Tag Archives: canadian

NO Such Thing as Blog Rants: Art Contests, more like shart contests by Tara Audibert

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I have always been enraged by art contests. I had a teacher named Carla Collette in animation school, who started a discussion about art contests, she gave us this speech about how illogical they were for any other profession, it makes no sense and it is quite demeaning.

Now if you want to enter a contest for fun, hey by all means, I have entered karaoke contests, potato sack races, and even a fork licking contest, for FUN! I would never stop fun, or say get rid of contests, I like winning!

BUT when companies EXPLOIT contests to be able to pick and choose from a pile of work done, this is utter and complete bullshit. I have seen it for logos, artwork, pitching animated shows!!!! How much free work are you able to squeeze out of artists who most likely would like to get paid for their work. This holds true for student work too. Students do not need YOUR contest exposure unless you are PIXAR. Oh you are not PIXAR, then bugger off, I’m going to pitch my idea to PIXAR, or ANY NUMBER OF STUDIOS AND NETWORKS accepting pitches right now. We live in a world where people are screaming for content MORE MORE MORE. There is no need for you to enter a contest, there is someone, somewhere, who will pay you for your idea. This is the truth. Because most people have no ideas, no clues, they have stopped using their imaginations long ago. Most people don’t take risks, or think outside the rules of society <– THIS is what artists get paid for.

Let’s say I have a carpenter contest, and get everyone to build me a house, then I go around and pick the house I want to live in and pay for, and the rest, sorry, you lose, all that work you did, for nothing, oh but I got you exposure and you get to keep the house you worked on, try to sell it to someone else. How about I have a contest for fill in any job here  and guess what, it is still ridiculous.

I entered an animation “contest” once,  well it wasn’t a contest, because EVERYONE got some software and a wacom tablet, and EVERYONE got their work put on TV together. I think this is a good way to do something fun and collaborative AND it benefited the programming by providing content. Everyone WINS!!!

What I am saying is, that when you are making a deal the terms need to be even. Contest holders are GETTING to CHOOSE something very valuable, and that a lot of work has gone into. Even if the work has taken a short time to create, it has taken that short amount of time because of experience the artist has gained.

What can I do about it Tara? Well I’m glad you asked artist friend! It all starts with you lucky bug! Don’t enter any contests where you are not explicitly benefitting from it an equal amount or greater than what you are putting in. DON’T DO WORK FOR FREE. If you are putting in a lot of effort with little reward, it’s not a good thing.

see the math is all here              z\leq x+y,

  • Z= Your Time & Energy
  • X=What you get, win or lose
  • Y=Fun you will have

So after having this big discussion about art contests in college, my teacher Carla, proceeded to tell us about this art contest that she was entering one of her works! HAHAHA but it was too late I was already a convert! Have I ever entered an art contest? damn straight I have, I’ve especially entered ones I’m sure I will win 🙂  Because winning is FUN too! HAHAHA


Tara Audibert is an artist, film maker, comic illustrator, consultant, and just a Jill of all Trades. She co-hosts the podcast No Such Thing as Grown Ups along with Curtis Carey and a bunch of other stuff too Animations, Finger Puppet Sitcoms, Prepping with Puppets,comics, poetry books, children’s books and so much more! www.nosuchthingasgrownups.com

 

Morning EveryBody! Time for A Show!

I’ve always wanted a job doing a show 4 days a week. Something I can spend all day working on and creating content for. I already have a job most days of the week. So I can’t spend all day living the life of a weird creative weirdo. I have to go to work. Where I work like a creative weirdo.

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So the only way left to have my own show 4 days a week like a fancy Jason Leyno. Is to decide that I have a show 4 days a week. Then make that show 4 times each week. No. that’s not really how TV works. But it is how the internet works. Which is why I would like to invite EVERYBODY to let me start their days, no matter what time of day that is.

Watch, Like, and Subscribe to Morning Everybody! A YouTube show full of topical topics, animation, game development secrets, puppets, a dog, music, and more! It’s only just begun. But I promise it will be fun All Week Long Tuesday to Friday! (Monday Is for NoSuchThingAsGrownUps)

Watch the first 2 episodes now!

Episode 1 – Tuesday, The First Morning

 

Episode 2 – the First Morning After

No Such Thing As Reviews #10: Nyobi Issue 1. Independent and Pop Culture Reviews

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of No Such Thing As Reviews! Otherwise known as Next September They’re All Retired <– sheesh these are getting harder than I anticipated….

