Guardians of the Galaxy 15 Second Teaser is here!!

If there’s one thing both me and Dan agree on is that Peter Quill’s progression from 8os sci-fi Starlord to commander during the Annihalation crossover, leader of the cobbled together strike force against the Phalanx invasion and, finally, wise-cracking protagonist of Abnett and Lanning’s fully formed Guardians of the Galaxy was pretty much the best character development Marvel’s ever pulled off. He came from the edge of Marvel, teamed up with a Racoon and a Tree and put on a cool looking helmet.

Chris Pratt looking a little ill at ease at the helm as team leader Peter Quill

Chris Pratt looking a little ill at ease at the helm as team leader Peter Quill

5 years later Marvel’s lack of choices in it’s next movie franchise led them to a popular fringe title named Guardians of the Galaxy and here we are now. In the unlikely situation in which one of the silliest titles Marvel has ever put out is on it’s way to the big screen. Great times!!

So it’s with some excitement that we present the best news we’ve had in a while!! Guardians of the Galaxy first 15 second shot-fest trailer is here and it looks like fun. Visibly sticking to Abnett and Lanning’s zany run in the Guardians (Gamora, Starlord, Groot, Drax all present and correct) instead of the unecesarily retrofitted Bendis run. Director James Gunn insisted that he was resolutely sticking to Abnett and Lanning’s version of the team for the big screen release. Abnett himself told us that he’d been to the set and was really happy with how it was all shaping up.

There’s one character conspicuously missing though between the bomb bursts, aliens and beasties…..

Zoe Saldana as Gamora, the world's most dangerous woman

Zoe Saldana as Gamora, the world’s most dangerous woman

'I AM GROOT!': Not seeing the wood for the gunfire

‘I AM GROOT!’: Not seeing the wood for the gunfire

Screenshot from new 15 second trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy

Screenshot from new 15 second trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy

NZs Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer looking for his next victim

NZs Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer looking for his next victim

Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer asks the question many non-readers are probably asking

Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer asks the question many non-readers are probably asking

Wolverine: The Musical

If there’s a greater joy than musicals about borderline psychotic canadian mutants then it’s an Australian voiced puppet supported by an incredibly well selected batch of Marvel miscreants singing a medley of altered musical classics.

This video gives it all, as well as the best use for Multiple Man since X-Factor 92 where he multiplied himself inside and exploded a member of the Acolytes.

Personal favourite moment: A silent Wolverine just wandering over a host of singing Multiple Men and revenge at Spider-man.

Anyone who knows us or attended Moon Launch 2 knows that we love a show with a puppet in it. Moon Launch featured Laura Bacon in duet with a human with her hand up a puppets butt!! Now that’s showbiz and this has been our favourite interpretation of the ol’ canuckle head.

Demoncon VI Poster designed by Beyond the Bunker

Demoncon Steve Penfold Timaree Zadel

On September 15th, we will be in attendance at Royal Star Arcade, in Maidstone with Moon. A new venue for the Grinning Demon’s charity event that attracts both the indy and the professional. Confirmed guests so far are Lloyd and the Bear’s Gibson Grey, Moon print designer Grant Perkins, Tinpot Hobo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle artist Jack Lawrence, Grainne McEntee and Matt Rooke with Apes n’ Capes and Bertie Bear’s Andy Clift. We also know that Cy Dethan and Nic Wilkinson (Cancertown, Reverend: Wrath of God) and Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy, Legion of Superheroes, the Hypernaturals) are confirmed and friend to the Bunker and DJ to the stars Keiron Gillen (Uncanny X-men, Iron Man) may be in attendance.

After 5 Demoncons and 5 very distinct posters, Graham Beadle, Demoncon organiser and owner of Grinning Demon comic shop came to the Beyond the Bunker table and was nice enough to ask me to design the new poster for Demoncon VI. Because of the nature of the convention as a charity event, the posters themselves are more lively and varied than anywhere else. Right from the beginning, Demoncon posters have mashed up mainstream and indy in a visual bash up. Dredd stands beside Frostica, Wonderwoman by the Moose. That lack of limitation is irresistable for an upstart comic book artist like me so I was honoured to be asked frankly. The end mix as you see above.

But i couldn’t do it on my own so I was aided by the incredible talent of Timaree Zadel (who also coloured the new prints that were available at MCM). With Ivanna Matilla currently waylaid by teaching English in 20 different schools, Timaree was her chosen colourist. As you can see, no reason not to be over the Moon with this work.

The Great MCM Retrospective 1

IMG_1108

Okay, we’re late with this but it’s been a busy few weeks since MCM. In particular taking into account the fact that it took a week to recover from. It was an enormous success for the pair of us. Better than we anticipated. MCM is always a boomer for us but we love it even more when we see the regulars and those we’ve met at MCM before.

