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BABYMETAL Review Live on Chaos Hour


Only a quick update post today as I am currently getting my stock ready for London Film and Comic Con weekend from the 11th – 13th July, as well as creating some scheduled posts for the weekend. My post yesterday on the BABYMETAL gig in London seemed to be a huge success, so for those of you who were looking for my review, you can find it here at Chaos Hour.

This is actually the first of many music reviews we are hoping to make a regular thing out of on the site. When Chaos Hour started it was very much a gaming and technology site, but this has grown to incorporate films, comics, books and TV shows over the years. The recent addition of music to the line ups of reviews, previews and spotlights, allows the creators to indulge in their passion for alternative culture, metal music, rock and soundtracks. If you would be interested in writing for Chaos Hour, we are always on the lookout for new reviewers and the addition of music journalism allows us to encourage a whole new style of journalistic talent. Writers on our site have already gone on to work for the likes of PC Gamer magazine and Total Film – who knows, we may even get the next Kerrang! or Metal Hammer journos coming through our doors.

But for now, I have a lot of prints to organize, sketch cards to sketch and boxes to pack for my first con back after my month’s ‘holiday’. Hoping to see some of you there this weekend. Please be sure to leave a comment if you will be popping by so I know to look out for you. As this is my birthday week convention, I may be out and about on occasion saying hi to people/getting autographs (Adama from Battlestar will be there and I am incredibly excited!) so I would hate to miss you. 

London and Baby Metal


Yesterday the mister and I traveled down to London to see Baby Metal live in concert and stopped in a few fun places on the way…


A few months ago it was announced that internet sensation and all round awesome fun feel good metal band Baby Metal would be coming to Sonisphere Festival. Now, the mister and I had already decided not to go to any festivals this year as we are saving our money for bigger exciting things, but this kind of threw us for six as we did actually really want to see them. But, being the celever so-n-so’s that we are, we figured there was no way they would be coming all the way over to the UK for one gig (on what was at the time set to be a small stage – I think they upgraded because of how popular they are). So, we waited and before you knew it they had announced another UK date in London’s Electric Ballroom. I was one of the first people to bag a ticket (before they AGAIN had to change venues to the larger Kentish Town Forum because they were so popular!) If you want to see what everyone was so excited about, check this out.

A full review of the gig will be available on Chaos Hour‘s new Music section tomorrow [Edit: Now available to read here], but for now just know that this was the most fun I have had at a gig in a long time! I could not stop smiling. The excitement of the girls was infectious and it was just such darn happy metal music with even some reggae and hip hop influences thrown in and a whole lot of tongue in cheek fun that we just had an amazing time! I ended up buying a tee shirt (which is generally a sign that I have converted to true fan – I don’t like wearing band tees for bands I don’t actively love) and we stopped off in Chinatown for some fun goodies before we headed home.

It was a long day overall. We had to get up early to catch the National Express and were met with every form of human rudeness along the way (which does nothing for your mood), not to mention not being able to sit next to each other for the 2 hour journey. But, it was all worth it. We wandered around Covent Garden and Camden and took in the sights, we even stopped into Cyber Dog, Tokyo Toys and Gekko (some of my favourite stores) and while I was adamant on not spending too much (I could always quite easily buy a new wardrobe in Camden), I did end up getting a really cute wrap around belt with pockets and attached purple/blue crocheted skirt, which will be ideal to wear over my leggings or skirts for conventions.

We ended up having lunch in Camden market and I tried some lovely Polish food. I’ve never really tried it (beyond the hot dogs/sausages you get in Polskiskleps) and it was really nice. There was a wonderful sweetness to it that made it perfect comfort food and it was in no way greasy like I expected, considering it was just meat in a bread roll. We also later had a dumpling from my favourite little dumpling-stop in Leicester Square – perfect street food for wandering around Covent Garden and watching street performers. We even managed to stop into a couple of different comic shops, including Orbital Comics which has, by far, one of the best independent comic book sections I have ever seen! We even saw a few familiar ‘faces’.

All in all it was a great day out and I would definitely go to see Baby Metal again. Hell the mister wanted to see them again as soon as they finished! A really fun gig and a lovely touristy day. Can’t wait to come back to the city again at the end of the week for London Film and Comic Con, albeit in a bit more of a business frame of mind.


