What do a druidic talisman, shape-shifting cat people and Warren Ellis have in common? The answer is Red Phone Box, a fiction anthology currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Led by Salome Jones and Tim Dedopulos, Red Phone Box features stories from Ellis, comics writer Dan Wickline and 26 others, including myself. Speaking with Tim and Salome, I try to get to the bottom of this unique anthology.
How did Red Phone Box come about?
Salome: It started as a web series. I wrote the first story and put it on my website. I got a few people wanting to write for it right away, but it really took off when Warren wrote a little blog post about it. The best thing that came out of that blog post was Gethin Lynes finding us. I shopped for other writers. Asked for names and tracked people down, asking them to contribute stories. For example, Peter Dawes writes vampire novels in his real life. So when a vampire character came up in the book, I got in touch with him and asked him to write a story about that character. I wanted something erotic, so I sought out a writer of erotica.
The biggest epiphany I had was in realizing that Tim could use his puzzle-making skills to help me weave the stories together better. This was the moment when the story cycle was born. Before this bulb went off in my head, this was just an anthology. It became something bigger when Tim agreed to help me fill in the missing pieces.
Red Phone Box draws on writers from around the world. Where did you find them all?
Salome: I can really answer this in one word: Twitter. This is a novel made possible by social media. Everyone who worked on the book is connected to me or one of the other writers by Twitter. This is what creative collaboration and meeting people is in the twenty-first century. We’re living in the future and it’s really a great place sometimes.
If you mean more specifically where were they found… Well, all over the United States, Canada, the UK – both England and Scotland, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, another mystery country, Australia, and the Middle East.
Limited Edition RPB print by Ben Templesmith
You’ve described Red Phone Box as a story cycle. How do they fit together?
Tim: Story cycles are collections of independent stories that work together to provide some overall narrative or contrast. This can range from very tightly linked material like James Joyce’s Dubliners down to widely-dispersed collections of material, such as Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos tales. Academics argue back and forth about exact definitions incessantly, which makes for a decent career I guess.
In our case, the unifying pivot point is the Red Phone Box itself – and the history (and fate) which are attached to it. The Box is, well, it’s many things, but it’s often a gateway. The thing about gateways is that sometimes they suck you in, and sometimes they let things out…The different stories permit illuminated glimpses through, so you can see a bit of what is going on. So as well as often interlinking and feeding into each other directly, they also give you changing views into the events happening in the background. Bad things are building, and the future is reaching out to the present.
So while you can enjoy the stories as unrelated tales in themselves, they also work as a jigsaw, slotting together to give you a vision of something much larger and darker. It all takes a lot of shepherding, of course. But the end result is something really rather special, I believe.
How on Earth you did nab Warren Ellis?
Salome: Warren and I have been friends for years. When I was a graduate student studying writing in the US, he was my guru. I even dedicated my thesis to him. When you study writing in an academic setting, there’s a lot of bias against writing genre. I really sought out writer friends who called bullshit on that and Warren was at the front of that line of people for me. So when I started this project, he was very supportive. I was a bit terrified to ask him to write for it. I remember trying to come up with a persuasive argument for how it would benefit him. Finally I just asked him. He really is a nice man and in spite of his protestations, quite brilliant.
At this point, the book is funded. Do you have any stretch goals in mind?
Tim: Of course! The Kickstarter goal is the amount we require to fulfill all the pledge rewards and to get the book actually printed. Our next aim is to set up a distribution deal and get the book into brick and mortar stores. There’s quite a lot of hoops to leap through there, many of which take fairly substantial amounts of money. So that’s our first aim. If we cover that, then we’ll consider bribing another big-name writer to join Warren Ellis in the contributors list. We’re looking into possible candidates at the moment, just in case. After that… Hm, we’ll think of something. A Red Phone Box comic cycle, perhaps?
Salome: We plan to do a second book. We’ve signed up some new people to write it. Some of the current crop of writers will be back. We hope to recruit some big names. We’re still looking for good writers. The second book will be a little more planned out. We want it to take what we have and draw to a kind of finale.
