Click Here for 128K!
Listen using Winamp Listen using Quicktime Listen using Windows Media Player Listen using Real Player Listen using iTunes  

 
 
 
 
Jul 072012
 
Jim Lee's cover for Len Wein and Jae Lee's OZYMANDIAS #1

by Gene Turnbow

Jim Lee's cover for Len Wein and Jae Lee's OZYMANDIAS #1

Jim Lee’s cover for Len Wein and Jae Lee’s OZYMANDIAS #1

It was strange to find myself at Warren Jaycox’s Galaxy of Comics on the afternoon of Independence Day, 2012 – but I had traveled all that way in the hope of meeting and speaking with legendary writer Len Wein about the first book in his new mini-series, Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1.

With sumptuous art by Jae Lee, and knowing what Len Wein could accomplish with the written word, I was at least going to get a copy of the book for him to sign, if nothing else.  Providence provided a camera operator in the person of professional comic book inker Dana Shukartsi and I found myself doing an impromptu video interview with Mr. Wein right there in the store – so some of our conversation wound up on video, which we’ve put on the Krypton Radio YouTube channel.

I was impressed by the ethereal drawing style of the artist of the book, Jae Lee, so I asked Len what it was like working with him.  Surprisingly, the response was  that “there are glaciers that move more swiftly than Jae Lee.  By the end I was getting very frustrated.”  Jae hadn’t finished the first issue until the day before it had gone to press – and that at this writing they are seventeen pages shy of issue #2 which is supposed to be released the week after San Diego Comic-Con – and there are only eighteen pages per book. Reading the book later, I was struck by Jae Lee’s luminous style, almost as though his characters weren’t drawn but sculpted in the finest self-luminous marble.

Comic books are much more true art than they have been in past decades, and this book qualifies as one of the best examples of the art as I have seen in a very long time.  Wein is in rare form, opening the mind of the “Smartest Man In The World” and making him accessible to the reader in a way I frankly didn’t expect.  He gives a voice to Adrian Alexander Veidt (Ozymandias) that is solid and real, with depth to the character far beyond what’s printed on the pages – enough for the character’s world to feel solid and real down to the last finger bone and drop of blood.  The character Ozymandias is both human and inhuman, and Wein captures this perfectly.

The remainder of the first book is a treat, a piece of another Len Wein story called The Curse of the Crimson Corsair: The Devil in the Deep!.  This one was part five, drawn by John Higgins and lettered by Sal Cipriano, and part 6 will be in the back of Minutemen #2.

Collecting all the pieces to this story arc across all the other books is likely to be a bit expensive at $4 a book, but for the $4 I spent on this one I was well satisfied.  I think you will be too.

- 30 -

Nov 112011
 
loveandcapes logo1

A Romantic Comedy about Superheroes

by Gene Turnbow

 

While it’s obvious that I’m a Superman fan, I’m an even bigger fan of the independent creators who are always coming out with fresh new original content. Sometimes you have to wonder how many different ways you can re-tell the creation of Batman, or Superman’s birth before fans become permanently burned out. That’s why it’s always a thrill to mingle with those in the indie comics industry, and I had the chance to do so at the Long Beach Comic Con on Oct 30, 2011.

At the convention I met with and interviewed Mr. Thom Zahler,  the creator of Love and Capes, an honest to goodness situation superhero romantic comedy inspired in part by the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Thom who is a fellow Superman fan, looked at the average Superhero story and thought that no one had really focused on the actual romance between the spandex clad hero and his love; but instead always had the typical sequences of heavy action with the small side story of romance, mixed with the hero’s turmoil of being blessed or burdened with his powers.

Love and Capes follows the adventures of Mark a lantern-jawed yet unassuming accountant, and Abby the bookstore-owner love of his life; who must come to terms with Mark’s secret of being The Crusader, when he decides that he must tell her the truth about his past when professing his undying love for her. Faster than a speeding teen-drama, and able to leap tall soap-operas in a single bound, it’s Love and Capes!

Thom Zahler Interview at Long Beach Comic Con

KR:  Hi Thom!, really good to meet you! I’ve heard about your work and seen bits and pieces of Love and Capes on the internet, so tell me what it’s all about and how it got started?

