The Shrieker Podcast 012: Lee Francis

Lee Francis joins us to talk about Indigenous Comic Con, happening at the National Hispanic Cultural Center here in Albuquerque on November 18th. The convention will bring together native actors, game designers, comic artists, and more from around the country to celebrate their unique contributions to popular culture. There will be panels such as “How to Survive the Zombie Apocolypse on the Rez”), music, and vendors. Celebrity appearences will include Jonathan Joss (of “King of the Hill” and “Parks and Rec” fame) and a variety of native cosplayers. There will be a screening “Monster Slayer”. There will be a game room featuring demos of video games like “Never Alone” with Ishmael Hope, “Blood Quantum” with Renee Nejo, and Elizabeth LaPensee. Particularly exciting to the host, Allen Turner will be bringing his Fate-based native-story-inspired RPG, Ehdrigohr and running a game jam to help native communities develop their own games. Aside from their website, you can find information on the Indigenous Comic Con on their Facebook page.

There is no Downloadable or Free RPG Society review for this month because Matt is lazy. Check the Geeks Rising blog to find past downloadable game supplements or reviews of free games.

Lastly, this episode marks a full year of The Shrieker. To celebrate, next month we will be sharing the stories of listeners, marking their development as game players, designers, and fans. Share stories of new friends made and favorite games discovered (and more) on our social media pages or by email for a chance to have them read on-air.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

PHXCCC: X-Philes Live On

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Topic: 

On Friday, June 3rd 2016 at 1:30 pm, those who still want to believe descended on Phoenix Comic Con. The conspiracy theorists, and FBI's most unwanted met up to discuss their favorite episodes, the relevance of X-files in the current age, and answer some fun trivia questions.

Panelists:

Discussion:

Being that this was a fandom panel, where the main focus of the panel was discussing favorite episodes, and answering trivia, I figured I would approach this article in a different way. I do not think that transcribing the discussion would do this panel justice. I feel like the best way to capture the true spirit of this panel would be to act as an additional panelist and discuss my favorite episodes.

  • Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
    This is an episode that shows up on every top 10 list and there is a reason. The main focus of the story is around Clyde Bruckman, an insurance salesman who can see how people die. The interesting twist is that the monster of the week in this episode is also a psychic, so you end up with some interesting interactions that would otherwise be impossible. However, the x-file in this episode is not what won an emmy; the excellent writing and believable nature of Bruckman's misery is what won it that award. The loneliness of Clyde is undeniable in the script and is then cemented by Peter Boyle's performance. One of the highlights is when you see the witty back and forth that Bruckman shares with Scully while sitting together in a motel room. The story is a near perfect portrayal of a lonely man looking for any connection with another human. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though because I like to think that he found that connection, however briefly it might have lasted.

  • Sleepless
    In this episode, we follow a group of Vietnam veterans who have been experimented on by the government. The experiment was conducted in order to create a group of soldiers that would never have to sleep. The procedure consisted of removing part of the brain which tells the body that it needs rest. While in Vietnam, this group of modified special ops soldiers were some of the deadliest in the war. However, twenty four years after the war has ended, without one hour of sleep, a single soldier decides to take revenge on those responsible for his pain. Although this may not be the most plausible of x-files, it is one of the most interesting to think about. We know that the government has the scientists to carry out experiments like this. We also know that if certain experimentation provided a tactical advantage, it would be difficult for the military to ignore. That just leaves the one question; is the government conducting horrifying experiments on their soldiers? 
     
  • Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man
    The reason this episode is in my top list is because we get some really interesting backstory about The CSM (cigarette smoking man). Throughout the episode we see how the CSM shaped the modern day world, whether it be the JFK assassination or the MLK assassination. To me, this was very fun to see, but the most interesting part about this episode was the discovery of CSM's passion. He wanted to be a writer. The moment that sold me on this episode is when after years of submitting stories, and years of rejection letters, he finally gets accepted to a magazine. He types up a resignation letter (to whoever CSM's boss could be) and goes to the newstand to pick up a copy of the magazine that contains the story. Once he realizes the magazine altered his story, turning it to crap, he is heart broken. He ends up tearing up his resignation letter and leaving the magazine on a bus stop bench. I believe that this is a pivotal moment for the character. This was the death of his last bit of hope and humanity. Without this rejection letter, I do not think that the X-files would have ever come to be. 

