The Exorcism of Kelly Maxwell-An Ash vs Evil Dead Episode 5, “The Host” Review

Halfway through its 10-episode season, Ash vs Evil Dead continues to be one of my favorite shows currently on TV. And I don’t say it lightly, there are a lot of great shows on TV this year. This fifth episode, “The Host” continues the trend of strong showings from Ash and his crew.

Picking up right where the previous episode left off, we find Ash being framed by a possessed Kelly for attacking her. Once Ash is safely bound and gagged, the demon possessing Kelly makes its move, seducing Pablo with….deadly intent.

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So I suppose it’s loaded with bongshot?

 

Meanwhile, Amanda and Ruby bond over a severed hand.

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It’s like Google Maps, only handier.

And the Brujo tries to exorcise Ash’s nonexistent demons. With a chicken, among others.

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Sinner sinner chicken dinner.

Pablo’s timidity ended up being his savior when his hesitation with Kelly’s advances eventually made the demon impatient and ‘Kelly’ ended up attacking him, giving Ash and the Brujo to (belatedly) come to the rescue and start their attempts to drive the demon out of Kelly’s body.

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At least the chicken was put to good use.

The attempts continue, using various kinds of shamanic tools, to no avail. After loads of blood, sweat, tears, and a good bit of vomit, still no results. It wasn’t until Pablo offered himself up to be the new host that the demon is goaded out of Kelly.

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That’s gotta be a mouthful.

 

As with the encounter at Books from Beyond Ash, Pablo and the Brujo has difficulties beating the demon.

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With unfortunately deadly consequences.

It wasn’t until Ash embraced the mantra that he’s so famous for and shot first, think never that the demon was defeated.

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Blue blood. So he’s royalty?

 

At the end of the day, everything ended well (aside from Pablo’s uncle dying). And everyone ended up getting character development. Pablo seems to have overcome his timidity a bit, Kelly’s spent most of the episode in the spotlight, and Ash has a new hand!

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Groovy

The end of this episode seems to signify Ash turning over a new leaf and becoming more mature, though I hope we’ll keep having him still be his bumbling old self. Aside from his and Pablo’s great character moments in the episode, it’s Dana DeLorenzo’s Kelly that truly deserves the MVP trophy this week. Kelly’s demonic possession and everything between her seducing Pablo to the downright chilling at times portrayal of the demon taking over her is nothing short of amazing.

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Go team!

If there’s anything to nitpick about this episode, it’s that worrying trend that Ruby and Amanda seems to be two steps behind the gang in every step of the way, even halfway through the season. That, and the peculiar lack of laughs in this episode, though sometimes a turn for the serious is no cause for alarm. Unless we get a completely grimdark Ash next week.

Still, a very enjoyable episode, and one of the best in the show so far. Excited to see more.

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Opinion: On Apologists, ‘Problematic’ Characters, and ‘Fake Fans’

Earlier today, I was involved in a small Twitter debate revolving around whether or not a high-profile Marvel character is a villain or not. Even though I never did say this character is a villain, this person kept insisting that I did, and let’s just say I ended up being blocked for my troubles.

I’m not here to discuss about personal woes or call out this person for their behaviour, though. I just want to address a few issues that I seem to encounter a lot in fandom these days. The title might be a dead giveaway to what those problems are, so let’s just get down to business.

I don’t get why someone should be an ‘apologist’ for a character. I’ve seen now and again people make excuses and silly arguments to justify a less-than-morally sound character’s actions. I even see people trying to justify outright despicable villains’ actions with increasingly ludicrous lines of reasoning.

On the flipside, I’ve seen people call out other people’s favourite characters for being ‘problematic’. They say character A is a child murderer, character B is abusive, character C licks goats, and you all should feel bad for liking them.

Newsflash, this is just fiction. These characters ARE NOT REAL. Mindblowing, right? I’ll give you a minute to process this new information.

In the meantime, here are screaming frogs to help it go down smoother.

Done? Good, let’s continue.

Liking or hating one character or other doesn’t make you ‘scum’ or ‘problematic’. Even if the character is an outright villain or a despicable person, it’s okay if you like them, more power to you. Liking Doctor Doom doesn’t mean you’re a megalomaniacal egomaniac bent on vendetta, liking the Joker doesn’t make you a psychotic abusive maniac with a twisted sense of humor. Even liking Batman doesn’t make you have to brood over dead parents and take in underage orphans to dress in tight and colourful outfits before training them to fight crime. Being able to separate fact from fiction is a basic human skill, I’m sure. If you can’t, I suggest you work on that.

