This week sees the release of Alice in Wonderland from Zenescope Entertainment. While this book has been previously published as a hardback, this release gives you the chance to get your sweaty mitts on the trade paperback version. This story is an origin of Alice’s tales in Wonderland and tells the full story behind the much-loved character and how she became the woman she is. The book starts when for reasons unknown, Alice is asked to enter a nook in a tree by her grandparents. She is of course afraid as any small child would be but respects her grandfather’s wishes and enters. The small tree opening is the doorway to Wonderland of course and Alice is met there by the iconic white rabbit. After a cryptic exchange the rabbit bounds down into the depths and is followed closely by Alice. As you may expect, the journey downwards gets stranger and stranger and follows only the rules you would expect your own dreams to conform to. Alice suffers prolonged mental torture at the hands of the sinister Jabberwocky who seems to take great delight in holding Alice captive and tormenting her. As the years pass, Alice becomes a beautiful young woman. It is then that her troubles really begin! To find out more you will need to read it for yourself.
The book continues on as a roller coaster ride of terror and wonderful bizarreness. All the familiar elements from the children’s classic are present but it’s all been kicked up a notch for the horror loving adult market. In short, this is what Alice in Wonderland would be like as a nightmare on Red Bull, rather than a dream. This trade is a collection of the first six single issues all beautifully written by Raven Gregory. What impressed me the most about the writing was how Gregory used artistic licence to recreate the story so that it was fresh and unique but still maintained the essence of the classic. I felt at home with the characters and there was a level of comfort, which was pulled out from under me on more than one occasion. The characters are great spins on the originals and each one is interesting and terrifying in equal measure.
The artwork in the book is just what you have come to expect from Zenescope titles. It’s slick, polished and very, very pretty. The line work is consistent throughout even though there were five pencil artists involved over the six issues. The colors used are really nice and give you that dreamlike, otherworldly feel. For me, one of the standouts in this book was the lettering by Jim Campbell. The choice of fonts and caption boxes is inspired and it’s what gives the characters their own distinct style.
Final impressions of Alice in Wonderland:
Overall, this book is a hoot from start to finish. The pace and story really keep you interested and the artwork will deserve repeat readings. This is an essential volume of modern horror story telling and should be on every comic book fan’s shelf. Please visit the Zenescope website for more information about this title and many more and look out for this book at your local stockist.
Catching Up With Comic Company
Thursday, 14 June 2012 10:27
Written by Comic Booked
Comic Company is a behind the scenes look into the goings-on at a real comic book publisher! Zenescope Entertainment really has a winner on their hands with this web series, and every week takes us a little deeper into the professional and personal lives of its employees. Episode nine was called The Game and the Lives. There’s obviously a lot of tension between Hatter and Sean now, the only real question still burning in my mind at this point is how will it all end? A quick pick up game of basketball might’ve given them a chance to leave it all out on the court, but it only served to escalate things. Hatter seems incredibly conflicted. On one hand he’s trying to embrace this new change in office dynamics, but on the other hand…well with the other hand he’s holding a knife. Red got especially personal in this episode, which may be why it’s the longest the camera has been on her since the show premiered. She’s been through a lot, but seems all the tougher for it and projects a lot of strength and confidence.
Sean is making for an interesting character study. I said at first that I really didn’t think he had what it takes, but I don’t mind seeing his continued presence prove me wrong. In a lot of ways I still don’t know if he fits in though. There are a lot of strong personalities at Zenescope, but Sean seems so mild mannered. Looking back at that last episode though, I think I can see a little crazy starting to peek through. The problem is I really don’t know how that makes me feel. I’m rooting for the guy, but at the same time I don’t want to see this sometimes cut throat business drag him down. Either way something’s got to give, because he really seems to be testing Ralph’s patience. He wasn’t too pleased with his new recruit in episode eight, although his hilarious reactions to Sean’s inexperience absolutely made the episode worth it. Now in episode ten, Family Therapy, Ralph is doing a little coaching, and trying to help him along, but being new only buys you amnesty for so long. Hopefully an intervention can save the situation, but it’s not looking good, especially after Hatter’s heartbreaking speech. It was delivered so well that if it were scripted, it probably would have been Oscar nominated material. Comic Company has been interesting since the start, but now it’s got me straight up hooked.
