Short Animated Film Find: Burn Out

Burn Out

  • Director, writer, animator: Cécile Carre
  • Published: 2017 online and at multiple short film festivals

Synopsis: S​tella,​ ​a​ ​space​ ​mechanician,​ ​has​ ​broken​ ​down​ ​and​ ​ended​ ​on​ ​a​ ​desert​ ​planet.​ ​While​ ​she​ ​is​ ​in​ ​despair,​ ​a​ ​little​ ​girl appears​ ​out​ ​of​ ​nowhere.​ ​Following​ ​the​ ​child​ ​into​ ​a​ ​tunnel,​ ​in​ ​the​ ​depths​ ​of​ ​the​ ​planet,​ ​she​ ​discovers​ ​a​ ​big​ ​cave​ ​full​ ​of objects​ ​that​ ​belonged​ ​to​ ​her,​ ​reminding​ ​her​ ​the​ ​dreams​ ​she​ ​has​ ​left​ ​behind.

Personal Thoughts:

This full film is short, but says much on the current human condition, how many of us feel deep inside yearning for more. We feel trapped, bound to duty, ever-dreaming, never-quite reaching. There is a struggle that I feel in our protagonists dilemma. But, then a child’s voice brings us forward.

We figure it out, an imagination in the story and from the storyteller, clueing us on the real dilemma. Not the need to fix a spaceship but to fix the pilot and get back on real course. The one she dreamed of as a child, and eventually gave up on. The curiosity, imagination, and drive to return to that childlike wonder and push to something better, is what brings our pilot back to the stars. But not so much to work, but to something new and daring.

“I am afraid to give up my dreams when I grow up”.

That’s a great line, for those who indulge in their desire to explore, travel, see new sights should push that priority above simple mundane duties of getting by. I love the message here.

I also love the animation. Very fluid character movement with an awesome use of space, colors, shapes, taking us viewers away for about 4 minutes, and then beyond for what our memory captures. I love every second. The music also fits.

Director, animator Cécile Carre’s artistic style inspires and amazes. She has art prints you can buy at www.inprnt.com/gallery/carrececile. Check them out!

Comics Preview: BREAK: RUN, a glow-in-the-dark story, currently offered via Kickstarter

Break: Run

Cartoonist: Nima Afshar
Release Date: Currently part of a Kickstarter campaign ending soon, summer 2021 for campaign backers
Format: Full colour 60-page square-bound comic
Publisher: Three Fold Comics (threefoldcomics.com)
Price: $10 (AUS) for digital, $20 (AUS) for printed via its Kickstarter campaign, which offers more for backers who purchase beyond that. For this crowd-funding campaign, click here.

A post-apocalyptic cyberpunk adventure…

On a deep space colony where nuclear war has already damaged the planet, we find Branko Nourbakhsh and his people trying to find their way. His commanding officer Amon decides to slaughter a mining crew who calls for help, stealing resources in order to help their clan survive. Branko opposes Amon but is unable to stop him.

Ten Years later in the City of Argos, Branko is contacted by an old friend. It’s happening again; he must return. But a bounty has been placed on Branko’s head, he has to get past trackers and bounty hunters. Time is running out.

This is a very ambitious, first full-length glow in the dark comic book graphic novel, using a silkscreen printed technique for separated layers. The experience is further optimized with a ultraviolet black light.

Break: Run‘s creator, writer, artist is Nima Afshar, an Australian cartoonist of cyberpunk, sci-fi, and other imaginative stories. This book is his latest project offered to all through his current Kickstarter.com project, where you can purchase a limited run copy.

Here’s a video explaining more of Break: Run and its creative process:

Here’s a preview of sample pages from break: Run. Nima Afshar offers a larger preview of the first 24 pages at threefoldcomics.com.

Huge thanks to Nima Afshar for providing the information, art, and leads to his great project. Time is running short for his Kickstarter project, so get your copy now if interested!

Made in Korea sci-fi comics series explores AI and identity, this Spring

This May of 2021, Image Comics plans to release a new science fiction story six-issue monthly series to comic store shelves, Made In Korea, by writer Jeremy Holt (Virtually Yours, Before Houdini) and artist George Schall (Planet of the Apes, Chasing Echoes).

