Hack/Slash: My First Maniac

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In 2004, the comic world was introduced to a young woman turned vicious hunter. Created by Tim Seeley under Devil's Due Publishing, Hack/Slash tells the story of Cassie Hack, a horror victim who decides to strike back at the "slashers" who prey upon teenagers. Imagine Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode not only surviving her first altercation with Michael Myers, but then waging a "one woman war" against him and all other sharp object-wielding psycho killers in the world. Add a bit more vulgarity and a lot more bloody vengeance and you have the woman I refer to as my Horror Goddess.

Cassie is a profane, sarcastic, cynical anti-hero. She is the Jessica Jones of the indie-horror genre. Her attire is a balance between loner goth and the school girl outfit worn by Britney Spears in the "Baby One More Time" music video. If Trent Reznor and Olivia Munn had a daughter, Cassie Hack would be that girl. She is not a woman of faith, yet she is fully aware that there is something on the other side. What else could explain the phenomena she has experienced? Eventually, her adventures will lead to her meeting with Vlad, a muscle-bound, but disfigured, behemoth whom Cassie mistakes for a slasher. Seeing his kindness and good heart, Cassie offers a partnership with the big man and Vlad quickly becomes Cassie's loyal and faithful Herculean sidekick in her never-ending war against horror. Hack and Slash.

 

After the end of its initial run and a financial disagreement involving nonpayment by Devil's Due Publishing, Tim Seeley took his creation to Image Comics. In 2010, Image published Hack/Slash: ‘My First Maniac’ (written by Seeley, art by Daniel Leister and coloring by Mark Englert), a four-part mini-series telling the story of Cassie's first hunt in her bloody war defending the innocent against the slashers.

The story opens with Cassie narrating from her own diary, explaining her past. Fatherless and picked on continuously in high school, Cassie's mother Delilah, the school lunch lady, decides to protect her daughter the only way she sees fit: by murdering the teens who mock her, chopping them up and feeding them to the students at lunch. When Cassie discovers what her mother is up to, she informs the authorities, who then corner Delilah in her own school kitchen. With a final "I love you" to Cassie, Delilah plunges her head into the pot filled with boiling gravy, killing herself. However, much to Cassie's surprise later on, her mother has returned from the dead, now as a soulless, killing monster continuing her terror. Cassie has no choice but to unload two rounds into her own mother's head. Retuning her body to the grave, Cassie pledges to no longer live in fear and take the battle to all slashers that may exist. She makes the choice to become the hunter instead of the hunted, and what drives her is not only her devotion to stalking down the slashers who prey on the innocents, but the pain and heartache of turning her mother over to the authorities, watching her kill herself, and then having to kill her mother again when she became a maniac herself. She is cursed with sinking her hands into the inexplicable without hesitating or wavering.

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Cassie learns about the tale of Farmer Fig, a farmer in Iowa who was extremely protective of his property, including his only daughter. Any young men who would attempt to sneak onto his property and take part in "extra-curricular activities" with his daughter would find them themselves gutted and posted up as scarecrows in Fig's crops. Before the town could implement its form of mob justice, Farmer Fig and his daughter took their own lives. However, it is believed that Farmer Fig still roams the property, killing any teenagers who decide to have late night parties on his land. With this knowledge, Cassie heads to small town Iowa. Concealing her identity, she gets a part time job as a bar-back and enrolls as a new student at the local high school. She researches the town, the different cliques at the school and aligns herself with them, making friends and getting invited to the parties. Eventually, Cassie is invited to the party on Fig Farm. Ready to take on whatever evil plagues the farm, Cassie quickly learns there is more behind the tales of the farm and the slasher who roams it.

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This series marked the beginning of Cassie Hack's run under the Image Comics banner; a banner she remains under to this day. After over a decade of one-shots, volumes and omnibuses, the story of Tim Seeley's Cassie Hack continues later this month when writer Tini Howard and artist Celor helm the upcoming Hack/Slash: Resurrection, beginning with the release of issue #1 on October 25th; just in time for Halloween. As a huge fan of Hack, I am excited to not only read the upcoming series, but to also go back and read her past adventures. ‘My First Maniac’ was my introduction to Cassie, and I am happy I came across this memorable character. She is a lone warrior: A vicious heroine wielding unforgiving vengeance in a beautiful and bloody manner.

As I wait for her well-deserved arrival into the mainstream, whether it be on the big screen or a digital streaming service, I will continue to promote her and introduce anyone I can to the memorable Queen of Slasher-Hunting, Ms. Cassie Hack.