I’m Ryan Atkinson and every Tuesday here on No Such Thing As Reviews, we’ll be reviewing a plethora of pop culture and wonderful things! Most often will be independent comic books, but who knows, T.V., movies and many other things may show up. The reviews will consist of a brief overview of what we will be reviewing, a small summary of the content (SPOILER ALERT!!), my personal thoughts on the content including a rating out of 5 and whenever possible we will include an interview with the creators as well!
This week I’ll be reviewing the comic book Nyobi issue #1. Nyobi was created and is written by Larry Higgins with the cover artwork and interior shading done by Andre Boulard and the interior artwork done by David Coates.

nyobi 1 cover
The main character of this story, Nyobi Lee, is a Japanese/American J-Pop star from the group “The Geisha Girls”. When she was 16 at a fan meet and greet, after being swarmed by a large group of fans was engulfed in a ring of bright light and vanished, reappearing at the back of the building she also finds out at a later date that she is able to use the same fields she teleports through for energy blasts.
Nyobi as a character was first thought up by Larry Higgins as an RPG character back nearly 20 years ago and has evolved into quite a heroine in her own right.
The story in issue #1 centers around Lucas Cassie, a teenager who is going through a bout of depression and is stumbled upon by a – for a lack of better words – shadowy demon that feeds off of the sadness, hate and despair of the world. This demon can sense how strong Lucas’ negative energy is and decides to jump on the opportunity to siphon off of Lucas and in the same instance increase his depression.
We follow Lucas through a typically rough school day for him, the only upside to the day is his crush says hello to him out of nowhere and brightens up his day. Until later in the day her boyfriend stops Lucas out in the school yard. Feeds him the “Stay away from my girl..” line and starts to beat him to a pulp until she comes in and seems to intervene. She gets the bully to stop just long enough for her to help him up, and give him a swift kick in the nuts.
This proves to be the last straw for Lucas and he decides, to the shadow demons delight, that he will commit suicide once he gets home to the high rise apartment he and his family live in.
He writes his note, and proceeds to jump from the balcony.
Meanwhile while this is happening, Nyobi is getting ready for a meeting and learns over social media that a fan of hers is planning on committing suicide and she finds out Lucas’ address and immediately teleports to his apartment and proceeds to catch him mid-air.
The book ends on a cliffhanger, once the ordeal is over, Nyobi is speaking with her agent and she mentions that her nose is bleeding. And ends with Nyobi looking frightened as old hell.
Overall I really liked this book. I’ve had some troubles with depression myself over the years and this story is a refreshing take on the superhero(ine) mythos.

Larry has assured the fans of his book that some questions that were left unanswered (including the bleeding nose and the shadow demon) are addressed in future issues and in issue 2 we will meet Nyobi’s first true villain, Avani.
I’m a huge fan of David Coates’ artwork, both in this book and in general and Andre Boulard did an amazing job on the cover and shading.

My rating for this book is:
Artwork- 4/5
Story-4/5

I would for sure recommend this book to anyone keeping in mind that this book does contain coarse language and mature themes, so parental discretion is advised.
Unfortunately this week there is no interview, womp womp. But that is only because issue #2 is right around the corner and we’ll be interviewing Larry Higgins for that issue!

 

Thank you all for reading! If you’re an independent  creator and would like to have your work reviewed please contact me directly at atkinsonryang@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you asap!

If you have any suggestions for next weeks alternate acronym (N.S.T.A.R.) leave a comment below!

I’ve been Ryan The Spectacular and remember, there’s no such thing as reviews!

No Such Thing as Grown Up Teachers: The Herdmans Part 2 & Drug Bust by Gary Caines

Mr. Caines, my former high school teacher, has been a great inspiration in my teaching career, and looking back, most likely one of the first “Non-Grown Ups” I encountered. He is and was a truly great teacher and I learned a lot about teaching, feminism, treating people fairly and equally, and having fun-just from being his student. I am so happy to live in a word where there are more people who have been taught by him, and I know the world is a better place because of it. Oh and did I mention he’s funny-well now he has a blog and you can see for yourself. Check it out and leave him a comment he’d love to hear from you! –Tara Audibert Co-Host No Such Thing as Grown Ups


The Herdmans Part 2

Students misbehave for four reasons: attention, revenge, control or lack of control. I didn’t know this when I first started teaching. It was about mid-way through my career before this became clear (more on the four reasons later). Of course, as a principal I was often dealing with student misbehaviour. More often than not, it was regarding a situation I did not witness; ie, it was brought to my attention by a member of staff or another student. The first thing I would attempt to do was to determine under which category the behaviour fell. Until one did so, one ran the risk of ineffectively dealing with the matter. READ MORE…

Drug Bust

Each year MacDonald Consolidated organizes a trip to Quebec for its grade 8 students, and for years students were permitted to sell chocolate bars to help offset their expenses. . I wasn’t too far into my tenure as principal when I was advised that Miranda had either eaten her bars or had spent the money she collected; regardless, she was on the hook for at least the cost of the bars, $20. I explained to her that she had a period of time by which she needed to settle the bill. READ MORE…



Gary Caines is a retired teacher. During his 32 year career he taught in Newfoundland and New Brunswick and in private and public schools. He directed school musicals, coached rugby, is a recording artist, a past-master of the Masonic Lodge, and served as a volunteer ambulance driver. Oh, and something else of which he is proud, he is married with two beautiful children. In the spring of 2015 he became a grand-father.

He has a lot of stories to tell. Follow his wordpress for more stories each week!

