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MCM Comic Con 16, Day 1: Two Ians, Iron Man in the hands of the Irish and an horrific Italian (almost)

This Friday was the first day of the Autumn MCM Comic Com in London. It was an unusually quiet day for the convention, but there were still some great names from the realm of DC Television to some of Britain’s best indie shows and films. 

But early on in the day were two familiar faces to MCM, Game of Thrones actors, Ian Gelder (Ser Kevan Lannister) and Ian Beattie (Ser Barristan Selmy).

The pair of actors reminisced about their time in set, but mostly spoke about their theories to the ending of the much-loved game-changing series. A bit like watching a pair of fans, but the most charismatic ones you could find.

Beattie noted that the only good thing about not being on the show was not knowing what was coming next for the story. 

As a large fan of the show and the “genius storytelling” that goes on, Beattie mentioned how he had never read the books, which he says he won’t read until series author George R.R. Martin publishes the 6th series or gets near to publishing the series. “I’m not doing Harry Potter again,” said the Northern Irish actor.

But like many of the fans anxious for the next instalment of the series, both Ians agreed that they hoped the book would diverge from the television series, but all ending at the same place with whoever ends up on the Iron Throne. 

Through apologise to Gelder, your dreams of seeing Bron on the throne may be a distant one.

Also at the con was popular Irish author Eoin Colfer talking about his upcoming Marvel novel Iron Man: Gauntlet

Instead of doing a lot of research, Colfer set his YA novel in his familiar setting of Dublin. It was also his way of usurping many of Marvel’s strict rules about what a writer can do with their universe.

The 1980s-fuelled novel serves as a way to look at the iconic Tony Stark character in a way that comics and films can’t. 

Colfer took the time to fill the book with references for 40-year-old dads and small details that fans may not have considered before.

The Artemis Fowl author, whose first love was graphic novels, made sure to include the Mandarin, a character he feels didn’t get justice in the film series.

Iron Man: Gauntlet is now out.

An interesting choice of guest was Italian composer Fabio Frizzi, who unfortunately had delayed flight, was unable to make his panel. 

It was great to get a horror legend at a  London con, even if I was unable to see him. Frizzi is best known for his scores for iconic horror films from Italian horror director Lucio Fulci including Zombi 2, City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. 

Frizzi will playing liveat the Union Chapel on Sautrday the 29th.

A big disappointment was that the convention booklets were printed with the wrong times. Thankfully there were handouts with the correct schedules, but me and my partner in crime, Virginia, we’re not informed – even at the press room. Really shoddy as it completely messed up our schedules. But alas, on to brighter days tomorrow with a (hopefully) correct schedule.

And as Virginia said, “It wouldn’t be MCM if it wasn’t confusing and weird.” 

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Lady Killer 2 Issue #1

Art and Story: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen

Josie Schuller is back, and I haven’t felt this giddy to go to the comic shop in a while.

Lady Killer 2 returns after 2015 successful five-issue run. Joëlle Jones and Jamie S Rich created a great little world for the 60’s housewife/assassin Josie to run around in. It was nominated this year for four Eisner Awards, including best limited run. It was a fun series, despite the fact that I wanted to much more out of the story (if Jones ever wants to revisit Josie’s backstory, please do).

But it’s immediately clear that Jones is trying something a bit different this time around. Things are a lot more personal with Josie. We get to read her thoughts as she begins her venture building a business of her own. Of course that is the business of being a paid assassin.

The Schuller family have made the move from Seattle to the city of Cocoa Beach. Here Jones’ style absolutely pops off the page. The art is filled with the same graphic, bloody imagery of the first series, but within the much more romantic-looking setting of mid-60s Florida. Despite this new setting, Josie is very much up to her old habits (instead of Avon products, she’s switched things up to Tupperware).

Josie meets with her husband’s boss and his wife, and still has her battle with her awful mother-in-law. But she’s a woman of many talents and still achieves being both the perfect wife and assassin. Though Jones manages to throw in some subtle looks of the unrest that’s bound to occur in following issues. Hopefully this means there will be development for Josie as a character as she continues on a much more independent path than the one she had in Seattle.

I’m really excited for Lady Killer 2, and though issue 1 offers some familiar ground, there’s already a taste of how exactly this series is going to develop in a different way going forward. I love Jones and believe in her wholeheartedly. Whatever happens to Josie, it’s going to be fantastic. It’s really great to have these two ladies back.

