Talking Craft with NYT Bestselling Graphic Novelist Kazu Kabuishi

Amulet Kazu Kabuishi

Between FLIGHT, COPPER, paperback cover illustrations of the Harry Potter books, and eight volumes of the best-selling graphic novel AMULET (with a ninth in the works), writer/artist Kazu Kibuishi is a role model for not excepting or expecting anything but success. His canny understanding of storytelling, as well as of where the market swings are in comic book culture, have made him an expert in the artform, capable of speaking on subjects from the most esoteric anime to your run-of-the-mill superhero arc.

Critical Blast is joined by UNSTITCHED creator Justin Dutton to spend an hour with Kibuishi discussing these aspects of the graphic novel industry, and what traits make for stories that stand the test of time -- and remain evergreen sellers in bookstores. Check the video below for all the details.


Crystal Hunt Bring Ensemble Sitcom to Pure Flix Streaming Service

Crystal Hunt, Mood Swings

Fans of the soaps GUIDING LIGHT and ONE LIFE TO LIVE are well acquainted with actress Crystal Hunt, who played Lizzie Spaulding and Stacy Morasco on each show, respectively.

But the actress has kept consistenly busy since her time on the daytime dramas, putting in work in films as well as other serial entertainment, suc as HILTON HEAD ISLAND for Pure Flix.

With MOOD SWINGS, Hunt gets to bring the full range of her experience to bear; not only is she acting in the Pure Flix situation comedy, she's also the creator, serving as writer and producer. With an ensemble cast featuring Robin Riker, Cristina DeRosa, Sophia Gasca, and Donna Mills, MOOD SWINGS draws its inspiration from THE GOLDEN GIRLS, and it's not hard to begin to draw the parallels between the characters once you see them.


Latest Dave Sim Project Blends Humor, Photorealism to Address Social Issues

You Don't Know Jack Dave Sim

Dave Sim, the man behind the legendary run of CEREBUS, has a new project wrapping up on Kickstarter, with artist Carson Grubaugh. YOU DON'T KNOW JACK! TWO-FISTED COMIC STORE MANAGER is a by-product of the collaboration of Sim and Grubaugh on his other work-in-progress, THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND. During the latter project, Grubaugh, an art professor, drew on one of his students as a model for the piece -- Jack VanDyke, a comic store manager.


Broadsword Comics Celebrates 20 Years

Broadsword 20th

At the auspicious rolling of the celestial odometer -- also known as the year 2000 AD -- Jim Balent, who had come to stardom through his work on DC Comics' CATWOMAN series, took a foolhardy leap into the realm of independent publishing. He didn't have the backing of a Kickstarter or an Indiegogo; it was just him and fellow artist and spouse Holly Golightly, and a dream. That dream coalesced in the form of TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE, where the team's pin-up style and background in magick could have expression.

Twenty years later, TAROT is still going strong, and the company has celebrated with a successful Kickstarter campaign to cap off two decades with a limited edition trade paperback (plus other goodies).


Wizards of a New Oz: Zeb Hatfield and Eric Weathers on Battle Brick Road

Battle Brick Road

Some classics lend themselves to modern exploration. Lewis Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND has been exploited in films such Disney's iconic animated masterpiece, to books like Frank Beddor's LOOKING-GLASS WARS. James Barrie's PETER PAN has been a mainstay of musical production for decades while going through dark reimaginings like Brom's THE CHILD THIEF.

Similarly, L. Frank Baum's WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the past century in television mini-series, animated cartoons, and comic books, either in adaptive retellings or wholly imagined variations.


Martina Markota's Long Road to Bring Lady Alchemy to Comics

Lady Alchemy

There are so many different crowdfunded comics popping up these days of varying degrees of quality. And with the mainstream comics market in a state of flux, the projects at Kickstarter and Indiegogo are poised to reap the benefits of the comics distribution shutdown.

One such project is LADY ALCHEMY, a magical hero's journey from Martina Markota and MONSTER M.D.'s Von Klaus. LADY ALCHEMY originally funded two years ago, but then ran into choppy waters with the original creative team. Now, with a fresh writer and artist, Markota's vision is on track to be released soon.

We talk with Klaus and Markota in the livestream below, including some exclusive first looks at the new interior artwork.


