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Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno Takes Us on a Stoned Kung-Fu Adventure with Stoned Master

Stoned Master

Aubrey Sitterson returns to Kickstarter, this time with his co-creator of The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling Chris Moreno. Stoned Master is about a burnout martial artist using stoned kung fu to defend his Los Angeles neighborhood of Chavez Heights from a rapacious corporation.

With the project now live, we got a chance to talk to Aubrey and Chris about the comics’ influences and what’s the best way to get stoned and read it.

You can back the project now before it ends on May 20.

Graphic Policy: From wrestling to stoned Kung-Fu. How’d Stoned Master come about?

Chris Moreno: I feel like it was a gradual process rather than a bolt of lightning moment, but I recall Aubrey and I had a blast working on The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling, and I mentioned how much fun I had drawing the action scenes, but because we were covering the entirety of the history of the art form I always had to move on to another subject when I would have loved to draw an entire fight scene. That spurred many discussions about doing an all-action/fighty-type book next, and then that led to talking about our favorite kung fu flicks. That’s when I recommended to Aubrey that we watch a little movie from 1977 called Death Promise, the story of two ass-kicking best friends who use martial arts to fight to save their NY apartment building from a syndicate of evil slumlords trying to force them out. It’s a real schlocky hidden gem (with a great titular theme song and a poster by Neal Adams, to boot!) and one of my favorite types of action movies, where it seems like they just got a bunch of stuntpeople and martial artists together and built a movie around them. But it also has this level that we really responded to, which was that it was basically a story about tenants’ rights, but the tenants using martial arts to fight their landlords instead of, say, starting a co-op. Then we started talking about what the better version of that kind of story could be.

Aubrey Sitterson: I remain immensely proud of what Chris and I accomplished with The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling. However, when you’re doing nonfiction – especially something with as broad a purview as CBSOPW – you’ve got a lot of masters to serve. We knew that our next project needed to be something we could cut fully loose on, leaning into all the action and comedy that we excel at, i.e.,  the stuff that makes a comic truly rip. Stoned Master fits the bill, and, like the best collaborations, exists in the big meaty section of the CHRIS & AUBREY’S INTERESTS Venn diagram.

GP: Be honest, you were stoned while making this, right?

CM: I can only speak for myself, but I was not under the influence of any substances while working on this project. I actually can’t draw while stoned, I just get really chill, sit on my couch, and watch movies like Death Promise all day.

AS: Dude, honestly; look at me. Do I look like a guy who gets stoned? Come on, now.

Stoned Master

GP: I’ve seen some of the art. How’d the visual style come about? I notice from the pages I’ve seen it’s very bright in colors.

CM: I was born in CA, but spent my whole life on the East Coast, which has its own beauty, though it’s kind of earthy and neutral compared to living in LA. There’s a vibrance of color everywhere you look– the buildings and local shops, the neighborhoods, the communities with full-wall murals. Even the clothes people wear or the cars they drive. It’s just a place that embraces color. When we talked about setting the story in LA, I knew I wanted to showcase that vibrance in every panel.

GP: The comic has a burnout martial artist using stoned kung fu to take on a corporation. Aubrey, your recent Beef Bros seems like it’d be somewhat anti-corporation. Going through a phase with that?

AS: I believe that all art is political, even self-proclaimed apolitical work, especially in the polarized time in which we currently find ourselves. But something else I’ve learned is that, when it comes to expressing my political beliefs, I need subtlety, nuance, even ambiguity, along with the space to work big issues out in all their complexity. Personally, I haven’t found a way to get any of that on social media, which is why I’ve been making such a concerted effort to explore this stuff in my fiction work, which is a medium perfectly suited to rumination.

GP: I see a comic of taking on an evil corporation in Los Angeles, and I go to Breakin 2. Is there something about Los Angeles being the location for these battles?

CM: Aubrey and I actually put together a “movie mood board” of films for inspiration and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (one is obligated to say the entire title at all times) is definitely high on that board. Fights occur in our book similarly to how the power of breakdancing could make miracles happen in that film. That hospital scene where those surgeons start poppin’ mid-surgery and bring a dead patient back to life? We hope to hit that level.

