Friday, October 14, 2011

First Interview at New York Comic Con!

Hey Megabrainiacs! New York Comic Con is going great so far, but tomorrow's the biggest day. Come check us at booth 1915 to get your copy of American Dark Age #1!  We've got the book, which you can get signed, and also posters and t-shirts!

After we wind down from this whirlwind, we'll post more details, but til then, check here often. We've been interviewed a few times, and I'll keep posting links to them as I get them. Here's the first one in, where we didn't get quoted much about Megabrain, but Georgia and I comment on the nature of the media at NYCC.

http://culture.wnyc.org/articles/features/2011/oct/14/new-yorks-comic-con/

-Mike, EIC

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Geek of Oz: Comic Review - American Dark Age #1

The Geek of Oz: Comic Review - American Dark Age #1: American Dark Age by writer Jean Michel and artist Jacqueline Taylor is the first release from New York based independent publisher, Megabr...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ADA #1, Kickstarter and NYCC!

Whoa.

It's been a busy summer for Megabrain. We've been so busy, it's been a little hard to find time to update the Blah too much, so here's a recap!


American Dark Age Issue #1 is all done, and it's off to the printers. We had a super successful Kickstarter Campaign and so those who backed the project should already have their own exclusive PDF copy of the comic in their inbox. In fact, we've already had a few responses! Here's a couple that'll make it into Issue #2's letter page:

Hi!


I loved the first issue! I hadn't heard of American Dark Age before backing the project so I didn't know what to expect... I was blown away by the story and the art! I really liked how you broke the chronology of the story to go back to how it all started. Now I HAVE to read issue #2, you created such a good cliffhanger with those last panels!


Also, I wanted to contribute a suggestion for your "letters page". I immediately thought of "Blackout box". Merging black box (from airplanes) with the blackout of the story and with mail box. Just a thought... good luck with the next issue!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Ashley R.

 Thanks Ashley! I love the idea for the letters page name. I can not wait to read what you think of issue #2...

This next one is from a US Navy officer currently serving overseas:


Megabrain,


Congratulations on ADA issue #1! I just finished reading my copy and have to say WELL DONE! When you put your lobes together, great things happen. Looking forward to issue #2!


Mark Y.
Norfolk, VA by way of Ridgewood, NY


P.S. Some ideas for your letters page, listed in order of personal appeal:


1. “Reality Bombs” – the tribute is self explanatory. In the context of the name of the letters page, “reality” implies those outside of the story; i.e. readers. And “bombs” are typically dropped, much like mail into a mailbox.
2a. “The Renaissance” – the end of the real life Dark Ages, and the letter page is, well… at the end. To many people the dark ages were a time of little scientific or cultural advancement and even less literary creativity. As letters can be a form of creative writing, the name seems to fit.
2b. “Age of Enlightenment” or “Enlightenment” – another name for the end of the Dark Ages. Same reason as above.
3. “Dear Dan…” – the guitar is a big part of Kat’s life, the name involves good old alliteration, and it’s a familiar format for Q&A.
4. “Broodings” or “Broodyngs” – as a play on Kat’s last name.
Mark, I'm loving these ideas. Everyone else who's read it yet, send in those letters and fan art to mike@megabraincomics.com and make sure you make the subject "OK TO PRINT".

Now, in other news....

We've got our booth for New York Comic Con! We'll be at booth #1915, so make sure to come and see us. That'll also be the first place to pick up a print copy of American Dark Age Issue #1 (if you haven't already ordered it via our Kickstarter Campaign. The whole crew will be on hand, so you can get yours signed at the booth by artist Jac Taylor and writer Jean Michel (and your bitchin' EIC too!)

We're working on a web store so you can order our comic through our site, as well as other places where you'll be able to buy Megabrain Comics. So keep your eyes on this space for more news in the coming days!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Excelsi- no, wait, that's taken.

I'll have to think of something cool to say at the end of these things...

-Mike Vuolo
Editor in Chief

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who Wants to Read American Dark Age, Before Everyone Else?

Megabrain Needs You, Megafan!
Calling All Megafans; Issue One of ADA is almost here.
Jacqueline Taylor is diligently sketching her heart out on the last few pages and we are so excited for you to get a hold of it, but as we all know, comic book production costs money.

If any of you can dig deep and donate whatever you can to the Megafund, we will be able to get this book off the ground sooner than later.

Anyone who donates $5 or more will get an exclusive digital, advanced copy of the book next month, to read before anyone else as an incentive and $12 or more gets you the digital copy and when the hard copy is released, we will send you your very own copy of issue one right to your mailbox.