TCM Brings Margaret O'Brien, "Meet Me In St. Louis" to St. Louis

Ben Mankiewicz and Margaret O'Brien for TCM in St. Louis

It's the third year that Turner Classic Movies has held their "Bring TCM to Your Hometown" contest, and for the Gateway to the Midwest, the third time was the charm. After what the network termed an "overwhelming response" from St. Louis residents, TCM prepared to bring the classic MGM film, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS" for a free screening at the historic Tivoli Theatre.

But it wasn't just a free movie the town was getting. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz escorted film star Margaret O'Brien for the event, to make the screening all the more special for fans.


Introducing: Bulletproof


You've seen the banners. You've seen the tweets and the Facebook postings. BULLETPROOF is coming...

But what is BULLETPROOF? And when is it coming?

Time for the Critical Blast staff to sit down and have a little geek out about the Disney/Sony custody battle over Spider-Man, the upcoming CW crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths, the continued tomkinging (yes, we've verbed it) of Batman this week -- oh, and lots and lots of discussion about BULLETPROOF, including the hotly anticipated release date!

Click and enjoy. (And if you like this type of content, by all means click that Subscribe button. It costs nothing, and it means the world to us!)


Going Behind the Mountain Monsters with Colt Straub

Colt Straub and Trapper

It's been 18 months since we left the Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS) team in a cliffhanger of a search in Lee County, Virginia.

A lot has happened since that time, including a shift from the Destination America network over to the Travel Channel. With the debut of a new season imminent, we lunged at the chance to talk with Colt Straub, the executive producer behind the fan-favorite series, MOUNTAIN MONSTERS, to find out some of the things that make it work, and how things are going to shake out in the new season.

Catch the new season of MOUNTAIN MONSTERS Wednesday, August 21, at 9pm ET/PT.


Jody Houser: Taking the New Doctor Who Through All Time and Space

All of time and space? Something for your bucket list--especially if you get to travel it in the company of the immortal Doctor Who. Over the show's fifty-plus year history, the regenerating Doctor (a plot device used to cover the change of actors as the show progressed) has gone through a number of unusual and dramatic changes. But none have been more dramatic than when we met the Thirteenth Doctor, when former Doctor, Peter Capaldi, ended his tenure on the show giving way to Jodie Whittaker, the first time we have seen the Doctor regenerate as a woman (even though we knew it was possible, when the Doctor's longtime foe, the Master, regenerated as "Missy").


Talking Peter Cannon with Kieron Gillen

When we reviewed the first issue of Dynamite Comis' take on PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT, we were taken aback by what we read. Was this a WATCHMEN derivative? Did Kieron Gillen think people wouldn't catch on? By the end of that issue, it became clear that things were muddier than we thought (if that makes sense), and the second issue had us hooked. This was something different, something that was far more metacomic than it was supehero adventure.

When the fifth and final issue came out, we were certain that the whole thing was a reaction to what WATCHMEN had brought us, and how it had changed the industry.


Anime Matsuri "Stands With Vic"

Anime Matsuri

If you're even slightly aware of anime and have a social media account, you've no doubt seen the hashtags #KickVic, #IStandWithVic, and #VicKicksBack. The hashtag battles refer to the allegations against popular voice actor, Vic Mignogna, whose work is front-and-center in the recent release, DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY, as well as a former regular on the anime series, RWBY


Closing in on 19 Years of Broadsword Comics with Jim Balent and Holly Golightly

Jim Balent Holly Golightly 2019 Interview

Over two decades ago, Jim Balent had a comfortable gig with a big time publisher, bringing his own inimitable style to CATWOMAN for DC Comics.

Then, in 2000, he walked away from that to go independent with his own imprint, Broadsword Comics, and his own creation, TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE. And he did this without the benefit of the existence of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any other crowdfunding assistance.

It was a huge leap of faith, and now, 19 years later with nary an issue missed of the 114-book run, Broadsword Comics is still going strong with Jim and Holly Golightly doing everything from writing, drawing, lettering, coloring -- the whole shebang.

We were privileged to get this livestream interview with The Busiest (and Most Fun) Couple in Comics, to talk about Tarot, comic books, and... STAR WARS? We hope you'll have as much fun watching this as we had doing it!


Exclusive Reveal! The Title of the Next ANGST Novel by David J. Pedersen is...

Angst Audiobook Cover

Fans of David J. Pedersen's ANGST series are in for a couple of treats, not the least of which is the newest installment of the epic "Midlife Crisis in Medieval Times."