GP: So, what type of pot would you suggest while reading this? Would you go CBD? Edibles? Leaf?

CM: Definitely edibles. Grab some gummies or brownie bites, something that allows you to have one hand free to turn the page.

AS: Every time Stoned Master readers open their mouths to laugh or gasp at the intense, hilarious, kung fu action, they should take a healthy bong rip. By my estimation, they’ll be fully obliterated about a quarter of the way through. Increases reread value that way.

Stoned Master

GP: Are you basing the “stoned kung fu” on anything real?

CM: Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master films are the primary inspiration Frankie’s style. Where Jackie had moves that were based off of drunkard’s actions (hands holding the cup, arms carrying the keg, etc.), Frankie’s moves are all based off the pothead’s actions (pinching the joint, rolling papers, lighting the hash pipe, bong rips). Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung’s “anything goes” improvisational styles from movies like the Lucky Stars films, Project A, or Wheels on Meals are a big reference for Frankie’s moves, too.

AS: After The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling, Chris is used to getting copious amounts of visual reference from me and we kept that proud tradition alive here. Most everything you see Frankie do in Stoned Master is his “Blazed Fist” riff on traditional drunken boxing techniques as seen in Drunken Master and other flicks.

GP: Any kung fu films and stoner films this is inspired by?

CM: Definitely the above films, Pretty much all of Cheech & Chong’s oeuvre, Kung Fu Hustle, Half Baked, Harold and Kumar, Big Lebowski.

AS: Obviously the Drunken Master movies and anything with Sammo Hung, but we also took a lot of structural and thematic influence from classic Lau Kar-leung & Gordon Liu flicks like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Dirty Ho and The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter. Those movies manage to balance aesthetically stunning action, pitch-perfect humor, and a shocking amount of thematic depth and were a massive inspiration for Stoned Master. Also, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a significant amount of Pineapple Express in the mix.

GP: Beef Bros was on Kickstarter, what lessons have you learned from that going into this one?

AS: The BEEF BROS Kickstarter was an absolute game changer for me. No hyperbole, it changed now only how I view the comics industry but what I want out of it. While I love working with my pals at Dark Horse and am so very stoked about The Worst Dudes, Savage Hearts, and my as-yet-unannounced third series launching this year, there are certain projects that, while a tough sell in the direct market for any number of reasons, have a ton of potential with folks on Kickstarter. BEEF BROS was one of those projects and so is Stoned Master.

GP: Any advice you’d give others thinking about doing a Kickstarter?

AS: Calling on my background as an Eagle Scout (shout out to Troop 747!), the absolutely best advice I can give is to BE PREPARED. Running a Kickstarter well is an immense amount of work and the only way to keep from getting overwhelmed during the campaign is by having a firm plan in place and getting all your schedules, spreadsheets, newsletters, Graphic Policy interviews, and sacrificial offerings done before you hit the LAUNCH button.

GP: Thanks so much! We’ll make sure to take a nice bong rip and click back on Kickstarter!

Review: The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling

Think you know the history of professional wrestling? Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno take us through the complete history from its beginnings at carnivals to the big budget spectacular we watch today in The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling.

This graphic novel has a lot packed into it taking readers around the world and covering the major events in wrestling that have shaped it to what it’s today.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores on October 9. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

Ten Speed Press provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Preview: The Thrilling Adventure Hour

THE THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR

Original Anthology Hardcover
Retail Price: $19.95
Page Count: 136 pages
Format: Hardcover, 7.25″ x 11.25″, full color
Genre: Fantasy
On-sale Date: August 7 in comic book shops, August 20 wherever books are sold
Written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
Illustrated by Randy Bishop, Lar deSouza, Joanna Estep, Tom Fowler, Evan Larson, Chris Moreno, Natalie Nourigat, Joel Priddy, Evan “Doc” Shaner, and Jeff Stokely
Cover by Tom Fowler
Rating: T – TEEN (12 and up, may contain mild violence or mild profanity)

Re-creating the popular stage show and Nerdist Industries podcast in print, The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a timeless collection of original genre tales that harkens back to the heyday of old-time radio entertainment. Written by TAH co-creators Ben Acker and Ben Acker, this hardcover anthology features new stories from the most fan-favored worlds of the TAH universe. Brought to life by top artists from the comics community, each stand-alone tale celebrates and reinvigorates a new genre from the radio comedies of yesteryear, including science fiction, fantasy, westerns, superheroes, horror, war dramas, and many more. A unique, timey-wimey blend of silver age pulp and post-modern pop, this one-of-a-kind anthology promises something for everyone as this cult phenomenon jumps off the proscenium stage and onto the page for the first time in over eight years and 100+ consecutive shows around the globe!