101: People having Desires and Passions NO SUCH THING AS GROWN UPS PODCAST

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Real Grownups always say no. Why are you bringing Jesus into this? People have Desires and Passions. Chasing your dreams and drinking responsibly. Teaching How to make money with Art. Learning how to make money with Art. Perpetual underdog Sean Astin. How to get a job in comics. See us at HalCon Comic Con Saturday! No Such Thing as Grownup Teachers with Mr. Caines!
Ryan Atkinson loves comic books for you! Check out his new weekly Indie Comic & Pop Culture Reviews “No Such Thing as Reviews” on the NSTAGU Wordpress. Subscribe!

Listen now… and subscribe below.

Watch Garage Sale Tales and Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Music by Brad Sucks

No Such Thing As Reviews #7: Spirit of the Staircase! Independent Comic And Pop Culture Reviews!

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of No Such Thing As Reviews! Otherwise known as Neptune’s Servants Think About Retiring. I’m Ryan Atkinson and every Tuesday here on No Such Thing As Reviews, we’ll be reviewing a plethora of pop culture and wonderful things! Independent comic books, T.V., movies and more! The reviews will consist of a brief overview of what we will be reviewing, a summary of the content (spoiler alert!!), my personal thoughts on the content including a rating out of 5 and whenever possible we will include an interview with the creators!

This week we’ll be doing something a little bit different. For the last 7 reviews I’ve done independent comic books, this week I’ll be reviewing… Well still a comic. But it’s a comic strip!

I’ll be reviewing Spirit Of The Staircase written, drawn and created by Matthew Foltz-Gray.

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Bear in mind that although I am laying out a summary of the plot below, this is broken into individual strips! 🙂

The strip follows a little furry creature named Mumford on his day to day adventures with a man named Matt.

The first strip is where we are introduced to both Matt and Mumford. Mumford is sitting on a tree branch surveying a crow on which he prefers: Hot dogs or corn dogs. The crow caws and he interprets this as a vote for corn dogs. The crow then flies away and Mumford reaches after him which causes the branch to break. He falls down landing next to Matt on a park bench which causes Matt to drop the hot dog he is eating on the ground. The crow then flies over to it and begins pecking at it. Mumford scolds him like the fibber he is.

Matt asks Mumford what he is, and Mumford replies “A Mumford, what are you?” Matt tells him he is a human and even though Mumford is excited that he is a human, he believes Matt is a grasshopper that just thinks it is a human, and writes exactly that in his journal.

Matt brings Mumford back to his apartment. Or possibly Mumford just followed him. Matt an I seem to have a lot in common. A small messy apartment, clothes and junk everywhere, past due bills laying about. I might be Matt. Mumford thinks his apartment is actually a village and Matt’s clothes that are everywhere are what’s left from a baboon attack on Matt’s whole village, leaving only Matt alive. He lets Matt know how brave he is for coming back to the place of such tragedy.

He then asks Matt if where he lives is a “normal human fort”. Matt explains for a guy like him living paycheck to paycheck, it’s pretty normal. Mumford likens this to living corn dog to corn dog.

Mumford thinks human villages are amazing:

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Matt asks Mumford if he is the first human to ever see him and Mumford tells him that children can see him all the time. Adults are also able to see him but they never notice him. They’re too busy playing with their toys (cell phones etc). Matt looks up from his cell, grunts and continues doing his thing.

Matt tells Mumford that he needs to go to the grocery store because all of his food has disappeared out of nowhere. Mumford is sitting at the table innocently eating a cookie. Mumford explains how he has always wanted to go to the mythical land of the grocery store and that he can’t wait to interact with the villagers and have all the food within his grasp. And just like me again Matt explains that he goes in as fast as he can so that he won’t run in to anybody. Matt says Mumford can come along as long as he just acts like a normal person. When they get to the store Mumford proceeds to yell, whine and complain about needing his gluten free seaweed crackers, grass fed tomatoes and more common pretentious things he must think is normal because of the amount of people who are like that.

Matt an Mumford go throughout the store, Matt picks up what he needs and Mumford picks up everything that he is fascinated with. Which is everything.

The next strip is pretty much Matt as me as well, jeez my life is a mess.. :

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Once they are alone Mumford comments on how the pretty girl was totally staring at his gross pants and Matt says the grocery store should be a place of no judgement where you can just go and be yourself and get whatever kind of junk food in whatever kind of clothing you want to. Mumford points out a cart full of junk food and Matt proceeds to judge them.

We now go outside the grocery store where Mumford has discovered the elusive cookie troop during its annual cookie vending mission. They are currently i spring, which is the cookie harvest season and the “Chief Mother” has brought out the young-lings to peddle their wears. Mumford has come to the conclusion that Americans (as natural grazers) find cookies an irresistible and easy prey to go after.He wants some cookies but has no money, so he tries a different method: Hugs. He hugs the troop leader and asks for a cookie and she obviously refuses which he can’t understand because all of the research he has conducted has led him to believe otherwise.

Walking home, Mumford finds a fresh patch of marked territory. Matt explains that it it actually just gum and that gum s a form of candy (Mumford had no idea). Mumford then decides to eat the free candy. Matt stops him though.

