Category Archives: Interviews

Take the Scout’s Pledge with David Pepose as He Chats Scout’s Honor

David Pepose is the writer behind such series as Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, and the recent Kickstarter release The O.Z.

He has a new series launching this week, Scout’s Honor, that imagines a world where society has been built off the rules from a Boy Scouts like organization.

We chat with him about the new series as well as his experiences being an indie creator.

Get his series:

Spencer & Locke
Spencer & Locke Vol. 2
Going to the Chapel
The O.Z. #1

Scout’s Honor #1:
comiXology
Kindle
Zeus Comics

Website

The Truth Shall Set You Free in Blanco

Blanco

Blanco is a 64-page black and white post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery graphic novel recently launched on Indiegogo. Co-created by writer Marco Lopez and artist David Brame, it features lettering by DC Hopkins and is edited by Derek Ruiz.

In a post-apocalyptic future where mankind has long since been dead and Medieval Kingdoms, control their people with an iron fist. The religious rule is the order of the day and Blanco, is one of the most beloved warriors in the Kingdom of the seraph Azrael.

He and his brother Cain hunt the heretics who dare defy their father’s law. Zealots of a new apocryphal belief that is spreading across the Five Kingdoms and the Middling Lands.

When Blanco discovers a band of heretics is heading through the Outer Zone to a safe haven, they call New Eden. He decides to make an example of them, but what he finds in the Outer Zone will literally change his perception of the world he lives in.

We got to chat with the creative team about the series, its influence and the democratization of comics.

You can back Blanco now and help it reach its goal of $12,000.

Graphic Policy: So, tell us a a bit about Blanco.

Marco Lopez: Well, not to repeat what I said in the campaign. But Blanco is about a Nephilim in the service of the Kingdom of the Seraph Azrael. And he is one of the most beloved soldiers in his father’s service and a fundamentalist who blindly follows his father’s will. But eventually, that blind faith is going to open him up to a truth that, as the old saying goes, will turn his world upside down.

David Brame: Blanco was Marco’s idea. He contacted me and I thought it was a brilliant idea and decided to put my sauce in the mix.

GP: Where did the idea come from?

ML: It’s been so long since I came up with the idea of Blanco that I don’t remember the exact details. I vaguely remember thinking about the old 70s Jack Kirby DC comics. The whole 4th world and other titles he created. I’m a huge fan of pulp storytelling. Whether it’s The Shadow or The Phantom or Conan, John Carter and Tarzan. I love the whole aesthetic. I think it mostly came from my love of Kamandi, OMAC and Hanna Barbera, and Ruby & Spears action-adventure cartoons. I also wanted to do something that was postapocalyptic where the world reverted to a past time. It doesn’t really make any sense that we’d revert back to medieval or 18th-century tech or whatnot but, I loved that about cartoons, and I wanted to do something similar. Kamandi but without the last human boy as the lead. All of man is gone, and all that’s left are humanoid animals. Or so they’re led to believe.

DB: I’ve always wanted to work together with someone who wanted to do an andro/anthro story and Marco and I vibed really well on what kinds of stories we liked to tell. We both had a love of ban Dessine and European comics. Large format, cinematic storytelling, sweeping saga like beauty—we are blending 70s pulp sword and sorcery with contemporary euro stylization all bookended by post apocalyptic furry content. What’s not to love.

GP: How did the team come together for this?

ML: David was the original artist back in 2010 when I first came up with Blanco but, he had to drop out because of a job opportunity. Fast forward 9 years later, and I was pitching this to publisher 133art. I think I talked to David a bit about it back then, but I don’t think either of us made the connection on the 2010 version. I mean, it had been 10 years. 133art was really high on David drawing this, and so was I, and David loved the idea, so he came on board but then 133art had to back out when they started their distribution arm. So, I talked to David about it, and we took it over to Subsume, and the rest, as they say, is history. During all this, I did find those old designs and realized David was the artist back then. I hit him up about it, and we had a good laugh about how the world is so small. It really shows you this was meant to be that 10 years later, we’re working together again on Blanco.

DB: I partied a lot back then so there is a solid decade of fuzzy memories. I vaguely remembered the Blanco project when Marco hit me up but then things clicked in place once I saw the artwork. My first thoughts were “cool idea—but we can do better” fast forward a few scribbles and doodles and chats we developed the Blanco pages we are previewing.

GP: There’s a lot of fundraising platforms out there, why did you choose Indiegogo?

ML: I tend to go against the grain a lot of times, and I wanted to try a different platform. I mean, technically, for comics, in my opinion, there are only two (IGG and KS). I’ve used Kickstarter before, and it’s fantastic, but there were a few benefits IndieGoGo had. My favorite is being able to go InDemand after we’re funded, so we can keep taking pledges while in production. The other was they take a slightly less percentage than Kickstarter. And after people purchase a perk, they immediately take funds. The other was the ability to immediately put up a pre-launch page and start collecting e-mails until the campaign was ready to launch. With Kickstarter, you have to finish your campaign then submit it. Then when it’s approved, you can start a pre-launch page. I know Kickstarter is the larger platform of the two, but I like being the underdog. Hopefully, I chose correctly. haha

DB: Whether it’s IGG or Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding experience—I think as long as you have a link to share to support Blanco we’ve made the right decision.

GP: You mention it a bit on the project page, but there is a lot of comics released, and crowdfunding platforms provide another avenue for consumers. What are your thoughts about the choice’s creators have today for their releases?

ML: Unless the only thing you want to do is write for Marvel and DC. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But you need to get your work out there and build a fanbase. And crowdfunding helps with that. Even the most popular webcomics eventually crowdfund collected print editions or merchandise. Crowdfunding is making it easier than ever to self-publish and build yourself into a force to be reckoned with. It’s not easy, of course, or everyone would be doing it. But it’s another arsenal in the distribution of stories. Especially if you can’t do it all yourself in comics.

DB: Crowdfunding is a boon for independent creators. Initially relegated to hawking your merch in sweaty artist allies and praying for the big 3 to pick you up, being an indie comic artist was a tough road. I would say with all these new accessible options for distribution, printing, and dissemination being an Indie creator now is only based on visibility. We are finding that there are niche markets and subcultures in the comics spectrum everywhere. The crowdfunding independent model has allowed us to tell a plethora of stories and we are excited Blanco gets to be apart of that.

Blanco

GP: Do you think crowdfunding has democratized the comic industry in a way with consumers voting with their dollar to make projects happen?

ML: I think it has because that is always the answer to any entertainment industry. Does it sell? If the publishers don’t believe your idea or story will sell, you can prove it to them. The American comic book industry still isn’t there with the wide variety it should be publishing. Like, say Manga, or European comics. But it’s getting there, and until it does. Crowdfunding proves even the weirdest or controversial, and even old-school ideas are worthy of people’s money.

DB: Absolutely democratized. However, We are still left with the pay to play model—meaning if you have more money or resources to advertise or connect to your audience you’re likely going to have a higher success rating even within the indie world. But with that said as creators, our goal is to entertain and to craft new and interesting ways of telling stories. Blanco is for sure something that’s not a wasted vote.

 GP: You describe the series as Conan with great anthropomorphic characters. Did you always want to do anthropomorphic? Were there thoughts of just using humans or some fantasy race?

ML: The characters were always going to be anthropomorphic. You can thank a childhood of Don Bluth, Rock and Rule, Disney Afternoon, and other animated films and series. It’s always been my dream to combine the aesthetic of something like those titles in a brutal adult world.

DB: For sure. As a young artist from the 80’s lots of start with Disney and Nickelodeon as our understanding of cartoonish characteristics. I’ve always wanted to make anthro work and even more after seeing what was being done with Manga, Anime, and Blacksad.

GP: With that, were there thoughts about the animals and their representation? There’s a lot of stories with anthropomorphic stories where the animals themselves have a deeper meaning.

ML: No, there isn’t really anything behind the different humanoid animal species. They’re not supposed to parallel any human ethnic groups of today or cultures. The one difference, though, is they’re all mammals. You won’t see humanoid birds walking around or anthropomorphic reptiles.