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I tried to get Paddy to bury the hatchet with Teemo… he wasn’t having it.

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My favourite little dumpling store! I used to stop by here for dinner every now and then when I worked in London.

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Spotted some of Andrew Hinklebottom’s pin up art ‘in the wild’ at Orbital Comics.

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Had to take a moment when I saw this. Made me very sad for future generations who won’t even know what a Twinky is… Also… I miss Egon.

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Spotted a certain comic with a familiar signature. Gods bless Fernando Ruiz – I do miss his teachings.

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In true ‘blog’ tradition, I finally have a picture of my food. So – here you go!

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Sadly my phone ran out of battery before the actual gig – so here are my spoils from the day.

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Find of the day definitely goes to these – flavoured Oreos! Birthday cake batter (with sprinkles!) and vanilla milkshake!


Call For Journalists and Bloggers!


Shout out to all horror, arts, comic and literature bloggers and journalists!


Those of you who follow my Twitter or Facebook accounts will know that I am slowly counting down the days (between catching up on commissions and preparing for Convention season to start back up) to my very own Kickstarter project. You can read more about the project itself here if you’d like.

Cirque Du Mort will be a small collection of horror short stories, focusing around a haunted circus full of tragic, comic, vengeful and even sadistic characters. If you are a fan of The Addams Family, Penny Dreadful, American Horror Story or Carnivale, then this illustrated book will be right up your street. I also intend for the project to have a strong body positive message inspired by the different body types seen in a stereotypical historical circus or sideshow.

As some of you may already know, Kickstarter projects aren’t easy and require a lot of prior research, press contacts and networking, which is why I’m making this post as a shout out for any bloggers who might be interested in helping the project out in its early stages. This could be anything from interviews, guest blogs, articles or even just re-tweeting or re-blogging. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to see more about the project, including some of the teaser images, please see the original post. If you would like to get in touch you can do so at mail@anastasiacatris.com

Pop Up Cardiff


Today I managed to pull myself away from the drawing table for an hour or two to explore Womanby Street’s first Pop Up Event…


A few months ago, a friend of mine who is also a TV extra and happens to be the proprietor of FUEL in Cardiff (seriously check this place out – the owner is a lovely guy and the club itself plays the best music in town), mentioned that he and a few of the other club/pub owners were looking to encourage an alternative quarter in Cardiff, akin to Camden in London. This was to include independent locally sourced food and drink (as well as Vegan and Vegetarian food), art galleries, vintage clothes stores and live music events. Obviously this idea was right down my street, but also, I fell, much needed in the Welsh capitol.

Wales has always been a brilliant producer of rock talent and encouraging of punk, alternative and rock culture; so the idea of a ‘quarter’ of Cardiff dedicated to this scene would be welcome. Now, I haven’t been out and about on Cardiff’s live music scene for a while now. I used to go out all the time and even worked in a rock club myself, but sadly work has started to eat into my social time quite considerably; but anything that encourages people to appreciate food, music and art is good in my book. I also LOVE Camden. When I was a student in London it was one of my favourite places to be on the weekend, so the idea of that sort of vibrant, bohemian culture being right on my doorstep is very exciting.

The Pop Up Cardiff event was a much smaller version of the Camden vibe, but nonetheless captured the bohemian atmosphere perfectly. From the street food vendors to the galleries, hemp clothes, vintage stores, palmistry and buskers, it was like they had brought a tiny section of London to the Welsh Capitol. I turned up quite early, so did not see the crowds I would have hoped for on a Sunny Sunday, but the food vendors were still rammed with custom with queues for barbecue spilling out onto the street.

Despite the amount of social media attention this event had, it would have been nice to see some more signage around Cardiff advertising it to bring in the sun-worshipers on their way to other bars and restaurants around town. But this is probably more of a Cardiff Council issue than the fault of Womanby Street itself. The interior galleries and stores also seemed a little bit under-staffed as far as vendors were concerned and I was a bit unsure as to who owned what stall, but again this may have been the fault of coming early in the day.

I for one hope that Womanby Street keeps this sort of event up as it is a perfect place to showcase new music, art and foodie talent. I for one would love to be involved with it in the future and will definitely be returning to the Fashion Quarter when my bank balance is a bit healthier. Tomorrow however, I will be heading to the ACTUAL Camden for a gig which I have been looking forward to for a while so expect only a short post from me (probably from the bus!)