It’s perfectly okay to like a character that’s deeply flawed and there’s no need to justify their actions. Mistakes are mistakes, and a character’s failings can kick off a character’s development into a better person. If all characters are without mistake, untouched by flaws, and is the paragon of virtue every time, all the time, fiction would be a boring, boring place. Flaws help define a character as much as, or even more than, their strengths. While their strengths are what we look up to, their mistakes and failings make them more relatable and more ‘accessible’. For most people (me included), it’s usually harder to relate and root for someone who’s already at the top compared to the ones on their ‘level’. This is one of the reasons why people love underdog stories. They want to see people beat the odds, not start on top and stay there for the rest of the story.

Even characters that are supposedly the epitome of humanity’s potential like Superman has his mistakes and bad days, and this is what humanizes him for most of us. Despite being an almost godly figure from another planet, at the end of the day Superman is Clark Kent, good ol’ American boy from Smallville living in the big city with career and romance problems.

If anything, being blind to a character’s flaws hinders one’s judgement regarding that character. You tend to get defensive if you put your favorite character on a pedestal and worship at their altar. Here’s a fun game: Take your favorite characters and list off their flaws. Once you’re done, list off the traits that you admire about them.

I’ll try this with one of my favorite characters, Elsa Bloodstone.

Elsa’s childhood was a harsh one, what with her abusive father grooming her from a young age to succeed her, berating and almost outright torturing her for every misstep. Even as an adult, this harsh upbringing still shows in how she throws herself into the mouth of danger every single time heedless of the consequence to show her long-dead father she wasn’t weak. But on the other hand, she grew up to be a driven, intelligent, and fierce woman with a wide range of skills who slaughters things that go bump in the night by the dozen. Eventually, she managed to overcome her daddy issues, becoming a better person than her father ever was.

After doing this, you might see that seeing characters recognise what they’ve been doing wrong and doing what is necessary to rectify them and become a better person is an enjoyable journey. Isn’t that what we delve into fiction for? To see these characters go through hardship and pain, fail miserably and be at hope’s end, only for them to rise up against all odds and triumph in the end? Sure, a fluffy, happy story is fun, but even too much of that gets boring eventually. Hell, even Dora the Explorer runs into difficulties in her exploring once in a while! Get your heads out of your arses and understand that flawed characters doesn’t mean they couldn’t be loved. In fact, flaws are what make characters more fun to like.

Which brings us to our next point, I’ll be brief about this. I’ve seen the word ‘fake fans’ thrown around several times today. Being a fan means to like something, how can you fake that? I’ve seen the word thrown from ‘comic elitists’ toward ‘movie fans’, and from ‘movie fans’ to…I dunno, someone. But the point is that whatever you like, however much, whether you’ve just watched the movie five minutes ago or knew the fandom since you were a kid, you’re a fan and nothing can change that. Some people may hate the movies and stick to the comics, while others are exclusively movie-watchers and can’t be bothered to read the comics. So what? Shouldn’t we bond over what we like, instead of throwing shit all over what others like?

That said, I’ve always been an advocate of comics, and try to educate the ‘casual movie watchers’ on comics often. Some I’ve successfully converted into reading comics, while some others just go ‘Ah, alright’ and move on. I don’t mind either way, sharing what you love is natural, after all. What I can’t stand are the ones that go ‘COMICS ARE BEST GO COMICS TAKE YOUR MOVIES AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS’ and the ones that go ‘MOVIES ARE THE BEST OMG ACTOR A IS SO HANDSOME THE COMICS ARE BORING’, which usually are the same people who reject any attempts to correct and/or add to their knowledge with vitriol. I usually end up distancing myself from these kinds of people as far as possible. I don’t mind ignorance, but I hate willful ignorance with a passion. Alright, you don’t care about the comics, why not just say it to me nicely and let it end at that instead of calling me out and talking about me behind my back? Hell, I appreciate it if people contradict me and tell me how my opinion is gobshite and should be shoved where the sun don’t shine in a respectful manner.

Bottom line is, fandom should be a fun place where everyone can like anything without being called out by anyone and share what they like without fear of being called a ‘fake fan’, ‘poser’, ‘filthy casual’, or whatever it is you kids are saying these days. Even if there are disagreements, it’s best if they are dealt with respectfully and without backtalking. Or maybe I’m just old and that’s how fandom works these days. A bunch of people sharing what they like with howling monkeys slinging shit at everyone else from the sidelines.

So to avoid this:

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Why not ask ourselves this?

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DISCLAIMER: This is purely an opinion piece, and not meant to call out any individual and/or parties by name, just addressing the state of fandom at large. If anyone would like to disagree with me, my channels are below. Just keep it respectful.

