It's almost that time again, gang! San Diego Comic-Con is just a few weeks away and July 18, MTV is hitting the floor in full force!
It's almost that time again, gang! San Diego Comic-Con is just a few weeks away and July 18, MTV is hitting the floor in full force!
Where do spies send their kids to school? Well, in the world of writer Tony Lee (Doctor Who, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel) and artist Dan Boultwood's (The Gloom, Agent Mom) December release, Danger Academy, we learn that it's the mysterious Spychester Academy for Gifted Teens, tucked away at some out-of-the-way location in North America where the offspring of the world's best and most dangerous spies are shipped off to be kept safe and maybe learn a thing or two about the finer points of international espionage.
MTV Geek spoke with Lee and Boultwood recently via e-mail about the series, its genesis, and where the world's youngest spies are going next.
Stan Lee, Top Cow president Marc Silvestri, musician Emily Lazar, Teen Wolf comic writer David Tischman, ACT-I-VATE's Shannon Wheeler, comic creators Camilla d'Errico and Val Staples, FUNimation's Justin Rojas, and MTV Comics Executive Editor Tom Akel were all on-hand at the recent San Diego Comic-Con for the MTV Geek panel. Moderated by comics writer Tony Lee, the panel took at look at all the exciting things MTV Comics and MTV Geek have in store for the near future!
First up, Silvestri and Lazar discussed September Mourning, a unique joint project between Top Cow and MTV Comics coming out later this year:
Could a comic book based on the cult TV series MacGyver be in the cards for comic creators Tony Lee and Becky Cloonan? Let's start with some recent Tweets by the two and work our way backward...
Today Lee posted today:
"Project Penknife?" What could that possibly be referring to? Well, let's flash back to June 10, when Lee Tweeted to Cloonan:
Taylor Jane has it all: a mom and homemaker by day, and a daring agent for the secret organization S.E.C.U.R.E. by night! Add in a hi-tech supersuit, a mysterious leader, and a daughter who's a teenage hacker -- and you have the latest MTV Comic, Agent Mom!
Created and written by Alaina Huffman, John Huffman IV and Tony Lee, and drawn/designed by Dan Boultwood, Agent Mom is the latest comic book from MTV Comics. MTV Geek chatted with Alaina and Tony about Agent Mom, the finer points about collaborating on a project, and where they see Taylor Jane in the future!
MTV Geek: Alaina, are you excited to see your first comic book finally go online?
Alaina Huffman: Totally, who wouldn't be. Almost a year ago my husband gave me the idea for Agent Mom as a surprise birthday gift. There were these big posters from designers from all over the world. He knew that I was getting nervous about turning the BIG 30 and that I wanted to find a place to put my ideas. I've got a big vision for Agent Mom and I am glad that it all kicks off online with MTV.
Geek: Tony, how did you get involved with Agent Mom?
Tony Lee: I first met Alaina and John, her husband at the MCM London Expo - they were guests (as was I) and we started chatting while in the green room - Alaina had just had her 30th birthday and as a present John had commissioned a scriptwriter to turn her dream into a comic for her, as she'd spoken about this for a while - and they were looking for someone to work with who could do more with it. And for some reason, everyone they asked suggested me!
So we sat down and went through it, and I was objective about the current script and story that she had - I felt that the background that she currently had written was a little too overused for the character. So we stopped her being a vigilante and made her a secret agent, Mission Impossible meets SHIELD. At that point the title - AGENT MOM came to me and both Alaina and John liked it, and agreed that this was the way forwards. From then it was a case of working out who she worked for and why, while creating a background that was exciting and valid for the character. John, Alaina and I sat down at San Diego and hammered out more of the idea, we spoke on Skype regularly and compared ideas - and realised that we were so closely tuned in, it was scary!
The 1940s thriller-comedy MTV Comic The Gloom by Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood continues with the first part of issue #2! The Gloom, once described by Comics International as a 'Mel Brooks Movie of a comic', follows the adventures of millionaire industrialist Carson Kane, who takes on the mantle of the spirit of vengeance and does battle against the Nazis!
When we last left The Gloom, all seemed lost as he and Vixen La Fox were surrounded by Nazi swine -- will they get out alive? Read the newest part of "The Gloom" here to find out!:
As promised, here's the next of our "what if the Jersey Shore broke into comics" spoofs! Last week, PUNKS co-creator Kody Chamberlain morphed the Jersey Shore's Ronnie Magro into the Orange Hulk, and this week The Gloom creators Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood, along with Agent Mom colorist Ciaran Lucas, take on Snooki and The Situation!
30 years ago this month, the legendary creative team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne took a look at an alternate future for the X-Men in 'Days of Future Past.' Today, our MTV Comics creative team has brought that concept to the 'Shore in a world where the top reality shows of today have been systematically eliminated, with Snooki and The Sitch caught in the cross-hairs!
