SPX 2016: An Interview with Kerin Cunningham

SPX (Small Press Expo) is an event where all independent and rising artists come together to share and show their work in the art and comic book world.

Most of them are either from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area while others are from other states or even other countries. One of those artists is Long Island, New York native Kerin Cunningham. Last Saturday, we got a one-on-one interview with Kerin to ask about her beginnings, how hard work pays off, and connecting with other artists is important.

Gaylene A.: How did you start out? What inspired you to create art and illustrate?

Kerin Cunningham: Oh man, I’ve been drawing since I was tiny… I used to pause Disney movies on TV and then I would draw whatever was on the screen, like 101 Dalmatians or Pinocchio, I loved things like that. When Pokèmon came out and I was all about drawing them. So I saw these things and I was like, “If they can create things, I could make things too.”

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“Life on Mars” by Kerin Cunningham, 2016

GA: What would you say helped you branch out with other artists and help get your name out there?

KC: You know what? I’m still working on that stuff. It’s hard and it’s constant, but going to art school helped a lot. You network a lot and the people that are your classmates go on to become other working artists so it’s really great. Going to these kinds of shows and just talking to people whose work is interesting to you, and whom you want to stay connected with, you keep those friends for a long time. It ends up paying off and you can meet people from all over the world that way.

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“Astro Cats” by Kerin Cunningham, 2015

GA: Difficult question, what would you say to starting artists? Artists who want to start out but don’t really how.

KC: Don’t stop making art! Because I’m someone who made that mistake. I graduated college and I thought, “Man, I’m burnt out, I want to take a break.” And that didn’t work for me. You just keep pushing through it; Even if you’re making bad art, you’re still making art and you’ll get to the place that you want to get to. So don’t give up. That’s cliché, but that’s what I would say.

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“Polstar: Love is a Radio Wave” by Kerin Cunningham, 2015

GA: What’s your favorite thing to do at a convention? Besides selling.

KC: Meeting new people!  Sometimes you’ll go to a convention in a completely different place and you’ll see familiar faces and you’re like, “Oh man, I saw you at this one two years ago”. It’s just so cool to connect with different people and meet all different kinds of artists, you also get so many new ideas that way. I love the whole thing; I would do these forever if I could.

Gregory M.: Is this also your first Small Press Expo by the way?

KC: This is my first Small Press Expo and I am loving it. Honestly, I was afraid that I wouldn’t sell a dime! But people seem to really like my work, which is awesome. Everyone has been so cool and I’d definitely do it every year if I could.

GM: Do you have any website or any type of DeviantArt page to browse and view more of your work?

KC: Absolutely! kerincunningham.com is the easiest place. I do have a Twitter, I’m trying to be really good on Twitter, I’m not really into it but I’m trying! My Instagram is @KerinCunningham. Basically, my name isn’t taken by anyone else in the world so you’ve just got to Google me, you’ll find all of my pages and things like that.

Injustice 2 Officially Announced

All it took was one poster leak for Warner Bros. and NetherRealm Studios (Ed Boon and the studio behind the Mortal Kombat series) to release an announcement trailer for Injustice 2.

Injustice: Gods Among Us was a fighting game first released three years ago, having players fighting against each other using the DC Roster of both heroes and villians.

What’s new for the sequel? Here’s what we know so far

  • The story mode will take place right after the events of the first game.
  • You can be Iron Man! Just kidding, however! There is a new “gear system”, having players place customizable armor pieces on their hero or villain to enhance their strength, speed, health, and agility.
  • Returning characters such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, and Aquaman return with new faces such as Supergirl, The Arkham Knight, Gorilla Grood, and Atrocitus.

Hopefully we shall see some gameplay next week at E3 2016?

Injustice

Injustice 2 releases next year for Playstation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

The Gulf (All You Can Eat): From the Staff

As an individual that enjoys pop culture, I actually don’t frequent many conventions (when I say I don’t frequent them I 1 001mean I don’t enjoy them much at all). There’s a myriad of reasons why, but that’s not what this is about. What it is about though is this amazing annual convention that I went to in Small Press Expo (SPX). Since its inaugural year in 1994, SPX has become well renowned as a longstanding festival for writers and artists from all over the world to share their own independent comics and artwork. The intimacy of the festival in addition to being an outlet for these artists to present and sell their works that aren’t accessible through more commercial means is what instantly piqued my interest. As I made my way through the small (but immensely crowded) venue, I made it to this small booth in the corner of the room and here is this young and charming indie artist by the name of Nguyen Khoi Nguyen. I walk up assuming to do the same thing I always do at these things (or the few I have been to); browse around, window shop a little… and walk away (I’m broke, sue me). But this time was different. It didn’t take long at all for him to ingratiate himself as opposed to simply shilling whatever he had on display. Our short conversation did inevitably (as it should have) lead to his current work and what I found out is that sometimes less really is more.

