at southdevongeeks@gmail.com.
Thank you all again for your amazing support. 

Don’t forget, share the love!
Bob #geeksquad

Luke Melia Interview

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Luke has very kindly taken some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us….

  • Please introduce yourself and your business to our readers

Hello! I’m Luke Melia. I live with my wife Vivienne in Oxfordshire and work full-time, but in my spare time I write comic books. I’m published and self-published, and I run Dreamspace Comics – a company I use to publish my own works. At the moment, I have three books out there that I’ve written :–

  • Oculus – An epic 220 page graphic novel focusing on a police mystery in a world where a new technology allows you to see life through somebody else’s eyes.
  • The Strange Investigators – A short one-off (though I hope to write more) about three young people who are trying to make a go of their new organisation that investigates the paranormal and the strange.
  • The White Room of the Asylum– This is my most well known book – a graphic novel about a recently deceased man who left behind as series of audio cassette tapes that tell of his time in an asylum. There, he discovered The White Room– a dream-like place that he shared with other residents of the asylum, where they were free to create anything they could think of.

 

  • When did you first start doing this? What led you into this area of work?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write. It began as movies, TV series’ and novels, but it wasn’t until I started trying to write comic books that it felt like the right path for the stories I wanted to tell. Their episodic nature and the diversity of the genre worked well for the stories that I had in mind.

 

  • Give us one unusual little-known fact about yourself.

Hmmmmm…. I can do a rubix cube in under three minutes… I was one of the zombies in cockneys vs zombies- are they interesting? I clearly need a new hobby…

 

  • Do you have any plans or special events coming up that our readers would want to know about?

On Saturday 5th March I’ll be doing Oxford Comic Con. It’s my first comic con as an exhibitor so it should be a good experience.

At some point towards the end of this year our new comic collection Dreamspace Horror Shorts will be out too – one to look out for!

 

  • If you weren’t doing what you do, what do you think you might be doing instead?

If I could draw, then it would be great to be an illustrator. I’ve seen how the guys I work with can translate the rough descriptive text I provide them with into these great sequential panels and it looks like a lot of fun to do. Failing that, I’d be Batman.

 

  • Who is your favourite superhero or character and why?

The Punisher (I know he’s not really a superhero…).

Punisher is a very challenging character to write, simply because of how basic he can appear to be once you get past his origin story. Here is a guy who goes out looking for people involved in organised crime and he kills them. He has done it for decades, there is no end goal for him, he just keeps doing it simply because it’s what he does – he is a machine. He has nobody he cares about and nobody in his life.

Reading Garth Ennis’ Punisher stuff (in particular the Max series) taught me a lot about writing, because he managed to make the stories consistently brilliant without being unfaithful to the character. Since then I’ve stuck with Punisher throughout.

 

  • What is your guilty pleasure?

Probably Hot Toys… for those who don’t know what they are, they’re high-end collectable action figures of comic book/gaming/sci fi characters. I often pose and take photos of them…. it’s probably the most nerdy thing I do, but I enjoy it.

 

  • Who do you most admire and why?

In terms of comics, probably Garth Ennis, as mentioned above, for his Punisher stuff, although pretty much everything he has written has been excellent (Preacher in particular).

Also Robert Kirkman for his Walking Dead series. Even after all these years of writing it he still manages to keep it surprising, he never takes the obvious route, and he keeps it focused on the human element of the story.

 

  • What’s your favourite project that you have been involved in?

Making our first book Oculus was an absolute blast. I made it with two very talented guys (Vinny Smith and David Anderson) and it was a first for all of us. It was a huge project that we worked constantly on for 18 months, and it was incredibly exciting to see it go from being an idea in my head to a full graphic novel.

 

  • How about a recommended read that you haven’t been involved in?

Damnation by Rees Finlay and Jonny Pearson. I won’t say anything about the storyline, as it’ll give a lot of the book away (reading it blind is the best way) but in a few pages they manage to tell a deep and personal story that articulates a lot of what I’d like to say with my own work, but haven’t found a way to do so yet.

 

Thanks very much Luke!

Jon Laight Interview

We’ve recently taken the opportunity to speak to Jon Laight, writer and creator and owner of Level 8 Comics about his new kickstarter project and Celebrity Big Brother…..

