Carl Sagan’s Message to Mars

A few months before he died, Carl Sagan recorded a message which he dedicated to future explorers to Mars. Since early Monday morning, in the wake of the Curiosity Lander arriving on the surface of Mars it has begun to do the rounds throughout the internet. Sagan’s passion for the future of space travel is clear in this piece, which is heavily truncated in most of the common versions available online. Happily, I09.com hunted down the extended version of it and what is revealed is a thoughtful and emotional message from an inspirational man, passing a message he hopes will be heard by those that will fulfil his dreams.

Whatever you might think of Sagan, or of the Mars landing and little Curosity making it’s lonely way across it’s surface – he speaks for most of us on some level. Sagan’s passion for the breaking down of environmental boundaries and conquering of new worlds is more profound than most of us but millions huddled around TV sets to watch the first Moon landing, and quietly or not – without the fanfare affording Apollo Astronauts, Curiosity carries a little bit of Sagan across that distant, desolate landscape – and fills it with the potential of dreams. That is the border between science fiction and fact, where wheel or foot fall on previously imagined earth and spark a new generation of Sagan’s to wonder ‘what next?’

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Kiss In the Eye 1: Skarpi Thrainsson’s Incredible Ice Caves

Has NASA released photos taken from a the interior of an alien world or the promo for a brand new spanking X-box game? Nope. Brave globe hopper and Photographer Skarpi Thrainsson has taken these beautiful photos during a visit to Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier in December.

Seamingly quiet and peaceful, the Glaciers, Thrainsson tackled tempertaures of -12C to grab these shots. The Glacier itself has recently claimed the life of a fellow photographer. Beautiful, transluscent and ageless – it’s nice to know that places like this exist (for now) somewhere in this world.

This is the stunning natural beauty of ice caves caught on camera deep beneath the surface of Europes biggest ice cap. The other-worldly marble-like caverns form when melt water reacts with the enormous 3,100 km-square Vatnajokull ice flow, in Iceland.

London Film and Comic Con in pictures (Pt 3)

Just to round it all off a coupla highlights for me at LFCC. Ran into a guy dressed as the original Bishop from the 90’s (turned out he actually was inspired by the animated series), Kenny Baker going old school, a rare Alien / Marine chat and I can’t remember what the other one was. But there it is. LFCC in pictures….. Let us know what you thunk.

MCM In Pictures

Evening chaps,

Thanks again to everybody who came and supported BTB at the MCM convention this week. I’ve run the final numbers and it looks like we had a record show for sales of Moon! By way of thanks I thought I’d share some of the photos we managed to grab over the weekend, including one of a certain Watchmen artist.

The Excel Centre (the pointy white bits) as seen from outside my flat. I was tempted to walk to the show...but I'd have drowned.

 

Comic Village 2 hours before the doors opened on Friday.

The hordes await.

It's hard to describe just how many people attend MCM. This is just a small sample. It's overwhelming in a really good way.

Robots love Comics too!

I think pretty much everyone took a photo of this sign over the weekend. Awesome stuff.

Dave Gibbons picks up his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Eagle Awards.

Sunday night. All done and dusted.

MCM by night.

Well that’s the lot. Hope you enjoyed our little behind the scenes look. Guess it’s time to start prepping for the next one now!

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Kapow Diary 2: What we didn’t see…

Inevitably as an exhibitioner, even one doing the wander around – you miss things inevitably and there was a hell of line up over the course of the weekend. The day was high end and everyone involved (from IGN, Millarworld, Clint and the Business Design Centre) – had pulled out all the stops. Behind us was Markosia, run by Harry Markos. Markosia is effectively the mainstay of the independent comic book scene. I’d been lucky enough to meet up with Harry once before. We didn’t realise he was behind us until half way through the first day. I arrived at the 2000AD stand too late for a portfolio review because I hadn’t had a chance to find out where it was. The way to define a convention is not just by what you see but what you miss. Turns out, after a little scraping away it becomes clear there were some genuine diamonds just out of sight (if heavily sign posted).

Of course, Mark Millar was present but was effectively operating on an entirely different level to the rest of the place. Like a machiavellian god with Postman Pat hair he was only spotted by us once throughout the entire event. News I had back however was that he was friendly, cordial and helpful about the place. Millar is on a pedestal in an industry populated by people who are often happier being ashamed of themselves and both myself and Dan, when presented with an opportunity to meet him – didn’t want to bother him – advice I could’ve given myself earlier in the day (more on that in another blog). It was inevitable that Millar was going to take some flak across the bows for having the gall to elevate comic books above the level it has been stuck at over the last ten years. Regardless of his intentions or reasons, Kapow was a massive success with things popping out of woodwork all over the joint if you were looking.

Jonathan Ross reportedly nailed a show over on one side of the room while Quitely and Leinil Yu quietly began the proceedings on the Guiness World Record attempt to involve the most people in a single comic book in one day on the opposite side, down by the IGN stand (something I managed to be involved in). The sheer scale of what was taking place was enormous. Chris Hemsworth was in the building at some point for the Thor launch and there was talk of a mystery movie – which clearly was so unimpressive that we still don’t know what it was. Highlighted as Movie X, myself and Dan distracted ourselves from the replaying Batman/ Green Lantern game promos playing repeatedly in front of us by taking guesses as to what it’d be about.