Made In Korea follows Jesse, the world’s first true A.I. system, on an exciting exploration of what it means to be a family in an age when biological parenthood is no longer a reality.

“As an identical triplet and Korean adoptee, I wanted to explore my own self-exploration of identity through the lens of science-fiction,” said Holt in a recent press release. “I think anyone that is looking for a new take on an artificial intelligence story will thoroughly enjoy what George and I have crafted.”

Schall added: “In a genre that often feels old because of how fast our world evolves, Jeremy has managed to write a story that feels both very personal and relevant to this day. Doesn’t matter if you’re a sci-fi fan or not, there’s something everyone will be able to relate to in this comic.”

Made In Korea #1 is scheduled to hit shelves in time for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and will be available at comic book shops and popular digital apps on Wednesday, May 26.

In the meantime, here’s a five -page early preview (thanks to Image Comics, visit imagecomics.com):

Fan Film Find: Neon Genesis Evangelion in Five Minutes, from Mega64

Neon Genesis Evangelion In 5 Minutes

Published: December 21, 2020 by Mega64 on Youtube

Synopsis: The complete anime of Neon Genesis Evangelion done in more than 5 minutes (about 10), in live action but very low budget, abridged comedic fashion by the wonderful Mega54 crew!

Personal Thoughts (from Captain Orion):

I’m a huge fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion since its VHS release. Though there are many deep philosophical insights and discussions on the original anime and manga out there, it’s still something that gives plenty of room to not be taken too seriously. Neon Genesis Evangelion is may things – a visual masterpiece, a game changer for mech and giant robot genre of its time, an emotional roller coaster with complex characters and development. It’s also silly and absurd at times. The gang at Mega64, who I am also a huge fan has brought about the more fun side of Evangelion perfectly in this brilliantly done love letter to its fandom. Tons of in-jokes poking fun at its strange plot devices, weird foreshadowing, and melodrama. I also love the low budget, yet inventive and practical practical effects, costumes, sets. Just awesome, and perfect entertainment for at least 5 (10 minutes) of my time.

Commanders in Crisis, a new and different superhero comic series coming up

Commanders in Crisis will reach comic shelves this October, a new ongoing superhero series from writer Steve Orlando (Wonder Woman, Doom Patrol: Milk Wars, Martian Manhunter) and artist Davide Tinto (Marvel Action: Spider-Man, 2000 A.D).

Under the Image Comics publishing banner, this new series promises to be “an intense, weird action thriller will remind readers of the importance of compassion and hope in the present moment—all while putting fists to faces along the way!”

The last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. A new twist on strange superhero comics, with a bleeding-edge eye on the modern moment, Commanders in Crisis follows in the footsteps of Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts as five unexpected heroes come together to solve a murder unlike any other. The victim? Compassion itself…This is ideacide!

“Commanders in Crisis is all the energy and creativity I’ve served for the past five years, now completely unchained!” said Orlando in a recent press release. “No rules, no restraints, the type of strange and passionate ideas that brought me into the medium in the first place. Comics should be bold, comics should be big, and comics should be badass. This is my first freelance launch since 2015, and we’re taking a nuclear shot across the bow. No vanilla vengeance here! This is a fight for comics as they need to be.”

Tinto added: “I am really happy about being onboard for Commanders In Crisis. Steve is a great guy and a fantastic writer and publishing with Image Comics, which put out Invincible, my favorite superhero comic, is a dream come true. I am very thankful for the opportunity.”

Commanders in Crisis #1 will be available in print at comic book shops , and through popular digital comics apps on Wednesday, October 14.

Short Film Find: Laws of the Universe

Laws of the Universe

  • Director: Chris Mangano
  • Writer: Adam Aresty
  • Published: June 25, 2020 as a short film exclusive from DUST

Synopsis: An inmate is trapped in his prison cell after an extraordinary circumstance happens beyond his prison walls. With outside forces threatening the ones he loves, he will do anything it takes to escape.

Personal Thoughts:

A most interesting story about a young man serving his time, but looking to make a change, biding his time for the future, excepting his isolation in the meantime. But, he doesn’t seem to be a cold-blooded killer, and has a kind heart with humane prospects, as we see though aspects of his room decor and phone conversations. He killed someone, but for reasons that suggest his own sense of justice, but he lives with the guilt in a system that judged him.