 

 

  • Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do…

 

Hi there, I’m Jon Laight, the creator and owner of Level 8 Comics.  I started Level 8 following the publication of my first comic, Brethren Born, so I could really push on and become more than a one ‘hit’ wonder. (Disclaimer: the word ‘hit’ has been used in the context of Jon Laight’s own little world).  I am a writer/creator as well as being a full time member of the Fire Service.

 

2) When did you first start creating and writing? What sort of thing did you start with?

 

Being creative started at an early age, writing various bits and bobs at school and winning a competition for a poem I had written about Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine. Jump 30 years or so and I started writing a sci/fi novel in my spare time. Got to around chapter 6 with a pretty big word count, but then my first daughter came along and that spare time soon disappeared. Since then I have had another daughter, changed roles at work (Training Instructor) and writing a novel fell off the table.  But then the idea for a comic starting to form and Brethren Born issued forth from the depths of wherever ideas come from.  It’s changed a few times since, obviously, but as a first comic I am very proud of it.

 

3) It’s a bit different from being a Firefighter! What led you to writing comic books and graphic novels? 

 

Like most comic readers, I always had a million ideas for a comic story and thought I could easily do better!! How wrong I was. My job makes you realise that life is a very precious and sometime far too a short a thing and as someone who very recently said to me “I’d rather regret the things I did, than regret things I didn’t” I decided to give it a real go.  I tweeted a very famous writer about how I should start writing a comic and he basically said “If you’re gonna write a comic, write a comic, fella!

 

Following that, I opened up the laptop, loaded up the word processor and got busy and I haven’t looked back since.  As soon as I got involved in the small press world and met so many wonderful and supportive people, I knew it was something I wanted to do.  There have been a couple of weird and ropey moments with a couple of people, but you get that in every walk of life. That’s what makes it so interesting and a challenge.

 

4)  How do you deal with blank page syndrome? 

 

Touch wood (not a euphemism), I haven’t had to deal with this monster yet.  My mind is literally looking for ideas in everything, every single day and when I get one, I note it down and then come back to it.  A lot of them are utter shite but every now and then a little grower kicks in and I develop it like a little new born Groot, until it becomes a great big kick ass monster of a story or character. There aren’t many better feelings than that.

 

5) Your Kickstarter project hit almost £1,000 in just a couple of hours, you must have been very happy about that?

 

It’s hard to describe the feelings before, during and after a crowdfunding campaign. The first time was amazing – we funded it in around 18 hours, which was a very emotional moment. I was at MCM London (my first con) so the champagne flowed that weekend.

 

The target this time was purposefully a little lower and we funded it in just 12 hours, which is so amazing.  I hate saying the words “fan-base” (sounds so much like David Brent) but the small group of people who have message me lovely feedback, backed the comic again and asked when the second one is out, are all fantastic. They make it all the hard work worth it.

 

6) Give us a little known, interesting fact about yourself.

 

I’ve had two members of the 1966 World Cup winning England team stop the night at my house.

 

7) Do you have any plans or special events coming up that you are able to tell us about?

 

So many plans but I’ll try and keep to the interesting ones.  I am now part of a new comic collective called Close 2 Immortality (www.close2immortality.com) and we are launching the brand at London Super Comic Con on 20th Feb 2016.  We are a group of creators who have joined together to support, promote and share with other creators and the small press world, our varied links and contacts.  We will attend conventions as a group, which saves on costs etc, but also provides a place for comic fans to come and be assured of a diverse range of comics, genres and other goodies. They can enjoy it all with people who love comics as much as they do.  As a writer, I have several other projects on the go, which I’m really excited about, as well as beginning to develop and script Brethren Born #3.

 

8) Who is your favourite superhero or character and why?

 

Tough question, as I find it changes every now and then. I enjoy so many of them for so many reasons but just recently I have got to really like Groot as I loved the movie version. His double act with Rocket is usually really well written and funny but his powers and abilities are brilliant and he’s virtually immortal.  On the face of it, it’s very easy to script but to get across his expressions and meaning must be really challenging.

 

9) What is your guilty pleasure? 

