Monday, March 26, 2012

First-Ever Writers Deathmatch: Round 3-Mini-Series Outline

Welcome to Round Three of the First-Ever Writers Deathmatch! We had ten total submissions for the contest and now we are down to the top 4.

We have not changed any of the grammar or spelling of the writers' works so the characters and style are purely theirs. Vote for the two writers which present you with the most interesting, compelling and original mini-series.

A famous superhero is imprisoned in a maximum security facility after years of loyal service to their community. It is up to you, the writer, to establish who the “superhero” is, why they are imprisoned, back story, characters and where the story goes from there. With that out of the way, here are the competitors and their mini-series.

Meg Cush

The over-all tone of 468 is the impact mothers truly have on their daughters, even those with powers and good intentions. As the series progresses, you start to see the borderline-abusive childhood that shaped Theia’s unhealthy need to please her mother. Lisa-Raye was the driving force behind her daughter’s lifestyle choice, as well as the camerawoman and the one that sent her out to fight nearly every night of her life. By issue three, you notice a trend in her mother’s underhanded dealings when it comes to Agent Kaos’s ‘escapes’ from the law and his ability to attack wherever and whenever her daughter is out on the prowl. Issue four deals with the actual attack on Hamilton Elementary School and the arrests in connection with the bombings. By the end of issue five, Theia starts to slowly realizing that her mother was behind it more than she initially thought.

Scott Closter

Why am I here?  A question The Sixth has been asking from the moment he was summoned to Earth by forces unknown. Why are you here? For centuries Ohm freely wandered the universe until inexplicably drawn to Earth instilled with genocidal intent. Why ask why? What is the true nature of The Absurdist, and why is he utterly insistent on the inherent lack of meaning in our lives? Through reflection upon several of their previous encounters, including the events leading to their imprisonment in a high-tech containment facility, The Sixth and Ohm realize they must put their lives into each other's hands in order to stop The Absurdist before he annihilates mankind in a literal "World War." From the realm of the quantum to the edges of reality, The Sixth will discover his purpose in life, our future depends on it.

Aakshat Sinha

Denis Akratov had a secret that he’s not a humanoid, which when revealed got him locked up in prison. What he is in reality is still unknown, even to him. As Sylenus, his teacher and Kornuzo, the renegade survivor team up and break Denis out of prison, the wheels start to come off their disintegrating lives rolling downhill. Denis had been drugged with the poisonous seawater in prison and he dips back and forth into delusional fits. The authorities are after them, and so are the donberits - the water beasts. Unknown to the runaways there is a stronger force stalking them and looking out for the right opportunity to strike. The testing escapade leads them from Batumi, the beach city, through Kazbegi, the picturesque, dangerous mountains, onwards through the Borjomi gorge, right to the outskirts of Vardazia, the cave complex - the realm of Barastyr, the Cave Lord. The series ends with Kornuzo revealing a secret that completes Denis’ quest but raises questions of his true nature - Hero /Villain.

Arthur Gibson

Series starts with our Hero imprisoned for the murder of her husband, Phillip. Their rocky relationship and emotional battles greatly affected her fight against criminals and injustice. Char learns that Phillip has a tell-all book being published coinciding with when he will file for divorce. It exaggerates real events and tarnishes the “hero” image she is obsessed with. Portrayed as a who-done-it mystery, we will see the events of Phillips murder and how everyone could have done it. In the end Char is revealed as the killer. We’ll know the reasons for her action and witness the battle with Vane that results in Char’s death. The arc is held together by the comments of an unseen character. They are the closing arguments at the trial that Vane will get in the future. They provide commentary, narration, and orient the reader in a story that includes jumping from past to present.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First-Ever Writers Deathmatch: Round 2-The Synopsis

Welcome to Round Two of the First-Ever Writers Deathmatch! We had ten total submissions for the contest and now we are down to the top 6.

We have not changed any of the grammar or spelling of the writers' works so the characters and style are purely theirs. Vote for the three writers which present you with the most interesting, compelling and original synopsis.

"A famous superhero is imprisoned in a maximum security facility after years of loyal service to their community". It is up to you, the writer, to establish who the “superhero” is, why they are imprisoned, back story, characters and where the story goes from there. With that out of the way, here are the competitors and their synopses.

Aakshat Sinha

Denis is locked up in a cell in a maximum security facility. Back in Tsinindali young orphan Denis runs around alone chancing upon a drunk, saving the goblet of wine that rolls out of his hand. Sylenus, the drunk, adopts him and teaches the old, sacred Borjomi way of making wine, celebrating life and death. Death of the grapes, crushed completely to ooze out the life-saving ferment. Special filtration converts ‘poison’ from the grapes to the only safe drink. All waters are poisoned since apocalypse. Kornuzo sees a visual of Denis removing his skin, revealing a donberits’ scaly hide. He removes his skin multiple times to reveal more grotesque forms. She kills some donberits in Batumi and mixes seaweed to the wine in her special flask as medicine. Finally Kornuzo stands outside the facility withdrawing her laser katana, with Denis locked up and Sylenus riding a cart around the opposite corner.

Andrew Henderson

The year is 2066.  A horrific viral outbreak has taken the world by storm as the infected plague the streets.  Commander Alistair Bane and his Nightwatch team have been tasked by the United States government to extract high-level persons of interest from infected hot zones and bring them to the safety of the fortified city of Tabula Rasa.  On a routine extraction mission to rescue a US Senator, Bane finds a pregnant survivor.  Ignoring his orders to extract only those deemed essential, Bane tries to save the young woman.  But it’s too late…as she goes into labor she’s bitten by one of the infected.  The result is Half-Breed.  Five years later, the virus has been contained and the city of Tabula Rasa houses a new world order, protected by Half-Breed and the Nightwatch.  However, behind the walls, the infected still roam…along with survivors.  Charged with the murder of the President of the United States, Half-Breed is sentenced to a Federal Supermax Prison as Imago Labs C.E.O. Mitchell Dekker assumes control of Tabula Rasa.  With Half-Breed behind bars, the city finds itself vulnerable to both external and internal threats…

Meg Cush

Four hundred and Sixty-eight. In the pursuit of internet fame, 468 innocent children lost their lives. At the center of it all are the woman ultimately responsible for what happened, the man who pulled the trigger, and the woman who would suffer for it all. The first issue of 468 begins with Nyx being shown behind bars, suffering away in solitary confinement, thinking about what lead to her being here. It shows her early days of stardom, the harsh fall from grace, and her mother ultimately giving her the idea to go forth with being a hero while she sat behind the camera and watched her own daughter risk her life for the rush of fame that she herself was denied because she became pregnant at nineteen. The issue ends with her meeting Agent Kaos for the first time.

Scott Closter

The Sixth, now a wandering nomad, prepares for a shamanic experience in the desert country of Ihaz. Hours into his trance he’s unknowingly surrounded by the Ihaz militia, but their attempts to kill the “infiltrator” prove a lesson in futility.  The Sixth dispatches them with ease, but his actions are recorded by an American surveillance drone. Due to his sudden reappearance in the middle of a war-zone, a nearby private militia is sent to bring him in for interrogation. The soldiers for hire garner his attention when their captain, extreme existentialist The Absurdist, is able to break The Sixth’s meditative state, eventually convincing him to come along peacefully for “questioning” by agents of the US government.  After several hours of inquisition The Sixth inexplicably blacks out mid-interrogation and upon waking, finds himself powerless and bound in high-tech shackles, face to face with his arch-nemesis Ohm, the self-proclaimed murderer of mankind.