Matt explains to Mumford that you can’t just eat stuff off of the ground because that’s gross and germs. Mumford of course has done this his entire life and can’t see these “germ” Matt speaks of. Matt then freaks out because they’re everywhere and he can feel them all over him now that he’s thinking about it. Matt then runs off in a fit of fear. Mumford just says hello to his microscopic friends.

Mumford heads out to search for Matt. He comes across his old friend the crow. He doesn’t have a recent photo to show the crow but he has a recent sketch! He gets the crow to help search for Matt.

The crow flies off, Mumford in tow, to the local farmers market because a screaming human ran off that way. Mumford tried farming once, he tried to plant corn, bubblegum and chicken wing plants but nothing seemed to grow..

He spots Matt and ejects from his feathered air transport. On his way down he explains how stress has been ingrained into the human mind as far back as prehistoric times when dinosaurs were as feared as debt collectors today and then eventually lions came that thought humans were pretty damn tasty. He says in those days stress was pretty straight forward. Something coming at you could be avoided by running and if you see a big shadow coming your way, look up. Apparently modern debt collectors are much nicer according to Mumford. He uses this knowledge to get the drop on Matt by sneaking up and taking his phone to call the collector.

Mumford asks Matt what things he gets stressed about. Matt says there is a whole lost of things but the one that’s bothering him the most is that there seems to be a crow following them. Mumford tells him not to worry because that’s just his friend Jed. Mumford invites Jed back to Matt’s place because it is a stress free zone in part by having a magic faucet that shoots water at you and by simply tapping on the walls the walls tap back at you.

They get back to Matt’s building. Mumford and Jed are putting up flyers for a Wine Tap Water and Pudding Tuna Fish Party.He invites insects, a cranky lady, a vampire, a child, some neighbors and his two raccoon friends Cynthia and Douglas having a well intended but unnecessary reason why each should attend.

Mumford then asks Matt to come to the party and Matt explains how awkward he is at parties. He starts off by repeating himself way too much, then he gets lightheaded, then he hides in the bathroom and then hopefully by that point he’s too drunk to worry about being awkward or around people. And we re-enter the trend of me pretty much being Matt.

Mumford lays a huge guilt trip on Matt. How could he possibly have a party without guests. What if the party has a soul and by having no guests what if it’s pretty much like sending the parties soul to hell? Matt gives in and says he will go.

Then it’s a cut to later that day. Mumford is welcoming all of his guests to the first annual Tap Water and Tuna party. We see the vampire, the raccoons, the crow and a child that Matt is concerned about because he has no idea who’s child it is.

There is no music on but Mumford doesn’t realize that usually people require it to dance. He is very sad no one is dancing so he starts by himself. Matt feels bad for him so he gets his boom box and then everyone starts dancing.

Matt introduces himself to the vampire and he begins to repeat himself so the vampire flies away.

Matt then tells a scary story:

sotspage

Matt thanks Mumford for the good time and was glad to meet his friends. He is especially thankful that they didn’t give him rabies or turn him into a vampire, however he needs to go home because he has seen too many weird things for one day.

Later, Mumford writes a letter to the inhabitants of Keplar 1152 B (Which I assume is the moon because the moon is a focal point in this strip) asking them about various things like their preference between hot dogs and corn dogs, Starbucks and a couple other silly things. At the end his P.S. is about questions that Jed (the crow) has about their concerns about a runaway greenhouse effect or some such crap. He puts it in a bottle and throws it into the sky expecting it to float off to the recipients. It obviously falls to the ground and he asks Jed how far he can fly.

Mumford and Jed then get in a tree and Mumford thanks him for letting him roost with him. We see the tree is just outside Matt’s place and Mumford shouts to Matt asking if he wants to come roost with them. Matt says no and tells them to go roost somewhere else.

We then see inside the dream Matt is currently having. It is a nightmare about some sick version of a game show.

Cut to the next morning Matt (Drawn as a walrus) who is scarfing down a cup of coffee making a mess. Next panel shows Matt drawn normally with coffee all over himself, He tells Mumford that coordination comes with the second cup.

And that’s the end of the strips (So far!)!

I really like this strip. It is drawn very well and it is really silly. I found myself with a smile on my face the whole tome reading it. It is easy to relate to Matt and Mumford is just friggin silly.

I would recommend this strip to anyone! There’s really nothing that warrants a discretion warning or anything at all.

The strip alternates between colour and black and white but when it IS black and white, it still looks good! It isn’t the black and white that you know I hate.

My ratings for the strip are as follows:

Artwork: 4/5
Story: 4/5

I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Foltz-Gray about his process and you can find the interview below!

 What got you started in comics?

“I went to the Academy of Art College in San Francisco hoping to become an animator. Once I got there I realized that the process of animation was too specific for someone of my poor attention span. I wanted to quickly tell the whole story instead of spending hours making a character’s foot move correctly. I decided to focus on storyboarding and illustration, and fell in love with the process of using storytelling images to tell a story. I felt at home.”