Thom: Great to meet you too! Love and Capes is superhero romantic comedy; it’s about a superhero kinda like Superman who says” I love my girl friend, but if I’m gonna tell her that, I gotta tell her everything”.  So, is there ever a good time to tell your girlfriend you have x-ray vision? What does she want for Christmas when she knows you can crush coal into diamonds, things like that.

I was looking for a new project in 2005-2006 somewhere around there, I had written a spec sitcom strip for a contest, and found I really liked doing that. But I knew I worked in the world of comics, and knew that I wanted to do something fun to do with comics. Then I had that chocolate and peanut-butter moment, when I realized no one had really tackled the superhero/superman relationship stuff. It’s kinda like Lois and Clark, but Delta Burke never ever shows up in it.

KR: (laughs) So, you’ve been in the comic book industry before doing Love and Capes, what else have you done?

Thom: I had been working for ten to fifteen years, and started off with doing lettering for the longest time, also doing inking. Love and Capes has gotten me more work than anything else.

KR: That’s really cool, so you’ve got fifteen issues of Love and Capes so far?

Thom: Eighteen issues actually! I had thirteen issues done when I self published, and five issues done through I.D.W this year. And there will be also a sixth issue mini-series coming out from I.D.W next year.

KR: Wow, so I know this is a tremendously popular title and..

Thom: Everyone in my family likes it, yes.

KR: Well a few people in mine like it too. (laughs) It’s such a clean fresh start and it’s got a little Disney in it, and a little Saturday morning cartoonish flavor about it. How did you arrive at this style – or were you planning on going this direction when you started out, or did it just evolve on its own?

Thom: It was conscious direction, the project before was standard superhero looking stuff, and I’m ok at that. But once I started doing a lot more cartooning, that was really my wheelhouse and I stopped trying to fight it. Darwin Cook who wound up doing a cover for issue #3 of the I.D.W series was my big inspiration. I had the DC New Frontier book with me the whole time I was doing that, I also had Steve Silver’s Art of Silver book and a couple other really cartoony stuff. I wanted to go into some new graphic dimension, and it became a lot more organic after that. You can really see the growth from the first issue to like issue 6 or 7, where things really start to come together.

KR: Did you take the route of a lot of these other publishers and start with a web-comic, in order to drive the sales of the physical paper?

Thom:  No, actually I did the comic book first, I also work as a graphics designer during the day and as such I have a lot of printing contacts, and knew I could do the book cost effectively. I put the first issue online afterwards, after it came out in stores. And waited until I had more content done with issues 2 and 3 before I put those up; now the book is done in a eight-panel grid, so every fourth panel is a (unintelligible) like a comic strip. It’s built to section up in that four-panel grid, which fits on a computer screen much better, pre-iPad days, so I’ve been able to put the older stuff up. Right now issue eleven is showing online, so ideally you can go to the website, read the comic and get hooked. Decide if you want more, and the only way to get more is that you can buy it.

KR: I see, excellent. Well thank you for speaking with me, it’s been great!

Thom: Thanks, you too!

Now personally, I’ve read a fair amount of Love and Capes online – it reads as a four-panel strip, and has ongoing storylines and memorable characters. The superheroics is central to the premise, but not central to the story.  As goofy as some of the situations are, the characters aren’t just throwaway cardboard cutouts.  You really get a sense of who these people are and why they think they way they do, and the conflict and comedy comes out of this solid foundation.  Add some really appealing character design and strong drawing to that and you’ll be able to see why Love and Capes really hits the mark.

Excerpts from Thom’s Official Biography:

The origins of the man who would become Thom Zahler are shrouded in mystery. Historians currently believe that he was part of the top-secret government super soldier breeding project code-named: “The Zahler Family.”

After twelve years of Catholic school, he was sent to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art by a military court for a crime he didn’t commit. Zahler promptly escaped the maximum security art education facility to the Northeast Ohio Underground. Today, still wanted by the New Jersey government and several desperate women, he survives as a freelance cartoonist and graphic artist. If you have a job, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire…Thom Zahler Art Studios. Blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam, blam!