Arthur Gibson

Issue one sees Vane in prison for the murder of her husband. Char wants her to escape. To Vane escape is not the way of the Hero. She follows Justice whether it is for or against her. Through flashbacks we see their relationship and their work together. Char is about action, the moment, and satisfaction of desires. Vane is about justice, assistance, and delayed gratification. She won’t harm the “image” she hopes will inspire the whole city. We see how Vane and her husband’s stormy relationship color all their lives. Is being a “Hero” a costume to put on and off or something to strive for throughout your entire life? Does becoming “Heroic” make you more human, or less? Will you and all around you become prisoners to ideals you can’t live up to? Ends in a flashback of her arrest immediately after defeating a villain who threatened a school.

Phil Bledsoe

The first issue's plot will focus on introducing the reader to the world in which the Mind's Eye operates, a world familiar to most readers of mainstream superhero comics. It will also introduce the idea that this world also includes a unique minority population: mutated victims of a recent man-made environmental disaster, who are forced to live on isolated colonies or reservations throughout the world. The Mind's Eye, with his unconventional approach to heroics, learns during the course of a routine investigation that the mutations are privy to information about industrial experiments to create an artificial plague that turns ordinary people into zombies; no one else has learned of it, because the mutations are thought of as mindless monsters rather than people. He also learns of a pattern of routine discrimination and violence against the mutations by both the legal authorities and the rest of the superhero community.

The Illumi-Nerdi Interview with Kurtis Wiebe

Kurtis Wiebe is the brilliant writer behind Intrepids and the uber fascinating Green Wake. Despite working on at least three new projects for 2012 (a retelling of the JM Barrie classic Peter Pan in Peter Panzerfaust, the post-apocalyptic Debris and Grim Leaper, "the Final Destination Rom-Com you’ve been waiting for") Mr. Wiebe was kind enough to answer a few questions for the Illumi-Nerdi. Check out Kurtis Wiebe's blog where he goes into awesome detail about the intriguing mythology of Green Wake.

1. We describe Green Wake to people as Lost meets Silent Hill. If you had to over-simplify it, how would you describe it?

KW: You know, I really wish I had an answer to that. It’s honestly one of the biggest struggles we’ve had with the series and the elevator pitch has been very elusive. So, I guess the short answer to what always ends up being a long answer is, if you can think of something better than Dark City meets Twin Peaks, I’m all ears.

2. Why frogs?

KW: Frogs are seen as symbols of fertility and rebirth in many cultures, and once you get to the final pages of Issue #10, you’ll understand in much better detail why I chose to use frogs in a symbolic way.

3. With Green Wake very unfortunately ending too soon, what more had you planned to do with the mythology?

KW: Quite a lot. Obviously I revealed as much as I possibly could but all those deep plotlines that I wove had to be fast tracked because of the early finale. I’ve actually posted a detailed essay on the mythology of Green Wake on my blog ( ) so if you want to know, in detail, what Green Wake was and found the answers in the last issue too vague, you’ll get the answers you’re looking for.

4. With your ever growing (and deserving) popularity, do you think you could ever get back to Green Wake? Or the characters (that survive)?

KW: Thanks so much for the kind words. I’ll never say no to that question, but truthfully I’m very ready to move onto new things. Green Wake was intensely personal for me and it was written in a phase of my life that was very difficult. I’m in a much better place now and you’ll notice in my new projects a definite turn to lighter and definitely happier material.

I really do love Green Wake, but I’m not in a huge hurry to go back there.

5. What can you tell us about your future works, specifically Grim Leaper and Debris?

KW: Well, Debris is a long way off yet so I’m not really releasing too much information about it at this stage, but it’s a new project that Riley Rossmo and I are teaming up for. It’s like nothing you’ve seen from him before and I promise it’s deservedly going to turn some eyes to his work. I’m very excited for it.

Grim Leaper is a project coming out with the immensely talented Aluisio Santos on May 30th. It’s a gory love story, the Final Destination Rom-Com you’ve been waiting for. It follows the lives and deaths of Lou Collins, a man stuck with a curse that sees him continually dying in horrific ways only to wake up in the body of a complete stranger. At the beginning we learn that he’s been suffering from this curse for quite some time already but very soon he meets a woman named Ella who has the exact same curse.

They date.

6. Why did you decide to write comics as opposed to another media?

KW: Well, I’ve written a novel that’s been published and while it’s a rewarding experience it’s a very different experience. With prose you’re alone in your project, locked away writing for months on end with little feedback from the outside world.

The opposite is true with comics and that’s why I love the medium. You create a setting and characters and another creative mind makes them come to life. It’s the sort of storytelling, that joint venture, that cannot be replicated in any other medium.

7. In Peter Panzerfaust, what made you decide to do a retelling of Peter Pan as opposed to another classic?

KW: It’s a childhood favourite of mine and a lot of the themes fit into the story we’re telling with the series. Peter Pan was about embellishing our youth and refusing to let go. What happens when you are thrust into a situation where that just isn’t possible? What if you are forced to grow up before you’re ready and that childhood innocence is caught in the middle of it all?

I think it allows us to really delve into some powerful themes as well as tell one hell of an adventure yarn.

8. Why do you believe in comic books?

KW: Because it allows me to create and share stories with the world and I want to do it for as long as I’m able.

That’s a powerful testament to why they are so important.

Don't forget to vote on the Writers Deathmatch!

Friday, March 16, 2012

First-Ever Writers Death Match: Round 1 (Part B)

Welcome to Round One of the First-Ever Writers Deathmatch! We have ten total submissions for the contest and as each one requires a bit of reading, we decided to break it up across two separate days. The various competitors are broken up completely randomly so there is absolutely no benefit to being in group A or B. Round One (Part A) voting has ended, and you can find the poll for (Part B) on the right side of the blog.

We have not changed any of the grammar or spelling of the writers' works so the characters and style are purely theirs. Vote for the three artists which present you with the most interesting, compelling and original characters.

"A famous superhero is imprisoned in a maximum security facility after years of loyal service to their community". It is up to you, the writer, to establish who the “superhero” is, why they are imprisoned, back story, characters and where the story goes from there. With that out of the way, here are the competitors and their characters:

Meg Cush

Nyx, whose real name is Theia Jones, was born the daughter of former child star Lisa-Raye Harper and her much older manager, Edward James Jones. Instead of following in her mother’s footsteps and taking the acting world by storm, she instead used her photographic reflexes and memory to her advantage and became the hottest thing to hit music with her first dance-hall hit, “Your Man Is Mine”. However, she ended up being a one-hit wonder. To fill the gaping hole that fame left in her, she decided to put her talents to use and became Nyx, the YouTube sensation. Armed with a camerawoman, various weapons like her bow-staff and battle salves, she took on crime in Philadelphia. Her costume is skin-tight, but with extra padding where need be in a dark gray. To hide her identity, she wears an electric blue wig over her pixie-cut red hair.