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The Season of Loot

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Foolish Mortals,

 

This will be my second article in a row dedicated to our new gaming corner of T.C.C., but I feel it needs some love, and I’ve got plenty to say on the matter. For a more comprehensive look into the origins of Samhain, and how to pronounce it, check on The Azorean One’s Halloween article from 2016 around this time. For a very surface level article on what the holiday has become in one specific niche of our culture, continue reading.

Today’s subject brings much excitement; Like Christmas morning, but in October! That’s right, I’m talking about that magical time of year where you can start watching The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice, and pretend that you haven’t been watching them all year: Halloween. Today, however, I want to talk about what Halloween means in gaming.

Every year around this time the online video gaming community claws patiently at their televisions for their prefered systems to update the inevitable Halloween patch. For millions of people, Halloween no longer involves asking for candy, dressing up in costume, toilet papering front yards, or even leaving the house: October has become the time when every decent, self-respecting game rolls out their newest spoopy skins and items, resplendent in sexy witch apparel, boiling brews, Jack-O-Lantern heads, spectral animals and weaponry, and Cthulhu (confoundingly)... Developers spend months designing these skins and items, all in the knowledge that these… Let’s face it if you’re still reading this far... WE millions of gamers will CLAMOR for the instant that the patch drops. 

The infamous ‘Patch,’ for those of you who HAVE read this far and still have no idea what I’m on about, is an update for a game, much like when your iPhone or Android improves its system in a file that almost certainly downloaded while you were sleeping (Version 1.0.2 look familiar? That’s a patch). In the patches for modern games, items appear in the game which affect the environs, the characters, the menus, and just about everything that developers can specialise to look like whatever theme they choose. And what’s just about the most popular theme ever? That’s right, Christmas. But what’s the NEXT biggest theme ever?? Mmhm.

So, game developers spend all of their time and resources leading up to Halloween to produce aesthetic changes for which we all go absolutely bonkers. Throw some red hair and a devil dress on your favourite healer. Throw some white hair and a lab coat on your favourite psychopath? Instant Doctor Frankenstein knock off! And customised to your favourite character!! So, essentially, instead of investing in cosplay and going to a friend’s party to drink, we have begun to invest in microtransactions which do the same: Dress us up, we chat with out friends via some live service, annnnnnnd we drink as we get progressively less coordinated during the course of our game nights. Not a bad racket as the many millions of dollars that the game companies reap will tell you.

I know it seems like we are moving away from the Halloween tradition, and in many ways, we are; But I’m not ready to call that a failure. Clearly this model is making money, and it is enticing a great portion of the populace… Myself included. I get up for the latest patch like any other dedicated gamer: I look up sneak peeks of the new skins, I rush through my jobs at work so that I can see how each game I play has changed when I get home, and I certainly invest a few dollars into the hard work that went into what I’m definitely pumping hours and hours of life into. Each crate or box that contains a new mystery item is like a mini Christmas morning, but for a holiday that has never afforded that type of thrill. My community goes nuts every Halloween, and it’s some of the most fun to be had in every game that participates in Halloween patches. 

The only downside is that every holiday must eventually come to a tragic conclusion. Though inevitable, it is always sad to see the fun and games go away, only to be met with the now flat-seeming, vanilla version of the game. Every item, now exclusive, is rolled back up in the carpet of the holiday patch and there are three hundred and fifty some-odd days until they become available again. However, in every cloud there is a silver lining… This one’s name is Christmas. In December, they do the exact same thing. 

To play along, to see exactly what I’m writing about, or to just interact with me and the gaming community during this limited, exciting time, log on to Twitch and follow the Capeless Crusaders. Introduce yourself! Chat to your heart’s content! Ask us anything you want! Coming and playing is the fun and important part. I hope to see you out there. Until next time.


 

Thank you all,

 

The Mad Piper E.i.C.

New York Comic Con 2017 Preview

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Over 2,400 miles east from Sacramento, CA, a comic book convention of grand proportions is currently in full effect. The Empire State is throwing one heck of a spectacle as the New York Comic Con entertains the masses with their very special literary, big screen and animated guests. Here's just a few of the big names attending the big show over at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

 

From the television and film arena, names like Adam Horowitz (Once Upon a Time ), Aisha Taylor (Archer, 24 ), Alex Borstein (Family Guy, MadTV ), Alfonso Herrera (The Exorcist ), Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead ), Anthony Bourdain (Hungry Ghosts, Parts Unknown ), Ben Daniels (The Exorcist ), Billie Piper (Doctor Who ), Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead ), Amy "Lita" Dumas (WWE ), Austin St. John (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ), Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ), Lennie James (The Walking Dead ), Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series ), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead, The Boondock Saints ), Neil deGrasse Tyson (Star Talk, Cosmos ) and numerous more!

