Interview: Dan Mendoza

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Another day another interview on GC! bitches. That’s how we roll. Today I am very pleased to publish an interview I did with indy comic book sensation Dan Mendoza. Dan Mendoza is the creator and creative force behind the indy fan-favorite comic book Zombie Tramp.

Thank you Dan for taking the time!

GEEKCITING!: If I’m not mistaken you originally put out Zombie Tramp on your own, independently. What motivated you to join the ranks of Action Lab?

Dan Mendoza: Zombie Tramp #1 came out at the SDCC in 2009. It was a single issue. I had never exhibited at a con before but Jason Martin, who I had only talked to on the internet, liked my stuff and had an extra ticket to the con so I printed up about 80 books and sat at Jason’s table. I sold them all in the first 3 days.

After that Jason told me that if I wanted to make more books he would help me with the technical parts such as printing formats and getting the comic books bar coded for stores. After that we were kind of a team. Sometime later Action Lab hired Jason to start a new mature readers label, Danger Zone. To decide to come aboard was a cinch. It was an opportunity to put Zombie Tramp into more stores, comiXology and over all to get more exposure.

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GC!: Jason Martin, your co-writer on Zombie Tramp, has recently successfully launched a Kickstarter project for which you did a variant cover. Is Kickstarter a platform you would take into consideration for future projects?

DM: Yes. I have a lot of projects constantly swimming around in my head. A few that I will be starting soon. Kickstarter is a great platform to announce projects, show sneak peaks and get fundings.

GC!: Zombie Tramp is a pretty mature, edgy comic book. What kind of comic books are you personally interested in reading?

DM: I stopped reading super hero comics for a while now. Not to say that I’ve grown out of them it’s just that there is so much going on with them. I would have to buy all the crossovers and origins each and every time they reboot a character. I like to keep my superhero books in the 90’s. When I do buy books it’s always in TPB format so I can get the whole story at once. Currently I am reading Hellboy, Samurai Jack and I’m also re-reading Dragon Ball in color.

GC!: Action Lab recently released a Zombie Tramp/Vampblade crossover. What other horror comic book character would you like to see cross Zombie Tramp’s way?

DM: I would love to have a crossover with any of the horror movie icons. As far as comic book characters go, Hellboy of course. Spawn, Hack/Slash, Ash from the Army of Darkness books, Lady Death and maybe Purgatory.

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GC!: What was to you, as a creator and an artist, the highlight of your career so far?

DM: This year’s WonderCon I think. I left my table for about an hour to take part in an Action Lab panel and when I returned there was a big crowd of fans waiting at my table to get signatures. They actually came back exactly one hour later to meet me and get signatures. It’s a good feeling.

GC!: You have a very cartoony almost manga-ish drawing style not often seen in horror comic books. What artists inspired you the most growing up?

DM: Anatomy wise: Jim Lee, Shirow Masamune and Satoshi Urushihara. Other artists for their storytelling skills would be Yukito Kishiro and maybe Frank Miller. My influences are a little heavier on the Japanese side.

GC!: What can your ever-growing fan base expect from you in the forseeable future?

DM: As Zombie Tramp gets into her 2nd year of her monthly series expect a few crossovers and also a few new titles created by me that I hope you’ll love as much as Janey Belle.

Thanks again Dan! Make sure to support Dan Mendoza and his crazy creations. This most macabre adventure has just begun. For all things Zombie Tramp and Dan Mendoza make sure to like the official Zombie Tramp Facebook page HERE.

-Paulo Costa-

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Interview: Tom Hodge aka The Dude Designs

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WOW! Tom Hodge aka The Dude Designs on GEEKCITING?! I must be dreaming. One of the forerunners in the recent revival of artistic horror movie posters Tom Hodge is responsible for the incredibly gorgeous looking film posters of Hobo With A Shotgun, Father’s Day, WolfCop and many more. The bastard even made me buy A Cadaver Christmas and Madison County… two movies I ended up giving zero fucks about… two Blu-rays I bought because Tom Hodge had done the art on them. The guy is a genius I’m telling you… a genius!

Ladies & gentlemen, ghouls & ghoulettes: Tom Hodge aka The Dude Designs.

GEEKCITING!: Hi and thanks for taking the time!

GC!: What was creatively speaking the most exhausting piece you had to work on in your already hugely impressive career?