AKA Really Frickin’ Awesome — A Perspective on Marvel’s Jessica Jones

November 20, 2015 marked the day yet another Marvel TV series to invade Netflix. Released at precisely 12:01 AM PST, several countries in the world sprinted into a binge-watch session. The few trailers released prior by Marvel wasn’t enough to satisfy the fans’ need for another darker twist of a Marvel Cinematic Universe piece—and this time, it’s headlined by Jessica Jones.

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Who is Jessica Jones?

It’s not a question you have to be able to answer before you sit down and watch Jessica Jones. The tagline of the series, It’s time the world knew her name, pretty much says it all. Picking up on Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ classic MAX title, Alias, as the basis for its story, Jessica Jones does not tell an origin story as Daredevil previously does in its show. Instead, Jessica Jones begins at a point in the timeline where the titular character, Jessica Jones, has given up on superheroing and decides to start a new business as a private investigator after a recent incident—but soon, a figure from her dark past catches up with her turns the gears of the season-long plot.

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“Jessica…”

I wouldn’t go too much into spoilers here, so I’m going to stop right there.

Jessica Jones may very well be the answer every Marvel fan has been dying to have for those who say that Marvel shows are for children. While you could still watch Daredevil with an eleven-year old kid and supervision by an adult—trust me, I know; I’ve tried and it worked—Jessica Jones’ age restriction regulations are none that easy-breezy to work around. It deals with a lot of very mature themes, including but not limited to rape, suicide, PTSD, torture, and a load of sex scenes. You’ve been warned—don’t watch this with a kid anywhere near you.

I personally don’t mind the mature themes. I think it adds to the juxtaposition of the series, tackling matters no Marvel big screen adaptations could have done otherwise. While we had glimpses of very dark themes most prominently in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in Jessica Jones, everything is a lot more vivid and graphically depicted. One of the most central things about the Marvel shows on Netflix is that they want to get as low and grounded as possible, bringing out the most humane of problems into the screen. With Jessica Jones, it’s no holds barred—it’s a full package of comedy relief, humane drama, complexity of characters, the occasional superstrength spices here and there, and dope action scenes.

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Occasional superstrength…and so much more.

One thing about Jessica Jones I can’t forget to mention is the opening credits. Worked on by David Mack (check out our previous interview with him here) with a noir, jazzy tune of an opening title track by the show’s composer, Sean Callery, it really sets up the mood before you step into the world of Jessica Jones. Throughout the thirteen episodes, not once did I skip the opening titles to get to the real episode, just to get that mood going.

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My personal favorite part from the opening credits, art by David Mack.

Going into episode 1, I really felt that humane quality oozing out of every scene. I immediately knew that Jessica Jones isn’t just another superhero show—in fact, it rarely deals with the superhero/superstrength aspect of the character but as an identity trait. You could talk about Jessica’s superstrength as you would about her hair color. It’s something the character has, but it doesn’t define her as a character. There are a lot of layers of the character and the world surrounding her that the show really delivered to explore.

Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23) headlines the show as Jessica Jones, and I must say, after bingeing all thirteen episodes in under 24 hours, her performance really caught my eye. Dare I say she is the perfect actress for the role (much like I would say Charlie Cox is for the role of Matt Murdock), and I really can’t see anyone else portraying Jessica Jones as well as she does. Jessica Jones has a lot of layers to portray, which means a lot of highs and lows that comes with the role, and Ritter really shines in each of the episodes.

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Krysten Ritter portrays the titular character.

Another highlight of the already magnificent array of actors is, of course, David Tennant. I know him well from his tenure as the Doctor in Doctor Who (2005-2009) and as DI Alec Brady in Broadchurch (2013-present) and I have grown into quite a big fan of his works. And Tennant doesn’t disappoint. In Jessica Jones, he portrays the character of Kilgrave, the main villain of the show this season. In the comics, Zebediah Killgrave is a purple-skinned, mind-controlling man, appropriately called Purple Man, but as many of the other characters featured in the show, the character has been reinvented to better fit the show’s more contemporary adaptation—one of the most obvious things being he doesn’t have purple skin as he does in the comics. His portrayal of the superficially psychotic, often a slight bit sympathetic, more often creepy Kilgrave hit a really high note as one of the best performances in the show, which is a lot to say given how talented the actors in the whole of the cast are.

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David Tennant portrays Kilgrave, the main villain of the season.

The rest of the niches are filled with names like Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) as Jeri Hogarth, Rachael Taylor (Transformers, Charlie’s Angels) as Patricia “Trish” Walker a.k.a. Hellcat from the comics, Erin Moriarty as Hope Shlottman, Wil Traval as Will Simpson, Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, and Mike Colter (The Good Wife, Halo) as Luke Cage, whose own Netflix show is already deep underway.