Nothing much is known about the man the city of Philadelphia became to know as Agent Kaos. Underneath his army fatigues and plain white mask, he is believed to be Hugo Galveston, a man whose genius knew little rivals, but was also a victim of the saying “there is a thin line between genius and insanity”. After ratings of Nyx’s YouTube channel “Woman of the Night” began to tank, her mother discovered a man willing to play the part of her own, personal super villain. Armed with his wits and expertise in the area of explosives, he played his part well. A little too well, to be exact. Much to Nyx’s horror, his last standoff ended with a school being blown to bits and the deaths of four hundred and sixty-eight children. Under his mask, he looks like any random vagrant on the street.

Lisa-Raye Harper was once America’s Sweetheart, having stared in numerous nation-wide commercials and the sitcom “All My Lives to Live” as Russian mob daughter, Mykahlia Romanov, before shooting to stardom on the ABC family sitcom “Fully Decked” as rebellious teen daughter, Maggie Deck. However, by the time she was nineteen, she was fired from the show for what they considered to be a breach of contract, in the form of getting pregnant while playing a sixteen year old character. By the time she gave birth to her only child, she was the most loathed woman in tabloid history. This made her a bitter and a bit deranged, which seeped into her mothering skills. After her daughter failed to gain the fame that eluted her, thanks to becoming a young mother, she pushed her into becoming a super hero and even was the driving force behind hiring Agent Kaos. She is the true villain of the story.

Phil Bledsoe       

Main character: “The Mind's Eye” a.k.a. horror author Grant Guignol, modern-day masked crime-fighter in the style of the Golden Age comics and pulps. Tougher than a gristle and bone meal sandwich, the Mind's Eye resembles Blade the Vampire Hunter played by Morgan Freeman, dressed as the Crimson Avenger with a secret identity as Stephen King. He uses a combination of Eastern mysticism (hence his name), physical force (up to and including lethal force, but only in self-defense), and his horror research background (aberrant psychology and occultism) to hunt serial killers, supernatural threats, and dangerous cryptid monsters. Already in his mid-50s and African-American, the Mind's Eye feels a certain distanme and  the predominantly younger, white, and (in his opinion) over-powerful, destructive and impulsive superhero community. This distance (physically and philosophically) will be his downfall.

Supporting character/antagonist: “The Human Sideshow” His nickname comes from the fact that he is obsessed with body modification (tattoos, piercings, implants, scarification, and branding) and once used his job as a traveling sideshow performer to cover his tracks when he began his serial killing career. Having narrowly survived a bullet from the Mind's Eye once before, and having escaped several prisons and institutions, the Sideshow now floats from one fringe cult group to another using his showmanship and charisma to push them over the line into human sacrifice, which he is more than happy to perform. The Mind's Eye is in pursuit of the Sideshow when the series begins, and this villain will appear throughout to bedevil the hero, although he is not the main threat.

Supporting character/antagonist: “Paragon” A Superman pastiche with an array of godlike powers, traditional costumed, handsome, and (outwardly at least) morally upright. He will appear alongside other “mainstream” superheroes, applying overbearing tactics and disregard for the public and individual liberties, as a contrast to the Mind's Eye. Although he is at first only philosophically at odds with the main character, their rivalry builds through the first half of the series and Paragon's condemnation of the Mind's Eye is what leads to that hero's eventual imprisonment. Paragon and Mind's Eye share a Superman/Batman rivalry, further exacerbated by age difference (Paragon is young) and cultural background (Paragon is white). Although racial tension is not a central theme to the story, it serves as a symbol of the division between the two men. Paragon might be “too noble” to bring it up, but Mind's Eye isn't.

David Kenny

Tina Trench, Female, 5’1”, short brown hair, Brown eyes, wiry frame and Tanned skin. The first issue would have her in The Facilities attire (Khaki Boiler suit, tough Khaki boots.) but when she is out on the surface she would have the top half of the boiler suit removed, using it as a bag, She wears a white vest. She walks around in bare feet. Her powers include Telekinesis, Telepathy. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world. In this new world we have a new race of humans with psychic capabilities. The Facility is a society wishing to take control of the world and they fear that these Psychics will try and stop them. The Facility then makes a huge prison where they send Psychics and give them a drug, which stops their abilities. Humanity is at war with a barbaric alien race known as The Drull.

Dal Stone, Male, 6’ 8”, Muscular, Short blonde hair, One Brown eye one white, both of which are small, Wide chin. Note; Needs distinctive cruel Smile. He has paler skin than Tina.  He wears tight Khaki Shorts, a tight black Top, and the Facilities Khaki Boots. His powers includes  Telekinesis, Telepathy. Dal, Was in a party of Motorcycle riding raiders. His gang came across the Village where Tina lives. After a quick attack the raiders sped off with a young girl. Tina then went after the raiders to go save the young girl, only to be too late. In a rage she attacked the men only to be unsuccessful against the barrage of psychic attacks from Dal. In the middle of the fight, Facility officials caught a reading of psychic activity and found the raiders and Tina. They killed the gang and took Dal and Tina.

The Tracker, Female, 5’ 6”, in the Series the Tracker is seen in a special suit which enables her to be camouflaged in the surroundings, she wears a helmet which covers her head, and the helmet enables her to not be heard by psychics unless they are very powerful and deliberately trying to hunter her out. Fitted into the helmet are goggles which have Telescopic as well as heat tracking capabilities. She has a small pod/glider which has the same Camouflaging ability as her suit. She is armed with a sniper and Darts, which holds the drug used to disable Psychic abilities. Her character is mostly shrouded in mystery and is basically trying to hunt the escapees down. She works for The Facility.

Marcus E.T.

Ragnarok is the world-famous superhero from Mercury who now resides in Mellow Springs, N.C.  He possesses strength to lift over a ton, able to generate intense heat and cold, fly at the speed of sound, and manipulate magnetic fields.  He has sapphire blue skin, ruby eyes, blood red hair tied into a queue, and a lean, muscular build.  He primarily wears a silver atmospheric suit that allows him to survive in any environment and bears the symbol of his home (a white crescent over a black symbol that resembles an “M”).  Born Rama Summus, he feels he has no need for an alter ego, but he chose a new name for his new life on Earth.  In Earth years he is 52 years old, but he comes off as a bit arrogant and immature and seems to have a bit of a mischievous side.

Marisol Del Ray is a beautiful 29-year-old Hispanic-American journalist with dark, almond shaped eyes, black, shoulder-length hair with brown highlights, and a slender, well-toned body; closely resembles Eva Mendez.  She has made a reputation for herself of capturing the most elusive stories at all costs.  Since the coming of what became known as the “Golden Age of Heroes” and the arrival of Ragnarok, she has become even more ambitious and she has gained a greater sense of security, but she has her suspicions the new hero isn’t all he seems.

Milo Hayes, better known as “Trace”, is a forty-one-year old mercenary who has made it a personal goal to make a name for himself by killing the world’s strongest superhumans.  He is African American with a robust build, hazel eyes, and shaven head.  His most distinguishing feature is a scar on the right cheek, shaped like the symbol for infinity.  He loves the sport of hunting and eliminating new game, and by his philosophy, “the more powerful the target, the more satisfying the kill”. He got into the business of being a hired gun 15 years ago, and in his career, he has managed to successfully eliminate over 100 men and three supermen. With a genius intellect, a technologically advanced suit of armor and a mastery of multiple weapons and various forms of martial arts, the only term he deems worthy of describing him is “invincible”.

