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    “DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE” (Video Game Review)

    Zombie games have exploded over the past few years. With such titles a LEFT 4 DEAD and  DEAD RISING leading the pack, the primarily PC platform company Techland has also jumped on-board the gore freight train with DEAD ISLAND and its current follow-up DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE. RIPTIDE follows the five main characters as they attempt to survive another zombie outbreak while scavenging for items on an infested tourist island. A blood-and-guts filled detour into an undead Hell, this first person, survival action game has received mixed reaction from both fans and critics, yet still manages to satisfy a hankering to stab and slash the walking dead.

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    THE WALKING DEAD has proved to not only be a media bonanza, but a merchandising boon as well. From t-shirts and toys to DVDs and, of course, comics, collectors have been shelling out hard-earned cash for a piece of zombie memorabilia. It’s perhaps thanks to the recent interest in all things undead that the series has spawned not one, but two WALKING DEAD survival board games. While ghoulish versions of classics like WALKING DEAD Monopoly and WALKING DEAD Risk are on the way, the former are more popular with the strategy gamers than the casual, Friday night crowd. The more popular of the two, THE WALKING DEAD board game based on the Image Comics title (versus the AMC show), finds the player forced to scrounge for food while attempting to survive the ever growing zombie-hordes. With the tag line “Can you walk among the dead?”, it definitely brings the point home as the board slowly fills up with flesh-eaters and dwindling hope of survival.

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    “TEN GRAND” #1 (Comic Review)

    In the wide world of comics, Noir and Horror have sat down to drink more often than one would think. From John Constanine’s globe-trotting, mystical escapades to Cal McDonald’s ghoulish case files, paranormal mystery men have become a staple of the medium as much as superheroes and tragic origins. With the recent launch of TEN GRAND, we are once again reminded why the world seems endlessly fascinated with a dimly lit bar and a sob story. A work mixing striking visuals and strong writing, it joins Image Comics’ recent fascination for bizarre crime stories, most notably, CHIN MUSIC written by Steve Niles and FATALE from Ed Brubaker. Though it has yet to be seen if it will pick up as much steam as its predecessors, it can be safely assumed TEN GRAND might stick around for the long run.

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    “JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE” #2 (Comic Review)

    Despite the overwhelming artistic success of Judge Dredd in the UK, there have been few attempts to work with the character stateside. DC comics had a short run with the gun-toting officer in the mid-90s, but unfortunately only lasted a whopping eighteen issues before getting shut down. That’s not to say that the Judge did not explode as a media gold mine, ranging from toys and video games to books and movies. Though as far comic books go, he never quite generated the same interest as he did abroad. But, perhaps thanks in part to the new DREDD movie, he has once again been given a chance to show off his trademark brand of justice in one of the latest IDW Publishing additions, JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE.

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    Q&A: “WORLD WAR Z” author Max Brooks on new undead comic, “EXTINCTION PARADE”

    When a person mentions zombies in polite conversation, several things tend to come to mind: George Romero, THE WALKING DEAD, B Movies, to name a few. In recent years, another name has been added to the ever growing history of the undead, Max Brooks. Brooks, best known for the ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE and WORLD WAR Z, is internationally renowned for his factual-like take on the ghoulish plague while re-sparking interest in the genre.

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    Q&A: Slipknot’s Corey Taylor on first comic, “HOUSE OF GOLD AND BONES”

    Rock ‘n’ roll and comics are not so far apart. Both have been blamed for corrupting the youth, both have inspired the other, and both are certainly owned by the Devil himself. It is little wonder that musicians are finding themselves behind the pages of a few four-color panels themselves with the likes of Life of Agony’s Alan Robert, and now Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey TAYLOR: , the newest musician to be bitten by the creative bug. Fresh from his fifth album with Stone Sour titled HOUSE OF GOLD AND BONES PART TWO (part one was released October 2012), TAYLOR:  has dropped the similarly titled bookas a companion piece. Part dreamscape, part horror, the story follows the journey of a nameless man as he wakes up in an unknown world, hunted by a strange creature. As he attempts to put together his fragmented memories, he inexplicably finds himself attracting demonic doppelgangers, dark shadows, and more questions than answers.

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    “SWAMP THING, VOL. 2: FAMILY TREE” (Comic Review)

    SWAMP THING has had as many series as the average person has fingers. Currently on its fifth run, the newest addition to the growing mythos has a found a different DC home outside of the Vertigo imprint, this time under the current DC universe, “The New 52.” Thanks to the relaunch, the hulking figure is back in the spotlight, this time with a densely rich world for him to kick ass and take names in.

