New York has changed drastically over the past 50 years, but thanks to Ellen Lindner and her beautiful and carefully illustrated debut graphic novel "Undertow," we can experience a time when Coney Island was the place to be, when cigarettes were rolled in the sleeves of white t-shirts and when girls named Ronnie hung out with boys named Johnny.

"Undertow" is:
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If you missed Mike Cavallaro's Eisner nominated 'Parade (with fireworks)' when it was first published on the ACT-I-VATEwebsite, or the second time, when it was released through Image's Shadowline imprint... Well, don't make that mistake a third time, as the excellent portrait of an Italian family torn between Fascism and Socialism is not to be missed. Even though we've previously established you missed it twice.

To find out more about the book, including what it's like to return after putting the story down for a few years, we chatted with writer/artist Cavallaro, and found out that some stories - like this one - just need to be made into comics:

MTV Geek: How close is Parade to the actual history of your family? Did you feel like you could fictionalize it at all? And if so, was it easy or hard to get away from the story that had been passed down over the decades?

Mike Cavallaro: The broad strokes of the story are accurate in terms of how it was passed down to me. But if you want to dramatize a tale as I've done here, especially if it has first-person narration by someone you've never met and who left no written records behind, you're going to have to project yourself into the events and get creative with it. I gave myself that freedom in order to bring the story to life. I wanted Parade to be an accurate retelling, but fiction sometimes allows you to achieve a greater overall truth than a list of facts. As I got into details and dialogue, I definitely had to put myself there and let my imagination do the rest.

Geek: What was it, in particular, about this story that grabbed you and said, “This has to be a comic?”

MC: Comics are just what I do, and have been for over 20 years. I guess if I was a film maker, this would have been a film. If you're a storyteller in any kind of medium, and something like this lands in your lap, you're going to tell it in your way. For me, it was comics. Read More...


The creator of the ACT-I-VATE webcomic Everywhere joins the Ghost Pimp writer/artist to kill the world with kittens--and they're bringing real-life band Big Linda along for the end.
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Maybe it's the red hair, the gangliness, and/or the dim-wittedness, but when I look at Cartoon Boy, all I can hear is the voice of Billy West coming out of his head.
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As you’ve probably already heard, Simon Frasier’s (rather awesome) comic scifi series Lilly Mackenzie & The Mines Of Charybdis from webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE is hitting MTV Geek today. To find out more about it, including how he came up with the character, what’s coming up next, and why Lilly’s nudity isn’t the sort you’ll find popping up on celeb sites, read on!

MTV Geek: Okay, talk about the genesis of Lilly Mackenzie – how’d you come up with the idea?

Simon Frasier: It actually started with Cosmo, who's a character I've been drawing since I was at college. He used to be much smaller , about 6", a kind of Jiminy Cricket who gave bad advise to the story's young male lead, who was quite capable of having his own bad ideas.

The story is actually derived from something that happened to me while I was living in Tanzania back in the 90s. Without glorifying my role too much I helped rescue a 12 year old boy , the son of our housekeeper , who had been taken to work in a Tanzanite mine in Mererani. It was one of the most shocking experiences of my life as I've never seen human beings so debased.

There were hundreds of men there, sleeping on the dirt and literally scrabbling for anything they could find with their hands. Most of them were starving and painfully emaciated. The children were being used to go down narrow shafts because of their size. Meanwhile there were gemstone dealers living near the mine and paying the miners very tiny amounts of money for stones that were worth thousands of dollars. At one point I was worried that we'd be attacked, but happily we managed to find and bring the boy home to his mother. The experience was terrifying!

Writing the story down has been a way of processing that experience. I didn't want to do an autobiographical story, as that always ends up fictionalised in some way and I don't want to position myself as some kind of heroic protagonist when I was merely a tourist. Making it a fictional story was a way for me to deal with the subject in a creative way and Science Fiction is the genre I am happiest working in.

Lilly was the last piece of the puzzle. I wanted to write and draw a female protagonist. I like drawing women a lot, so I know I could make her look good, but I wasn't sure if I could write one convincingly. I'm still not. That has been the most challenging part of the process.