Andrew Henderson

Half-Breed:  Bitten by one of the walking dead while giving birth, Marie Bluenote died during labor…but not before gracing the world with its first ever Human-Zombie hybrid…Half-Breed.  Human intelligence and emotions armed with a strengthened body impervious to pain.  The perfect soldier.  Half-Breed’s skin holds a bluish-green hue, discolored due to his partial infection from the Zombie Virus.  He possesses super-human strength, a durable body which is impervious to pain, and an unfortunate craving for flesh, which he must control by feeding upon animals or deceased corpses.  Half-Breed might look like a monster, but his mind is one of a brilliant scientist, ever longing to find a cure for his anomalous condition.  During the peak of the Zombie uprising, Half-Breed was part of “The Nightwatch”, an Elite Zombie Taskforce designed to help clean up the streets from the undead.  Five years later, with the Zombie uprising under control, Half-Breed finds himself locked away in a Federal Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado for a heinous murder he may or may not have committed.  (Think Bruce Banner meets Hellboy.)

Commander Alistair Bane:  Commander Bane is the leader of “The Nightwatch”, and HalfBreed’s mentor and father figure.  Bane lost most of his left arm early during the uprising and  had it replaced with a robotic one which serves as multi-bladed limb of destruction.  But that’s not all he lost…he also lost his wife.  Hell-bent on the eradication of every single Zombie, Commander Bane was a consumed man focused only on revenge.  That is until he met Half-Breed.  After the death of Half-Breed’s mother during a Nightwatch extraction operation, Bane saved the new-born and raised him as his own.  While others were skeptical of the monstrous offspring, Bane saw him as a potential savior in the Zombie War.  Bane taught Half-Breed everything he knows; how to fight, how to think, and how to control his innate primal urges.  Bane is incredulous to Half-Breed’s imprisonment and determined to prove him innocent.  (Think Nick Fury.)

Mitchell Dekker:  Mitchell is C.E.O. of Imago Labs, a global-mega Biotechnology Corporation.  In this new Post-Zombie Apocalypse world, Mitchell is essentially a worldwide deity, trumping all forms of government for all intents and purposes.  Mitchell’s company was behind many of the innovations during the Zombie uprising which led to humanity’s regained control of the world.  Mitchell views Half-Breed as a Super Soldier…something which shouldn’t be cured, but rather emulated.  Despite having the notion rebuked on multiple occasions, Mitchell has pushed to have Half-Breed’s DNA replicated, creating an army of Super Soldiers to protect the world. (Or as other speculate, to take it over…)  Commander Bane is spurious as to Dekker’s ulterior motives, even going so far as to allege that Dekker himself created the Zombie virus as a means to gain financial and political power.  (Think Lex Luthor)

Teaser: America's Got Power

Johnathan Ross and Bryan Hitch's America's Got Powers. 

America's Got Powers is American Idol meets The Thunderdome. 

Does anyone want to see the chant "Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves" in print? 

We really do! 

The Tchaikovsky of Comic Books.

I heard that one of my heroes was going to be signing autographs at Midtown Comics Downtown. So, The Illumi-Nerdi ventured to downtown NYC this evening to meet the one and only Brian K. Vaughan. For the few of you that have called your most recent residence “Under A Rock”, Brian K. Vaughan is the absolutely brilliant scribe behind the political superhero Mitchell Hundred in “Ex Machina”, the group of pubescent heroes in “Runaways”, the incredibly touching and heartbreaking story of a group of lions in “Pride of Baghdad” (one of the best single graphic novels I’ve ever read), the fascinating new series Saga, and everything that made me want to write; “ Y: The Last Man”.
I’ve been a fan of BKV since I started reading comic books. To me, he was the one constant in an ever changing medium. So many writers have their hits and their misses. But (for me at least) everything Brian K. Vaughan did was a homerun. He was, and is, the one writer that has consistently kept me turning pages. Say what you will for Alan Moore, Stan Lee,  Mike Mignola, Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns (some of my other favorites) but BKV is one of the only comic writers that can keep me up until 4:00 in the morning needing more. Not wanting more. But needing more. He’s one of the select few that I feel like if I don’t continue reading, something awful might happen to me.
And that’s why I requested off from work all day Thursday so that I could go downtown and shake this man’s hand. And all I can say is: I was not disappointed. I’ve met plenty of other writers in my day as an uberfan. I’ve had some pretty good experiences with the comic book elite (Robert Kirkman was very receptive to my dry sarcasm) and some situations that left something to be desired (Geoff Johns was just looking to move the line along), but BKV was perfectly willing, and genuinely interested in everything I had to say. So often do you hear about people meeting their heroes and being disappointed and upset with their callous attitude and disregard for their fans.  But while I was a shy nerd, Brian Vaughan was asking me questions, more interested in what I had to say than, me, the person saying it. All I wanted to do was say “Thank you for inspiring me to write” but he thanked me for reading and asked me (actually interested) “What are you writing”. Why should he care? He really shouldn’t (I probably wouldn’t if I were him), but he is still unpretentiously interested in what his fans are doing. That’s what makes him one of the uniquely readable comic book writers out there right now.
If you haven’t read “Saga” yet, don’t borrow it from your friend or read it in your comic store. Buy it. Believe me, it’s a series you’re going to want to say you’ve had since issue one. It’s an exceptionally distinct series. And If BKV did nothing but awful stories since Y: The Last Man, or as Zachary Levi called it on the TV series Chuck “the greatest literary achievement of our generation” (of which I wholeheartedly agree), I would read anything he did if only for the fact that he is a supremely nice gentleman.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

First-Ever Writers Deathmatch-Round One (Part A): Character Profiles

Welcome to Round One of the First-Ever Writers Deathmatch! We have ten total submissions for the contest and as each one requires a bit of reading, we decided to break it up across two separate days. So Round One (Part A) is available for voting now, and Part B will be up FRIDAY MARCH 16. The various competitors are broken up completely randomly so there is absolutely no benefit to being in group A or B. 

We have not changed any of the grammar or spelling of the writers' works so the characters and style are purely theirs. Vote for the three artists which present you with the most interesting, compelling and original characters.

"A famous superhero is imprisoned in a maximum security facility after years of loyal service to their community". It is up to you, the writer, to establish who the “superhero” is, why they are imprisoned, back story, characters and where the story goes from there. With that out of the way, here are the competitors and their characters:

Scott Closter
The Sixth - Protagonist
The Sixth is an advanced being from beyond the stars. This grim hero stands 6’2”, 180lbs with a fit, semi-muscular build.  He appears to be a Caucasian male of 35 years, and though masked, we can see his jaw and fierce glowing eyes. The Sixth’s powers are best described as progressed psychokinesis, abilities which allow him to affect matter on both micro and macro PK scales. In essence, The Sixth can manipulate the microscopic neurons inside your brain, and produce large scale effects affecting several city blocks. Initially The Sixth operated primarily out of the US, but would travel as necessary to deal with matters he deemed required his attention. After several years of crime fighting The Sixth had defeated every major science villain, and with the establishment of theAdvanced Crime Technologies government agency to deal with future threats, without explanation The Sixth vanished from the public eye.

The Abdurdist - Villain
The Absurdist is a 6’3, lanky Caucasian male. He is easily identified by the mask he wears which has a design akin to the head of a crash test dummy. The mask is wired with a series of computer circuits which allow it to perform various technological and tactical functions, including an advanced LED system that displays punctuation marks on his forehead, alternating to match the mood of The Absurdist.  He is a former nemesis of The Sixth who was eventually delivered by The Sixth himself into the custody of Advanced Criminal Technologies.  The Absurdist has a penchant for punishing or killing his chosen targets with highly absurd schemes or bizarre pieces of technology that often inspire laughter in the victim until they realize the last laugh is held by The Absurdist alone.