X-Men: First Class? Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman (Jonathan Ross’ wife) have close connections with Millar following Kick Ass last year. Thor? Chris Hemsworth in place you’d think they wouldn’t bother flying him over for that one if they could preview the film. Kick Ass 2 was suggested at one point though the liklihood that messrs Vaughn and Goldman knocked out a major sequel quietly with no PR or evidence of production seemed a little far fetched. Things turned again when it was revealed (by a bloke somewhere) that it was an 18 and involved a guy in cape. At that point we gave up. If anybody’d taken a look at the Kapowcomiccon site it clearly said there was preview footage of Hobo with a Gun. Starring Rutger Hauer as the aforementioned hobo it looks like a breakneck ‘Braindead’/ ‘Bad Taste’ mash up. Someone even lets ol’ Rutger do a little ‘burning off the orion belt’ ad libbing while staring at a baby. Nobody expected this? This looks like a great movie! Why don’t they just call it Rutger Hauer is a vengeful tramp! You wouldf have had to have chained me to something to stop me from kicking the doors down to see it!

But there was bigger news in that the Green Lantern movie looks like its back on track. 8 minutes were played of the film – in excess of the 4 available online and everyone was turned as a result. CG more intact, tone a little heavier and more intelligent and obscure images from the original trailer resolved in the new material. This is good news as we here at the Bunker had dismissed the Green Lantern movie as a disappointer of the masses based on the previous output but right now we’ve got the focus back on. I’ll admit Geoffrey Rush as Tomar Re took me by surprise. The whole thing is

Also out there was Attack the Block’s writer and first time director Joe Cornish of Adam and Joe who was doing signings and photos at the IGN stand while I was drawing. The crowd was being ‘entertained’ by a guy who looked and sounded like he’d be happier at the X-Games than a comic convention and locked onto the idea that Spider-man 3 was shit to exactly one person’s noisy agreement. Meanwhile, pleasant man-child Joe Cornish (responsible for my favourite Radio 6 show by the way) was out of sight making geeks happy. Attack the Block is the story of hoodies battling Aliens in South London and was inspired by Joe getting mugged. The empathy of that man is astonishing. But it looks fukkin’ bo muvver! Bare Good! Check it out.

There were folks from Misfits (Iwan Rheon (Simon) and Lauren Socha (Kelly)), Merlin (Colin Morgan (Merlin)), Bradley James (Arthur), Angel Coulby (Gwen) and Katie McGrath (Morgana) as well as folks (Dakota Blue Richards (Franky), Sean Teale (Nick) and Jessica Sula (Grace)) from Skins, World Exclusive Pilot of Falling Skies and Toby Whithouse, the creator of Being Human. Games previews for Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Nintendo 3DS, Lego Star Wars 3, Operation: Flashpoint and Dirt 3 from Codemasters.

Present were Mark Gatiss, Lienil Yu, John Romita Jr, Bryan Hitch, Simon Bisley (which was so last minute I couldn’t find him) Olivier Coipel (apparently), Kevin O’Neill, Paul Cornell (sporting a comedy beard for charity much to his own embarrassment), Noel Clarke, Mick McMahon, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, David Lloyd, Andy Diggle, Liam Sharp, Sean Philips, Adi Granov, Chris Weston and Eric Stephenson. Not one of these people I saw.

The important thing is who I did….

Photos from Beyond the Bunker Launch party: Characters and Creators 1

In the middle of the event was Imogen Banks, photographing furiously to bring you the finest pieces of photographic evidence of the events of the first Beyond the Bunker / Moon Launch party at the Square Pig in Holborn. With so much going on its difficult to choose what to shoot frankly but she did a great job of capturing the night – with characters, bands, guests, creators and a Moon head swinging around the place it might’ve been difficult but she covered the event brilliantly and is now the official Beyond the Bunker photographer. There are no benefits to that role at all. Throughout this week we’ll be posting the pictures of the night to give you a perspective of how it all went down…

The Moon of the moment...


Ray and Moon taking reviewing their latest case


Moon and Shades Rodriguez (Alistair Reith)


The Joker grabs a lolly


Moon Men: Dan and me (Steve) enjoy a moment before something else happens


Shades Rodriguez (Alistair Reith), Dan Thompson (looking cheerful), The Joker, Ray Barton (Lee Ravitz), me (Steve Penfold) throwing a punch

Photos of the Moon Comics and Banners!

It’s been rather an exciting day over here. The first print run of Moon arrived this morning (just as I was getting in the shower) and the banners followed them a few hours later (just as I was about to eat my bacon sandwich). I thought it was only fair that we shared some photos of this joyous event with you lovely people.

One of these comics could be yours!

When the comics arrived I did offer to go down to the lobby of our building and pick them up, but the nice delivery lady said she’d bring them up to the flat. By the time I opened the door of our 5th floor home to her, I think she was regretting her decision. 😉

The banners in their carry cases

The banners themselves look fantastic and go up like a dream. Very happy with them.

In all their glory.

2 meters high and almost a meter wide! Iv did the colours for us on these and they may well be her finest work. Steve’s art is fantastic as always. We’ll post up some high res versions of these images at some point, but we thought you deserved to see just how cool they look right away.

If I look like a kid a Christmas it's because I am a massive kid and it does feel like Christmas!

No Doubt there will be more Moon merchandise to come in the future but for now we are locked, loaded and ready to roll!

If you want to get your hands on some of these sweet comics then COME TO OUR PARTY! There may be cake*

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* there is no cake.