SDCC 2016 ‘Colt the Outlander’ and the Aradio Brothers: Never just a Bounty Hunter

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome to an alternative post-apocalyptic future, the struggle of daily living on the mining wastelands of Neb-6, where the only thing you can be certain of is that there is absolutely nothing certain in these brave new worlds.

Colt the Outlander, the fast-paced adventure series of rogue bounty hunter Colt and his deadly lady companions Jenna and Brem, as seen in the pages of the world’s premiere illustrated sci-fi-fantasy magazine Heavy Metal, comes to us in written-story format from a leading sci-fi author, Kevin J. Anderson!

Colt the Outlander has been around in some form or fashion, both story and art, since around 1995, first featured in Heavy Metal in the 2001 fall issue and many times since then, crossing over with other well-known properties like Rifts, Colt has an ever-growing and very loyal fan-base.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the creators of Colt at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the Aradio brothers, Dominic and RC, and Dante Pacella at their booth. Excerpts from the new Colt story series by Kevin J. Anderson were being touted at the booth, and even as I stood there and watched, fans of Colt from Heavy Metal came and went, eagerly anticipating their favorite gritty Colt in a brand new series.

Dominic was kind enough to explain the series to me more in depth, talking about planetary fallout and ancient technologies brought back for new and unique uses, with far-spanning deserts and wastelands, bounty hunters and assassins, Colt and his badass female companions have their daily struggle to just survive cut out for them. Dominic laughingly confided that his sources of inspiration come from everywhere, from the long-running writings of horror laureate Stephen King, to the binge-watching of the show Supernatural with his kids. The boisterous Aradio brother delightedly explained that Kevin J. Anderson himself had expressed interest in writing the novella adaptations of the Colt series, and that Aradio himself was a huge fan of Anderson’s Saga of Seven Suns series and, of course, his Dune adaptations. “There are very few similarities between Dune and Colt, so it was kind of a challenge, but Kevin Anderson can write the hell out of nearly anything sci-fi.”

The comfort that understanding, in any medium, can bring, is often astounding in its effectiveness. More than once, I saw fans who were military members approach the booth and thank the Aradio Brothers and Pacella for their realistic, accurate, and totally empathetic portrayal of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in those who serve in the military, or have served previously, inside the ongoing Colt the Outlander  storyline. Dominic proudly informed me that, “A whole bunch of our Colt fans are servicemen and women,” and the women especially love their strong portrayal of lady bounty hunters Jenna and Brem, who accompany Colt on his scavenging and hunting rounds.

Now, the story of Colt and his pals and their heartaches and adventures, are brought to printed life by the same author who dared to take on a partnership to make more Dune stories, Kevin J. Anderson. Aradio Brothers Studios has ambitions to make Colt a multimedia platform featuring visual entertainment, video games (I see shades of Borderlands, that would be cool), comics and of course, books. To keep up with Colt the Outlander updates and maybe even find a copy of the new novella to purchase, go to the Colt Facebook page here.


SDCC 2016 ‘Colony’: Resisting the Walls

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

We all know why we’re here, right? Some time ago, freaking aliens actually descended upon Earth and everything went to hell. Some resisted, some collaborated, and now, the thin veneer of civility under the yoke of the Raps (that’s short for ‘Raptors’, in case you didn’t know) and their human police force is being torn by the Bowman family and their various allies, enemies, and surprise visitors!

The SDCC panel for the USA Network hit Colony featured Josh Holloway (Will Bowman), Sarah Wayne Callies (Katie Bowman), Peter Jacobson (Proxy Snyder), Amanda Righetti (Maddie Kenner), Tory Kittles (Broussard), Adrian Pasdar (Nolan Burgess), and Executive Producers Ryan Condal and Carlton Cuse!

Cuse proudly talked about how they wanted to model the show after the French Nazi occupation, an “Orwellian surveillance state,” that the Raps and their humans have turned the Earth into. “We wanted to make an alien invasions show that wasn’t really about alien invasion, so we had to prove it on the page first.”