Ohm - Villain
Ohm is an intelligent form of inter-galactic protoplasm, said to have been wandering the universe for billions of years, searching for purpose. The entity’s true name is long forgotten, but was dubbed “Ohm” by the media due to the neutralizing effect the ooze has on the psychokinetic power of The Sixth.  Ohm’s nature is such that his presence nullifies the various powers of The Sixth, forcing the hero to rely on his wits, strength and available technology to defeat the scarlet ball of gelatinous matter. Ohm has come into conflict with The Sixth several times, but during their last encounter, The Sixth was able to trap Ohm in a tesseract containment cube and hand deliver the villain to 51.1 Labs for study. He was eventually turned over to Advanced Criminal Technologies where they’re developing an eternal containment protocol for the heinous mass of psychoplasm.

Aakshat Sinha

In the year 234PA (post apocalypto) Denis Akratov of Tsinindali, the wine town, is the famous superhero, who has singlehandedly provided for the creation of Xvantch Ark, the wine-like substance from the poisonous grapes of Batumi, the last beach city of the world. The intoxicant is the only safe drink of the world. His parentage and background is relatively unknown to public. Denis’ good looks, blonde hair, tall, lithe built and unblemished, taut skin, are god-like, which make his presence amongst the Humanoids even more ‘alien’. He has kept them safe from their inner demons and that of the shores beyond-the nefarious suckers that wear the humanoid skin over their own scaly one. He can identify these creatures with his special vision and has the super power to stun them before they can harm anyone, anymore. That’s till last night, when a visual file went viral. Denis was taking off his skin! Repeatedly! Denis has his fallibilities, least of them- not being a humanoid!

Sylenus Daedalusov of Borjomi, the southern gates to the last humanoid inhabited country of the world, is Denis Akratov’s teacher, friend and confidante. Denis learnt the ancient art of winemaking from him. Sylenus has the natural talent of long forgotten multi-talented innovators, who worked on all forms of sciences. He also has the power of future visions, though he’s not very good at deciphering them or explaining them. He keeps them mostly to himself unless telling tales to children, when he doesn’t hold back. He is obviously a hit with the children, but not their parents. He is bald, fat, has thick lips, a squashed nose and is generally drunk. His strengths are his sharp mind and talent at making things happen-a true creator. His sharp tongue and a secret weak disposition to non-humanoids are his failings. For now he holds peace with his personal demons, but till when?

Kornuzo Masova of Gergeti, the mountain village, is the only survivor from the mountainside of Kazbegi, obliterated by the Cave Lord army. She is short and buxom. She has long black hair, tied in a bun, held together with a strip of her first kill’s thigh skin, embroidered with the ancient, red sacred thread. She is a trained laser katana warrior and has an impregnable skin. Almost! Her body density is exceptionally high, making her seemingly impregnable, but susceptible to severe internal injuries from heavy blows. The internal injuries only heal with time and with some help from the secret brew of poisonous grapes of Batumi and seaweed! Surgery is never an option as no blade can cut through her skin. The treacherous world of Humanoids and the other mix breeds from across the world have taught her to trust no one. Her mission is to capture the Cave Lord with Denis’ help. She holds Denis’ biggest secret, the one that will complete him.

Bobby Fernando

Julius Landis
An unmarried idler who was tricked by the super villain The Conductor into volunteering himself as the test subject for a genetic alteration operation, with the promise that the operation would be able to fix his broken life. Indeed; the operation granted him the ability to absorb kinetic energy and channel it back through various manners, making it as though he possesses numerous superhuman abilities, such as superhuman strength, invulnerability, flight, limited telekinesis, and others. With the ability he has acquired, Landis created a superhero identity known as the White Sentry to defend Polis (a fictional city located within the United States), his hometown, as well as the rest of the world. After 13 years of service, however, Landis—now 37 year-old—must now settle in The Heap, a prison devoted for super-powered beings, after murdering a group of lowly super villains who led a terrorist activity in Pakistan.   
Imogen Chang
Julius Landis’ cellmate, a lesbian twenty-some woman who is a former super villainess known as the Maiden. A ruthless and proud woman during her career as a super villainess, Imogen has grown into a soft and caring woman after being a prisoner in The Heap for 4 years; she even has decided to reform to the extent that she agrees to be lobotomized, in order to permanently deprive her superhuman ability.  (During her stay in The Heap, a temporary mind-block device is planted in her head, so her power will remain ineffective.) She serves as a friend and ‘nanny’ of Sloth’s, a childish, gruesome-looking giant who feeds on superhuman energy, which in turn grants him superhuman strength—a power which serves as an addition to his impenetrable skin. The arrival of Julius Landis doubles her job, as she feels obliged to guide and accompany Landis to get him used to his new ‘home’.
The Conductor
One of the world’s most fearsome super villains, The Conductor is always dressed in such manner his true identity is yet to be known by anyone but himself. According to the White Sentry, through his past encounters with the villain, The Conductor is a gentleman who loves classical music; an obvious genius who always shows suave and calm traits (although he often reveals his oppressive and harsh nature when facing his own men); and apparently possesses no super power. That is never his concern, however; as the greatest criminal mastermind, he is also the master of nearly every single super villain in the world, with some even devote their lives to guard him from any harm. In the last few years, nothing has been his main priority but to bring Julius Landis—the man who he believes to be his greatest creation ever—back to his side, with a purpose no other but to complete his army of super villains.

Christrian Hinrichsen

Dr Charles Wainscot was born in Cardston Alberta, hired by the equivalent of DARPA in Canada. Dr. Wainscot was searching for a new form of energy to help North America following the invasion of  Crogthi-Crimean Empire. While searching for a new resource he stumbled across an ancient city and found a well crafted Gloves. After placing them on he transported to a village of jaguar people in the jungles. It was there that he was accused of stealing the gloves and sentenced to a redemption trial. It was thru this trial that he aligned and began a new crusade against evil. Learning to control the natures of hydro-geological materials. He is 5'10, 210 pounds, Caucasian man with blue coal eyes and brown hair. He created his alter ego Dr. Quake.

Anya Cordova was born in Russia and excelled in biology and environmental science.   Recruited by the FSB she was asked to spy on the Canadian Energy council and serve as a liaison.  Joining Dr. Wainscot on his search the two became separated following the discovery of  ancient gloves. Hiring a crooked anthropologist-cryptographer, a fight broke out and she was mortally wounded. Struggling to get to the ancient village where Wainscot         was she was saved by the jaguar medicine queen and given a special gift for her loyalty and Hinrichsen to friendship to Dr. Charles Wainscot. She learned to control nature and took helm as Totem. Anya is 5'7, 130 pounds, Caucasian female and has short cropped blond hair and stream blue eyes.    