Conclusion

I think that this panel is a perfect example of why comic-cons are such special events. In the real world, I only have one friend who is interested in the x-files. The remainder of my friends simply do not understand or appreciate the masterpiece created by Chris Carter. But for this one hour, on one day, I was surrounded by 100 people who share the same passion as me. A group of new friends. A group of fellow X-philes who I can chat with about my favorite episodes, or deconstruct the subtext of Mulder & Skully Meet the Weremonster, without having to worry about a confused look coming across their face.

This was hands down my favorite panel of the entire weekend, and I hope to see these folks revisit their panel at Tucson Comic Con in November.

Superhero Sunday: The Rocketeer

Strap on your jetpacks, dawn your helmets and lets take to the skies in this month's Superhero Sunday with The Rocketeer.

The History

Created in 1982 by writer-illustrator Dave Stevens, who first got work penciling for Tarzan (newspaper comic 1975) then getting recognized for is pin up work and later went on to storyboard for Hanna-Barera.

The Rocketeer is a fun adventure book that was birthed out of paying homageage to the old serials from the 1930s through 50s.  The story first appeared as a backup issue in Starslayer for Pacific Comics. The four issue was released by Eclipse comics under the title Rocketeer.

The Character

The story takes place in a fiction 1938 Los Angeles, but who is this helmeted hero? Cliff Secord a racing stunt pilot (barnstormer) discovers a mysterious package hidden in his hanger. Gangsters fleeing the scene leave left a prototype jetpack that kickstarts Cliff's adventures and lead him on a jet fueled dream.

The 1980's comic contnued its fun for years as Cliff went on one-shot journeys and adventures as The Rocketeer. He would fight crime and rescue his main squeeze Betty (Dave Stevens modeled off of Bettie Page the Queen of Pin-Up). Cliff the lunkhead with the heart iof gold went on to fight Nazi's and the mobsters but every comic was great fun.

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Why this hero?

As always I did not read the comic until well after its creation. I probably like most didnt dicsover The Rocketeer as a comic at all but instead as the 1991 Disney film. Yes, in the 90s Stevens approved Disney to adapt the comic into film. This movie is where I found the Rocketeer and was instantly in love with the character. The costume is this amazing suit that lets you fly around with an awesome helmet and you become this hero who saves the day, it was everything I wanted to be as a kid (maybe now too). After the movie I wanted to be The Rockteer and I was inspired to find those 80s comics.

The Rocketeer comic rights changed hands and went from Dark Horse to IDW. Dave Stevens passed in 2008 but the comic series was revived in 2011 by IDW with the talented writer Mark Waid, the book would recieve trades of collected new adventures. The Rocketeer is not the dense heavy work of Alan Moore nor is it Garfield. No, The Rocketeer is high flying fun and a real treat for anyone who wasn't wax nostalgic about 1930s-50s.

Recommended Reading:

Tremors 5: Bloodlines

There are very few film franchises that can go for 25 years, spanning 5 movies and a tv series, all while remaining fresh. Tremors is one of the few that has accomplished this. Their secret formula = Burt Gummer.

If you don't know who Burt Gummer is, he is the incarnation of what the rest of the world thinks Americans are. Gun toting, survivalist, right wing, nut jobs. But somehow, it's impossible not to love Burt. Just in case you're new to the franchise, I have included essential viewing from the first Tremors film to illustrate this point.