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Saturday Stash


It occurs to me that I have yet to do a ‘loot’ or ‘hoard’ post, so I thought I should give it a go…


The last few weeks have been a little bit frugal, so I’ve gathered a few of my recent buys from the last month together into my first Saturday Stash. Considering I don’t go shopping that often (apart from for art supplies), this probably won’t be a very regular thing. But, as conventions are starting up again next week, you never know (I tend to do all my shopping at conventions – I mean, I’m in a hall full of geeky products, how could I not).


Starting off with my best buys for the month. The mister and I went to a car boot sale a week or so ago and challenged each other to go off and buy something for £2! I think I won because I came back with this gorgeous little art nouveau owl statue (two things I love) for only 50p (the base was broken but nothing that some superglue couldn’t fix) and 2 Zadie Smith books I have been eyeing up in Waterstones for a while, for only a £1. Leaving me with 50p for a bottle of water (it was a very hot day).

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This month saw the arrival of my very first Loot Crate. It was pretty obvious what would be inside (the clue was transfrom – hello!) but I was pretty happy with the contents considering that my partner is a MASSIVE Transformers fan. He wore the shirt to work the very next day.

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Probably my biggest expenditure for the month – I got my hair dyed and cut! My roots were coming through something fierce and as I am growing it long I hadn’t had it trimmed in a while. Thanks to Owen from Slunks in Cardiff I now have healthy ends with a Summery turquoise blue on top and Neon Blue underneath (Colour by Manic Panic).

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Before…

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I stopped in to visit my partner in his new job the other day and he happens to work opposite a Waterstones… yeah, that’s going ot be a problem. As I was waiting for him I noticed this lovely copy of the novel of Battle Royale and it just so happened to be in the ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’… it would be rude not to, right?

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Finally, my copy of Afterlife Inc, the gorgeous Hard Back edition came through yesterday and it is beautiful. If you haven’t checked out Afterlife yet you seriously need to. I have been a die hard supporter of these books since I first found them at Bristol Comic Expo two years ago and have reviewed them several times for Chaos Hour as well as funding their various projects. It is a brilliant story and this new edition bundles them altogether into a wonderful hard back with a load of fun added extras in the back.

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1404577240144Well, would you look at that! You have to read it now!


Motivational Spirit

by Anastasia Catris in Personal Comments: 2 tags: july, lifestyle, motivate, motivation, NaBloPoMo

After a month of not being connected to the technological world, I found myself disconnected from the creative one… Time to get motivated!


When my internet finally came back on earlier this week, I was expecting a huge influx of work to come pouring out of me. Sadly that wasn’t quite the case. A lot of the work I have to catch up on has already been paid for, which is obviously pushing me harder and harder to complete it, but I don’t have that wonderful creative drive I do for new projects and new challenges. So, this week I endeavored to snap myself out of it!

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Not only do I have a lot of work to catch up on, but convention season starts up again next week and I need to get my head back in the game. On top of all that, I finally have the resources I need to research my creator-owned project which was meant to be well on its way to completion by now, but due to the upheaval of June, is running ‘behind schedule’ (I say ‘behind’ I actually factored in a ‘just in case month and half’ but it would have been nice not to have to use it). You can see some of the inspiration I have been gathering for this project over on my Pinterest board, which I will obviously be adding to over the coming weeks.

My partner has just started a new job which is playing around with our hours and body clocks slightly, but this morning I managed to get up bright and early with him and start my day properly. I got my tickets booked for London next week (we’re going to see Baby Metal), transport and accommodation sorted for London Film and Comic Con and caught up on a whole bunch of e-mails before 9am. I almost instantly felt a huge weight off my shoulders as the logistics for next week were finally sorted and I could get back onto catching up on commissions.

My boyfriend and I are actually looking to move out later in the year (we both still live with our respective parents – living the dream – I know) so looking at housing and rental accommodation is definitely an incentive to get in the working spirit. I also took the time out of my day to just sit and meditate, which I never really take the time to do, but it definitely helped me organize my head a bit more and banish all of those nasty niggling thoughts of money worries and ‘starving artist stress’. Tomorrow I intend to get back to the gym as I have only managed to go once this week and that is definitely not good enough. I am hardly a gym bunny, but just a simple walk and sweat can really make a difference to me waking up in the morning and me stewing inside my own head.

