Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Electric Man writer/directer David Barras talks U.S. DVD release and more!!

A couple years ago a movie made it's debut here at the Port Townsend Film Festival. I wasn't a regular attendee at the film fest, but came across an intriguing film in the program guide. It was a comedy about a couple down on their luck comic book shop owners whose luck changes when they stumble across a priceless comic. The movie also starred a local actress, so I figured why the hell not? Comedy and comic books. Right up my alley. The movie...Electric Man...and might I add, I try to attend the Film Fest every year now!

I wasn't expecting to see a film masterpiece by any means, but I was absolutely surprised by Electric Man. It was a very funny film with a very Kevin Smith "Clerks" feel. I didn't even have trouble understanding the accents, which can be tricky sometimes when watching Scottish/English films. I'm definitely a fan of this movie!

I'm not going to ramble too much about Electric Man. The movie is finally making it's U.S. DVD release today actually. I highly recommend you go our and buy or rent this movie and see for your self! Even more exciting, I managed to get a quick interview with the writer/director of Electric Man, Mr. David Barras, where we talk Electric Man, Comic Con, the U.S. release and more! Check out the interview. Watch Electric Man. Email your local Comic-con to bring it in for a screening. Check out this trailer for Electric Man then check out the Q&A with the creator.

First off, I'd Like to thank the writer/director of Electric Man, David Barras, for taking time to answer these questions for us. I'm sure things are hectic with the upcoming U.S. DVD release.

-Do we have an exact date as to when that drops here in the states?

DVD on September 10th, available from Passion River and then on iTunes, Xbox and Playstation digitally, available through FilmBuff.

-Is it going to be widely distributed? Do we know where it will be available yet?

It should be relatively widely available, we're also hoping it will be picked up by some of the indie comic shops, but if you wait until October and you have a computer or a games console, there's no excuse for not checking it out.

-This won't be the first time Electric Man has been seen in the U.S. The film actually made its world premier at the Port Townsend Film Festival, in Port Townsend (Where I happen to reside), WA to a great response. How was the PTFF lucky enough to have the film debut here?

That was all to do with Jennifer Ewing and her dad Jim. Jennifer, our lead actress, is from Port Townsend and for a while as a teenager, lived in Edinburgh where the film is set. Her dad, jim, who is involved in the Film Festival worked with our cinematographer, Rich,  while he was here and when we came to cast the film, Rich mentioned he knew an actress who was into comics. Jennifer was living in New York at the time, but we sent her a script and she filmed an audition and we loved it. So Jennifer was cast and when the film was complete it seemed natural to enter it into the Port Townsend Festival. it was accepted and by all accounts it received a great reception.

-The film was also screened at the San Diego Comic Con International Film Festival! That is huge for a comic book genre film to be seen there! What was the process like getting Electric Man selected to be part of the biggest comic show in the world?

It's pretty much the same selection process for all film festivals. You send off your baby with a hope and a prayer and wait for the judging process to be over. I remember hearing about this particular success because word got to us in Scotland at about 11pm and I was so happy. I knew we had to go and I phoned Scott Mackay (co-writer and Assoc Producer) to tell him. It was a great feeling, knowing that we'd be heading to the biggest geek gathering on the planet and somewhere that would be very important for the film in the long term.

-How well received was Electric Man in San Diego?

It went down really well. Even though it had played in the US prior to this, we were worried the accents might be tough for a US audience. We needn't have been concerned. the humour and energy of the film carried the screening and we were aware that the film had great market potential in the US and other English speaking countries.

-How much do you think Electric Man's U.S. dvd release will benefit from the Comic con exposure?

Firstly, we wouldn't have a US release on DVD and digital were it not for Comic Con. The buzz around the film's appearance is what led to us being picked up by FilmBuff (digital distribution) and us seeking out a DVD distributor (Passion River). However, we played San Diego last year, so we have to build up a buzz around the film again by getting reviews out, doing interviews like this one and generally trying to get the word out about our film with a minute promotion budget. If there's anyone out there who can help us with this, we'd urge you to get in touch.

-Are there plans to screen Electric Man in any other U.S. cities? If so, How can fans bring it to the big screen in their town?

We're screening at a Con in North Carolina this coming weekend and we'd love to be screened in more places. The best way to see this film is with an audience. There may be other plans to come on this, perhaps in conjunction with tugg. But, again, if anyone wants to arrange a screening, get in touch and we'll do everything we can to help make it happen. There are venues all over the world, which are not cinemas, which you can hire and project or show the film on a TV to an audience. We're very open to sending people resources to help them make it happen and for them and us to make a buck.

-Electric Man was co-written by you and Scott Mackay. What inspired the story?

Scott wrote the original script in the late 90s while he was a student in England. It literally came to him in a dream and he spent the next three days putting it on paper. He showed it to me and I became involved in developing it. It got a bit of interest and then nothing so it was put on the back burner and then resurrected in 2009, when we decided to make a low budget feature. At that point we significantly re-wrote the entire movie, changed the main characters around (Jazz was originally the ladies man) and put in more scenes with cell phones.