It seems like more and more movies are losing their sense of humor and are beginning to take themselves too seriously. That is what makes Tremors 5 a breath of fresh air. It is balls to the wall, tongue in cheek fun... just like the original. This film doesn't try to recreate the original film, it just takes the absurd backdrop and tells a slightly different story. There's even something for us a film nerds in the form of allusions to films like Jurassic Park, Die Hard and Alien 3. If we boil it down to one idea, this is what action films in 80's would have been if they had CGI from 2015.

This is a super short Friday Night Action Movie Book Club, but the part that I want to dive deeper into would be a spoiler, and I don't want to do that. So I'll leave it there. You can find this movie on netflix, and I highly recommend it if you've watched and enjoyed any previous tremors films. I should also note that other than the film Scream, this is my favorite Jamie Kennedy role. 

SFCCC: How to Publish Comics w/ Brian Pulido

One of the most common questions among comic book creators is: "how do I get my comic book published?". I sat in on Brian Pulido's panel at the Santa Fe Comic Con to try and get those answers for you.

If you don't know who Brian Pulido is, he is a comic book creator who has been in the game since 1991. Over his nearly 2 and a half decades as a professional comic creator, he has published books for Megadeth, WWF, ICP, Halloween, The Mummy and Static X.

The ideas from his panel, "How to Publish Comics", can be summarized into three categories.

Be Realistic

When you're starting to write a story, it is essential that you understand the marketplace that you are entering. You don't necessarily need to allow the market place to alter your course, but you should enter into it with realistic expectations.

It is definitely more fun to write about something that you are completely passionate about. However, if what you are passionate about is a very specific and unique story, before entering the marketplace, know how your book will fit into the grand scheme of things. Basically just have realistic expectations.

It should also be noted that it is impossible to forecast the marketplace. If you see that one year vampires are really popular, and you decide to write a vampire book to cash in on the trend, by the time you get to market with the story, the trend will have passed. That is no way to succeed in the comic industry. What it comes down to is: be true to yourself, be realistic about your books place in the market, and don't try to cash in on trends. 

Finding the Right Team

Another hugely important aspect of publishing your first book is finding the right team. If you are just starting out in comics, chances are you will not be working with well established writers or authors right off the bat. Therefore, it's incredibly important to vet the potential partners. One of the hardest parts of starting out will be finding artists that are true to their word who will produce work in a timely fashion. You should not be afraid to try multiple people.

Make sure that you understand your Writer's/Artist's personality, commitments, hobbies, etc. Do they have a full time job? Are they a full time student? How committed will this person be to the project? All of these are important questions to ask prior to entering into a comic with someone. Let me share a story of Brian's with you.

For Brian's first book "Evil Ernie", he received submissions from 71 artists. He ended up trying out 12 of those artists, and ultimately all 12 failed in regards to quality or professionalism. When Brian says professionalism, he means (1) doing what you say you will do in the time that is agreed upon, (2) being honest about the time you will be available to work on the material, and (3) being in communication when things change. To simplify, it is finding like minded people to work with. 

Publishing Methodology

It is now completely doable to publish your own book. The way that Brian does this is by hosting the world premier on Kickstarter, and going directly to the readers. After the close of the kickstarter project, Pulido & Team are able to deliver the product within 5-6 weeks. The way that this team accomplishes this is by completing all the creative work prior to the launch, meaning they are only going to kickstarter to cover printing costs.

Currently Brian has a kickstarter for a book Zack the Zombie Exterminator, and will be launching another Kickstarter on November 2nd for a book titled La Muerta. Make sure to check out Brian Pulido's work.

Follow Brian Pulido on Twitter @TheBrianPulido
Check out SFCC: www.santafecomiccon.com

The Martian

Ladies and Gentleman. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh mai gawd! If you have been hiding under a rock and don't know what The Martian is, let me tell you. It is a movie (and a book) about an astronaut that gets left behind on mars, who has to survive until he can find a way to get rescued. Unlucky for Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon), this planet is dangerous, and one wrong step can kill him.

