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Monthly Archives: August 2017

#FXC17 Exclusive Interview: John Bolton On Horror, His Art & His Graphic Novel: Shame

Artist John Bolton has had a long and storied career in comic books and sequential art. He made the jump from working in English magazines such as Warrior, to burgeoning American periodicals like Epic Illustrated, in the early 1980’s. He’s been working in and around the mainstream comic book industry ever since, as comfortable drawing superheroes as much as he is painting fairies, vampires and demons.

Drawn to the genres of fantasy and horror as both an illustrator and painter, Bolton has worked alongside some of the greatest writing names the comic book industry has known, including Chris Claremont on Marada The She Wolf and Black Dragon, both for publisher Epic Comics. With Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic for DC Comics, he created the look of the reluctant boy-wizard, Timothy Hunter, based on his eldest son. His acclaimed graphic novel series, Shame, alongside writer Lovern Kindzierski, is where Bolton’s efforts most currently dwell, with the first three acts being recently complied into a single hardcover volume.

There’s a sense of wonder, amazement, power, and sexuality inherent in Bolton’s work, combined alongside an overt menace that makes a viewer full of trepidation. Even when his sense of horror is not manifest, nothing is ever as it seems in Bolton’s completed visual offerings.

On the eve of an infrequent visit to Toronto via the 2017 edition of Fan Expo Canada, JP Fallavollita caught up with John Bolton in an exclusive interview via email, and asked him about his process, his female-driven subject matter, and his recent work on Shame.

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Creations of Chaos: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it’s the YA, time travel film, that makes you ponder, if you had the ability as a teen to do over your most awkward moments, which moments would you choose? It’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Girl Who Leapt Through Time Poster

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BBP! Guide To Fan Expo Canada 2017: Day 1 Of #FXC17

It’s Day 1 of Fan Expo Canada 2017. Are you prepped?

Let’s run through your pre-game checklist:

  • A hardy breakfast and lunch
  • Comfortable shoes
  • A backpack
  • A visit to the cash machine
  • Your list of pop-culture themed heart’s desires

If you haven’t got those five items checked off yet, what are you waiting for? This is Day 1! You plan to make it through to Day 2, don’t you???

Follow us down pop culture lane! Biff Bam Pop! is making it’s way to the Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre and, between the hours of 4 PM and 9 PM today, there are a number of things to do and see…and tips you need to know.

Let’s not dally another minute…here we go!

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#Kirby100 Lives On In “The Black Racer And Shilo Norman Special #1” On The Wednesday Run

This past Monday, August 28th, would have been the “King” Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday!

The comic book legend has had a hand in creating or co-crating pretty much all of the major pop culture superhero icons that you know and love today. I’m not going to get into that list – it’s extensive. But you can find it right here.

Go ahead. Be blown away by all that creativity.

In any event, Biff Bam Pop! has been celebrating #Kirby100 all summer long. You can find a list of all of our fascinating articles and commentaries right here. Of course, this particular column has gotten into the celebrations every week this month, highlighting:

Mister Miracle #1

The New Gods Special #1

The Sandman Special #1

Manhunter Special #1

Today sees the last “heads up” in The Wednesday Run #Kirby100 celebrations. At least for this month!

Today sees the release of the compelling, action-packed, sci-fi, philosophical meta story – and absolute fun of The Black Racer And Shilo Norman Special #1!

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Director Phil Joanou discusses his cult film The Veil

Depending on where you’re living, in late January or early February THE VEIL was released onto various platforms – Netflix, VOD and iTunes. The film, from Blumehouse Productions, stars Thomas Jane as Jim Jacobs, the religious head of the cultish Heaven’s Veil, a group that commits mass suicide for one unknown reason. Years later, the only survivor (Lily Rabe) is approached by a documentary crew led by Maggie (Jessica Alba) to return to Heaven’s Veil and uncover the truth of what happened that day.

Watching it at home alone, lights turned off, THE VEIL absolutely scared the shit out of me, first from a jump scare, and then from the overwhelming feeling of dread that permeates the film as the story moves forward. The movie also features solid performances from its lead actors, especially Thomas Jane, who is equal parts holy man and rock star.

Enamoured by THE VEIL, I reached out to its director Phil Joanou (with much appreciated help from writer Jim Hemphill) to see if we could chat about his movie via email. It was certainly exciting when Joanou agreed – you see, along with countless commercials and films, including classics like Three O’Clock High and State of Grace, Joanou directed U2: Rattle and Hum, which I dragged my father to see when I was just 11 years old (turning dad into a U2 fan in the process). I think it’s probably not coincidence that Joanou’s work has affected me as both a kid and now, as an adult.

On that note, enjoy my exclusive interview with Phil Joanou (mild spoilers ahead).

Andy Burns: Phil, congrats on a great film. I found THE VEIL to be a really wonderful, well-crafted horror movie with some seriously scary jump scares. It’s a departure from your previous work. Can you tell Rue Morgue the process by which you came to direct THE VEIL?