DB: Marco had no directions for me in terms of the animals belonging to specific tribes or whatever there’s just barbarians and not barbarians. Visually though I needed linchpins to help craft the setting, visual mechanics, and how this post-apocalyptic place came to be. Each place we visit will have remixed elements of lots of ancient and contemporary design—I used lots of Bantu, Igbo, Mongolian and Korean elements. Blanco was originally based off a wolf but there are so many wolf stories I opted to base his design on an African Wild dog. I took it a step further and decided the clothing artifacts weapons everything will be distinct to help immerse readers into the world of Blanco.

GP: You mention Conan, Secret of Nimh, and Brian Jacques Redwall as influences, what else are some of the stories influences and inspiration? And are you trying to traumatize people my age with Secret of Nimh!?

ML: Blacksad is an influence, but you won’t see it until the third volume. I’m also inspired by Oscar Martin’s Solo. Everyone in the U.S. should be reading that. He’s an amazing artist and storyteller. Everything Jack Kirby did at DC comics in the 70s. Like I said before, the old action-adventure Hanna Barbera and Ruby-Spears toon and John Carter. And yes, I am trying to traumatize people our age. haha I loved me some Bluth.

DB: I may have a heart of stone because I missed out on the trauma I was like ‘oooh mice’ Blanco will evoke feelings of darkness and brutality but also moments of quiet austere beauty. I have been looking at a lot of HR Geiger, Paul Pope, Jeff Smith, Bill Watterson, Gojima, Otomo and Jae Lee leading up to Blanco as well streaming as many Attenborough docs I can find.

GP: I see the religious rule and I can’t help but think there an overarching influence of religion in our real-world society. Is there some greater themes/meaning to the series or is it just entertaining sword and sorcery?

ML: There will be in the story things I touch on. I grew up Catholic, but I grew up in an open-minded household. I never had communion and was always taught to challenge ideas. But I also grew up with a fascination with religion and the bible. Why people turn to religion and the use of religion for control. I read the Book of Revelations during a major hurricane when I was a teen in Puerto Rico. But as a writer, I believe that in any story character should be first, plot second, and what you’re trying to say third. Anytime you push what you want to talk about in society upfront. Then you’re characters just become a soapbox, and people stop caring. Make them care about the characters, and the rest will find its place.

DB: I have no religious message to convey other than through the art historian aspect of remixing these motifs.

GP: You mention this is hopefully the beginning, how much of the series and world do you have sketched out? Is there a “Blanco bible”?

ML: I’d like to do at least 8 volumes. Each one is the equivalent of a three-issue mini-series. After volume one, I have volumes two through four roughly mapped out, and I know where the series ends and where Blanco ends up. And yes, I have a rough bible and a series of notes I keep every time a new idea, plot, or character piece pops into my head. So, hopefully, with everyone’s help, this first volume becomes a smashing success and will lead the way to more. Adonai speaks to us in our sleep. Adonai wants us to tell the stories of Blanco’s world. Of the world to come. Help us fulfill Adonai’s wishes.

DB: I would love to retire doing Blanco stories. My dream is to have quarterly issues that people ravenously devour and flame me online wondering why there can’t be ten of me making more! But I’ll settle for 8 issues, some spin-offs, and maybe an omnibus hardcover reprint someday in the future.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting and we’re excited to read it. Backed!

Christmas time and Holiday Cheer with cosplayer Brielle Arts

Far away and deep inside Western Europe, there is a workshop that works all hours of the night to bring these fantasy amour characters to life. No, it’s not made by elves but by a persistent young woman who has cosplay blood flowing through her veins. She’s young and talented and she is here to do Raven Steel’s Holiday interview. Please show your love and your Christmas cheer to my next guest with us today, Ms. Brielle Arts.

Raven: Welcome Brielle Arts to sanctuary of solitude. What happens here, stays here unless you open the door. 

Brielle: Thank you Raven Steel for having me do this interview. I happy to do this!

Raven: The honor of interviewing BrielleArts, is all mine. You do have my plate of cookies and milk, right?

As you may not know before I begin all of my interview questions, I offer some words of advice, a ballad of encouragement when you find yourself at crossroads during your career. I hope you’ll take these words to heart whenever the world becomes too much to bear and you need that little push to get you back on track. So here goes, You cannot sit and wait for inspiration to come to you. You have to get up and go after it with a heavy club”.  Kinda of like a Polish Christmas tradition.

I think we can all agree,  I have been a good reporter this year. Would you be so kind and tell me all about you?

Brielle: Well, I was born and raised in Poland.  I dream about moving to another country someday just to try something different. Nevertheless, Poland is a wonderful country, and I’m not sure if I would ever leave it.

Raven: Your color eyes and hair?  

Brielle: Hmm difficult question, I’m not sure what color my eyes have, sometimes they seem grayer, sometimes bluer, sometimes they fall into shades of green

Now about my hair color, that’s an even more difficult question because I change my hair color so often. I currently have my hair color as ginger.

Raven: How tall are you? 

Brielle:  I’m 162 cm tall, but always say I’m 165 cm, I don’t know why (5 feet 4 inches).

Raven: Do you speak or write any other languages?

Brielle: Do computer programming languages also count?  I’m joking. I speak and write in Polish, English, a little German, Spanish, and I also know a little Russian. I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese, but unfortunately, I can’t find time for it.

Raven: What does Brielle Arts love seeing during this Holiday Season? 

Brielle: The two things I love during the Holiday Season are these. Because of the little child inside me,  I like  everything that is lit, sparkles, and plays beautiful melodies, for example glowing music boxes playing “Let it snow” or “Jingle Bells”, or the lights on Christmas trees. I love Christmas trees.

The other thing I love during the Holiday Season is watching all the Holiday movies and cartoons like Mr. Grinch. That green creature is my favorite Christmas character. In Poland, we also have a “Common Tradition” of watching “Home Alone” with Macaulay Culkin as Kevin. Maybe it is funny but many people in Poland cannot imagine Christmas without seeing that movie.

Raven: What sort of music do you love to listen to? 

Brielle: I really like to listen to metal and rock music, unless you ask about Christmas then I like to listen to metal remixes of Christmas songs and carols.

Raven: What makes you nerdy or geeky?

Brielle: I’m just a nerd who plays games, reads books, watches movies, wears cosplays and goes to conventions, and buys a lot of unnecessary figurines, keyrings, mugs, and other pretty things related to pop culture.

Raven: Are you a social butterfly or a quiet mouse?

Brielle: It depends. Sometimes I go for the entire day without saying a word, but most often I say a lot of things when I’m feeling great and with good company. I can say that I’m a mutant mouse with butterfly wings or something like this.

Raven: What got you into Cosplaying?

Brielle: Since I was a child, I liked sewing and doing various handicrafts, I also liked some costumes and I really liked dressing up, Carnival and costume parties at school were my favorite events of the year. And one time, when I was attending my first convention ever in my life.  I said, “Hey, maybe I’ll dress up as some character?” The costume then, but it turned out to be quite expensive, so I decided to make one myself.  I still do some cosplays that I’ve developed in my workshop.

Raven: A workshop. I must see this workshop of yours.

I’ve noticed many of your cosplays are Props and makeup. What characters give you the biggest satisfaction in creating a cosplay?.

Brielle: I think that the characters who have some interesting makeup or large armor give me the greatest satisfaction. Even though prop/amour characters are very uncomfortable to wear at a convention or doing a photoshoot.

Raven: Are you attracted to these characters or something else?

Brielle: Most often I just like their designs, but I try to choose characters with a certain personality that suits me. I like to bond and feel with the character. I like becoming the character, and it’s not just about the appearance, but about being connected with the character, or something more.

Raven: Is there a Christmas gift you got that made you cry with JOY? 

Brielle: There was such a situation, it might sound strange but I cried with joy when I just got a new backpack. When I was in elementary school, my family didn’t have much money, so I didn’t have any great stuff and my backpack was a tragedy. The backpack was old, worn out, holes were sewn 100 different ways. It was just disgusting, and the kids at school were laughing at me and this backpack. I remember that then I got a brand new backpack for Christmas, it was the best gift, I was so happy that I started to cry. It sounds funny to me now, but I was really excited back then.

Raven: How did you create your cosplayer name, Brielle Arts Cosplay?  