 

Representing the comic world, names like Afua Richardson (Black Panther: World of Wakanda), Alex Maleev (Daredevil ), Darryl "DMC" McDaniels (Darryl Makes Comics ), David F. Walker (Luke Cage ), David Finch ( Batman ), Ed McGuiness (Spider-Man/Deadpool, Astonishing X-Men ), Fabian Nicieza (Deadpool ), Geoff Johns (DC Comics), Gerry Conway (The Punisher ), Greg Capullo (Batman ), John Leguizamo (Ghetto Klown ), Joshua Williamson (The Flash ), Joyce Chin (Red Sonja ), Nick Dragotta (East of West ), Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Outcast ), Sara Pichelli (Spider-Man ), Scott Snyder (All Star Batman, Dark Knights Metal ), Sean Gordon Murphy (Tokyo Ghost ), Tom King (Batman, Sheriff of Babylon ) and Yuko Ota (Lucky Penny ), amongst others.

 

Guests from the novel and literary world include such names as Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide ), Danielle Vega (The Merciless ), R.L. Stine (Goosebumps ), Celeste Lim (The Crystal Ribbon ), Jodi Meadows (The Orphan Queen duology ), Jonathan Hennessey (Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father ), Jordanna Max Brodsky (The Immortals ), Pierce Brown (Red Rising ) and so many more.

 

Believe it or not, this is only a portion of what's going down in New York right now. Having kicked off on Thursday, NYCC is in full swing with no sign of slowing down until closing time on Sunday night. If you're in New York this weekend, head on over to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at 655 W 34th Street on the island of Manhattan. Whether your a film/TV watcher, a comic lover or a fan of a good book in the morning, you're bound to love every second of this huge event.

 

So, what're you waiting for? Get yourself over to the Big Apple now!

 

For more info, go to www.newyorkcomiccon.com

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

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With All Hallow's Eve just a few weeks away, I have decided that, for the month of October, I will focus my reviews on stories that fit perfectly with the setting of Halloween. Whether it be scary or gory, eerie or suspenseful, Sci-Fi or supernatural, these stories will be read and presented to you during the weeks leading up to Samhain. As my first of the bunch, I am delighted to bring to you the Max Brooks- written, Ibraim Roberson-illustrated classic The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks.

 

For those unaware of Max Brooks, he is of great stock. He is the son of comedy icon Mel Brooks and acting legend Anne Bancroft. That alone shows you the type of talent we're dealing with, but the greatness that lies in this duo's son differs from that of his parents. After two years as a member of the writing team for Saturday Night Live (2001-2003), Brooks has made a name for himself developing amazing works centralized in the zombie genre. His first book, The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), describes the origin of zombies and how to survive in a world filled with the undead. Brooks would follow that up a few years later with this, a graphic novel that depicts the events in the previous book's latter section.

 

This graphic novel, released in 2009, focuses on key points in time where the emergence of the undead have been recorded and thought to be stalled. Starting at 60,000 B.C. in Central Africa and traveling through time, setting all the way to A.D. 1992 in Joshua Tree National Park, Brooks uses historical and culturally accurate representations to assist in the seemingly real depictions of these "documented" events of the past. The stories of these "historical" zombie attacks carry such detailed weight with them, you feel like you are actually reading from a records book or educational text. This is a testament to the level of dedication and precise focus on detailed storytelling Brooks puts into his work. His writing makes the reader believe that these are actual historical moments where the human race has come into violent contact with its living dead.

 

Artist Ibraim Roberson began his illustrative career on this very graphic novel. As his first work, his art in this novel is astounding. As if mirroring Brooks' attention to literary detail, Roberson brings these images to life with extremely detailed drawings. Each inch of deteriorating skin and exposed bone is so well detailed. The definition in muscles and curvature of bone structure makes these characters jump out of the page, giving them a realistic appearance. Like Tony Moore's artwork in The Walking Dead, Roberson's choice to keep the artwork in black and white gives the novel this dated feel, showing us (along with Brooks' writing) that these are serious events taken from our past.

 

While Roberson has gone on to have a successful career working with Marvel and DC, Max Brooks went on to pen the highly successful World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and the graphic novel The Harlem Hellfighters, which portrays a fictionalization account of the entirely African-American 369th Infantry Regiment's experiences in World War I. Brooks was also featured in Alan Moore's Cinema Purgatorio and has recently completed his latest novel, Minecraft: The Island. He has also made a career speaking at military schools across the country about the future of warfare, counterinsurgency and the evolution of what it is to be a soldier. It seems the seductive teacher from The Graduate and the visionary behind History Of The World, Part One parented one hell of a creative genius.