This book is very comic book series like in a way, more episodic in the way of a serial like a comic book. It’s more like life than the structured, plotted out novel or film script. That’s one of the interesting things about it. There are moments where you go, “Oh, those are connected.” That’s one of my favorite aspects of story cycle versus novel. But it’s a bit like herding cats to make it do what you want. So for the purposes of giving a big finish that resolves most of the threads, we need to give writers more specific assignments. This whole thing has been a big, gorgeous experiment. The second book will be a different kind of experiment.
More information about Red Phone Box can be found at http://www.gwdbooks.com/news.html
Patrick Troughton takes center stage in the second issue of Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time, freshly on the stands this week. Can this installment improve upon the first? Well, it wouldn’t be difficult…
Warning, here be spoilers. And Voord.
We’re treated this month to the art of Lee Sullivan, one of the long term artists for Doctor Who Magazine. This is a vast improvement upon last month. The likenesses are spot on and the original characters are vivid and imaginative. Very impressive, given the sheer number of background characters in this issue.
The story itself is a trifle. We don’t learn anything more about the mysterious hooded man in the first issue. Last month, I said I was reminded of The Five Doctors. This month, I fear we’re in for Ground Zero, a story arc undertaken by Doctor Who Magazine in the 90s, where various companions were taken at the end of each story leading to an anticlimactic and canonical nightmare of a finale.
I’m still not certain what this series is trying to do. It’s as if the Tiptons have gone on Wikipedia and glanced at each era of Doctor Who to see what it’s about. Yet there are dedicated in jokes that only the most obsessive fans would catch *cough*. The details are right, but the broad strokes are wrong. While these touches to the past are amusing, I want to learn what the bigger picture is. There had better be forward motion next month.
Panel 1-These are three of the major TARDIS props used over the course of the series. From left to right: the current TARDIS (The Eleventh Hour onwards), the original (An Unearthly Child to The Seeds of Doom), and the bright blue 80s version (The Leisure Hive to Survival).
Panel 1-“Look at the size of that one” was a reoccurring joke between Frasier Hines and Patrick Troughton, with them managing to work it into several scripts.
Panel 1-The Babel Fish Emporium is a clear reference to former script editor Douglas Adams‘ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Yarvelling and Zolfian were, respectively, the creator and War Minister of the Daleks in the TV Century Dalek strips of the 1960s. Here, the Daleks were blue humanoids before radiation caused them to enter their metal casings. The Noble Arts is a tip of the hat to tenth Doctor companion Donna Noble. Cogley’s Books may be a reference to the Deep Space Nine episode Far Beyond the Stars, which mentioned a writer by the name of Samuel T. Cogley. Creatures spotted in the crowd include Slitheen or other Raxacoricofallapatorians (Aliens of London), a Voord (The Keys of Marinus) and a Sontaran (The Time Warrior).
Panel 4-Fezzes are cool.
Panel 1-Magister was an alias of the Master used in The Daemons. The Hath appeared The Doctor’s Daughter. The Space Pig, even though he wasn’t really from space, appeared in Aliens of London.
Jubilee Pizzas first appeared in Dalek. The pizza box prop found its way onto the Torchwood set and was a mainstay during that series. The name itself comes from the Big Finish audio play Jubilee, also written by Rob Shearman and containing several of the same character beats.
Panel 4-The original Las Cadenas was a restaurant owned by Oscar Bocherby in Saville, Spain. (The Two Doctors)
Panel 2- Every time the Voraxx are named, it appears to be in the same font as was used in the aforementioned Dalek strips.
Panel 3-The woman looks an awful lot like Dr. Girlfriend from The Venture Bros.
Panel 1-Belnap VII may be a reference to Nuel Belnap, a philosopher dealing in temporal logic.
Panel 2-The penny farthing with the peculiar awning was part of the closing titles sequence of the cult 60s drama The Prisoner. Penny farthings were a key symbol in the show and represented to creator Patrick McGoohan of progress.
Panel 6-The T-Mat was a teleportation system used on Earth during the mid-21st century. The Ice Warriors used it as a beach head during an attempted invasion of Earth. (The Seeds of Death)
Panel 1-The robots in the corner are colloquially known as White Robots. They attacked Jamie and Zoe while they were trapped in a void that lead to the Land of Fiction. (The Mind Robber) It is thought that they were manifestations of the companions’ fear of the Cybermen and in the audio Legend of the Cybermen, they are servants of the Cyber invasion force. This is their first appearance in the “real world”. The costumes of the original White Robots were recycled from an episode of the BBC series Out of the Unknown. Quatloos are the currency of the Gamesters of Triskelion in the Star Trek episode of the same name. Cubits are used in Battlestar Galactica. The Alterian Dollar is from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, though it has recently collapsed.