Thom Zahler is many things to many people, including: cartoonist, penciller, inker, letterer, caricaturist, illustrator, web designer, writer, producer, director, game show contestant, prize in a bachelor raffle, and right-handed relief pitcher. One of his favorite roles, however, is Godfather to his lovely Goddaughter Erin, in which he tries to teach the precocious two-year old that Superman really is cooler than Batman, and that, despite what she may hear on the street, Greedo never, repeat never, shot first.

Zahler’s work has been seen nationwide. He designed the bus seen in the Prilosec advertising campaign, worked in many capacities for various comic book companies including Marvel and Claypool Comics, and has done cartooning for both the Cleveland Indians and the Colorado Rockies. He is the designer and webmaster of “Angel” star Andy Hallett’s website, and has designed logos for companies large and small.

He currently lives at his palatial estate, Zahlerdu, in Northeast Ohio. Okay, he really doesn’t call it “Zahlerdu,” but if he did, it would be because of “Citizen Kane” and not that Olivia Newton-John disco movie. It’s not really a palatial estate, either, but it is a pretty nice place.

 – 30 -

Links

 

Jul 212011
 
Krypton Radio Special Report
Krypton Radio Newswire 
This article has been updated with new information from Rembrandt Flux, unfortunate owner of the deleted regions of Bronyville, Derpy and GameTime.

 

The griefing organization known collectively as Woodbury University

has for the third and hopefully final time been kicked from Second Life.

Their current incarnation was headquartered in the regions of Red Square and Revolution, which were opened to the public on April 22, 2011. Openly brandishing a Soviet Russian theme and playing host to the The Wrong Hands (TWH), their continued existence was one of the worst kept secrets on the grid. Nearly all the original Woodbury members had returned using ban evasion alts; visitors to the Woodbury regions were forbidden to openly speak the phrase “Woodbury University” for fear of attracting the attention of the Second Life administrators. This was despite the fact that the group had even made a machinima style video to clearly state that they had returned to SL.

The situation was finally rectified when, in the early hours of July 18, 2011, it all came to an abrupt end. These two regions were removed from the grid along with their owner Atlas SaintLouis, the Woodbury / Wrong Hands ban evasion alts Twinkie Swizzle (Tizzers Foxchase) and Overbrain Unplugged (Intlibber Brautigan).

Also removed were the regions along with Bronyville, Derpy and GameTime, each owned by Rembrandt Flux, who, far from being some new griefer king, had apparently gotten caught in the crossfire between Linden Lab and the Woodbury refugees owing to the high number of Woodbury in the Bronies groups.  According to Flux, he had no efficient means of doing in-depth background checks, going instead on the quality of the example work submitted as to whether or not content creators would be hired.  The two facts that he was paying them, with thousands of dollars changing hands,  and that so many were Wrong Hands / Woodbury may have contributed to his ban.

Linden Lab acting on information submitted by the Peacekeeping community and other sources, reviewed the SL group The Wrong Hands for materials which could be used for disruption of Second Life services. This action was prompted by Tux Winkler, a known leader in The Wrong Hands, who had supplied images of the TWH groups to Justice League members in an attempt to prove that he had not sent a group notice (which was supposedly leaked to Peacekeeper groups) instructing his fellow TWH members on the availability of new a copybot client.  The authenticy of the leaked notice was never established.

The Wrong Hands, main group showing two notices sent by members. Twinkie Swizzle and Economic Engineer

 

The image as shown at right (provided by Tux Winkler), features a group notice sent by now banned TWH member Twinkie Swizzle. The notice contained an attachment which was felt could be an object or device to be used to grief with.

While we will never know if the object was actually a griefing device, it is also possible that Linden Lab removed Twinkie Swizzle for ban evasion, his original account Tizzers Foxchase was removed during the banishment of the second incarnation of Woodbury. The exact reason for the removal of Atlas Saintlouis the owner of Red Square and Revolution, is unknown but suspected to be related to the material used in The Wrong Hands group.