To donate to the Megafund, all you have to do is go to our website here:
http://megabraincomics.com/
and click the "Chipin" button on the left side of the screen. You'll then be taken to a secure site where you can make your donation.

All of us here at Megabrain truly appreciate all of your support and are working hard to deliver the best product we can for you, our Megafans.

Thank you, very much!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We'll Have The Mega MoCCA Meal and A Side of Comical Delight, Please.

Click to Read American Dark Age
Bonjour, Hej, Iiti em Hotep, As salam ulaikum, Layho, Guten Tag, Shalom, Aloha, Hola, Privet, Chao Ban, Ciao, Sawubona, Dag and Hello to all of our Megafans around the globe.
Yesterday, two and a half of the lobes and I attended our first comic book convention in a promotional capacity as opposed to merely flouncing about the floor in search of new art and stories for our collections as per the usual. 
Yes, we had product in hand, namely the American Dark Age issue one ashcan and were placing it in to the grips of eager young readers who are now in the thrall of The Megabrain. 
Mwoo-hahahahaha....ahem. Err, yes. Anyway.
It was a fine day at the MoCCA Fest (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival) and in all honesty it was the best convention I’ve attended in years. Much less spectacle, pompe & circumstance and far more opportunity to speak with artists, writers and fans about what they do and what they enjoy. 
Click to visit Kaisa and Chris' Blogs
Upon arriving, we began our cursory circuit around the room and right away were intrigued by a Finnish couple named,  Kaisa & Christoffer Leka who produced one of the most beautiful comic books I’ve ever seen, “The Death of Tuomas Mäkinen”. 
It’s about a man who decides to move to a Buddhist Monastery in Northern California. The story is told in three different volumes with a very endearing art style which harkens to Matt Groening’s early “Life in Hell” work. 
Each volume addresses the story from the perspective of one; the girl he left behind, two; the family he left behind and three; from his own perspective. The real kicker is that it’s a true account of a close friend of theirs. 
Click to visit Allan's site
Eventually I happened upon a table that had a standing cutout of a screaming punk chick with a tattoo on her belly that read, “Hell Below/ Stars Above” and in my experience, anyone who’s got that much appreciation for the Toadies music, is a person well worth meeting and such was the case with Allan Norico, artist and author of “Things I’ve Seen At Shows”. A book after my own heart which illustrates those moments and people at a venue we can’t seem to avoid such as, Personal Space Guy; “How is it some people have a completely unreasonable sense of personal space at a show?
or The Bro Along; “A hundred strangers who all know the chorus by heart. Epic.
I ended up speaking to Allan for quite some time, about shows and venues we’d been to and he was all in all a very cool dude, even after I told him about my very first concert experience. Van Hagar. 
Hope to run in to him again one day, especially since I got wrapped up in our conversation so much that I never ended buying his book which I would be reading right now instead of recounting yesterdays events to you lovely anim- err, people.
Click to visit Tory's site
Yet another kindred creator whom our EIC here at Megabrain, Mike and Mandy the creative director of our children’s division, Brain Noodles, approached was Tory Woollcott author of "Mirror Mind", a comic book about growing up dyslexic. Tory was an amazing person to speak with not only due to her immense talent and phenomenal story, but because almost like a convention sherpa or a Canadian guardian angel, she took it upon herself to learn us some advice on how to promote ourselves at conventions and pointed us in the direction of TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) which we are even now devising an insidious plan of attendance. 
Oh, Canada, you have no idea what is coming your way. 
Before moving on to another table, Tory bequeathed unto me a great little autobiographical comic that she and her friend, Kean Soo created called, “Toronto to Tuscany: An Italian Adventure”, in which the two of them realize traveling with Kean is pretty much a bad idea.
Chatting with Wonder Pumphrey
There were so many more amazing artists and writers that we all met that day, such as Paigey Pumphrey, the pin-up artist, Chris Beaumont, the inventor of “Cubecraft”, Sarah McIntyre, who’s book “Morris the Mankiest Monster” is going to make my son giggle with sinister delight or Adam Wilson, writer of a musical political romp called, “GCD” and of course the ever talented toy maker and comic book creator, Megan Baehr
Unfortunately I would be writing this for a week if I wanted to tell you about everything. You really should have been there, but we’ll just assume that you had something better to do, like saving a basket of mimes and kittens from a burning taco stand. We don’t take it personally, but I would like to know what those kittens were doing eating tacos on a Saturday afternoon.