Panel 4- Jamie and the Doctor first ran into the Martians on Earth during the middle of a future ice age (The Ice Warriors). They, this time with Zoe in tow, came in to conflict with them again during the T-Mat crisis (The Seeds of Death). As the Doctor points out, it was the humans in the future that named them Ice Warriors, though the Martians themselves have used it in various times and places since.
Panel 1-There appears to be a Draconian in the right corner (Frontier in Space).
Panel 3-The green blobby thing with a single eye is an Alpha Centauri, a race of hermaphroditic hexapods (The Monster of Peladon).
Panel 4-The weird black teletubby is another Voord. According to the Grant Morrison comic The World Shapers, the Voord are the ancestors of the Cybermen. Perhaps coincidentally, the comic features an older Jamie after his travels with the Doctor.
The first issue of Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time hit stands this week. With so many offerings in different media being presented to us for the 50th Anniversary, how does IDW’s stack up?
Warning, here be spoilers. And Katy Manning.
The first thing that struck me was the similarity between this and The Five Doctors. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Five Doctors, but we are definitely getting the same set up here. A mysterious hooded enemy is observing the Doctor through multiple incarnations, throwing old adversaries at him. In The Five Doctors, the Doctor gets scooped off and away. Here, it is only the companions. Where they are being sent, we don’t know. If it turns out to be the Death Zone, I shall kick someone.
The more I ruminate on it, the less it feels like a William Hartnell story. While the characterization of the regulars is nice, the story itself feels more and more out of place. It is perfectly in keeping with the era that the Doctor meets a historical figure. Indeed, one of the original goals for the series was to educate and expand on famous events and people. This became less of a priority after the Daleks made such a splash, but it was still part of the series until Patrick Troughton‘s first season. Yet Huxley would have been a controversial choice for the sixties, still being a divisive figure. He would have been in living memory for some people and the show shied away from such things until the 1980s.
Also, as the following annotations note, the Doctor getting to the precise time and place he intended was completely unheard of. Oft times, the TARDIS crew had no idea where they landed and would have to figure it out over the course of the first ten minutes of the first episode. This was part of fun of the show. You never had a clue where they would wind up next.
Simon Fraser’s art is a mixed bag. In terms of storytelling, it is very well done. There are some great panels of the Doctor battling Zarbi that can’t be missed. But this is a comic that lives on likenesses. The Doctor himself is alright, but Ian and Barbara look nothing like William Russell and Jacqueline Hill, Vicki often looks far older than 16, and strangely Huxley is pretty good. Fraser has a knack for old men apparently.
Overall, I enjoyed it. I have always adored the Zarbi, so any excuse to see them again is very welcome. Quite where this is all going, I’ve no idea but we shall hopefully get some more clues next issue.
And now, a few things to notice about Issue #1.
Page 1, Panel 1 — While most images in this panel are too small to make out, of special notice is the upper right hand corner which features one of the infamous Katy Manning (who played companion Jo Grant) nude photos. Its inclusion here may be an indication that in the Who universe, Jo also took a nude photo with a Dalek. Jo met the Daleks in the episodes Day of the Daleks and Planet of the Daleks.
Page 2, Panel 2 — From top to bottom: The fourth Doctor and an unknown companion in Hollywood. Judging from the hairstyle, it’s probably Sarah. There is no recorded adventure with the fourth Doctor in Hollywood, but his first, second, fifth, sixth, eighth, tenth and eleventh incarnations have visited. This is the carving of the tenth Doctor and Donna as featured at the end of Fires of Pompeii. A photo of the TARDIS in Roald Dahl Plass taken during Boom Town. Roald Dahl Plass is also home to the Torchwood Hub.
Page 3, Panel 3 — From left to right. Row 1: Barbara Wright, an older Vicki Pallister, Captain Jack Harkness, the second Romana, Amy and Rory Pond-Williams, Micky Smith. Doctor Liz Shaw. Row 2: Dorothy “Ace” McShane, Rose Tyler, Adric, Frobisher (Doctor Who Magazine comic strip), Adam Mitchell (Dalek, The Long Game). Row 3: unknown (Possibly Charlotte Pollard from Big Finish audios), K-9, Matthew Finnegan (IDW comics)
Page 5, Panel 3-The sixth Doctor would meet a young Charles Darwin in Bloodtide. Darwin also gets name checked frequently in the seventh Doctor story Ghost Light,a sort of parable about evolution.