-Im totally impressed with the film. Its a great mix of adventure, comedy, romance, especially COMIC BOOKS...all done in a couple weeks on a small budget! Was there any point in the movie making process, that you didnt think Electric Man would see the light of day?

Literally every day you're making a micro budget feature, you're thinking, when is this all going to fall around our ears. One major delay, a sick actor, an accident, inclement weather and that's it, you're screwed. yo only have to look at Terry Gilliam's attempts to make the Don Quixote movie to see that this isn't just something that applies to our budget level. But, the Gods were with us and even though we had some weather problems and day to day issues, we managed to compromise where required and persevere to get to the finish line.

-Since I brought up comics, Were you a comic book geek, yourself?

I was. I was born in 1969, so I was eight when Star Wars was released. That film changed my life and the lives of countless other children of the seventies. In the UK, 2000AD (Judge Dredd) launched quickly after Star Wars and I was hooked. From there I found DC and Marvel but it wasn't until we got to the eighties and Alan Moore (who started on 200AD) and Frank Miller were writing that I really got into comics. From there I found people like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison and from there onwards I've tended to follow writers I like rather than particular characters.

-Ive seen the great Electric Man promo mini comic, but has there been any thought about actually creating an Electric Man comic book?

Funny you should mention that. We've had a great deal of interest in this, so we're about to release Issue 1 in October?November. It's being drawn by Graham Manley, who drew the opening title sequence  for the film and it will available initially through www.electricmancomic.com. There's also an indiegogo campaign supporting it's creation here - http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/electric-man-needs-you

-Is there anything else you would like to add about the film and its upcoming release in the U.S.?

I just hope people out there are willing to give us a chance. We don't have a massive marketing budget to promote this so it's down to word of mouth and websites like yours to help. Watch the film and if you like it, tell people and we'll make some more.

-How about yourself? Can you share a little of your background in the entertainment industry?

At the moment I own and run a film production company called Strange Boat. We do corporate films and education work and the occasional documentary. I've been writing screenplays for a long time and have another four unproduced, two as a co-writer. Scott and I both used to write role playing games, I did some Call of Cthulhu work and Scott wrote an acclaimed Cyberpunk adventure called 'Night City Stories.'

We made Electric Man out of a frustration of not being able to get projects made through normal channels.

-In my personal opinion, as enjoyable as Electric Man is, we can expect a lot more from David Barras in the future! Is there anything exciting on the horizon?

Hopefully, but what that might be is hard to say. We've developed an idea to have Jazz and Wolf return in sitcom form, we also have an idea for a sequel as well as the other features I mentioned above. Who knows but there'll be something. Watch this space.

-Any websites or anything you want to plug?

Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. Go to www.electricmanmovie.com and www.electricmancomic.com and you'll get all the relevant links there.

And if you enjoy the film, tell people, review it and if you don't like it remember the name Transformers 4 !

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Clallam Bay Comicon...small town show...big time fun!!

I grew up in love with comic books, sci-fi, superheroes and such geekery. Everyone knows how long I've been working on comic book awareness here on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, where I reside. My goal is to book our own Comic-Con right here in this area.

At first, I thought it was an unrealistic goal until I met Donna Barr. Donna is an indy comic writer/artist/publisher (might I mention award winning) from Clallam Bay, Wa, who over the last 2 years, hosted a comic-con practically in her back yard! The Clallam Bay Comicon!! Clallam Bay is a remote little town on the west coast...about as far west as you can go in the lower 48! Anyways, her convention has gotten bigger each year, and she has already announced a larger venue for next years show! To see the con double in size wayyyyy out there says a lot for the quality of vendors, artists, panels, and entertainment she is booking. Check Donna out at http://www.donnabarr.com/

Unfortunately I haven't been able to attend the first two events, but I was lucky enough to get a guest report from the show from another Comic lover, musician, blogger and performer at Clallam Bay Comicon, Dara Korra'ti, of the Crime and the Forces of Evil blog over at http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/blog
Go check out what Dara has going on, and be sure to check out a shorter version of her convention report, WITH PICTURES, here>>> http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/blog/2013/07/clallam-bay/ Check out what Dara has going on and connect with her! I hope to meet her at Clallam Bay Comicon next year!

Enough rambling from me! Lets check out Dara's report!!

Clallam Bay Comicon! It’s a tiny event, but this year they had a venue and everything! Last year, it had been basically a party at Donna's house; this year, the Lion's Club; next year, the entire peninsula! Or so goes the theory...

There were probably twice as many exhibitors at CBCC as last year. Aside from Donna, of course, there were a few people over from Seattle, not the least of whom being Roberta Gregory. A local Clallam Bay graffiti artist wanted to crash the party; that was surprising. Marcus Evenstar from Steve Jackson Games ran the gaming tables, and a couple of comic artists I'd never met before showed up from the Neah Bay side of the peninsula; I bought some art from Ann Koi, who was selling little playing-card-sized original drawings, along with larger art.