Tom Hodge: Ha well, they all have their challenges to a certain degree. I wouldn’t say any were a stroll in the park. I always aim to provide something different and probably put more pressure on myself to deliver more than before. It’s a difficult job as there is no set formula so you can’t rest on your laurels so to speak. You can’t just create a pretty picture. Each title is different and has its own unique selling point, which you need to draw out and find a way to visually pitch to the audience. So as well as designing the visual you need to be able to rationalise it to the client and then manage the project, not let too many cooks spoil the broth. Sometimes you do get crazy requests from producers trying to merge two or more designs into one which would end up looking like a car crash and a project can easily run away if you don’t get everyone on board.

GC!: As an accomplished artist what do you look for when skipping through the different orders you get? What makes you accept or refuse a certain demand?

TH: It’s a full-time job and I work to set rates so most of the time I won’t turn down a job if I’m available. Unless they have no time to produce it in and unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved in a day. Which does happen. It’s crazy how many times it gets left to the last minute. Possibly because people are used to the crappy hacked up photo DVD cover art of the late 90s/00s which could be turned around in an hour but you get what you pay for. If a project did turn into a worst case scenario cluster fuck, I would pull the plug or do the whole Alan Smithee thing. I’d like to think I have a high level of quality control and won’t produce crap. That’s why I would like to think people come to me. I know about a lot of indie films I’ve worked on which have been signed up for distribution on the strength of the key art alone.

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GC!: What decisive moment made you realize that you had finally achieved your goals, that you finally made it and were living your boy dream at the fullest?

TH: Ha, er… Well I don’t think I’m there just yet. I still have many goals and many side-projects I want to get off the ground. It’s not easy being self-employed doing this type of work. My passion for film and being creative is the one rock I hold onto which gets me through tough times. It has equal bouts of frustration and creative fulfilment.

GC!: What working techniques are you most comfortable utilizing on a daily basis?

TH: I work all digitally, painting on a tablet in Photoshop for my artwork. I have a background in design working in the industry for 15 odd years so being digital was a natural progression with the work for me. I do mix in some physical media particularly for title treatments where its a brush script style font. I’ll usually paint that by hand and scan it in to get the desired effect. But for the actual image I have my own technique which I’ve refined over time. I don’t like my paintings to have that smooth finish you usually get with digital art so I’ve customised brushes etc. to get the end finish to be more rough-edged which you do get with the physical media.

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GC!: What or who was the kickstart that made you choose this creative way over another probably more secure career path?

TH: I was working for Sony PlayStation and getting a bit frustrated with the creative side to the work feeling it was branching more into art working than designing. It was actually then when I rediscovered my love of VHS video covers and the art that first inspired me to get into design in the first place so I started to create a series of old video cover designs as a sort of experiment art project. As it developed the art went down more of an illustrative route to really capture that essence of what made these video covers so great. Then life started imitating art and I got commissioned to do covers for actual films. As the work developed I ended up working for Sony during the day and doing the posters at night. After a while I chose to jump ship and make The Dude Designs a full-time thing.

GC!: What single piece of work of yours are you most proud of?

TH: I love all the posters and video covers equally. Each job is tailored to an individual film with a specific artwork which best communicates the traits of that title and sell it to the audience. Get them excited and thrilled like the old VHS and film posters used to.

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GC!: May will see the release of VHS: Video Cover Art, a book curated by you and published by Schiffer Publishing. What can our readers expect from said book?

TH: Well I have browsed through thousands of tapes in my own collection and also gained access to two of the UK’s biggest video collectors Video Collector and Viva VHS to give me quite a wide selection of titles. I wanted to display pure VHS artworks so imagery that was only commissioned specifically for the VHS release. I see many top 10 video cover lists but they always contain poster artwork for Friday the 13th etc., but that’s not video cover art in my mind. That’s just cropped poster art from the cinema releases which I felt wouldn’t show people anything new. I then also chose the less mainstream titles which would have gone straight to video in most areas (grindhouse cinemas aside). I was quite purist about it. My aim was to highlight these amazing covers and the artists behind them so I made the selection purely on artistic merit. When putting the book together I wanted to give the reader the total VHS video shop visual experience. It contains over 240 amazing complete video sleeves in a mixture of genres from action, comedy, horror, kids, sci-fi and thriller. It depicts a world of moustached muscled men, buxom beauties, big explosions, phallic guns and nightmare inducing monsters.

GC!: What piece are you currently working on and what can our readers expect to see from you in the near future?

TH: Due to the nature of this work I can’t really discuss current titles I’m working on until the actual artworks are released so I will have to stay tight-lipped there.

