When Photographer Amanda Robinson and Fiction Author Spike Bowan got their heads together to create 3 Rivers Cosplay, it was a game changer for the world of geekdom and nerd life in the Pittsburgh area!
By: William Doyle
For those of you who don't know what "Cos-play" is:
For years, many people have created their own versions of costumes to mimic and celebrate their favorite fandoms. Star Trek and Star Wars come to mind at first thought.
Over the years costuming, now more popularly referred to as "Cos-Play", has grown into a world wide phenomenon. With charity costume clubs raising money for noble causes, contests at conventions, even having T.V. shows centered around the art and lifestyle of the world of Cos-Play; the lifestyle of costuming is truly a sight to behold.
"I created 3 Rivers Cosplay Studio, to promote the Cos-Play lifestyle in the Pittsburgh area. It was really just a community fan page on Facebook at first. Just a page to share costumes I saw at Convention in the Pittsburgh area. Then I met Amanda Robinson, and everything changed..." Fiction Author Spike Bowan says.
Working together on a book about cosplay, Amanda Robinson, owner of Panda Inc. Photography, and Spike Bowan, a.k.a. "Viper 3RC Cosplay", owner of Irregular Mischief Publications, LLC (and my boss, LOL); began to create something more than just a Facebook page.
They began hosting Free Photo Shoots for Cos-players in the Pittsburgh area. Themed and in very phenomenal locations, the photo shoots began to grow. They also provide Q&A Panels for conventions as well as Tips & Tricks Videos on how to complete certain Cos-play projects.
"We had around 9 Cos-players at the first shoot. We did the photo shoot at an old bank in the Pittsburgh's West End and it was themed towards Villains." Spike also says. "It was very cool! The massive vault in the background, Harley Quinn and Reverse Flash trying to bust in....it was like something out of the comic books!"
The next photo shoot was geared toward the completion of the book that Amanda and Spike are writing, with nearly 30 Cos-players in attendance. The representation of costume clad artists was staggering. There were even Cos-players that traveled from the esteemed Wilson's House of Cosplay in West Virginia that showed up.
From Fantasy to Anime, Horror to Sci-Fi, the photo shoots keep coming. Now, Amanda, Spike and 3 Rivers Cosplay are even being invited to host discussion panels and Cosplay judging at conventions both near and abroad. This October, Amanda, also a talented Cos-player, will be the Celebrity guest Cos-player and Panelist at "Save Against Fear" in Harrisburg, Pa. Spike will be the Celebrity Cos-player and Panelist at Slippery Rocks brand new gaming/cosplay Charity Convention "Rock-Con" which is raising money for the community library in Slippery Rock.
"I think Cosplay is a very healthy thing..." Amanda says. "Cosplay allows people to come out of their shell and to be something that they love" she also says. Their plans for the future include a YouTube Channel, POD Cast, Cos-play workshops and of course MANY more photo shoots!
With the growing following of 3 Rivers Cosplay, the face of Cosplay is changing for the better and even opening some eyes as to the benefit and fun that Cosplay can allow, all thanks to Amanda and Spike.
-to Carrie Fisher
"I was just a boy, the first time I saw you.
Robed in white, lips ruby red.
Lying in repose, curves supple and perfect.
The words from your lips were direct and crafted with perfection.
Strong and independent, never wavering.
You played your roll with elegance and grace.
Creating a positive and eternal character to be beloved by generations to come.
I saw you up there, on the silver screen.
I saw you and was infatuated.
You're now gone, your gift, your craft are now absent from this world.
You are one with the force and the force is with you. We will miss you. Our Princess."
-By Spike Bowan
©IrregularMishciefPublications, LLC 2016
This poem is the property of IMP,LLC and may not be used, rewritten or reblogged in anyway. Any violations will be purseud to the fullest extent of the Law.
There are many styles of decks out there when it comes to Magic The Gathering.
Different strategies become popular, certain cards; new and old, become trendy. However there is this one deck that I have come up against recently, and hands down; it was one of the most brilliant and most douche bag decks I have ever played against.
I am talking of course, about the "Infinite Persist Combo" deck for the Modern format of MTG.
The way the deck works is genius. To play against it once it's engine kicks in sucks pond water!
I sit down for my weekly FNM (Friday Night Magic) at my local store. The Format for the evening is Modern, and I am raring to go.
I come up against this deck. Then out comes the Murderous Red Cap. Then the Kitchen Finks. Then comes the dreaded Melvira, Sylock Outcast. Everything plays off each other and now I am up against an undying, infinite health gaining and damge dealing line of cards coming against me.