One of the highlights for us at this stage is seeing new fans mixing with older fans coming back for a little more Moon action. Massive, genuine thanks to everyone who came back from Moon 1 or came to see us having read the first two and recommended us to others who had just arrived at the table. The fun we had this time out, a combination of the event and the reception means we now have big plans for the next MCM and we hope to see you there!

In a momentary lull I got a chance to head on out into the crowds and grab some shots of some suspicious looking Moon characters. The Princess Leia one was a little awkward as she was slightly offended that I wanted her head covered but it’d’ve been reverse sexist not to frankly and I’m standing (slightly uneasily) by that.

IRON MOON vs Spider-Moon

New Moon Prints by Grant Perkins

Moon by Grant Perkins

At Supercomicon it was decided that we’d like to see some alternative views of Moon from other artists with styles vastly different to what we’ve already seen. These are going to be available as prints at MCM, along with some new artwork completed by myself and Ivanna Matilla. It’s always best to keep things fresh.

This is the first example of these alternatives from the irrepressible Grant Perkins. No one lays down an alternative view of a character better than Grant Perkins. It gives you lines and framing you never imagined from your own work and gives you new ideas for all the Moons still to come.

We’re also expecting work from Boom’s Steed and Mrs Peel’s Yasmin Liang. For now that’s your lot but based on the response to those there’s a very real chance that we may well recruit more of the best from the small press – maybe one or two of the big guns to bring you new and alternative versions of our favourite law enforcing satellite.

There’s far more news on it’s way – it’s our feeling that everything needs a complete refresh every 2 years and we’re moving very quickly towards that point so expect news regarding exactly that in the next few months.

Practitioners 57: Robert Kirkman

It’s back!! Practitioners, our article featuring the people who made the comics industry is updated occasionally between issues of Moon. Practitioners Reloaded present the previous 1 – 53 (Simon BisleyChris Bachalo) for those who want to read more.

Born November 30th 1978 in Richmond, Kentucky, Robert Kirkman would be the only non-founding member of the third largest comic book company in the US and the creator of a black and white Zombie-fest that would be hailed as the ultimate in ‘independent’ comic books. The Walking Dead picked up on the global enthusiasm for Zombie stories and made it accessible in a way that saw it developed into a mainstream TV series.

Kirkman’s sense of identifying attention grabbing ideas is complemented by his capacity to carefully and enjoyably develop them, walking the line between enjoyment and engagement for the reader.

Kirkman’s first comic book work was the 2000 superhero parody Battle Pope, co-created with artist Tony Moore, and self published under their Funk-o-Tron label. This, perhaps, is the nature of indy publishing. A well presented, deliberately fringe creation never intended to find a place in the mainstream, that engages readers in a way the mainstream can’t and creates a viable alternative. The perfect synthesis between high (and funny) concept and professional execution (something now only too visible in British indy titles such as Lou Scannon, Stiffs and ahem… Moon).

Kirkman Battle Pope 03 - page 03-04

Later, while pitching a new series, Science Dog, Kirkman and artist Cory Walker, were hired to do a Super Patriot (of Savage Dragon fame) mini series for Image Comics. Not content simply on that, Kirkman developed the 2002 Image Series Tech Jacket, which ran for six issues, with E.J. Su. In 2003, Kirkman and Walker created Invincible for Image’s new superhero line. Again, the story lines were acutely mirroring the work being produced on Marvel’s Ultimate line. Invincible, following the adolescent son of a superhero, who develops his own powers and attempts to start his own superhero career. Kirkman’s genius is an extension of Stan Lee’s some 50 years previous. It hinges on the normalisation of the super, bringing it down to the earth without an overly revealing bump.

Kirkman Invincable

Invincible was one of the titles that made the US comic industry a 3 company, rather than a 2 company one. In 2005, Paramount Pictures announced it had bought the rights to produce an Invincible feature film, and hired Kirkman to write the screenplay. Still nowhere to be seen, most likely the success of Walking Dead has put this particular project on the back seat for the time being.

Walking Dead Kirkman

In 2003, Kirkman began his most well-known and mainstream title, The Walking Dead. It represented an unusual change in the already popular gamut of zombie material that has dominated popular culture for the last ten years. Whereas all previous appearances of the Undead had been one-offs (aside from occasional cameos in George A. Romero’s increasingly marginal series of zombie films) this was an ongoing series, with an ongoing cast and an ongoing threat. The expected result of any Zombie film is that all parties will be decimated by the final reel, the relevance of the plot being the journey those characters took in the face of an unending threat, but Kirkman’s series would cause the threat to be unending. There is no indication as to how the series might end as there is no intention for it to, only that, by Kirkman’s own volition, any character is fair game and can be killed at any time. Even the central character, County Sheriff Rick Grimes, has been given a mortality extending only as far as the reader’s interest. It’s ongoing nature has allowed ideas to be developed in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The depiction of a ‘herd’, a force of nature generated by a world populated by Zombies, in which wandering Undead intersect their ongoing paths, the rudimentary stimulus of the physical world causing them to travel in large groups, like a tide being forced through a river. Add this to the effect of a gun shot or explosion to draw the undead from a wide area and the actions of civilians in future Zombie stories will have been changed by this series.