What an awesome person to talk to, what a fucking amazing artist! Make sure to check out Tom’s official site for all kinds of awesome art and don’t forget to order your copy of VHS: Video Cover Art that will be released on May 28th. I have already pre-ordered mine.

-Paulo Costa-

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

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For as long as I’ve been able to read (and even way before that) I have been a die-hard and unconditional supporter of Toriyama-san’s work. Pop culture icon and manga legend Akira Toriyama, famously known for his ground-breaking and profoundly influential manga Dragon Ball, is the only artist to ever make me want to buy each and every single work he has ever produced. Hell I bought Tobal N°1 for the PlayStation… and I don’t even own a PlayStation!

While most people will probably know Akira Toriyama for his seminal manga Dragon Ball, I for one admire his entire highly illustrious and exceptional career as a storyteller. People talk of minor and major Akira Toriyama works… bitch have you read Sandland? Kajika? How on earth can those manga be considered ”minor” works? That shit is exquisite! Shōnen manga gold. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is no different.

Sent to Earth to prevent an imminent alien force to wreak havoc on our planet Jaco a… ahm galactic patrolman crashes on an abandoned island only inhabited by Omori an old, bitter scientist  trying to live his life in peace away from all of mankind. Little did he know that the arrival of this most colorful member of an alien police force would change his life forever.

When I received my copy of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman in the mail I felt overtaken by a bittersweet feeling I just could not shake off. I was obviously thrilled to be finally able to read a new manga by my childhood hero and still I felt anxious and sad at the same time because after all this is supposedly Akira Toriyama’s last manga and after Jaco the Galactic Patrolman… well after this it’s done. Finito. Needless to say that my expectations were high. Exceedingly high.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is your typical Toriyama manga. It has all the key elements that made all his other manga so memorable and succesful. It is less action-oriented than some of his more famous manga like Kajika, Sandland and of course Dragon Ball, his unmistakable and instantly recognisable sense of humour however is omnipresent. Akira Toriyama’s extremely childish and over-the-top humour still makes me giggle to this day.

Yeah sure this is no Dragon Ball, but nevertheless Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is an incredibly fun read in its own right. Yes I know, I probably came over like a total Toriyama groupie but in all honesty this is the kind of book I see myself giving to my kids should I ever get any. This is a fucking satisfying good read that will please long-time Akira Toriyama fans like myself. I only wish I had not known about the connection this manga has with Dragon Ball months before I even had the chance to buy it… damn you internet, damn you!!!! Even so I had goosebumps reading the last few pages of this highly enjoyable little book. Akira Toriyama is unrivalled.

-Paulo Costa-

Interview: Gary Smart

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Yeah I’m a sucker for movie-themed documentaries. Have always been, will always be. I devour that shit. Gary Smart is an expert in that field. As a producer and writer he has worked on the highly anticipated horror documentary Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II and on what will undoubtedly be one of my most anticipated movies/documentaries of 2016: You’re So Cool Brewster! The Story of Fright Night. Truth be told I don’t think that the guy has ever worked on anything that did not immediately pique my attention. He is exactly the kind of person I want to interview for this site, this is exactly the kind of work I want to highlight.

Ladies & gentleman: Gary Smart.

Hi Gary and thank you for taking the time!

GEEKCITING!: What are your goals, as a fan and as a business owner, with your company Cult Screenings UK Ltd?

Gary Smart: I have a passion for film and like many film fans I want to do what I love. Cult Screenings was originally set up as a small screening company in the UK, to put on your favourite cult films back on the big screen with actors in attendance at the events. We had 4 very successful shows with one of them being a screening of Hellraiser and Hellbound. The rest as they say is history and the last 2 years we have produced a documentary that I am very proud of.

Cult Screenings and Dead Mouse Productions set out to do  exactly the sort of things I loved as a fan and that was to peer behind the curtain and celebrate all those that make great movies happen.

GC!: What was your motivation behind The Complete History of The Return of the Living Dead, a book universally perceived as the ultimate love letter to Dan O’Bannon’s classic?

GS: I’m really happy that people are realising what Christian Sellers and I set out to do – the book was always intended to be a love letter to Dan, and I’m glad we achieved that.

I’ve been a ROTLD fan since as long as I can remember and about 8 years ago I became very friendly with Don Calfa and Beverly Randolph – we just instantly clicked. It’s because of this friendship that the amazingly talented Christian and I started work on the book.