The Bronies Plight

The Bronies are an internet phenomenon, born of a fandom surrounding the My Little Ponies television show. Bronies is a My Little Pony for guys fandom, born of the 4Chan.com partly as a reaction to all the negativity of the /b/tard chan boards. Later invited to form their own chan board and leave 4Chan alone, which they did at http://ponychan.net

The Bronies group in Second Life was founded by Twinkie Swizzle, a known alt of the banned Tizzers Foxchase of Woodbury University / The Wrong Hands. And Overbrain Unplugged, a known alt of the banned IntLibber Brautigan of the same two groups.

(The reader should note that most of the accounts discussed in this article are of avatars now banned; discussion of banned alt accounts where both accounts are banned does not constitute Disclosure, and that this is a third party web site – the Linden Lab Terms of Service prohibiting Disclosure in Second Life do not apply here.)

Curly Fride, a supplier of Bronies avatars,  claims to have met the two in April of 2011, stating that he was invited by the pair to join them in a new Bronies-oriented venture.  Surprisingly, neither Fride nor a significant number of the Bronies who would later join the group realized exactly who Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged really were.  Twinkie and Overbrain supplied organization and funding, whereas it would be Curly Fride who supplied the My Little Pony avatars themselves, without which the community could not flourish.

The group enjoyed explosive growth between April and July of 2011.  As an open enrollment group and because of its saccharine, squeaky clean public face, it became popular amongst griefers to join. It’s important to note, that the Bronies group is NOT a griefing group by nature, it is simply a common practice for some griefers to find large open enrollment groups with certain themes or memes they enjoy, and join to try to corrupt the group for their own purposes. While the group was ironically founded by a known griefer it was policed very heavily by its management.

The group stayed peaceful and reasonably trouble free most times, and we should also note that out of the group of 3000+ good members, only a small handful (10-20 if that) were actually considered possible griefers.

The chain of events is a little difficult to follow, but piecing together what we’ve been told from various sources, here is what apparently happened:

The Woodbury / Wrong Hands Connection

Tizzers Foxchase (Twinkie Swizzle) had apparently gotten bored with the stagnant and politically unsuccessful  Wrong Hands and Woodbury University groups and decided to try something new.  He convinced Intlibber Brautigan (Overbrain Unplugged) to join him.  Seeing an opportunity, they invited Curly Fride to join them and created the new Bronyville estate in April, with a second sim called Derpy added two months later.

Curly Fride’s Second Life account login information was apparently either phished or socially engineered to acquire the password sometime prior to July 3rd. Fride’s in-world funds were spent buying troll gifts for various people, with the list of recipients conforming in general to a list of people not well liked in Woodbury University circles.

Rumors flew, one of them being that his account had been hacked by Foxchase, or somebody Foxchase knew, or somebody he had put up to the task.  Another rumor says that Fride tried to have his two co-owners removed from the Bronies and Bronies land administration groups via support ticket based on this suspicion.  The Bronyville management response was to ban Fride from the Bronyville estate.  Within a day, Fride was no longer listed as an owner of these groups, but by this time both Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged had lost their accounts, and the regions of Bronyville and Derpy were taken offline.

Far from being disconnected or detached from the two griefing groups Woodbury University and The Wrong Hands, Tizzers and IntLibber retained their ties to these groups.  It cannot be a coincidence, therefore that Atlas Saintlouis, the money figure enabling the existence of Red Square and Revolution, lost his account on the same day that Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged also vanished.

Continue reading »

May 242011
 

 

Infamous “W-Hat” Group In Disarray, Closing Down

Krypton Radio Staff

W-Hat Logo

Masakazu Kojima (Masa), known within the virtual world of Second Life as leader of the controversial and at times infamous W-Hat group, has announced via the W-Hat website that his account had been permanently banned from the SL service by Linden Lab.  The online service cites “severe or repeated violations of the Terms of Service” but in their email to Masakazu did not detail what those violations were.

W-Hat was originally created in Second Life in 2004 for members of the forums at the popular Something Awful web site.  W-Hat members referred to themselves as “goons”, or “SA goons”.  They were well known for their general interest in that which others find offensive, and the group attracted wide range of people, from the merely curious to some of the worst griefers Second Life has ever known. Members of W-Hat have created hacked clients, committed content theft, and even created sim crashing weapons.  The sim crashers used by the Patriotic Nigras were based on the original ones created by W-Hat.

