Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts

Friday, October 30, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Halloween Theme, Part 2

Part 2 of my Halloween-themed Kickstarter round up.  Today I have mostly some comics. 

Brian Pulido's Newest: Hellwitch: Sacrilegious #1!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brianpulido/brian-pulidos-newest-hellwitch-sacrilegious-1?ref=theotherside

Brian Pulido has assembled an all start group of comics writers, illustrators, and colorists to bring the latest in his Hellwitch Saga.  I have picked up a couple of these over the years, but have been looking to complete my collection.  This looks like a good way to do it. 

This is the same talent that brought us Lady Death. I will admit I have used more than a few things from these comics in my own versions of Hell for my games. 

Stake Presents: Jessamy #1


If vampires are more your speed then might I suggest meeting Jessamy from the world of Stake.

David A Byrne has also brought us an A-Level team for this comic.   I know less about it, but the art is fantastic. 


Looking forward to reading more on this one too.

And finally!

Elvira's New Comic Book Quarantine Special!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dynamiteent/elviras-new-comic-book-quarantine-special?ref=theotherside

Do I really need to remind everyone here how much I love Elvira? No? Good.

It's Elvira. She has a comic from Dynamite Entertainment. That's all I need!

Friday, October 2, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Bitchin Chimera and the Jaquays' Archive

Quite the collection today!

Lost Tomb of the Bitchin' Chimera - Dead Milkmen RPG Module


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justinsirois/lost-tomb-of-the-bitchin-chimera-dead-milkmen-rpg-module?ref=theotherside

The Dead Milkmen are releasing a D&D adventure about a "Bitchin Chimera." Do I really need to tell you more than that? No idea if Tony Orlando and Dawn, Beelze-bubba, Mojo Nixon, or a Punk Rock Girl will appear. 

Judges Guild Deluxe: Dark Tower, Caverns of Thracia, & More


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1409961192/judges-guild-deluxe-dark-tower-caverns-of-thracia-and-more?ref=theotherside

Ok, first and foremost this Kickstarter will not benefit any of the current racist owners of the Judges Guild.  This collects some of the best material of the early days of JG and all written by Jennell Jaquays. Some very, very solid stuff here, and Goodman Games puts out a solid product.

and finally one more look at this one now that it has made it's funding goal.

Hellbringers: The Sacred Heart


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellbringers/hellbringers-the-sacred-heart?ref=theotherside

All are ending soon!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Hellbringers

Ok, this looks fun. 

Hellbringers: The Sacred Heart


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellbringers/hellbringers-the-sacred-heart?ref=theotherside

From the Kickstarter page:

Lucifer, The Lord of Hell, has suddenly vanished without warning leaving the pact of the realm of death in unrest and on the brink of war. Now Lilith, his bride, must try and reclaim the realm in his absence, but not everyone wants to bow to her rule. With enemies at every turn, Lilith searches for the Sacred Heart to increase her power in order to gain the allies she needs to claim her missing husband's throne and restore peace to the kingdom. Filled with intrigue, epic battles, and a dash of humor,  this comic is sure to leave you wanting more!

Honestly, this looks rather fun. The art is varied, but it is all really good.

I think this would be great to have.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Zatannurday: New DC Movies & TV

DC FanDome was last weekend and there is more to come, but here is what was released for the future of DC on your screens.




Let's start on the big screen and with the one I am looking forward to the most. Wonder Woman 84!


It has Maxwell Lord, Cheetah (Barbara Ann Minerva version), and...Steve Trevor? No idea how they are going to do that, but I am betting it was Maxwell Lord's doing.  In any case, the movie looks great and I bet soundtrack is going to be awesome. 

For the next one, let me say I am cautiously optimistic. 


Look, I am a Batman fan as much as the next DC fan, but there are other characters out there and we have had several Batman movies. 

Speaking of other characters, there is one that not a lot of people know about so it will be interesting to see how it works out on screen.  A sequel/prequel to the successful Shazam movie we are introduced to Shazam's main enemy, Black Adam.



On the smaller screen, we are going to get the "Snyder Cut" of "Justice League".  I am also looking forward to this one as well. 