Unpainted Lead: Comicon Through Their Eyes
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 00:21
Written by Richard Wilcox
Anyone who reads Unpainted Lead on a weekly basis knows that I tend to divert quite often from the miniature wargaming scene and go off on my own tangents and reviews… This is another one of those days.
This past weekend was spent running around the ever growing signature pop-culture event of the southwest: The Phoenix Comicon. It was a chance to rekindle the geek flame among the new and old disciples within the nirvana of nerdom. For me, as well as many others, comic cons are the greatest places to just be you. No hiding your massive knowledge of Battlestar Galactica lore, no holding back your excitement for upcoming comic book based films, and most definitely no fear of wearing that awesome costume you spent months perfecting every stitch and color so that those endless nights practicing poses and catchphrases you’ve been working on don’t go to waste. Any and all comic book conventions are places where you can let your geek out and no one will bat and eye at you.
What made this particular con special for me though was the fact I was able to bring a special someone for their first time. Yep, the Phoenix Comicon was my five year old daughter’s first con. To assist in the magic that much more, I had her put on her Alice from Alice in Wonderland costume and I dressed as the Mad Hatter. I figured this would help her feel as much part of the excitement as she was experiencing it. I never thought I would be opening a proverbial Pandora’s Box in the process.
It never once occurred to me that small children dressed as characters that they resemble were a hot commodity among convention picture takers, and silly me, by dressing as the Mad Hatter, I made a large easy to find signal for all attendees to congregate and photograph. We were only able to move in ten foot increments between mobs of adoring photographers.
Now this was thankfully no big deal for my daughter as she amazingly loves to have her picture taken and was willing to smile for all of them. But for a geek like me, I wanted to see the convention. And suddenly we were at a role reversal; she patiently stands or sits still for ten minutes at a time allowing her audience to gush over her cuteness and me becoming impatient and wanting to go play!
My little girl wanted to play some games so we went to the game hall and rented Zombie Dice. Among other gamers we played a few rounds of the polyhedral brain eating game (She beat me too!). It wasn’t until we neared the end of the night, barely seeing the vendors’ hall, not going to any of the panels I had hoped to see, and a bit blind from all of the flash photography that it hit me.
Sitting next to me was my five year-old daughter, a girl who throughout the whole day pointed out the cosplays she recognized (Especially Captain America, I don’t know why, but she was very excited to see anyone dressed as him or even wearing anything that carried the image of his shield), who had fun playing with my massive top hat whenever my head got hot, and when she got tired she wrapped her arms around my neck so that I could carry her around, something changed in her that day. My daughter may have made some wonderful memories from her first comic convention, but I will forever hold this time close to my heart as the day my daughter became a geek.
I’m not the only one who has had this type of experience. What’s your story of your first con? Who brought you? For those with kids, what was it like to see a con for the first time through their eyes?
Review: Comic Company – Short Cakes and High Stakes
Saturday, 19 May 2012 21:17
Written by Comic Booked
Comic Company is back with another entertaining and enlightening episode! I hope you’re enjoying this look into Zenescope’s offices as much as I am! Every week we get to see another aspect of what it’s like to work for a comic book publishing company, and at six episodes in I think it’s about time for a quick recap. I should also note that Zenescope has started a contest on their Facebook page in which you can win free comics by answering questions about the series, so I’m going to recommend catching up now and checking the site often!