Cuse also graciously accepted compliments from the audience about the production and design of the walls on the show, announcing that, “A visual effects company in Denmark of all places called Ghost did the walls and all the visual effects and we couldn’t be more pleased with them.” Continuing with the walls theme, Cuse announced that in season two of Colony, we’d find out why the walls were put up in the first place, and why everywhere seems to be divided into bloc sections and separate colonies. For season two, the show moved filming to the Universal Studios lots, for in this new season there will be stories in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and even a story outside the walls entirely!

Tory Kittles, who plays ex-military Resistance freedom fighter, Broussard, talked about how his character came home from the previous wars with ideas for what his life would be like, and the war of the Raps and the Occupation changed all that, “So he’s going down a much darker path now.” Despite Broussard’s reluctance, especially with the death of Resistance leader Quayle in the first season, he was forced to discover that, “Part of the journey along the way, was realizing he had a significant leader part to play.”

Sarah Wayne Callies is no stranger to playing a strong female character in the most dire of situations, and she laughed when a fan commented on the kickass women she’s already played. “I was looking to play a new character that would incite controversy, I just didn’t think it would be quite this much!” Callies went on to talk about Kate’s dangerous position in Colony season two: “She’s more vulnerable and more alone than she’s ever been.”

The fans at San Diego Comic-Con were treated to a spoof trailer for the second season of Colony, in which their son Charlie supposedly returned from Santa Monica bloc a very changed person. Starring Silicon Valley lead Kumail Nanjiani, the trailer effectively speaks very bluntly, at least in the little sisters words, for itself.

Colony returns to break down the walls of oppression on USA in 2017!

SDCC 2016 ‘Lucifer’: The Devil has a Mother

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

It just wouldn’t be a complete Comic-Con without a visit to Hell! Or rather, a re-visit with the Devil on vacation and his pals, both human and divine, as we dive into the panel for FOX’s Lucifer!

The panel included Tom Ellis (Lucifer), D.B. Woodside (Amenadiel), Tricia Helfer (Mom), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Maze), Aimee Garcia (Ella Lopez), and Executive Producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich.

For those of you who may not recall, season one of Lucifer ended with some feuding angelic brothers teaming up to take on some bad humans, a potential death and return from Hell, and, oh hey, the news that, someone escaped from Hell and Luci’s been tasked to go get them. Who escaped, you ask? The one person/entity/whatever that Lucifer, Amenadiel, even God himself apparently, is afraid of – Mom.

We all wondered, because at the end of season one, Henderson didn’t have an actress to play her: Someone who would end up with the previously unheard-of role of Mother of the Devil. Wonder no more, Comic-Con fans, for famed sci-fi maven, Tricia Helfer joined the cast of Lucifer on stage in role as Mom!

Helfer was gleeful and playful about her role, pointing out, “The ‘Mom’ chapter was left out of the Bible,” so the show had tons of wiggle-room to write that chapter themselves.

Lesley-Ann Brandt was eager to explain that her character, Maze, would have her own version of emancipation in season two, being forced to remain on Earth  with Lucifer more or less as she is now. And of course, there is no love lost between Maze and Mom, who know each other pretty well, since, “Mom was in Hell and Maze was a prime torturer there, so their meeting again up on Earth is … tense.”

Aimee Garcia plays a new character on the show, forensic scientist Ella Lopez, who inevitably gets involved with Lucifer and Decker’s crime fighting. Garcia related an amusing little story where she surprise-hugged Tom Ellis in their first real scene together on the show. “I’m a hugger in real life and, apparently, so is Lopez; I just gave Tom a big hug and he was like, ‘Hey, go with it!’”