Plus, of course, I was there, selling CDs, and Anna's print book. I did substantially better in sales than last year, but I think I’m the only one. Honestly, I think being inside caused people to be hesitant about coming in and looking around; the additional room they'll have next year has large garage-style doors, so that'll be less of an impedance to the curious.

Friday's Opening Ceremonies was more beachwalk than anything else. But it’s a gorgeous bay, and the beach is entirely worth walking. Honestly, it's utterly lovely. For dinner, we went to the Clallam Bay Inn, which has the only cooked fish I'll eat in North America. No, I mean that literally. I've never had cooked fish in North America that I liked before; theirs is _perfect_ - caught the same day, often as not, panko breaded. Get the chips. Everybody wins.

Saturday morning, we went on a parade! The Comicon is scheduled to coincide with Clallam Fun Days, and we entered the parade as a group. Niall Townley did his cosplay Scotsman with flaming bagpipes on stilts; jokes about Scotsmen aside, he actually _did_ win first prize. The rest of us combined took third.

Then it was back to do our panels and such. Panel programming is new to Clallam Bay Comicon; panels and exhibitor space overlapped, causing a bit of a conflict, but everyone was agreeable about it - a pleasantly relaxed attitude really permeated the entire event. Niall talked about cosplay; Donna about running a comic book convention; I had a panel on sound equipment; Roberta Gregory had a panel on comics that... actually, I kind of missed, because I was getting ready for my show. Sorry, Roberta!

As for my concert - I lead with a new set called the Supervillain Origin Story. It consists of some of my hardest, angriest material, much of which will come out in _Din of Thieves_ - and to my surprise, they handled it just fine. I did much better in sales than last year, and I think that’s partly why.

After things closed down for the day, we had dinner then went and hung out near the bay for the illegal fireworks. It’s seriously Ten Finger Johnny time on the beach out there, particularly for the two hours before the official big fireworks display on the south side of the bay in Sekiu; then everybody settles down for the main event.

Sekiu put son a great display again this year; just like last year, there were cruise ships lined up out on the Salish to watch from a b/o/r/i/n/g/ safe distance. They have some seriously exotic fireworks and they launch them really high over the bay.

Sunday was pretty quiet; people had been up late the night before. But later in the morning, people started showing up; I sold another couple of CDs, and had seven or eight for my panel presentation on building a sound kit on a supremely tight budget. Folks seemed pretty interested, particularly for such a technical panel; that's always gratifying.

Then Donna rousted everybody to clean out the hall and shut down; Anna and I didn't stay for the dead dog, having to get back across the Sound for dinner, but there was one.

I'd have to say that in summary this year it felt a lot more like an actual, if very small, convention. Last year - Year One - felt mostly like a house party; this felt like a relaxacon. Donna's plans are pretty grand: the dream is to have a whole fleet of these things out in tiny Olympic Peninsula towns, maybe even on the same days, so you can have kind of a tour-the-peninsula-via-comic-conventions event. A lot of these towns have been in trouble since the logging companies ran out of fresh timberland to clearcut, and sports fishing and hikers will only carry you so far. Events and the arts might be a way out.

It's grand - but not, I think, unachievable. It'll be interesting watching, regardless, as she tries. And if nothing else, it's a pleasant weekend by the sea, and how much can be wrong with that?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Crypticon 2013...

Finally over that Crypticon hangover, and figured I oughtta share some pictures and stuff from the convention.

  So Crypticon 2013 happened last weekend, May 24- 26 at the Seattle airport Hilton and Convention center. I was asked to help run a booth for Len Enders' Toxik Idols project, which is awesome! Check my last post for the Q&A session I had with Len, and learn a little more about the project. It was basically the Toxik Idols "public" debut, and it got a positive response from the people! Looking forward to working with Len at more conventions! I'm not usually on that side of the table, but got to talk to a lot of people, make new friends (including the Horror Honeys), and straight up had a blast!

  I wont get to deep into the convention, but will say that my highlight of the weekend was getting to chat all weekend with Lew Temple and Vincent Ward aka Axel and Oscar from the prison on the Walking Dead!! Those dudes were some of the coolest people I've ever met at a convention!! Meeting Cassandra Peterson, better known as Elvira, was awesome too!

 OK..Here's some pics!
The Official Toxik Idols booth!! April, Len, and John just kicking back...
Other side of the table. This was different, but way cool! That's Eloise Knapp across the way. She's a great local writer and publisher of Z Magazine...look it up on her site! www.eloisejknapp.com

Me! Pimpin' at the Toxik Idols booth!

Keeping the booth safe...

Spooky people checking out the Idols booth!

This lovely zombie couple stopped by the booth as well.

Here's some of the cool stuff and awesome celebs that were at the show!

Tyler Mane! Dude was Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, and even cooler, Sabretooth from the X-Men movies!
Original Gangster, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson from Black Caesar, From Dusk til Dawn, and the hilarious (as far as I'm concerned) Starsky and Hutch remake.

This creepy fucker!

The Artist alley filling up with fans on day one.

The still lovely, Cassandra Peterson aka the one and only Elvira!

The Monster man himself...Cleve Hall! His show is coming back soon!