The format also allowed the events taking place to breathe in a way that other Zombie stories couldn’t allow. Whereas convenient environments are found near-fully formed in films such as Dawn of the Dead, with access to food, water, protection, power – in Kirkman’s world, every viable haven is deficient, solutions having to be found in order to make it safe or sustainable. There is interest in this angle and Kirkman’s new format gives this subject room to be investigated. The flaw in the format however, becomes increasingly clear the longer the series runs. Kirkman has applied the rules of the Undead pretty strictly, although augmented. Those being the discovery of a world in which the Undead have taken over, the discovery of the hopelessness of the situation, the loss of society and resources, the loss of family and friends, the discovery of an enclosed haven, the failure of humanity to maintain it, the realisation that humans are the deadliest species. The difficulty with this is that the same plot has effectively been repeated several times, the inevitable breakdown of the walls around the main characters through their own actions becoming obvious and the threat of the Undead increasingly diminished as the characters and societies have to be more established in order to have survived this long. The title has slowly become a doctrine of post apocalyptic politics as the human race gains a grip on a dead world. Whether this was Kirkman’s intention is uncertain but the title remains engaging, even beyond it’s original remit and has always been written by Kirkman.

Kirkman Walking Dead Headless Dead

This, accompanied with a number of other projects in the same period, hired by Marvel Comics to reintroduce it’s ’90s series, Sleepwalker, sadly cancelled before being published and the contents of issue 1 included in Epic Anthology No.1 in 2004. As the Avengers became increasingly ‘Disassembled’, in Marvel’s dismantling and reboot of the central title, Kirkman was given control of Captain America (vol 4), Marvel Knight’s 2099 one-shots event, Jubilee #1–6 and Fantastic Four: Foes #1–6, a two-year run on Ultimate X-Men and the entire Marvel Team-Up vol. 3 and the Irredeemable Ant-Man miniseries.

At Image, Kirkman and artist Jason Howard created the ongoing series The Astounding Wolf-Man, launching it on May 5, 2007, as part of Free Comic Book Day. Kirkman edited the monthly series Brit, based on the character he created for the series of one-shots, illustrated by Moore and Cliff Rathburn. It ran 12 issues.

Kirkman announced in 2007 that he and artist Rob Liefeld would team on a revival of Killraven for Marvel Comics. Kirkman that year also said he and Todd McFarlane would collaborate on Haunt for Image Comics.

In late July 2008, Kirkman was made a partner at Image Comics, thereby ending his freelance association with Marvel. Nonetheless, later in 2009, he and Walker produced the five-issue miniseries The Destroyer vol. 4 for Marvel’s MAX imprint. It’s unsurprising that Kirkman wanted to continue his association with Marvel, given that he named his son Peter Parker Kirkman, after one of Marvel’s most central heroes.

Walking Dead TV

In 2010, in a fanfare to the success of Walking Dead as a comic book series, AMC began it’s production of the still-ongoing Walking Dead TV Series which has become a mainstay of Sunday night viewing and has brought the original story of Rick Grimes, Lori and his son to a new and much wider audience. This has revealed the capacity for even relatively new books and concepts to find their place in wider media in an industry dominated by titles developed in some case, for more than half a century.

A surprising number of artists have failed to remain working alongside Kirkman, Cory Walker being replaced by Ryan Ottley on Invincible and Tony Moore replaced by Charlie Adlard after 6 issues of Walking Dead. While there is an innate tolerance in modern comic books on precise deadlines (mostly driven by Image and Dark Horse’s independent beginnings) this stands out with Kirkman’s almost solitary retention on the Walking Dead TV series senior team, with some extremely noteworthy walk outs (Frank Darabont the most noteworthy perhaps). These things are always subject to more politics than is publicly visible and are no doubt subject to a great many different pressures, however Kirkman is often the last man standing. This durability and sustainability perhaps the reason he has found himself in such a senior position in Image itself. However, this is open to a great deal of rumour and conjecture and is inevitable when someone such as Kirkman has risen alongside such long standing names of comic, film and TV.

Regardless of what the future holds for Robert Kirkman, he is made an indelible mark on the face of modern comics. He has moved the focus away from super hero comics, even challenging longer established characters and titles in wider fields. He has taken his place among comic book legends to run the third largest comic book company in the world, while still maintaining his own titles. Kirkman should be an inspirational figure to those in independent comics below him and an example of what careful and considered ideas, well developed can achieve.