 

If you haven't yet, I highly recommend picking up both The Zombie Survival Guide and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks and adding them to your collection. If you're interested in hearing more from Max Brooks, check out his interviews with Chris Hardwick on The Nerdist podcast, available on your mobile device's podcast app and thenerdist.com

 

- "The Azorean One" Anthony Esteves of The Capeless Crusaders

Finally, The Games Come Home

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Twenty sixth September: the year of our Lord 2017 

Foolish Mortals,

All of this media integration has been spoiling me. Not only does thecapelesscrusaders.com exist in order to easily find everything that we make, but we have recently added a long-standing dream of mine to our programming: Playing video games in a public forum. Shows like the Game Grumps have always fascinated and captured me, and I have wanted that kind of engagement in a way that wasn’t possible when I was younger. Now this has become not only a possibility, but a reality.

Cru, I have been a-gamin’ since I was a youth. A young youth. Like... 4 years young. I created and hosted a gaming podcast which lasted several years (not when I was 4, mind you). The first podcast I ever joined revolved entirely around the art of video gaming. I had the 4 a.m. Goldeneye sessions with my friends in middle school, the full weekends by myself becoming a living walkthrough of Final Fantasy VII: I did it all. And I was fully occupied. I loved my life; I read all of the magazines, I preordered all the games, and I played all the demo discs. Then came the advent of the Internet.

I charged headfirst into online gaming. Everquest led into Final Fantasy 11. Planetside led into Call of Duty. I still play games online rabidly: Destiny 2, Injustice 2, etc. But NOW, dear Cru; NOW single player games have been brought into the online arena. I can, and have, played a rousing game of pinball (my favourite table, Medieval Madness, even!) in the quiet of my own home, yet I can stream that out to as many people as choose to watch, and I can interact second by second with close friends, Instagram friends, random strangers from Belgium, or even the other Crusaders!

And I have... This has not only become feasible, but it has become practise. I finished a Twitch session with several people at one point simply because of a quick plug on Instagram and away I went. I tested new Marvel pinball tables on Zen Pinball II, held a conversation steady for an hour, and had all of the fun of personal play and interaction on a game that I had been meaning to explore further. The single player is beautiful and all, but the exciting bit is that I can stream anything. If Ihave a competitive day, I could bring people into my world on Smite and show them, essentially, what I have come to as a competitive player. Or on the Crucible in Destiny II with my clan. Or on a casual build afternoon on Minecraft. Or on an intense Overwatch afternoon...

Really, this may not seem like the biggest deal to some, but for some of us gamers with a history laced in limitation this Renaissance in streaming represents a very exciting time. And now as a member of the Crusaders, it not only brings me that personal charge and the exhilaration of community play for which I had yearned since my adolescent years, but it also affords me a way to grow close and know the online region and its members: Cru... you fans of the show, other streamers, and people looking for a new community in which to play. It is because of these that this recent move into streaming means so much to me. For this reason do I love Twitch.

Thank you all,
The Mad Piper E.i.C. 

California Republic Comic Con

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Today in the city of Merced, Colossus Girl Entertainment will be holding the California Republic Comic Con! Formerly known as Colossus Con, the city just 110 miles south of Sacramento will be housing some memorable names from film, television, animation, comics and cosplay as they light up the middle of San Joaquin County. Below is just a few of those set to appear at this outstanding event; an event that has named The Capeless Crusaders as its official podcast.

 

Film/Television

Gary Lockwood will be available to chat about his time as Dr. Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film nears its 50th anniversary. Trekkies will be presented with the man formerly known as Christopher Pike as actor Sean Kenney of Star Trek fame will be in attendance. 

Rounding out the film and television bracket is Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue), Steven Skyler (Power Rangers: Samurai), the legendary animated voice of Princess Leia, Julie Dolan (Star Wars: Rebels) and the Gamorrean Guard himself, Stephen Costantino (Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi).

 

Comics

A legend in the world of comic book art, Mr. Chris Marrinan will be in attendance. Marrinan is known for his work on Wonder Woman, The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Nova, and Champions.

Also in attendance: art director and book illustrator artist Matt Haley (artist and creative consultant for Stan Lee's television series Who Wants To Be A Superhero and who's comic works include Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl, Batman: Batgirl, and The Order), Tobe Daranouvong (Villain) and Omar Morales (Cruzader).

 

Of course, it wouldn't be a comic con without plenty of cosplay on location. CRCC will feature such talented cosplayers as Necikait, LuckyBunny, Nor Cal Cap & Family, Colossus Girl and cosplay guest & host Skitz Cosplay.