If you recall a few ago Warner/DC released the "Richard Donner" cut of "Superman II." 
Personally, I prefer the Donner cut over the Lester/Theatrical original.  Given what I know of what was going on on the set of Justice League I am also hopeful that this one will be good too.  Though I am now hearing it will be four hours long!

You are going to need HBO Max for it, but that is fine if you already have HBO.

We are also hearing more about one of the refected Justice League Dark ideas.  This one was from Joseph Kahn.  I am not sure how far along this one ever got, but there was some cool concept art.


Dan Stevens was cast as John Constantine.  But the best is a punk-looking Zatanna played by Natalie Dormer.  I miss the fishnets, but this is cool too.

There is another FanDome coming up in a couple of weeks. I bet they will cover more of the TV shows then.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

#RPGaDAY 2020: Day 26 Strange

Again a couple ways to go.  

I could comment on these strange days, but I have other social media outlets for that.

I am going to comment on the #RPGaDAY2020 list itself in that these are a lot of strange words.  

Ok, I get it, Dave has been doing this a long time and maybe he is running out of words to use. but knowing and the work he has done in the past I highly doubt he is lacking in ideas. So I'll just put this here as my commentary and that's it.

Ok. Strange. Let's get to the meat of this.

Many of my contemporaries will point to Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tolkien, Moorcock, and Lovecraft as their main sources of inspiration to D&D.  While I share the Tolkien, Moorcock, and Lovecraft influences, I also add Clark Ashton Smith.

But those were not my only sources.

Dr. Strange and Tomb of Dracula

The 1970s were a strange time to be sure.  The 70s Occult Revival fueled my tastes in games in ways I never knew at the time and only saw in retrospect.  Case in point. Dr. Strange comics and Tomb of Dracula.  Both were favorites of mine but when Strange, along with Blade, would battle Dracula? Yeah, THAT was an adventure.  I wanted my games to have these epic world-changing battles that start small but then go on out to the cosmic scale.  Strange didn't just defeat Dracula. He destroyed all vampires.

I was already a huge horror fan at this point and Hammer Horror in particular. So these comics sent me searching more and more strange ideas for my games. I think by 1982 I had read every book of occultism in my local public library.  Creating a witch class was an inevitable conclusion at that point. 

When the Ravenloft module was released it found a no more welcome home than mine.

I have mentioned this in greater detail here.

Strange Stories, Amazing Facts

My copy
My parents were voracious readers. Books filled every corner of my home growing up and every room had at least one bookshelf, some like the living room had three. 

They, like many people of their generation, had a lot of Reader's Digest books. One, in particular, was Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.

This book should not by any stretch of the imagination be considered good literature or even good research. It is however good fun and a fun read. 

While the book is divided up into roughly chronological sections including one on the future, it was the past and the monsters of myth that always grabbed my attention.  Though flipping through it now that section on the end of the world would be fun to use.

For my birthday about 10 years ago my family found a copy and gave it to me.  Complete with original dust jacket (I am book snob and prefer my dust covers intact).

I have been asked in the past to assemble my own "Appendix N".  Maybe I'll do that one day.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Pixie Trix Comix Volume 1 & more!

Pixie Trix Comix Volume 1 & more!



I have enjoy the comics of Gisèle Lagace for a number of years now. "Ménage à 3" and "Eerie Cuties" in particular.  Well, this is her ultimate collection. You can add on any number of their previous Kickstarter packages and other Pixie Trix comics. I am fond of "Dangerously Chole" (about a shy succubus) and "Exorsisters." 

There are only a few hours left of this one, so I hope you take advantage!


Friday, March 27, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Tarot Witch of the Black Rose: Origins TPB

Stuck inside What we all need are comics and games, so here is a Kickstarter from my friends Jim and Holly.

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose: Origins TPB



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimbalent/tarot-witch-of-the-black-rose-origins-tpb?ref=theotherside

I can't sell this any better than Jim himself, so here are his words.
Hello and Welcome to the Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose ORIGINS trade paperback Kickstarter!  20 years ago, Holly and I  had this idea to start a Comic Company (BROADSWORD COMICS)and to publish an ongoing series. I always loved sword and sorcery comics as well as the superhero comics. I combined the two and created Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose.