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Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

All-in-all, Jessica Jones is a thoroughly juicy experience to enjoy. I would have gone straight through the season in one night if I could, as many others did right after its release. And they have good reasons to do that. The plotlines weaved in every single Jessica Jones episode are immensely tight and dynamic—they really keep you on your toes throughout the episodes, but especially at each ending. Don’t be surprised if you go, “Oh, I’ll just watch one more episode,” and end up watching a whole batch of them instead.

A show’s plots have great connections to its characters, and Jessica Jones is no exception to that. The intrigue entwined in the tapestry belongs not only to the main character, but the whole of the supporting cast. Characters like Hope Shlottman, Jeri Hogarth, and Malcolm Ducasse have some very piquant storylines going on that just adds to the sheer goodness of the show.

There are so many good things you could find in Jessica Jones, and this article will end up being a whole 10,000-word essay before I get to the end of them all. But let me tell you this: If you enjoy a more adult take on comic book characters, Jessica Jones will take you through one hell of a ride. Even if you’re just a casual fan or even if you know nothing of Jessica Jones prior to watching the show, it will still blow your mind away along each episode you go through. So get the episodes piled up, sit down when you have the time, and binge-watch the whole thing from start to finish and I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.

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See you on the other side.

Dead Trip-An Ash vs Evil Dead Episode 4, “Brujo” Review

I know, this review is late. Blame Jessica Jones (which is a GREAT show, by the way, and will probably be reviewed by someone else on this site) and my life being pretty busy. But I finally got to watch the latest episode and boy, is it a BLAST.

Even without Raimi at either writing or directorial duties, the show keeps its upward momentum in yet another fun trip (in many senses of the word) with Ash and his cronies.

Last we left off, Amanda is trapped with an undead Lionel, handcuffed to a pole. How will she get out of this predicament? Enter Ruby, badass extraordinaire, and cue savage undead beatdown.

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The always flawless Lawless.

Meanwhile, on the way to Pablo’s shaman uncle, the trio are accosted by the Vague Evil Demon Fog of Doom (with the classic running camera effect). And so Ash decided to outrun it Fast and Furious-style. WITH NITROUS.

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Yes, on the Old Classic.

 

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With predictably disappointing results.

But hey, at least they made it safe for the most part to the Brujo’s place, and Kelly has some….strange headaches. Elsewhere, Ruby and Amanda bond over an impaled Deadite and reveals that Ruby has close ties to Ash’s past.

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He Knowbys too much.

Back to Ash and his wolfpack, they meet Pablo’s uncle, the Brujo. Pablo theorises that Ash might be a jefe, a hero, which his uncle does confirm….along with several other additional conditions. Weak, slow, dim, old being some of them. Meanwhile, Kelly starts acting weird after the headaches she starts getting in the beginning of the episode.

 

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He’s going on a trip.

After grilling Ash with choice words of wisdom, the Brujo takes Ash on a trip of the drug variety. And while Pablo plans to build Ash a new hand, Ruby has the genuine article he lost all those years back.

 

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Looking as good as the day it was severed.

Back to Ash and his trip, shit starts getting weird, and melting faces and eyeballs in the Brujo’s mouth is just the start of it. A hit parade of late 70’s pop culture interspersed with Evil Dead 2 footage ensues. No Army of Darkness thanks to legal issues, sadly.

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And let’s not even mention his great ValueStop roadtrip through Michigan.

And then comes the journey of self-discovery. Sack demons, chainsaws, talking iguanas, oh my!

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Bet he didn’t see that one coming.

In which we find out his spiritual center.

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Which looks a lot like Jacksonville, Florida. Exactly like, even.

Back in real life, Kelly’s headaches act up and a turns-out-to-be-possessed Kelly sabotages Pablo’s hand-construction plans. And Ash enjoys Jacksonville.

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….at least before this shows up.

Deep in the middle of a drug trip and without the Brujo at his side, the possessed Kelly tries to mindfuck Ash. Which the demon does very, very well.

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Good thing he has a man–well, lizard in his corner.

Eli manages to goad Ash into fighting back, but unfortunately, he’s actually strangling Kelly in real life as well. And so Pablo comes to the rescue. With a pestle to the back of Ash’s head. Everything is all well and peachy keen.

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….for now.

Dabbling a little bit into the psychedelic side of horror this time around, the series so far manages to avoid the overly formulaic format of most shows these days and feels more like a long Evil Dead movie instead. With more Ruby, the fun drug trip scenes, and moving focus away from the Deadites to something that looks to be bigger, this is my favorite episode yet.

Through Boundaries — An Interview with David Mack

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David Mack (third from the left) with fellow ICC guests at the opening ceremony.

November 14, 2015 was yet another hot day in Jakarta, but at nine in the morning, Hall B of Jakarta Convention Center was already packed with people there for the first day of Indonesia Comic Con. I was among the masses, there early for the opening ceremony of the event. It was the first time I met David Mack.

