If Star Wars, Top Gun and ROBOTECH had a baby, it would be THIS ANIME SHORT!Why aren't we funding this? Drawn and Animated by Paul Johnson, with music by Zakir Rahman; this Star Wars Anime will leave you wanting more! It seriously took me back to when I was a boy and watched Roy Fokker fly the VF-1S Valkyirie Skull-One. Watching this short, has instilled a resurgence for the classic Animes, both old and new. ROBOTECH, Voltron, Witch Hunter Robin. I need to dig out my old VHS tapes. Anyway, ENJOY!!
I met Michael at the Sci-Fi Valley Convention in Altoona, PA earlier this year. Myself and fellow Genre Fiction Author J.P. Bidula, Author of "Unlucky Seven"; were there promoting our Novels and simply "Geeking Out". We met Micahel and instantly hit it off! Michael is a very talented Author with an Amazing imagination that translates elegantly to paper.
Michael was gracious enough to even offer J.P. Bidula and I a spot on his Q&A panel for Indie Authors. We had a blast and I feel that I made a great friend. ( Pictured below- From Left to Right- Spike Bowan, Michael D'Ambrosio, J.P. Bidula)
IMP- How long have you been writing?
MD- I started writing in 1999 while on a Middle East tour. The books and VCR tapes we received were boring and I complained a lot about the lack of creative material to read or watch. Someone suggested that I write my own darn stories and stop complaining. So, I did. Fractured Time was published in 2001 and started with a bang.
After several short successful weeks, I was contacted by Centropolis Pictures who wanted to do a movie from the book. We had everything lined up for a deal and then it all fell apart. 9/11 happened and they backed out to go with something different. My publisher was bought out by another who didn't do fiction. So now I don't have a movie deal or a publisher. I had an add running on Fox TV for twelve weeks. I figured it couldn't get worse. This was probably the defining moment in my life as I became interested in screenwriting and started adapting my stories.
IMP- What got you into writing?
MD- I spent time in Europe in the early nineties and witnessed some shocking things during the Czec and Yugoslav breakups. They left quite an impression on me. Then, there were things that I'd seen throughout the nineties in the Middle East that really stirred the creativity in me. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
IMP- What is your favorite type of stories and why?
MD- I really enjoy adventure type sci-fi where the lead character has to use strategy to outwit the antagonist. Sometimes it's on a bigger scale such as in a military maneuver and sometimes its on a one to one basis going head to head with the antagonist.
IMP- What are some of your favorite projects that you have worked on so far?
MD- I recently finished a new script titled Space Truckers that I hope to novelize next year. It's gotten a lot of attention from producers so far. This is one I'd love to novelize once I finish my current project Queen of Pain. This story puts corporate greed into science fiction and pits two ex-spouses against each other. Imagine that.
My other series, Fractured Time, Space Frontiers, Pain and Night Creeps were a lot of fun but every time you think of something new, you feel like you're taking it to the next level.
IMP- Any future projects that you are excited about?
MD- I'm currently working on Queen of Pain, the sequel to the futuristic action story Princess Pain. As I mentioned above, Space Truckers is next for a novel. I'd also like to start on the sequel to the Space Truckers script. The amount of interest so far has me hopeful that this one will sell soon.
I'm also working on a short story for an anthology titled TV Gods - Summer Programming. In the initial anthology, TV Gods, my story Greek on the Beach was published in it. The theme is mythical characters in modern day TV series. Imagine Charlie Harper (2 1/2 Men) hanging with Perseus and sleeping with his mother, Hera. My story for the sequel will take an interesting goddess and put her in an episode of Suits.
IMP- What are some of your Biggest achievements so far?
MD- Being invited to speak at so many conventions is probably the biggest. I've been asked to the Library of Congress twice now. I am amazed at how many people come to see me afterwards and usually become permanent fans. Every author works very hard to be accepted and we try to entertain as well. When it's working, it's a natural high for us.
IMP- How do you feel the industry boom, with E-books and self-publishing has affected fiction writing?