Phil Joanou: Like most directors, I’ve been fascinated by the horror genre since I fell in love with movies.  In fact, one of my first super-8 movies was a horror film called “Albino Hill” (I’ll leave the reader to imagine what that was about!).  I was really inspired and influenced by John Carpenter’s Halloween which was right around the time when I first discovered the power of what a director could do on film.  I used all of Carpenter’s tricks and even the “Halloween” score on “Albino Hill” and I promise you that’s what made it work (if it worked at all!).

Later on I was heavily influenced by Hitchcock, De Palma, Wise, Polanski and of course, Kubrick as I studied all of their forays into the genre.  So when Blumhouse came to me with the script for “The Veil” I was immediately attracted to the material, as I felt it was more of a “throwback” to those seminal directors’ styles and the stories they told.  Each of them used the “slow burn” style of storytelling… allowing the story to build and build and build as you discovered the characters and what the movie was really about (and in some cases, you are never really sure what it was about!) THE VEIL uses those same techniques (which is unusual in horror today) and I was intrigued by the opportunity to emulate that kind of filmmaking that had originally inspired me.  I think some modern viewers will find it “slow” or even “boring” as it doesn’t include super aggressive violence and gore to create scares (there is a little blood, but not much) and the real moments of terror, are more psychological.  And I liked that about this project.

Andy Burns: It’s my understanding that THE VEIL began as a found footage film, but that a decision was made before shooting to go in a different direction – can you give us insight into that change, and why it was made? Read the rest of this entry

GEEK GIRL chapters 1 – 4 Reviewed

Before I get into my thoughts on Geek Girl by writer/creator Sam Johnson and artist Carlos Granda, I want to acknowledge that I know what it takes to go end to end with an idea and produce a finished product. I know that ideas are hard to tackle and even harder to put a saddle on and ride across the finish line. So, in keeping with the tone of this sports analogy filled opening paragraph, good on these guys for stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences. Everyone involved should be proud that they got the work done and that their comic is out there for people like me to examine and critique from the comfort of my desk. So credit to you guys, but if I’m honest, as is my nature, your game needs work.

Published by Markosia comics (whose logo looks really, really similar to the Star Wars rogue squadron symbol), Geek Girl tells the story of college student named Ruby, who wins a pair of glasses that give her super powers in a game of strip poker. She then dons a skimpy costume, calls herself Geek Girl and tries to balance her normal life with new career as a super hero.

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Heroes and Villains – Reviewing Recent Comics 8-30-2017

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This time on Heroes and Villains, we’ll be looking at a variety of comics out this week and last, from a variety of genres and companies. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Year Three #8, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Year Three #8, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor Year Three #6, Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 2 #8, Lady Killer #5, Rebels: These Free and Independent States #6, Planetoid Praxis #6, the Hero Squared Omnibus, and more… be warned, there may be spoilers…

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BBP! Guide To Fan Expo Canada 2017: Preview #FXC17

There’s a well-known, partly tongue-in-cheek saying, that every Torontonian knows: The City of Toronto sees two seasons – winter and construction.

With the gut-bursting pop culture excitement of this coming long weekend, I’m wondering if we can’t add a third season into the mix, even if it is a relatively short one! Canada’s largest and most anticipated pop culture experience that ranges from comic books to movies and television to anime to gaming to toys…and so much more… is finally back!

Fan Expo Canada 2017 is here!

After waiting through twelve months of winter and construction, the most eye-popping weekend of the year begins on Thursday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and runs through Sunday afternoon. And, of course, Biff Bam Pop! will be there!

Here, then, is our prelude to all the sights, sounds, symposiums, breakout sessions, photo-ops and merchandise you need to experience over the coming four days…

With an expectation of over 129,000 people in attendance this year, make sure you hydrate, wear comfy shoes, and follow us around the pop culture floor of Fan Expo Canada 2017!

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#Kirby100: TwoMorrows celebrates Kirby with a new book

This Monday, August 28th 2017, marks the 100th birthday of the legendary Jack Kirby. All summer long, Biff Bam Pop! has been celebrating the King of Comics, and the remarkable impact he had on the world of graphic storytelling. Let’s be real, though. Even though Jack’s been gone for more than 23 years, he’s not really gone. His presence is felt all the time in the medium he helped cement as a pop culture force, and Kirby’s work is always be lauded, as it should be.

As John Morrow of TwoMorrows Publishing says in his introduction to Kirby 100, he’s made celebrating Kirby his “life’s work.” Along with former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier, there really is nobody out there that can lay claim to being a definitive expert on the artist. John’s been publishing The Jack Kirby Collector for nearly 25 years, a magazine that explores with the greatest depth Kirby career in all its facets.

It makes perfect sense then that today, Kirby’s centennial birthday, also sees the national release of Kirby 100: 100 Top Creators Celebrate Jack Kirby’s Greatest Work.

Kirby 100

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Game of Thrones S07 E07: The Dragon and the Wolf

Can Game of Thrones‘ final episode allow us forgive and forget a season with supersonic Dragons ex Machina, wormhole-riding navies, and characters acting completely out of character?  Could it bring the shortened, crazy season to an end with the things that have made this the greatest show on Earth: Excellent pacing, tense storylines, and characters you love to hate and hate to love?  Could it end on a note that makes us howl with frustration because we know we’ve got ten long months before we get a new episode?  Find out all this and more, after the break.

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