The audience was assured that Lucifer is still in therapy in season two, which is great because his therapy sessions are arguably some of the best scenes on the show. Woodside, who plays Amenadiel, Lucifer’s brother on the show, related that it was important to continue that aspect of Lucifer’s journey, “It’s always interesting to see a character be fragile, especially this character.”

Henderson happily explained that season one of Lucifer had most of the characters establishing their own roles on the show, so season two will have a lot more of the characters playing off each other and being much more together. He also gleefully explained to curious fans that the very reason Chloe Decker affects Lucifer in that way, will be explained in season two as well.

Lucifer will be back to set our everything a-boiling September 19, 2016 on FOX @9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m., Central!

SDCC 2016 ‘Batman The Killing Joke’: One. Bad. Day.

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

So DC and Warner Bros. have finally brought what is arguably the most infamous Batman and Joker story of all time to the screen, in cartoon movie format, no less. And San Diego Comic-Con, being the smart cookies they are, brought a showing of the film to this year’s Con and what is likely the most difficult audience to please, the fan-atics, so let’s get into this!

The Madness of Spoilers lies ahead!

Now, I know back-story has to be established from the outset and that’s more or less fine, but they sure portrayed Batgirl as whiny, at least for the entire first act. Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong) is Batgirl and has been trailing Batman for approximately three years or so when our story begins. Sure, she kicks plenty of butt on her own, but she’s still in need of approval from the Caped Crusader, especially when she finds herself involved with mobster Paris Franz (Maury Sterling). Somehow, this mesmerizing moron manages to completely bump Batgirl off her game, sending her off on scavenger hunts alone and causing rifts between her and Batman (Kevin Conroy) when she realizes, duh, she can’t take on a simple one-man mouthpiece because he’s managed to get inside her head. Forgive me, but, that just didn’t sound like any Batgirl I knew.

And it just gets odder, because it turns out the tension between Batgirl and Batman had very little to do with an idiotic gangster, or their working-behind-masks relationship issues. No, it’s sexual tension, and after a good old-fashioned scream-fight on a rooftop, Batgirl and Batman get naked and bump bat-uglies. (No, the movie doesn’t show it, but you can clearly tell when Batgirl is perched atop Batman and takes her top off, what they’re doing.)

Inevitably, soon after that, Paris Franz gets dealt with and Barbara decides to go back to being boring librarian Barbara and hang up her cowl for good. That is the entirety of the first act and mildly more than half the movie itself, and a rather unfair go at Batgirl in general, in my opinion. True, the extended Bat family always has growing pains (just look at pretty much all the Robins), but somehow, I thought better of Batgirl than that. Barbara Gordon is supposed to be stronger and, let’s face it, more mature than this representation being offered to us. I suppose the idea is to give background to the relationship between her and Bruce, and while the girlfriend troubles being discussed with the cutie-pie gay librarian friend are fun and all, this whole thing is barely touched on when we get to the better half of the movie.

And here we are! It’s later and, once again, Joker (Mark Hamil) has gleefully skipped Arkham and Bats is on the hunt for him. Joker importantly goes to take over this old amusement park, to prepare it for the upcoming massive performance, but hey, first he needs performers! This means a surprise visit to the Gordon household and next thing you know, Babs has taken a bullet to the gut and the Commissioner has been dad-napped for some good old-fashioned torture!

Meanwhile, while all this is going on, we get treated to, let’s all just admit it, what we’re really here for, the Joker background story. In sepia tones, a young, struggling, never-named comedian tries valiantly to make money to get his very-pregnant wife out of a very bad neighborhood. He worked at a boring chemical plant before trying to make it as a comedian and that isn’t working out too well, either, so our unnamed man decides to try for one big score with some mobsters. They want his help breaking into the old chemical plant so they can get into the card business next door, but hey, there’s a catch: They also want him to wear the notorious Red Hood while he does it.