Cleve's way too early Q&A session...He's a very interesting dude!

Me and Josh Stewart from the Collector, Dark Knight Rises, and the Walking Dead web series. Though he comes off like a regular dude, This guy is going to be a household name! Do yourself a favor and follow him on twitter, click here
My new friends, Lew and Vincent. If you get a chance to meet these dudes at an event, DO IT!!
Lew and Vincent posing at their panel! Couple of sharp dressers I must say...Way different than the prison duds! haha

A little background music provided by memebers of the heavy metal opera, Arakus..check out their site! www.heavymetalopera.com

Hope ya enjoyed the pictures. I enjoyed taking them, and enjoy sharing them with you all even more! Keep your eyes open for other fun events I will be covering, including next weekends Steampunk Fest in Port Townsend. I do have a couple interviews lined up including one with a Walking Dead walker, that might actually tie in with a contest/giveaway!

For now...keep following me on twitter: @thestevestrout and join the Comic Book Swap Meet group on Facebook to talk pop culture, comics, and to get in on the planning stages for the first Olympic Peninsula Comic-con. Share this page!!

Talk to you geeks soon,

Shit..one last thing...If anyone is interested in contributing to this page, be it movie, comic, book, or game reviews, or just do a guest post, hit me up! Any ideas or suggestions, let me know! This page is for all of us, even though my name is on it! ;-)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Q&A with Crypticon artist/vendor and Toxik Idols creator Len Enders...

Crypticon is coming up this weekend. I'm really looking forward to the show. It's definitely one of the funnest cons in the area! I managed to get a Q&A session in with one of the exciting artist/vendors from this years convention. Here's a little Crypticon Seattle preview interview with Toxik Idols creator Len Enders, but first check out this video!
Who are the Toxik Idols? Give a little backstory on the band, if you will.
The Toxik Idols are a fictional, illustrated rock band made up of zombies (and one robot), put together by a mad doctor who wants to influence the youth of the world into acts of anarchy and destruction! He kidnaps and kills a random assortment of up and coming musicians and pop stars, then cuts them apart, stitches their parts together and reanimates them, in an attempt to combine their musical abilities and charisma.(As an example- 3 male singers cut up and stitched together to make 1 new reanimated singer)

He creates this band then laces their recordings with subliminal messages, which makes kids become obsessed with them and their message of chaos and anarchy. Kids start acting out against all forms of authority, putting into motion his demented plan to sort of F-up society in general. They also have a right-wing religious type group of concerned parents trying to stop them called the “Parents Against Toxik Idols” or P.A.T.I.

Oh yeah, and I should probably mention that in this story I use the term zombie very loosely. The Toxik Idols are a little closer to Frankenstein type monsters, stitched together and brought back to life. But they’re smart and devious, not stumbling around, dragging their feet with slobber hanging from their mouths. They do eat human flesh to survive though, like traditional zombies.

What inspired or influenced the idea for the Toxik Idols?
I’m kind of obsessed with the way extreme conservative types have, historically, blamed rock music for the ill behavior of the youth, especially in hard rock in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Specifically groups like Kiss, Motley Crue, and Marilyn Manson respectively, at their most popular points. It’s crazy to me that as recently as the mid 90’s, religious groups were freaking out thinking that Marilyn Manson was “of the Devil”, protesting shows and what not. Or that in the 70’s and 80’s people were seriously concerned about backward and subliminal messages in records coming through the speakers and influencing kids to commit crimes, worship the devil, etc. I love it!I started watching all of these really great old videos on YouTube about it. T.V. news investigative reports about subliminal messages in records, or bands literally being sued because some kid in Middle America committed a crime and said the lyrics made him do it.

So the idea struck me- what if the religious freaks were right and no one believed them? What if a band really was using some kind of weird technology to get kids to do evil things while making them rich? What if that rocker dude in the scary zombie looking get-up really was a zombie, so to speak, and we all thought it was just an act?

It was this idea, coupled with my other obsession- pop music and the making of pop stars, by producer type dudes or via “American Idol” type shows- that came together for the Toxik Idols story idea.

Every aspect of the group to this point, has been exclusively created by you, from the music right down to the artwork, correct?

Yeah. I illustrate the band, scan, color and do all the layout and graphic design stuff. I also write, perform and record all the tunes. I actually recorded all of the music old school style, without the aid of a computer, which was total HELL! No samples, no cut and paste, no drum programming, no punch-in recording. If I messed up, rewind and start all over again from the beginning. I’ll never do that again….

Initially you wanted to remain anonymous as the creator of the T.I.'s. I've known you personally for a while and seen some of your other art work and love it, so don't understand why you'd have wanted to remain unknown. What changed your mind about keeping your anonymity?

I was really inspired by street and graffiti artists, dudes like Banksy, to name a really popular one, whose identities are kept secret. I remember when the internet was still a little new (to me at least), and I kept seeing those Obey Giant stickers and posters all over the place in the city and I wanted to know who was behind it so badly! Then, when I discovered who it was, I was kinda bummed. The mystery was fun.So I thought it would be fun to do the same kind of thing. This “mystery” band puts out music and artwork but no one knows who it is, rumors start spreading and so on.