MD-For readers, it's been great but in the big scheme of things, publishers and authors are losing out. We make very little on e-books and with the new 'clubs' we see from the likes of Amazon, readers get our stories at a very low price. Between Ingrams (distributors) and the bookstores, the publisher is already down to forty-five percent of retail. As a writer, you receive a percentage of what the publisher gets. As a result, many writers have either curtailed their marketing and appearances or retired all together. Numerous small presses have closed because they were losing money. The big presses are struggling as well. In about seven years, the number of serious writers will dwindle down to a much lower number than today. Most newer writers won't make it past two novels before they realize they can't sustain their writing with scant sales. Take notice at a convention how many of the authors are local only. People across the country are surprised when I tell them I'm from the Philadelphia area. Very few travel that kind of distance because of the costs. My advise to readers: support your authors, especially at conventions.
IMP- If you could have one super power, what would it be?
MD- Hmm. that's a very interesting question. I think the ability to transport through space and time to experience some of the thrills and challenges that mankind has faced through history. Imagine getting to know some of the great explorers and conquerors in history. That would be something to write about. Then going into the future to see who the next generation of heroes and villains are.
Go buy his books and check out his Web Site! You won't regret it!
One thing I love about going to conventions, is meeting other artists and authors. Taylor is no exception to this. I loved his work so much that I commissioned him to design my Logos for Irregular Mischief Productions. Taylor and I are now pretty good friends, and I intend on keeping his Artistic Awesomeness on retainer.
IMP- How long have you been Illustrating/Making comics?
Taylor- I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, and constantly making my own comics. A few years back my parents moved and my mom found a comic I made when I was 8. It was 4 pages and was about a fish named Mr. Fish, who had a pimp cane. I took some comic classes in college that were a mess, but in about 2013 I got serious about trying to break into comics again and worked on some pages, that I later showed the publisher, Gnosis Comics, who I started working with professionally this year.
IMP- What got you into Comics?
Taylor- Spider-Man #24. My mom randomly brought that issue home for me in 1992 and ruined the rest of my life. I was obsessed! In elementary school I remember staying in from recess and drawing pictures of super heroes. I was in middle school when Dragon Ball Z started airing on Cartoon Network and that really drove the nail into the coffin. I studied illustration at Virginia Commonwealth University with the intention to get in to the comic business. After graduating I partied a bit more than I should’ve, worked dead end jobs and left illustration on the back burner. My wife helped get me back into gear after getting married, and one of my best buds and incredibly talented illustrator, Morgan Sawyer, really helped me get back to where I needed to be artistically. Morgan was actually the one who recommended me to the editor at Gnosis.
IMP- Favorite Comicbooks growing up and why?
Taylor- All of the early 90’s Spider-Man comics. I loved all of the crossovers and tie-in series at the time, especially Maximum Carnage, which everyone complains about today. I had a Super Nintendo and when the Maximum Carnage game came out I about lost my mind. At the time it really felt like I was Spider-Man, even though it was just a standard beat-‘em-up game. Spider-Man was a visually striking character and Peter Parker represented the common man so well. I’ve since re-read a lot of my old Spider-Man comics and picked up on a lot of off panel sex that I totally went over my head as a kid.
IMP- Favorite projects worked on so far?
Taylor- One of my favorite illustration gigs ever was a comic themed wedding invitation where I drew the bride and groom running from a T-Rex The groom was a graphic designer and made the image into a fake comic cover.
As far as comic gigs, I’m loving the series I’m currently working on for Gnosis Comics called I Am Michael Watcher. I really dig the collaboration with the writer, Brian Hawkins. It was an experience I missed out on doing sample pages and comics on my own. We’re taking the late 80s/early 90s slasher genre and throwing in a new level of mystery with secret societies and police drama, while still focusing on an iconic killer. We worked to make a more realistic Jason Vorhees, or Michael Myers archetype. Brian really took the “horny teens get murdered” trope and expanded on it in a unique way that could only be done in the comic medium.