 

Ultra crap TV…Geordie Shore, Ex on the beach etc.  So utterly crap but great to have on in the background whilst writing.

 

10) Who do you most admire and why?

 

Comic world wise it’s probably Brian K Vaughan. I was lucky enough to meet him last year at NICE in Bedford and he was a super normal dude; very funny and has achieved so much. Plus, I love his writing and only just got round to reading Y: The Last Man and really enjoyed it.

 

Real world wise. it’s Scotty T for winning Celebrity Big Brother…the culmination of years of hard work to achieve the ultimate accolade.

 

One of these is a lie……

 

Jock interview 12/2/16

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I’m extremely excited to say that we have managed to secure a mini-interview with a talented man who needs no introduction. A personal hero of mine, he has been responsible for such classics as Judge Dredd, Green Arrow, Wytches. He also co-illustrated SDGS’s January Recommended Read (and a personal favourite of mine) – Batman – The Black Mirror.

Ladies and Gentlegeeks, we proudly present to you the legendary Jock.

 

1) Can you give us one little known, interesting fact about yourself?

I once auditioned to play drums for the band The Cure, but didn’t get in. How’s that?

 

2) Do you have any plans or special events coming up that our readers would be interested in?

This year sees the publication of my first ever art book. Mondo – the poster company that I work a lot for – are moving into publishing and their first project is a collection of my work so far. In comics, movies and posters – covering everything. I’m very proud to be collaborating with them — their quality control is second to none, so really looking forward to sharing the book. We’re working on it right now. I’ll be at San Diego Comicon to promote it, and hopefully a few shows closer to home too.

 

3) What is your favourite project to date, that you have been involved in?

I like different projects for different reason to be honest, so don’t necessarily have a favourite… I’m very fond of THE LOSERS, as it was our first job for DC and we were pretty much unknowns, so it could have gone either way. But writer Andy Diggle and I just gave it our all and luckily readers seemed to really like the title. It was adapted as a movie by Warner Brothers too, so all in all that first foray into the American market served us well. I’m massively proud of WYTCHES too, the creator owned horror series I’m currently working on with writer Scott Snyder for Image Comics. As well as being fairly dark and violent, it’s a very personal tale too in lots of ways, and we’ve both been surprised and grateful that the title has gone down so well… it depends on the project – I like them all for different reasons!

 

4) Can you recommend a read that you have not been directly involved in?

Okay, let’s go with an oldie — THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES from 2000AD, by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson… probably my favourite 2000AD story of all time.

 

If you’d like to see more of Jock’s incredible work, go to http://www.4twenty.co.uk

 

Interview with Marc Ducrow

image image image image image image image imageMarc DuCrow Interview 2 February 2016

 

Q:  Introduce yourself and your business for our readers.

 

A:  Hi, I am Marc Ducrow and I’m a freelance artist but I’m also known for being a comic inker, editor and writer.


Q:  When did you start doing what you do?

 

A:  I’ve always drawn, but I started professionally about three years ago.  After about a year, it got to the point where I had to quit my day job as I was so overwhelmed with commissions, I just took the leap. Over time it’s evolved from sequentials and I’m getting known for my pin ups and cover work but I’m just doing a graphic novel now. It’s slowly going back to sequentials and cover work now; It seems as if publishers want someone who’ll do both, and I can.  So I’ve been doing it professionally about two years now full-time and I sit here for about 16 hours a day drawing!  But I’m lucky to have my studio within my home, so I get to see my family at the same time.  

 

Q:  You’re from the West Midlands, but you’re in Cornwall  why?

 

A:  For the kids, really.  My wife used to come on family holidays to Cornwall when she was young and I used to surf down here, so we both loved it here.   My wife brought me down to Tintagel one Valentine’s Day and within a year we decided to sell our business up there and move down here.  In the last three years we’ve moved about five times to find the right house, but I think we’ll settle here for a bit now.  We love rural life and it’s great for the kids to be close to such a beautiful beach.

 

Q:  So what led you into the art and illustration work you’re doing now?

 

In my previous business, I used to doodle all the time, on quiet days at work and I started to get really quite good at it.  I was training my eye and did a portrait of my wife and children.  That led to friends wanting me to do things for them and it grew from there.  