Now, if you’re not overly familiar with David Mack, feel free to check out issues #9-11 and #13-15 of Daredevil (1999-2000), or take a look at the covers of the upcoming Netflix show, Jessica Jones’ source material, Alias (2001-2004). Or go Google “Kabuki”—referring to Mack’s (super awesome) creator-owned title, which started with Fear the Reaper in 1994. Mack’s works in Kabuki have won widespread international acclaim since its inception.

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A sample of Mack’s work, from the cover of Alias #18 (2003).

Getting to meet the man in person was a total dream. I never would have thought I’d seen him before he was due to participate in the event’s string of activities, but before the opening, I got a chance to chat a little bit with him and tell him about the things I love most about and in his works. I suppose it’s a never-ending feeling of thrill, getting to meet your idols, and not even a carefully assembled layer of faux professionalism could mask that bubbling, churning excitement spiraling out of control in my chest, like a horde of butterflies threatening to tear through my ribcage and be let free.

Instead, those butterflies went to my stomach and stayed there throughout the two-day event. I had been waiting, severely anxious, for Indonesia Comic Con, and when it did come, I intended to seize the days as best as I can. And I did. Armed with the ecstatic state of mind supplied by my circle of fairly nuts, impossibly creative friends, I went to David Mack’s table numerous times to chat and buy some of his stuff, including a copy of his Dreams trade paperback and a print of Echo and Daredevil.

Let me tell you something about David Mack. Most others would have gone, “Oh, you again,” due to the sheer number of times I’d dropped by his table, but he remained engaged in the stuttery, fangirly conversations I pulled him into the whole time. The things he told me in those conversations really stood out as extremely insightful—as a writer and a fan, I really felt like I was having an epiphany by listening to his stories.

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Post-interview picture!

When the time came to conduct the group interview, I was comfortable enough to actually manage to form my questions and not blabber my way through like the complete mess of fangirl goo that was me on the inside. Without further ado, here is the full transcription of the interview.


You showed a lot of stuff in Kabuki; they’re not restricted to one specific art style. What are your influences in drawing and writing?

With Kabuki, I’m the writer of it, so I start with the story. In fact, originally, I’d just written the story and I had no intention of drawing it. I was trying to look for an artist that I felt was more talented and skilled than myself to draw it.

I started writing Kabuki in 1993, and originally Brian Michael Bendis was going to be the artist for Kabuki back in 1993. I had some early 1993 Brian Michael Bendis’ Kabuki drawings when he was going to do it. Eventually, we started working on some creator-owned projects together and I still thought of the main Kabuki series, that I had this real artist who was going to do it.

And then I was invited to participate in some anthology books. They said, “Can you do an eight-page story or something? Write it and draw it if you want.” So I thought, I’m going to do an eight-page Kabuki story. It’ll give me an opportunity to kind of flesh out the world and the characters, with the idea that the real artist would still do the real book.

When I just started drawing it myself and figuring out the look and feel, I just really started with the story and try to think what’s the right… There’s a small, tightly spaced eight-page scene and I tried to develop the right look for that, and then I did another eight-page story for another anthology, and another eight-page story, and all of a sudden I had four different eight-page stories. And then I thought—I put them in different anthologies—but I thought if I collect all these together… Eight-pages, that’s 32 pages, that’s a whole comic book.

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The cover of Kabuki: Fear the Reaper (1994).

So the very first Kabuki issue—I just thought, I do this one shot, I do the art of these four eight-pages together, each one is a little different, each one is its own scene, but I felt like if I put them in order, it’ll still feel like a comic book. And I did it, and it was successful enough for me to keep doing it. And I thought, maybe that’s the way to do it. I just felt like I had to learn, as an artist, the right fuel to that story.

But I always thought of myself as a writer primarily, and so I think that gave me a liberty to not feel like I had to use a certain art style or art look, and it gave me a liberty to try to express each individual story with a different look, based on what I thought that story called for.

So it really started that way. Even in the context of one story or one issue, I might change—page to page or scene to scene—the feel of the story because of the change of the character arc or the flow in the story.

And that’s just one of the magical, interesting things about comics. I think that if you’re drawing it, you have so many options. There’s no reason for you to draw the same way every time or use the same media each time if things are changing emotionally with the characters.

Do you have any role model that influenced your drawing and storytelling style?

Well, my mother was a first grade teacher. I grew up seeing her—as a child, I would see her create things to teach her students. She would make visual things for them to learn the numbers, or colors, or seasons, things like that. And so I think I was introduced very early on to the idea of art as a communication; art as a way of learning something, and all the visual things that you’re making are cues to make some kind of intellectual connection.