The Thrilling Adventure Hour GN Cover - Illustrated by Tom Fowler

The Thrilling Adventure Hour’ Art Exhibit Opens at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco

thrilling adventure hourThe Cartoon Art Museum, The WorkJuice Corporation, Quixotic Transmedia, and Archaia Entertainment are pleased to present artwork from the much-anticipated The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel at the Cartoon Art Museum from June 29 – October 20, 2013. Featuring artwork from all 10 stories, the Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel explores brand-new material from series creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. The characters from the critically acclaimed multi-genre stage show and podcast are brought to life in various styles in the graphic novel and on the walls of the Cartoon Art Museum.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a live stage show in the style of old-time radio performed monthly at the Largo of the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, California since 2005. Each episode of the show features original stories written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. These stories are  performed by the WorkJuice Players, a supremely talented and quite friendly troupe of comedians and actors from stage and screen. This cast plays characters from an ever-evolving array of recurring worlds and genres including BUT NOT LIMITED TO space westerns, hobo fairy tales, and screwball romantic ghost stories. In 2011, The Thrilling Adventure Hour started podcasting recordings of their performances under Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries umbrella to both success and acclaim.  In 2012, The Thrilling Adventure Hour and Quixotic Transmedia ran a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that enabled The Thrilling Adventure Hour to expand into other media, including a The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel that will be released nationwide in late August 2013.

The exhibit features digital reproductions from the The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel anthology. The exhibit showcases work from artists Heidi Arnhold, Jordie Bellaire, Randy Bishop, Casey Crowe, Lar deSouza, Joanna Estep, Evan Larson, André May, Chris Moreno, Natalie Nourigat, Joel Priddy, Evan “Doc” Shaner, and Jeff Stokely. The exhibition will also feature exclusive artwork inspired by The Thrilling Adventure Hour  from renowned artists Jackson Publick, Ben Edlund, Dustin Weaver, and cover artwork by Tom Fowler. The exhibit was facilitated by  Joe LeFavi of Quixotic Transmedia, CAM’s Roy Zemlicka and Archaia, the publisher of the The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel which, again, will be released in late August 2013.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour Reception will be held at the Cartoon Art Museum in August, 2013.

Review – All Crime Comics #1 and Dames in the Atomic Age

All Crime Comics #1

All Crime Comics 1 Bruce Timm CoverCars, murder, revenge. That’s the makings of a solid pulp comic. And through a twisted tale of those three things, and dames, we get an entertaining read that fits right into the crime comics of old.

The comic is a tale of car theft and murder bouncing back and forth throughout the years telling the story of two friends and their slide into crime. It hits all the right beats, with a pacing that’s brisk and entertaining. I particularly like how the story is laid out and set up.

What stands out to me is the art. It’s fantastic, raising the overall quality of the comic. I especially enjoy the second chapter which throwbacks to the early days of art and coloring, dots and all. It’s a great touch that adds ton to the comic.

Finally it’s kind of hard to not mention the cover with a beat look that just screams pulp. The small details peppered throughout the cover alone shows the small details that really drives the comic and makes it feel like a great pulp story from years past.

If you’re a fan of pulp or crime comics, this is a great buy.

Story: The Art of Fiction Art: Ed Laroche and Marc Sandroni

Story: 7.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dames in the Atomic Age

dames_of_the_atomic_age coverThe first original graphic novel from Art of Fiction, Dames in the Atomic Age is a unique pulp tale that pays homage to the B-movies, sci-fi serials, and crime magazines of the 1940s and ‘50s.

I’m a fan of pulp. Give me a cheesy B-movie and I’m happy to sit back and zone out. This comic covers it all. Everything is thrown in there with giant ants, cloning, crazy stuff and it’s a lot of fun. What adds to it all is it’s wrapped in a crime comic, so there’s a hint of noir in there as well.