Would poof and abs triumph against the Sentinels? We can only dream of "Days of Reality Shows Past!"
Next week: Me2 creator Karl Altstaetter takes on Paulie D and J-Woww!
MTV Geek: How did you get involved with MTV Comics?
Tony Lee: Luck, a well placed meeting and a solid pitch, to be honest. During San Diego I was talking to Sean O'Reilly of Arcana Studios about another project that I was working with Alaina Huffman on, AGENT MOM. We arranged a meeting so that the Huffmans could meet Sean and a possible artist. It was a 'meet and greet' more than anything and we arrange to sit down in the Omni hotel bar.
Now, the Omni hotel bar is also the meeting location of choice, not just because those in the know can get into the level six WIRED cafe and have free drinks and wifi, so when we arrived, there were already half a dozen other small meetings and interviews going on. While we were there waiting to start, Sean (who I've known for several years) saw MTV Geek head honcho Tom Akel, who was there for another of these many meetings and, as we were both early we sat together and chatted. In the main it was discussing AGENT MOM going onto MTV, something that I believe will be happening next month, but when the meeting ended, Tom and I traded cards and promised to chat about a couple of things, one of which was THE GLOOM, which I'd mentioned in passing, and Tom had picked up on.
A month later I'm talking on the phone to Tom about AGENT MOM and he asks to see what we have of THE GLOOM. We didn't have a great deal, but we sent it over and within a couple of hours we had Tom back on the phone saying that MTV loved it and wanted to run it on the site. Our one condition however was that Dan was allowed to totally redraw from scratch, changing the look of the entire book. We sent some samples, concepts of how Dan saw the new style, and MTV and Tom agreed that it was far better.
In a strange twist of fate, Dan (who had also met Alaina at the same UK convention I had) was picked form a crowd of artists to draw AGENT MOM around this time, so in the space of a week Dan and I found ourselves working on two MTV comics at the same time!
Geek: What is “The Gloom” about?
TL: Well, it's altered over the years, but it's very much, as Comics International once said a 'Mel Brooks Movie of a comic'. It's a parody, a pastiche, Dan and I taking things mad making fun with them, but not of them. We both grew up on serials like King Of The Rocketmen and Flash Gordon, the old Movie serials from the Saturday morning matinees and we wanted to perform a homage to them, but at the same time put our own spin onto it. Also, Dan really wanted to draw a monkey with a fez, and we felt this was a more fantastical element that was better suited to improbable humour.
The Gloom is the story of Carson Kane, millionaire industrialist from 1940's Manhattan who, on a trip to Africa with his friends (including his High School Professor) are attacked by the carnivorous chimps of M'Bunga. While escaping, Carson finds a temple where the Angel OF Vengeance waits for the next person to take up his sword. Carson agrees to become the next spirit of vengeance in return for the saving of The Professor - but all that's left is his brain, so the Angel places it in the body of a dead monkey. And covers it with a glass bowl. And a fez. No, really. And Carson returns to Manhattan with the sword, which has morphed into two Hellfire Pistols.
This is all backstory, the tale itself is six months later, and Carson and his manservant Tiny patrol the streets at night, Carson with a hat and coat on, dispensing justice as the Gloom, his two pistols only firing at the guilty. But, when Nazis arrive in New York, he knows that there are shenanigans afoot and soon discovers a plot to fly a Zeppelin loaded with atomic terror into an international Allied meeting at Yankee Stadium...
Of course there's more to the tale than just that - Mousey Blonde, Carson's love interest turns out to be Vixen La Fox, investigative reporter, his friend Jack Kansas is really the villainous Vermillion and heroes like Doc Adventure and Turbine, the Flying Man are taking the fight to the streets, stopping the jackbooted heel of the Nazi menace before their shenanigans truly begin...
It's very odd to consider, as I write this in late 2010 that just over six years ago I didn't know Dan Boultwood. I'd never met him, I'd seen one book by him-the APC comic Comicana, and I could never have guessed the influence on my life that he was to become.
It was November 2004 when I first met Dan-I'd just started back in comics, had managed to score an X-Men comic as my 'return' and I was writing a three book graphic novel series based on Starship Troopers. My year had been pretty good, and at a convention a month earlier I’d had an opportunity to pitch a creator owned story called Mythlands to UK comic publisher APC. They'd liked the idea and over the phone had suggested that I meet with them in at the (short lived) Bristol Winter Comic Con of 2004-and, as it was a bit of a trek for me to make for just one evening, they'd even put me up on the Friday night in one of the rooms the company had booked up. I'd be able to come up, talk, crash over and then, the following day continue discussions while visiting the convention.