            I based the Art and Stories on myself, people I knew and my Imagination.
            I was told, by the so called experts, that Tarot wouldn’t last past 3 issues . As of the writing of this letter Tarot#121 is being published.

            So to celebrate that first year of Tarot , we have gathered the first 5  sold out issues that launch this adventure series!  In these issues you will find the FIRST APPEARANCE of Tarot, Raven Hex, Jon Webb the Skeleton Man , Crypt Chick, and Mor Meb Dred the Dragon Witch! For those of you just discovering Tarot, welcome to the adventures of this voluptuous Redheaded Witch who is the Swordmaiden to the Goddess and charged with keeping the balance between man and Magick! This is where it all started!

               Holly and I started BROADSWORD COMICS 20 years ago, so come and join the celebration and with your help we can make this Magickal tome happen.

Jim Balent 
There you go.  There are a ton of great stretch goals full of some great Jim and Holly art. I hope you check it out!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Zatannurday: Harleen

Had the chance to pick up the new DC Black Label publication of Stjepan Šejić's Harleen.





It is absolutely fantastic.
Not only can he produce some fantastic art that just grabs you, he also is a great story teller.

If you don't know Stjepan Šejić's work then make sure you change that now! 
You can see some of Harleen here from Issue #1.  This hardcover combines issues 1 to 3.

I hear he wants to do one for Poison Ivy now too in the same universe.  I am all for that!
Though I am still waiting for that WonderCroft comic!

You can find Stjepan on the web:



Saturday, October 12, 2019

Zatannurday: The Jewel of Gravesend

And even more Zatanna releases! And this one is new to me too.

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend, is a new Young Adult graphic novel featuring the Other Side's favorite sorceress.

Written by Alys Arden with art by Jacquelin De Leon this new Zatanna story features "a 'Brooklyn-centric' YA story, Zatanna: The Jewel Gravesend spotlights a younger Zatanna than comic fans have traditionally seen."

The art looks great.



Not sure who the others are, but I love the art for Tibbar. 

Can't wait to read the book.

You can find them on the web here:

Alys Arden 


Jacquelin De Leon






Saturday, September 28, 2019

Zatannurday: Harley and Zee's Halloween Road Trip

I love new Zatanna related releases!
On October 2nd we get DC's "Secrets of Sinister House" special featuring Harley Quinn, John Constantine, Detective Chimp, the Atom, and, Zatanna!

Here is some art that writer Paul Dini shared on his Facebook page.


This was featured on the DC Comics Blog a while back, but this is the first art I have seen.

Here is the bit that has me excited, "Paul Dini writing a 10-page Harley Quinn & Zatanna short with art by Cian Tormey."

A Zatanna and Harley Quinn road trip?  Sign me up!

I'll have to pick this one up on Tuesday.


Friday, September 6, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Demons in the Darkness

A new comic that deals with some subjects close to home.  School bullying, horror, and D&D.

Demons in the Darkness


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/demonsinthedarkness/demons-in-the-darkness?ref=theotherside

It covers something I think many of my readers can relate to; high school bullying and using D&D as an escape.

From the Author:
Demons in the Darkness is a story long in the making.  I’ve had the idea for a while but I’ve struggled to tell it properly.

At its core, Demons in the Darkness, is about Bullying and the collateral damage bullying causes.  It’s about children as they awkwardly grow into adults, as they try to understand their differences from the “norm”.  It’s about the frustration of being different and accepting who you truly are.  All wrapped up in the trappings of a horror story so it's easier to digest and explore.
I have seen the comic already and it is good. It would be a good story to get out there.

The basic pledges levels are very easy. $5 for a digital and $10 for a print.  Not too bad.

There are also several bonus tiers of signed copies.  There are also tiers for digital RPG books from:


And comics:


And artists.

All in all some really fun stuff.
Definantly worth checking out!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Everglade Angels

There is a new comic coming out and it looks like a lot of fun.

EVERGLADE ANGELS - a graphic novel


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blake-northcott/everglade-angels-a-graphic-novel

From the minds of writer Blake Northcott, Scott Lobdell, artists Leila Leiz, and Roc Upchurch, comes an "R-rated" adult horror comic set in the Florida Everglades.