The MoCCA festival renewed the excitement I get from not only creating and reading comics, but from the comic book community as a whole being a welcoming, diverse, eccentric and all around fantastic group to be a part of and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

If you happened to be there at all this weekend, we'd love to hear about your adventures at MoCCA as well, so drop us a line here on The MEGABLAH! or on Twitter or Facebook

This is The Benj saying, Keep your noses in the pages, and keep that grey matter flexin!

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Interview with Jac Taylor, artist of American Dark Age

Artist, Jacqueline Taylor
BENJ: Hi, Jac. Thanks for doing this. You have a lovely home. That’s an interesting coffee table. Where’d you get it?
JAC: Um...This is a phone interview. What are you talking about?
BENJ: Oh, is this your cat? Hey, kitty. You’re a cute little guy, aren’t you.
JAC: Uh...What’s going on?
BENJ:  So, before we get started, do you prefer Jac or Jacqueline?

JAC: Either. Ever since I remember, everyone called me Jac. My best-friend's parents would always sing "Hit the Road Jack" before they'd boot me out the door. Most of my friends admit my name was too long to write, so they always wrote it Jac or Jack.  And in high school, I'd tell my teachers to call me Jac so I wouldn't have to hear them mispronounce my name every time- Or call me Jackie. I absolutely DESPISE that name. (No offense to other Jackies)
BENJ: You went to school for animation. What prompted you to jump in to the sequential world of comic books?

JAC: Before animation- My main objective was to complete and publish my own comic book. It was some silly thing that was inspired by a bunch of old friends, before turning around and making it into something more. Animation was just my opportunity to draw better, and expand my horizons. Also, I love comic books and any kind of graphic novel. So why not pursue something I know and  love?

BENJ:  What are the main differences or challenges of comic book illustration as opposed to animation?

JAC: Comic Books vs Animation? Not much difference. You visualize a world and the people that live in it, and you bring it to life- whether by reading it or watching it, its the same impact. Of course more time and preparation is involved with animation and you're drawing til' your fingers bleed, but Comic Book-wise you set up the important key elements of the shot for telling the story, while in animation you bring those elements to life. It's initially storyboarding- something Animation can't perform without. 
The hardest part of Comic Book illustrating is getting that PERFECT shot. I'm a stickler for detail. It's something I'm always looking for in both what I watch and read. But detail doesn't have to be the accessories to a character's costume, or architectural structures of a background that a character stands on. It's how realistic this world and those characters are to the readers. Between body language and dialogue- How real can it be? No matter how fictional and other-worldly that story is, if you can believe it, then so can everyone else. 
BENJ:  Is it true that coffee has driven you to homicide and harming forest creatures?

JAC: Forest Creatures, no. The unfortunate people who stand within fifty feet of my presence, yes.
BENJ: So, American Dark Age. What exactly compelled you to work on this book?

JAC: The story. The story is brilliant. I can see it's potential for going somewhere BIG- So, obviously I had to make myself a part of it.
But Brody's character was the real winner. I'm a REAL sucker for the ass-kicking heroine type. (The damsel's in distress type just make me want to gag-myself with a spoon.) Brody is a fierce, headstrong, whirling dervish of awesomeness and after reading the American Dark Age script, she made me giggle with uncontained excitement.

BENJ: What do you hope to bring to the book with your art?

JAC: I just want to get OUT there. Out in the comic book world.  Have my name written under the superstar artists, like Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee. You'll never get anywhere, by sitting around and waiting for those opportunities to come. You have to work hard for it. Really hard. And for me, the opportunity to draw American Dark Age was like winning the lottery.
BENJ: Has the experience of creating a comic book soured you at all to the medium as it shoud?

JAC: Absolutely not. It's ALWAYS a challenge. And I love challenges.
BENJ: What’s the comic book scene like up in Canada?

JAC: It could be bigger. But in the last few years it's been increasing in popularity real fast. It's nice to be able to go to the bookstore and find WALLS of comic books to browse through.  I wish we'd get more Comic' Conventions, more in Ottawa anyhow. Montreal and Toronto get most of the spotlight.

BENJ:  Who are your biggest artistic influences?

JAC: That's a hard one, since almost everything I read or watch has an influence some how. My main artistic influence, that got me into the whole comic book shindig in the first place, was when I picked up the Danger Girl Sketch Book by J.Scott Campbell. I was driven to draw as good as he was, and make it out there in comic book world, like he did.

But my biggest inspiration for just creating a story, would have to be Joss Whedon.
BENJ: I know that you’ve been developing your own comic book for some time now. Can you tell us a bit about it?

JAC: Basic good vs evil story type- The world is on the verge of massive apocalyptic war, as demons, monsters, and demi-gods from every myth and lore ever written are out to destroy humanity's very existence. The story is about eight immortal warriors, created by the gods who are each given, an elemental power: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Power, Thunder, Light and Dark. 