One of the main things I have learned about being freelance is that it is very easy to work all the hours in the day if you let yourself – and that is NOT healthy. I’ve tried to make an active change in my work day (even if it is much longer than your average 9-5) to try and take some time out for myself. I never eat lunch at my desk anyway (hardly good for the artwork is it) but I try to take an hour for lunch anyway now, even if that is not all spent cooking/eating; I try to get out to the gym or for a walk at least before I start my day and I take more regular breaks just to stretch my legs and walk around the garden or play with the degus. I’m hoping this will pay off in that I won’t feel so fragged at the end of the day, but only time will tell. Until then, just keep on swimming!


Just a couple of shots of my garden. Pretty happy with how my plants are coming through. The roses are particularly impressive as they were just thrown in the clay soil underneath my house before I even moved there. They were a bit under the weather when I moved in (aphids mostly) bust seem to be doing much better now. There is something about taking a walk out amongst greenery, or tending to it that makes me feel a lot better.

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Wednesday Wish List – Totoro Time


Wednesday Wish List – Totoro Time


Those of you who know me well may have noticed I have a slight… itsy bitsy… okay HUGE obsession with ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. Even though ‘Spirited Away’ remains my all time favourite Studio Ghibli film (so far – I mean, there are a lot of them), I just love the character of Totoro and his little tororo friends. My partner and I actually have plushies of the grey, blue and white totoros above our bed and occasionally I come home to discover they have been on some fun adventures. They’ve even left me notes when I come home after a hard weekend of conventions (They’re in my mister’s handwriting, but that can be forged right?)

You can see some of my own Totoro Fan Art here and even buy yourself a print of it, should you so wish, on my Etsy Store. But for now, here are some of my favourite Totoro related pieces from around the web for my Wednesday Wish List.


Totoro Sweater Jacket 100% hand knit from pure merino wool by AnnaWoolMagic on Etsy – £137.56

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Starting with this gorgeous cardigan/sweater from Etsy. I believe it is actually one of a kind (or she only has one in stock) which is why the hefty price tag, but when you see the amount of work put into hand crafting this, that’s not really surprising. I love big baggy cardigans, especially over skirts and tights, so this would see a whole lot of use out of some one like me. Not exactly a Summer choice, but still a beautiful find.


Studio Ghibli Spirited Away Sootball Slouch style jumper by ZenohTee on Etsy – £22.99

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As a ‘larger up top’ kind of gal, I find off the shoulder numbers to be incredible flattering, I also like the look of the length of the sleeves on this piece (I’m a fingerless gloves lover, so long sleeves are a good replacement for those sometimes). The design is cute and fun and can be classed as either ‘Spirited Away’ (the sweets in the top soot sprite’s hand) or ‘Totoro’ so that makes me happy. There is also a soot sprite on the back right shoulder.


All 3 Posters – my neighbor totoro, princess mononoke, spirited away – papercut style print – ghibli, movie poster, wall art, decor by BigBadRobot on Etsy – £16.75+

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I really love the design of these paper cut-out prints. They are stylized enough that you don’t even have to be a Ghibli fan to enjoy them. A very stylish and classic way to put some Totoro love on your walls. If you like the style of this print you should definitely check out the Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away Prints that come along with it, they are gorgeous.


Totoro in the Mountain Art Print by YouCouCou on Society6 – Variety of Prices and sizes

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I don’t know what it is about this piece, but I really just love Totoro’s expression! There’s something imposing and Godzilla-like about this poster whilst also retaining the cute kawaii nature of the characters.


Totoro Soot Sprite Slippers – Available to Bid on EBay

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As some one who works at home, slippers are a must have and these are just awesome! Look at their little faces! There is also a range of Totoro slippers too, but I am not a fan of the Totoro smiling plushie/onesie style that I see around, I prefer his cute quizzical look.


We Are The Children Who Never Grow Up’ Vest Top – Available to bid on EBay

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My one and only ‘Summer’ piece of the bunch, but the bright colours and floaty material definitely make up for it. The quote kind of sums up why I love Totoro so much – it is just a gloriously innocent children’s film that makes you feel like a kid again.