So, that cold November Friday evening I travelled down to Bristol, met with APC Comics in the Ramada Hotel Bar where I pitched the idea, discussed artists and in general drank in the bar on APC's dime. And over the evening I met Dan who, at the time was drawing Monster Club for them. Our first meeting was short-Dan came over to say hello before disappearing to a different section of the bar and as he stood there Rich Emms, the EiC of APC pointed out that Dan was the guy I'd be sharing a room with that night. We looked each other up and down, measuring each of us in our turn-was this a man that I would be happy standing in front of, in only a pair of underpants as we shared the hotel room? I wasn’t sure. And I started to work out when the last train home was. Dan, in his defence felt similarly, and was already trying to work out if he could swap rooms with Jim Suthern, one of the other APC artists. Neither of these back up plans came to fruition, thankfully.
So, the night went on, we drank more while discussing future publishing plans, around 11pm Dan came over to join us and eventually at 1am Rich Emms disappeared drunkenly to bed, and all that was left in the bar out of APC was Dan... and yours truly. And neither of us wanted to go to the bedroom with this stranger yet.
Luckily, we had assistance here-the bar staff, used to taking our drink orders throughout the night on one particular APC-booked room seemed happy to continue doing so, even without the EiC there. And so we gathered a few rounds in, sat down and started to get to know each other. We found out rapidly that we had the same sense of humour, we hated the same creators, loved the same books, and after a couple of hours, if I recall correctly it was about four in the morning, Dan looked at the television that was on the wall beside us in the bar (showing some advert that had a 1940’s style car in it) and said wistfully 'I want to draw a comic that has that car in it.'
And then, after a pause he continued with ‘and a monkey. In a fez.'
The Gloom original pages published in 2005 by APC
I too wanted to see him draw this book. I would buy it. And then I realised-I could write it. Read More...
Alaina Huffman is very, very busy. She's playing the recurring role of Black Canary on Smallville, Lt. Tamara Johansen on Stargate Universe, co-creating a comic for this very website, maintaining a busy convention schedule, and-if that wasn't enough-is the mother of three children, including a thirteen-month-old. Thankfully, the hard-working actress took some of her time to talk to us about all of the above-and why she geeks out hardest at...The news?
MTV Geek: Talk about your take on the Black Canary character?
Alaina Huffman: You know I didn't know anything about Black Canary when I got cast, and this was about three years ago. I went in for the audition, they called me and said I got the role, and then they said they weren't going to tell me what role was, because it was top secret. They finally ended up telling me, and I googled her because I didn't know who she was...And I realized I had to wear that costume (laughs) and I was like, "Oh my gosh."
But I really love her, I think she's a really great powerhouse, she's a great female character. She's done a lot of-in the comic books anyway, not in Smallville's rendition yet-but in the comics I really love the aspect that she's so lovesick for Green Arrow, but she's also a hot chick who could probably have anyone she wants, and she's kind of stuck on him.
Geek: Are we going see any touches of the Green Arrow/Black Canary relationship on Smallville?
AH: You know, Chloe comes back in this episode, and that's sort of a source of tension between them, because she left in such interesting circumstances. I think there's always a sort of underlying understanding that there's an attraction there, but nothing's played out yet. I hope they do play it out. They have about a half a season left before the series is over, and I just think it's such a great story to tell. So, so far, no, but I'm hoping that I get a call, and they ask me back to tell a little bit of that story.
Geek: If they decided to do a Justice League spin-off of the show, is that something you'd want to be on Read More...
MTV Geek is happy to post that comic book writer Tony Lee got married over the weekend. According to Lee himself on his blog:
"So yesterday I got married. And it was indeed the happiest day of my life, as I managed to convince Tracy, the most beautiful woman in the world to become my wife."
Lee went on to reprint a note sent to him from Neil Gaiman:
"I remember, when we were sweating in the endless sun of Devil's Island, between -- it must have been between your second escape attempt and your third, because you still had all your fingers then, you saying to me, "Women. If it was not for women, my friend, I would not be here."
And I said, "Tony, I thought you said you were here because little Eddie mistook the gelignite for play-doh, because One-eyed Achmet did not drive fast enough. Because the bank had modernised their security systems."
And you said, "Women!" And that look came into your eye, the look that even the guards were afraid of, "I will never marry!" you said. "Or if I do, it will only to be to take my revenge on all women, a revenge I swear I shall take... one woman at a time!"
And I said nothing, because we had a saying on Devil's Island. "If Tony Lee says something and you are not sure if he is joking, shut up. Or you will end up the same way as Pierre No-nose."
Well, how times change. I'm sure that you and your bride will be incredibly happy together and that she has nothing at all to worry about. My felicitations to you both."
So our congratulations to Lee on that very happy day. We know that the launch of your new MTV Comic "The Gloom" on February 1st might pale in comparison -- but we hope this is the start of a very exciting year for you!
Heads up Geeks!