Colonel Jared Lynch aka On-Sward, a former US ranger and now a JAG officer. Lynch decided to declare a private war on the Crogthi-Crimean Empire and the fugitives of the Super-soldier project. Learning of his treachery on the private war, three Joints of  chief   were assassinated by him in the disguise of Dr. Quake. Calling Dr. Quake a traitor and assassin, Lynch hunted him down after taking a super-soldier serum that altered his DNA from renegade scientists working for the Crogthi-Crimean Empire. Hiring former Special Ops super-soldiers Lynch created his private army known as Lynch's Rangers. Tracking           down and capturing Dr. Charles Wainscot and placing him in the super-prison known as Utah-313. Lynch is 6'2, 280 pounds, Caucasian man built like a football player and has short brown gray hair and dark coal gray eyes.

Arthur Gibson

Protagonist: Vane Heartley (aka Aquetor). Age: 35. Vane was “raised" by absentee parents. Throughout her youth she made the wrong decisions and got involved with drugs and alcohol. Upon reaching puberty, she discovered she had two powers. Her first is the ability to turn solids to gaseous vapor. The second is to manipulate that vapor into forms and fields. She decided to become the role model she never had to the citizens of her city. Special powers meant special responsibility. She worked hard in public and private to always make the right decisions. While on the outside appearing an almost two-dimensional caricature obsessed with being a Hero, on the inside she is human and fights her demons daily. She is married. She lives to be worthy to be looked up to. Her life is about saving innocents, helping the needy, and being the perfect person – hero, wife, and mentor.

Supporting Cast One: Phillip Heartley. After years of going to galas, press interviews and ceremonies all celebrating his wife’s achievements, he is a man at the end of his rope. He is not in her shadow as in her mold. She wants to paint the perfect picture so he also needs to be painted. Talk, walk, and live her way. He is tired of existing in a prison. Phillip wants a divorce. That means walking away from the gifts, donations, and bonuses from a grateful city. He has a plan. He has written a secret unauthorized biography of his wife. Every human impulse, wrong step, and “normal life” incident from their twelve years together. On the day the book comes out he will file for divorce. He hopes sales will soar, provide him with funds, and maybe teach his wife a lesson about being honest about her own humanity.

Supporting Cast Two: Char Toyle (aka Fairy). Char is the opposite if Vane. She has no special powers, just abilities. She is a “rich kid” who has taken both gymnastics and ballet extensively. She loves to dress Goth. She is all about shock. She is rebelling against her “class” by getting into the streets. But once there, she had no attraction to the rougher, darker side of reality. Seeing Aquetor in action, she knew that was for her. She plagued Vane until she was accepted as an apprentice. Char gets to see the struggle inside of Vane daily: a person’s desires and impulses fighting against a hero’s ideals. Part sister, part friend, Char is both envious and repelled by Vane’s life. She admires the goal of being a true Hero inside and out. She hates the idea of being plastic. That smacks too much of her own home life.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Official: Fanboys are Hooked on Peter Panzerfaust

Remember that time you decided not to read Green Wake? Well, we are given you an opportunity to make up for that. Peter Panzerfaust, an Image Comics/ Shadowline Series is an adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Peter Pan. It's written by Kurtis Wiebe and art by Tyler Jenkins. 

Peter Panzerfaust #2 is in stores March 14th. By the way, it's already sold out. The second printing will arrive in stores on  April 11, the exact day Peter Panzerfaust #3 can be found in your local comic shop. 

Breaking News: Peter Panzerfaust was supposed to be an miniseries that ended with issue 5. We have exciting news for you.....Peter Panzerfaust is officially an ongoing series. Issue 6 arrives in September. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

30 Days of Night #5- First Look!

In Memoriam: Green Wake

Good job, assholes. You missed one of the best comic series since Y: The Last Man: Green Wake. Writer Kurtis Wiebe (The Intrepids, Peter Panzerfaust) and artist Riley Rossmo (Proof, Cowboy Ninja Viking) brought us one of the most strangely original series in recent memory, and you idiots didn't buy it. For those of you who don't know (and based on its unfortunately poor sales, there is a depressingly large number of you), Green Wake is about a detective and his partner in a strange and mysterious town, Green Wake, who is as much a character as any person in the comic. It was meant to be a 25 issue series but was cut down to a measly 10 issues because of poor sales. And without sales, you're without a comic. Green Wake combined all the annoying confusion of Lost with the satisfying answers of any good detective story. This brilliant comic left devoted fans begging for more (if for nothing else but the agonizingly fascinating strangeness of the story). The story exhibited so much promise with its unique and disturbing premise and especially its very different style of art. Much of it's clever mythos is left unexamined because of the briefness of the comic. But it did a really awesome job delving into Ancient Egypt, Brutus, Ancient Greek gods, a heartbroken monster, love, loss, guilt and the most infuriatingly interesting element: frogs (yes, frogs).
      I for one was so disappointed to find out it was ending. I actually had no idea it wasn't continuing until I picked up Issue 9. So for me to find out there was only one issue left in this incredible series was absolutely devastating. It would be like finding out Locke & Key was over in 9 issues (oh wait, it is :-/). However, there is an upside. We can still get our Green Wake fix over the next year. Kurtis Wiebe is doing at least three series this year (Peter Panzerfaust [a retelling of Peter Pan], Debris [a post-apocalyptic story] and Grim Leaper [what I see as a romantic version of Deadman]) and artist Riley Rossmo is doing a completely new take on a zombie story with Rebel Blood. So, since you guys already missed out on Green Wake, make sure to pick up these new tales of mystery and intrigue from these brilliant storytellers.

And for the love of God, buy Green Wake: on Amazon.
Or Midtown Comics

Monday, March 5, 2012

The First Ever Writers Deathmatch

After the enormous success of the Artists Deathmatch (congratulations Steven "Sash" Scott!) we thought a Writers Deathmatch was the next logical step.

While the basic idea is ours, the rest is up to you. You get to create the characters’ gender, affiliation, powers, race, and creed. You invent the setting for your characters while dealing with the themes and tone of the series. Please pay close attention to the rules and guidelines. The main point of this contest is to create NEW CHARACTERS. Use of previously existing characters is prohibited (please, no Spider-Man or Hellboy) as is the use of unoriginal fictional settings (Gotham City and Tatooine are definitely not allowed). That being said, let's get right into it:

"A famous superhero is imprisoned in a maximum security facility after years of loyal service to their community". It is up to you, the writer, to establish who the “superhero” is, why they are imprisoned, back story, characters and where the story goes from there. Welcome to the first ever Writers Deathmatch!

The contest will consist of four rounds of voting. Each round of voting will present a new aspect of the story for the writer to create.

Round 1. After we provide the writers with a very basic plot outline, the first round will consist of the writers creating character profiles and descriptions for THREE main characters; the protagonist and two other main characters (who are up to the writers’ discretion). Please write one short paragraph for each character. DUE MONDAY, MARCH 12.

Round 2. Plot synopsis, giving further details on characters. Discuss themes, tone, back story and basic plot outline for the first issue. Please write one paragraph for your Issue One synopsis. DUE MONDAY, MARCH 19.

Round 3. Tell us your overall idea for a 5 issue mini-series. Go into detail regarding characters and plot. Please write one paragraph for your overall idea for your mini-series. DUE MONDAY, MARCH 26.

Round 4. The final page of the final issue of your “comic” (complete with full scene description and dialogue). Please write one page for the final page. DUE MONDAY, APRIL 2. 

The winner of the contest will get an interview on the Illumi-Nerdi blog, promotion of your work and, hopefully, your page of script fully illustrated!