From the Kickstarter.
EVERGLADE ANGELS, an R-rated, 48-page graphic novel, is the first horror graphic novel from Scott Lobdell (writer of Marvel's X-MEN, and the writer & creator of HAPPY DEATH DAY).

The book is co-created by Blake Northcott (international bestselling author of ARENA MODE and THE NORTH VALLEY GRIMOIRE) who is writing her first creator-owned graphic novel.

The art is by Roc Upchurch, the co-creator and artist of RAT QUEENS (the Eisner and Hugo nominated Image Comic series that won a GLAAD Media Award in 2015).
It looks like a fun, 90s style slasher flick tale.
Worth checking out.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Gods, Monsters and Superheroes

A couple of good ones today.

First up is a tactical miniatures game with some fantastic looking minis.

Theosis: Godslayer


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dreamcraftgames/theosis-godslayer?ref=theotherside

This one has some really awesome looking minis.  I know nothing about the game itself, but that is fine.  It looks cool.


Yes. That is a 120 mm base.






It looks fantastic and ending soon.

Also ending soon is a new supers game and I do love Supers games.

Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gtgames/sentinel-comics-the-roleplaying-game

This one looks really fun and I like the art. The game play looks pretty easy to pick up as well.

Want to see how it plays?  Grab the Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game Starter Kit on RPGNow/DrivThruRPG.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Final Call!

I have a bunch of Kickstarters making their ways in the RPG/Geeky world and a lot of them are ending soon.  So here's your chance to get a last look in.

HYPERBOREA: Players' Manual, Referee's Screen, and more!


I love AS&SH. It's a great game.  But look at this beast:


That is a lot of book.  And not all of it is good for the players to have (or need).  This Kickstarter gets you a slimmer version of just information for the player.  You can also get a GM's screen and Players folder.

Never Going Home: World War Occult Role Playing



Described as "Eldritch Horror Role Playing in the Trenches of World War One" it looks like a great game.

I also have a couple from the comics world.

Legend of the Shaders - Harp Twins Comic!


Nordic harp-bard twins and their enigmatic cat discover that the Shader creatures of legend might not be myth after all.

Created by local girls Camille and Kennerly Kitt, aka the Harp Twins.  Normally known for their harp versions of Heavy Metal songs the girls are in their own comic adventure.  I have to admit, I am curious to see what this is all about.

And of course my most recent Featured Artist,

WILLOWBROOK #1



I think this one will be great too!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Kickstart Your Weekend: Willowbrook #1

One of my absolute favorite things about today's connected world is the ability to find new and great things and people.  Emma Kubert and Willowbrook are both of those.



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/emmakubert/willowbrook-1

According to Emma herself:
Willowbrook is a fictional town that is set in the woodsy areas of upstate New York. Eliza Anderson (our protagonist) and her black cat Willow arrive in Willowbrook to find her grandmother, Minerva Proctor. Eliza finds out soon that the entire town is riddled with creatures from different worlds, so she stays to help her grandmother, while unraveling the mystery behind her purpose there.
What grabbed me though was her reasons for creating it.
I watched all my favorite tv shows and movies, including Harry Potter, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gravity Falls, Stranger Things, etc. I love young adult fantasy genres (especially the good ones) because throughout all the adventure and excitement, there are characters that resemble ourselves and the changes that we go through too. So, every time I finished one of these shows or movies, I had that lost feeling of “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW THAT HARRY HAS FINISHED VOLDEMORT?!?!”
I can totally relate.

What grabbed was the idea of Willowbrook but what kept me reading more was her art. Check out the Kickstarted page to see what I mean.  Emma Kubert has a solid pedigree when it comes to art, but ignoring that for a bit just look at what she can do.  The emotions of her characters can be felt through the screen.   Plus there is something here that reminds me of reading "A Wrinkle In Time" for the first time again.  Magical and weird among the ordinary and mundane.

It's great stuff really.

So check it out and toss her some money. I like to see new up and coming comic artists succeed when they have talent and Emma certainly has that.  Plus the story sounds fantastic and I could easily grow to like these characters.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In Remembrance: Stan Lee

Stanley Martin Lieber, known to us mere mortals as Stan Lee died yesterday at the age of 95.
I have often said that my own "Appendix N" would consist of 70s rock, Hammer Horror films, and comics.  Marvel Comics was a huge part of how my D&D world was shaping up.