GC!: How long did it take you to film a documentary as ambitious as Leviathan?

GS: Leviathan took 18 months to shoot in total and a further 5 to edit. Interviews took place in the UK, Scotland, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina and Canada.

It was an amazing project but extremely stressful and hard-work, I hadn’t envisioned just how big the project would be and that we would interview 40 people, have 90 hours of raw footage and end up with a two-part documentary running at around 7 hours long with 3 hours of bonus footage

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GC!: Your next project will be You’re So Cool Brewster! The Story of Fright Night, a documentary dedicated to yet another cult classic, Tom Holland’s Fright Night. How is that coming together and when do you plan on releasing it?

GS: It’s coming together amazingly. We are so lucky to have Tom fully on board producing and supporting. We have an amazing actor Simon Bamford from Hellraiser playing our host Peter Vincent, who will look like Roddy McDowall with the help of a great costume and makeup by the talented Stuart Conran. We are currently scheduling interviews and hope to film in July and August with a possible December or January release.

GC! Could you, in a few words, explain to our readers what your role is in the making of these documentaries?

GS: My role is producer and writer. My main duties as producer is bringing the whole project together from concept to screen. I hire the crew, organise the interviews and most importantly seek the funding. My crew on Leviathan were amazing and a few of them are working on Fright Night. I’m really happy that Chris Griffiths will be making is directorial debut on the Fright Night Doc.

GC!: We already know that the Fright Night documentary will be your next work. Are there already plans for what comes after that?

GS: I’d love to look at Child’s Play and I’ll discuss this with Tom when we meet over the Summer. I’ve also always wanted to do a Re-Animator documentary with Brian Yuzna.

Other than these I’m working on our first feature film but concentrating on Fright Night first.

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GC!: Do you have a dream project, a movie you’d love to film a documentary for but for whatever reason don’t see it happening anytime soon?

GS: My dream project was a documentary about the actor Don Calfa and his life in the movies. We tried to get it off the ground but unfortunately despite his popularity and big Facebook following there was little support for it on our Kickstarter campaign. I’m still upset it couldn’t happen as it would have been quirky and insightful. But these things happen in the business.

GC!: Will Leviathan and You’re so Cool Brewster! be released on DVD in other countries as well or will the only way to get these documentaries be the Cult Screenings UK Ltd site?

GS: They will both be available for worldwide shipping via the official sites – again I’ll have a chat to Tom about Fright Night as he may have some ideas about distribution.

Again, thanks a lot!

Make sure to check out the official site for Gary Smart‘s Cult Screenings UK Ltd and like the official Facebook pages for the Leviathan documentary and the Fright Night one. Good shit I’m telling you, good shit.

-Paulo Costa-

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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I remember a time where every newly announced comic book adaptation was followed by a certain unpleasant anxiety. Daredevil. Elektra. Catwoman. Ghost Rider. Spawn. Fantastic Four... Yep, the fear was real and more than justified. And then in 2008 Marvel Studios released a movie that would change the game altogether: Iron Man. Sure there have been good, even great comic book adaptations before Iron Man but good ol’ shellhead single-handedly changed the perception and opinion people had on comic books, their adaptations and the financial and artistic potential those movies could have. Fast forward to 2012. The Avengers is released worldwide and is not only a huge hit among die-hard comic book fans but also an astronomical financial success. Deservingly so. The Avengers is a phenomenal movie. A perfect comic book adaptation. A 10/10. It is the movie we have all been waiting for growing up. A geek’s wet dream. A dream that became a reality. Jeez I’m such a fanboy…

Of course they were going to do a sequel. Duh. The anticipation has been killing fans around the world for years now. The expectations towards Avengers: Age of Ultron are colossal and (at least in the comic book medium) unprecedented. Let’s be honest nobody is likely to be content with an ”ok” Avengers movie. Nobody.

Let me get this out straight ahead, Avengers: Age of Ultron is fucking amazeballs! Where to begin? I don’t even know…

I’m a freaking comic book purist so when people change things up for the movies I usually hate it. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch not being mutants is tolerable for obvious reasons but Ultron being created by the ”Science Bros” aka Tony Stark and Bruce Banner instead of being a Hank Pym creation? Well that… that kind of pissed me off. But even that is played out so well that it kind of makes perfect sense and brings the story forward in the most satisfying way you could think of. I’m not gonna lie they did change some things here in there. But you know what? I don’t even care anymore, all the changes are so well made, so exceedingly well executed that they all feel natural and an enhancement to the core of each and every character and what they are supposed to represent.