Lionsgate’s premier new Blair With trailer at SDCC

San Diego Comic Con is a convention that has far-surpassed any other convention on earth and pretty much has become more of an outlet for trailer reveals than anything else. Many of the highlights are dominated by twin pillars Marvel and DC, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t news for pretty much any niche fan group out there: including horror.

On Saturday, Lionsgate played the trailer for their film The Woods, but when people sat down to watch it, they were instead treated to a much bigger event.

Turns out there is no film called The Woods, instead it was a much bigger marketing ploy to reveal their upcoming movie Blair Witch. Yes, of the iconic 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project. Like the massive surprise trailer drop for the sequel to Cloverfield10 Cloverfield Lane, Lionsgate enlisted similar, if unorthodox, way of getting hype around the film. Actors were even given fake scripts at auditions while even fake trailers under the name The Woods had been shown in cinemas.

The real title and story of the film was all changed during the preview at SDCC – from the IMDB page to a real trailer with the real title being posted on YouTube.

So, what about the movie itself? It’s a sequel to the first film as Heather’s brother James decides to set out with his friends in hope of finding his sister who has been missing for years.

The trailer itself is pretty… meeeeh. Much of it seems mostly been there, seen that. Lots of jump scares and shaky camera work of these expensive HD cameras. The Blair Witch Project worked so well almost entirely because of its time. It would be almost impossible to replicate the sort of hype and mystery that could be created in that sort of pre-internet-obsessed era. Plus I personally always find it more difficult to buy into a found-footage movie when all the actors are super good looking instead of just normal actors. It’s the same reason why Paranormal Activity worked – viewers are able to suspend their belief much more when it feels like it could happen to them.

But there’s a lot of faith in director Adam Wingard’s work. So here’s hoping that whoever put the trailer together just wanted to make the movie look bad on purpose. Just seeing the witch symbols and that old house gave me shivers reminiscent of the first one. Also, the major claustrophobia of the girl in the underground hole – eeeeeh! So I’ll remain hesitant. It looks utter shit, but with trailers today, you’ll never know what the hell you’ll get. Fingers and sticks crossed.

Horror Block May 2016

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Another Horror Block, you ask? Wasn’t I officially over it when I got my last one? Well, yes. Yes I very much was. But as an early birthday surprise, I received a subscription from a friend. This was pretty much a box made for me. The quality is so much better, it’s unbelievable. I am excited about literally everything in this block. That hasn’t been the case in any subscription box I’ve ever gotten… ever. So way to go, Horror Block. Way to pull yourselves up by the boot straps.

There were seven items in this month’s box. So moving right along then…

1. Rue Morgue – issue #167

I’ve been seeing a lot of people complain about receiving a copy of Rue Morgue in every box. These people are idiots. Since I fly to America on Wednesday, this is a welcome addition to the long-haul flight. Conjuring 2 features on the cover (which needs to hurry up and be released in the UK now), and there’s an article about Joe Hill. So as always, Rue Morgue wins.

2. Penny Dreadful comic by Titan Comics

I only ever made it to episode two of this Showtime drama, but it made an instant impact. Laziness is pretty much the only thing standing in between me and getting into this show. The comic, though, is very welcome. It’s issue #1 from Titan Comics, and Horror Block even received an exclusive cover. The artwork is just beautiful, and the drawing of Eva Green’s eyes is fantastic: doll-like and dripping with Victorian gothic. It works for both fans of the show, and anyone even tempted in it. So more horror comics, please.

3. Deathgasm blu-ray

What makes New Zealanders so good at horror-comedy? From Brain Dead to What We Do in the Shadows, the Kiwis always knock it out of the fucking park. Deathgasm is a continuation of that tradition. It’s a horror-comedy about two metal-fans who accidentally summon a demon. This is a film I have not watched yet, but it will definitely be watched as soon as I’m back in London.

4. The Omen 7″ record

The Omen had to be one of my favourite horror-movie soundtracks when I was growing up. The film was so sophisticated, dark and brutal and most of the atmosphere was created by the haunting Jerry Goldsmith score throughout. Side A contains the chill-inducing “Avi Satani” while side B is “The Killer Storm.” I saw quite a few people complaining about not having record players, but alas. That’s what you get for missing out on life.

2,000 subscribers got a limited edition red vinyl, which would have been super great. But alas, mine is just regular black.

5. Jason Voorhees mask pin

Since Friday the 13th Part III, Mr Voorhees has been sporting his iconic hockey mask. This pin is a great way to sport your love for horror tastefully. I do love me wearables, and this pin went straight onto my denim jacket where it will live in its forever home. It’s a surprisingly heavy and well-made pin. From photos it might be difficult to see, but it’s rounded like an actual mask instead of a flat-back.