Page 6, Panel 3 — The first Doctor was almost completely incapable of getting the TARDIS where he intended to go. The running arc of the first season was his trying to get Ian and Barbara back to the 20th century. Just how they are in 1868 on the right day is something of a mystery. Let alone writing Huxley a letter that would get to him in a timely manner…
Page 8, Panel 2 — The first Doctor usually carried a tiny pen torch, but this larger model is new. The same prop torch would later be used as the first version of the sonic screwdriver. The flashlight was invented in Britain in 1899.
Page 9, Panel 4– The Zarbi seen here are different than those seen in The Web Planet. In that story, they are large bipedal ants with six limbs. Here they scuttle around on the ground and seem to have either six or eight legs depending on what panel they’re in.
Page 11, Panel 3 — Here the Doctor calls Ian “Chatterton”. This is an example of what is referred to in fan circles as a “Billy Fluff”. During most of the 60s, Doctor Who was shot on video almost as live. Tape was very expensive and there was very little editing. They would pretty much only stop if something went very, very wrong. If a line was fluffed, it was often left in. Hartnell had a tendency to fluff his lines, sometimes quite noticeably. How much of this was intentional to show how the Doctor was a befuddled old scientist, no one will ever know. But this did often show itself when the Doctor was referring to Ian. Of course in this comic, Ian’s last name has not been mentioned yet, so if you didn’t already know who Ian was, you might be confused.
Page 15, Panel 3 — The Isop-tope Device was created by the other native race to Vortis, the Menoptera, a race of giant butterfly men. At the end of The Web Planet, it was Barbara that threw the Device at the Animus, seemingly killing it.
From page 1, panel 1
Page 19, Panel 2 –The Light at the End is also the title of Big Finish’s forthcoming 50th anniversary Doctor Who audio featuring the fourth through eighth Doctors.
Page 20, Panel 4 –The Doctor shall encounter the Zarbi again in Twilight of the Gods and Return to the Web Planet. A Zarbi also made a cameo appearance in The Mind of Evil as a manifestation of one of the Doctor’s greatest fears! A seed of the Animus returns in Twilight of the Gods, trying to take over Vortis once more.
Page 23 — As mentioned in John Ainsworth’s essay, the 60’s Doctor Who comic strip was a sometimes bizarre sidestep from the show. For the sake of completeness, the Zarbi did appear in the comic and in the Doctor Who annuals released at the same time, but these are so confused in terms on continuity, these are usually ignored. For example, The Lost Ones features the Doctor traveling alone to Vortis before The Web Planet and includes a war between Atlanteans and the Menoptera.
Audio drama is a harsh mistress. In a YouTube clip world, the idea of sitting down for an hour and listening to a play can be a tough sell. And yet there is one outfit that is thriving, The Minister of Chance. Featuring a stunning cast including Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor), Paul Darrow, Jenny Agutter and Julian Wadham as the Minister, MoC is auditory science fiction at its finest. I recently had the opportunity to ask producer Clare Eden a few questions about The Minister.
For the uninitiated, how would you describe The Minister of Chance?
Clare Eden: The Minister of Chance is a drama series that is available as a FREE podcast to anyone, anywhere. We now have three episodes and a prologue available and have been overwhelmed by wonderful reviews for it. Basically it’s a cracking good yarn told by a superb company of actors!
How did you become involved?
Eden: A mutual friend introduced me to the writer/director/producer Dan Freeman. He had the seed of an idea to dedicate a series to the Minister of Chance character he’d first created in a BBC audio series called Death Comes To Time ([there] played by the great Stephen Fry. Dan is the most brilliant writer and has a very exciting and innovative view on soundscape. When you want to produce a series you also need a nuts and bolts person, usually with sharp pencils and a phone – he’s the architect but he needed someone to help him build it and when you hear him talk about his vision it’s easy to find yourself thinking, mm, I think I could help achieve that…
It seems every medium has a slightly different definition of the job of a producer. What does producing audio drama entail?
