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Organizers of STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo have provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at the details for their ninth annual event, held March 2-3 at the Marchesa Hall & Theater in Austin, Texas. Billed as the premier indie-comics convention in the Southwest, STAPLE! showcases a range of performers, exhibitors and artists, with an emphasis this year on independent table-top gaming, web TV, animation and pop-culture podcasting.
The announced panelists are: comics creators James O’Barr, Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson; veteran game designers Jason Morningstar, Jeff Dee and Marc Majcher; web TV icons Danni Danger, Sara Reihani and Jessica Mills; animators Dax Norman, Kyle Sullivan, Bill Byrne and Mongrel Studio Productions; and podcasters Geek Bombast, Chris Cox, Martin Thomas, The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen and The Random Access Web TV Podcast. See the panelist biographies below. A full list of exhibitors can be found on the STAPLE! website.
The event, and its official “Live Art Show” after-party, also will feature performances by the macabre musical troupe After Midnight, nerdcore hip-hop artist Bad Barry, DJ LD and chiptune artist Run/DMG.
Two-day passes can be purchased for $15 from the Marchesa Hall & Theater website, or at the door.
• James O’Barr is best known as the Award winning creator of The Crow, one of the best-selling independent graphic novels of all time, with over 3/4 million copies sold. He wrote and drew the comic series on which four movies, several comics, a television show, and several novels were later based, and has done work for nearly every single major and indie comics publisher.
• Steve Niles is best known for works such as 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, Simon Dark, Mystery Society and Batman: Gotham County Line, and is credited among other contemporary writers as bringing horror comics back to prominence. Current projects include the continued adventures of Cal McDonald in the Criminal Macabre series from Dark Horse, Lot 13 with Glenn Fabry on DC, Transfusion with artist menton3 and Frankenstein 2 Alive! Alive! with the legendary Bernie Wrightson, both published by IDW.
• Legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has been creating horror art for over 45 years. Best known for co-creating (with writer Len Wein) the comic character Swamp Thing, and for definitively illustrating Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bernie also collaborated regularly with author Stephen King, having illustrated The Stand, Cycle of the Werewolf and The Dark Tower V. He’s worked on Spider-Man, Batman and The Punisher, and provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags. He wrote and drew his own sci-fi mini-series Captain Sternn. Recent work includes Frankenstein Alive, Alive (IDW Publishing) co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles. As a conceptual artist, Bernie has worked on many films, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spider-Man and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist. Today, Bernie resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz, where he works both on film designs and his own pet projects, including comic books and creepy drawings just for fun!
Indie Gaming Panelists
• Jason Morningstar is a game designer and co-founder of Bully Pulpit Games LLC. His designs, including The Shab Al-Hiri Roach, Grey Ranks and Fiasco, have garnered both popular and critical acclaim, earning him two Diana Jones Awards for Excellence in Gaming, an ENnie Judges Spotlight Award, and numerous Indie RPG Awards, including Indie RPG of the Year. Jason also serves as a consultant on using games for teaching and learning for clients that include Kaiser-Permanente Health Care Systems, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Innovation Learning Network.
• Jeff Dee has worked in the gaming industry for over 25 years. His artwork appeared in numerous games and magazines, including TSR’s Deities and Demigods (as well as many AD&D modules and other early TSR products), Villains & Vigilantes from Fantasy Games Unlimited, adventures for the Star Wars RPG from West End Games, and others. He co-designed Villains & Vigilantes, TWERPS (The World’s Easiest Role-Playing System) from Gamescience, and Pocket Universe from UNIgames. Jeff has also worked in the computer games industry on games such as Ultima VI, Master of Orion, Master of Magic, and Wing Commander. He was the art director on Ultima VII, and the lead game designer on The Sims: Castaway Stories. Jeff currently works as a game design consultant, and operates two paper game publishing companies: Monkey House Games with V&V co-creator Jack Herman, and UNIgames with partner Talzhemir Mrr. UNIgames’ latest product is ‘Cavemaster’, the Stonepunk RPG. www.monkeyhousegames.com and www.prismnet.com/unigames
• Marc Majcher is an improviser, game designer, and developer from Austin, Texas. He has recently worked in the social game space with Zynga and Richard Garriott, and has self-published several board, card, and role-playing games, including a successful Kickstarter campaign for Fluffy Bunny Tea Party. In March, he kicks off a run of pulp-inspired improvised tales of adventure in Strange Worlds at the Hideout Theater. You can see some of his work at gizmet.com, or find him on Facebook or Twitter (@majcher).
Web TV Panelists
• Danni Danger is the host of a Webseries for the Weird Girls website! She reviews comic books, tell folks what’s coming out this week, does cosplay/special effects makeup, and responds to current events in the comic book community. You can check out her videos at www.weird-girls.com .