 

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

“Well, I suffered a mild concussion while in school and I’ve always loved the magical realism genre. There IS a specific story that started the process for, ‘Spirit of the Staircase,’ but it will give some plot away, so I’ll stop my explanation there.”

Do you use an outline or a plot, or do you just follow an idea and see where you end up?

“It depends. Much of the time I do enjoy letting the characters take me where THEY want to go. I’ve always been fascinated with the process of creating characters and watching them develop a life of their own. Occasionally, I’ll nudge them in a certain direction, but often the characters will take the reigns and I’m just there to show them in the best light.”

 

What inspires you to create?

“I love the creative process, and I love when I come across a story or moment that I could have never found without the hard work and time spent getting there. I have to create, it’s not an option. Outside of drawing and telling stories, I’m useless and I enjoy the world from a storyteller’s eyes. Inspiration is everywhere and it makes life fun.”

 Do you ever get writers block? And if so, how do you overcome it?

“Yes, everyday. I’ve spent hours trying to think of one sentence and it can be torture. I had a writing teacher that told me to just sit at my desk, even if you have nothing to write. I cherish that advice because I don’t think there IS a quick fix to writer’s block. You have to work through it and stay active in pursuit of the idea. Ideas are so fickle and often I’ll spend all day working and stressing about a story issue only to have the solution pop up when I’m laying in bed that night. It’s all part of the process though.”

If you could choose an actor/actress to star in a movie based on your book, who would it be?

“Clint Eastwood (Matt) and Danny DeVito(Mumford). That would be wild!”

 What were you like in school?

“Neither seen, nor heard.”

What is your favourite motivational quote or phrase?

‘The harder you work, the luckier you get.’

Where can we buy or read your comic?

“Well, if you live in the Knoxville area you can find the latest and greatest strips in the Knoxville Mercury, ​an independent and locally owned newspaper. They allowed me a huge platform to tell these stories and I’m so grateful. If you are outside of Knoxville, you can visit the official Spirit of the Staircase website ( http://www.thespiritofthestaircase.com )”

If you could only give one piece of advice to aspiring creators, what would it be?

“Keep at it, and follow your heart.”

And finally, the question on everyone’s mind: If you could be any animal at all, what animal would you be?

“I’ve always considered my spirit animal to be the little birds at the beach that run from waves. I’d love to be a blue whale or a lion, but I’ll most likely be that bird.”

I’d like to thank Matthew for taking part in our interview! If you are a creator and would like to see your book reviewed you can email me at atkinsonryang@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

And thank you all for reading! If anyone has any suggestions for next week’s alternate acronym (N.S.T.A.R.) please comment your suggestion below 🙂

I’ve been Ryan Atkinson and I’ll see you next week and remember.. There’s No Such Thing As Reviews!

No Such Thing as Grown Up Teachers: Student Teaching #1 and Plans by Gary Caines

Mr. Caines, my former high school teacher, has been a great inspiration in my teaching career, and looking back, most likely one of the first “Non-Grown Ups” I encountered. He is and was a truly great teacher and I learned a lot about teaching, feminism, treating people fairly and equally, and having fun-just from being his student. I am so happy to live in a word where there are more people who have been taught by him, and I know the world is a better place because of it. Oh and did I mention he’s funny-well now he has a blog and you can see for yourself. Check it out and leave him a comment he’d love to hear from you! –Tara Audibert Co-Host No Such Thing as Grown Ups


Student Teaching # 1

I did my BEd at St. Thomas University. I had also received acceptance at UNB but having received my BSc there I thought it would be nice to have the experience of another university setting. I had a thoroughly enjoyable year at STU and learned a great deal. More on that later. READ MORE…

Plans

I have never forgiven the New Brunswick Liberal government of the 1990’s for adopting a business approach to education. It probably made sense to the bean-counters and politicians of the day but it certainly wasn’t a student-centred initiative. We continue to pay the price in this province. READ MORE…



Gary Caines is a retired teacher. During his 32 year career he taught in Newfoundland and New Brunswick and in private and public schools. He directed school musicals, coached rugby, is a recording artist, a past-master of the Masonic Lodge, and served as a volunteer ambulance driver. Oh, and something else of which he is proud, he is married with two beautiful children. In the spring of 2015 he became a grand-father.

He has a lot of stories to tell. Follow his wordpress for more stories each week!

No Such Thing As Reviews #4! Independent Comic And Pop Culture Reviews-America’s Kingdom from Gnosis Comics

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of No Such Thing As Reviews! Otherwise known as Nickleback Should Take A Recess. I’m Ryan Atkinson and here on No Such Thing As Reviews I’ll be reviewing indie comics, t.v shows, movies and more! In our reviews we will include a brief overview of what will be reviewed, a summery of the content (spoiler alert!!) and my personal thoughts on the content including a rating out of 5 for the story and the artwork and if I would recommend it.

This week I’ll be reviewing America’s Kingdom from Gnosis Comics, written and created by Brian Hawkins, pencils done by Aris Gonzales and inks by James Hebert.