Eden: Ha! I’m sure that ‘producer’ on every project is a different handbook – as the exec producer on a series funded first by overdraft, and now by incredible fans, I can tell you it involves turning your hand to absolutely anything whatsoever needed and that can be from casting and contracts to publicity and cast catering! The only area I avoid is the technical one – my skillset may be broad but it doesn’t extend to sound effects and editing – that’s the world in which Dan reigns supreme! We have a few crew [members] who very brilliantly help us out in production but generally, the day to day task list is just managed by Dan and me.
MoC has attracted some big names to its cast. How did you approach, for instance, Paul Darrow?
Eden: I am terrifically proud of the cast we’ve assembled for this – and mostly it just required a good deal of nerve! I worked for many years as an agent and one thing I held onto firmly was that my clients found it hard to resist a quality script even if it did come with a bonkers budget. So we simply thought who we’d like to be in it, I approached their agents and we held our breath. Creating audio drama for release like this is a very innovative idea and fortunately the concept and Dan’s script piqued the interest of a superb cast! I was also able to introduce Dan to some really good actors that had been clients when I was an agent, and we have been able to work with several very young actors I know because they were Bursary students with the John Thaw Foundation which I run for Sheila Hancock. Across the board, it’s a cast (and crew) of people who play their role beautifully but are also really supportive and ‘up for it’!
You are beginning production on Episode Four now. Has production become easier the more you do?
Eden: The headaches of achieving miracles on a very small budget remain a challenge always but the cast (and their agents) now know they can trust us to produce something of quality and that they’ll enjoy working with us, so that side has become easier. I do feel like we’re getting a gang of mates back together each time. Similarly, now we’ve got history and an established group of both fans and supportive reviewers, it’s a bit easier to get word out when we have an episode to release, or are starting a crowd-funding campaign.
Has Dan let you in on where the series is going?
Eden: If I answered that, I’d not live long enough to finish this senten….
There’s no real precedent in the audio medium for the type of crowd sourcing MoC does. Do you find that to be liberating?
Eden: It is very wonderful to think ‘well I like this script, shall we just make it’? The commissioning process can be very frustrating and there is no doubt that it is liberating to be able to make something because we think it’ll be good – and to make it the way we want to. But it doesn’t mean we’re not answerable to anyone, we’re answerable to a heap of people who have invested their very hard earnt cash into becoming Minister Moguls. It’s fantastic to be in direct contact with its audience and to experience their phenomenal support, and both Dan and I feel a real sense of responsibility in making that support count.
How can people help ensure more MoC in the future?
Eden: Well, first off, just go to Ministerofchance.com and download it (for free) and listen. Then tell anyone you know about it by any means possible (we have no publicity budget!) and that’ll bring in more fans. If you have any spare cash, then brilliant, invest in a perk like the chance to be in it, or to own cast-signed scenes and have a character named after you – that all helps finance the next episode. We also have some merchandise available on our website and profits from that support production too, we’re hoping our merchandise range will help solve a few Christmas present headaches as we get nearer that time of year! But even if you’re broke, your help in simply introducing new people to it, or sharing news via Facebook or Twitter, and even something seemingly straightforward like leaving a review on iTunes makes a real difference to its future. The series just wouldn’t exist without its fans!
Matt Hawkins, best known to the world as the President of Top Cow Comics, recently spoke with us about the new series he’s writing called Think Tank. Shortly after this interview was conducted, Top Cow announced that Think Tank would become an ongoing series.
Here now are Mr. Hawkins’ thoughts on slacker geniuses, unbelievable tech, scientific ethics, and the cost of being the boss.
Since the book just came out, how would you describe Think Tank for the uninitiated?
Matt Hawkins: Think Tank is a book about a research scientist who was seduced into service for DARPA and the military at the tender age of 14 by being given a full ride to Cal Tech and the promise to be in the leading lab in the world. David of course accepted and got sucked into a world he became disillusioned about later. The story starts with him already being disillusioned and he is a bit of a slacker genius at this point. He doesn’t finish what he starts and sort of does just enough to get by…which is more than most of us could do but he’s expected to do more. A new military officer has been put in to oversee the lab who’s goal it is to get David to work again. He created some amazing tech for them and they want more. This is the nature of the conflict.
The tech in the book seems scarily within the realm of possibility. How much research did you have to do?