The movie kind of fails to let the audience know that Bats has been chasing the Red Hood and his crime gang for awhile now, so our unnamed man never really stood a damned chance anyway. But even before he can think about donning a scarlet helmet, news comes back that his poor pregnant wife has met a very tragic end, and with nothing to lose, Nameless decides to do the mob job any-damn-way! Rather like the very first Tim Burton Batman film, you can guess what happened next.

Meanwhile, in the present, Joker as we know him has stripped Gordon naked, dog-collared the poor man, and forced him on a nightmare carnival ride of madness involving naked photographs of his beloved daughter, bleeding and dying from a gut-shot wound. Trying very hard to prove his point, Joker far-too-cheerfully spouts his peculiar brand of madness and explains that anyone could become him, anyone at all, with the now-infamous line, “All it takes to become me is one. Bad. Day.”

This is meant to tie in with the whole Batman and Joker being the light and dark sides of each other, and really, who is to say which is which on that one bad day? Batman gave a heartfelt plea to not do this thing, whatever it is Joker’s planning next, that will likely lead to the death of one or both of them, when he went to see false Joker in Arkham Asylum. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now when we have the final showdown between the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime. Or is it? Batman gives a final, entirely heartfelt plea to let him help Joker, once and for all; it truly doesn’t have to end this way. And, for once in his insane little world, Joker answers him deadpan serious: It’s too late for that. It all comes down to this, the final Killing Joke, where Joker cracks a bad funny and after a heartbeat Batman actually lets out a guffaw right along with him.

And that, dear fans and friends and odds and ends, is the end. Except, of course, the inevitable easter egg after some credits, that is.

The style of animation is Spartan and very similar to the old ’90s Batman cartoon show, where Hamil first began voicing the Joker, and that is in no way a bad thing. Joker being the obvious exception, the show took extra care with his facial expression and drawings because, hey, he needs it for this story especially. Famed DC contributor Bruce Timm, who produced The Killing Joke, stated there would be a 15-minute prologue that would further set up the story, as the one-shot original graphic novel from 1988 simply wasn’t long enough for an entire animated movie; so perhaps therein lies the explanation for the whole Batgirl scenario. It’s actually a fairly good sendoff for a very well-known Batman story, and love it or hate it, every single Batman fan out there will want to see it at least once.

Batman The Killing Joke was released digitally on July 26, 2016, and will enjoy a DVD and Blu-ray release on August 2, 2016!

SDCC 2016 ‘The 100’: The Earth Strikes Back!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome back to what is arguably the most popular and controversial CW show, all at the same time! War with the Grounders and potentially the Ice Nation, internal strife with Pike, the AI Ally trying to take over what’s left of the world and the destruction of the City of Light, plus let’s not forget burgeoning gay romances and a whole lot of death; all make for a compelling show we just can’t seem to stop watching and commenting on!

The San Diego Comic-Con panel for The 100 featured Eliza Taylor (Clarke), Henry Ian Cusick (Kane), Lindsay Morgan (Raven), Marie Avgeropolous (Octavia), Chris Larkin (Monty), Richard Harmon (Murphy), and Executive Producer Jason Rothenburg.

The panel started off with a ton of applause for the stars and then went right in to the sizzle reel for the previous season, with a surprise twist at the end – the Earth literally strikes back in season four, with what appears to be floods and other major destruction. And that is the theme for the next season, the natural disasters to try and survive, while Clarke and others wonder, with all they’ve done to survive, do they now deserve to?

Eliza Taylor sports a charming Australian accent, and is always gracious to her fans, especially the ones who come to the mike to ask fan questions dressed as Clarke, or even Lexa. She stated softly that Finn’s death was the hardest scene she had to film thus far, and of course Lexa’s death too. She also charmingly stated that it was a good thing the filming crew were so good at their jobs, because for the climactic love scene between Clarke and Lexa, she and Alycia Debnam-Carey couldn’t help but keep giggling with each-other while in bed.