Needless to say I was frustrated. Me, playing Red/Blue Delver; I couldn't get my bolts out fast enough. The guy wins, displaying a cocky attitude along with snide remarks; and we get to talking. I ask him where he came up with the concept for the deck, and he replies that he copied it from the internet.
Another damn "Net Decker"!!!
As you may have guessed from previous articles, I loathe most "Net Deckers" and seriously feel that a vast majority of them lack imagination other than the sparkling notion they get to spend a ton of money on a deck they didn't create just so they can win and have something to feel good about in their lives. (Personal Opinion, most of the "Net Deckers" I have met are tools.)
So, heres my thing. How much does a deck like this cost to build?
I did my research. Thanks to the gang over at Channel Fireball, I have a complete list of the cards. And thanks to TCG, I have their listed cost.
So, let's begin!
According to Channel Fireball the main engine in this deck is the "Sacrifice". They say "To make this combo work the sacrifice needs to gain a +1/+1 counter or lose a -1/-1 counter when it comes back from the graveyard. Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit both do this for cheap, with Melira being the cheapest green engine. Juniper Order Ranger is the least expensive multicolored card that does this..." (Read More)
So the "Sacrifice's" they are talking about are Kitchen Finks and Murderous Red Caps. Hate these things. Although they're cool. The deck continously gives its player health while also dealing damge. Infinitly. It's annoying as hell to play against. They keep gaining life and doing damage to you. I could go on and on about how the deck works, but that's not the point of the article. The point is the "COST". So, here are the cards and their prices according to TCG.
I'm not even going to add in the sideboard that Channel Fireball suggests. If you want to see what it is you can go check out Channel Fireballs article HERE.
And the total, for an " Infinite Persist Combo" deck, not including the suggested sideboard, store mark up and sales tax is.........DRUM ROLL PLEASE?
Yes Ladies and Gentlemen! That's how much it costs to NOT have an imagingation and copy cat someone elses shit just so you can feel better about yourself by winning a card game.
The Pittsburgh area Cos-Play scene is growing in a MAJOR way!!
Once again, the crew at Steel City Comic-Con did an AMAZING job! Great celebrities, Artists, Vendors; and yes.... COSPLAY!
From "The Walking Dead" to "Batman", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Game of Thrones", there was no lack of supply when it comes to originality, talent and passion in the Pittsburgh Area Cos-Play Community.
There were so many fantastic costumes and characters, to pick a favorite is near impossible. With Local and National Cos-Play celebrites in attendance such as "Knight Mage" , "Envy the Green Fairy", "Admiral Apgar" and more, the talent level was brimming over the rim.
With each passing Steel City Comi-Con, the effort put into creating costumes and the joy that comes with Cos-Playing grows ever stronger! I can't wait to see what shows up in April 2017's SCC. Heck as a Cos-Player myself, I can't wait to drop some jaws with the costumes I have in store!
Stay Geeky friends!
Working the East Coast convention circuit for the past few years, both as a Public Figure/CosPlayer and as an Author; I get to meet some amazing and very talented people!
Krissy and Her Hubby Eric are no exception! I first met the Spartan clad CosPlay Couple at Altoonas very cool Sci-Fi Valley Con! We became instant friends. Not just because I am an O.G. Halo fan, but because Krissy and Eric are Fantastic Geeks!
Krissy and Eric own Snowtiger Designs. A cosplay, costume, and tailoring studio, Snowtiger Designs takes commissions on a regular basis.
From E.V.A. Foam to 3D printing, The work coming out of Snowtiger Designs gets better and better with every project they tackle! Hell, I even get CosPlay tips from them.
An experienced and talented seemstress, Krissy can handle just about anything. With his ingenuity and resourcefulness only being over shadowed by his fantastically insane ambition, Eric is fast becoming a jack of all trades when it comes to CosPlay.
I am glad to have these two "Spartans" as my friends and have full intention on using their 3D printing and CosPlay services. Head over to their FaceBook Page and give them a LIKE!!!
^^^^Oh, and BTW; they're making me "VERA" ^^^^ "Jayne Cobb's rifle from "Firefly!!!!!!!
First published in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, Magic was the first trading card game produced and it continues to thrive, with approximately twenty million players as of 2015.
When I was about 14 or 15, this game came out. Magic the Gathering. I was already a huge geek, and when this game came out I was all in.
Starting with the original series, I played for many years. Then I joined the military. I was a little too busy to play as much as I liked but occasionally found time to play a hand or two or even manage to scramble a D&D group together.