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Normally I would put the parental discretion warning for books that require it in my thoughts after the summery, but I’ll put that here for this one. There are some pretty mature themes in this book that can’t be avoided completely in the review, so just keep that in mind!

This book is set in an alternate reality where instead of a democracy, U.S.A. was founded as a monarchy.
We open on a road chase. I say road chase and not car chase because while one of the people is on a motorcycle (wearing a helmet, +1 for safety), the other is chasing him on a horse (no helmet but he as a bow and arrow. +1 for bow and arrow). The two men are bobbing and weaving through traffic until up ahead of the man on the bike, we see another man atop a horse, running towards the driver and drawing his sword. The motorcycle rider then pulls out a handgun from inside his coat, which according to the swordsman is impossible.

The motorcycle rider then gets an arrow through his wrist. Of his gun hand! How can he gun with his gun hand all ganked up?! The archer then shoots out one of the riders tires, which sends him flying. The Knights (as we now know they are) approach the rider and the he cusses them RIGHT out.

Jump cut to the White House.. Er.. White Palace. We meet Prince Geoffrey who is the heir to the throne (uh oh) who is currently being felated beneath his desk. His executive assistant Marlena Laous exits the underside of the desk as he explains he doesn’t want to go through with his wedding his father arranged. Sir Anthony Niles, a member of the Prince’s Royal Guard then knocks on the door and enters Geoffrey’s office explaining the rider (a person of interest) was just brought in to custody by the two knights.

They make their way to the dungeon where the rider is being kept. We are told the riders name is Benedictine Arnold. The Prince then interrogates him as to where he got his gun as there hasn’t been a trace of a gun in U.S.A. in a decade. After a little more interrogation we learn Benedictine’s motives, he means to bring democracy to America. The Prince then orders Sir Niles to summon all present Dukes to the throne room as well as a single member of the media. He then orders the knights to bring Benedictine along as well.

We get to the Throne room and meet Isabella Robbins who is the Prince’s wife to be. We also are introduced to her father, Lord Alfred Robbins, Duke of the province of California. He notices Isabella is in the room and quickly ushers her out stating that she should not be there right now.

Geoffrey then appears, knights and prisoner in tow, thanking everyone for coming to his prelude to his wedding. He gives a speech about potential usurpers trying to bring in their nasty democracy, proclaiming them and anyone who believes in such nonsense traitors.

He gives the knight a glance, and the knight proceeds to cut off Benedictine’s head in front of the crowd.
Unfortunately Isabella didn’t make it out of the room in time and witnessed this.

The Prince then grasps the hair of the lifeless head, hoists it up for everyone to see while he sports a grin of satisfaction.

And that’s the end of book 1 of America’s Kingdom!

I’d like to start out my thoughts on this book with the elephant in the room (for me anyway).

This book is in full black and white. Which I’ve stated before I’m not a huge fan of but I can admit when it is done nicely.
Unfortunately in my opinion this wasn’t one of those times. And don’t get me wrong, the artwork isn’t bad, it’s more the shading that I have an issue with. This book suffers from what is my biggest issue with black and white comics and that there is way too damn much black thrown in.

There is no grey shading at all through this book, really. Just solid black and solid white. While in some instances that can work for sure, even in instances in this book but with so much of it, things can tend to look muddled together and it can take away from what is actually pretty great artwork.

I’m an indie comic writer myself, I understand reasons for having black and white. It’s much more cost effective for printing and for getting artwork done. Besides that, no doubt people in fact prefer their comics black and white!

It’s just not for me and this comic is a great example of it.

Like I said though, other than the shading the artwork is done really well.

The story was middle of the road for me, it’s taken elements from some familiar story lines and combined them but I still plan on reading ahead to the next couple issues to see how the story takes off, this is only issue one after all. The book has a lot of coarse language, like a LOT. While it doesn’t bother me at all, I feel that there’s enough of it that it should be mentioned for anyone who may be interested in reading the book.

My rating for the book is as follows

Artwork: 3/5
It would have scored higher if it just had a bit of grey shading throughout the book, not those solid chunks of black.

Story: 2.5/5
Like I said, the story starting out is just middle of the road for me mostly due to it seeming like just familiar stories cut together.

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes historical fiction. The story is sort of bland starting out but I can see this book could have some potential and I’ll be checking out the following issues to see what the story plays out into.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get in contact with any of the creators for an interview, maybe in the future I can do a review for the following issues and have more luck getting ahold of them.

Thank you all for reading! If you’re an independent comic creator and would like to have your book reviewed please contact be directly at atkinsonryang@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you asap!

If you have any suggestions for next weeks alternate acronym (N.S.T.A.R.) leave a comment below!

I’ve been Ryan Atkinson and remember.. There’s no such thing as reviews!

99.5: Mountain Men and Bosses on Drugs NO SUCH THING AS GROW UPS PODCAST

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No Such Thing As Reviews #2! Independent comic and pop culture reviews!