Marie Avgeropolous is right proud of the strength of her character Octavia, and promises her warrior has gone even darker this upcoming season, due to the loss of Lincoln and all. She doesn’t preen when fans compliment her on such a strong female character, saying rather, “Women have always been strong, and I’m so grateful to be on a show that values that – examples of empowerment should become the norm.”

Avgeropolous went on to laughingly tell a favorite story of a difficult, though amusing, time on set. During the scene in season three where Octavia is attempting to convince Lincoln to go get Luna, Avgeropolous was supposed to be cleaning the hoof of the horse her character was riding. And well, the horse was, how can we put it, “at attention,” we’ll say, so they had to keep changing camera angles because it looked like Avgeropolous had taken a sudden interest in beastiality. The horse trainer, who was nearby, eventually told her to flick the horsey intruder with a stick, gently, because that would make the “at-attention” go away. And the Comic-Con crowd had absolute hysterics!

Richard Harmon is forever an amused prankster, and took a few moments to himself to admire the large happy audience, before plunking down to deliver glib, grinning one-liners, like how, “Murphy is everyone’s favorite cockroach.” He gleefully displayed chipped, dark nail polish to the cheering crowd after being accused of enjoying makeup on set, drawling about he had originally auditioned for the role of Bellamy and how different that would have been.

Chris Larkin was much more lively than his character Monty on the show, trading off happy one-liners with Harmon, whom he sat next to on the panel. His scariest moment on the show thus far was learning to drive stick, as he grinned, “There’s nothing scarier than driving at night, in fog, with a huge camera mounted 2 feet away from your face on the rover, being driven by someone who’s only driven stick for an hour!”

Rothenburg dropped several surprises on the happy crowd, such as the fact that Roan and Indra are both indeed alive in the new season, and that Roan (Zack McGowan) will be joining the show as a cast regular. Rothenburg also promised that the very first episode of the new season addresses the power vacuum left in the Skycrew camp. He even stated that originally in the season three finale, Jasper was going to kill himself at the end, but that that ending, even though the crew did indeed film the whole thing, was too dark even for Rothenburg himself. And don’t think we’re not all grateful for it; The 100 is plenty lovingly dark already.

The 100 will flood its way back to us adoring fans in 2017!

SDCC 2016 Photo Gallery

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Cosplay was everywhere this year at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, and a good deal of it a loving if not terribly sad tribute to those we’ve lost recently. David Bowie as the Goblin King, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and, of course, Leonard Nimoy in arguably his most iconic role as Spock, to name just a few, were proudly displayed like living tributes to pop-culture gods.

DC Comics dominated this year, particularly everyone’s favorite psycho couple of Joker and Harley, in reference to Suicide Squad, which comes out in theaters very soon. But, there was also plenty of cheerful genderbent cosplay, anime tributes, steampunk recreations and original costumes, all of them ready to strike a pose for your camera. The International Cosplay Corps, those tireless do-gooders who run around all of Comic-Con doing free cosplay repair on the go, were finally honored for their good works by multiple online outlets, the Costume Designers Guild and the Union Tribune newspaper as well.

Here are just a small gathering of the many cosplay enthusiasts your roving reporter Alicia Glass managed to corral at San Diego Comic-Con 2016!

Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

[ess_grid alias=”SDCC2016Pg1″][/ess_grid]

SDCC 2016 ‘The Last Ship’: No Jello Shooters for You!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

So, when we last left our intrepid survivors, the Nathan James had finally got the cure to the Red Flu and was beginning to distribute it to the world. At the celebratory peace gathering, the effective savior of humanity, Dr. Scott, was murdered in cold blood, and reluctant President Michener was finally pulling the bootstraps of the sundered country back together. This new season, currently premiering on TNT, promises intrigue and more mayhem, delicate negotiations with other countries of the world, and betrayal at nearly every turn!

The Last Ship panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 featured Eric Dane (Captain Chandler), Adam Baldwin (Captain Slattery), newcomer Bridget Regan (Sasha Cooper) and executive producer Steven Kane.