I grew up being a DC fan, and I still consider myself to this very day a true DC fan.  But in the 70s and the 80s in what was coexistent with my formative D&D years. I dropped DC in favor of Marvel's Spider-Man, X-Men and of course their Horror and Mystic-themed comics like "Tomb of Dracula", Dr. Strange, Blade, and Ghost Rider.  Much of what went on in my D&D worlds was very Marvel influenced.

I had a character named "Rogue" after my favorite bad-girl (at the time she was not in the X-Men yet), and nearly all my character had an illustration that I cut or copied from the pages of Marvel.  While over in DC my first magical-love was still for Zatanna, I also loved reading about the exploits of Dr. Strange and Clea.   I read with a voracious appetite every Tomb of Dracula I could my hands on to.  I read Red Sonja, X-Men, hell...every X-everything in the Mutant 80s.  This leads me to read other comics. 

Stan gave us great characters and stories.  I LOVED Black Panther. Here was a guy who was brilliant, a physicist, a king, he all sorts of superpowers, and yet he still fretted over his people, his lands and doing the right thing.  Peter Parker was so neurotic he could have been a Woody Allen character. Stephen Strange was an arrogant prick, Stark was an alcoholic arrogant prick.  The X-Men had so much pathos it was almost Shakespearian.  These were relatable characters or at least approachable ones.  Jim Croce once sang "You don't tug on Superman's cape" and it is true. Superman, for everything he stands for, is still a god, unapproachable. Even Batman for that matter.  But Stan's characters and the ones he influenced were still more like us.

My introduction to Stan Lee, the man or rather his persona, was via the "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends" cartoons where Stan would narrate the intros. I first heard his "True Believers" here as I suspect most of us did. (Though the FIRST time I heard "True Believers" was on the Electric Company's "Spidey" on PBS in the 70s.) A generation later he would be known to a new audience via his Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos.  But I always felt it was us, the old fans, the ones that remember them smell of comics back in the 70s and 80s (and for others the 60s), that he was there for.

Stan Lee was a flawed, imperfect man.  Just like his characters.  He didn't always say the right thing or maybe he took credit for some ideas that were not his.  At some future date, we can go back and debate the issues of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby split.  But not today.

Today I want to remember the man that gave us all so much. A man that took his own words "with great power comes great responsibility" to heart.  Stan knew the power he wielded and he used it to create worlds for us to enjoy.

Several years ago, when Stan Lee was in his late 80s I asked a question on Facebook, "Who has had a larger impact on our culture, (Playboy founder) Hugh Hefner or Stan Lee?"  The results were fairly predictable, with Stan beating Hugh by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

We will miss Stanley Lieber, the man.  But Stan Lee, the icon and the personality will live on forever.  Excelsior!


Thursday, July 19, 2018

DC in the News

So I remain, despite a box-office trouncing, a devoted DC fan.

Few things are cooking in the DC Universe that will make me happy this fall.  Lets start with a big one and move on to EVEN BIGGER ONES!


We already knew that Kate Kane, AKA Batwoman will be featured in the Fall sweeps 4-Episode Arrowverse crossover (I guess that also means no tying in Black Lightning just yet).

Now it seems they want to use that as a backdoor pilot for a Batwoman series for 2019-20.
They are currently looking for an out lesbian/queer actress of any ethnicity to play Batwoman.

I commend them on this.

There is nothing about Batwoman's background that says she has to be white, or black, or Asian, or Algonquin, or Hispanic.  There are three things though that immutable about the character.

1. Kate is a Soldier. She lives to serve. Just now she wears the uniform of the Bat.
2. Kate is a Lesbian. Even in her earliest interactions, this is something she knows about herself and we know about her.
3. Kate is Jewish.  This informs how she sees life, how she approaches everything she does. The colors of her uniform.

In Comics Dark seems to be the new Black.

The Witching Hour will be a 5-comic arc featuring Wonder Woman, JL Dark and the plot revolves around Hecate and Witches!