Brielle: My name is Gabriela, I have friends from outside my country who transformed my name into Gabrielle because it is easier for them to remember and pronounce it, and over time they’ve shortened my name, and now it’s just “Brielle”. I like it, so it became my nickname, but unfortunately, many people in my country have a big problem with pronouncing my nickname, so probably in the future, I will change it to a more accessible one for both Polish and foreign fans.

Raven: Has your cosplaying experience provided an opportunity to get more commission work?

Brielle: Yes, before the pandemic I had a lot of commissions, but now that the conventions are not organized, people don’t buy costumes and unfortunately, I don’t have many orders.

Raven: Hired to give gifts to little children, what cosplayer outfit would you wear for that event? 

Brielle: I think I would choose Vi cosplay from league of legends. She has large, mechanical gloves that children always love. So I think they would be delighted to receive a gift from such big hands.

Raven: How do you feel cosplaying Dark, Bloody, or Gothic interest you doing them or just the cute and sexy ones?

Brielle: My favorite types of cosplaying are strong, armored, brave, dangerous characters. I don’t like cute and sexy cosplays, although sometimes  I like various character designs that allow me to do this type of cosplay. I feel much more comfortable doing Bloody/Gory types of characters.

Raven: Is cosplaying in your country very popular? Is it widely accepted? Are fellow cosplayers help each other?

Brielle: Cosplay in Poland is quite popular. Cosplays are being created by many people of all ages. I think since cosplay is becoming widely accepted. Even though there are a few individuals who think cosplay is a kind of “childish stupidity”, it has become more and more popular.

Raven: Booo to those who think its a Childish or Stupid! 

Brielle: Do cosplayers help each other? Yes, very often, there are whole groups that rely on helping each other. Whenever you have a cosplay problem, there will always be another cosplayer willing to help.

Raven: What is the #1 Christmas song you would sing all day long?

Brielle: “Rockin ‘Around the Christmas Tree” but more rock version.

Raven: I’ve noticed on one of your videos, you play with fire? Tell us more. 

Brielle: Honestly, about playing with fire, I don’t do it professionally, I am a total amateur. But the fire has always intrigued and relaxed me, and playing with fire is just something that allows me to chill out and forget about problems.

Raven: Well, I would still invite you to my campfire anytime. It would be very entertaining.

Who should control the types of media a cosplayer be allowed, fan request, or you? 

Brielle: I believe that everyone should decide for themselves. Of course, some fan requests are important, but the final decision should still be up to the cosplayer. Everyone should be comfortable with what they do, regardless of the opinions of others.

Raven: Have you ever experienced any unusual requests (Bet it was Feet)? 

Brielle: I think that every cosplayer girl had some “unusual” request. Quite often I have some strange requests. Several times I was asked to take pictures of my feet, I was asked for pictures in my underwear, for pictures with someone’s name or some fan sign, but the strangest request I got was to send someone my used panties. The person who asked about it was willing to pay a lot of money for these panties. Of course, I declined the person’s request.  It was too strange and too awkward for me to comply.

Raven: Would they be interested in my used boxer shorts? I have no shame in my game.

Raven: If you could give back your fans a Christmas gift, what would it be?

Brielle: I know what I would like to give each of my fans, I would like to give a package containing a handmade Christmas ornament, candy cane, and some sweets, my photos, and a card with handwritten Christmas greetings.

Raven: You have the look at times in your cosplay as a torched soul and other times the look of being cute and cuddly.  Which do you prefer doing?

Brielle: I rarely look cute and cuddly in cosplay. I feel much better when I look badass. I think that cute costumes do not suit me, sometimes I wear such cosplay, I look in the mirror and I have the impression that I look like a complete freak, like some alien. It’s not “me” then. I look best and feel best in costumes that aren’t cute. I prefer IT when people see me saying, “OMG! so amazing, or That’s So Hot”. Then, “Awwww! what a cute little piece of the rainbow”.

Raven: How easy/hard to find a good photographer in Poland?

Brielle: I think finding in Poland a good photographer, who would specialize in cosplay photography is quite simple. In Poland, we have a lot of talented photographers who can create truly magical photos.

To be honest, finding a photographer is easy, but sometimes you have to be patient because it often turns out that this photographer has a full graphic and you have to wait a long time to arrange a photoshoot, or to receive processed photos after photoshoot… Often it also happens that a perfect photographer lives on the other side of the country and you have to travel several hours with a heavy suit to take beautiful photos.

Raven: Pack a lunch and don’t talk to strangers. They may ask for your underwear. 

Is your cat a part of your props in your photo shoots?

Brielle: My kitty is very curious and is always interested in all props during photoshoots in the studio. Sometimes she can be a little bit annoying, but at least she doesn’t destroy my props.

Raven: What places, in your country, have you taken your photos?

Brielle: Hmm. I’ve taken pictures in various places, but mostly in a photo studio. However, I sometimes do an outdoor photoshoot. For example, Vi’s cosplay was photographed in an abandoned warehouse in a river port, Cerys in the ruins of a castle, an elf costume in the forest, and Leona in some park. Whenever I have the opportunity, I choose photos outdoors, because it is a much more interesting experience for me.

Raven: Breaking down your bedroom door, a hoard of Killer Elves is going to attack you. 

What weapon, in your room, would Brielle Arts pick up to defend herself with? 

Brielle: Haha, that’s a good question, I have to think about it … I think a slipper would be a good weapon … It works great for spiders, so maybe it will work on elves too, who knows.

Raven: How do the people of your country celebrate Christmas?  

Brielle: I noticed that people in Poland celebrate Christmas in different ways, it all depends on the region. A large number of Poles are Catholics and all groups celebrate Christmas “like Catholics”, I mean with pagans traditions, which were stolen by the Catholic Church. So, the Christmas tree is decorated and the Christmas carols are sung.

On December 24, when the first star appears in the sky, we sit down to the Christmas Eve supper which consists of 6-16 dishes depending on the region, We share the wafer and make Christmas wishes. The dishes also depend on the region, but there must be fish practically everywhere, as “tradition” dictates preferably carp.

Of course, this is not a real tradition, a relic of the past that has its origins in the times of socialism and the Polish People’s Republic (PRL), because there was almost any fish in the stores, and carp was cheap, so they were told it was a tradition and so far Poles they think it’s a traditional Catholic Christmas fish. I hate Carp because it is disgusting and I have salmon or trout on Christmas Eve.

There are other dishes as well, for example, Dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms, Cabbage with peas, borscht with dumplings, poppy seed noodles, kutia, prune and bean soup. After the Christmas Eve supper, people open presents lying under the Christmas tree, and after that go to church for Midnight Mass. On December 25, on the 1st day of Christmas, there is usually a dinner made of leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner and people spending time with families, and the season for “caroling” begins, children wear different costumes, visit homes, sing carols and collect money. On December 26, the 2nd day of Christmas passes like the 1st day.

Raven: What sort of Polish Christmas traditions do you celebrate? 

Brielle: I think almost all that I talked about before. I always decorate a Christmas tree, make presents for my family, Presents lie under the tree and wait for the end of Christmas Eve supper. We always share the wafer and make wishes. At Christmas Eve supper we have traditional dishes, for example, dumplings with cabbage and mushrooms, dried plum and bean soup, fish, of course, different from this gutted carp. I always spend Christmas with my family. I think that’s all, Christmas is a very important time for everyone and I hope that despite the pandemic that decided to make our life difficult this year, everyone will manage to have a wonderful Christmas.

Raven: What do you miss the most about cosplaying since the Pandemic? 

Brielle: I think I miss conventions the most. The opportunity to go out in cosplay, take pictures with people, meet my friend’s cosplayers, for the convention afterparty, for cosplay competitions in a classic form, not online. I miss everything related to conventions, I miss my favorite Polish convent “Pyrkon”, I miss it when someone shouts “soon it will be dark” and everyone shouts “shut up” this is a “pyrkon” tradition, I miss singing in the evening “Pyrkon’s Song”. I miss this atmosphere of the convention, that people, despite being tired and sore after a whole day of cosplaying, are still happy and find the power to put on an uncomfortable costume the next day and go to the convention. This year was devastated by the pandemic, but let’s hope that in 2021 I will turn out much better.

Raven: If Raven Steel was a naughty interview all year long, what would you give him?