Well, once I started actually putting everything together, trying to come up with ways to simultaneously put my work out there and still remain forever anonymous quickly became a major pain in the ass. Plus, I was always planning on having booths at Comicon type conventions and I started to see that things could become pretty weird if I’m straight up lying to people’s faces about who created it all. Besides, people go to those conventions to meet the artists, get stuff signed and chat it up, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of that.It was a fun idea, but the potential for awkwardness at conventions was just too high.

What direction do you hope to take the Toxik Idols in? What kind of plans do you have for their future? Videos? New Album? Concert experience?

I’m currently illustrating a webcomic series which will tell the band’s back story. It will start out with a fan who, after being witness to a very unsettling event, discovers the secret behind the band. I’ll make real-world Toxik Idols merchandise that is featured in the series. So far I have cds, a couple different t-shirts, stickers and posters. I wanted to have merchandise done before I started the series so that right from the beginning you could buy the cd or t-shirt that is featured in the story. Kinda “cart before the horse”, I know, but whatever.

In the near future I’m planning on doing a 7 inch vinyl record with an 8 page coloring book. That’s pretty much ready to go. I’d love to do animated music videos, but I don’t know how to do animation at this point. Learning animation is on my to-do list.

Instead of recording a whole “album” worth of songs, I’m going to start posting singles and then compile the best ones into a collectible release later. Maybe a cool book or something.In the more distant future, my pipe dream would be to see a Toxik Idols Pixar-style semi scary movie! Ultimately though, I want them to do holographic live performances. Kinda like the holographic Tupac at Choachella a while back. Holographic, digital pop stars are a huge deal in Japan (like Miku Hatsune), but have yet to really hit the U.S. I think that would be the coolest!

Crypticon is going to be the Toxik Idols first convention and public experience! What are your goals for the weekend?

What are you hoping to get out of the weekend for the band and yourself?Really just start getting the name out into the world. Seriously doubt I’ll sell much stuff since no one will know who I am or what this project is. It’ll be much easier after the webcomic is going for a while, but for now it’ll just be about spreading the word and having some nerdy fun.

Do you see the convention scene as a great venue for marketing the Toxik Idols?
Definitely. I always thought it would be the perfect venue for this type of thing. Especially since this isn’t a “live band” type project. I think it will be to my benefit that I have a music element to my stuff too, while most artists at conventions are just pushing books and print type stuff for the most part.

Does Len have any other projects on the horizon that we should watch out for? Care to share a little of your own musical and artistic background with us?

This is pretty much the only thing on my plate at this time and it’s so much work that I doubt I’ll be doing anything else for quite a while. I’m pretty focused on it. My background musically- I’ve played in a couple bands, helped record some friends music projects, kinda did a weird solo recording project once. Some DJing from time to time. As for art, I’ve always been drawing, making flyers for bands and performers. Stuff like that. I worked in print and graphic design shops for a bunch of years, just soaking up as much info as I could about design and printing.
Is there anything else you would like to mention to fans and potential fans?
haha… definitely don’t have any fans yet so I can’t say much to them! But to everyone else- if you’re into any level or genre of comic book nerdiness, zombies, monsters, anime, rock music, horror flicks…. The Toxik Idols might be right up your alley so check them out. And if you’re attending Crypticon Seattle drop by and say hey!

The Toxik Idols-

Parents Against Toxik Idols- www.bewaretoxikidols.com

I'm really looking forward to watching Len's project grow! Be sure to stop by the Toxik Idols booth #106 at Crypticon next weekend in Seattle and say hi. Grab some merch or a CD. And if that wasnt enough of a reason to check them out, I will be helping Len out at his booth!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

O.P.C.C. winner, guest post from writer Josh Cook, and more...

Congrats, Monica!!!
Before we get to the guest post from writer, Josh Cook, I'd like to commend comedian Monica Nevi on winning the 4th annual Olympic Peninsula Comedy Contest! Monica is one of the funniest up and coming comics in the Northwest. Shes performed everywhere from the best comedy clubs to prestigious festivals like Bridgetown. I've watched her progress over the last few years into on of my favorite comics, and I'm proud to have my competition be a stepping stone in her blossoming career! Be sure to follow her on Facebook and Twitter to see where she'll be performing next! You can check out her calendar on Monicanevi.com too! Stay funny, Monica!

Here is a first of hopefully many guest posts we will have here at thestevestrout.com. Keep in mind, any opinions are the guests' and don't always reflect that of this site. Our guest is the man behind Zombie A.C.R.E.S. and the author of Alice in Zombieland, my friend, and up and coming writer, Joshua Cook...Take it away Josh.

In a child’s life there are many firsts that a parent gets to look forward to. Unfortunately, many of these firsts were stolen from me through lies and deceit, but now my family and I have a chance to fight for my Baby Bri and still experience a lifetime full of new experiences.

Among these firsts I am looking forward to will be watching some of my favorite childhood shows with my Baby Bri. Say What?! Ok, so it may not be one of the most normal firsts in a child’s life, but pop culture has always been a big part of my life.