After I got out of the service, Magic fell to the way side. Work and family took priority. Now that my son is older and I own my own company, I have the ability for more leisure time. BOOM! Magic came back into my life. I had forgotten how thrilling it was to get a booster pack and open it!
Almost like a child on Christmas day, the sheer anticipation of what cards you are going to get is an addictive feeling. Creating decks out of cards you pull from packs, coming up with new strategies to beat your opponent; it's a challenging and rewarding hobby.
However with all things, there is a down side. You can only play casual MTG for so long before you get pulled into the realm of tournaments. And here is where MTG has changed over the years, and not for the better I fear.
Apparently, there are two types of MTG players I have noticed.
Players like me, who take time to put together decks on our own, formulating stratagems, coming up with new ideas, concepts and even 'Themed' decks. This, I recently discovered is known as "Home Brew" decks. Sounds harmless right? Wrong. Apparently players like me are largely looked down upon by the MTG Elitist cliques.
These 'Cliques' are known as "Net Deckers". A Net Decker is someone who carbon copies championship decks from the internet, or mirrors other successful decks almost verbatim. "It guarantees I have a better chance at winning..." one player told me at a recent tournament. Now, I see nothing wrong with wanting to perfect your game play, in fact I encourage it. But being a bully about how better you are than other players, while doing it? THAT I have a problem with.
Hell, I'd have a problem with a Home Brewer being a bully, and would be the first to speak out against it. But I haven't seen that, YET.
It's not the fact that people are unoriginal and can't utilize their own imaginations to create something on their own that bothers me (it does a little actually); it's the attitudes and social inept behavior that comes with it. Magic used to be about fun, and friendship and creativity. Sadly as I have become witness as of late, it's largely about the gratification of the win at any cost.
Now I am not saying that this is ALL MTG players by any means, however it does seem to pollute many tournaments and game stores I attend. When I see a grown man defeat a kid and rub the kids face in it calling him a "faggot", we have issues.
Yes, that actually happened. It took every ounce of pissed off Veteran restraint I had not to take the guy outside and put my foot upside his head. Like, Really dude? You're a grown man! You carbon copied a blue/green crush deck from the 2016 Standard World Championship to beat a kid, and then you act LIKE THAT? You're a piece of crap dude, and I hope you get to read this article.
Bullying has become a serious problem in the realm of MTG. I have seen new players, female players and even veteran players all treated like filth by the "Net Decking" elite. Shame on all of you. God Forbid you create something on your own.
None of this is MTG's or Wizards fault. It is the fault of society en masse. And like any problem, the way to fix it is to realize that there is a problem. I love MTG, I play every chance I get. The MTG elite can keep their Net Decks. I'll create my own Home Brew decks and have fun. The way that Magic The Gathering was MEANT to be played since the beginning.
Set for release on October 11th, 2016 on Xbox One and PC, the latest installment of the "Gears Of War" franchise looks spectacular!
Gears 4 introduces three new characters: J.D. Fenix , Kait Diaz and Delmont Walker. According to IGN:
"JD Fenix is the son of Marcus Fenix. He and his close friend Del are on the run after a "classified incident" that forced both men to leave the COG. Kait Diaz is an outsider, born in the wild lands outside humanity's fortified citadels. Kait is the daughter of Renya, an important Outsider figure." (Read More From IGN)
One thing is for sure, I can't WAIT to play this game!!!! Yes, I have already pre-ordered it.
Coming Soon: Irregular Mischief Publications will be starting up our Podcasts again, as well as the YouTube channel, a new Twitch account and a Gaming channel on Youtube! Stay tuined. Spread the word and Stay Geeky people!
(Photo Credit: http://www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/gears_of_war_4-wide.jpg)
Military Veterans join forces to make Action RPG Video Game.
By: Doc Edwards
CEO Mason Mullins of Helheim Games Studio, LLC and CEO Spike Bowan of Irregular Mischief Publications have joined forces to achieve greatness. Their joint co-operative, "Hellish Imp Interactive" has recruited talent from across the globe to work on this project.
So what is this project "Iron Angels"? Iron Angels is to be an action RPG that is being created using the Unreal 4 Engine. In stead of a typical birds eye view for the game, this will be a third person perspective. Yes, you read that right.
The concept is so fantastic that I can't hold it together it's so good. Iron Angels are Mechanized Combat Suits that are piloted by a person. But believably. Think of scale proportions like "Ripley" and the Loader from the movie "Aliens".