The main character, Cerridwen is focused on the Element of Fire - like I said before: ass-kicking female. She's hot-headed, has a vile temper, and always resorts to blowing up demons, warehouses, cars etc. And when her temper begins to boil so do objects around her.
She gets nicknamed  the 'Red Sonja' quite frequently for her barbaric nature and flaming red hair.

But because her temper is a literal 'short-fuse' she needs to learn how to keep it cool. Although it's hard doing that, being surrounded by her fellow elemental warriors who are not exactly the warriors they were prophesied to be. They're either: drunk, gay, pranksters, narcissists, have height problems, hate the world, or are perverted.  All this while trying to save humanity from being destroyed by the demon race.

Laughs. Violence. Horror. Action and lots of beautiful curvaceous women. 
BENJ: What do you think of Megabrain Comics so far?

JAC: Love it. Love the people, love their devotion and enthusiasm towards this project. Team Megabrain for the win!
BENJ: And finally, I am going to ask you 10 questions originally asked by French Television's Bernard Pivot and currently asked by American Television's James Lipton.
  1. What is your favorite word?   I guess 'frickin'. I say it enough times...
  2. What is your least favorite word?   lawl- because it's a damn computer lingo- that should STAY as computer lingo, not as a way to verbally express oneself. Also makes you look like an illiterate numfar.
  3. What turns you on?   Dark chocolate. No explanation why.
  4. What turns you off?   Earwigs. They make me cry.
  5. What sound or noise do you love?   My black cat, Boo. He's very vocal, but never sounds like a cat. More like a cross between sheep, dog and duck. Makes me smile everyday.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?   Squeaky shopping carts. Murdering thoughts usually follow.
  7. What is your favorite curse word?   I don't know if I have a favourite. I just say what comes to mind. I'm terrible around children, especially if I have to give them a dollar every time I curse. (Kid left with thirty-five dollars in one day).... Most common would be 'Shit' I guess. Everything is referred to shit. Even in a nice way.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?   Anthropologist. I watch too much Bones.
  9. What profession would you not like to do?   Retail...
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?    You can wear high heels again.
BENJ: Well, Thank you for doing this Jac. I’ve had a great time and thank you for inviting me in to your home.
JAC: I’m gonna hang up now. -clik-
BENJ: And I thank you, loyal Megafan for joining us here in the chilly great white North of Canada. This is The Benj and I will see you next time, here at THE MEGABLAH! Keep that grey matter flexin'.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Is An Ashcan, You Ashk?

Well from what I've observed, an ashcan copy of a comic book has many different definitions.

Some may say ashcans are produced for legal purposes in order to secure copyrights.

Others may say that it's a work in progress copy to worry out the last minute bugs, bells and whistles in a publication.

Well, in our case here at Megabrain Comics, we are producing our ashcan copy of American Dark Age in order to buy us more time.
That's right folks. You won't get any minced words from me.
The Convention season is upon us again and we here in the brain pan are crappin' our slacks trying to get everything ready on time, so to keep the wolves at bay and the masses from lighting their torches due to a slow production schedule, the long time tradition of the ashcan has been dusted off for your viewing pleasure.

So, please continue to grace us with your internet presence and take this opportunity to sling your critical arrows at us here on the Megablah! and on Facebook and Twitter, because once this puppy goes to the printer, that fat ladies ash will be singing.

Keep your noses in the pages,
and keep that grey matter flexin!
The Benj

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Interview with Jean Michel creator of American Dark Age by his girlfriend who really doesn't care

JESSICA: So, what's this thing about?
JEAN: It's about this girl. Katherine Brody. She grows up on a horse farm with her dad in Oregon. He's a widower and she's unsure of her place in the world. The only way she knows how to express herself is by tearing away at her guitar and singing punk music in a crappy band.

JESSICA: What does that have to do with the Dark Ages?
JEAN: At the beginning of the story, the whole world loses its power and the use of its machinery, so everyone has to go back to living life like they did in the dark ages which includes using swords and stuff, since guns and bombs don't work either.

JESSICA: Why don't guns work and what if a machine doesn't need electricity? It's not magic is it? Just don't say it's magic.
JEAN: All of that gets explained later in the book. It's a mystery for a while...and no, it's not "magic".

JESSICA: Hrhm... And by the title, I'm assuming it takes place in the US?
JEAN: Yeah, I used to watch all these films and read books about knights, samurai and barbarians, but they're always set in Europe, Asia and...I don't know Cimmeria. I loved all that. Still do, but, when I was a kid I always felt kinda stupid with a sword in my hand, because I didn't have a British accent.