The action scenes are… boy them action scenes are explosive. It’s incredible. Obviously those Hulkbuster vs Hulk scenes are pretty impressive, I had goosebumps watching that shit, but believe me when I tell you that those fight scenes are not the only time you’ll have a geek boner watching Age of Ultron. Yes you’ve read that right a geek boner. Let’s just move on shall we?

I don’t know how Joss Whedon does it, truth be told I don’t fucking care. All I know is that he is a living fucking legend. He is worthy. Shit he is so worthy of all the faith and trust everyone at Marvel Studios and each and every one of us put in him he could wield that Mjolnir hammer any time any day. To see him part ways with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is truly heartbreaking. Understandable but heartbreaking. He could go on and make a ton of money doing these Avengers movies for as long as he wants to but then again he would be just that. ”That” Avengers dude. Oh I am very much looking forward to what the Russo brothers will bring to the table for Avengers: Infinity War but Whedon… yeah Whedon just had that special something. That special something that makes you love each and every character even more with every new scene they are in.

Whedon once again manages to deliver a bombastic high-caliber blockbuster without omitting the more down-to-earth side of each and every superhero portrayed to perfection by everyone involved. While being the world’s mightiest heroes these characters do all have fears, desires… emotions they need to live out. For us to believe and care for these characters we need to be able to relate to them. The genius of Joss Whedon is to show us these god-like characters under a different, more human light (take note DC and Warner Bros.). This is something Joss Whedon is remarkably good at filming.

What can I say? I loved every bit of Avengers: Age of Ultron. As much as I am looking forward to Batman v Superman… I don’t see anyone reaching this kind of comic book awesomeness anytime soon.

-Paulo Costa-

Daredevil

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Twelve years. That’s how long it’s been since we’ve last seen a film adaptation of Daredevil. While I must be one of the two people on this planet that enjoyed the shitfest, with Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell, for what it was worth…I am glad that Marvel got back the rights for the franchise and, together with Netflix, filmed a thirteen episode series which was released in bulk last Friday, April 10th! After binge-watching the whole show on Saturday, I’m going to try and give you my impressions and thoughts on this new iteration! I will keep the spoilers to a bare minimum, so if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t be afraid to read on.

First off, minutes after watching you will notice that the entire show looks and feels like a movie, rather than a TV show: the way it’s shot, the acting, the pacing: all of it is akin to something you would expect on the big screen. As a matter of fact, after finishing all of the, more or less, fifty-minute, episodes, you will feel like you’ve watched one very long film…one that never gets boring for even a second. Regarding the pacing, I really appreciate the fact that they don’t devote one entire episode to how Matt Murdock got his abilities, but instead throw in several short segments all throughout the season. It simply makes the whole superhero formula that much more interesting and creates a deep sense of immersion in the story.

The second thing that will catch your attention quite early, is the change of tone in comparison to all the previous Marvel Studios adaptations: Daredevil is dark, gritty and plenty violent. Blood flows, curse words are uttered and the thematic is very mature, including human trafficking, drug-related activities and drinking. I do have to point out that I found it an interesting choice that they opted for the omission of nudity, because aside from half a side-boob, there are little to no PG-13 scenes when it comes to naked flesh. I think it is a wise choice, however, because this show doesn’t need sex, in order to sell. Especially the job they did with the fight choreography can’t even be put into words, it’s that good.

Since I promised that I’d keep the spoilers to a bare minimum, I’ll keep the summary of the plot as obvious as possible. The story takes place two years after the events of The Avengers in New York City, with Matt Murdock and his partner Foggy Nelson just starting their own lawyer practice. Their first case is the defense of the young and charming Karen Page, who is accused of a murder that she didn’t commit. In the course of the thirteen episodes the trio discovers the involvement of Wilson Fisk, who you might know better as the Kingpin; even though this is never stated on the show. The narrative really fleshes out his character and, coupled with the fantastic acting of Vincent D’Onofrio, makes this villain easily my favorite of the ones we’ve seen in the Marvel movies so far…Ultron might change that. Needless to say that it ends with Matt Murdock donning the iconic scarlet suit and becoming Daredevil. Come one, people…what did you expect? It’s still a superhero adaptation!