However, the FAQ page on the W-Hat web site states that none of these things are condoned or are the official policy of W-Hat, and that people who engaged in this activity were removed from the group whenever they were discovered.

The infamous Voted 5 group was comprised primarily of former W-Hat members who were invited to leave because their activities cast W-Hat in a bad light and put the group at risk.  Plastic Duck, the creator of both the first truly effective sim crasher weapon and creator of the first megaprims (distributed via his alternate account, Gene Replacement) was one of these.  Plastic Duck was also responsible for the discovery and correction of a critical bug in the Linden Lab monetary system which could have destroyed the entire economy.  Plastic Duck could have simply exploited the flaw, but instead worked with Linden Lab to identify and correct it before it became a problem.  Plastic Duck lost his account permanently immediately following an interview on a griefer-friendly blog site in February of this year.

Masa’s primary interest seems to have been technical, and while the official W-Hat policy was against griefer and racist activity within the group, this same activity went largely unmoderated, thus leading to W-Hat’s overall unsavory reputation.

In an email interview with Krypton Radio, Masa shared what information she had on the possible circumstances surrounding her banishment and the future of W-Hat:

Continue reading »

May 072011
 

by KR Assistant Editor: Emiley Tomsen

 

After seven years of fundraising the American Cancer Society‘s Relay For Life in Second Life, is celebrating a milestone in its history at the accomplishment of reaching the 1-Million dollar mark. Announced on its website and via notices to group members, ACS Staff Partner Stingray9798 Raymaker shared the news that at the current rate of fundraising this could be one of the biggest Relay events in Second Life history. The money raised in SL is accumulated by the donation of “Linden dollars”, an in-game currency used by customers of the service. The currency is then exchanged for real money, which in this case has equaled over 1 million U.S. dollars.

Stingray9798 Raymaker and 2011 RFL Event Chair – MamaP Beerbaum, agreed to sit down with me and conduct an interview, sharing their RFL experiences with Krypton Radio.

 

 

KR: For our newer readers who may not be fully aware of what this is all about, the Relay For Life is one of the American Cancer Society’s most celebrated events, which has helped raised millions of dollars to fund the research which one day may help stamp out cancer. Taking it a step further the RFL has turned to helping raise money within the virtual world of Second Life, which is operated by Linden Lab, based out of San Francisco-California in the United States.

Joining me today is the Online Content Manager for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life – National Relay For Life Business Unit. Known by his avatar and other SL’ers as Stingray9798 Raymaker, along with fellow SL based RFL staff member MamaP Beerbaum, who was gracious enough to spend some time telling Krypton Radio about their excitement over the accomplishment of raising 1Million U.S. dollars through the world of Second Life.

Thank you to both of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to speak with KR, I’ll start off with Mr Raymaker on this. Can you give our readers a brief history on how the RFL came to be set up in SL, and how Linden Lab has helped you out on these efforts?

Stingray: Actually, the American Cancer Society got involved in Second Life in 2004 when a group of volunteers approached our national office about raising money in-world.  The American Cancer Society evaluated the level of effort with the expected results, and determined that it would be worth piloting an event.  The Second Life experience would be overseen by the Futuring and Innovation Department (RC Mars), and the event would be a gala.  The following year, interest grew, and the first Relay For Life of Second Life was held, raising $5,000 USD for the American Cancer Society.  Over the years, American Cancer Society staff and volunteers have worked closely with Linden Lab to ensure that the RFL of SL has all it needs to execute the Relay season, and its continued growth.  ACS staff and volunteers have presented at SLCC and other SL-related conferences, and LL continues to work closely with us to ensure that our efforts are supported across the grid.

KR: It’s remarkable so many people who are spread across the world have been able to find a common ground in their passion to defeat cancer, and have been able to use a medium such as Second Life to raise funds to fight this menace to our health as a people. I’d like to get a reaction from both of you on this, I would imagine emotions are running a bit high for everyone, the joy over raising such a grand amount of money. Can you share with our readers how you all are feeling and maybe share a story on how you personally came to be involved with the RFL in SL?