We're preferably looking for people who have written before. If you're interested in participating in the Writers Deathmatch, contact the Illumi-Nerdi at 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March 1st: Creator Owned Day

On March 1st, I woke up and noticed something wonderful on my twitter trend. March 1st was declared Creator Owned Day. It's a day that Indie artists and writers have the opportunity to celebrate their work and the works of those that influenced them. Thanks to Jimmy Palmiotti, I leaned that Newsarama, IGN and Comic Book Resources did not do an article on Creator Owned Day. I thought, "Here is our chance (The Illumi-Nerdi) to make a name for ourselves". As I started writing this post, I realize it was not about us. Instead, it's about the hundreds of Indie writers and artists who spent their hard working money to ensure that their dreams saw print and made it on the comic stands. Many of these hard working creators don't yet realize they inspired 100s of fanboys/girls to become comic book writers and artists. This post is not only a  dedication but a thank you letter for all your hard work. Here are a few teasers for books that were shared with everyone on Twitter.

Beast Legion
Xeus: Art by Jazyl Homavazir

TriggerGirl 6: Creator Owned Heroes

Beginning in June, Creator Owned Heroes will be shipped monthly by Image Comics. The creators of this book are Jimmy Palmiotti, Steve NilesJustin GrayPhil NotoKevin Mellon and Bill Tortolini

American Muscle

American Muscle is another story within Creator Owned Heroes, which is written by Steven Niles. 

One of the covers for Creator Owned Heroes

This is a mystery project created by Krista Brennan

Created by Tom Taylor

The Deep is a story about a multi-ethnic family of aquanauts that live in a submarine. 

Oh my God......

A sneak peek to Morning Glories #17

Morning Glories is Lost meets Runaways. Nuff said. It's published by Image Comics and written magically by Nick Spencer and drawn brilliantly by Joe Eisma


Hip-Star is the team leader in the comic book titled Culture Shock, created by Josh Adams

Were there any Creator Owned Projects that didn't make it on our post? If so, post them in our comment box. 

Which creator owned title are you  most excited about in 2012? Let us know. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

My First Issue Ever of The Darkness, Once Invincible Goes Black.....

The Darkness #100: Written by Phil Hester. Art by Romano Molenaar, Leandro Oliveira, and Jose Luis. 

Recently Matt Hawkins, President & COO of Top Cow stated on Facebook that he would buy pizza for the homeless in Venice Beach if The Darkness #100 sold out. That's the exact reason why I bought a copy. Who cares why I did it, because it's worth it. The ink job done by several artists bled perfectly into the penciling. If you love art, check out this issue. The art did a tremendous job enhancing the emotions that Phil Hester expresses in the dialogue. Phil Hester taught me one thing in this issue. That was, do not fuck with Jackie Estacado, he is no one's bitch. :Spoiler Alert: Jackie kills " The Darkness" that has haunted him since his birth. I've seen some ugly villains in my life but this one looked like a tumor in the shape of baby. Nothing can be scarier than that. After Jackie kills "The Darkness", a few questions linger. Where did "The Darkness" go? Can Jackie control it? Luckily for us fans, Top Cow shared a decent amount of pages from Darkness 101.  I plan to buy the next issue, I hope you do too.

Score: 8.5 

Invincible #89: Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Ryan Ottley 

The last three issues have been building up to this moment, Mark Grayson is no longer Invincible. Invincible was my first Image Comic ever. I believe it is superior to The Walking Dead. Ok, enough of that, lets get down to this issue. In the last issue, Mark gets a riff of a virus that could kill him. In this issue, we found out that Mark is in a coma. By the way, he's being taken care of by the remaining members of the Vilturmite Empire. This is the exact reason, I love Invincible. Nothing is predictable. The villain that we've all hated, Grand Regent Thragg is working with the humans to ensure Mark lives. He defintily has a motive and its going to be a lot of fun. According to an alien working for Thragg, Mark's DNA is a match. For what? We will have to wait and read. The beginning of the issue was a flashback. A brand new hero, named Bullet Proof is at the local superhero tailor, searching for a new costume. He notices Invincible's costume and seems a little too fond for it. Lets flash-forward to the present day and the world is in need of Invincible. Bullet Proof AKA Zandale becomes the first-ever black Invincible. I don't see Zandale giving up the costume over easily, anytime soon. Expect an Invincible VS Invincible battle in Issue 100. 

Score: 10

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Winner of Our First-Ever Artist Deathmatch: Steven 'Sash' Scott

Congratulations to Steven "Sash" Scott, the first ever winner of the Illumi-Nerdi's Artist Deathmatch! We had a chance to ask Sash a few questions to learn a bit more about him. Also, check out all of his original art, throughout the interview and his website at the bottom.

Who is Steven “Sash” Scott?

Now there’s a good question.  Who are we really?  Are we the sum of our struggles upon this mortal coil? Or, as Yoda put it, “luminous beings are we; not this crude matter.”? I could rattle off all the places I’ve been, and people I’ve met, the heart break I’ve suffered, the joys I’ve experienced, the spirituality I’ve gained… but that’s just a resume.  In my heart of hearts, deep down in the pit of my soul, I’m just a scrawny kid that would rather sit, read, and draw pictures rather than be outside getting smelly and sweaty.  But that’s only deep down.  On the outside, I’m a tall, husky dude that’s starting to feel his age with the aches and pains from years of practicing martial arts.  I enjoy the company of the opposite sex especially when they make me laugh. Women have the best stories about their life experiences- the stuff they put themselves through in their dating life and raising children is hilarious. When I look in the mirror I see how much more gray I have in my beard and mustache, and I know I’m starting to forget things. *sigh* Who am I? I ask myself that often.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a work in progress.  I’m a canvas that has been reworked, and reworked, and reworked, and yet, still managing to love my friends, my family, and my faith.  I’m a piece of work.
Why “Sash”?
Ha!  There are a couple of reasons.  I wish I could say that they are cool and deep, but it’s really pretty nerdy. In my youth, I was very much into martial arts of all kinds.  I’ve studied and taught.  I even used to wear a kung fu gi as a jacket (Bruce Leroy anyone).  I was actually doing it before Barry Gordy’s THE LAST DRAGON came out.  I stopped wearing the gi but kept wearing the sash, did some modeling and started using the name Sash.  I also was/am a big Tom Baker fan ala the fourth Doctor of the DOCTOR WHO series.  While I was at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, I used to wear a sash draped through the epaulettes of my longcoat, and it would flow behind me when I walked, like the Doctor’s scarf.  From day one of stepping on the campus, I was Sash, my brother was Shades, and we only told our closest friends our real names.  It became quite a novelty.  People would ask us to tell them our real names- because if we told you, you were part of our “in” crowd.  In the lore of magic; names have power, and if you told anyone your true name, they had power over you.  I think there were probably only 8 people that knew our names and they kept our secret.  The staff at the A.I. Philly was unique in that at the beginning of the school year they took roll and whatever you told them your name was, that was the name that was on the class roster.  Even the teachers didn’t know our names, of course they could have found out if they wanted to, after all we had to pay tuition under our legal names.  It was very cool, and a lot of fun.  Our graduating class was a special group of folks.  The teachers loved us- said there had never been a class like us.  We were all a bunch of characters.  After we graduated my brother and I continued to use the names. My brother eventually modified his name to Shadez. It became like a secret identity- people knew me for different things under different names.  If someone was calling me Steve they probably knew me from my days of playing church piano or high school.  If they were calling me Sash, they knew me as an artist.  Now I’ve kind of combined it to Steven “Sash” Scott. Because my first and last names are pretty common, and Sash is not as unique as it once was.  I’m still Sash when I’m in artist mode, and that seems to be most of the time now.  I’ve gotten more used to being called Sash than Steven now.  