 

California Republic Comic Con will be TODAY ONLY, from 10am to 5pm. It will be located at the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King Jr Way and parking is FREE! Wrangle your family and friends together and head on down to what is bound to be a fun and exciting time for everyone.

 

For more info, go to their website: www.colossusgirlent.com

- “The Azorean One” Anthony Esteves of The Capeless Crusaders.

ArtMix| Crocker-Con

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Crocker Art Museum. The home of the world's largest display of California art. Renowned for its collections of European master drawings and international ceramics. Sacramento's premiere source for fine art study and appreciation will be holding their fifth annual ArtMix / Crocker-Con. The famous museum will be housing local comic book legends, live character sketching, panel talks, cosplay, DJs, live performances and podcasts from around the area, and the general public is welcome to register and take part in it.

 

Providing the live soundtrack for the evening will be the musical acts Sleeprockers, Kepi Ghoulie and emcee Spacewalker. Music will be playing throughout the entire evening, so there will never be a dull moment.

 

Live panels will be featured throughout the evening, discussing different aspects of the event. Our favorite professor, Dr. Michele Foss-Snowden, will be joining Kristine Balog and John Marcotte in a discussion about the portrayal of race and gender in pop-culture, science-fiction, art and comics. Nate Flamm, Michael Calero and Sean Sutter will be sketching live any comic ideas you throw at them. And of course, we, The Capeless Crusaders, will be there to hold a live podcast with our special guest and friend of the show, Mr. Kyrun Silva of Big Tree Comics.

 

All this takes place TONIGHT at the Crocker Art Museum from 6pm to 9:30pm. Come on out and enjoy an influential and entertaining evening of art, music and pop-culture delight. 

 

For more details, go to the Crocker Art Museum's website: www.crockerart.org

 

- “The Azorean One” Anthony Esteves of The Capeless Crusaders.

SacAnime 2017

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Well, it is that time of year again. This weekend, Sacramento becomes the home of all things anime, gaming, film and television as the Sac Anime Expo kicks off today. The event runs from this morning through Sunday and will feature many well known names in some of today's most popular forms of entertainment. Gamers, animation lovers and film fanatics unite as SacAnime brings you "pop culture with an anime twist".

 

For the gamers, SacAnime will feature voice talents from the Overwatch video game, including Feodor Chin (Zenyatta), Josh Petersdorf (Roadhog) and Gaku Space (Genji). These three have lent their voices to other projects over the years, including World Of Warcraft, Starcraft II and Hearthstone. Chin's voice will also be recognizable to those who are fans of the heroes in a half shell, as he is the voice of Master Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows.

 

SacAnime 2017 has a heavy dose voice talents from the animated feature world, including Eva Bella (voice of "Young Elsa" in Disney's Oscar-winning Frozen and the voice of "Young Kayo" in the Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises), Kira Buckland (voice of Umi in Love Live, Julis in The Asterisk War and Izumo in Blue Exorcist), and Zach Callison (voice of Billy Batson in the DC animated features Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam and Justice League: War). Moreover on the DC animated angle, Ms. Harley Quinn herself, Hynden Walch (Batman: Assault on Arkham) will be in attendance.

 

Finally, for the feature film and television viewers, SacAnime 2017 has not let you down. This year's lineup is headlined by the one, the only, Mr. John Ratzenberger. Aside from being eternally recognized as the know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin in the classic television series Cheers and appearing in epic films such as Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Superman I & II, Ratzenberger has had a steady and productive career having his voice featured in just about every single Disney/Pixar film, dating back to their breakout debut Toy Story, where Ratzenberger was the voice of “Ham". Joining Ratzenberger will be recognizable faces such as Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith, The Walking Dead and recently as Obara Sand in Game Of Thrones), Kristain Nairn (Hodor in Game Of Thrones), Adrian Paul (Duncan Macleod in Highlander: The Series) and all six of the Power Rangers Dino Watch.

 

These are just some of the big names attending this year's SacAnime. That's right; you heard me. There are plenty more actors and voiceover artists in attendance at this gigantic event and it's all taking place starting TODAY! All this is going down at the Sacramento Convention Center and the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, CA. Registration starts at $30 for Friday only, $45 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday or you can purchase the full weekend for just $50! Those interested in just the Sunday exhibitor room can do so for just $20. Children ages eight years and younger get in free!

 

For more details and convention maps, go to SacAnime.com. Now, get out there and enjoy the event built for literally everyone!

- “The Azorean One” Anthony Esteves of The Capeless Crusaders.