Don’t forget to check out my own Totoro artwork on Etsy. You can even earn £5 off your first purchase on Etsy here. What is your favourite Studio Ghibli film? Also, is there a character or film/TV series/book etc, that you always have to buy the merch for whenever you see it? Leave a comment below…


A Decade Ago In Film

by Anastasia Catris in Personal Comments: 6 tags: 2004, film, films, lifestyle, personal

Inspired by NaBloPoMo’s July theme of ‘Decade’, I decided to have a look at some of my favourite films from 2004(!) A whole decade ago!


If there is one thing that can make me feel old it is looking at the films I remember so well from years ago. It’s one thing to remember watching a film when you were child; but when you think of films you went to see in the cinema with your friends… which you drove to in your car… that you were actually allowed to see because you were 18 and you didn’t have to fake being older anymore… well that can get a little depressing.

Ten years ago today I was 17 about to turn 18. I would just be ready to finish sixth form college and ready for my year out. I would have just passed my driving test and be getting ready to head out onto the motorway for the first time with some of my best friends to a road trip to Tenby of all places. I had long dark brown hair which I tended to streak with bright colours or bleach the front so I looked like Rogue from X-Men, wore band hoodies, black nail varnish and Berny Skater jeans…

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Green Day hoodie with tip-ex graffiti – check. Checkered sweat band (still have one of these) – check. Backwards trucker cap – check. Baggy corduroy trousers with rips up to the knees and band patches on the pockets – check.

Now, I love films. Always have. Going to the cinema is probably one of my my favourite social activities. So nothing helps me remember a year like its films. 2004 was the year we were introduced to Ron Burgundy for the first time. The world thought that Saw would be a one-off horror film. Dodgeball suddenly became a popular game in places other than America. And… actually no… no one ever thought that Catwoman was going to be good. This also saw the introduction of one of my favourite lines of film dialogue – amusingly from one of the worst films of the year. (Warning – contains expletives – don’t play if you don’t like them or something… in fact – the title of the video also contains expletives – can’t be helped… so just keep on scrolling)

So, without further ado, here are my top films of 2004. Some of them may be for sentimental reasons, others I may not actually have realized were released in 2004 until much later, but either way there are some great film memories for me from a decade ago.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Dir: Michel Gondry. Starring: Kate Winslet, Jim Carrey

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Maybe it was because I loved Jim Carrey. Or Kate Winslet. Or had a HUGE crush on Elijah Wood. But I absolutely loved this film. Which is amusing considering now that I look back on it I hadn’t even been through any soul-destroying break ups at this point in my life. At the time I really just connected with the style of the film (and yes, this is one of the films that convinced me to go blue) and I began to appreciate it for its substance years later when I had grown up a bit more.


The Phantom Of The Opera

Dir: Joel Schumacher. Starring: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson

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I don’t think I had obsessed over an on-screen musical so much as this since Moulin Rouge! I had always loved The Phantom Of The Opera. It had been my favourite musical for as long as I could remember and I had always wanted to play Christine. So the idea of it coming to the cinema excited me to no end. I know a lot of MT puritans hated this adaptation, but I loved it. The costumes – the set – Gerard Butler… everything! It even made me like Raoul a lot more than I had before (I was always on Team Phantom growing up).


Shaun of the Dead

Dir: Edgar Wright. Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.

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Every now and then a film comes along that ‘defines a generation’ (to use a very cliched term) and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ was definitely one of those films. I loved Spaced. It was one of those shows I watched on repeat with my friends and I even ended up writing several essays on it for my Media Studies AS Level. I wanted to be Tim! I know it’s not much to aspire to – but a wannabe comic book artist working in a comic book shop with Bill Bailey? How would I not want to. So when I heard they were doing a film, I had no idea what a huge success it would be! Now little old Tim Bisley is Scotty in Star Trek! Who would have thought it?


Closer

Dir: Mike Nichols. Starring: Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law

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As a theatre studies student, this was one of those films that ended up defining my acting at the time. Every woman and her dog ended up doing monologues from this play and I guess I was no different… except I did Clive Owen’s monologue because it was just amazingly awesome! Again, this is a film I appreciate much more now that I am older, have read the play and had a little bit more life experience. It was still one of those films that stuck with me from 2004 as I ended up knowing the dialogue and characters so well.