Which artists inspired you?

I can be inspired by almost any artist that has done something new and exciting.  My art has been influenced most by Gil Kane, Frank Frazetta, Borris Vallejo, Curt Swan, John Byrne, Jack Kirby, Larry Stroman, Ernie Barnes, Jackson Guice, John Buscema, John Sr and John Jr Romita, Ross Andru, Neal Adams, Alex Ross, Bart Sears, Jim Lee, Dale Keown, Frank Miller… The list goes on and on because I take a bit from this artist and a bit from that artist and combine them into my own style, which can changing to fit whatever project I’m working on. I’m like Ron Frenz in that I can render in many styles. The artist that REALLY got my comic book juices flowing was Gil Kane on Captain Marvel #17 (Marvel Comics). His was the first book I bought at my first comic book convention in 1970. His anatomy drawing was closest to real life.  He used himself as reference for his figure drawing.  I saw his work and said, “Yeah, why can’t superheroes look like real people. That’s how I want to do it.” Until then Curt Swan had been on the top of my list- I hadn’t been a Green Lantern collector back then.  Curt Swan was doing the cool foreshortening and perspectives on Superman- he did the best hands too. A lot of the fantasy artists, like Frazetta, I didn’t see until much later, when my parents decided I was mature enough to see art that had nudity.

If you had the chance to draw for any character who would it be and why?
Top on my list is The White Tiger, as Hector Ayala.  I was always a fan of his and the jade amulet. But I just want to work- I’d draw anyone. Some of the others I’d pick would be the 1970s Luke Cage, The Black Panther, The Falcon, Static, Icon, Black Lightening, Vixen, Dr Voodoo, The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, The Inhumans, Star Lord, Spider-man, Thor, Dr Strange, Dr Fate, Captain Mar-vel, Shazam (Captain Marvel), the original and second generation X-Men, Iron Fist, Hawkman, The Bionic Man, Quasar, Gladiator, The Imperial Guard, Nova, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician & Lothar, Adam Strange, Green Lantern Corp, Space Ghost, and Birdman, in no particular order.
Whose death would you most like to draw?
I’m not moved by death scenes/stories any more.  It’s probably because they don’t stay dead.  Gwen Stacy’s death was tragic because we knew how much Peter Parker loved her.  Captain Mar-vel’s death was beautifully done.  He didn’t go out in a blaze of glory on the battle field; he just slipped quietly away to cancer, surrounded by friends and honored by enemies.  Supergirl’s death in the first CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTH’S was heart wrenching, plus she saved Superman’s butt. When The Phoenix killed herself in front of Cyclops, (back then she was just Jean Grey before it was retconned) that was sad because the X-men fought so hard against the Imperial Guard to try to save her, and lost.  Doom Patrol’s death in 1968 was heroic.  The Ultimate Spiderman’s death was touching, but the scene at the funeral between the little girl and Aunt May choked me up.  I love kids.  I’m a big softy when it comes to them.  The scene in the movie CRASH, when the daughter came running out to save her father from being shot because she thought she had an invisible, magic, cape that would protect her- had me in tears because my son would have done the same thing if I told him I had given him my invisible, protective cape.  I used to love Marvel Comic’s What If? books because the heroes could die in them and it wouldn’t affect the mainstream comics. But once a hero has died fighting the good fight, or by sacrificing themselves, a repeat performance doesn’t have the same impact.  “Death” has been neutered. When Doomsday “killed” Superman, when Batman got “vaporized”, when Captain America was “shot”, I didn’t bat an eye.  I knew they’d be back.
 Instead of a death book, I’d rather do a rebirth.  I’d bring Hector Ayala (the White Tiger) back and drop him in K’un Lun, Iron Fist’s stomping grounds. I’d start where they left off, with the police wrongfully shooting him down on the court house’s steps.  Doctor Strange would come to collect the jade tiger amulets, but he’d discover that Hector’s spirit was inside of it.  By magical mishap they both end up in K’un Lun, because that’s where the amulet was created.  Hector’s soul would inhabit the body of a comatose resistance fighter.  He’d discover some new chi-based powers, and once the conflict with the evil forces of kung fu had been resolved, Hector would decide to stay in K’un Lun.  Then readers could have a new title centered on life in K’un Lun and the other houses of the Immortal Weapons.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades.  I’m about to return to a children’s book project that had been on hold called “Feeling Friends” by Karen Cuthrell.  Comic books are my first love, but I enjoy the heck out of drawing children’s books.  There may be another “Adventures of Diggle, Boogie, & LoLo” by Eric Kellum.  Perhaps another children’s book by Shawn Jenkins, Sr, who penned “The Best Part of My Day”, a very positive book depicting a father’s relationship with his family- a subject that has been woefully ignored. My artwork regularly shows up at as covers for “Tales of the Texas Rangers”, “The Administration”, “Green Lantern; Man Without Fear”, and other titles as needed.  I’m currently doing some things for a couple of fan fictions called, NOVA619 (I designed the villain, Dark Nova), and WONDER WORLOCK, appearing at   Hopefully, THE HELLFIGHTER by Karl Eburne will return for a second book.  I’m looking forward to doing more with Invision Comics and their GENECY title by Gerald Cooper.  I’m laying down colors for ARMORED CHAMPION #1, created and written by Lawrence White and Aaron Johnston.  I love Anthony Ball’s DISCO FRANKENSTIEN, so I’ll probably toss a few covers his way, as well as some for Charles White’s FIREMAN. For DOVE STYLE MAGAZINE, helmed by Lisa Dove-Washington, I contribute some writing, poetry, and art. I’m hoping to work in a webcomic or comic strip there. I’ve always been a big fan of Mac Raboy’s Flash Gordon, so I really want to do a comic strip in that style. Down the line I’m hoping to work with Advent Comics,
 In the midst of all of that, I kick around pencils, inks, and colors, with the Wonderfunder’s group- an eclectic bunch of guys and gals from all walks of the comic book industry interested in doing indie projects.  They’re just my kind of crowd.  It’s almost like being back at the Art Institute. I keep pretty busy, which doesn’t leave much time for me to work on my own books, “Godseed” and “The Chessmen”, two superhero team books.  “Mech Wars”, a daikaiju book because I love giant robots and giant monsters.  And “Astraeus’s Last Gleaming”, a superhero graphic novel. 
Why do you believe in comic books?
This is a medium that touches more than most people think.  Some eyes have been opened since the emergence of comic book and graphic novel-themed movies, but television commercials, music videos, video games, and animation all use storyboards- just another form of comic books.  Comic books aren’t hampered by special effects cost outside of the tools used to get a job done.  If I want to blow up a building, I don’t have to get a permit, hire a demolition crew, schedule police for crowd control, etc. I just whip out my stylus, scratch out a few lines, and BOOM! The building comes tumbling down.  I can even control how fast it comes down- one panel, or 5 pages.  Illustrations have been used to communicate and entertain since the dawn of man.  Art transcends language.  You don’t have to have a bunch of letters behind your name get a point across with art.  Art is pretty universal.  I believe the beauty of it can be unifying.

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