The first issue is available for free on our I Am Michael Watcher facebook page, which we update regularly. Mature readers only. CLICK HERE
IMP- Any Future projects?
Taylor- Brian Hawkins and I are setting up I Am Michael Watcher for the long run. We’ve created so many characters that we’re waiting to slowly kill off. I’ve got another contract in the works with Gnosis for a mini-series that I’ll just be coloring. I hope to be able to announce that soon. In what little free time I’ve got, I’m working on a short comic pitch with a writer friend of mine, Dusty Scott, for a comic which takes place in a cyber-punk world. Hopefully that will see publication in the near future.
There is also a writer named Spike Bowen who I’ve done some character work with that I would love to collaborate with on one of his comic scripts. We work well together and he is my go to guy for advice on weapons.
IMP- What are some of your Biggest achievements so far?
Taylor- Being able to quit my last job and start supporting myself through illustration was one of the greatest feelings ever. Getting the first issue of I Am Michael Watcher out into the world was huge. It was my first full comic ever. There are quite a few things I wish I had changed or spent a little more time on, but I’m still really proud of it. And the next few issues keep getting better.
IMP- How do you feel the industry boom, with conventions, movies and games; has affected comicbooks?
Taylor- This comic boom, just like the one in the 90’s, has allowed for independent publishers to pop up and put out really great books. I love that more people are becoming fans and attending cons. My wife usually helps me out in the artists’ alley and she always asks people if they’re at their first con. One of the funniest responses we heard was from a lady in her 70s, who was at the con with her grandkids, telling us how it was her first con and she couldn’t wait until next year when she could attend without the grandkids. Another upside to the rise in attendance in cons is that more aspiring writers and artists are able to set up tables in the artists’ alley for the first time and make the first step in pursuing their passions as a career.
IMP- If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Taylor- I think stretching powers would be the best. I could be working at the drawing table and reach in the fridge for a beer without getting up. I would basically be the laziest man alive.
Taylor has such a passion for what he is doing that it is a shining example ofhow to follow your dreams. Keep up the AMAZING work Taylor! Everyone Else go Give Him a LIKE ON FACEBOOK!
I have known D.J. and his better half for almost a year now. I am Proud to call them friends. His better half and I use to treat Emergency Patients together in the E.R. in downtown Pittsburgh. She's good. REAL GOOD. The kind of person you WANT working on you in an Emergency.
An amazing artist and Uber Geek, D.J. has the tendency to put the true emotion of a "Fan-Boy" into his work. You can feel the passion he has for his craft, just by turning the pages of "God Child". I'm an alternate history buff, as you might tell from my Fiction Series "War in the Backyard". So when I happily bought my 1st issue of "God Child" I was stoked! D.J. Even has his work on the cover of "Pittsburgh: City Paper"
IMP- How long have you been Illustrating/Making comics?
DJ -I remember drawing copies of comic strips from the newspaper when I was a boy and dreaming about either working for Disney or having my own comic strip in the paper. I have worked professionally as a comic book artist / creator since 1998 when I drew Zombieopolis which was solicited through Arrow Comics. Also around that time I was working on Crackers and Lionxor for James Patrick and doing backups for Dark Horse on Arch Enemies. Basically drawing my own mini and web comics using my own art/writing to attract paying gigs from independent comics writers. For about a year from 1999 until 2000 my strip Gravity ran in syndication published in about 50 newspapers.
IMP - What got you into Comics?
DJ- I saw my first comic books in a barber shop when I was 7 or 8. I remember reading Avengers, X-Men and GI Joe and I was hooked. It was like an epiphany that someone actually drew these things. That I could draw these things.
IMP -Favorite Comic books growing up and why?
DJ- I liked the "What If" Comics the best. I would walk about 2 miles to buy them at the 7/11. I remember "What if daredevil killed the kingpin" and "What if X-men lost inferno". They were the best because they gave you an alternate imagination of what could have happened. The watcher always saw all the different possibilities and outcomes. I think that was interesting to me because I was always writing my own stories in my head.