Brielle: According to Polish tradition, and probably not only Polish, but naughty people also get a twig, which they then beat in the ass. So I think if you are naughty you should also get a whipping twig…

Raven: Sweet. I’m long overdue.

Any sort of advice for aspiring cosplay/prop makers out there? The most important question to ask, Can I get a Hug?

Brielle: Awww of course you can. As for advice for aspiring cosplayers: don’t give up, not everything has to be perfect in the beginning, everyone started and made things that they laugh at when they look at it now. Also, don’t worry about hate, most of the haters have never done any cosplay, so their opinion is worthless. Just have fun with it, cosplay is all about fun.

Raven: Brielle. You will be visited by three Spirits tonight. Expect the first spirit to appear at the stroke of midnight. And tell them, Raven says, “Hello”! That’s all the time that we have. Thank you Brielle for allowing me to do this interview with you.  On behalf of the staff and I, we wish you a Merry Christmas a blessed New Year.  

Brielle: Thank you Raven for having me, I do appreciate it. If you should ever visit us, our twigs will be strong and waiting for your arrival to welcome you! And please vote for me. I am in the Redbull’s  cosplayOn competition. I am one of the finalists. Please click on the link below for a chance to vote for me and make my dream come true.

Konkurs CosplayON: Mamy 12 finalistów!
CosplayON: 12 finalistów drugiej edycji konkursu

Please Like. Please Share. And Above all, please Love this Holiday Season.

This has been a Raven Steel exclusive.

Open an Early Holiday Present with Cosplayer Tenshi Meirou

Forget leaving a plate full of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk for Good ‘Ol Saint Nick. Instead, why not give this exclusive interview from Raven Steel to keep Santa warm all through the night. My next cosplayer guest comes from a lovely country from Hungary. She’s lived there all of her life with her and her husband and has made some of the most beautiful cosplay wear ever seen. She is tall and a full-figured gal, but truly believes body-types should never stop from anyone to create a character he/she loves to portray. So please give your best Holiday Cheer to this wonderfully talented and beautifully alluring cosplayer, Mrs. Tenshi Meirou.

Raven: Welcome Tenshi Meirou. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. Please come sit by the roaring fire and enjoy my Christmas oasis. 

Tenshi: I am so happy and honored to be here doing this interview with you, Raven.

Raven: Your interview is best interpreted as me having a PS5 and the New Xbox series X under my Christmas tree with a year off from work with pay That’s how I’m so excited for this interview.

Tenshi: Thank you!

Raven: As you may not know before I begin all of my interview questions, I offer some words of advice, a ballad of encouragement when you find yourself at crossroads during your career. I hope you’ll take these words to heart whenever the world becomes too much to bear and you need that little push to get you back on track. So here goes, “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great!” So carry a big bow and have lots of quivers.

Now with that being said, please Tenshi, tell me about yourself.

Tenshi: Welcome dear readers, I’m Meirou Tenshi from Hungary. I’ve been cosplaying together with my husband since 2012.

Raven: What does Tenshi Meirou want for this year’s Christmas? 

Tenshi: I just wish 2021 to be better for everyone than in 2020. <3

Raven: Your color eyes and hair? 

Tenshi: I have blue eyes and light brown hair. I like naturality, never dyed my hair.

Raven: How tall are you? 

Tenshi: I’m 176 cm. Is it tall?

Raven: Do you have a special talent that no one knows about?

Tenshi: If overthinking would be a sport I would be no1, haha!

Raven: Do you speak or write any other languages?

Tenshi: I can only speak English other than my mother tongue, but some years ago I started learning Japanese. Sadly it was too hard, but I can translate little parts from the manga if I need it. I’m a real shoujo manga lover.

Raven: For the record, what sort of Christmas gift do the women of Hungary want? 

Tenshi: If she likes you, anything. If she feels you care about her, she’s already happy. (Chocolate of course. :P) But maybe some flowers are something special!

Raven: What does Tenshi Meirou love seeing during this Holiday Season? 

Tenshi: I’m always waiting for some snow as Christmas is coming, but the lights on the streets make me feel the warmth of the holidays.

We live in a small town, in the center you can hear Christmas songs played from the castle.

Raven: What sort of music do you love to listen to? 

Tenshi: I’m nostalgic about music, my favorite songs are still from my high school or earlier years, mainly rock or punk-rock.

But if I need to say one “band” it would be Owl City. It’s something special.

Raven: Is there a deep-dark secret you have been holding all these years and now are ready to confess (Just me being funny)?

Tenshi: Well, If I must confess, I like to help others, do things what they like. But if I say “I will make some sweet for you” I’m lying… I make it for myself. Sweets are life. I just love you enough to give from it. :D

Raven: Is there a candy or dessert you crave during this Holiday season?

Tenshi: We always make “méteres kalács”! I don’t know if it’s a well-known dessert or not, but we always make it around Christmas.

Raven: What sort of places would you show Raven Steel to have a good time or good eats?

Tenshi: I actually would show you my hometown. It’s sweet, calm, our little castle is beautiful and my parents have a restaurant here with some local specialties like goulash in a bread bowl. For one day, everyone would love it.

Raven: What makes you nerdy or geeky or just a beautiful gypsy?

Tenshi: I love a lot of games, anime, and mangas. It’s just hard to make everything that I love!

Raven: Are you a social butterfly or a quiet mouse?

Tenshi: I’m really quiet in person and on the internet, too. I like to hear others more than to talk. Of course not now! :)

Raven: Is there a celebrity star you would be happy to kiss under the mistletoe?

Tenshi: My husband is the biggest star in my life. :D  

Raven: Is there an anime/manga character best describes your personality? 

Tenshi: It’s a really hard question because people are way more complex. But maybe Susukihotaru from Otome Youkai Zakuro.

She’s quiet and nervous with new people or new situations like me but kind to anyone.

What makes her unique is that she has an ability: if she touches someone she can feel that person’s feelings (or even memories from items). I felt it close to me as I’m always interested in what’s in others’ head and/or heart.

Raven: What got you into Cosplaying?

Tenshi: In 2008 I was at an anime convention in Budapest with my friends and saw cosplay for the first time. I told my boyfriend/now husband, Kumori, that I loved it and he said we could try it anytime.

Later in 2012, we went to another con together, me as Tsunade from Naruto and him as Luffy from One Piece. We loved the feeling and continued this creative hobby.

Raven: What is the #1 Christmas song you would sing all day long?

Tenshi: “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…”

Raven: I’ve noticed many of your cosplays are Anime/Manga characters. Are you attracted to doing them? 

Tenshi: Yes, I’m really in love with Japanese culture and mythology. Japanese stories also make a lot of women characters with a shy, quiet, and kind personality, what is my most loved.

Raven: What character(s) give you the biggest satisfaction in creating a cosplay?

Tenshi: It was surely Ubume from Onmyoji. It was my hardest dress that I ever made but sadly I still need to take a good photoshoot with her.

Raven: To surprise Raven Steel this Christmas, what Hungarian gift would you offer?

Tenshi: We have some really interesting sweets with cottage cheese! (Diabetes, anyone? :D) We also have a special bonbon “szaloncukor” which is traditionally hung upon the Christmas tree (or put under it). We love to eat, haha!

Raven: Being you are a full-figured woman do you feel it is a blessing or a curse when cosplaying? 

Tenshi: To be honest, it’s good and bad at the same time. Of course, I like to feel “sexy” or “good looking” but I don’t like to oversexualize a younger girl character.

The problem is that sometimes my favorites are far from my body type – like Nezuko from Kimetsu no Yaiba. Of course, I made her this year as I wanted, it’s just “not perfect” to my liking. Still love it, I’m just a big critic of my work. I also drop some plans because I realize it wouldn’t look good on me.

Raven: Breaking down your bedroom door, a hoard of Killer Elves is going to attack you. Raven: What weapon, in your room, would Tenshi Meirou pick up to defend herself with? 

Tenshi: Our cats! They are real devils with the speed of lightning.

Raven: How did you create your cosplayer name, Tenshi Meirou?  

Tenshi: In my high school years,  I suffered from depression, I was mostly alone at home as my parents worked so much. I already had Kumori as my boyfriend and I started to write stories about us in different situations and worlds. So I named the angel character Meirou Tenshi, which means “clear angel” and the demon character Kumori, which means “shadow or cloudy”.