She also had all kinds of art supplies that she would use. So I would use this little water color, first grade water color—that’s what I still use now. And she would have other things that I would use—paint and scraps of paper and scissors. So she was really my primary artistic influence from a young age.

And then when I was very young—when I was about nine years old, I stumbled upon a Daredevil issue at a friend’s house, which was by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson. And that was my first introduction to Daredevil and Marvel comics. And so Frank Miller and Klaus Janson became an artistic influence on me, because a few years later I found some more of their books. I could see, when I was reading that, there was an intelligence behind the storytelling. And that the shadows, the angles, the close-ups, the weather, all these things are being used to underscore the storytelling of the book, and I became very fascinated with it. I found an interview with Frank Miller and Klaus Janson discussing their approach to storytelling, and they also cited Will Eisner as an influence on them.

This is before there was Internet for people. So, I found the publisher for a Will Eisner book called Comics and Sequential Art and I bought it through the mail from the publisher of that book. I tried to learn from Will Eisner’s book as well. Any comic that I would find—Bill Sienkiewicz was an early influence with comics; Kent Williams, another artist—any comic that I would find, I would try to learn from it. But I would also try to learn from everything else; films and TV and everything else I could in terms of storytelling.

What was it like when you worked with Marvel?

Well, I’d done Kabuki for a while, and then I’d shown the first volume—I did the first volume of Kabuki for my senior thesis in literature in college, so I wrote the whole story and then I ended up drawing the whole story and turning it in for my senior thesis in literature. But I would also try to turn it in for any other class I could, like book-making, or graphic design, or something else too. That first volume was published when I was in college.

And then I would go to conventions and show that volume to readers who came to my table, but I would also show it to other artists that I met. And I met an artist named Joe Quesada and I gave him my Kabuki book. He called me the next week and said, “Oh, I really like this story, and I like you as a writer, and I’d like to work with you.” He had some ideas of me writing the story that he did artwork for, and he had a few other ideas that just didn’t pan out.

A couple years later, I got a call from Joe Quesada and he said that he was going to be taking over four different Marvel titles in what would later become Marvel Knights. He asked me if I wanted to write and draw a Marvel character for that. But I said, I’d just begun a brand new Kabuki series at Image Comics and it was all I could do to write and draw that, but he said I could just do the story and he would do the art for it. And that became Daredevil.

So I took over writing Daredevil after Kevin Smith, and it was a blast, you know, and I said, “Is there anything you want me to do?” and he said, “Write any story you want, but I only ask one thing, and that’s for you to create a brand new character for Daredevil,” which became the Echo character in the story.

What do you think, as a creator, of cosplay as a pop culture?

I’ve always really enjoyed it. A lot of times, people come to my table at conventions dressed as Kabuki characters and that’s always really fascinating for me to see that. Echo is another really popular cosplay character that I see people dress as.

Here at Indonesia Comic Con, some came to my table dressed as Jessica Jones, and as Matt Murdock, and Daredevil. It’s always really exciting to see that. And to see how they come to different solutions of how they make the costumes… I always encourage and I always enjoy it.

Do you have any tips for amateur creators who want to get into the US comics industry?

The only way that I know how to do it, is if you want to make a comic, you just make a comic. Just make whatever comic you want to do. If you want to write it and draw it, you write it and draw it. If you’re either a writer or an artist, you team up with other writer or artist, and you guys make a comic book together. You either publish it on the web, or you go to a copy center and make your own copies, and then you go to conventions and you sell it at your table and you give it to other companies.

Because in the US, like Marvel or DC, they’re only going to hire you based on your previous comic book work. They’re not going to take your submission for a story or artwork in the mail. They’re only going to hire you based on that they could see that you can complete a book, that you can finish something and that you can make a whole book.

Marvel hired me based on my finished Kabuki. They wouldn’t have hired me based on something I sent in the mail. So you really just have to make your own book and show them that you can make your own comic. Whether it’s teaming up with other writer or artist or doing it yourself, or making a web comic, that works, but I think it’s important to yourself to do it that way, too. Because when you make your own comics, when you’re not working for a company, you learn what it is that you want out of that process. And you learn, step-by-step, what’s important for you to make it.

I also believe that you probably have a thousand horrible pages that you’ve got to get out of your system before you can find your own voice. You have to really get busy making all the bad pages first and all those horrible comics to get those out of the way, so that you can then come to your own voice and have the book that you’re comfortable of showing and maybe getting to work from.

What do you do when you hit an art block?

I never had that problem. The only problem is to… I have so many projects, and which project to do first and how to do the time management, so I suggest having that problem. Always have a whole bunch of ideas that you’ve always outlined. And so the real problem is how to get as much of this stuff done before you die. Think of it like that. Think of it like you’re here for a limited time and you’ve got to get a certain amount of work done.