Stingray: Our collective response would be:

We work endlessly to create opportunities for members of all SL communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.  We recognize that behind every avatar is a real human being, and that person has been touched by cancer in some way.  Regardless of how someone chooses to live their Second Life, they should have a platform through which they can fight this disease and use the virtual world to make tangible differences in the real-world.

MamaP:We come from over 25 countries around the world.  We are horse lovers, bunny lovers, Star Trek followers, we are goreans, we are furries, we are tinies, we are fairies, we are super heroes, we are snails, we are families, college students, men and woman, we come from different communities, nationalities, and races, the list goes on and on and on, but the most important thing to remember is that our strength will come from us working together!

I relay for my Dad.  I came to SL at about the same time that his cancer returned.  He had been a 10 year survivor, and then it came back with a vengeance.  As I became one of his caretakers, SL became my safe place, my escape.  And then I found out that I could Relay here, that I could fight against what was taking him from me, and do it as I sat with him, watching him.  I relay to honor my father and all those we have lost to

KR: I know many of our readers can sympathize and certainly relate to the reasons that have brought both of you to join the RFL, as well as many supporters who also have devoted great amounts of time and energy to donating and holding events to help raise money. For those who are interested and would like to join the RFL efforts in Second Life, would you like to share some tips and advice on how people can get started?

Stingray:If you are in Second Life, you are probably here because you have specific interests.  Find the community that you like in Second Life and see if that community already has a RFL of SL team.  Seek out a team of people that are already having fun doing what you like to do…through Relay.  If you Relay through doing something you love, you will likely find a more rewarding experience.

KR: Excellent advice for those wanting to get started with the Relay For Life, and I know there are many who would enjoy this as much as I do. People whose lives perhaps do not allow them the latitude to participate in RFL events in the real world, but with Second Life it truly is your world, your imagination. During your time spent with the organization I’m sure you’ve all had some very memorable moments, that you felt really exemplified how the RFL in SL has touched people’s lives, and shown what a virtual world can really do to help those stricken with cancer. Could you share one of those stories with us?

Stingray:For me, it came at what would seem the simplest and most meaningless experiences.  It was my first year as the RFL of SL Staff Partner.   I was standing on side the track, talking to a few volunteers in local chat when a dragon walked on the track behind us.  Someone yelled, “HEY! THAT DRAGON IS WALKING THE WRONG WAY!!”  It wasn’t about the fact that a dragon was on the track.  It was about making sure that the dragon was Relaying appropriately.  That was the moment that I realized that RFL of SL transcends real world preconceptions. And that would be the defining moment of my philosophy for being the American Cancer Society staff partner in Second Life.  I embraced the fact that this was a world that was only limited by our imagination.  By encouraging and empowering our volunteers in Second Life, we have been able to raise over $1 million USD and actually help avatars in their personal battles with cancer.

KR: The efforts of all those in Second Life have proven some of the amazing things that a virtual world can make possible, and I want extend a very sincere thank you to both of you on behalf of Krypton Radio and all those who stand to benefit from the cancer research you tirelessly help fund. Please feel free to share any final thoughts or shout outs you would all like to give!

Stingray: We just want to be sure to recognize and appreciate all of the volunteers, team captains, team members, donors, supporters, artists, designers, land owners, committee members, and anyone who supports our efforts across the grid.  The success that cancer patients have benefited from is due to the fact that the residents of Second Life recognize their own ability to make tangible differences in the real world through their online interactive experiences.

KR: Thank you all, and have a wonderful day, Go Relay!

 

Links:

Jan 202011
 

Last October, we reported that we had gained a thousand listeners in one short month – this time the news is even better. For the past month, Krypton Radio has had 3,000 listeners, tuning in from 54 countries around the world. Some listeners seem to be just tuning their internet radio to us and leaving it there the entire day!

It’s all very exciting, and we’re naturally thrilled – and we promise to keep on doing what we’re doing, because you obviously like it and want more.

So more is on the way – more shows, more fascinating interviews, more news and information about fandom online and in Second Life in particular. Keep it tuned to Krypton Radio. The best is yet to come.

- 30 –