All in all, this first joint-venture of Marvel and Netflix has proven to be one hell of a ride and I, for one, can’t wait for the future collaborations. Especially, since the two have laid out a clear plan: A.K.A. Jessica Jones is next, supposedly at the end of the year, then we are treated to Luke Cage, followed by Iron Fist, before culminating in one big team-up in The Defenders! Along with Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all the planned projects on the big screen, it’s safe to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to expand into something that has never been there in this form and…I CAN’T WAIT!

-Yannick Schockmel-

Exists

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Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti… whatever you wanna call it. The possibility of a hominid-like creature living in the woods of North America, unseen, livin la vida loca style, is as fascinating as it foolish. Yet the lack of physical evidence does not put a stop to the believe some people seem to have that Bigfoot does in fact really inhabit the forests of North America. Oh America, land of all possibilities.

The name of the director, Eduardo Sánchez, may not immediately ring a bell but most of you are probably very familiar with at least one of his other films. Eduardo Sánchez is one of the directors of the infamous classic horror film The Blair Witch Project. While it may not be the first found footage movie to be filmed (Ruggero Deodato’s masterpiece Cannibal Holocaust is widely believed to be the first one) The Blair Witch Project is undoubtedly one of the most influential and succesful movies of that often criticised subgenre. Hell it worked once, why not try it again right? I mean The Blair Witch Project brought him fame and fortune… shouldn’t be any different the second time around right? ”Lightning never strikes the same place twice”… that old saying has never been more accurate.

Like with most found footage movies the story in Exists is paper-thin. On their way to a remote cabin in the woods a group of friends accidentally hit an up until then unidentified creature. Soon after that most bizarre occurrence all involved start hearing eerie noises that will soon turn out to be emitted by the legendary creature Bigfoot. This ain’t your Harry and the Hendersons kind of Bigfoot. Too bad bitches. Bigfoot not happy. Bigfoot smash.

First things first: I usually don’t like found footage movies. The Blair Witch Project was brilliant and the possibility of Bigfoot existing has always been intriguing to me. And voilà, those are the two only reasons for me to check out Exists. Don’t get me wrong I was kind of excited to finally check this movie out, it sounded like a cool idea. Ultimately Exists is an extremely flawed movie and never, not even for one second, comes close to the cleverness of Eduardo Sánchez first venture into the found footage territory.

Exists starts out like a really cool flick and especially the moments where they start teasing the existence of the creature are very well filmed and yes even creepy. To me the movie would have been way more effective if they had kept the full look of the creature hidden. But they didn’t. The more they show us the less threatening and intimidating the creature gets. Bigfoot’s look in Exists is not the greatest and at moments looks cheap as fuck. Aren’t found footage movies known for not showing a whole lot of what is going on and leave space for one’s imagination anyways?

The actors while not being bad per se have zero charisma and not for once did I care for one of them. Go Bigfoot kill ’em all. KILL ‘EM ALL!

Re-reading my own review I noticed that Exists might come off as a bad movie, which it is not. It is just not the movie I wanted it to be. It is silly, ridiculous and not realistic for on bit but I still did not feel bored while watching it. What could have been a great movie will probably be a movie no one will be talking about in a couple of years months. While I was kind of entertained by it, Exists is not a movie I will be recommending anytime soon.

-Paulo Costa-

LuxCon 2015

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March 29. Tétange/Luxembourg. The LuxCon has opened its doors for the second consecutive year. Booyaka! Geeks, nerds and everyone in between were waiting for this moment since last year’s inaugural festivities. We were ready. Ready for round 2… FIGHT!

As it turned out last year’s LuxCon was a bigger success than everybody could have envisioned. I am not going to lie, I myself never tought that a gathering like this could exist let alone survive for a second edition in good ol’ Luxembourg. Well those fuckers sure proved me wrong didn’t they? I had a lot of fun last year, let’s see what these guys had to offer this year.

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First off let me tell you that I am not the biggest fantasy and science fiction nerd there is. To be honest my knowledge of the fantasy genre starts with The Lord of the Rings and stops with Game of Thrones. Well turns out that the LuxCon is a convention mostly devoted to all things fantasy and sci-fi. Which of course should not come off as something bad, I’m just pointing out that I am probably not part of the core target audience. I love me some fantasy movies, I love me some sci-fi… but probably not more than the average moviegoer. I am not in the ”scene” and have no clue what novel or sci-fi/fantasy author is hot right now. So most of the guests in attendance… I did not know.