IMP -Favorite projects worked on so far?
DJ - I don't really have a favorite, but I enjoyed working on Hero By Night in the hero genre.
IMP -Future projects?
DJ - Currently I am working on a few sets of Marvel sketch cards by Upper Deck. I'm excited to see them in circulation. Other than that I am also trying to finish up issue four of The God Child so that the collected edition can be published through Caliber Comics. Not really sure what is on the horizon after that. (CLICK IMAGE FOR CALIBER COMICS)
IMP -Biggest achievements so far?
DJ - In July 2006 my Hero by Night won the first annual Comic Book Challenge contest. It opened a lot of opportunities for me and allowed me to work exclusively on my own ongoing series for a few years. It was a learning experience being exposed to the mainstream market.
IMP -How do you feel the industry boom, with conventions, movies and games; has affected comic books?
DJ - The injection of comics into mainstream culture has made this is a very exciting time for comics. There is plenty of room for everyone both for readers and professionals. There is really anything you could possibly want out there.
IMP -If you could have one super power
DJ - I would like to be immortal. I like stories and the world and think it would be awesome to watch history unfold and the ways that the world will change. I think life is a series of events that we can learn from. I'd like to be able to experience and learn and share knowledge with others. Until ya know I'm floating around in outer space without a planet, on second thought, that would probably suck.
So Check out God Child! It is Awesome! i own it! I Love it! I can't WAIT to see what happens Next! and Give D. J. a LIKE on FB Peoples!!!!
I have been gaming a long time. Odessy, Atari 1600 and Intellivision were the first systems I played. Over the years, it has been fascinating to see how the industry has progressed. It also makes it difficult to keep up with everything. I'm sure there are MANY games that I haven't tried, heard of or even seen.
I walk into Gamestop yesterday, and I begin browsing the previously owned games. Being an alternate timeline history buff/author; My attention was immediately drawn to the gamebox that has a "G-Man" with a fidora on and alien hardware on his back. I asked the girl behind the counter what she knew about this game.
"You've never heard of XCOM?" she says looking at me with an expression of confusion/you're an idiot smeared all over her face. She then proceeds to tell me about the game, and how it is a TPS/RTS/SBT (Third Person Shooter/Real Time Strategy/Squad Based Tactics). "Oh, like Freedom Fighters!" A slight smile is given my way. Yes! I still have a shred of dignity.
I swipe my rewards card, pay for the game and head home. How come I never heard of these games? Right now I'm sure some XCOM enthusiast is reading this and shaking his/her head. Maybe even cursing a little. Sorry gang. I'm a full time Dad/Husband/Writer/Blogger. I can't always be glued to the TV, Console or PC, but I digress.
The game is a few years old, but really fricking good! The story line takes place in the early 1960's. You are Agent Carter and the planet is being invaded by "Outsiders" (a.k.a. "Greys") You are part of an Agency that was preparing to fight an Invasion on American soil, presumably against the Russians; and now have to fight off an Alien incursion that now has a foot hold on Earth.
Using Human and Alien weaponry you lead your squad against the waves of Outsiders that flood in and appear out of nowhere. Your arsenal varies from an M14 Rifle, 1911 A1 Pistol(my favorite) to Laser SMG's, Laser pistols and hand grenades. You use your battle focus to slow down time and issue orders to your squad mates. Allowing you to plan and execute battle strategies and also allowing you to use character abilities. Engineers can lay mines and turrets, Commandos can perform Critical shots on key targets, sonic pulse attacks etc...
This game is awesome! Check it out, the "Live Action" trailer I found is fantastic too. Check out the videos below and go play the damn game. That's where I'm headed right now.
Don't you hate it when you find out Hollywood is making a movie based on a Comic Book you love, and You get ALL Pumped up for it; and then... IT SUCKS? Me too!
Here are 5 movies that I was really Pumped for when I heard they were coming out and was devastated after watching them.