Baldwin is a Comic-Con favorite, due in large part to his past Firefly experience, and he often drops the best one-liners of the panel. He is also well-known for his great respect for the military and deep honor he tries to impart, playing his character in such a show. The first half of season three of The Last Ship has been especially hard for Baldwin’s character, Slattery, feeling responsible for getting his sailors kidnapped and tortured as he does. Baldwin also sympathized with his castmates having to shoot the blood-torture scenes on an island in all kinds of weather. “These were very hard conditions,” he explained, “so there was a lot of gallows humor. But we have the best crew in the world, and they did a ton to keep our spirits up.” Baldwin also laughed about his character’s entrance to the club scene that got them all kidnapped in the first place, “I was like the grumpy dad – ‘I’m not gonna enjoy these jello shooters at all.’”

Newcomer to the show, Bridget Regan, who plays Navy translator Sasha Cooper, waxed poetic on the effort the entire show, from the actors to the showrunners, goes through to be as accurate to real-life military procedures as possible. “We have real Seals on the set, and you don’t want to let those guys down.” Regan took many compliments on her strong female character in stride, stating proudly that, “A woman’s gender has nothing to do with her job here,” and listing the many high-ranking positions and dangerous jobs various female co-stars have on the show.

Everyone’s favorite, hard-nosed, incredibly foxy, silver-haired Eric Dane grinned and agreed with Regan, going on to brag that the current Secretary of the Navy himself has told the show folk, “You’re getting it right.” Dane also mentioned that his favorite episode of season three thus far was the Minefield episode, which was directed by Robocop himself, Peter Weller, and how Dane is a huge fan of the movie-star-turned-director.

Executive Producer Steven Kane talked about premiering new episodes of The Last Ship to Navy personnel every year as a private treat, and how, this year, there was a huge surprise at the end. The call for attention to award was sent out and Kane himself was given the highest commendation a civilian can receive, the Distinguished Public Service honor, complete with a medal and everything, for his work on the highly popular show The Last Ship.

The panel ended on a high note, with a trailer for the back half of season three, which promised the return of favored character Tex (John Pyper-Ferguson), to heartfelt cheers from the audience!

The Last Ship can be found in the waters of TNT on Sundays @9:00 p.m./10:00 p.m. Central!

Dark Whispers SDCC 2015 Edition: ‘Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller Loves the Fannibals

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror) 

There is always a deep sense of love and passion in the Hannibal panels that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend at Comic-Con. This years was no different, though it was a bittersweet meal to swallow, as the show has been officially cancelled, and this may have been the last such panel. If so, it was a feast worthy of every single Fannibal with flowers in their hair.

Creator Bryan Fuller was the inevitable first on the stage, followed, to thunderous applause, by the always-kind Hugh Dancy, a charmingly bewildered Richard Armitage, and executive producer Martha De Laurentiis finished the spread that made everyone feel welcome at the table.

There was a bit of discussion about other networks potentially taking up Hannibal, but the room generally seemed to want to focus on the latter half of the hotly anticipated third season and the introduction of the Red Dragon storyline.

Dancy lamented that, “there would be no more flower crowns in the world,” only to be proven wrong thirty seconds later when flower crowns were presented to each of the panel guests, amid cheers from the audience. The mod tried to keep the panel going, asking Armitage for his take on attempting to play the villain Francis Dolarhyde, to which Armitage laughingly replied, “I’ll answer that question when somebody tells me why am I wearing flowers on my head. No one has explained it to me.”

Hugh Dancy grinned and muttered, “I actually don’t know.”

Fuller responded thus: “Flower crowns represent the passion and the floral beauty of the fandom and our appreciation for their support.” To which every single last Fannibal in the audience, crowned with horns or flowers or not, gave a resounding heartfelt awwwwww. Bryan Fuller gave all the Fannibals in Ballroom 20 a big zen hug.