However there was one guest that got me all excited. Miltos Yerolemou. Best known for his role as Syrio Forel in the hit series Game of Thrones. We all know Game of Thrones is the best thing on TV since the fucking TV was invented, so any actor from that series, no matter how small his part was, I will want to meet. Syrio Forel was fucking badass. How can you not love Syrio Forel? I was not disappointed. Miltos Yerolemou was the ultimate gentleman, an extremely nice guy, open to meet his fans and clearly happy to be in Luxembourg.

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While the venue was the same, (the ”Schungfabrik” in Tétange) there seemed to be a lot more going on than last year. Well one thing is for sure, it was a lot more crowded. A lot. Everybody there seemed to be having a lot of fun, and why shouldn’t they? Nonetheless, and this should not come off as a negative critique, I do feel like they would gain a lot from trying to reach a wider audience, a more diverse crowd so to speak. As it is, the LuxCon is a convention mostly dedicated to all things fantasy and sci-fi. However as a comic book guy and all-around movie addict I kind of feel a tiny bit left aside. There was not enough comic book-related stuff. Not enough bande dessinée stuff. Not enough manga stuff. Again I do understand that I am probably not part of the core target audience. But still a lil’ more comic books for sale and one or two more comic book artists would have been cool. Hell, maybe they should get in touch with yours truly and get some of that much-needed comic book flavor… *wink wink*

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What these guys have been doing for two years now is pretty incredible. If creating a gathering like this is pretty tough as it is anywhere in the world, organizing an event like the LuxCon in Luxembourg is a near impossible task. These guys have created something truly unique. Once again they have beaten the odds. Mission accomplished guys.

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Now if we could get Stan Lee, Walt Disney and Akira Toriyama as guests for next year, that’d be great. Just kidding… Walt will be enough. Do it. DO IT!

-Paulo Costa-

It Follows

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As if the fear of catching genital herpes after having sex for the first time with a person you barely know wasn’t enough now you gotta worry about ”it” following you aswell? What’s up with that?!

It is like a virus. A disease. After her latest sex escapade with the new kid in town, Jay Height the embodiment of the girl-next-door is infected with a curse. A sexually transmittable curse that turns her life upside down. Tormented by a seemingly unstoppable, invisible evil force Jay together with her best friends, her very own ”Scooby Gang”, must now find a way to end this most enduring, horrendous curse… or perish by the unforgiving hands of this unknown malevolent force.

It Follows by relative newcomer David Robert Mitchell is taking the horror world by storm… and deservingly so.

David Robert Mitchell created a movie that is as hard to describe as it is impossible to forget. It is mesmerizing. It has a certain vibe, a certain feel to it… a weird feel. I might be wrong, but I can’t shake off the feeling that the director spent hours deciding what object belongs in what room and that everything that is in each and every frame is there for a purpose. The movie has a distinctive look that immerses you into this strange but yet highly familiar world and makes you forget your surroundings in a heartbeat. The movie looks like it could have taken place in the 80s… but then again it doesn’t. It probably makes no sense to you if you haven’t seen It Follows yet but you’ll know immediately what I mean upon watching this soon-to-be cult classic. David Robert Mitchell filming style is impeccable and makes for one hell of a movie experience.

The main actors led by Maika Monroe (The Guest, Flying Monkeys… google that shit up it looks hilarious!!) as Jay, are all great and make it really easy for us to care for each and every character. Okay yes, they are a bit cliché, a bit hipster but that doesn’t make you like ’em any less.

Now what I really liked was the soundtrack. Back in the day horror movie soundtracks were the shizzle! Even totally fucked-up, god-awful movies had great movie themes. Rich Vreeland aka Disasterpeace created a phenomenal musical score that is both eerie an incredibly fitting to the whole vibe of the movie. Instantly memorable and catchy as fuck. I haven’t bought a movie soundtrack in like forever. I am honestly considering purchasing this one. It is that good. Or I’ll just download it illegally… Yeah I think imma do that.

I loved the fact that throughout the whole movie you feel kind of… yeah lost. I had no clue what would happen next and no hints at a possible explanation for the obvious paranormal events are given. The less you know the scarier it gets I guess. Now I am not one who gets scared easily so to me It Follows did not feel like a truly nerve-racking movie à la let’s say The Exorcist. My girlfriend however was scared shitless. ”Do they really have to use that sound…” she repeatedly asked proving once again that an effective soundtrack, especially in a horror movie, is primordial.

I’ve read some mixed reviews online. It Follows is not a movie for everybody, it’s not even a movie for every horror fan, I get that. To me however It Follows is hands down one of the most innovative and creatively interesting American horror movies in recent years.