Geek: One of the things I like about it is the relatively casual tone – at least at first. It’s scifi, but it feels like that’s the backdrop to tell the story, rather than the focus.

SF: I wanted to world-build with the first Lilly story, create a universe that has certain specific rules. One of those is that space travel is difficult. Getting up into space is a dangerous process and getting down can be too. I find a lot of problems with how conventional mainstream science fiction has removed all the challenges of space-travel, which are what I find interesting. The drama for me is in the characters overcoming these massive physical obstacles using their brains and basic technology, not the magical Star Trek kind. The story is slow paced initially to build up a sense of what is normal as I don't want to fall back on the old laser blaster, teleporter, warp drive cliches that have become synonymous with TV and movie Sci-fi.

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In the past at MTV Geek, we’ve had the pleasure of bringing you super-agent mothers, supernatural pulp heroes, wasteland oddities, and more. Starting today, we’ll be adding genetically-engineered cyborg reality stars to the mix, with the launch of Joe St.Pierre’s Megahurtz -- a sci-fi action satire set in the near future when big business, big guns, and bad government meet up and mix it up.

Mr. St.Pierre was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about his new series during its launch, sharing some of the inspirations behind the story’s “hero” as well as what’s next for his creative slate.
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A "modern-day mythological romance," Sam and Lilah blends a timeless tale of romance with manga-styled technicolor flair. Written by Jim Dougan and Hyeondo Park, ACT-I-VATE's webcomic makes its debut today on MTV GEEK!

"It's a story of two young lovers who find that their destinies are affected by an ages-old gypsy curse," Dougan told MTV GEEK in a video interview during this year's NYC's MoCCA Fest. "And it's about what they do to fight through that and learn to grow and love one another."

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Graphic designer and illustrator Omar Angulo's impressive resume includes designing album cover art and posters for such musical artists as Against All Authority, Alice Cooper, Bad Brains, Beyonce, The Cool Kids, Danzig, Dethklok, Gogol Bordello, The Melvins, The Misfits, and Q-Tip:

Now, in collaboration with webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE, he's created the one-shot comics story "Hurricane Wilma" -- which you can read now for free! Check out this funny and touching story of how a bunch of disconnected neighbors come together in the face of a natural disaster right here, only at ACT-I-VATE!

Related Posts:
Video Interview: MTV Geek Launches ACT-I-VATE's All-Ages Fantasy 'Farseeker'
ACT-I-VATE's 'Revolution Will Be Televised'
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Writer Dirk Manning describes he and Len O'Grady's ACT-I-VATE series, 'Farseeker' as a Bone-esque, all-ages fantasy story featuring an ensemble cast of diverse and exciting characters that is more than your typical sword-and-sandal tale.

It tells the story of a rollicking adventure set in a mystical world featuring eight quirky characters made up of humans and creatures alike. Among the group are Aed Farseeker our "defacto leader," a pair of zany, wise-cracking "Bug Brothers," a possible robot, a Dragoness and others.

Manning and O'Grady waste no time plunging the reader into 'Farseeker's' rich world, "We jump right into the action," Manning said, "the first page, you'll meet the eight characters, one panel each to give you some information on the characters, and then we go, by page four they're fighting a giant living mountain!"

One of the elements of 'Farseeker' that Manning is truly proud of is the fact that series is all-ages friendly, but he does not want potential readers to confuse that with "just for kids."

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Webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE launched a new series today, The Revolution Will Be Televised." The comic is by cartoonist Dev Torbin and is his first-hand account of the recent revolution in Egypt:

"It tells the story of two American travelers who, through clouds of tear gas, watch a country evolve and find themselves altered by the experience."

"The Revolution Will Be Televised" will be updated weekly and is available free to read at ACT-I-VATE!

Related Posts:
It's 'Bunnies Everywhere' On ACT-I-VATE!
ACT-I-VATE's Maurice Fontenot Talks About "Ghost Pimp"

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Discuss this story in our Comics forums! Follow @MTVGeek on Twitter and be sure to "like" us on Facebook for the best geek news about comics, toys, gaming and more!