Armitage went on to explain that he felt immersed in the world created for him, that, “I didn’t know I was on NBC. I thought I was in the world of Thomas Harris.” To stay true to the character and body issues Dolarhyde is known to have, Armitage noted that he “spent a good half the series naked,” to great roaring approval from the audience. He also thanked the creators of the highly popular show and us fan-atics for including him in the world, saying, “I feel like I was brought into a family –”

Dancy laughingly interrupted, “Which you then killed.”

Armitage rejoined smartly, “And they were delicious.”

Fuller assured us that the psychological get-under-your-skin tunes would continue to the end of season three, and even dropped trivia that Siouxsie of Siouxsie and the Banshees had composed a song all by herself for Hannibal.

The insane-looking trailer for the Red Dragon latter half of the third season of Hannibal was shown before us hungry diners twice, with Fuller leaving us this final food for thought, “Will Graham is looking at Francis Dolarhyde as a version of Hannibal he might be able to save, and Hannibal is looking at Dolarhyde as a version of Will Graham he can corrupt. So it brings a new perspective to the Red Dragon storyline that we hope you love as much as the previous one, as much as we do!”

Hannibal was recently moved on NBC to Saturdays, now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, 9:00 p.m. Central.


SDCC 2015: ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ Brings the Boomstick!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror) 

Oh it’s here, it’s finally here! Grab your boomstick and get ready to outrun the aging lothario himself: It’s the long-awaited Ash vs. Evil Dead panel! Moderated by Scott Aukerman, the panel featured executive producers Craig DiGregiorio, Ivan Raimi and Rob Tapert, director and co-creator of the whole fun franchise Sam Raimi, and of course Xena herself Lucy Lawless, and last but never least, Bruce Campbell!

It’s been quite some time since we last engaged mister missing-hand over there, and that was in movies, so, of course, the fans are dying to know what Ash has been up to in that time – which, it turns out, isn’t much. Through a series of circumstances that are likely at least partially his fault, the Deadites are unleashed on an unsuspecting world and Ash has to tighten his corset, grab some followers, and go grudgingly save the world, yet again! Lucy Lawless stars as Ruby, a mysterious woman with inevitably a past who crosses paths with Ash whilst he’s fighting the funny fight!

Sam Raimi, loved by fans of his many movies, but of course, by Evil Dead series by die-hard fans in particular, started things off right by stating, “We’ve always been at Comic-Con promoting other projects, and it’s you, the fans, who say, ‘Screw that, where’s Evil Dead already? That’s what we want!’ So here it finally is.”

Raimi assured the audience that the style of stop-motion animation from the movies will be represented in the TV show. He also teased that while we won’t see the Army of Darkness-style fake hand on the new show, perhaps we will see a brand new fake hand, or something else entirely new!

Lucy Lawless talked about how resilient the Starz channel is, and how finding the line not to cross for Ash vs. Evil Dead was difficult after her stint on Spartacus (also on Starz), and all those crazy Roman orgy scenes!

Asked if there were any orgy scenes included in Ash vs. Evil Dead, Campbell smartly replied, “Yes, but, not during filming!”

Campbell was awesome in his blood-red suit, charming and witty as always, as he talked about the pressurized beer keg full of fake blood used on the set. He sprayed the crew one time after filming wrapped for the day and yelled, “There you go motherscratchers, that’s what it feels like!” Apparently, there were repeated issues with the fake blood: so much so that Campbell informed the audience that, “For you [the audience], I choked on fake blood!”

It wouldn’t have been an Ash vs. Evil Dead fan panel without a costume contest, which Campbell  moderated himself, bringing up three male Ash cosplayers and one female, who, of course, won the contest when she obligingly showed Bruce the word GROOVY written large on her booty. Campbell got to at least make it look like he stuffed the cosplay prize into her ample cleavage!

In a Comic-Con exclusive, Raimi announced that the pilot half-hour episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead will premiere on the Starz channel October 31, 2015!