Now many want to try to share their vision with the world through the extraordinary. Fantasy
and fiction rule the world of comics and graphic novels with an iron fist. Buyers (like me) consume their fill of super-powered heroes struggling against whatever opposition floats the author’s boat. We all by our share of illustrations depicting people in extenuating circumstances whether it be a post-apocalyptic land of mutant people or a futuristic setting where the planet is taken over by a technologically advanced overlord. Tales of life, death, love, action, and adventure, get told over and over in these works and while always fun, can be overwhelming (or underwhelming). For a serene break from the norm, I suggest The Gulf (All You Can Eat).

2 002This multimedia graphic novel illustrates the life (both past and present) of author, Nguyen Khoi Nguyen and his Vietnamese-American family. It may seem unassuming at first glance, but it is filled with interesting hidden gems of humor and captivates you in a fascinating way when you finish. Even the chapters themselves flip both between the author’s life as a young child growing up in Cape Coral, Florida in 1987 and a fairly interesting conversation had between his brother and sister in his current home of Washington D.C. Now as a hyper-exuberant kid whose family owns a Chinese buffet restaurant, one would expect the hi jinks to ensue a fair amount… and you’d be right. 2 004It is so funny to see these young siblings (his brother and sister are very prominent characters) and never fails to put a smile on my face as it resembles my own siblings a great deal. The art seems simple in the beginning, but the subtle use of music and traditional vernacular all help to bring life to the panels and the story in an original way. The dialogue is honest and endears you to the characters as if you know them yourself (or know people like them in your life).

In the scene of modern-day art (of any genre), ego reigns supreme and everyone is trying to make the biggest story alive in a thinly veiled attempt to make themselves a larger name. Sometimes, it’s creating the most convoluted piece you can, and sometimes it’s pandering to the lowest common denominator (and those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive). “Pretentious” can be a common word for me to use, but rarely could I use the word “humble” 2 003for a lot of works that I’ve seen. Fortunately for me, The Gulf is the embodiment of the term “humble”. So many times we pick up a book and use it to escape reality and whatever problems we have. While it can be fun and therapeutic, sometimes we become so disconnected from what reality is we lose sight of what is important. Nguyen Khoi Nguyen has created a piece of work in which its strongest asset and appeal isn’t the flash and flare of other comics or novels. It isn’t the grandiose and intimidating expansion of its world. It isn’t any of the common tropes of other written works (highly regarded or not). It is the intrinsic ability minimize the experience for the reader and relate to the common experiences of people through the life of the author and his family. It’s a reminder of the importance of love and family and that maybe the escape that people are looking for can be found in the catacombs of one’s fond memories of their youth (and we all have our fair share).It’s definitely what I would describe as a “colorful” autobiography shaped in the form of a graphic novel. The chapters (4 available, 10 total scheduled) are short in length, but gives you your fill of fun and a bit of introspection. It’s not an ambitious read at all, and why should it be? It’s fun stories about a guy and his family bound together by the business of food and personal experiences. It is reflective in its own right and for me, it’s got everything I need when I want to take a break from what I usually read. It’s a good read and I am happy that I got a chance to pick it up when I did. Nguyen Khoi Nguyen is an intriguing man. He’s a jazz musician and a filmmaker on top of his aptitude for comic art. If you want to purchase his work, you can find it on iBooks or tiny.cc/nguyenmade. To learn more, check out his website at ngknguyen.com. I think it’ll be worth anyone’s time.


Stephon W. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and sorry, he doesn’t do social media. But you can follow the team on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications), and on twitter @tehlunchboxpub

 

80s meets Zombies with Alpha Girl!

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It’s 1984, and Judith is your typical 17-year-old girl. She chain smokes, cuts class, sells her tamps to perverts, and she just might be the last sane woman on the planet. When a third-rate cosmetics company creates a pheromone that turns women into crazed man-eaters, the world image.comics.alpha_.girl_.three_dives into chaos. Judith must break her little brother out of juvie, all the while dodging rabid women and the men who hunt them. Already a proven survivor, she picks up some interesting strays along the way and kicks some serious zombie butt! Judith is ALPHA GIRL!!

I’m a zombie fan and to be honest… I’m feeling a bit burnt out on them. Today’s zombie comics just don’t give me that chill anymore. Instead, they make me bored and a tad irritated. Alpha Girl unfortunately did not give me that chill I was looking for. The art style is unique in its own way and I like that, but I couldn’t help but noticed how some things look like it was photoshopped into the comic. Was that suppose to be on purpose? Not sure but all I can say is that while I  it threw me off a bit.
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The story started off good, but as I read further along it started to drag on. The humor was pretty cheesy, but I’m sure others will like it. The backstories of the main characters are interesting and makes me want to know more about them. So if you’re not tired of reading about the apocalyptic world then I suggest you pick up Alpha Girl.