During the first episode, Pitch Meeting, they let us sit in on a company meeting. I can’t believe it actually took Dave two weeks to come up with that ridiculous pitch, but between his ideas and everyone’s reactions I was laughing out loud. Apparently you’re not supposed to actually give pitches in a pitch meeting anyway, and in episode two we find out the consequences. Lauren Francesca made an appearance, and Alice quickly became a fan favorite. There’s a very good reason for the episode being called Cleaning Up, but it’s not all business. At the end we see how readily everyone drops what they’re doing for some competitive fun and games, and it really seems like Zenescope could be a nice place to work, despite the risks. Episode three, Tests of Strength and Patience, featured some exciting intracompany arm wrestling matches! We also found out how morbid Alice’s contributions to Zenescope can be, in a segment that was enjoyable in a disturbing performance art kind of way. Episode four, Iced Tea Thief, was completely about the office fridge raider that had been stealing Hatter’s iced tea. I feel for the guy, but it wasn’t even good tea like Wawa or Rosie’s, so he came off as being a bit melodramatic. Episode five, Interviews, is the longest of the series and easily one of the best. A few parts were obviously scripted, but I forgive them for that because the end product was superb.
The latest episode was called Short Cakes and High Stakes, and it was a shocker in a couple of ways. First of all, I was really surprised by some of the people I saw in the office. I thought for sure a few of them were goners, so seeing them show up almost took me aback but I was also relieved. Secondly, I officially take back any negative thing I’ve ever said about Hatter. In the past I’ve questioned how Ralph can put up with his antics, but after seeing him work I understand. Hatter is a fast, hardworking, diligent employee, and the kind of guy you can tell is going to give you his best every day. If you could clone him, your office would be more efficient than all of your competitors combined. Despite her good intentions, Alice makes quite a bit of trouble in the second segment of this episode. She’s actually not the only one to make a major mistake, and while it makes for some tense moments, it also puts the spotlight on Ralph and highlights his managerial style. Six was another slightly longer episode, which did a perfect job of giving the fans what we want and leaving us hungry for more. Check out the video embedded below, and if you enjoy it don’t forget to follow it back to “like” and subscribe!
Review: Comic Company – Interviews
Friday, 11 May 2012 15:27
Written by Comic Booked
Episode Five of Comic Company takes us behind closed doors to get a look at how a real comic book company conducts their job interviews! Comic Company is a must watch web TV series for anyone seeking work in the comic book business. Every week it offers valuable insights into the industry, and the episodes are highly entertaining as well. With Hatter’s melodramatic iced tea soap operatics from last week behind us we get back into the swing of things with the longest episode of Comic Company yet!
By now all of the staff at Zenescope Entertainment have gotten pretty comfortable having the cameras on them, but I have to imagine it would be a bit unnerving for someone during their first interview with the company. The first interviewee almost seemed like the kind of dynamic employee that Zenescope is looking for. He showed a strong interest in comics during the interview, but he wasn’t quite on point enough. If it had been me in the interview, I would have responded quickly with topical questions like “what kind of doughnuts are your favorite,” and “how do you take your coffee?” I will admit that he handled the duality of questions combining your greatest strength and greatest weakness well, but in the end his phobia towards technology in the workplace seemed to override his logic and he became way too emotional. That being said I have high hopes for his future, or at least I did until Hatter made his presence known again. What are the chances that those two get along? I swear that man seems to be de facto running the company sometimes, and if you don’t curry his favor quickly, or you lose it, well, then it’s all she freakin’ wrote.
Alice may be the early fan favorite, and everybody loves it whenever Lauren Francesca swings by the office, but for my money the show is the best when Ralph Tedesco has the most screen time. He’s got a commanding swagger that paints him as a natural leader, but what I really love is his matter-of-fact way of speaking. It can honestly be hard to tell when he’s serious and when he’s joking, which is great because it keeps the intrigue up in the show. Also, lines like “what’s the most medium film you’ve seen” had me dying laughing. It’s his way of talking that helps sell them, and I assume interview questions are prepared in advance so I’m using these scenes as evidence that Mr. Tedesco has great comedic timing. Interviews was easily the best episode since the premiere, so I’m really glad that they chose this week for a longer episode. I’m also really glad that it ended right when it did though. Ralph’s interest in what he was looking at online seemed more than platonic, which might be why he told the last interviewee to close the door behind him! If you’re a fan of the series or the company’s comics you should definitely stop by their Facebook page for info about an exciting contest with a chance to win free comic books!
Superman Returns. If I had to pick my most medium movie ever it would be Superman Returns.