When I’m working on one project, I know how to do it, but often I have all kinds of ideas for the next project and it always seems like a more exciting project as the next one. Every time I have those ideas, I just write them down in little notes, and I put them in a little folder. Even if I go, “This folder for this project, I’m not going to get a chance to do it for five years from now,” still, I put every idea I have in that folder.

When it comes the time to do it, I pull it out, and I look at all these little pieces of paper on little scraps that I don’t even remember making. But I go, “Oh, yeah, this is—whoever wrote this—is a good idea,” you know? This is really good! It’s kind of like previous me has given a real gift to current me, and then I have all these cool ideas.

Even if you have all these great ideas for a future thing, always write them down. And then you have all these folders of ideas and there’s never any block because you always are excited to do this next project.

The main problem I have with a current project is that usually I think of like, what’s the right solution? I can usually think of a few different solutions for how to do this scene or this page, and what’s the right one. Sometimes I end up doing a few different versions of it before I find the right style or the right medium for it, or the right pace for it.

What was the creative process behind your children’s book and your art albums?

For my children’s book, The Shy Creatures, I originally did it inside a Kabuki issue. I wanted the character to recall reading as a child this retro, simple story that would underscore how to read the surface story. I like the idea of a double narrative within a story. So I did it that way in the comic itself.

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But then it was shown to a children’s book publisher, Macmillan, and they wanted to make an actual comic of it. It was kind of nice because it was an artifact of the Kabuki world that now exists as a real story.

What could we expect from you in the future? Is there going to be a new Kabuki story that’s going to hit the store?

What I’m working on right now is Dark Horse Comics’ Kabuki library editions. And they’re going to do a total of four of them that’ll collect the entirety of the current existing Kabuki material. The first time is out already, it’s 400 pages, and volume 2 I think comes out this week, it’s 416 pages. So it’ll be a total of four, all of them over four hundred pages that collect everything. I’m working on volume 3 right now, which collects the Alchemy story of Kabuki and a few other stories together. I’m really enjoying collecting it all in this wonderful context, adding lot of extra goodies to it. So I have that big Kabuki library at Dark Horse. They’re doing my art books as well, like Dream Logic and Reflections. Also Dark Horse, I’m working on Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club 2. I’m doing all the covers for that, and I’m doing the cover for the library edition of that right now.

Jessica Jones comes out next week. I worked on the opening credits sequence art for that TV show.

Indonesia Comic Con – A Second Perspective

If you follow this blog, then I’m sure you’ve seen Maddy’s perspective on Indonesia Comic Con. Here, I’ll be weighing in on this inaugural Indonesia Comic Con as a sort of a second opinion and one for the international audience.

This was before 9AM. Gates didn't even open until 10.

This was before 9AM. Gates didn’t even open until 10.

While Reed Panorama has done a similar event named Indonesia Toy Game and Comic Convention last year, Indonesia Comic Con (ICC), held at Jakarta Convention Center on 14-15 November is the first event of its name and bears the tagline “We are pop culture”. Having attended almost the entirety of both days, I can safely say that the event lived up to its tagline.

The only place you can see Superman and Supercena together.

The only place you can see Superman and Supercena together.

ICC boasts a guest list from all avenues of pop culture, both East and West. From Marvel superstar artist David Mack, Japanese Metal Hero actor and an idol to a lot of Indonesian kids growing up in the 1980’s Kenji Ohba, toy designer Simone Legno, international cosplayers Nicole Marie Jean, to musicians like DJ Yuyoyuppe, there really is something for everyone here.

Bridging fantasy and reality.

Bridging fantasy and reality.

The panels and events held at the con is nothing to sneeze at either. I’ve only had the pleasure of attending several of them, but they all shined. Nearing the end of the first day, the “Fight Club of art” event Secret Walls dazzled the audience with their amazing art battle featuring local graffiti artists collaborating and duking it out with great artwork.

Secret Walls contestants hard at work.

Secret Walls contestants hard at work.

The second day, David Mack was joined by Setan Jalanan creator Franki Indrasmoro and local comics superstar Sweta Kartika on a comics panel, where they shared stories of their comics experiences, tips for creators just starting out, and why they fell in love with comics in the first place. The panel ended with a little sketch battle between Mack and Franki.

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The aftermath.

What’s a con without its Artist Alley? Here is where the event shines. With about 68 spaces filled in the artist alley, that’s a lot of concentrated awesome in one place. I spent a few hours going around the artist alley, and I’m pretty sure I missed a lot of great stuff still.

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Some of the great stuff I got.