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6. Pocket Pop! 3 pack

These little guys are seriously the cutest killers ever. The tin includes a mini Jason, Freddy and Sam. I’ve never seen a pocket pop before, but they’re seriously adorable. The way Jason has blood splashed across his machete…  I do love Funko’s products. They increasingly out-do themselves with the sculpting. They really manage to get character in these figures, despite how small they are.

But seriously, look at how good these are.

7. Gremlins “Midnight Madness” t-shirt from ShirtPunch.com

THIS is the greatest item I have ever received in a subscription box (other than that time I got that Gizmo “Peltzer’s Pets” shirt. I guess that’s the greatest). I do have a string of Gremlins related shirts growing in my wardrobe and more are always welcome. I especially love the reference of “never feed after midnight” rule and the “Mega Madness” references in the back of the graphic. Plus the character in the faces is so great.

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Surviving a comic con

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Flash-filled picture brought to you by my ineptitude with cameras.

MCM Comic Con London day one is in the books! It was a pretty quiet first day spent mostly scoping out the new layout in the Excel Centre. I do have to say that each time MCM really improves in its layout. The convention this year is a lot more compact and easy to manoeuvre.

This is also my FOURTH time covering MCM! That’s a lot of time spent running around to different panels on opposite ends of the convention centre, smelling teenage boys’ BO and getting accidentally stepped on by kids in colourful wigs. But I do love it, and I feel like a genuine veteran at this point.

And with experience comes great knowledge of how to perfect being a convention. As stupid as it sounds: this is truly an art. Above is just a glimpse into my hectic bag from today. My real camera is not in the picture as I am taking pictures with it. Turns out I don’t know how to use a real camera. See picture above.

This is the most serene my bag has ever been on a return journey from a day out at a comic con. Usually there are about 800 more bits of paper and at least something that has been pressed upon me. But I’m not worried, as the weekend is still young and there is a whole lot of business about to go on this weekend.

Tomorrow I’m going to be covering plenty of comic-related goodness. There may be a hint in the picture above (if you can see it through the tacky flash photography).

A quick message from American of London

You may notice that I hadn’t written on Monday nor is this a Wicked Wednesday post. While I have some really great things to write about, there is absolutely nothing in me right now that could convince me to write anything, let alone watch a fucking movie.

Yesterday I received news from home that made me feel the full weight of what it really means for me to have moved 4,000 miles away from my family. Never have I ever had to mourn the loss of someone I love all by myself. Life sucks. But you deal with the cards you’re dealt.

So for now, there’s no writing. There are a few emails that you guys have sent me in the past few days that I’ll probably get back to when I feel on board with things again. Just bare with me, kids.

See you in a few days.

David Bowie dies of cancer at age 69

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Each time someone famous dies, I ponder why it affects us so much. We never got to know them, yet we still cry and morn at their passings. We’ll never miss them quite like their family and dear friends, but we miss them all the same.

I was getting ready for work this morning when I received the news alert of David Bowie’s passing after his battle with cancer. I was mid-way through applying mascara when I started to cry and woke up my husband to tell him the news.

David Bowie.

The man was always like a strange mythical power that we mere mortals could never touch. Even the last two albums his released in recent years proved that we could still be amazed by this musician. He was silent on the music front for over a decade when he released the sad, beautiful little single “Where Are We Now?”

But David Bowie, while that alien star man, was still something that so many could relate to and love so passionately. So many of us were strange in our own worlds and found solace in the music Bowie created.

When I was little, Labyrinth was on television constantly. At age 5 I couldn’t entirely understand what I was watching, but I was always mesmerised and haunted by Bowie’s face and voice. For years he haunted me, and eventually it led to a long and loving relationship with classic albums like Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Star Dust and the Spiders from Mars and Diamond Dogs.

Listening to his Berlin trilogy opened my mind to even more experimental and strange art. Exploring his vast catalogue of music while at university was a learning experience almost course-worthy in and of itself.

I sang “Magic Dance” with my friend on the school bus every day. She’s gone now, but every time I think of that song, I think of her and our innocent days. Having Bowie gone is like losing another part of those memories.

Each time someone famous dies, I do ponder why it affects us so much and I really still don’t know why. I’ll never know the man, but I can morn the loss of a man who provided so much solace and gave me the gift of his music.

I’ll never meet you, David, but I will miss you all the same.

David Bowie passed away after an eighteen-month battle with cancer. He was 69.