In case you haven’t heard, we’ve announced the launch of MTV Comics, our inaugural line up of titles, a partnership with Act-i-vate, and our first animated series by an animation legend at the MTV Geek panel this weekend at the New York Comic Con.
First up is Stan Lee’s The Seekers, which will launch in 2011. Yes, that Stan Lee. Details on the story are going to be released next year as we hold our first talent contest to discover the next great artist and writer who will take Stan’s vision and bring it to life. That’s all we can say for now, but we’ll have an announcement here when the contest launches!
Check out the line-up!
Hats by Vasilis Lolos
Beowulf Jones by David Tischman
1,000 by Sanford Greene
The Gloom by Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood
me2 by Karl Altsaetter
Hell Town by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Steve Bryant
Agent Mom Created by Alaina Huffman, written by Tony Lee and illustrated by Dan Boultwood
Punks by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain
But we didn’t end there! MTV Geek and web comics collective Act-i-vate announced a new partnership where several Act-i-vate books will move exclusively to MTV Geek and the development of new comics. Mike Cavallaro announced the first 3 Act-i-vate books that will live on MTV Geek!
Zegas by Michel Fiffe
Cartoon Boy by John Kerschbaum
As if that wasn’t enough, we announced a new animated series by 2-time Oscar nominated indie god (that’s exactly what Beavis and Butt-head creator Mike Judge calls him) Bill Plympton! In 2011 Bill will bring Tiffany the Whale to MTV Geek as a series of animated shorts.
Look here later for the video of our full panel and interviews with all the creators about their projects!
New York Comic Con is right around the corner and MTV Geek will be taking over! Beginning on Friday we’ll be interviewing the top names in comics, toys, and animation, (and maybe a few surprises) and won’t stop until the show wraps on Sunday! Look out for our skybox, or as we like to call it, the MTV Geek Helicarrier.
We’ll have teams in the air, on the ground, and at the panels all weekend long delivering up to the minute news from the con. And for our first cross-over event, we'll have Liz Lee of MTV's My Life As Liz interviewing her favorite creators (and trust us, she's as big a geek as the rest of us). Then on Saturday at 11AM we’ll be holding our first MTV Geek panel in Room 1A08, one of the largest at con. Our official panel description goes something like:
Join MTV Geek as they discuss what's in store for MTV Comics over the coming year and announce the initial line-up of titles along with some very exciting new projects with comics and animation legends Stan Lee and Bill Plympton.
But we’re thinking of it more like:
Saturday, Saturday, SATURDAY!!! MTV Geek will unleash a spectacular spectacle of epic proportions in the ongoing saga that will forever transform the comic continuum as we scour the globe in search of humanity’s last hope before time itself tears the fabric of reality when the discovery that our journey is but a steppingstone on the greater path of mankind in the war you never thought would happen!!!
We had Joe Q bust that out for us. (Well, not really).
Aside from those 2 guys we mentioned above who no one has really heard of, the rest of the panel is: Tom Akel, David Tischman, Dean Haspiel, Alaina Huffman, Sanford Greene, Tony Lee, David Steinberger, Mike Cavallaro, Joshua Hale Fialkov, and Karl Altstaetter.
Make sure, and we really mean it, that you follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MTVGeek, we’ll have a surprise or two up our sleeves during the course of the weekend and some sneak peeks at what we’re unveiling on the panel starting tomorrow (maybe even today if we’re feeling generous).
Our coverage hub will launch later today, so keep your eyes peeled, because this is a new site, and we like to leave open tags in our XML so you never know when something may disappear! Come on, we’re just trying to keep you on your toes!
And be sure to check out these other MTV panels:
MTV Horror Panel: My Super Psycho Sweet 16 Part 2/Savage County
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2 - 3pm
Location: Room 1E02
Description: MTV is seeing the horror genre play a more and more significant role in today's youth culture. Responding to this need, MTV is tapping into some of the most diverse, artistic and indie talent to provide original and authentic horror content for its viewers. With this panel, MTV showcases its latest projects, My Super Psycho Sweet 16 Part 2 and Savage County. Come meet the filmmakers, Jacob Gentry and David Harris, actresses Lauren McKnight and Kirsten Prout, and receive free swag to be autographed, including an exclusive giveaway: a signed limited edition poster of a painting created in famed artist's Vincent Castiglia's own blood."
MTV Presents 'Unbreakable: Ten Years Later' With M. Night Shyamalan
Date: Sunday, October 10, 12:45 - 1:45 pm
Location: IGN Theater
Description: M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense," "Signs," "The Village," "The Last Airbender"), one of the most successful filmmakers of our time, joins MTV News' Josh Horowitz for an anniversary retrospective of the groundbreaking comic book movie. Don't miss this exclusive one-time event as the director takes fans inside the fan-favorite film with never-before-heard stories and special surprises.