But a much bigger story in the outside world changes the conditions of his small room within, by too much. I love the contrast of those outside his micro prison, seemed to be affected less. He is forgotten, and you see his agony through a low deprivation of food, electricity, contact.

But he sees on chance for a way out, though someone who seems to care less for his plight, but with the means for an escape. He goes for his one chance through alien tech, and its gratifying when he takes advantage. The tech at the same time, is a tool of a different system, granting him that much needed extra chance. But to get that, he uses the one thing he does have to his advantage, and that’s the fear he conveys as an imprisoned Black male. That works very well.

What happens is the important resolution of this story, just be his freedom, and that’s enough. But, I also like how he holds on to the alien tech, as a sense of newfound responsibility, likely will put it better use than the former user, who I think probably stole it. Still, there’s much potential for more story with this odd new tech. Many problems can be solves, and created with this.

I love the acting, done very well by the star, Sidney Lawrence Brown, Jr. The use of light, angles, spacing with much of the film being restricted to a very small. And, then the refreshing contrast at the end, to a beautiful, very open world where the alien ship places little less.

Big Girls brings new kaiju-killing fun to comic stores this August

Image Comics recently announced a new series from critically acclaimed artist Jason Howard (Trees) as the writer and artist of his new creator driven action series Big Girls. This new ongoing comic book series will launch in August.

When men become giant monsters hellbent on destroying the world, only girls can stop them—Big Girls. Meet Ember—she writes poetry, loves to read, and she’s a 300-foot-tall full-time monster killer! She and the other big girls are all that stand in the way of our world’s complete annihilation!

In an exclusive scoop on the Big Girls announcement with The Hollywood Reporter, Howard said of the series: “[this is] the perfect comic for both the dynamic sci-fi I like to draw and for my writer side to examine questions of power, inequality and the complexity of growing up.”

Big Girls #1 will be available in print at comic book shops and digitally through popular reading apps on Wednesday, August 12.

Here’s a short preview in the meantime. Enjoy!

Voyage to the Stars sci-fi podcast launches into comic stores this summer

Credit: IDW Publishing

IDW Publishing recently unveiled a new comic book adaptation for the fan-favorite comedy sci-fi podcast, Voyage to the Stars.

Voyage to the Stars is an expanding universe of sci-fi comedy (often-improvised) stories and characters built as a podcast at www.voyagetothestars.net from creator Ryan Copple, then developed more into live shows, fan appreciations, and its own little sub-culture. Now, it’s a comic series coming this August.

The space-faring crew of “misfits lost on the wrong side of a wormhole,” voiced by talents including Colton Dunn (Superstore), Felicia Day (Supernatural), Janet Varney (Legend of Korra), Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds), and Steve Berg (Drunk History), will star in a four-issue comic book miniseries by five-time Harvey Award-nominee writer James Asmus and sensational artist ConnieDaidone.

In Voyage to the Stars, our intrepid crew has managed to survive Earth’s destruction, and now they’re determined (and ambiguously destined) to stop a growing, ancient evil from consuming the universe… although stopping it may be tricky, since our heroes can’t help but destroy just about every planet and species they come across. To be honest, it’s debatable who might be the bigger threat!

“I’ve loved the fantastically rich, surprising, and genuinely funny universe that the Voyage podcast has been creating since it launched,” says Asmus in a recent press release. “Working with their creative team, we quickly found a chapter to tell that is simultaneously a meaningful time for our heroes (grieving the loss of Earth, and taking the first steps towards avenging it) and tells a self-contained quest across a pretty wild sampling of the Voyage universe!”

“It has been such a wild ride experiencing Voyage to the Stars’ evolution and development into other mediums, such as comic books,” said Voyage to the Stars creator, Ryan Copple. “The world we built is meant to be experienced in many different ways, allowing fans everywhere to engage with these stories however they want. We can’t wait for people to check out the new stories within these comic books and continue to expand the Voyage to the Stars world in more ways they can enjoy.”