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of No Such Thing As Reviews! Otherwise known as Nubile Squids Tell Angry Riddles. I’m Ryan Atkinson and every Tuesday here on No Such Thing As Reviews I’ll be reviewing independent comics, T.V. shows, movies and more! The reviews will consist of a brief overview of what will be reviewed, a summary of the content (spoiler alert!!), my personal thoughts including if I would recommend the book and a rating out of 5 for the story and artwork and whenever possible we will include an interview with the creators!

This week I will be reviewing Henry vs The Reptilian Overlords of the Cosmos..That Have His Bunny issue #1 written and illustrated by Josh Rodgers.

Henry1-cover_OLDFX

The book is set in, well.. a couple places. Earth, a reptilian planet, Henry’s apartment. Lots of places!

Henry is a war veteran that suffers from PTSD in his own way. All he cares about in this world is his dear bunny and the damn Reptilians took that away from him.

The book opens with some reptilian beings that have some humans captive. A woman referred to as Enchantress and a man named Borin. Borin is making jokes about how nice the reptilian castle looks since he’s last been there and that all he needs is to find out what Saurator’s (the bad guy) plan is. Enchantress isn’t having his humour right now as they are being taken away in shackles but he still finds time to joke about it. One of the reptilians gets pissed about Borin talking and tells him to shut his stupid face.

The get to the throne room and Saurator welcomes them to his lair as all good villains do. Borin explains that he willfully submitted to capture so that he can try and talk some sense into him and Saurator passes him off saying that Borin being a boy scout is why he and Enchantress are tied up, and he is sitting in his throne and that he is happy to tell them what his evil plan is.

The first step of his plan is to kill Borin. Which he does right away. This guy is done playing around, he’s seen enough cartoons to know better than that.

Enchantress is obviously and understandably not okay with the whole idea and tells Saurator to just get it over with and kill her. Saurator explains that he would never kill one of his beloved pets but soon she will very much wish he did. He goes on to explain that he plans on wiping out the entire human race and could have much quicker if it wasn’t for Borin being around. Friggin status quo. He then shows Enchantress an image of “The Argnorrok”, a trinket that looks like a guitar pick with a ruby in the middle of it, with which he will have immortality and a whole ass load of power. And probably shred a mean lick or two.

Enchantress prays to Dio for a warrior to come and save them all.

Cut over to the main characters apartment. Henry is sitting on his couch snuggling his bunny talking to a government appointed shrink. The doctor explains that he usually doesn’t do house calls but he wanted to speak with Henry about something personally. The damn government is cutting the finding that pays for Henry’s shrink visits.

Naturally Henry is totally displeased with the thought and blames it on President Nixon being a tool to the reptilians (on earth they don’t know reptilians are real, Henry is just like that) and goes off on a tangent about conspiracies when all of a sudden.. BANG! A reptilian appears which vaporizes the fed up doctor.

The reptilian used a “space-child” (an adorable little alien) to teleport. Henry seems almost shocked that he was right all along about the reptilians but snaps out of it when it turns out The Argnorrok is around his bunny’s neck. The reptilian grabs the bunny and teleports back to his planet. Obviously not all right with his bunny being taken, Henry lunges at the reptilian as soon as it takes the bunny and teleports along with them.

Henry and the little cutiepie alien get dropped off separately from the reptilian and the bunny. Henry’s reaction is more.. Disappointed? He doesn’t seem scared or anything despite in the background being a giant eyeball walking on two tentacles, shooting an energy beam at a mountain. I imagine his tone of voice being like that of a kid who was just told he wasn’t going to get to go to McDonalds for a treat. The dialogue reads “Awww.. God Dammit” but I read it as “Awwww mannnnnnnn”.

Henry walks up to the little alien and notices he has a pretty big gash. Well.. His guts are out. He decides he needs to cover the wound but all he has on him is his underwear. The alien tries to stop Henry but Henry does it. They then start walking to find bunny. The alien says that if Henry carried him with two hands he wouldn’t be in so much pain (one handed is too bumpy) but Henry needs to cover his bird up because of “Catholic Guilt”.

Henry asks the little fella’s name but he explains his race evolved past the need for names, gender, race and other identifiable traits, that they were all one. Henry decides to just call him “Little Dude”.

They stumble across a dead merchant and his cart. Henry finds some clothes (furry underwear and a sash) and then out of nowhere a huge multi-eyed thing with arms and tentacles and lots of slobber, pops out of the ground. Henry thinks it’s total crap that he’s only been here for like 20 minutes max and already this crap is happening.

He fights with the monster and the monster seems to have the upper tentacle until Henry hallucinates an onion headed tiny wizard. The wizard tells Henry that he can teach him some spells that “Can damage dorks with low defense but are useless against everything else”. Henry, even with his muddled mind, knows that this guy isn’t real and decides all he needs to beat this asshole is a few good fist-burgers.

The wizard casts a spell that based on his incantation was supposed to make the monster sleep (with the power of Satan) but the monsters head explodes from being hit with what looks like a cannon ball.

Well it looks like a cannon ball because it kind of is. A pair of humans, Mr. Belvedor and Arachnadia, that are now on the scene shot the damn thing’s head off.

They appear to be tracking the teleporting reptilian or The Argnorrok. Arachnadia, the woman of the pair, is holding Henry at gunpoint.