Growing up I spent a lot of time by myself and in my own mind, which can usually be a scary and dangerous place for children. As a way out of that place, I would use television as an escape. I am a whopping 35 years old (which is pretty old according to our host Stevie) and I grew up in the 80’s. This was the decade of cable and pop culture.

I watched some of the most amazing television shows during my childhood – Transformers, Punky Brewster, G.I. Joe and so many more shows that are still held high and cherished today. Of these classic pop culture treasures, there are three that I am most excited to introduce Baby Bri to, although it may take some time before she can really appreciate the awesomeness of the 80’s.

The Greatest American Hero
The Greatest American Hero is my favorite television show from childhood. As you can tell from watching any part of the complete pilot episode, this 80’s show was both cheesy and entertaining, with a mix of values thrown in. One thing I have appreciated more about The Greatest American Hero as I have gotten older is that the hero is a school teacher. In a world where teachers are so often overlooked and underappreciated, I am happy to be able to show Baby Bri a piece of pop culture history that holds a teacher up high for change.

Reading Rainbow

Who doesn’t like the classic television show Reading Rainbow? Lucky for children of today, this 80’s show all about the joys of reading is available as an app, so the name and tradition will carry on. Reading was always important to me, which is why I became an author, and I strongly believe that without a love for reading, you are doomed to a life full of struggles and uphill battles. Enjoying Reading Rainbow together will help me show my Baby Bri that there are limitless worlds full of magic and wonder, all just waiting for her to open them.


Do I really have to explain this one? Baby Bri is already a big lover of animals (especially our Sam Dogg), and Scooby-Doo is one of the most loveable animals in the world. Already she enjoys watching Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery Gang go crime solving. Scooby-Doo is about fun and enjoying childhood, which is an important life lesson in itself. Never grow up and never take yourself too seriously. Enjoy life and make the most of it.
I wrote this piece to have a little fun and talk about some great television shows, but I also want to bring some awareness to a personal fund raising program that I have started. I said earlier that my family and I are fighting to be in Baby Bri’s life, but without legal representation, we are afraid that this uphill battle may be lost.

These legal costs can run high into the thousands, and that is why a fund raising campaign was created. We are hoping to help lighten some of the burden of this unexpected cost. Please visit GoFundMe.com/HelpBabyBriAndDaddy to read more of Baby Bri’s story and see what you can do to help. If you can’t donate, but still want to help, we are looking for ‘street team’ members to help share links and even post up or hand out campaign flyers.

Hopefully none of these funds will ever have to be used and we can settle outside of court. Any unused funds raised for Baby Bri’s legal fund will be donated to Holly House for Kids. Holly House is a local group that helps needy and low-income children and families during the holidays.

As a way of paying it forward, I have temporarily dropped the price of my Zombie A.C.R.E.S. ebook AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) to 99 cents and will be donating ALL proceeds to Holly House. Any sales of AiZ: Alice in Zombieland (Complete Saga) between May 1 and August 31 will be donated to Holly House for Kids. Follow the links below to grab a fun read and help out families in need.

Amazon Kindle Store: http://bit.ly/AiZCharity
All Digital Formats at Smashwords: http://bit.ly/AiZSmashwords
For more information on Holly House for Kids, visit them on Facebook or their website.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New TV shows and more...

First of all, I wanna ask that you all keep Boston in our thoughts after the horrific events today...

We are all obviously tore up over the Walking Dead season ending (October can't come fast enough). Thankfully Doctor Who and Game of Thrones is back with new seasons, and off to a Hell of a start, and fun shows like Warehouse 13 are coming back.

Tonight, we might have been introduced to the next big thing in SyFy's new series, Defiance...

I won't share any of the plot in case you haven't seen it yet, but....

Wow...I really enjoyed Defiance! A great mix of humor, drama, action, and fine ladies (human and alien). It was very visually appealing too. Definitely looks like they put a little money and effort into this show, unlike the movies and other stuff they put out. It's also helps that they had Face Off on the air a few seasons before, so we got to see the work that goes in to creating the characters. Let's hope the writing holds up its end of things.  I know its only the pilot, but I think SyFy might have nailed it with this one!

The pilot was written really well due to the fact that the writers not only introduce you to the main characters, but sell them to the point that we can make actual emotion based opinions on the characters.

Defiance was very visually appealing too. The fx looked great and not cheesy and fake. It definitely looks like they put a little money and effort into this show, unlike some of the movies and other stuff they put out. It's also helps that they had Face Off on the air a few seasons before, so we got to see the work that goes in to creating the characters. Let's hope the writing holds up its end of things.  I know its only the pilot, but I think SyFy might have nailed it with this one!

There have been a few other new shows I'm keeping my eyes on too. NBC's Hannibal , History's Vikings, and Bates Motel. Give em a shot and get back at me with your opinions!

Oh...and I went and checked out the new Evil Dead movie! Hands down, one of the best horror films in a while. I'm usually not a fan of remakes, especially of classics, but this film was its own movie. It had all the gore and laughs of the original. The only thing i feel it was missing was bones, in the amputation scenes, and a big group of squeamish friends to laugh at when things got too gory! 