First up: #5- SPAWN- 1997
Starring: John Leguizamo, Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen
His armor was cool and John Leguizamo's performance were the only redeeming aspects of the movie.
#4- The Shadow -1994
Starring: Alec Baldwin, John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller
The little dagger with the faces still creeps me out. Penelope Ann Miller was gorgeous, although her acting was very bland. Bladwin's performace is well,...it's Baldwin. The only redeeming qualities of the film in my opinion are the duel wielding 1911A1 .45 Caliber pistols and all of the amazing vintage cars from the 1930's
#3- HULK -2003
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott
Hulk is the size of a building! Really? It feels like they made this movie just to see what kind of things they could do with Computer Special effects. Sam Elliot, the amazing actor and play-write he is, was some of the ONLY talent in the movie.
#2- Fantastic Four-2015
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan
I hate this movie for one simple reason. They screwed the Origin Story Up! The Special effects were awesome, and Kate Mara is STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL! Other than that, "Hey Hollywood! If it AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!"
Finally we get to #1 on the List!!!!
#1- Howard The Duck- 1986
Starring: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins
It's Howard the Duck. Do I really have to keep going on this one? Here, Fanboy Flicks says it Best:
I Love going to Conventions! Of course I do, I'm a #GunGeek #UberGeek . I was filled with so much anticipation that I thought I was going to explode. As I walked through the doors and headed up the escalator, my heart was racing and I had goosebumps on my arms.
As I crest the top of the escalator people are everywhere! Fellow Geeks, Cos-Players, Fan Boys, Fan Girls; THESE ARE MY PEOPLES!!!
The very polite lady at the ticket counter greeted me with a smile as she mugged me and emptied my wallet with the ridiculously over priced admissions fee. $55 lighter, I take my limited edition, Wizard World EXCLUSIVE "Walking Dead" Comic Book and enter the Con.
David L. Lawrence Convention center is a gorgeous Venue. Right next to the Allegheny River, the ambiance offered is highly sought after by Convention goers. The place is bustling with geeks and cos-players alike, although not as many as I would have thought for a "Wizard World" Convention. I see mutual Geek Journalists from other Web-Sites and we automatically start the critique together. We try to be objective and this is hard as geek journalists! We're ALL FAN BOYS!
After a few laps, we all notice the same things. Vendors are WAY over priced (as is usual with most Cons), the food is lack luster, and people are going broke trying to get autographs and photos with the celebrities. There was something else though. A vibe, a kind of 'Forced Fun' aura. "You WILL HAVE FUN! THIS IS WIZARD WORLD! DO AS YOU'RE TOLD!" Everyone felt it. We stopped and chatted with vendors that we knew from other Conventions, we talked to Artist friends and a multitude of patrons. All said the same things.
A good friend of mine, fellow Geek and Army Journalist Veteran Kirk Wilson came up with a brilliant consensus and over view of the experience. He says:
"...Overall experience for the first Pittsburgh Wizard World was underwhelming. It's more like pop-con. Limited artists and comic dealers. The celebrities were a little better than the c/d list most local Pittsburgh cons get...but ohhh the prices. If you wanted 2 celebrities together, like the "Boondock saints", "Firefly", etc package, be ready to drop $$$...200+ for some...that's a picture, not even an autograph included!
It's about the same size as Steel city con, they only used half the top floor of the convention center. As one artist contracted with Wizard said, "it's saturated, too many cons." Now comics are cool, so more people go, but it's not about books and art as much. Didn't get many pics because my hands were full and celebrities weren't happy about you taking distance pictures even. All said, I'll still be going back next year and it was enjoyable..."
I agree with Kirk. Overall it was an alright experience, and I will probably go back next year. Pittsburgh is HEAVILY saturated with Conventions though. 3-Steel City Con's every year, Tekko-Con, Wizard World and SIBCON in Butler. It's a lot of strain to put on the patrons wallet. Especially with times as they are. All in All, For the 1st time being in Pittsburgh, Not too bad Wizard World. I give you a 'B'
On the Plus side, I GOT TO MEET JAMES MARSTERS!!!!! Yes! Spike from 'Buffy' and Spike from I.M.P. , side by side! WAS EPIC!!! Anyway, I put a fun little video together. Check it out below.