I mean read this:
Part one, WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1, with art by Jesus Merino, sets the tone for the Wonder Woman-centered event. In this 48-page debut one-shot, Hecate, the witch-goddess of magic, always knew a day would come when the monsters she stole her magic from would return. Now she must activate the Witchmarked, humans within whom she secreted vast stores of power. This hits Justice League Dark especially hard: one of the most powerful of the Witchmarked turns out to be Wonder Woman! WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 is on sale October 3.
Those aren't tears in my eyes.  No. Not at all....Shut up, you're crying.

And just when my poor heart couldn't take anymore.



Holy Shit!  Robin just said "Fuck Batman" and that Raven!  That is the Raven I have been waiting nearly 38 years to see on my screens.  Even Dove and Gar look great.

So yeah.  You can have your Infinity Wars and your snappy Thanos (who is a rip-off of Darkseid anyway). I know where my action is going to be this fall.

Right?


That's so Raven!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Zatannurday: Interview with MYSTIK U's Alisa Kwitney

A few of weeks ago I mentioned the news of the new Zatanna centric comic MYSTIK U, about Zatanna's days at university.
As you can imagine I did a very unmanly squeal of delight and immediately set out to finding out as much as I could.

Well, my obsessions are your gain!  I got the chance to interview Alisa Kwitney.

Tim/The Other Side: Hello, my name is Tim Brannan and this is my blog The Other Side.  Today I am talking with author Alisa Kwitney. Alisa has been given the reigns on a new Zatanna comic for DC; Mystik U.  Our favorite fishnet-wearing magician is headed back to school to learn magic. She meets some now-familiar names and encounters a bunch of new adventures.

But first, let's meet the author herself.  Hello Alisa, why don’t you introduce yourself and give us a little bit a background on who you are?

Alisa: I was on staff at DC for about 7 years, working in the Vertigo imprint on SANDMAN and SHADE THE CHANGING MAN and other books in Karen Berger’s group. At the same time as I joined DC, my first novel, Till the Fat Lady Sings, was a comedy of manners about the first year of college, published by HarperCollins. My 10th novel, a YA called Cadaver & Queen, is now coming out from HarlequinTeen which is part of HarperCollins, so it’s kind of full circle. And now that I think about it, it’s also a novel about a school--a Victorian medical school that reanimates corpses to produce Bio-Mechanicals.


Tim: Excellent. The big one now, how did you get into writing comics?

Alisa: I actually said I wanted to write and edit during my first interview. These days, you have to choose between writing or drawing and being on staff, but at that time, lots of editors wrote or drew or inked or colored. Dick Giordano, the Vice President, once worked as inker for me on Sandman. I had already had a novel published, so people knew I could write--at least, in theory. In practice, I was still learning how to write comics. My first comic was a Phantom Stranger special, and whenever we got pages back from penciller Guy Davis, I would check to see where he had changed my pacing. Basically, he was giving me a master class in how to tell a better visual story.

Tim: So, if I can, you are something of Sci-Fi Royalty! Your father is the late Robert Sheckley. Did he give you good advice about writing? Do/Did you take inspiration from his works?
BTW, Immortality, Inc. is still one of my favorites and Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming was a lot of fun to read.

Alisa:  When I was 19, I asked my father if he thought I had it. I wanted him to anoint me and say, in effect, Yes, my child, you have the magic spark of writerly brilliance. Instead, he said in this very dismissive tone, “Yeah, you got talent, I suppose. Whatever that’s worth.” At the time, I was disappointed in his response, but over the years I’ve come to realize that he was absolutely right. Talent counts for very little. Applying yourself to your stories is everything. And in a sense, that’s what I’m writing about in Mystik U. These 18-year-olds come to college, wanting validation of their special powers, and instead they discover their limitations.

Tim: You are no stranger to the DC Universe.  Your run on Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold was up for an Eisner Award.  How did you get that job and did it help when pitching Mystik U?

Alisa: I pitched Destiny when I was pregnant and obsessed with plagues. I kept imagining these awful horror scenarios and I had to get it out of my system. I also wanted to do something sweeping and epic, like the big Frank Yerby historicals I read when I was a kid. (My favorite was The Odor of Sanctity.) Neil told me about The Secret History of Procopius, which is a history of the early Byzantine empire written by a scholar who was convinced that the emperor had been possessed by a demon.