Hellboy

Dir: Guillermo Del Toro. Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair

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Despite having seen ‘Blade 2’ (And actually really loving it might I add), I didn’t really start to obsess over Guillermo Del Toro until I saw ‘Hellboy’. I hadn’t really read the comics from before, but I knew the character and so this film also turned me into a Mignola fan. Thanks to this film I was later introduced to ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – one of my favourite films. All in all, I think I owe a lot to Hellboy.


Honorable mentions also go out to ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, a film I didn’t actually watch until college but absolutely loved. It’s one of those great ‘party’ films which is fun to watch with friends over a beer. ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ also came out in 2004 and after having been introduced to Studio Ghibli with ‘Spirited Away’s performance at the Oscars the year before, solidified my position as a Miyazaki fan and Ghibli lover. ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ came out in this year, though I wasn’t a Harry Potter fan until the book release of ‘The Half Blood Prince’ in 2005, when I quickly devoured all of the novels leading up to that one. Also a huge shout out to ‘King Arthur’, which no one seemed to like but me… Mostly because I had a bit of a crush on Tristan (Yes – Mads Mikkelsen before he became all awesome and villain-y).


What were your favourite films of 2004? An extensive list can be found over on IMDB (of course). Have any of them influenced you over the years? 

July NaBloPoMo Challenge Begins

by Anastasia Catris in Personal Comments: 4 tags: july, lifestyle, NaBloPoMo, personal, work

In a bid to try and blog more regularly I am taking on the NaBloPoMo challenge for the month of July…


Since my internet went down on May 21st (Yes, thank you BT, it was down for one month and 6 days altogether), I have been suffering a somewhat strained relationship with my computer. I use the internet every day for a variety of reasons from the social to the professional. I gather reference, update my online stores and website, download brushes, textures and fonts for Photoshop, research costumes, facts and characters, book conventions, hotels and order prints, business cards and merch… and (of course) update all of my social media… Aside from actually drawing, the internet itself can be a full time job for me.

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Needless to say, the last month has been a little bit stressful. My bouts on the internet were limited to my mobile phone (when I actually left the house and had signal), the limited time I could spend in my local library (I say local – it’s still half an hour drive away – did I mention I live in the middle of nowhere?) and taking my laptop over my parents’ and partner’s houses. As a freelancer I tend to work all the hours I can and this can often be at what are considered ‘antisocial’ times. I start when I wake up and end when I literally can’t concentrate anymore – so having to limit myself to library opening hours and parents’ sleeping patterns was a bit of an adjustment. Annoyingly this meant that certain projects and commissions I hoped to complete in June took a lot longer to complete – if I managed to complete them at all (If you are one of the lovely people who has been so patient with me over private commissions – THANK YOU!).

But, here is hoping that July is the start of a new lease on life as far as work is concerned. The wonderful thing about all of this is it has really put things into perspective for me as far as organizing my time and using the facilities I do have. I have a better organized schedule; I’ve allocated hours of the day for specific jobs and I think I can safely say that I am ready for a solid month of hard work and ‘re-calibration’.

So in the spirit of getting things moving forward (and showing appreciation for having my internet back up and running) I have decided to sign up to the this month’s NaBloPoMo.

Those of you aware of my blogging history will know that I have a love for blog/writing challenges. I signed up to the amazing NaNoWriMo in 2008 and once upon a time undertook a blogging challenge (inspired by Julie/Julia) to watch the New York Times list of 1000 best movies ever made in one year! It was because of that blog that I ended up working in HarperCollins Publishers as it really helped me hone my social media skills and online writing. Sadly it was because of that exact same job I ended up abandoning the blog as I had no more time to watch films once I started working there. But hey, one day I may get back to it.

NaBloPoMo challenges you to write your blog every day for a month. I know a lot of amazing bloggers who do this already without any issue, but for me it would be a great exercise in organizing my time effectively as well as a good way to get to know more bloggers and comment-ers in the process. They do give you a theme that you can work with, but it’s mostly just for loose inspiration. July’s theme is ‘Decade’, which I suppose is appropriate considering it is my birthday month so I will be thinking a lot about age and time anyway.

Luckily I have a very busy month planned including my birthday on the 17th (and my mum’s), two conventions, traveling to London to see Baby Metal in concert, a secret screening at Cineworld, seeing Phil Jupitus’ new standup in the Sherman Theatre, watching Monty Python Live (also in the cinema – I’m not that lucky to get tickets to the real deal) and the start of a brand new Dungeons and Dragons Campaign with some good friends… So I doubt I’ll run out of things to talk about with you guys.