Alpha Girl gets a 4 out of 5

+ Story has a fairly strong start to it

+ Original artwork (for the most part)

+ I did enjoy the backstories and made the main characters entertaining

– Humor could have been better

– Still missing that spark that puts it over the top

Get your copy of Alpha Girl now!


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s currently playing Corpse Party… Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Wayward! Have You Guys Heard?!

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Have you checked out Wayward yet? You should!


Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her. The creatures threaten everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late?

wayward

Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Samurai Jack), Steve Cummings (Legends of the Dark Knight, Deadshot), and John Rauch (Invincible) team up to create an all-new Image supernatural spectacle that combines the camaraderie and emotion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the action and mystery of Hellboy. The colors are bright and bold which works extremely well with the artwork and the story as a whole. The design of the characters is anime-esque and makes for a familiar look. The attention to detail in all departments cannot be understated and makes the book visually stunning.


Verdict: Jim Zub and Steve Cummings Wayward gets a strong start with a spunky young protagonist, incredibly meticulous artwork, and phenomenal coloring. This comic is so highly recommended that I don’t want to spoil it for you by telling you what goes on in this series. Do yourselves a favor and head to the nearest comic book store (or bookstore) and pick up a copy. Seriously, it’s worth it.

Wayward gets a 5 out of 5

+ Strong artwork

+ Rori is a great main character

+ A story that’s pretty hard to put down


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s a boss in GTA V..Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

There’s a Shop for Zombies?

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Reiko the Zombie Shop

Terror has struck the sleepy little town of Shiraike. A serial killer stalks the streets murdering innocent girls. Twenty-nine grisly murders have been committed with no clues to catch the killer, that is until the town receives a strange visitor: a beautiful young woman who can raise the dead. She is Reiko the Zombie Shop, necromancer for hire. For a price, she’ll wake your dead, if only to find a clue to their demise. Despite being able to reanimate the dead, she is not responsible for what the dead will say or do once they awaken!


When I first saw the cover, I was thrown off a bit, but decided to give it a chance thinking it was probably good and about some awesome chick fighting zombies, but it wasn’t. This manga is basically about figuring out who killed who and psychotic serial killers. Did I mention that they also summon zombies to fight? It’s like something straight out of Yu-Gi-Oh?! (awesome show by the way… well the original anyway)

2888-1-6_PLDSY-Reiko the Zombie Shop v1 p 0092At the end of volume one, the main character (and the only important one) dies in a non-exciting battle and the only thing going through my mind was, “That’s it? Really?”  I could not read anymore after that, until I found out the series continued! I took a peek thinking maybe it’ll get better. Saw two high school students summoning zombies to fight… NOPE!


Verdict: I was so disappointed that I could not finish the series. So to make it short and not waste anymore of your time.

Reiko the Zombie Shop gets a 2 out of 5

– Killers who summon zombies to fight (no thank you)

– Misleading as a mystery manga with zombies

– Main character dies early in anti-climactic fashion

+ Interesting synopsis and concept (that was ruined almost immediately, but still pretty good)


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she thinks all you guys are awesome…Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

DC Scheduled to Have A Big Announcement at WonderCon!

dee9ec2ac1fe879f76c29010f2b9fa2eWonderCon, much like ComicCon in San Diego and New York, is a main attraction for all things pop culture. People come from around the country to get a first look at what’s upcoming. Well, those of us who are lucky enough to be going this year will get a special treat from DC as they will be there with a big announcement.

No details have been given about what will be said, but it could be anything. Future plans for the DCU, another “unite the seven” unveiling, or even the much-anticipated trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Many are speculating that the trailer is set to debut there but as far as anyone knows, that’s just a big rumor (and even if it did, it won’t make it out of WonderCon unless it’s on a camera phone). No one knows a thing right now which makes it all the more interesting. With only a couple of weeks left before the convention starts (April 3-5), I can’t wait for what DC and all the other companies have to show as WonderCon is shaping up to be quite the event this year.


Stephon W. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and sorry, he doesn’t do social media. But you can follow the team on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications), and on twitter @tehlunchboxpub

 

“We Are Robin”, New Incoming Series Post New 52!

w2jlvH6For those of you who don’t know, there’s another shift taking place over at DC with the Convergence event that sees the company moving away from the New 52 era. In return, there will be a new focus back on seminal characters and stronger stories despite continuity. One of the first series announced post-Convergence is entitled We Are Robin and will be written by Lee Bermejo (Suiciders) with Rob Haynes and Khary Randolph tackling the art.