JESSICA: What the hell is "Cimmeria"?
JEAN: It's where Conan is from.

JESSICA: He didn't have a British accent. He's German or Austrian.
JEAN: My point was that he's not American and as a child I didn't have anyone to look up to that had a sword AND an American accent.

JESSICA: So, what; you're saying you look up to this girl you created?
JEAN: No. I'm trying to create characters and a story that I wish I had gotten to read when I was a kid. Characters that kids today can look up to that resemble them in some way. Jeez.

JESSICA: Alright, so what's so great about her?
JEAN: Brody's my favorite parts of Red Sonja, Tank Girl, and Wonder Woman at a slumber party with Joan Jett, Donita Sparks and Brody Dalle.

JESSICA: ...I swear to god, if you mention pillow fights or truth or dare, I'm going back upstairs.
JEAN: I'm just trying to say Brody's got a little bit of all those chicks in her. Nothing dirty.

JESSICA: You're a sick person. Anyway, what was with all the music references in the story?
JEAN: I'm a visual artist, but deep down, I've always wanted to be a rock star like Ozzy or Joey Ramone. As a kid, when I wasn't alone in my room, swinging a homemade sword and trying to fake a British accent,... Stop smiling like that. When I wasn't doing that, I was lip-synching to Black Sabbath, The Clash and the Ramones imagining what it might feel like to be them. Even though I never became a musician, music always pushed me to create whatever art I could, so I tried to show my appreciation to my musical heroes by naming certain characters, places, and even story titles after familiar musical landmarks in my life.

JESSICA: Did you name anyone after me in the comic?
JEAN: Maybe.

JESSICA: Who?
JEAN: I'm not saying anymore about it. If you wanna find out, then you need to read the book every time it comes out each month, just like everyone else.

JESSICA: Oh, so you think I'm just like everyone else? Did everyone else have your baby?
JEAN: I'm just saying you have to wait to find out. That's all.

JESSICA: ...Y'know what? I don't wanna talk about you anymore. Let's talk about Jac. How'd you find her to do the art?
JEAN: Okay, fine. Jacqueline Taylor is an amazing artist going to school for animation in Ottowa, Canada. I found her Deviant Art gallery through a mutual friend and I was blown away by her stuff. Once she read the script for issue one, she pretty much told me I wasn't aloud to hire anyone else to work on this book. An artistic marriage made in cyber space heaven.

JESSICA: Oh, I see. You'll marry Jac in cyber space, but you won't marry me in real life.
JEAN: Wait, what? 

JESSICA: Nevermind. What About Megabrain? You wanna tell people about Megabrain?
JEAN: Yeah. Megabrain is the brain-child of Mike Vuolo and myself. Get it? Brain-child?

JESSICA: That's why, I'M the funny one in the relationship.
JEAN: Hrhm...Anyway. Mike and I decided it was about time to finally do something with all the stories we've plotted out and we knew that no self respecting publisher would print anything from a couple of schlemiels like us, and with the awesome might of the internet at our disposal, we've taken it upon ourselves to bring our stories to life.

JESSICA: Don't forget it's garbage night.
JEAN: I know it's garbage night! Can we finish this first?

JESSICA: Sorry. So where can everyone read your comic book?
JEAN: American Dark Age will be the first book to debut on the Megabrain site, when it launches on January 17th. It's going to start off digitally, but as soon as we've got the budget, all of our books will be going to print.

JESSICA: Sounds, wonderful. Can we go to the city now?
JEAN: Yes, we can go now.

JEAN: - smooch -

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome, Megafan!

I know, I know. I've been a horrible friend. Haven't been keeping you abreast of anything going on in the lobes of the Megabrain.


Well, fret not. From here on out, it's you an me, chum. You will be the first to know what's going on at Mega-HQ and to show you that I'm on the level, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Yeah.


That first issue of American Dark Age. You ain't gonna get to read the rest of it till MoCCA Fest 2011 (April 9th-10th) where the Megabrain will be in attendance selling pre-releases to the masses. 


After that, you'll have to wait till the full print run in October when you can get a copy from us at NY Comic Con from the 13th-16th. 


Yeah, yeah, don't gimme no lip. If you were the type of person who'd be happy with a mediocre book with mediocre art, then sure we'd kick it all out for you in the next day or two, but I know you. 
You want a book that will make your nipples hard and your toenails sweat and that my friend is why we are takin' no shortcuts.


It's all for you. 


Till the next time, keep that grey matter flexin'
THE BENJ
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