-Paulo Costa-

Interview: Cédric Poulat

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Cédric Poulat is a French artist I have been following for quite some time now. One of my very first paid commissions was a Wonder Woman drawing by Cédric. I just had to own me an original Cédric Poulat piece. Back then he was still doing his own little thing, now he has become a regular cover artist for Dynamite Entertainment. I could not be happier for the guy.

Ladies & gentlemen I give you: Cédric Poulat.

GEEKCITING!: Just recently you started doing covers for American comic book publisher Dynamite Entertainment. Your art now graces the covers of iconic characters such as Vampirella and Lady Demon. How did that come along? Did you approach the guys over at Dynamite Entertainment? Did they approach you?

Cédric Poulat: Actually, one of the editors contacted me via email. She found my stuff on the internet and since I put some kind of watermark on all my drawings you can easily spot my name. Soooo I guess she just googled my name, found my site and then my email address. To be honest I was more or less going to quit art on a professional level. I had spent too many years fighting for nothing… I was really fed up.

GC!: While being a complete artist you are arguably best know for your pin-up work. Why do you think this is the case? Was it a deliberate choice of yours?

CP: Hmm… more or less. Basically at the beginning every girl I tried to draw looked horrible. So I drew them over and over again to succeed and finally be able to draw a character that would actually resemble a woman. Then when I got used to draw women I started to really like doing it, even though drawing women is way harder than drawing men. When I finally started posting my own stuff on the internet I began with pictures of girls. A that time I was in art school and all I wanted to draw whenever I had time to draw for myself were things I couldn’t draw in art school: sexy girls. That being said, I quickly noticed that whatever I would post, the work that would get the most attention were my drawings of women so I kept illustrating them. However that was not a problem for me as women are what I like to draw the most.

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GC!: If not mistaken you have already released a couple of sketchbooks on your own. What was the response to them and is there already a new one in the making?

CP: Actually 3 sketchbooks were already released. One every two years (Women in 2010, the P.H.A.T. Sketchbook in 2012 and INKS in 2014). The amount of interest towards these sketchbooks varied quite a bit and they all sold very differently. While I tought that the second one would be easy to sell (it was a full color product) it was actually the one which I sold the least of. INKS sold out very quickly. I am pretty sure making a blank cover, a 4th cover so to speak, which allowed the customers to get an inked sketch, helped a lot in selling INKS. This year I will be releasing INKS2. I still don’t know if I should release RAW at the same time. RAW would feature pencils and sketches while INKS2 would… well that name says it all doesn’t it?

GC!: How hard is it for a French and/or European artist to break into the American comic book market? Your work now being published on American comic books, do you have any advice for up-and-coming European artists trying to reach that ultimate goal?

CP: Because of the internet I’m not sure it is harder to break into the American market if you don’t live in the United States. Of course you have to speak and understand English well enough or find yourself an agent. Maybe the main hurdle is meeting the editors. Marvel and DC for example look at a few portfolios during certain conventions. But you can not send them your stuff via email. Obviously no one can afford to pay for plane trips, hotels and other related stuff for very long. That would be the only problem I see for those living outside the USA. But even for Americans the long distances can become a problem.

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GC!: As mentioned before you are now a regular cover artist for Dynamite Entertainment. Are there any plans for you to do interiors aswell?

CP: Maybe. I just don’t want to do a 22 pages monthly book yet. I’m basically more a cover artist than an illustrator. I used to draw 22 pages per month for my own pleasure but I am a bit rusted as I didn’t really do sequential art for a few years now. That being said, I can still produce one pencilled and inked page per day without trouble. I noticed that while doing some samples recently.

GC!: What comic book creator do you feel had the most impact on your own personal work?

CP: It’s hard to name just one because my stuff is the result of me being inspired by several artists. I’ve been following J. Scott Campbell since his early beginnings, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Frank Cho and obviously Adam Hughes.

GC!: What can our readers expect from you in the near future?

CP: I want to release my own web comic. It takes more time than expected to release but as times passes I get more ideas and get to know my characters better as well. I would like to keep my cover artist job and doing some covers for Marvel and especially DC would be more than welcome.

Now take a good look at the two pictures I posted above and tell me you don’t feel the urge to order yourself your very own commissioned piece of art. If your budget is a little tight right now but you still want to somehow support this incredibly gifted artist you can always contact him via his Facebook page HERE and order one of his gorgeous sketchbooks.

Merci beaucoup Cédric!!

-Paulo Costa-