The story will see shades of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: Zero Year, with the introduction of the main character Duke Thomas who was a young African-American teenager assisted Bruce Wayne in the aforementioned story. He reappeared in Batman: Endgame when the Joker murdered both of his parents in similar fashion to the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Apparently, Thomas will be one of the innovators behind the “Robin Movement” (similar to the movement conjured in The Dark Knight Returns) which consists of teenagers who seek to protect Gotham City. It will also delve into the reason why Batman was so against allowing teenagers into his life as a crime-fighting vigilante.

Bermejo told USA Today that this new series will not see any of the original characters who donned the mask of the boy wonder as he wants to “expand the Robin character past teenage white kids who all look the same.” In another quote from USA Today, he says “There’s that element of this particular moment we’re passing right now, and with a book like this you have a chance to comment about certain things and bring them into the Bat-universe in real interesting ways.” This alluded to his desire to seek inspiration from contentious moments in recent memory (specifically the incident in Ferguson, MO) and merge those issues with his own original content.

 We Are Robin hits stores June 24 from DC Comics.


Stephon W. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and sorry, he doesn’t do social media. But you can follow the team on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications), and on twitter @tehlunchboxpub

 

 

Batman: Arkham Knight Gets An M Rating

Batman: Arkham Knight is one of this year’s most anticipated titles. With the game being planned for release on June 2nd, it has been given the rating M for Mature from the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board).

The Dark Knight gets darker for consoles

The Dark Knight gets darker for consoles

Shockingly enough, the studio who was behind the development, RockSteady, has previously made the past two Batman games, both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City have received the rating T for Teen. Sefton Hill, founder of Rocksteady and game director of Arkham Knight was surprised of the rating and neither him or his team were aiming for that. Here’s what he had to say.

“From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games… We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell.”

With the game receiving the M rating, it is strict policy to stores selling video games that they will have to inform the parental guardian of what type of content is inside before purchase. Both Hill and Rocksteady know that some younger players might miss out due to this. Here’s what Hill says.

“I’m not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out… I don’t want to be oblivious to that fact. It would have been wrong to water down the game and deliver a story we didn’t believe in to keep the game ‘mass market’ or enable it for more people. We feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. We said we love the story and we don’t want to jepoardize that.”

Batman: Arkham Knight will be released on June 2nd, 2015, for Playstation 4, XBOX One, and Windows Software.


Grayson M. is the Editor-in-Chief of Teh Lunchbox Publications and he’s secretly a superhero! For more news, previews, and reviews on the entertainment world, follow us here on tehlunchboxpub.wordpress.com! Like and Follow Us on Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr

Magical Girl’s are Creepy, Scary, and INSANE!!

images (2)When you think magical girls, you think of colorful dresses, sparkles, and friendship. Mahou Shoujo of the End will change your way of thinking.


High-schooler Kii Kogami is stuck in a rut, loathing the monotonous doldrums of his everyday life. If only something amazing would happen. But be careful what you wish for…images (1)

Kii gets his wish, but more than he can imagine and not in a good way. When a little girl in goth-style lolita attire appears at his school things really begin to get crazy. She starts to gruesomely batter, dismember, and mutilate all who cross her path. She does all of this while chanting the mantra “Magical”. It is then that the school devolves into a state of bloody chaos. Will Kii escape from this murderous girl?

To make matters worse, the magical girls victims reanimate and joins the killer rampage. Almost like zombies… magical zombies. Did I mention they also say “Magical” too?q022


Another zombie apocalypse manga but with psycho magical girls who’s outimg000018 for your blood. At first this caught me off guard but as I read further in, I realized that this manga is no different from the other apocalypse manga. You have your usual big busted girls, scrawny protagonist, damsel in distress (who turns out to be a yandere), hormonal crazy guy, and a tsundere girl (who always falls for the main character).

Kentaro Sato’s concept is very intriguing, I mean who would’ve thought magical girls can be so deadly and a down right living nightmare. Not me! The art style just makes them more terrifying. I’m not too big a fan of how some of the characters feet look too small (looks kinda weird), then again what artist don’t have trouble with feet? But this could be a part of Sato’s unique art style. Art Style: ⅘


Verdict: There’s not much detail I could give about the manga because it’s still going on (so I can’t give a solid rating on the story), but all I could say that this is an interesting read and you should definitely add this to your list of manga. That is, if you like gore, psychopaths, ecchi, and horror.

No Score (Yet)

+ Interesting concept pairing magic with horror and gore

+ Solid art-style

– Still has the same common tropes for these types of manga 


Sherita M. is a contributing editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she loves crafting games. Follow us on twitter @tehlunchboxpub.