The ANGST books have followed a pattern, beginning with the second book, of giving readers clues to the magical elements involved in each adventure, with titles like BURIED IN ANGST (Earth), BURNING WITH ANGST (Fire), and DROWNING IN ANGST (Water).

So what is the fateful title of ANGST 5? That's part of our exclusive interview. Watch here...

(Rather just listen? Plug in and take a listen to the CRITICAL PODBLAST podcast!)


Mitch Breitweiser: Red Rooster and the State of the Comics Industry

Red Rooster

There's a new hero on the horizon, a mythic figure of folk legend who fights for justice for the common man--the flyover man. His name is Red Rooster, and his is a mantle that passes from generation to generation.

The Red Rooster is the creation of comic book creator Mitch Breitweiser, who, along with his wife, colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (SKYBOUND), is driving hype for one of the most hotly anticipated crowdfunded comics to come down the pike.

We sat down to talk to Mitch about this project, and what it's like using the crowdfunding vehicle to bring a dream to reality, complete with its triumphs--as well as its surprising adversities.

Click below to listen to the Critical Blast Podblast.


"Slick" Jimmy Love Talks Little Girl Lethal

Sugar Lightspeed

After decades upon decades of the Big Two being the place to go for comics, with distribution ranging from the classic spinner rack at the corner drug store to a direct sales market structure, a new way of getting comics has been gaining traction: Crowdfunding. Whether through Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other means, creators have found ways to take charge of their ideas and bring them to the masses without having to dilute them through the traditional channels.

One of those projects that's been generating a lot of buzz is LITTLE GIRL LETHAL, starring the enigmatic and sexy Sugar Lightspeed. But as intriguing and arousing as the artwork appears, what is LITTLE GIRL LETHAL all about?

We sat down for a chat with Sugar's creator, "Slick" Jimmy Love, to get an in-depth and personal look at the world next door -- a world of sexy assassins where seedy sins aren't necessarily hidden in the shadows; the world of Sugar Lightspeed."


Enter Sandman: James Quinn Talks About His New Supernatural Boxing Film

James Quinn Sandman Interview

We've seen the trailers online for SANDMAN, but we all know that trailers aren't often representative of the whole story. What can you tell us that's a bit more in-depth about the film?

SANDMAN is kind of a passion for us, for our whole team. It's a project that I wrote about a year and a half ago. Some of the premise is based upon my own life, so it made it a little bit easier to bring the story together.


Inside Anime Midwest 2018 (VIDEO TOUR)

At the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, anime fans came together to celebrate their fandom and share their love of a genre.

If you couldn't make it, fret not! Our own CosplayKitti was on the scene, capturing the moments and talking with vendors and attendees. Enjoy!



Paper Canoe, and Tami, Too: NeverEnding Story's Childlike Empress and Her New Adventure

Tami Stronach

Sometimes a person appears on the big screen in an unforgettable moment, then disappears from the public view. Most of them are never heard from again. Maybe the film was a flop. Maybe they decided the life wasn't for them. Maybe they were too identified with the role and couldn't be seen as anyone else afterward.

One of those shining stars is Tami Stronach, who captivated audiences in THE NEVERENDING STORY as The Childlike Empress. Several years would pass before Stronach would again grace the screen, but she's been far from idle in those years.

With a new venture, and some new projects in the works, Tami took a few moments to speak with us about where she came from, and where she's going now.

You were barely 11 when THE NEVERENDING STORY came out, and obviously younger than that during all the filming. What do you remember most vividly from that experience?


Gerald Welch talks Legacy with Critical Blast

Having grown up in Jersey City and spending most of my working life in Newark, New Jersey, I have always had a great love and respect for Warren Murphy’s The Destroyer series. Warren himself was born in Jersey City, and his most iconic character, Remo Williams, started out as a Newark cop. Don’t tell Chiun I called Remo more iconic than him, he would not appreciate that at all….

I had lost track of the series over the years, but I was definitely curious when I heard that Warren Murphy had developed a spin-off called Legacy with Jerry Welch. I immediately fell in love with Legacy. Freya and Stone are terrific characters, and in just a few short books, Murphy and Welch have managed to expand the world of The Destroyer in some brilliant new ways. Jerry has been wonderful about answering any questions I have had about the series over the last few years, and I was glad to be able to sit down with him and do a full form interview.


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