Well, its time to kick back and watch Castle, so I will leave you with a few thoughts...

Convention..I wanna make tis convention idea a reality, so give me suggestions. I'm not trying to make money. I just want there to be something to look forward to for people with similar interest here.

Header for this page..I'm working on ideas for a page header/logo. Give me ideas what would look awesome and attention grabbing on the page, and flyers and the such. You all know what kind of stuff I'm into by now.

I'm also working on some new Q&A's for the page with some cool guests. Can't say who, but some may have appeared on my favorite tv show, and another is a film producer that you might not know yet, but should and will.

That's it for me...join the Comic Book Swap Meet Facebook group and follow me on Twitter: @thestevestrout

Much love, geeks!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Comedy and lots of other cool new stuff..

Heya friends!

Just popping in to mention a few new things.

    First of all, I'm sure I've mentioned the Comic Book Swap Meet a thousand times, right? That is a perodical event we do here in Port Townsend where we have comic lovers, vendors, gamers, and anyone else thats into nerdy stuff get together and have a small convention of sorts. Look back in the archives and get an idea what we do here, click me! ......Pretty cool eh? Well I know you all cant come and hang with us here in the Northwest, so I decided to make a Facebook group for the Comic Book Swap Meet, and it just so happens to be called Comic Book Swap Meet. Come join our group. Lets talk about our favorite comics, games, movies, and whatever other geeky stuff we can come up with. Join the group. Share it. Tweet about it, and use #ComicBookSwapMeet when you do! Let's get that shit trending, haha!!

    I'm also using the Comic Book Swap Meet group as a forum to round up interested parties and get an actual Comic and pop culture convention going here. Yes, it will probably be called the Comic Book Swap Meet! Were not talking San Diego or Emerald City Comicon status. Just a fun, local, fan and creator (hopefully) run event. Get over to the page. Join us. Give us ideas. We want to hear from people with convention experience!!

    Got a comedy event booked here in Port Townsend on April 27th. I run this yearly stand-up competition. It gets bigger and better every year!!!

    Oh!! I'm really excited that Crypticon is almost here. Last weekend in May. I'm working a table for a rock band called the Toxik Idols. I don't know much about them except i dug their music. I came across their page and listened to a few tunes. Pretty rockin stuff, so I liked their facebook page. Well a couple weeks ago, their management emailed me out of the blue, and asked if i wanted to work their booth at Crypticon, which meant they cover my admission. I was already going to go anyways, so FUCK YEAH I will work for you. I got a couple good friends working it with me too! Should be an epic weekend!! It will be interesting working the other side of the table at a con. If you live in the Northwest, and love horror, come hang out at Crypticon with us!

   Be sure to check out my friend Ray Wegner, who's work has been published by Image, and his site: Ray Wegner's page. and  new online store and buy some of his art! I really dig his work.

Who else is looking forward to this Defiance show on SyFy? I miss the Walking Dead already and need to fill the void. Doctor Who helps a little, but October is a long ways away, dammit!!!

Oh well, that's it for me. I'm exhausted! Joing the Comic Book Swap Meet group..Share it..Tweet it..WAtch for me to do more interviews with some cool guests, and even do neat-o prizes for sharing and reading!



Monday, March 18, 2013

Table Top Day and Comic Book Swap Meet...

Whats new...a little of this and that, actually...

Finally set up the long awaited Comic Book Swap Meet Facebook group. If you don't know, the Comic Book Swap Meet is an event we have on the Olympic Peninsula a few times a year to promote, discuss, and share our love of all things geeky. We have vendors, gaming, comic creators and companies, and special comic related guests. It's basically like a mini comic-con, but on a small scale and right in our back yard! JOIN THE GROUP...COMIC BOOK SWAP MEET

The Apothecarium is back open. My good buddy Beau opened his shop back up to feature Antiques and collectables along with their awesome teas and coffees. Yes, we do still hang out there and play Magic at the bar!! If your in Port Townsend, pop in there and tell Beau I sent ya! There's still a $1 box of comics under the counter, so ask!!! We might also do a comic giveaway on free comic book day which is coming fast.

Myself, along with the Water Street Creperie in Port Townsend are hosting an International Tabletop Day event on March 30th at the Creperie! We will play games, and have a good ol time...AND...The Creperie is going to offer food specials!! We will also have members of a Star Wars cosplay group on hand to take photos and donations for local little league. Check out our event listing on Facebook for more info! Tabletop Day at the Creperie. If you aren't close enough to Port Townsend, check out Tabletop Day and find an event closer to you!

Lots of fun stuff to do over the next couple months...and with spring/summer blockbuster movie season coming up I should stay busy...What movies are you looking forward to? Here's a few I'm getting excited about..Talk to me! What are you gonna see?

G.I. Joe 2...mostly for the Snake Eyes fight scenes!

Evil Dead...cuz EVIL DEAD!

Iron Man 3...This will be the best the season!!