Mr. Belvedor asks her if the energy readings they are tracking came from this quadrant. She says that their equipment hasn’t led her astray before and this old man (Henry) mush have seen something.

And that’s the end of issue one of Henry vs The Reptilian Overlords of the Cosmos.. That Have His Bunny!

I gotta tell you. I thought I was sold on this book just judging by the cover artwork when I saw it for the first time. The cover looks amazing.

But as soon as I turned to the first page I didn’t think I was sold anymore. I WAS sold. The artwork in this book is so cool, not only is it drawn amazingly well, it was also made to look like it was printed back in the day. The pages look grainy like they were printed on a coarse paper, and the colours are a tiny bit faded to give it a vintage look.

Aside from being sold on the artwork alone, this is a pretty great book story wise as well. It’s got a sense of humour about it that I really like. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously. Josh is clearly making a book for him and people who share his sense of humour.

It throws in elements of old cartoons like He-Man, Conan and more and makes sure it calls out the good and bad from them. Like the villain knowing it was foolish of him to spell out his plan in full to the (apparent at the time) hero. The crazy names, the monsters. The Deus Ex Machina that the villain wants and the hero will surely use to defeat him.

Also, in the book there are ads placed throughout, but they aren’t really ads. The adverts are for a video game called Kromdong and later on an advert for a candy bar which is a little one page comic called “Kromdong In: Bazongars In Danger”

Bazongars are the candy bar but we aren’t led to believe that right away. I’ve spoiled damn well enough of the book, you can check it out for yourself, but it’s kind of in a way a parody of Thunder Cats (to my eye anyway) and is pretty damn funny in it’s own right!

I’m really excited to see where this story goes and I can’t wait to read the next issue.

My rating for the book is as follows:

Artwork- 5/5

Story-4/5

I know that’s pretty high for the artwork. Can’t get much higher than that really but I donno, I fell in love with this book without even reading a word just because of the artwork and if that doesn’t deserve a 5/5 I don’t know what does.

I would for sure recommend this book in a heartbeat. Anyone who likes 80’s cartoons, conspiracy theories, stuff that doesn’t take itself seriously, adorable little aliens. There is quite a bit of coarse language and some mature themes though, so parental discretion is advised.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Josh on a few things including his process! You can find our interview below.

 What got you started in comics?
Awwww man, I just realized nobody was going to hire me to make comics because I sucked. I had to start somewhere so I just started trying to make my friends laugh with my first effort, Captain Mushface. I kinda just had fun doing it so I just kept making more and more… kinda like an addiction… maybe this is my cry for help??

 How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Henry is a parody of a lot of the old ’80’s cartoons I grew up on. Stuff like Conan the Barbarian, Brave-star, He-man, Transformers- basically anything with a toy-line. I mixed all that with modern conspiracy theories and WHAM!-weird comic soup.

Do you use an outline or a plot, or do you just follow an idea and see where you end up?
It really depends on what I’m working on. With Henry I’m kinda working off a bunch of weird scribbled notes about conspiracy theories and bizarre ideas about the world. I’m not sure if Henry HAS a coherant plot, and it’s really designed that way. It’s meant to be chaotic with no clear winner or loser, and it’s going to get weirder and weirder as it continues.

 What inspires you to create?
Everything from art to world news, and a personal drive to get better and produce more art. I love doing it so it doesn’t take much to inspire and push me forward.

Do you ever get writers block? And if so, how do you overcome it?
All the time! When it happens I’ll just take a small break and do something else for a while. If it persists then I jot down ideas of what wouldn’t happen in the story, or I’ll just sketch some weird stuff for a while. It all works. Anything to get my brain back on track.

If you could choose an actor/actress to star in a movie based on your book, who would it be?
“Oohhh man, I never considered it buuuuuuut…. uhhhh…. the Olsen twins?”

What were you like in school?
“Kinda lazy… day dreamt a lot… doodled on everything. I was also kind of oblivious to the world around me. I was living in a sweet sweet bubble…oh man that bubble was sweet. Now I have to pay bills. ”

What is your favourite motivational quote or phrase?
“Mark Twain was always fun for some quotes! Here’s a goodie:
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”- Twain”

 Where can we buy or read your comic?
“My website at http://www.mushfacecomics.com

If you could only give one piece of advice to aspiring creators, what would it be?
“Just start. Create! Don’t talk about it just jump in with both feet and worry about the consequences later.”

 And finally, probably the most important question of all: Star Wars or Star Trek? And why?
“That’s like asking cake or ice-cream! I say getting fat on both benefits everybody ;)”

I’d like to thank Josh Rodgers for taking part in this week’s interview!

And thank you all for reading! If you’re an indie comic creator and would like to see your works reviewed please feel free to email me at atkinsonryang@gmail.com! If anyone has any suggestions for next week’s alternate acronym (N.S.T.A.R.) please comment below! 🙂

I’ve been Ryan Atkinson and I’ll see you all next week!

And remember.. There’s No Such Thing As Reviews!