Moon Goes Global

We know we’re a small independent comic book right now but we have plans for big things. Sales of Moon 1 are a little lacking in digital form which we think is a shame as we’d love to think our American, Canadian, Australian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese cousins would get a chance to have a quick look at our work here at Beyond the Bunker.com. So, to our global brothers and sisters we have a ready to go digital version you can download onto your desktop, smartphone, tablet etc. Please enjoy!!

If you’re interested click on the link below. If there are any problems downloading based on where you are please let us know.

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Practitioners 51: Stuart Immonen

Stuart Immonen is a Canadian comic book artist, best known for his work on Nextwave, Ultimate X-Men, The New Avengers and Ultimate Spider-man. Teamed usually with the elegantly named Wade Von Grewbadger, Immonen is responsible for some of the most memorable page layouts of the last decade as he effortlessly combines composition, characterisation and razor blade lettering to allow any script writer’s ideas to flow.

Immonen was, until recently, a hidden master in the recesses of the comic industry. In recent years – working on New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-man and the most recent Marvel event Fear Itself in which he was lead penciller on the main series at the core – Immonen has found his rightful place among the most recognisable artists in the industry. With an ice cool approach to complicated and original compositions Immonen has an amazing reputation for taking complex ideas and communicating them effortlessly out of the page.

Studying at Toronto’s York University, Immonen pursued a career in art immediately. In 1988, he self published a series called Playground. It was his frst published work. He progressed quickly, working at several small comic book companies before being hired by DC Comics, and most recently (since 1993), Marvel Comics, where he gained greater notoriety. In this time he had handled some of the biggest names in the industry – fictionally speaking. At DC his clean line work introduced Immonen to the great kryptonian and DC flagship, Superman. He remained with Superman for some time though more on the fringe of the associated titles – contributing to multiple artist titles such as Superman Metropolis Secret Files, Superman Red / Superman Blue and Superman: The Wedding Album. His posting on Legion of Superheroes gave him a chance to practice the combination of multiple characters in a range of compositions – something that would prove his defining characteristic later in the industry.

But it’s Immonen’s adventures in Marvel that everyone began to notice – handling the most characterful figures in the universe – with a run on Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men with the newest and coolest writers of the time Warren Ellis and Brian K. Vaughn – both of whom enjoy lightweight, dialogue heavy scriptwriting. It was the deliberately outside continuity in-joke Next Wave that Immonen had the greatest impact.

A re-teaming with Ellis saw a highly collabrative approach to the book, with Immonen given the opportunity to stretch his creative muscle. A rag tag batch of fringe characters from many of the Marvel books; Monica Rambeau, the former Captain Marvel; Tabitha Smith, Boom Boom of X-Force; Aaron Stack, the Machine Man, monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone; and new character the Captain previously called Captain ☠☠☠☠ (the obscured words being so horrible that Captain America allegedly “beat seven shades of it out of him” and left him in a dumpster with a bar of soap in his mouth).

Nextwave's unambiguous cover for the Marvel Civil War Crossover event of 2006

Into this chaotic and satirical book Ellis leaned heavily on Immonen’s pencilling style – almost every edition in the 12 issue run a master class in humorous, action filled perfection. Every quirk and idea was beautifully realised. When Fin Fang Foom unceremoniously passes Machine Man it is both perfectly drawn and hilariously realised. Immonen’s panels in which the Captain beats the living hell out of Suicide Girl loving demi-daemon of a pervo elseworld, Dormmu was so well realised that Dormmu became a surprise bonus character in last year’s Marvel vs Capcom to everyone’s significant joy!

But more than that – in a later book Immonen demonstrated his absolute mastery of multiple styles. As the Forbush man overwhelmed the senses of the assembled Next Wave each was presented with their own versions of reality. Leaping seamlessly between the Captain’s naturalistic, paired down artwork on a faraway world, Captain Marvel’s transluscent trip out, seemingly influenced by African American art styles of the late 70s and early 80s, from Machine Man’s Garfieldesque adventures as an Insurance agent to Elsa Bloodstone’s battle against ancient monsters in a perfect recreation of Mike Mignola’s legendary work on Hellboy. All were simultaneously equal to the art they were satirising while distinctly mocking in style. The balance was met beautifully in a way that can only be understood when viewed.

All of this was recognised by Ellis on the run of the book. Taking the highly rare decision to allow effective free reign over a series of no less than 5 double page spreads in which a series of increasingly deranged battles ensued between the Nextwave team and a procession of bizarre choices for soldiers, launched by the H.A.T.E. corporation. This included a Brontosaurus, Battle Tigers, Two headed Samurai, Elvis MODOKs, Golems and spike-wheeled Steven Hawking’s as well as a number of other characters – some too difficult to accurately describe. The end result was an absolute unalloyed joy. Page after page of freewheeling battle lunacy, deftly executed with pin point accuracy and frankly joyous abandonment of any convention.

It is rare that any artist is given the opportunities that Immonen was with Nextwave but very few artists can inspire the sort of confidence that Immonen clearly inspired in Ellis on that book. Whether it was intended to be, it was either a showcase for Immonen’s abilities or one that Immonen refused to let pass. Most likely, given Immonen’s relaxed style he merely did exactly what the project called for.

One in the Googles!!

Shameless fame hungry animals that we are I thought I’d check up my own name on Yahoo (powered by Google). Couldn’t simply look mine up though now could I. Good news! After a mere 247 hits we are officially the first thing to come up on Yahoo when you type in ‘Beyond the bunker’. If you type in even a slight variation than that by even one letter you could get anything but we are the most popular search response with exactly our name!!

Its official!!

But woah. Hold your horses what about those within Beyond the Bunker? Where does Dan get exactly? Thought I’d check and the results were encouraging.

There he is! 2nd page of searches when you type in Dan Thompson. Its his comedy page on Myspace.com.Go to http://www.myspace.com/danthompsoncomedy to have a look. We intend to get a page up on Myspace.com soon. He’s the first hit if you type in ‘gay pirate’ but many might not make the association with him. He also shares a search name and was slightly pipped to the post by this guy and his timelapse experiments on Vimeo.

Me, I checked. Turns out I specialize in the social, cultural, and political history of twentieth century Canada/ North America, with a particular interest in the great lakes region. Happily, I wrote a book called The Donut: A Canadian History in which I put the Donut into its historical context. I was fairly sure everyone knew what that was but there you go. Even got a review in the Guardian in which the reviewer hoped ‘Steve Penfold will only stay famous for his passion for doughnuts.’ I do like doughnuts.

While I do appear on page 1 below the pastry historian its for an obscure ad I posted up for myself on Mandy.com which got me NO jobs (score for Mandy!!). But on page 3 there I am, in a link to the Scipulse.net website for an interview I did with Martin Conaghan and Barry Nugent about Fallen Heroes – http://scifipulse.net/?tag=steve-penfold. It also appears I’ve been brought in to encourage Safe Sex. It makes me worried I’m a contraceptive.

Be safe, people.

So there we have it! A lot of work to do. Can we get our names to the top of Yahoo searches for us both using the very material you will find here? It hardly matters but its worth a crack!