The diabolical team up between the two Veteran owned companies is attempting to do something that has seldom been attempted before. Create a video game without a central location for the team.
Using only internet and social media communication, the programmers, artists, writers, 3D programmers and artists span the face of the globe.
An insane and daunting task for sure, but the drive of these CEO's and their team is unwavering.
Pictured above: "Miranda Pyle" and "Ashton Lore" concept art. ©Hellheim Games Studio, Irregular Mischief Publications, Hellish Imp Interactive 2016.
SteamPunk Pipe works is creating some of the most original and fascinating light fixtures I have ever seen.
I met Randy Voltz at Steel City Comicon a few weeks ago. The introduction came because my wife saw his booth and was infatuated with Randy's craft. She nearly ran people over to come get me and show me the Steampunk Pipeworks Booth.
All I had to say was "WOW!"
The imagination and skill to make such fantastic pipe work creations is surreal. Randy sure knows his trade and has the fortitude and vision to create some of the most bizarre lights, lamps, sconces and fixtures I have ever seen.
IMP- How did you come up with the concept for your light fixtures?
SPPW- Believe it or not, I woke up in the middle of the night with the basic idea of building a lamp out of old pipe fittings. By the time I fell back to sleep, I had the design worked out. Over the next few weeks, I would go to the hardware store and gather various pieces and parts that I didn't have, only to put them all back. For some reason I kept talking myself out of moving forward. Eventually I decided to quit messing around and go for it.
IMP- How long have you been making electrical fixtures?
SPPW- I've been in the home remodeling business for about 35 years. Very early on I discovered that I love electrical work. It requires attention to detail and allows me to "stretch" my brain, if that makes sense. I perform all aspects of construction, but electrical work I enjoy. I guess the answer to your question is that I've been making electrical fixtures officially for about a year and a half, but I've been getting ready for years.
IMP- What are some of the challenges in making your masterpieces?
SPPW- The most challenging part of making the fixtures is when I find a particular piece. I immediately try to figure out how to incorporate it into something. However, it can't be just anything...it has to be cool.
IMP- What are some of the strangest/ most unique items that you have made into light fixtures?
SPPW- I've made lamps from steel pipe and copper pipe. I've integrated electric outlets and dimmer switches. I've even used old valve handles as dimmer switch knobs. The most unique lamp, however, is made from an old aqualung scuba diving tank. It even has the backpack and old inspection tags still attached!
IMP- What would you like to make a fixture out of most?
SPPW- That's a good question...I can't really answer that. The sky's the limit. Who knows what I'll see tomorrow? What I hope to avoid is making something "cheesy". Anybody can drill a hole in an object and stick a light socket in it. I truly want my creations to be functional artwork that belong anywhere from a desk, to a nightstand, to an office setting.
IMP- Any projects in the works that you're excited about?
SPPW- Recently I've been thinking about using an antique fire extinguisher as a lamp base. There are some very ornate ones out there that deserve to see more life. It would be a crime for something that may have saved someone's house from burning down to end up in the scrap yard.
IMP- What is your favorite piece that you have made so far?
SPPW- I truly enjoy making all of the fixtures, but my favorite is the scuba tank. When I found it in a warehouse, I was like a little kid at Christmas time. It's fun to see what you can do.
If you're unfamiliar with the Fallout universe, then let me educate you.
Fallout is a series of video games that take place in an alternate history time line. The Action RPG (Role Playing Game) created by Bethesda is a cult sensation.
The premise for all the games is along the lines of this. Nuclear Winter has swept the globe and most of the only survivors made it because they were in underground bunkers. Those on the surface have struggled and scavenged, become murderous raiders or even mutated into zombie looking creatures called ghouls. Mutated creatures and monsters lurk around every turn, and you have to rely on skills and fighting abilities to make it.
Needless to say, with my passion for dystopian and alternate history stories; I have been a fan of the Fallout saga since Day 1.
When a great friend of mine, Comic book writer/artist Shane Ronzio told me his brothers production studio was making a Fallout Fan film, I jumped at the chance for an Interview! As happenstance would have it, Shane and I were both at Steel City Comicon a few weeks back and his brother showed up. In COSTUME! SO AWESOME!
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Shawn Ronzio and I hit it off! Such a great dude, and his passion for Movie Making and Fallout may actually be the only competition I have for Dystopian Zealot of the Year.
IMP- What inspired you to make a Fallout universe fan film?