As we lived far from each other I wrote about their love cursed by God so they needed to fight for their happiness again and again (quite like Nanatsu no Taizai’s story about Elizabeth and Meliodas. I guess that’s why I love cosplaying Elizabeth.)

Now we use their names as nicknames online. Oh, local thing: Here in Hungary, we write names like in Japan: Family name first.

Raven: Is there a Christmas gift you were completely surprised by? 

Tenshi: When Kumori gave me the Dragon Age Inquisition game! I waited for it to be released, but he was super fast, I was so happy. Still one of my favorite games.

Raven: How do you feel cosplaying Dark, Bloody, or Gothic interest you doing them or just the cute and sexy ones?

Tenshi: My main interest is “cute” or “elegant”. My sexy ones are mostly because it looks good on me or Kumori suggests it, or maybe for a cosplay group.

I also really love gothic dresses, but don’t know too much character for it. Not long ago my Banshee (from Iratus game) was finally a darker photoshoot, and I was pleased about it. Next year we plan to make an Alice, Madness Returns shoot with the girls.

Raven: What was the most embarrassing gift you got on Christmas Day? 

Tenshi: Years ago I got the same book from my mom and my cousins… it was awkward. 

Raven: Is cosplaying in your country very popular? Is it widely accepted? Are fellow cosplayers help each other?

Tenshi: This year has made the Hungarian cosplay community quiet. Some people favored more to go to conventions than to be in cosplay. For me, this year was much more active, because I made smaller projects and I didn’t need to make a bigger one to conventions.

So I feel it is less popular than earlier, but the small groups/friends have stayed together, especially my friends. I can’t say anything about the community, I feel like it’s the same as anywhere else: some people are supportive, some are toxic. But I’m happy that if I tell anyone that I sew costumes, they like it.

Raven: What sort of places in Hungary have you done a photo-shoot?

Tenshi: Sometimes we went out to a forest or once behind the castle, but I’m nervous in cosplay outside as people start to stare and also harder to work with the lights. So we prefer our little home studio or normal photo studios in Budapest. Sometimes we travel here if we find a perfect place.

Raven: Are there any places in the world you would do a photo shoot in?

Tenshi: Sadly, we haven’t traveled anywhere, but Japan is a must-have photoshoot.  I wish to take pictures in beautiful gardens, torii gates, and temples. I’m in love with kimonos and kimono-like dresses.

Raven: On Tenshi Meirou Christmas Special, who would be your celebrity guests?

Tenshi: Tsuda Kenjiro! He’s my ultimate favorite seiyuu. I always recognize him, he has a unique voice.

Raven: How do the people of your country celebrate Christmas?  

Tenshi: Here, Santa Claus arrives on the 6th of December and leaves chocolate at your window. On the 24th, close family members come together and “little Jesus” leaves his gifts to the little ones under the tree.

As an adult, I will spend the 24th with just Kumori (as my dear granny left this year) and visit my parents on the 25th. Nothing special, just spend some time together.

Raven: Is it true that Clinging to your drinking glasses is rude in public? 

Tenshi: Never heard about it, we do it anywhere with stronger alcohol (I’m not a big drinker by the way). :)

Raven: Are the characters you portray reflect your personality or do the personality of the characters you want to become?

Tenshi: I think my most loved characters have a little from me and somewhat I want to be. There are so many situations in which I wish to know how I would behave. I can just hope that if I will need it, I could be brave and confident. What I’m not! :D

Raven: From Charles Dickens a Christmas Carol, what ghost would be interesting to meet?

Tenshi: The 3rd for sure. It’s always interesting to see the future and to know if I want it to be different.

Raven: Was there ever a cosplay outfit that your fans loved but hated to wear? 

Tenshi: Lilithmon from Digimon. It was a lot of work and after we went to a con I just realized that “oh god, my whole chest is seen!”

I started to feel so uncomfortable that I wore a scarf on myself closely all the time. People loved it as it was really popular here when we were kids, and I learned that not everything is good in person what is good in a pictures. :D

Raven: If possible to give back all the appreciation from your fans, what sort of gift would you give them? 

Tenshi: If I could do anything, I would invite them to a drink and talk, get to know anyone at least a little.

Raven: Knowing Raven Steel was naughty all year long, what would you give him?

Tenshi: Santa would give you birch for sure! But I would give you some fancy chocolate. :D

Raven: How supportive has your friends, family, and/or loved one has been to you?

Tenshi: My parents always said that I should do what I want and love. (Still they never really understand why I’m cosplaying but never said to finish it, I already worked that time).

My current friends are cosplayers or anime fans, too, so they are super supportive. And of course, Kumori is my other half, always here to help and take photos of me. (These pictures were all made by him. <3)

Raven: Any sort of advice for aspiring cosplayers/prop makers out there? 

Tenshi: Just start cosplaying! Buy or order from someone, start with a wardrobe cosplay, or even try hand sewing if you feel the power!

But I surely advise everyone to try to make something from their own, at least once. It’s a different feeling to wear your hand’s work, and don’t be ashamed to try!

Raven: The most important question to ask, Can I get a Hug?

Tenshi: Everyone deserves a hug (just ask it kindly)! <3

Raven: How do you say in your language, “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

Tenshi: In the Hungarian version this was said:„ Talán ünnepet nem is vehetsz boltban, mert az ünnep inkább benned, legbelül van. ” 

Tenshi: Means: “Maybe you couldn’t buy the holidays in a store, because it’s rather deep in your heart”.

Tenshi: Thank you for your time Raven and everyone who read this much! Stay safe and celebrate with your loved ones! 

Raven: Tenshi, it was an honor to meet you and know a little more about the women of Hungarian. They’re certainly a special kind of European women and is a blessing to have in this world. A Merry Christmas to you and your family and a wonderful 2021 New Year.

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please Love this Holiday Season.

This is a Raven Steel exclusive.

MMA, Alien, Future State, and Superman, Phillip Kennedy Johnson Talks about his Busy 2021 in Comics

Coming off of his well reviewed indie graphic novel Kill a Man (with Steve Orlando, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell), Johnson sets his sites on two hot properties… one at Marvel and one at DC!

Joined by artist Salvador Larroca, Phillip launches the Alien franchise at Marvel with Alien #1 in March 2021!

In January, Johnson takes us to the future as part of DC’s Future State! He gives us a glimpse of what might be with Future State: House of El, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski and Superman: Worlds of War, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Mikel Janín.

In March we get the first tease of his recently announced take on Superman in Infinite Frontier #0 with artist Jamal Igle.

Then in March Johnson takes over Superman with artist Phil Hester and Action Comics with Eric Gapstur and is then joined in the coming months by Scott Godlewski (on Superman) and Daniel Sampere (on Action Comics) before reuniting with Future State: Superman: Worlds of War co-creator Mikel Janín on a special project that hasn’t been announced!

We’re talking MMA, Superman, Alien, 5G, and so much more!

Cosplayer Mila Alexia Jaeger Gets Into the Holiday Spirit

For this coming Christmas, I’ve found a wonderful gift we can all share. Thank you all and welcome back Holiday shoppers as Raven Steel brings some Tidings of Joy to all this week with another cosplay interview. This Holiday stocking stuffer comes from Eastern Europe with Mila Alexia Jaeger who brings her cosplay wear artistry via her Instagram and her Facebook pages. She’s been cosplaying for years gaining both experience and fanship. And next year, Mila will be coming out with a very sexy 2021 calendar to brighten your wall all year long. So without further adieu, please show some Christmas Love to my next interview guest, Ms. Mila Alexia Jaeger.

Raven: Oh, baby it’s cold outside. Welcome, Mila to my Holiday interview! Thank you so much.

Mila: Thank you Raven Steel. It is a pleasure to be here doing this interview with you. This is such a nice Holiday surprise.

Raven: Believe me when I say, you’re like one of the Top 3 things on my Christmas list.

As you may not know before starting all of my festive Holiday questions, I offer some words of advice, a ballad of encouragement when you find yourself at crossroads during your career. I hope you’ll take these words to heart whenever the world becomes too much to bear and you need that little push to get you back on track. So here goes, “Nothing is Impossible. The word itself says, I’m Possible”. Mila, your Polar Express awaits.