The official exhibitor booths are equally as impressive. From fan communities like the 501st Legion, Gotham Citizen Club, and Komunitas Marvel Indonesia, the dedicated hunting ground for toy collectors, Glitch Network, a comics corner run by Books Kinokuniya, and the always dangerous for collectors’ wallets Funko, we’re spoiled by choice.

Chris Evans, eat your heart out.

Chris Evans, eat your heart out.

As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, an event is only as good as its fans and visitors. This is what firmly puts this event into one of my list of best events this year. The cosplayers are amazing as always, I managed to meet some new people there and went nuts with old friends much like we did at a previous event.

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Wouldn't be half as fun without these two groups of mooks.

Wouldn’t be half as fun without these two groups of mooks.

However, that’s not saying this event isn’t without its faults. The high density of booths and exhibitors crammed into a relatively limited floor space does cause some problems. I’ve seen lines for (what I assume is) the Walk of Fame that snaked almost all the way to the stage and practically halved the walking space along that line. Proper seating in the stage area for panels are at times somewhat lacking too, forcing some of the audience to stand or sit on the floor during panels. To sum up, I think most of ICC’s problems is with the space. For what they had to work with, it works well enough, but I’m hoping that the next ICC will have a little more extra breathing room. Maybe Reed Panorama can take a page out of their other event’s STGCC playbook and dedicate almost an entire hall for the stage and Walk of Fame areas. This might prove a popular decisions with the cosplayers as well, so they have a huge open area to take photos or just to lounge around, rather than having to contend with the throng of people on the con floor or loiter around near the entrance area.

Like this. Right in the middle of busy con floor.

Like this. Right in the middle of busy con floor.

All in all, this is an amazing first year for Indonesia Comic Con. There’s a lot of fun to be had whether alone or in a group, although I do recommend to bring friends. Some people might initially be turned off by the price of admission, but after seeing what the event had to offer, it’s practically a bargain. Besides, 90 thousand is nothing compared to what you’ll potentially spend at the event. With books, toys, artwork, and whatever else the exhibitors have to offer, why wouldn’t you? I have faith that ICC will be better next year, and I hope they’ll invite more people from comics. Warren Ellis or Stuart Immonen, maybe?

It’s been a great con, a pleasure to visit, and an honor to report, here’s hoping next year it will be, in the immortal words of Daft Punk, harder, better, faster, and stronger. But mainly better. Bigger, too.

Unfortunately.

Unfortunately.

Indonesia Comic Con 2015; We Are Pop Culture!

Salam Pop Culture!

As you guys know, weekend kemarin Reed Panorama dan New York Comic Con mengadakan event yang seru di Jakarta, yaitu Indonesia Comic Con 2015! Acara ini diselenggarakan selama dua hari, 14-15 November 2015 dan diramaikan oleh lebih dari 150 eksibitor dari Indonesia maupun negara-negara lain, cosplayers, dan bintang tamu spesial seperti Kenji Ohba, David Mack, Nicole Marie Jean, V-Project, Secret Walls, Simone Legno, Hitomi, Pinky Lu Xun, dan lain-lain.

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Bintang tamu spesial Indonesia Comic Con 2015

Secret Walls, David Mack, dan seniman lainnya berkolaborasi untuk membuka ICC2015 dengan melukis “Secret Walls”. Lalu opening ceremony ini dilanjutkan oleh pasukan Star Wars yang datang ke main stage, dan tamu spesial pun diperkenalkan.

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Secret Walls, David Mack, dan seniman lainnya.

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Pasukan Star Wars ft. Cosplayers

Selama dua hari, ribuan pengunjung dimanjakan oleh acara-acara yang diadakan oleh ICC201, seperti Walk of Fame dan photobooth, panel, di mana mereka bisa menyaksikan bahkan bertemu dengan idola mereka. Selain itu, mereka juga terlihat sangat antusias membeli produk-produk dalam maupun luar negeri yang dijual di acara ini.

Panel David Mack, Minggu 15 November.

Panel David Mack, Minggu 15 November.

ICC2015 juga mengadakan kejuaraan cosplay yang bergengsi yaitu Championships of Cosplay. Juara pertama kompetisi ini adalah Abraham Enriquez Cruz dengan kostum Vicious Summoner dari Dekaron, juara kedua diraih oleh Herry Bertus sebagai Prime Evil dari Diablo 3, dan juara tiga Firmanda Romas sebagai ED 209 dari Robocop Movie 2014.

Matt Murdock, daytime lawyer, night time vigilante.

Matt Murdock, daytime lawyer, night time vigilante.

Mas Gorila ft. Deadpool

Mas Gorila ft. Deadpool

Sayang sekali ya, acara ini hanya diadakan dua hari. But, don’t worry, untuk kalian yang belum bisa hadir, masih ada tahun depan!