You can never have too much of a good thing, right? Especially not cute fluffy widdle adorable bunny-rabbits???

The latest installment of the new ACT-I-VATE anthology webcomic, Everywhere, answers this very serious question. Written by Chris Miskiewicz with art by Harvey-Nominated Bobby Timony (DC's The Night Owls), "Bunnies Everywhere" explores what happens when an unexplained massive accumulation of bunnies take over the neighborhood. One thing is for certain: there's gonna be hanky-panky!

You can read the latest installment of Everywhere, "Bunnies Everywhere," right here for free!

Related Posts:
Wild Animals 'Everywhere' - Writer Chris Miskiewicz talks his ACT-I-VATE Series
ACT-I-VATE's Maurice Fontenot Talks About "Ghost Pimp"

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Discuss this story in our Comics forums! Follow @MTVGeek on Twitter and be sure to "like" us on Facebook for the best geek news about comics, toys, gaming and more!

Webcomic collective ACT-I-VATE recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. And to celebrate, they've launched a new anthology series by musician, filmmaker, and writer, Chris Miskiewicz called Everywhere. I'll let Chris fill you in on the particulars of the premise, but the rough sketch is that each installment involves a particular animal overrunning the globe and how the population responds. With a new artist in tow for each episode, Miskiewicz plans to mine the comedy and horror from a world overrun by spiders, horses, and yes, bunnies.

MTV Geek: So you mentioned that the idea for Everywhere sprang from a drunken brainstorming session—tell us a little about that.

Chris Miskiewicz: I was with artist Andrew Wendel in the Mark Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn discussing another project when we got very drunk, started riffing, and came up with the concept for Everywhere. I believe his line was “anything can happen in comics” in reference to always drawing talking heads while wanting to draw stuff that was based in fantasy.

When I sobered up, I read through a dozen cocktail napkins and started scripting. I had the first six scripts finished by the end of the week. Then I sent them to Dean Haspiel to get his opinion, and he called a few hours later saying, “Don’t pitch this to anyone else. This is an ACT-I-VATE comic.”

Geek: What was the appeal of the concept for you?

CM: A few things. For those who are unfamiliar with the premise of Everywhere it’s an EC Comics-type horror-parody that sits very well within a Twilight Zone theme. Read More...

John Kerschbaum's Cartoon Boy is an absurdist slice of cartoon craziness. Shirking the standard, one-and-done formula of traditional comic strips, Kerschbaum's series is a continuing tale of a hapless, tie-wearing hero who stumbles through a number of silly adventures featuring mole-men, invisible grandmothers, "stalagfights" and much, much more zaniness. MTV Geek is featuring Kerschbaum's The All-New Cartoon Boy Adventure Hour over the course of five weeks. The first three parts are currently available and the next two will roll out over the next two weeks. You can read the first three parts below.

John Kerschbaum took some time to answer a few questions about his influences, his career, his involvement with the indie collection Act-i-Vate and his future plans.

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Webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE had a lot to celebrate today as it not only had its 5th anniversary, but launched the webcomic horror anthology 'Everywhere." Written by Chris Miskiewicz and illustrated by Dennis Calero, Rick Parker, Maurice Fontenot, Bobby Timony, and more, "Everywhere" is about different groups of animals suddenly appearing everywhere all over the world.

You can help ACT-I-VATE celebrate their 5th by reading "Everywhere" here for free.

Official Press Release:

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An accidentally sexual innuendo-fied game of Cat's Cradle, the disembodied head of Inspector Casaba, a whole lotta holes and trouble with The Mole are just the beginning for John Kerschbaum's hero Cartoon Boy in the Act-i-vate series, The All-New Cartoon Boy Adventure Hour.

Kerschbaum's delightfully silly comic strips tell the often random and always absurd tale of Cartoon Boy, a goofy fellow who stumbles from adventure to adventure blissfully unaware of...well anything.

Be sure to check into Cartoon Boy's world every Thursday at Noon EST over the next five weeks. Read More...

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