Let’s get this Christmas party into high gear. Would you be so kind and tell our readers all about yourself? 

Mila: Hello, my name is Mila Alexia. I am a cosplay loving girl and living in Vienna, Austria.

Raven: How tall are you? 

Mila: Waifu sized :)

Raven: Do you speak or write any other languages?

Mila: I do speak and write German as my mother’s tongue, and English is fine for me too. I learned a bit of Japanese a few years ago but forgot most of it again ^^°

Raven: Does Mila Jaeger workout/exercise or does it come naturally? 

Mila: I’m really lazy when it comes to workout or sports :) but I try to eat healthily and like to be outside talking walks in nature.

Raven: What does Mila love seeing during this Holiday Season? 

Mila: Snow hopefully, and I love to see all the Christmas lights and decorations.

Raven: What sort of music do you love to listen to? 

Mila: Very different things actually, but I like the new KDA songs at the moment

Raven: Is there a Christmas gift you got that made you cry with JOY?

Mila: Always the cute presents from my Darling <3.

Raven: What sort of places in Austria would you show Me to have a good time or good eats?

Mila: There are a lot of nice places and restaurants in Austria and depending on what time of the year you visit I would recommend different stuff.

But if you are into sweets I always would show you the Hotel Sacher and their delicious and famous chocolate cake there.

Raven: What makes you nerdy or geeky?

Mila: I guess the fact that I’m cosplaying haha, and of course because I like to game a lot and watch anime.

Raven: Is there an anime/manga character best describes your personality?

Mila: I think a mix of Zero Two, Rin Tohsaka, and Raphtalia Hihi :)

Raven: What got you into Cosplaying?

Mila: I wanted to do a cosplay already a few years before I did. When I saw some pics of really cool Asian cosplayers online but it took a while until I found out there are such things as conventions and that it’s a thing in Europe too haha.

Then I tried to do my first cosplay after visiting a few conventions :). And most important I love doing it since I met my Darling back then <3

Raven: How do you feel cosplaying Dark, Bloody, or Gothic interest you doing them or just the cute and sexy ones?

Mila: I love the cute and sexy chars but also doing quite badass or dark ones, I don’t think about it, if I love the character or design I just do it.

Raven: Have you ever re-gifted a gift to a friend/family member? If so, what?

Mila: Yes, I did, when I got something that I had no use for but I did know someone else who really would love it. It was a lipstick in a color I don’t like.

Raven: How is the cosplay atmosphere in Austria? Is it widely accepted? Do people LOVE or HATE it.

Mila: It is not like in Japan where a lot of people know about cosplay and conventions, most people are amazed when they see cosplayers on the street.

Or when you tell them about it, and they ask if it’s like for a movie or show or anything, haha. Most of them are very interested and like what they see. And the younger people and gamers always love to see the characters they know from games or series.

Raven: What sort of places have you done a photo shoot?

Mila: Really a lot of various places. Inside studios, at home, on castle ruins or broken buildings. In nature like mountains or at a lake, on the beach, or even at an abandoned mining location, we always try to find fitting spots anywhere to match the character I will do :)

Raven: Are there any places in the world you would love to do a photoshoot in?

Mila: Anywhere with my Darling <3

Raven: Have you ever done or will do any Lewd, Spicy, or Fan Only photos/videos?

Mila: I think I always have done a bit of sexy stuff ;) Not sure if I will do more spicy or Fan only stuff yet.

Raven: Should women take part in this side of cosplaying? 

Mila: If they want to why not? But First of all, Its nothing you need to do for cosplay. It’s nothing women should do just because it’s trending or “everyone does it” or just for easy money.

It’s something that will be forever on the internet, visible for everyone, and cosplayers should be aware of that and feel 100% comfortable with that fact before doing NSFW/fan only content or they will regret it later. But if you are aware of that then sure, anyone can do it if they like it.

Raven: Is it for profit or for artistry for doing Lewds/Spicy media? 

Mila: Can be both, I think you see the difference in the photos/video if it is artistic or for-profit

Raven: Who should control the types of media a cosplayer be allowed, the fans requesting or you?

Mila: You should always only do what you like to and feel good with :)

Raven: Have you ever experience any unusual requests (Bet it was Feet)? 

Mila: Yes and yes :D

Raven: What sort of surprise gift would Raven Steel find under his Christmas tree this year from Mila Alexia Jaeger?

Mila: Maybe a Mila Alexia Calendar 2021 Hihi :)

Raven: How have your fans treated Mila Alexia Jaeger overall? 

Mila: My fans are kind and respectful and I’m happy to have a great community like this <3.

Raven: What do you miss the most about conventions since the Pandemic?

Mila: Just miss being there and meet my friends and have a good time together so much. And also the chance to get to know new people there and meet fans.

Raven: Was there ever a cosplay that your fans loved but hated to wear? 

Mila: That would be my Bayonetta cosplay, everybody loved it but it was uncomfortable and I just never liked wearing it too much, even if I put a lot of work in it^^°

Raven: I’ve noticed, you are coming out with a 2021 Calendar. Will your photos make us forget 2020? 

Mila: I choose my best pics for it so yes I hope so ;) And that people are happy with it.

Raven: What cosplay character would you love being for the rest of your life? 

Mila: Definitely Zero Two <3

Raven: How supportive has your friends, family, and/or loved one has been to you?

Mila: My family likes what I do and the fact that I do a lot of stuff myself like crafting and sewing. But I can’t wish for anything better than to have my love at my side, always there for his waifu, helping with my cosplays, and caring for me when I’m down because something didn’t work as planned <3

Raven: Is there a candy or dessert you crave during this Holiday season?

Mila: Just waiting for the self-made Christmas cookies from my mother and grandmother, it’s always the best in the holiday season.

Raven: What sort of surprise gift would Raven Steel find under his Christmas tree this year from Mila Alexia Jaeger?

Mila: Maybe a Mila Alexia Calendar 2021 Hihi :)

Raven: Well everyone, that is all the time that we have as Mila and I are going to build a snowman. But before we go, I wanted to give a Yule-log thank you for having Mila Alex Jaeger join me on this Holiday interview. 

Mila: Raven, you just keep doing what you do. Thank you so much for having me on this interview. I found it both fun and weird at the same time.

Raven: I aim to please. If I could as you one more question and ask where can readers get lots more of Mila artistry and that new 2021 calendar?

Mila: Of course, here are my sites: 

Instagram
Facebook – Mila Alexia Jaeger – Home
The calendar on Ko-fi

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please Love this Holiday Season.

This has been a Raven Steel exclusive.

Writer Alex de Campi: Veterans, Vampires, Truth & Fiction

“If you can do comedy you can do horror”- writer and letterer Alex de Campi returns to the show to talk about her latest comics

  • Vintage pulp horror graphic novel Dracula, Motherf**ker (Image Comics) with Erica Henderson
  • Sci-fi thriller Madi: Once Upon A Time in the Future co-written by filmmaker Duncan Jones
  • Veteran action/buddy comedy Bad Karma — read it online 
  • True War Stories, an anthology of soldiers’ deployment tales by soldiers themselves.

Follow Alex on twitter

Elana’s review of Bad Karma

We Talk with Bloodshot Artist Pedro Andreo About Making His Valiant!

Bloodshot #10

Pedro Andreo is a name that most of you are likely unfamiliar with unless you read Bloodshot #8 or Aartha, Chronicles of the No Lands. The talented Spaniard is a new face in the North American comics scene, and we got a chance to sit down with him via the magic of the internet and ask a few questions about his work on Bloodshot and how it came to be.

In the lead up to his return to Bloodshot with issues #10 through #12, we talk to Andreo about his upcoming run.

And check out some of Pedro Andreo’s work from Bloodshot #8 and Bloodshot #10 below!

Graphic Policy: How did you come to work on Bloodshot?

Pedro Andreo: It’s been an exciting ride! Back in December 2019 I was trying to get some interviews with editors at a local comic convention here in Madrid and my portfolio caught the attention of Senior Editor Heather Antos. After a lovely chat and exchanging cards, I did some samples. I was super happy! Not long after, Senior Editor Lysa Hawkins approached me to see if I was available to do Bloodshot 8 (BOY, WAS I!) and it seems my work on it was well-received cause I’m still working on the series! 