Hawkins: The research for this has been lifelong but more specifically for this project in the last year. A lot of this is based on my own interactions with scientist friends and people I know. Research for me is an ongoing curiosity and not really a chore. I find it to be the funnest part.
The book raises interesting points about scientific responsibility. Do you think scientists should be held accountable for their creations, or is it the duty of the user?
Hawkins: Oh I think people have a responsibility for what they create. There will always be more questionably moral people who will look to use whatever it is for their own advantage, which frequently translates to evil. I believe in science and what we’re doing now is pretty amazing, but there is a responsibility to make sure that this stuff is controlled. There are bioweapons being developed and tested daily that could wipe out the whole world if they got out… and in some cases with some of them in less than 24 hours.
Was it difficult juggling your duties as Top Cow’s president with writing?
Hawkins: Yeah this is just a matter of sleeping less!
While we’re at it, what’s a typical day as president like?
Hawkins: I always have more than I can do to get done but I prioritize and try to knock one or two things off my to do list before I get into email, phone calls, etc. Afternoons I have a lot of meetings, review contracts, cut checks, run profit and loss analysis…all kinds of boring shit.
Think Tank #1 went to a second printing and it is still on sale at your local comic book shop.
At Comic Con, I again had the opportunity to sit down with Moriarty writer, Daniel Corey for a quick catchup on his current projects. Moriarty is not only one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years, it gives you a lot to sink your teeth into. Highly, highly recommended.
You have two volumes of Moriarty out now, how is work progressing on volume three?
Daniel Corey: We’re just on a little break right now. I actually have it mostly written. It’s just a matter of catching up on production and such.
Since the last time we talked, you’ve announced that the first volume of Moriarty: The Dark Chamber, is going to become a musical.
How did that come about?
Corey: It’s funny, because I had thought about that before. I was like, “Ah, this would make a good musical.” Never seriously thought about it. I was talking to the guys at SciFi Pulse and they told me, “Hey, we think this would make a great stage play. We love this opening monologue, it’d be great on stage.”I was seeing it in my mind. And a friend of mine, [composer] Ray Schnurr came up to me and said, “Hey, we should think about doing this as a musical.” It suddenly became a serious reality. Once he said that, it was like let’s go do it!
The stars just aligned?
Corey: The stars aligned. Kismet, I think! It came together. We’re in progress on that. We have a script, Ray is working on music this week as we talk here at Comic Con. Next week we’re going to sit down and really start working hardcore on the lyrics. As we paced through the script, we’d talk about, “Let’s have a song about this,” and a few ideas here and there but we’re really going to start working on the meat and potatoes lyric writing next week.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
Talk to just about anyone who’s been to Comic Con in the last five years and you will hear the same word crop up: crazy. And it is. And if attending it as a fan is crazy, press is more so. You have to be at a certain place at a certain time, or you don’t get the story. My mantra during Comic Con was, “It’s Comic Con, shit happens.” If Murphy’s Law wasn’t quite in action, it was hovering around my head pretty closely. There were interview cancellations, there were run-ins with security, Friday morning I couldn’t find my badge for half an hour before I left the hotel. You just can’t take it personally, because it’s not just you. This is happening to everyone, to one degree or another.
The other odd thing about going as press is that it opens as many doors as it closes. Yes, you get closer to talent, but at the same time you don’t get the chance to be a fan with them. Not to the same degree. When I was in the roundtable with Mark Hamill, I couldn’t allow myself to say, “Bloody hell, you’re the Joker! Luke Skywalker! The Guyver!” Well, maybe not the last one. He shook my hand, and it wasn’t until half an hour later that it struck me just how big a thing that was for a fan but miniscule for a press opportunity. It’s fairly standard to shake the interviewee’s hand. But…it’s Mark Hamill! Those thoughts were going through my head all week.
Some of my favorite moments of the Con were just fan moments. I got to tell the creators of Tiny Titans how much their little kids book had meant to me, standing in line to get Caroline Skinner’s (Doctor Who producer) autograph, taking funny photos of myself with a statue of Gollum. These are the things I will take away with me. Running into folks I knew in high school or college, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a decade, that’s huge. Comic Con is crazy, yes, but Comic Con is also an opportunity. You don’t get to do half this stuff anywhere else. There is no other convention in North America like this. So you learn to live with the crazy and look forward to starting the madness all over again next time you return to Never Never Land.