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    “’68: JUNGLE JIM #1″ (Comic Review)

    ’68 has addressed the issues of war in a way many have refused to touch. Mixing the true terrors of the Vietnam battlefront with the inhumanity of the walking undead, the work has upped the horrors of death and isolation in a setting unfamiliar to this generation’s readers. Though it’s not uncommon to find zombies in WWI and WWII in both movies and comics, the Vietnam War seems to be one territory few ever tread; perhaps in respect to the still large population of Vietnam survivors or just in hushed reverence for the fallen troops.’68 takes no prisoners in its raw representation of a military conflict that still haunts many to this day, however. It’s a solid kick to the head to a market heavily saturated in zombie paraphernalia and reminds the reader that even though it’s a work of fiction, the stories it tells are a reflection of a time all too real.

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    Brandon Seifert has come a long way in a very short time. With his partner-in-crime Lukas Ketner, they turned their supernatural/medical creation, WITCH DOCTOR into one of the most well received new series in the past two years. With the second arc, MALPRACTICE, well underway, Seifert is also finding himself penning such iconic works as HELLRAISER for Boom Studios and DR WHO for IDW. Though relatively new to the comic scene, he has shown a talent for story and dialogue that has continued to spur his popularity. He recently sat down with Fango to talk magic, mayhem, and medicine. 

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    Fangoria Exclusive: Steve Niles talks FINAL NIGHT and EYES OF FRANKENSTEIN

    It has been a trying four months for Steve Niles’ comic creations CRIMINAL MACABRE and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Not only have the two series been fighting to the death in the appropriately titled crossover, FINAL NIGHT (out from Dark Horse) but the “loser” has the added pressure of being put in permanent retirement. While fans have been biting their nails in anticipation, Niles has been keeping the outcome a tightly kept secret. Until now. With the release of the final issue this past Wednesday, we finally find out which of the two will live to see another run. Steve Niles recently sat down with FANGORIA in an exclusive interview about the ending of one series, the continuation of another, and all the little bits in between.


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    Career Q&A: Artist Ben Templesmith on “30 DAYS OF NIGHT,” “WORMWOOD” and more

    Ben Templesmith’s is a one-of-a-kind artist who’s built his career on unique visions of color and form. With a subdued palette and iconic style, Templesmith’s reputation grown by leaps and bounds as the man to go to for a bit of the bizarre. He is also known as being one half of the duo behind 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, filling up the pages with grotesque bloodsuckers and their screaming victims in a fight to survive a vampire invasion during a month of Alaskan darkness. After the award-winning book launched his career, he went on to do work for both mainstream and not-so-mainstream comics, even creating his own character in the form of WORMWOOD: GENTLEMAN CORPSE. Fango spoke with the illustrator about his career, thus far.

    FANGORIA: Your most notable work is 30 DAYS OF NIGHT with Steve Niles, which Niles still writes for. How do you feel about the series possibly ending soon?

    BEN TEMPLESMITH: I’m very happy that the 30 DAYS OF NIGHT franchise is being laid to rest for a while. I think that after the initial trilogy, it lost its way for a while anyway. The whole concept of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT is in the title and it hasn’t been in the title for a very long time, so the fact that it’s ending in some capacity is a good thing. I’m waiting for a revamp in ten to fifteen years. I left the whole 30 DAYS thing in the past quite a few years ago, but Steve’s still writing it. It’s quite the labor of love, so it means more to him than to me at this point. I’ve been trying to define my career since the vampires; not that he hasn’t, but he’s still involved and I’m not. I’m sad, but I’m not that sad. Let it rest for a while. They made it a monthly and the sales weren’t there, that’s why they did it. It’s a sad business reality. That was the non-fluff answer. That was the brutal economics answer.

    FANG: How much creative control did you have on 30 DAYS OF NIGHT? What about Steve Niles other large work, CRIMINAL MACABRE?

    TEMPLESMITH: First is first, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT was originally a creator-owned book. It was just me and Steve having fun, goofing around because we were bored and waiting for something else to happen. We had complete creative control, editorially speaking, not so much in other aspects of being creator controlled intellectual property. So in my case, because I was a small time guy, especially at the time, it was my big break. But yeah, complete freedom in that sense. I don’t get a say in anything to do with the book in regards to who is the artist after me or anything like that.

    With Cal McDonald, that was Steve’s idea to begin with and very much his baby and I was just the artist. He was the boss, which is the way it should be. You’re meant to follow the dictates of the writer anyway. But I’ve never had issues with editorial, especially not with IDW, which is a nice thing. Because I won’t be told what to do. I mean, it’s stupid, if you want me to do a book, people at this point know what they’re gonna get. I’m not going to draw like Jim Lee.

    FANG: Were you involved in the 30 DAYS OF NIGHT movie at all?

    TEMPLESMITH: I actually did not do any work for 30 DAYS, I was cut out of all of that and had no contact with the movie people. But it was kind of like stars aligning when I went down to visit the set and met the director. It was then I learned that I could have been involved in stuff. But I didn’t have an agent or someone pushing for me in Hollywood and my publisher didn’t let me know anything. I was in Australia at that point not knowing much. I didn’t actually do much. I did do something for a web based computer game about it, but that was about it. I had no concept work or anything like that. All of that was down to how amazing the director was, for using my originals for the concept.