GP: How does working for Valiant differ from what you’ve done in the past?

PA: I would say it’s mostly about the style and deadlines. I try to do my best work in every page and every issue, so, to me, the only difference is sticking to a more realistic tone and delivering everything on a tighter schedule!

GP: We’ve seen quite a few talented artists on this series over the course of the last ten issues – do you feel the need to alter your style to keep the comic’s visuals consistent?

PA: Not so much as alter the style completely, but definitely I have some big shoes to fill! Given that my style is influenced not only by US authors but manga and European artists too, I’ve had to alter it slightly to keep it more or less similar to the other great artists that have been working on this series. It’s been a pleasure, though, and a challenge that I’ve fully embraced and keeps me learning, improving and enjoying page after page.

Bloodshot #10

GP: When taking on issues with a gap as you’ve done with #8 and #10, did you get to see the script of #9 to make sure you’re aware of any visual nuance?

PA: I didn’t get the script on issue #9 itself, but that’s mostly on me, because I didn’t ask for it (I know for a fact that Lysa and Tim would have sent it to me within minutes). Reading the script for #10 I got the whole picture fast (Tim is an amazing writer and everything is super clear). The plot itself happens a little after the events of issue 9, so there’s little to no elements that carry over from one to another. In any case, they provided me with enough visual references and the materials I needed to get issue 10 rolling.

GP: With Bloodshot introducing characters, KT and Wiggins, from the Vin Diesel led movie in the tenth issue, was there any pressure (internal or external) to capture the actors’ likenesses or were you able to put a little of your own spin on the characters?

PA: Mostly internal, since Valiant didn’t pressure me at all about it. I’m not a very realistic artist when it comes to facial likeness!

GP: You’ve done some work in Spain and Italy – how does the process differ when working on an American comic?

PA: Not a lot, really. The process itself is practically the same, with a few differences on stylistic choices or mediums. I’m going fully digital on Bloodshot, but I worked on traditional pen and paper (no inking!) for Italy for 5 years, so, although the process of the page and the drawing are the same, there’s some stuff you can and cannot do depending on the medium you’re working on. 

GP: You’ve said that fantasy tends to be where you excel at – is there any character that you’d love to get your hands on?

PA: Oh! Great question! I think I would love to work on Shadowman or Punk Mambo. There’s always so much creativity involved when you have to design magic, other dimensions and such weird stuff. Doctor Mirage would be amazing too. Even X-O Manowar or Eternal Warrior have some fantasy side I would love to explore!

GP: Do you have any other projects for Valiant you’re currently working on you can tell us about? 

PA: Not at the moment! The whole COVID-19 situation has thrown a wrench on all the publishing schedules, as you know, so I’m only working on Bloodshot at the moment. I hope we get back slowly but surely and make some more awesome stuff for you all to enjoy soon enough!

GP: Thanks for chatting and looking forward to checking out the issue!

Bloodshot #8

Bloodshot #10

Bursting Forth from Sunny Florida with Broadsword in Hand is Amazon Steph!

Forged from the scorching-hot temperatures of the sunny state of Florida, Amazon Steph keeps her cool as well as her sharpened broadsword on hand. As my Holiday-themed interviews continue all throughout this festive season, my gift came in early this year. At a gracious height of 6 feet tall, this wonder of a woman has made men grab Dynamite comics as she’s on the front cover as Red Sonja #21. She can be as many characters as she desires, but most of all, she’s a woman who cares for the little ones of all colors, races, and ethnic backgrounds. So throw down your ribbons and wrapping paper and show your love to this Orange blossom princess and welcome Amazon Steph cosplay.

Raven: Hello Amazon Steph. Thank you so much for taking a chance on this Rainbow catcher son of a gun, Please feel comfortable and unstrap your Amazonian broadsword from your hip. 

Amazon: Hello everyone. Seasons Greetings and hello to you too, Raven Steel. Thank you for having me do this Holiday interview with you.

Raven: As you may not know before I begin with any of my festive Holiday questions, I offer some words of advice, a ballad of encouragement when you find yourself at crossroads during your career. I hope you’ll take these words to heart whenever the world becomes too much to bear and you need that little push to get you back on track. So here goes, “Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!”

So True! Nevertheless, Amazon Steph, take a deep breath, unsheath your sword, and tell us all about you. 

Amazon: I was born and raised in South Florida and while I have lived in a couple of other states, I settled back in Florida with my family and to be close to the ocean.  I have brown hair and green/blue eyes.

Raven: How many languages do you speak/write consciously? 

Amazon: Unfortunately, I am monolingual and only converse in English.

Raven: So you order Chinese food the same way I do, in English. Sweet!

Relatively speaking how tall are you?

Amazon: I am six-foot-tall barefoot but I honestly always forget how tall I am until I am trying on clothing (it is rather hard to find off the rack clothes that fit aside from gowns or wedding dresses)  or someone else points it out.

Raven: What cosplay outfit would Amazon Steph use to fight against Santa’s Elves?

Amazon: Holiday Red Sonja of course!

Raven: Does Amazon Steph work out or does it come naturally? 

Amazon: Regarding working out, I tend to go through hot and cold phases but was fortunate enough to grow up playing quite a few different sports and dancing so I attribute my physique more to my upbringing than a consistent workout regiment.

Raven: What does Amazon Steph love during this Holiday Season? 

Amazon: I love family and friend get-togethers but this year that won’t happen for safety reasons.  Womp womp

Raven: How do you feel when you become the character you are cosplaying?

Amazon: I prefer cosplaying characters that I feel I can relate to on some level.  If I can’t relate to them at all, I can feel a little awkward and I think it shows. Therefore, I tend to choose characters that I enjoy cosplaying.  I must admit, cosplaying villains can be quite fun!

Raven: What sort of pet is Zeek(I’ve never seen a cat like that)?

Amazon: Zeek is an exotic called a Genet.  He has gotten quite the Tic-Tok following.

Raven: Yes he has, but I’m still waiting to be accepted.

Raven: If the Chucky Doll was real, who would you give this gift as a Christmas present?

Amazon: No one deserves that level of torment in 2020!

Raven: Is there a deep dark secret and now are ready to confess?

Amazon: Not sure I have a deep dark secret, but it does surprise people to find out that I ran for public office once.

Raven: Is there a fantasy character you find that best describes your personality?

Amazon: I think that I most affiliate with Wonder Woman and not just due to my height/build.  I think it is her ethics, her compassion, and her strength combined with a touch of dry wit.

Raven: What are some favorite things you love to do/go with any COVID? 

Amazon: My other favorite thing to do, other than craft or go to cons, would be to go and enjoy live music.  Nothing really can compare to the energy that pulses during a live show, preferably rock n’ roll.

Raven: Using Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth on reporter Raven Steel, what would ask of him this Holiday Season?

Amazon: What got you interested in interviewing cosplayers?

Raven: That, my sister, is a story for another time and another Alias. 

Raven: Which Holiday season does Amazon Steph enjoy more to cosplay?

Amazon: I haven’t been cosplaying too long and aside from the obvious, Halloween, it would be the holiday season.  I have enjoyed making my builds for Holiday Matsuri.  It is a fun way to express my favorite characters during the holiday season in a new and original way.p]

Raven: The honor is mine knowing your Red Sonja cosplay was on November 2020 of the #21 issue in Dynamite comics.

Raven: How did you get that gig? 

Amazon: A rep from Dynamite reached out to me and I was shocked.  I feel honored that they wanted to use me for a cover. I hope I get the opportunity to grace a second Red Sonja cover and a Vampirella cover.

Raven: Let’s dispel the myth/legend story once and for all about women who are 6ft tall?

Amazon: We do not all play basketball!  Some of us (me) don’t even like it.

Raven: Being you are taller than most cosplayers, is it a curse or a blessing when cosplaying?

Amazon: I would say being so tall as a cosplayer has its pros and cons.  The pros would be that I can cosplay the character and when people see me in person it creates a great impression.  I love hearing the stories from parents who tell me, after their kids met me, that I became known in their house as the real Wonder Woman.

Raven: You may not believe this, but I would look up to you.

Amazon: However, it is a curse because everything I wear must be custom made.  I can’t buy anything off the rack to use in my cosplay aside from shoes.