He is the Captain. The first, and many would say the best. William Shatner has been a constant for Star Trek fans over the last 46 years — on screen, behind the camera, and at the conventions. In his later years though, Shatner has picked up a magnifying glass and held it up to the phenomenon that has given him a career and the fandom that has supported and at times, reviled him. Our Steven Sautter was at a roundtable interview with Mr. Shatner during Comic-Con where Captain Kirk set his phaser to philosophize. Give it a read.
On fans and their motives for gathering at Cons:
William Shatner: I wrote a book, on which I thought “Who goes to Comic-Con, who goes to Star Trek conventions?” And I sought to do interviews and do my due diligence about who comes to Comic-Con, what characters and why? And I came to the conclusion in the book, that that they were there to see each other, renew friendships, and have fun.
But when I asked myself the question again and did a documentary about it, I arrived at a much different and much deeper conclusion based on sociology and based on mythology — there is a far deeper and mystical, mysterious, sociological reason for people coming to Comic-Con, dressing up the way they do.
“What are they doing in San Diego, those fools.” That’s not it at all. It’s far deeper than that.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
Iconoclastic Eisner Award winning writer and artist Darwyn Cooke held court at Comic-Con on Sunday and our Steven Sautter was in the room to take in what he had to say and also ask him a question during the panel. Cooke was joined on the panel by his editor, Scott Dunbar.
On The Score:
Scott Dunbar: Bruce Timm said it was the best one yet.
Darwyn Cooke: You have to understand, I used to work for Bruce and he was merciless. You’d take a drawing and laugh. “Ha, Mr. Fantastic looks like Dick Van Dyke.”
Scott Dunbar: We’re doing a fifth one too.
Darwyn Cooke: We’ll stick with Parker till they take him away from us. There’s other things I want to do, but this guy and I, we’re in it for the long haul.
Darwyn Cooke: 4th book is The Handle. Comes just after the Score. I already knew where I wanted to end, so I wanted this to come before. It’s a very visual book. Takes place on an island with a casino. FBI and Helicopters. All kinds of crazy stuff.
Darwyn Cooke: The last one we want to do is Butcher’s Moon. The one bona fide peice of literatrure. But you want to know Slayground first. We could do a 48 pager of Slayground. So you should be doing a 48 pager of the Grofield novel that shares a chapter with Slayground. Handle will be coming out in “Very late 2013” Going to start putting a project in between these for awhile.
Scott Dunbar: These aren’t books that you just put in the 3rd quarter every year. They are worth the wait.
On the the unique coloring that he uses:
Darwyn Cooke: When you look at artwork that hasn’t been colored, you can tell that the color is half the work. Hunter had Teal, because that color was everywhere in 1962. It did so in a distinctive but non overpowering way. Outfit went with deep blue, because it was night. Score, we need a sunny color here. It’s an exciting change for the reader. There’s a little trick we pulled, there’s a point in the story that everything blows up. And we pulled the blacks for two pages, so that orange just explodes.
On his process:
Darwyn Cooke: Everything is composed on the computer. We’re doing it the way they would in the 60s. It’s all old school. This page is all orange flowing out to white. I did that one on the computer. I inked it in black, and took it into photoshop for the orange.
Scott Dunbar: If you go to Albert Moy, Darwyn’s art dealer has a real nice stack of originals.
When do we get a Dawryn Edition?
Scoot Dunbar: It’s something we’ve talked about.
Darwyn Cooke: I don’t know what we’d do it of. I’m very pleased, but I thought that stuff happened after you died or retired. But my time right now is best spent telling stories.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
Mark Hamill will forever be Luke Skywalker, but he is also a noted character and voice actor (the Joker) with a long career, some strong opinions, and a wealth of information. During San Diego Comic-Con our Steven Sautter got a chance to participate in a roundtable interview with Mr. Hamill. These are Hamill’s rather moving thoughts on fans, the time he was told that he was impeeding the great Satan, Alec Guinness’ grouchiness, and the kind of in depth, informative type of interviews and talk shows people used to give — we hope this interview, which weighs in at nearly 2,000 words meets that criteria and we hope you read it all the way through as it is a thoroughly interesting look into the life of a true icon.