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Until then I am going to go and organize my schedule for this week. I have a lot to catch up on and some fun new artwork heading your way ready for London Film and Comic Con on the 11th July. Not to mention updates on my progress on Cirque Du Mort! Speak to you all tomorrow!


How will you all be spending July? Anyone else taking part in NaBloPoMo? Leave a comment below and get in touch.

What Book/s Would You Like to See Adapted into a Video Game?


IGGPP asked what book (or series of books) we would like to see adapted into a video game…

Inspired by IGGPP’s Twitter poll yesterday, I had a long hard think about what books would translate well into video games. If you haven’t already visited International Geek Girl Pen Pals, you really need to head over there. It is a brilliant community of like minded geeks, fans and generally awesome folk. Thanks to them I have met a few friends on Twitter already and I cannot wait for this months’ draft of pen pal partners (it will be my first time having a real life pen pal since I was about 8!)

So, I’ve been having a think about some books that would work well as video games. Some have already been attempted, but weren’t necessarily satisfying (see my Game of Thrones review on Chaos Hour) and some, I feel, just need to have the right gaming genre (You will notice, as an RPG fanatic, a lot of my choices are RPG-centric). Let me know what you think. This is by no means a definitive list, but definitely some of the books I would love to see adapted.

[Warning: Some of these descriptions may give away key plot points to the books in question]


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Gone Series – Michael Grant

I personally think this series would work amazingly as an action, RPG or even a hack slash game. You could even work elements of horror in there what with the incredibly disturbing antagonists and events.  You have teenagers with super powers, a bunch of awesome villains and an intriguing story line – what more could you want from a game? Ideally you could start off as Sam Temple and later add different characters to your party with different characteristics and powers. Or, if you didn’t want to go along with the main story line of the book, you could just play a random powered up teen who is trying to survive alongside the events of the main story, helping them out as you go.

There are a lot of elements to this series that would work well in a game – imagine a hide and seek style horror level running away from Drake; or manipulating the main game world as Little Pete; or having to save as many school students from their cement blocks as you can before a time runs out. It writes itself.


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Divergent – Veronica Roth

I think this one would be too obvious to follow the actual story line, but hey, that would still work. I think it would be much more exciting to have a game with several different endings and stories. Let’s say you start the game as a personalized male or female character in a faction of your choice (Amity, Erudite, Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor) and you have to go through a tutorial level/introductory level which leads you to taking the personality test. Here you are told that you are Divergent but you get the choice to stay in your faction or move to another one. Your choices ultimately lead into what sort of game you have to play. If you go to Dauntless, you have to go through their training; if you end up in Erudite, you end up working for the enemy. It could lead to making a lot of fun, different quests for each faction that would still ultimately end up falling in line with each other eventually as the storyline pans out.


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Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

How this hasn’t been made into a video game yet is beyond me. But maybe the idea of children killing each other is okay to watch on screen, but not so good to re-enact in game form… (but Grand Theft Auto is fine…) The game would pretty much write itself, especially if it followed all three of the books in one game; leading to two Hunger Games and one rebellion. You would play as Katniss, obviously, and I can imagine an almost Tomb Raider feel to the game play. I am already crying at the idea of a Rue cut scene; and doing the mutant dog/recycled teens justice would be terrifying and a great level.


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A Song of Ice And Fire – George R R Martin

I know this has actually been attempted, but as you can see from my review over on Chaos Hour, it was a little bit of a disappointing attempt. I would love to see this done in an open world style like Skyrim or Oblivion where you could start as a random adventurer who inserts themselves into the major plot points of the books. Say you start as a fighter in the North and you begin with simple quests for the Starks, you could travel to the South and fight for Ned when he is betrayed or go to the Wall and help with the siege. Either way it would be impossible to play a main character as for one, as none of them are safe (Gorram you George!) and it would be no fun as you wouldn’t be able to take part in every aspect of the story.

If you made it an open world a la Skyrim, and you a random hero who happens to be in the right place at the right time much like the Dragonborn, it would mean you could technically fight for all sides and allegiances and be part of all of the major battles as well as diplomatic funzies. Obviously there would be quests that would lead to main character deaths which would make certain quests unplayable, but hey – Skyrim has the Dark Brotherhood do that, so why not you?