Raven: What is Amazon Steph’s weakness and cannot say NO when it comes to food/Candy/ or something else?

Amazon: I am happy to say that I have learned the art of saying no. Occasionally I will even utter an, oh Hell No!

Raven: Does your modeling experience help when you’re cosplaying?

Amazon: I don’t have much modeling experience so I mainly think about the character and how they would be when I don the outfit.

Raven: What can Amazon Steph do to make this Holiday Season memorable this year?

Amazon: This interview :)

Raven: Is there a cosplay outfit you hate to wear but your fans love you in?

Amazon: I honestly hate the Justice League Wonder Woman outfit even though that is the first cosplay I ever wore and the one that started me on this journey. The top is foam and foam is just so hot.  I honestly don’t know how some people wear head-to-toe foam cosplays.  I would melt!  However, I am not sure what people’s favorite is anymore.

Raven: How about characters that are Dark, Bloody, or Gothic? Interested in doing them?

Amazon: I love the dark broody gothic characters!  I am going to be making a new Morticia Addams soon.  I also prefer sexy characters over cute.  Cute has never been my style and at 6’ I never felt like cute described me very well.

Raven: What do Amazon women want as a gift this season?

Amazon: Food! I can always eat, Haha!

Raven: Is chainmail something all women should start learning to make and wear?

Amazon: YES. Chainmail or scale mail should be incorporated into clothing!  I think it makes a wonderful accent.

Raven: I’ve noticed most of your characters are Powerful and Righteous characters. 

Does your personality resemble the type of character you want to portray or do the personalities of the characters you want to become?

Amazon: I choose characters that fit my personality and I think that I choose those types of characters because I have always had a strong sense of ethics.  Some characters are a better fit than others, but I no longer will cosplay a character with whom I can’t associate.

Raven: How so?

Amazon: This will be controversial, but, for example, I could never cosplay Harley Quinn.  I just can’t identify with her. On the other hand, Poison Ivy has facets of her personality that I can understand so I just amplify those personality traits when I cosplay her.

Raven: Can Red Sonja be the next Holiday gift sensation?

Amazon: I would love that!  I would love to see Red Sonja hit the mainstream again.

Raven: In a recent Youtube video, you’re being painted. First off, WOW! You are good. I would have been squeamish. 

How was that and were you auctioned off as artwork? 

Amazon: FD Sedano Art videoed and took a couple of pictures of me when my friend Travo had painted me.  I have known Travo for something like 20 years so it was pretty relaxed and respectful.  The worst aspect was just standing for hours, Haha!

Raven: Have you done any Latex cosplay characters?

Amazon: I have worn a latex catsuit for Selene from Underworld and a gender-bent Nightwing. The Nightwing was for Holiday Matsuri last year. All the blue was scalemail I made to go with it.

Raven: Is there a cosplay you would love to do?

Amazon: I am dying to do several darker characters. I.e. Witching hour Wonder Woman.

Raven: I loved the Witching Hour series.

Do you love doing photoshoots indoors or outdoors? 

Amazon: I haven’t done too many cosplay photoshoots actually but I have so many I want to do and it is a combination of indoor and outdoor settings.  I would love to get a Red Sonja shoot with a waterfall.

Raven: What do nerdy men want in their Christmas Stocking? 

Amazon: Red Sonja #21 Amazon Steph comic book, Haha!

Raven: What got you started into cosplaying? 

Amazon: Wow, so that is a very long story.  To keep it short and sweet, I had ordered a wonder woman outfit for an event that I was putting on for women empowerment but it didn’t come on time.  When it finally arrived, Supercon was around the corner and I already had tickets so I decided, why not go as Wonder Woman?  I still have this amazing outfit.  The rest is history.

Raven: Is Amazon Steph comfortable doing Spicy/Lewd photos?

Amazon: I am comfortable with wearing cosplays that show skin; however, I don’t do anything Lewd; but I may.  Who knows?  I have one photoshoot that I did in a tub and I think it may be borderline Lewd, but the pictures came out so beautifully that, to me, it looks more like art because of the mood portrayed through the picture.

Raven: Should the fans or the cosplayer dictate what sort of photos are available for purchase?

Amazon: The cosplayer should always do what makes them comfortable. I do not think the fans should decide what the cosplayer may or may not be comfortable with.

Raven:  Was there ever an unusual request asked by a fan? I bet you it was feet, right? 

Amazon: I would not repeat some of the requests asked of me; but nothing came to fruition for the person who asked, because of again discretion of what the cosplayer is comfortable with and not the requestor.

Raven: How did you get the cosplayer name, AmazonSteph Cosplayer? 

Amazon: Coming up with AmazonSteph cosplayer just made sense because I am an Amazon and Cosplayer.  It just sort of worked and more importantly, it was available across all platforms haha.

Raven: How many cosplay outfits do you own?

Amazon: I have about 20 cosplays.  I need to have a lot more shoots to show all the new ones off!!!

Raven: You must have a walk-in closet or at least a storage rental place.

Raven: Should the Nightmare before Christmas be aired during this Holiday season?

Amazon: YES, and every holiday season!

Raven: Being this was a bad year for cosplayers, for 2021. 

What would you love to see come back? 

Amazon: I just can’t wait for the cons again. I love getting to interact with people in character and see my friends, some of whom I can only see at cons.

Raven: Do you have any new outfits you are working on that will break the internet?

Amazon: I have so many new outfits but I don’t know if any will break the internet.  Not even sure what cosplay I would do that could break the internet haha.

Raven: If you became a Holiday toy doll, what cosplay outfit would she be dressed in?

Amazon: If I became a Holiday toy, I would love for it to be my Winter Wonder-land cosplay with the armor and bracelets having an ability to light up.  I was very proud of the concept of that cosplay and how the final look came together.

Raven: What a gift from your fans would be surprised to the point of tearing for JOY?

Amazon: I think donations in my name to Toys for Tots or something like that would be the most touching gift.

Raven: That would truly be a wonderful gift to do (AM I RIGHT, READERS?!!!).

Raven: Is there a particular celebrity you be interested in kissing under the mistletoe

Amazon: Yes, and I will leave it there…but it would have to be mutual. Consent and all 😁.

Raven: What sort of advice or words of wisdom you can offer new cosplayers out there?

Amazon: Words of wisdom:  Be patient with yourself.  Skills come with time.  When I started all of this, all I could do was paint a little.  Now I can sew, craft with foam, weave chainmail, weave scale mail, create patterns, work a little with epoxy, and sew and tool leather.

I am NOT an expert in any of them and everything I have done has been done multiple times until I am happy with the result.  Therefore being patient with yourself may be the most important thing.  Do it for you and not others… And of course, HAVE FUN!

Raven: Being this 2020 is the year of Social Distancing. Can I get a Holiday Hug? 

Amazon: ABSOLUTELY!

Raven: It looks like the fire from the fireplace is all but gone. That’s all the time we have with AmazonSteph. Thank you so much AmazonSteph cosplay for allowing me to do this Holiday-themed interview with you. Now, can you unlock the door, please?

Amazon: Thank you Raven Steel. I had a blast answering your questions as well as I appreciate you undoing your restraints.

Raven: What are friends for?

If I could ask you one more question, where can my readers get more of AmazonSteph cosplay?

Amazon: Well, for you Raven, not a problem. Here are some of my site anyone can access:

@amazoncosplayer literally, email, ko-fi, patreon, etc are set up under that name.  Please just be aware that not all are active. I am the most active just on Instagram.

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please Love one another.

This is a Raven Steel Holiday exclusive.

Join and Talk the Future with Zack Kaplan

The Future. Ultra-modern megacities reward millions of their citizens with a completely funded life, with every need met, from food to housing and healthcare, in order to compete in an economic power struggle in which population is key.

But a few rural residents still cling to their independence in what last American small towns are left. When a nearby megacity pressures the people of a small town to join up or else, a young teenage girl named Clem will learn how far she’ll go to defend her principles.

Join the Future is the western genre in a futuristic setting from writer Zack Kaplan, art from Piotr Kowalski, and published by AfterShock.

This January the five issue series is collected in a trade and if you missed the individual issues, this is one to check out!

We talk to Zack about the series and what’s the future for Join the Future.

You can pre-order the collection now!

Find a local comic shop

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