A&O- Well, Long ago in a place called the 80's, Before our minds were saturated with mass media. I spent a lot of time with our VCR watching movies like Damnation Alley, Mad Max, Space Hunter, Escape from NY, Night of the Comet, Battletruck, Hardware, Warrior of the lost to name a few. The wheels of the post apocalypse were always spinning in my mind. in 1997, I got my first taste of fallout on PC and it started there, burning in the back of my skull, keeping me up at night, imagining about survival in that place of suffering and loss.
The movie has been brewing in my mind for quite some time, The world of Fallout was reborn into my life through my children, I had left home to go to LA to work in the special fx film industry in 2000. as my kids grew, My Daughter Zoe was the one to bring Fallout back into my life with Fallout3. We would spend hours role playing inside the wasteland, creating our own stories and having adventures. Then, we caught word of New Vegas was soon to break loose, and That is where this all started. I sculpted the Ranger mask well before the game came out from screen shots and concept art.
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IMP- How long did it take to make the movie?
A&O- It took one day to shoot, about a month to edit. 4.5 months to create all of our weapons, costumes, Bloat fly and sculpt and mold the Protectron.
I teach a class at the Savini School of Special Makeup Effects at DEC in Monessen PA, day one of class, on a whim, I walk in and say, you guys like fallout?? And just like that, My students lit up like a nuclear explosion and we worked like crazy people to create the opportunity to tell a short story in that place we only get to visit in our imagination, video games, and movies.
So It took about 15 weeks of build and prep for a one day shoot, the process of writing a gigantic story and breaking it down into a little chip of a tale to shoot for a one day project with my class.
IMP- What are some of the challenges of making an Indie Fan Film?
A&O- Well, the biggest challenge is the team, there are so many aspects to creating a film that require the right minds and energy, you have to really have to give it the best you got and nothing short there of when you make something like this. Location is huge, you have to have the locations and imagery that coincide with the story, costumes and acting has to be spot on or the translation will not work, and to get everything and everyone on the same page is an entire dance of nimble feet that is not easy to learn or perform. Time spent in the film industry really helped me prepare for such a thing, because if you want the world to see what is in your head and put it to moving pictures, you have to wear many hats. You must do everything to lead the crew to victory, and you must stay awake longer and finish what others can not, make phone calls, have meetings, sculpt. I could go on and on, the mind is never silent and you must also listen to everyone and their advice and concerns too, you must bend in the wind and not stay rigid or the whole synergy could break and derail the momentum of the project.
IMP- Do you have other projects already made/in the works?
A&O- I always have something brewing in the back of my brain, We are always up to something creative at Standard Art Works, plotting the next project or story. We have a massive Fallout story we would like to continue, but we need to see there are people who want to see it. We always have projects in the shop, that is what we do, I have been building things for over 30 years.
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IMP- What are some of the difficulties in adding special effects/cgi?
A&O- Well, The biggest difficulty with CG is having the right person to assist with the knowledge of adding CG and when to add it, We were blessed to have Dorian Cleavenger, who is a world reknown artist and is a visionary himself, cover our sound enginerring and CG elements. In his hands, you can always expect to be blown away and he delieverd. He got together with me and we decided on a few green screen pick up shots to pull elements of the film together that we missed during the shoot. Very blessed to work with that type of mind when creating art work, So happy he just stepped up and loved what we shot and then wanted to add some pivotal visuals to make it a better film, we worked very close together to get things tight, he is an amazing artist.
IMP- Will we get to see some power armor in the next films?
A&O- I would love to include power armor and we have some great stuff story wise to tell yet, we have one hell of a story, we would like to make the prequel to Angels and Outlaws and then the sequel. there is a lot of ground to cover and a lot to break down into story boards and location shot lists, a whole lot of work is ahead of us, and a lot of budgeting to come in the future, takes a long time to make things right and to get the support needed to do more.
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IMP-How long have you been making movies?
A&O- My Brothers, Shane and Terry and I have been making movies since the early 80's when we were kids, I went on to earn my degree in Industrial Design and then went on to Hollywood to work and have been working in film now professionally for almost 20 years. I had the opportunity to work with Oscar and Emmy award winning FX teams and work in and behind the scenes to block buster motion pictures, it changes how you see the world, I have never been the same since returning back to the east coast and instead of seeing wreck and ruin, all I see is Opportunity.
IMP- Need any actors? (I perform for beer...LOL.)
A&O- Things go right, and we get to finish this story, we will need a LOT of actors, a literal TON of talent! The best is yet to come with this tale from the world of Raiders, Robots and Radiation!! Working for beer, beer is always good, lol. especially after the shoot, for safety ;)
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CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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