 

Q:  Were you a geek and into superheroes before you started doing this?

 

Not really.  I was never the kid who was bullied because he liked comics… I did like them though and used to draw Spiderman and other characters when I was you but never thought I’d do it professionally! I was quite open about liking them but when I was 16 and got a job, I left it all behind me, as I was putting in long hours at my job in the jewellery quarter.  It wasn’t until I got my own business and had the time to reflect on things that I picked up some of the comic books that I hadn’t looked at for years.  I carried them with me everywhere then and that was it. 

 

I did a piece on Alien which got me noticed and I’d like to take that further and do some poster work on it, but I think it’s a bit late now.  Alien Defiance is coming out soon (illustrated by Tristan Jones) and it looks fantastic!  But schedules and money are tight for it so close to it being released, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to now.  We’ll see!

 

Q:  Can you give us a little known, interesting fact about you?

 

It’s really hard, as I do try to keep my family and professional lives as separate as I can… but I do enjoy a good romcom!  Sometimes, my wife comes into the studio and watches one while I’m working…. Then the work gradually goes down and I lean forward and get sucked in.  We watched Spanglish (with Adam Sandler) the other day and I must admit I enjoyed it!

 

Q:  Do you have anything in the pipeline that you’re working on, which you can tell us about?

 

The biggest thing for me is a personal project, which I am looking to crowdfund  a comic called Standing Tall. The Kickstarter is due to start any day now, but please feel free to head over and have a look at- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/438071560/1931744695?token=f9895e4d.  It’s such a personal thing for me because it’s based on what has really happened to me through my life.  Obviously, some things are enhanced and exaggerated to make it more interesting, but it’s ultimately based on me.  

 

Q: If you weren’t doing this, what would you do as a career instead?

 

It’s difficult to say because I’m so adventurous!  I had a reptile and exotic animals shop, hence my Chinese Water Dragon, Sebastian, over there!  I’ve also been a Domicillary Care Agent looking after older people, and I do try to do as much as I can with my life.   You’re only here once.  Touch wood, at the moment, my work is supporting my family and that’s what it’s all about.  It is scary giving up a job with a monthly salary to go it alone and you never know when the next project is going to come in.  But thankfully, they keep coming!

 

Q:  So who’s your favourite superhero or character, and why?

 

That would have to be Kidd, the lead character in Standing Tall, because it’s me! Someone’s gotta like me! He’s called Kidd because he’s not aware of his real name.  He was left on the streets as a baby and brought up by an array of homeless people, so was given his name that way, He’s such a cool dark character and yet has a funny side to him. I’m really enjoying writing it and working on his character as I go. He’s quite ‘Spawn-esque’  he definitely has a dark, twisted side, but he has humour as well, for some balance.   There is an ongoing story so I’m hoping to be able to do more, but I’m taking the time around other commissions, to mould the character and the people around him, so that I’m really happy with the first one. 

 

Otherwise, It’s difficult to pick one, because there are elements of lots of characters that you identify with or like. I really enjoy drawing capes, so I doodle Superman a lot.  I’m also doing well with a Spiderman image at the moment, 

 

Q:  What’s your guilty pleasure?

 

Probably the romcoms.  Though I do confess to liking One Direction… and possibly a bit of Bieber!  I blame the girls of the house  its me and three girls.  Even the cat’s female!  It’s just me and Sebastian.

 

Q:  Who do you most admire, and why?

 

My wife, hands down.  I don’t think she believes me, but if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be doing this. I wouldn’t have had the backbone to think I’m good enough; she’s been right behind me.  

 

Art wise, there are so many great people out there who’ve helped me and taught me things and I’ve been influenced by many others. Lee Bermejo has been kind enough to talk techniques and as helped me out with some information. Otherwise Alex Ross, Simone Bianche, Patrick Zircher, Ben Oliver and Jock have all influenced me, but I’m finding more and more artists every day who make me want to try something and add it to what I do, I think that’s  important for an artist to grow.  I’ve had a lot of help from people and so anything I can do to help others I will do, to pay it forward. 

 

 Thanks Marc!