Matt Damon really shines in this film. He perfectly embodies the Mark Watney we know and love from the book. He is a funny, sarcastic, and scared Botanist that is put in a horrible situation. However, at no point does the deadpan of Watney take you out of the story; you realize that his constant joking is his way of fighting off the crippling realization that "i'll probably die here". The remainder of the large cast did an amazing job as well, but my personal favorite was Donald Glover's portrayal of Rich Purnell. 

When I wasn't laughing at Watney, I forgot that I was even in a movie theater. That is because the cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. There have been plenty of films set on Mars but none have made you feel like you're there; until now. 

The real story of this film is not on Mars, it's on Earth. We see the entire world forget about it's wars, and hatred for one another. We see Humans all across this planet converge and work together on a single problem (in this case, save Mark Watney's ass). It shows what we could accomplish as a species if we all had a common goal. I think that's what we should take away from this film. 

Overall, this film was a great achievement that I would recommend to anyone. It's also a very refreshing take on sci-fi where there aren't anti-matter Rays, dark matter drives, or alpha centaurians invading. There is still the subtextual social commentary for those pretentious viewers like me. 

Now go watch The Martian, and/or Buy the Book: Buy it on Amazon

The Net

Today is Friday, and that means Friday Night Action Movie Book Club. I want to talk about 1995 classic THE NET. I know that the majority of you are probably thinking that this film will suck, but you're wrong. This movie is great.

Before we discuss it at the pretentious level, allow me to sell you based solely on one persons involvement. The producer/director of The Net is Irwin Winkler. This guy also produced Rocky, Raging Bull, The Right Stuff, Good Fellas, The Mechanic, Wolf of Wallstreet...Basically, this guy knows what he's doing. Now that I've sold you on the film, let's do this.

The Net tells the story of "a computer programmer who stumbles upon a conspiracy, putting her life and the lives of those around her in great danger" (imdb.com). Surprisingly, I think that this movie holds up rather well 20 years after it's release. That's because this isn't a story about what the internet was capable of in 1995, it focusses on much larger ideas. So let's go ahead and break it down into three overarching Ideas that I believe the film really focusses on. 

First. The Net plays off the fear that we will slowly lose our privacy as our information is transferred to a digital space. Sure, this film downplays the complexities of hacking and accessing peoples encrypted files. But the technical aspect of hacking is not what the film is trying to bring to light. It's showing that people don't think that there is any problem with the digitization of sensitive information. Society is lured into a false sense of security by a companies promise, when all it takes to gain access to your information is a single person or group exploiting a single flaw in security. 

Second. Around this time in the 90's, Americans trust of the government was at the lowest point since 1958 (people-press.org). This led to an increased interest in conspiracy theories. The overarching story of this film is that of a conspiracy theory regarding infiltration and manipulation of the government by a large corporation. Over the last 5 years, the trust of the US government has reached points very similar to those during 1995. This could be another reason that I think this film holds up...we still don't trust our government and we feel like there are corporate puppets pulling their strings.

Lastly, I think that the majority of this film is an analogy for Alzheimers. This may seem like a stretch, but let me explain. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Sandra Bullock's mother who has Alzheimers. When we see Sandra's first visit, her mother does not recognize who Sandy B is. Later in the film, Sandra Bullock is put in a very similar situation where she is completely disconnected from the world around her. She is unable to tell if what is happening is real, or if she has had a mental break. The comparison between what Sandra Bullock is going through and what her mother is going through with Alzheimers is uncanny, and it illustrates the frustration that someone with Alzheimers might feel...trapped in a situation that is out of your control, constantly being told you're someone else, unable to understand what is happening...it must be truly horrifying.

I know what you're thinking; you've over analyzed the movie. Well maybe you're right, and to remove that judgement from your mind, here's a gem for you: when you're watching this film, wait for the ADR scream around 1:48:00. You're welcome. I do recommend watching this movie if you haven't seen it yet. Just remember to have fun while watching it and also remember that it was made 20 years ago.

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PzWsg8