“Each of the Voyage to the Stars characters is such a distinct soul, that even when the linear storyline gets serious, everything still has an air of lightheartedness that makes you smile,” says Daidone. “I hope everybody reading the comic will enjoy it as much as I did drawing it!”

Credit: IDW Publishing

“Being involved with Voyage to the Stars has been such a highlight for me,” said Felicia Day, who plays scatterbrained scientist Elsa Rankfort in the series. ”Everyone that works on the show is so talented and funny, we could not stop laughing in the recording booth, so to see what we’ve been working so hard on for the last couple years continue to grow, this time into a comic book series, has been surreal and exciting – but also what we had hoped for all along!”

Credit: IDW Publishing

Voyage to the Stars #1 will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A (see below) by Freddie E. Williams II (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Cover B (see above) by Connie Daidone, and a Retailer Incentive ink wash variant by Freddie E. Williams II.

Voyage to the Stars #1 is set for this August to comic book stores everywhere. For ordering info because it will probably be underlooked, ask your local comic book dealer, or visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you.

Credit: IDW Publishing

Earth Day A.D. Visions, toward post-pandemic weirdness

Happy Earth Day!

Today marks another Earth Day this April 22nd. We look to the future while respecting the past, modify our present. The challenge renewed, complicated with the current pandemic changing the atmosphere in many ways. Animals are roaming while, the humans have quieted down, the air is clearing up thanks to the vast reduction of pollutants.

What does this day especially mean? It’s hard to tell in our busy life to pin it all down among the many challenges we share upon this grand ball of life. I think of our science fiction for what comes next—lots of post-nuclear disasters, many dystopian nightmares, and the occasional reach of destiny beyond.

Anything is possible. But, often comes the focus of human prevalence, with a fascination held for the adaptation, though it can be very fantastically far-out.Mostly in agreement, is that the Earth will always change its face to fit the conditions of what we do. I present this fascinating map, produced by the extraordinary hand of Jack Kirby (with the inks and letters by D. Bruce Berry), from the comic book Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth (#32) initially released in 1975.

Behold, the troubles of tomorrow.: The “Mad-Hole,” a mysterious giant Vortex, a fragmented South America, and the map vastly changed. Hopefully, our new animal rulers will have this all sorted out. Could this be Earth’s future?

It’s funny how the Earth changes, yet still does its best to survive the needs of our living creatures. There are many examples of this throughout the most fantastic of Earth-based science fiction and fantasy.

My favorite works of science fiction on a vastly changed Earth are future sets. There are memorable movies in mind, including A.I., the original Planet of the Apes, Mad Max. There are T.V. shows I can’t forget, including Neon Genesis Evangelion, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead. Some favorite books I never forget on my shelf: The Time Machine, I Am Legend, The Road. I played many video games of an Earth changed by dire global situations (Resident Evil, Fallout, The Last of Us). And there are countless comic books read of an Earth changed by human conflict and drastic status changes in civilization, including Kamandi #32.

Many of the above carry a bleak view upon humanity’s present course, yet remain pushes for individuals to carry on. For those needs to happen, there is always a constant call to pull from the Earth’s resources, whether its food, medicine, raw materials, natural shelter, other natural remedies to gather. Such things that save are naturally grown and provided to share among each other. We struggle on, but should always keep in mind the planet that provides. This day and all forward, we should at least appreciate it. Then, take care and maintain its overall system.

We do that, and our Earth will be ready to take care of us, or the zombies, or our ape masters. At least it will be there someone else to appreciate.

SW Video Channel: Opening the Mars Attacks Uprising sample cards pack

Here’s an awesome look from our developing Stranger Worlds Youtube channel at some sample packs of the Mars Attacks Uprising trading cards, currently in Kickstarter development, and eventually released for public consumption. Here, our host, Captain Orion, opens a pack sent in from SideKick Labs, of which we send our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for. Captain Orion loves Mars Attacks, and was quite excited to check these out (but new at this whole YouTube thing). And now, watch the results and share in the excitment!

For more on the Mars Attacks Uprising trading cards, check out www.kickstarter.com/projects/sidekicklab/mars-attacks-uprising

Also, please subscribe to the channel if you like the video, or would love to see more (and better) videos from us. That would mean a lot. Thanks!