SDCC 2015: ‘Vikings’ cry “SHIELD WALL!”

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror) 

Grab your horn and sound the call, the wildly popular Vikings panel has returned to Comic-Con for its season three panel!

Of course the room was packed wall to wall, full of people in home-made (and often quite historically accurate) Viking costumes, cheering fans, blown calling horns, and room-shaking cries of, “SHIELD WALL!” led by Clive Standen (Rollo) himself. Travis Fimmel (Ragnar) came out to thunderous applause, rivaled only by the ovation Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha) got, and Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn) praised the calling horns at the back of the room. Writer and creator Michael Hirst was there, along with Dirk Hoogstra, historical EVP and general manager, to round out one of the most anticipated panels of Comic-Con!

Spoilers ahead

Immediately, the panel launched into reminiscences of this most recent past season three where oh, so very much happened: the death of Athelstan, the siege of Paris, the merry dance of alliance and death with England, oh, and let’s not forget a visit from an actual God. Kind of. Hirst assured the audience that in the upcoming season four, King Ecbert of Wessex would still be trying to become King of Kings, not only of his own country, but others as well. Hirst proudly reminded the audience that among its many other distinctions, Vikings is the only show on American TV that sports four, count them four, dead languages. And Hirst even teased a brand new love interest for Ragnar in season four, one that he said was highly unusual but that his historical accuracies team had researched the hell out of and assured him it was indeed possible.

As always, Clive Standen was very personable, grinning about his character’s upcoming wedding to the killer French princess, and sporting an effortlessly charming t-shirt that read “PARDON MY FRENCH.” Standen says the killing wheel from the siege of Paris was “just as terrifying as it looks on-screen, the thing has both real and plastic spikes, so, yes, we did take damage. It was still messy and slippy and great fun.” And, of course, at the point of fan Q&As when Standen decided he appreciated a question and began tossing t-shirts to the delighted crowd in response, there was a moment where a beleaguered SDCC staff member tried to tell him not to do that. Standen roared, “Did you just tell Rollo not to throw t-shirts?!”

On the show, strong women are venerated and no one is stronger than Lagertha, as Katheryn Winnick embodies her. Apparently, Katheryn can not only kick ass on the set, but she’s kicked so much booty in real life too: she grew up training in Tae Kwon Do from the early age of seven, got her black belt at 13 and opened her own school for martial arts at 17. I want that Shield Maiden covering my back, always! And Katheryn laughingly taunted the well-groomed men about their beards and all, saying, “The boys are in Hair and Makeup way longer than the girls!”

Alexander Ludwig was more lively than he has been at previous panels, and said kind things about the cosplayers who patiently waited in line to ask their Vikings fan questions. As more strongly physical demands are made on his character, Ludwig joked about the giant-sized Kodiak-appearing bear he had to fight in season three, and how “the bear had a bigger resume than anyone on the set.”

Finally, we have the Man, the King, the explorer, and questioner: the legendary Ragnar himself, Travis Fimmel. More interactive than he usually is at these panels, Fimmel appeared genuinely pleased at the fandom and commiserated with fan-atics as they deferentially approached the microphone to ask burning questions. One female fan in particular, who after saying all kinds of complimentary things about Ragnar to Fimmel directly, couldn’t go on for blushing and embarrassment, so Fimmel himself came down off the stage and gave her what will probably be the best cheek-smooch of her entire life. When he regained the stage, he muttered into the microphone at Katheryn, “Why can’t you be more like that?”

Fimmel even shared some of the best behind-the-scenes imagery you can imagine, when a fan asked what it felt like to be King and sit on a throne: “That’s actually me in a car park, sitting on a bit of foam [made to look like a throne]!”

Fans were treated to a teaser reel for Vikings season four, which featured an amazement of things, including this surprise: Bjorn ordering the arrest of Floki for the murder of Aethelstan! Vikings season four returns to us on the History Channel in 2016!