• Sara Reihani is a member of Slobs, a sketch comedy and film collective based in Austin. When not writing, directing or editing Slobs videos, she performs stand-up. www.bit.ly/slobsvids
• Jessica Mills is an actress, writer and producer. She grew up in rural west Texas, and has lived in London, New York City, and Los Angeles. She is the award winning creator/producer of the hit web series Awkward Embraces and is a lover of all things geek and New Media. She recently co-created UComics with acclaimed artist Len Peralta, and is developing several more creative New Media projects. When not exploring the internets or obsessing over Doctor Who, Jessica is wandering the earth with her three-legged dog Lisa looking for inspiration. www.geekyjessica.com
• Dax Norman is an avid painter and animator, currently residing in Austin, Texas. His website, www.daxnorman.com, features his paintings, animations, music videos, bowling pins, and other artistic experiments. Dax’s paintings are shown publicly at Gallery 444 in San Francisco. Dax’s experimental animations have been shown on Adult Swim and dozens of international film festivals worldwide. www.daxnorman.com/
• Kyle Sullivan began producing internet-based media at age 14, and since then has made cartoons, films, comics, and websites, garnering a large folloing on both Newgrounds and Youtube. After graduating from high school a year early, Kyle started the film program at the Art Institute of Austin. www.whitelightninghq.com/ www.youtube.com/user/Qubbie
• Bill Byrne is an internationally exhibited multimedia digital artist, and a professional motion graphics designer and editor for television and film with clients such as Electronic Arts, NBC, and RCA Records. Bill is currently a full time faculty member of the Art Institute of Austin’s Media Arts and Animation and Graphic Design departments and has recently written a textbook for Focal Press called The VFX Arsenal. See Bill’s work and more info at www.billbyrne.net
• Mongrel Studio Productions is an independent film, TV and animation production company in the Austin, TX area. Current productions include “Nemesis Rising Documentary” and the up and coming animated web TV series “KAZE” for the “Random Access Web TV” network.
Pop culture podcasting panelists
• Geek Bombast is a weekly audio podcast that deals with news, reviews, and general discussion on comics, movies, tv, video games, and anything else deemed totally awesome. The cast consists of Rod Nunley, Nick Budd, and John Sitton; three self proclaimed geeks who have an addiction to pop culture and a need to share it with anyone who will listen. Weather it’s a interview with a creator or a review of the latest issues of Batman or Daredevil, you can bet that they will passionately tell you what to spend your hard earned money on.
• Chris Cox (League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen) has been working professionally as a film critic for the award winning website www.Spill.com for over five years. Through careful (well, careful-ish) dilation of the space/time continuum, he has found the time to host two more podcasts: “Remote Viewing”, which covers home film and television releases, and “The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen” on which is discussed a wide range of pop culture but with a special affection for comics.
• Martin Thomas began his professional career as a comic book colorist, little realizing that 20 years later he was destined to be infinitely more famous for being the character “Leon”, one of the core members of Spill.com. On top of delivering insightful and Hilarious movie reviews every week, Leon is the co-host of two of the website’s most popular podcasts. One of them focuses on all manner of pop culture titled the “The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen”, where Martin gets to repurpose his knowledge of working in the industry. Mostly though, it’s a big excuse for getting paid to get drunk and talk about comic books with his friends.
• The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen, which has been running on the award winning website www.Spill.com since the summer of 2008, may have the largest (and certainly most far-flung) membership roster of any podcast on the net. This is because to accurately discuss the various intricacies of today’s (and yesterday’s) pop culture, it takes a serious team of dedicated geeks to dissect it all. That being said, they really like comic books. A lot.
• The Random Access Web TV Podcast is an Austin based podcast hosted by Eric “Mongrel” Stewart, Anton William Blake and Talon Skibsrud, three indie filmmakers living in Austin Texas. We love talking about anything and everything from movies, music and comic’s to science!! We embrace the independent spirit of artists everywhere and work hard to provide original content for our viewers/listeners and strive to provide opportunities for the independent artist community.
• After Midnight is a traveling “shadow” cast based out of Houston,Texas. With a dedicated and versatile troupe of players they perform a variety of musical shows all over the United States. Some of the shows they perform include : “Repo ! the Genetic Opera”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and “Dr. Horrible”. Always making sure to leave the crowd wanting more, this is one cast you don’t want to miss! Join in the fun with After Midnight as they present their Dr. Horrible Sing-a-long at STAPLE! www.aftermidnightproductions.net/ At Live Art Show Afterparty/KOOP Radio Benefit – Sat. 3/2/13, 9pm, Shangri La.
• DJ LD sounds like Frank Zappa and Cindy Lauper had a baby that was then raised by Biz Markie. He returns to spin for the 8th consecutive year at the STAPLE! afterparty!
• Bad Barry is Hip Hop for movie nurds, combining his passion for movies, cartoons and his friends comics with Hip Hop. Specifically the sub genre “Nerdcore.” Bad Barry will perform at the STAPLE! afterparty, Saturday night (3/2/13) at Shangri La. Check out his “Monsters Hit Forever” for Jeremy The Artist’s “Monsters in Ties” graphic novel www.jeremytheartist.bandcamp.com/
• Run/DMG is a San Antonio Chiptune Collective. We make music using Gameboys, circuit bent toys, an Atari, a NES, and a Commodore 64, to name a few. the name Run/DMG represents 2 of our favorite things: Run referencing the run command of the c64, and DMG is a Gameboy.