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Animorphs – K.A. Applegate

Animorphs was one of my favourite book series when I was a kid. I remember reading them in bed late into the night and scaring myself silly at the thought of evil aliens crawling into my ear when I least suspected it. But most of all, I loved the idea of being able to turn into an animal.

I know that this was adapted into a game for the Game Boy Colour/PC/Playstation but it would be awesome to see these re-invented. The fun of this game is that you would be able to collect animal DNA, like some sort of pokemon master, by just finding animals in game and assimilating them for later use. This would make the game really fun as you would have to assimilate a bird in order to reach higher levels, small animals like mice, rats, etc, so you could get through small holes. Much like the Lego games where you have to play different characters to unlock different areas, this would require you to morph into different animals.


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Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Ending with the most obvious and probably the most challenging. A book about being inside a video game! Adaptation-ception! The fun thing about this is that you would have to switch between the game world where you would be expected to fulfil all of the quests necessary to advance the plot line (including finishing the in-game puzzles); and the ‘real’ world where you would have to avoid capture and safe guard your physical form. It would be a difficult game to script in a way that would interchange between the real world and virtual world well, but it would be incredibly exciting and a perfect game for gamer-fans who would love all of the references to old school game that … mentions as well as 80s trivia and old-school game challenges.


Graphic Novels (Not including super hero comics which kinda go without saying)

 

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Rat Queens

My love for Rat Queens is pretty well known, so the idea of playing an RPG of a comic based on RPGs would just be so meta and so awesome! As it is already based on a party of four, playing a four player party system (a la X-Men)  would make the most sense, wrangling all four of the character powers which are already complimentary and diverse. Plus, the script would be hilarious!


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Attack On Titan

Who hasn’t read these awesome mangas or watched the television series and thought this wouldn’t work as a video game? Hack/Slash pure and simple! I know they have been developed into games in Japan and have had one action title for the Nintendo DS, but with the popularity it has seen in the West, it would be pretty awesome to see a worldwide release.

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Mouse Guard

The beauty of this comic is that it is already perfect for an action RPG. The story and characters are so epic (while also being adorable) that adapting it into a video game would be too easy.


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Stuff Of Legend

If you haven’t reads these graphic novels, I highly recommend them. Think a very dark Toy Story with boogey men, death and kidnapping small children. As the story takes place in two worlds, one where the toys are toys and the other where they are real characters (teddy bear is a bear, tin soldier is an actual soldier etc), it would make the game play exciting and fun to have to switch between the two.


Honourable Mentions

Testament of Sherlock Holmes – I know there are quite a few Sherlock Holmes games out there, but this is one that I played recently and really stuck with me. This is actually quite a fun little point and click. The detective aspect is challenging and it is very close to the original book’s style, mysteries and methods. If you liked old school games like ‘Seventh Guest’ or ‘Titanic’, then this game is perfect for you. The graphics aren’t amazing, but it is perfect for fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective.

Dante’s Inferno – Okay, so this is in NO way an accurate adaptation of Dante’s fantastic Italian epic poem (and probably my favourite book of all time). Beatrice is your typical fridged female character and serves no purpose but to propel Dante through Hell; the history and plot line are completely over the top and highly inaccurate… but, that all being said, it is an EXTREMELY fun game. The imagery is amazingly dark and disturbing and the inclusion of classical mythology is wonderfully done. Overall, if you are not too much of a traditionalist and can see the fun, this is an extremely enjoyable game.

American McGee’s Alice – Again, not in any way an accurate adaptation, but dear gods this is a great game. The newest sequel Alice: Madness Returns is also beautiful with great graphics, character and world design. A very fun old school platform which indulges the Alice myth while turning it on a delightfully dark head.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring (PS2) – Around about the time of the Lord of The Rings film releases and therefore video games releases (that Palantir of Saruman – what a boss level!), there was a very overlooked PS2 game that followed the books rather than the films. While it wasn’t the best game in the world, it was a true adaptation of the books and (as I remember it) very enjoyable. Even Tom Bombadil was included!


What do you think? What book or graphic novel would you like to see adapted into a video game? What books have already been adapted and left something to be desired? Or is there one out there that you think got it right? Let me know in the comments below…