I'm a HARDCORE Knucklehead! Always have been! Since Day 1, once I heard "Way of the Fist", it was a done deal! The whole crew has done it again. Reaffirming my obsession. I never understood how zealot like people were over "Rush" or "Metallica". Now I understand. Their New Album "Got Your 6" is AMAZING!
I haven't been able to listen to anything else! Aside from looking like my illegitimate twin Brother, Ivan Moody Banshees out some hard core screams and Melodies! A perfect blend of talent and rage. Lyrically the songs on the new album carry some really heavy messages, as do all of 5FDP's songs. That's what I think I like the most about them. Yes, it's Heavy Metal, but it's musically and mathematically sound paired up with AMAZING poetry. The music flows very well, and makes me want to kick a jihadist in the face!
Hook and Zoltan shred crazy awesome licks. Once their "Hooks" get into you, your done. (Sorry Jason. Bad pun.) Jeremy Spencer's drumming is phenomenal. Like a War Drum, his playing gets you pumped up and ready for WAR. The Bass lines by Chris Kael tie it all together, making the whole mission a success.
Here is what Ivan and Guitarist Zoltan had to say about the new album: (From 5FDP Website)
ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM
“If someone asked me to sum up who and what Five Finger Death Punch is, I would tell them everything they need to know is on this new record. Hands down, "Got Your Six" is our best one yet… As for the first single, everybody is Jekyll and Hyde. There are multiple personalities to every human being, and no matter how civilized and sophisticated you think you are, if you dare to look at yourself very, very closely, you’ll see… somewhere deep down… there is a demon inside. Your circumstances may not have provoked it yet but trust me, it’s there…”
“The verses [in "Jekyll & Hyde"] are actual unaltered voicemails from Ivan. We have an ever-growing collection of these 4:00am messages Ivan usually bombards us with, and Jason had this idea to copy them to a hard drive, then literally wrote the song around them… what you hear is the actual voicemail”
I tried linking videos from Youtube for the new Jams, but VEVO blocked them. I don't get it. I'm pimping their Sh*t. Guess they aren't happy with the MILLIONs of dollars they're making from YouTube. The Album is still Boss though.
(Photo Credit: Huffington Post)
In a Hollywood where 'Re-Boots' are becoming the status quot, there is still a little hope glimmering in the distance. If only they would realize it. For those of you that don't know, Joss Whedon is the man responsible for some of the most Amazingly character driven SCI-Fi/Fantasy TV Series' such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and Marvel's Agents of Shield". Lets not forget the Box Office Blockbusters that are the "Marvel: Avengers" movies.
If you have seen one, or a few, or even all of these shows/movies you know what I am talking about. Joss gets it. Yes people want explosions and action with cool special effects and CG imagery; but we also want characters we love, hate and laugh with. A good story teller, knows how to enthrall an audience; and Joss is a master of it.
This is the man who, with his amazing team of writers and producers; created one of the most original Sci-Fi TV series in history. Only for FOX to screw things up, air the episodes out of order and then pull the plug after less than one season. It gets better, "Firefly" had/has such an AMAZINGLY huge following that after tremendous fan support and hard work, "Serenity" came to the silver screen. To date, no other TV series in the History of cinema, has been cancelled and than had a Blockbuster Motion Picture made from it.
It feels that Hollywood, as of late, has become lazy and apathetic. Re-Booting old movies and TV shows, or changing up existing characters to "put a new spin" on things. The recently huge failure of the new "Fantastic 4" comes to mind. Joss is notorious for sharing my disdain on remixes and re-boots as you will see in his Nerd HQ Q/A from Comic-Con.
If Hollywood would utilize Joss more, and make an effort to find more writers/directors like him; Cinema and TV would be way more amazing! so Hollywood, use your assets and stop being lazy. #BringBackFirefly
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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