When I think of these types of movies or comics, I want something that just screams fun. I don’t want to have to think or dissect the story. I want to relax and be entertained. It’s goofy fun! That’s what this comic does. It entertains just like those same movies.

It feels like everything including the kitchen sink is thrown in here, but that’s part of the fun. While we might have scene each of the things that pop up in other movies or stories, it’s still entertaining here and most importantly fun.

There’s also some great breaks of art with different artists throwing in a short strip or pin-up that adds to the overall feel of the comic. It’s a great package, well thought out from story to production.

Story: Christopher Ryder Art: Marc Sandroni, Mike Vosburg, Paul Little, Tony Fleecs, Andy Suriano, Chris Moreno, Tone Rodriguez, Mark Dos Santos, Brad Rader and Rahsan Ekedal

Story: 8 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Free Comic Book Day event @ Collector’s Paradise in Canoga Park, CA

Official Press Release

Collector’s paradise’ free comic book day EVENT ON Saturday, May 7, TO Support importance of Literacy and TO celebrate the comic book culture

Valley’s Leading Retail Comic Book Store Welcomes Industry Creators to Raise Money for an Important Charity

CANOGA PARK, Calif., April 11, 2010 – Collector’s Paradise Comics & Gallery, San Fernando Valley’s Premiere pop culture store, is excited to announce this year’s big Celebration for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, featuring some of the best talent in comics, charity fundraiser event, and many great giveaways for all attendees.

Collector’s Paradise has a long history of working closely with comic book industry creators. The store holds monthly events with artists and writers from all corners of the industry, and the full time gallery hosts art events and gallery shows.  “Our goal is to be more than just a comic book store. There are many comic book stores in our city. We want to stand out, to become a Destination where one can interact with the people that produce the books.”, says Edward Greenberg, the owner of Collector’s Paradise.  Comic book industry has been very supportive of Collector’s Paradise’ efforts in this endeavor, working with them to organize numerous events to promote their new releases and special projects.

This year Collector’s Paradise is presenting one of their best line-ups of comic book creators to date, including:

Whilce Portacio – Co-founder, Image Comics, Creator and Artist – Wetworks, Uncanny X-men, Artifacts…

Joshua Fialkov – creator – Eisner-award nominated TUMOR graphic novel, Echoes, Elk’s Run

Tomm Coker – creator – Undying Love, artist on many Marvel titles including Daredevil NOIR, 5 Ronin

Tone Rodriguez – artist – Tyrese Gibson’s Mayhem!, Snake Plissken Chronicles, Radioactive Man

Tony Fleecs – creator/writer/artist – In My Lifetime, a critically-acclaimed autobiographical comic book

Chris Moreno artist – Toy Story for BOOM! Studios, Paul Jenkins’ Sidekick from Image Comics.

Ray Friesen – kids graphic novel author – Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken, Cupcakes of Doom…

In addition to the great creator line up, the event will feature the annual “Sketches for HERO Initiative” fundraiser, where all of the artists featured will do $10 sketches for the fans, with 100% of the proceeds directly going to HERO Initiative, a fantastic charity that helps comic book creators in need.  Collector’s Paradise has been working with HERO for the last five years to make sure that those creators who need financial and medical help are taken care of.

Kids are a big focus of Collector’s Paradise’ effort on FCBD.  The event will feature costumed characters for the kids to take photographs with, as well as several thousand kid-friendly comic books given away to all fans in attendance.

For the first time at our FCBD Event, a famous Korean / Latin fusion Food Truck, CALBI, will be parked at our event from 11am to 3pm, selling their delicious fusion tacos and burritos to event attendees.

The event will be held at Collector’s Paradise Comics & Cards from Noon to 7:00pm, with creator signings and character appearances from noon to 3:00pm.

Collector’s Paradise Comics & Gallery is located at 7131 Winnetka Ave, on the corner of Winnetka Ave and Sherman Way, in Canoga Park.  For additional information, please contact Edward Greenberg, owner of Collector’s Paradise Comics & Gallery @ 818.999.9455 (business) or 818.326.2517 (cell), or at store@comicsandcards.net