Star Trek: Into Darkness...If its anywhere near as good as the first Abrams Trek film, it's gonna be amazing. The trailers look badass!

Superman: Man of Steel...which im hoping is a lead in to an epic Justice League film.

Hangover 3...cuz a mofo needs to laugh too!

There are more including World War Z, After Earth, Red 2, and Wolverine that I'm sure I will discuss later. Sorry I didn't list dates for movie releases,but obviously you have a computer to look it up if youre reading this hahahaha...

I'm going to watch Being Human now and pass out! follow me on Twitter: @thestevestrout

Oh yeah, I also got asked to help run a booth at Crypticon this year. It will be intersting being on the other side of the table at a convention. Come to Crypticon Seattle and say hi!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Convention Season is upon us.....




I attended Wizard World Portland Comic-Con and Emerald City Comic-Con in the last two weeks, and spent the majority of the time meeting guests and collecting autographs. Im just going to share some pictures so you can see the good times to be had at these kind of events.

I do have a shitty story about Portland though!

The show took place Feb 22-24th at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Im not gonna say a lot about this show. It was well ran, had great guests and vendors, but an incident left a bad taste in my mouth.

We stayed in possibly the worst hotel I've ever stayed in. I mean, the place didn't even have towels in our room, and when we asked for them, they said "maybe they could find some"! We went with it because it was right across the street form the Convention center. Anyways, we checked out of our room Sunday morning and locked all of our merch we bought the previous two days, in the car. We went in to the Con, which as I prior mentioned, was directly across the street. Checked out Brent Spiner's panel and took another walk around the con floor. About 2 hours total. When we went out to the car to take our 5 hour trip home, we found a window broken out, and all of our bags stolen. My friend lost his laptop. I lost signed comics, art prints, toys, and photos by Stan Lee, Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, Lou Ferrigno, Brent Spiner, and Morena Baccarin, as well as half of my wardrobe (which is why you will notice me wearing almost the same gear in every pic..haha). Such a bummer. It happens, but still very upsetting. Oh well, enjoy a few pictures...

Michael Rooker aka Merle Dixon

Lady Punisher by the very lovely Joanie Brosas. Do yourself a favor and follow her on Facebook.. Joanie's Facebook
Chicks dig stormtroopers
Chicks dig me...

The stunning Morena Baccarin interacting with her fans.

So excited to meet her, even though my signed photo got stolen.
Brent Spiner signing for his fans.
Yup he was Data on TNG

Superheroes everywhere, but none to save our car from being broken in to.
Very nice Boba Fett costume

ummmm....Just put down the scissors


Great seat at the Stan Lee panel...This is why I bought the VIP package!

The one and only, Stan Lee! I was star struck. This photo was in my stuff that got jacked. I talked to a guy at the Celeb Photo Ops, the pros who did the shoots for the convention, and they printed me a new copy! That is good business. If your at a Con and Celeb Photo Ops is the official photographer, dont hesitate to kick down a little extra for that photo shoot with your favorite celebrity. This company is a real class act. Like them on Facebook too! Celeb Photo Ops

The Fonz!

Mandalorians everywhere

I wanna be a Mandalorian when I grow up.

My bro John and a Stormtrooper, cuz John digs stormtroopers too!

Dont know this guy? Any help? Cool costume, I must say...
Unfortunately, this is what we came out of the Convention Center to find...Broken glass and no luggage!

The following week....

The following weekend was the Emerald City Comic-Con, where I had a much happier outcome! Enjoy...

Long lines to get in!!!
Still Waiting...
Almost there...
Pretty cool old school Wolverine I must say!!

Nice Cap cosplay...

The Batman


This might be one of the coolest things ever! Soundwave was fuckin' huge!

Of course R2 was the center of attention!

friggin showoff

I always thought Wonder Woman should have tattoos! This badass chick agreed!

Nicely made Jubilee costume
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola signing for his fans...

Artist on my personal favorite series, The Walking dead, Charlie Adlard! I had to stalk this guy around the convention center because his signing lines kept getting capped off! Being me, I managed to find him and get my books signed!!

My buddy Mark Rahner, writer of another awesome zombie comic series you should read called Rotten! If youre not reading it already, find it!

New 52 Batman writer, Scott Snyder. Definitely one of the best.

Former Mad TV cast member, voice actor extraordinaire, and dude who gets smoked in Pulp Fiction, Mr Phil Lamarr!

One of the funniest motherfuckers in the land..and Brian Posehn

Awesome Zombie print from my friend and Pokeweed creator, Drew Pocza..Check back in my archives for a Q&A and more info on Drew...

Wil Wheaton with a fan made cape...Unfortunately I didnt get to talk to Wil this time. Way too busy chasing Charlie Adlard around ECCC...

The very highlight of the last two weekends, was meeting the wonderful Felicia Day!

Dustin Nguyen doing sketches for fans..Amazing artist, and a really nice guy.

The Toy Hunter himself, Jordan Hemborough! This dude has possibly the coolest job ever. Buying and selling toys!! Him and his crew were on site filming an episode of the show. New season starts in April..