    FANG: Would you like to do concept work for movies at all?

    TEMPLESMITH: I would happily do concept work. Concept work is just the fun stuff. I’ve done a little bit. I’ve done a movie called BOOGEYMAN 2. I apparently designed the boogeyman, at least at first, until they fired the director and moved to a different one and the movie actually got made. But I’ve never seen the movie.

    FANG: There’s a rumor that you might be doing more work with Steve Niles. Can you tell us anything?

    TEMPLESMITH: Yes, we have plans. We’re talking again, but I can’t reveal too much yet. We’re collaborating with a third person, Menton the 3rd, who’s an artist, and we’re doing an art book slash comic book slash narrative. It’s going to have comic books in there, called LUST. We did a Kickstarter for it and raised like, seventy thousand bucks. Some lucky people are getting a hard cover book sometime soon. It’s about the seven deadly sins. We’re taking Lust for book one. There will be a series of books, though we’re only doing the first one so far. So Steve and I are working together again, but we have bigger plans than that, which I’m not talking about yet.


    FANG: One of your earliest works was HELLSPAWN, taking over for Ashley Wood. You two have similar art styles, did you have any sort of working relationship? Did he influence you at all?

    TEMPLESMITH: Ashley came from the same city I did. He has eight years on me professionally and he has been around longer than I have. He did HELLSPAWN before I did, obviously, and I followed him on the book. He left the book with like four pages left to draw, so I finished four pages. For some reason, Todd [McFarlane] decided to use my pin-ups as the cover for that issue and then the next issue, he did the cover and I did the whole issue. After that, I did all the covers and the issues. We actually shared a studio for about six months, but he never turned up when I was there and I never turned up when he was there, so neither of us believed the other one actually used it. Since then, he went on to be a massive toy company guy and artist in general with a huge gallery shows. Ash’s work got me in to comics and the fact that he was from where I was from, kept me going. I owe a lot to him.

    FANG: You have also worked with the legendary Warren Ellis on the comic FELL. How did you involved with him?

    TemplesmithFellTEMPLESMITH: He emailed me. He emailed me at four a.m. He paid me the highest compliment of my career at one point. He channeled someone on his email contact list and said “I’m never going to get a professional artist to work with me on a book for no money with this crazy idea I have.” So, I emailed him at 4 AM my time, in Australia, and said, “I’ll do it.”

    He emailed me straight back with the biggest compliment and said “oh, I’ve wanted to work with you for a long time.” And I’m like “it’s fucking Warren Ellis!” He said that! So after that, it was on, because I’m a risk taker. I don’t need money to do a book. I will make money if it sells. I’m a back end guy, I believe in what I do and I’m not looking for a page rate, which is what most corporate artists in Marvel and DC do. They get paid to draw. I only make a living if the work I create and own sells. It’s a lot more risky, but since it’s more natural for me, he’s going to get people like me to do stuff and I’m really glad that I did. It worked really well.

    It may come back eventually, it’s a long story. There’s one issue done and I could have it illustrated tomorrow and Image won’t print it. They would want two or three more issues of script written in the can, because they’re not going to release one issue of a monthly book once every two years. I’ll need a few more, so I’m between a rock and a hard place. I need to find a month to do a book for basically nothing to encourage Warren to write more. He thinks his best work on that has already happened. He’s got to rise to the challenge, but he’s intimidated by his own work. He’s quite a humble guy when it comes down to the quality he’s already put out. I think he can match it. I owe Warren my career too, by the way. I will have his babies.

    FANG: You also have the creator-owned WORMWOOD: GENTLEMAN CORPSE.

    TEMPLESMITH: Well, as far as creator-owned, it is partially owned by a corporation. Ownership implies control and to me, that’s a big thing, a big dynamic. It’s what I’m pushing my career for. So, terminology matters in that sense. It’s more like creator-invested versus creator-owned. There are differences there, business wise. But yes, WORMWOOD was my baby, my first proper baby and it’ll come back, maybe. He’s inspired by all the goofy ideas I had while I was growing up and as a teenager. It gestated all together—just me having fun. There’s no real story there, just hilarious attempts at humor. It’s stupid humor for intelligent people, I call it. Well, there’s a vague story there, I mean, it’s done really well. There will be more.

    I’m still debating what the next one will be. I have it written, but I don’t have it drawn yet. I need to find time. “Bingo Night in Valhalla” will happen! Either that or the other one titled “Mr. Wormwood Goes to War.”

    FANG: Any upcoming work?

    TEMPLESMITH: I am doing a new book, just solicited this month with J. Micheal Straczynski, who created BABYLON 5 and other things. I’m doing a twelve issue series with him called TEN GRAND. I don’t remember the code, but it is in comic previews now. It’s from Image.

    FANG: How about a fun fact?

    TEMPLESMITH: Most of the information on my Wikipedia page is not correct, mostly because it’s controlled by crazy people who won’t let anyone update it with truth.

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