I’m not sure how much Destiny helped in my pitching Mystik U. In general, I find that if you’ve written a historical horror story, people tend to think it means you can write historical horror stories. If you write a contemporary YA, (which I did for Shelly Bond’s Minx line at DC), then people might say, Oh, I see, you can write contemporary YA. Mystik U is sort of a hybrid of superhero and horror and YA, so it seems a logical next step to me--but I’m not sure it seemed logical to anyone else at first.



Tim: Now tell us about Young Zatanna and Mystik U.  Was this your idea?

Alisa: Yes. I wanted to do a book about college, because that first year of being off on your own and finally learning things you choose for yourself is really rich with story possibilities. People keep comparing the concept of Mystik U to Hogwarts, which is fine--I own not one but two Harry Potter wands, and consider myself a Ravenpuff--but I could never write a book about boarding school. At age eleven, I would have hated Hogwarts, because I was basically Neville Longbottom. I also really enjoyed Lev Grossman’s books about magical college, but his take is also different from mine. For me, college is a stage where people go to improvise themselves. It’s a place where you get to try on new ideas, new philosophies and new identities. And it’s a place where the bathrooms contain some unpleasant surprises.

Tim: Stories about schools and young heroes are very popular. You don’t need to look much farther than Harry Potter or Buffy to see that.  On the comics front we have the classic Chris Claremont run on X-Men and the George Pérez run on Teen Titans.  What do you want to do with Zatanna as a character that covers this same sort of time in her life and the storytelling opportunities?

Alisa: Zatanna comes to school thinking that she has a great power and that she needs training--and then finds herself unable to access her power when she wants it. There are other people there, on her hall, who seem a lot better at magic than she is--like Enchantress, and Davit Sargon, and her roommate Pia and the broody Sebastian Faust. She’s like a lot of people, who were amazing at something in high school, and then get to college and find they aren’t the top of the heap anymore. In an earlier version of Mystik U, I thought this character was going to be Tim Hunter, and I’m so much happier exploring the theme with Zatanna. There are fewer stories of female ambition and drive that aren’t posed as cautionary tales. There’s a parallel story about Rose Psychic, the dean of the school, and her relationship with Dr. Occult, who shares her body. (I wanted Rose to look like Ming Doyle, by the way. I met her when I first pitched Mystik U, and she remains the model for Rose in my mind’s eye.)

Tim: I am a huge fan of Paul Dini’s run on Zatanna, but I love the old Gardner Fox stories as well. What are some of your favorite Zatanna stories?

Alisa: I love Paul Dini’s storytelling. I also love a lot of the stories where she meets up with John Constantine. I figured she was always drawn to bad boys, which you get to see in her relationship with Sebastian Faust.

Tim:  What sort of older elements might we see in your version of Zee? (I already saw Zatara is still around).

Alisa: Mike Norton, the artist, has done an amazing job creating a Zatanna who feels like the bright, upbeat, pragmatic character we know, but also seems like a college freshman. I really wanted all of the characters to feel like real people. For example, Davit Sargon performs a small feat of magic when Zatanna first meets him, and says, “that’s just a little cantrip I picked up.” Zatanna doesn’t know what a cantrip is, and her roommate, Pia explains that it’s a clue that Sargon plays D&D.

Tim: And finally where can we find you on the internet?

Alisa: https://www.facebook.com/alisa.kwitney.sheckley/. Twittter @akwitney. My website is www.alisakwitney.com

Tim: Ok last question and this is one I always ask here at the Other Side. Who is your favorite wizard, witch or magic-user?

Alisa: I loved Witch Hazel, from the old Bugs Bunny cartoon.  She loved being green and hideous and hated being seen as a conventional beauty--which is kind of badass and punk, in retrospect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzEYxGc2RmMI

I also totally understood Endora’s point of view in Bewtiched. Why was her powerful witch daughter wasting time on a dull mortal? In my dreams, Endora and Snape are sitting together in a pub, making caustic remarks about everyone sitting around them.

Tim: Love that visual!  Alisa thank you so much!

Zatanna and MYSTIK U will be out in Novemember.

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