The Austin-based creator and writer of Halloween Man Comics, Drew Edwards, is releasing a special feature starring Halloween Man’s girlfriend, the buxom brainiac Lucy Chaplin. The Science Starlet drops on Comixology Wednesday, July 4th, with a release party and signing on Saturday, July 7th at Hops & Heroes.
I had a chance to read the comic and it was a delight. Lucy Chaplin is a brilliant scientist who uses her inventions to fight evil-doers in this dimension and beyond. She’s a beautiful, full-figured, smart woman who, at the end of a tough day of saving the world, comes home to a tender relationship with an undead man who has also been out fighting his own monsters.
There’s obvious political satire, social commentary, and cheesecake comic book quirkiness in this fun and overdue read. Edwards gave Lucy many qualities of his wife, Austin’s own voluptuous pinup, musician, and activist, Jamie Bahr. The character was written with so much adoration and respect.
Key things I loved about this comic:
*At no point does Halloween Man have to step in and save the day. He knows Lucy has her business handled.
*Who Edwards made the president in this universe. No spoilers, just saying.
*Lucy crushing unhealthy societal beauty standards without mocking smaller-framed women in the process.
The message from the comic is clear- women are powerful, important, and equal, and can do anything they want. Want to be a leading plus-sized model AND a badass crimefighter? YOU CAN! Want to be a pioneering scientist AND celebrate your own sexiness? YOU CAN! And further, you can be loved for it all.
It’s my favorite time of year! No, I’m not a winter person. And, though I am no Scrooge, I just don’t get that excited about the holidays. No, something amazing is happening in my corner of the world December 7th-10th- Other Worlds Austin Science Fiction Film Festival (OWA)! Let me explain why this event so awesome I had to get a babysitter for my dog.
OWA is now in it’s 4th year as Austin, Texas’s only dedicated science fiction film festival. And yes, I’ve been every year. It has grown into a 4-day fest that screens and celebrates the diverse spectrum of scifi, as well as adding horror in 2016 with its Under Worlds sidebar. There are independent, international feature films and short films all making their Austin debuts at least, some as much as making their world premiere.
Films are voted on by festival attendees for Audience Choice awards, as well as given awards from the programming staff (Cthulies). In 2015 OWA added the Mary Shelley Award, awarded to “the artist (writer, director, or actress) whose film best furthers the involvement and representation of women in genre filmmaking.”
This year’s Launch Film is the 20th Anniversary screening of Event Horizon with writer Philip Eisner in attendance. I just had to painfully hold myself back from writing that entire sentence in all caps to show my excitement. Eisner is also leading a screenwriting workshop Saturday morning at the Austin School of Film Motion Media Arts Center. I will be there taking all the notes.
Did I mention the parties? One very important thing that sets OWA apart from other great festivals is the community it builds. Brunch, happy hour, preshow parties, and after-parties are scheduled with the attendees in mind. Though some are reserved for top-tier badgeholders, there are parties available to everyone. They have specialty drink menus appropriately themed for the occasion, and this year they’ve added a trivia night. Every year I get the chance to meet other fans and some of the film casts and crews over cocktails to talk about the films and scifi in general. I’ve made many great friends and valued acquaintances during these fun mingling times.
The staff really are the reason why OWA is able to build such a great event. I would know, I used to work with them. They are kind, funny, true fans who want to do the best they can to bring OWA to the scifi fans of Austin and beyond. They work year-round to find the best new scifi films to screen in Austin and make each fest better than the last. They can always be found around the fest, are helpful and ready to engage in any conversation about their favorite films. They’re good people doing stellar work. I am over the moon for all of them.
Last year OWA moved it’s base from central-ish Austin to the far north end of the city. I must admit, traveling to a galaxy far, far away (driving from South Austin to Round Rock) is not ideal. However, having Flix Brewhouse host the fest was the right move. Flix has a wonderful kitchen, a superb microbrewery, a huge free parking lot, great screens, and convenient food and drink service during the films. Their tables even slide out to meet you at your seat so eating in the dark isn’t quite as messy. I definitely need that. The venue upgrade vastly makes up for the drive.
The only real complaint I can come up with is that each film is only offered once in the program and with two theaters running, I will have to miss some of the film selections. I know how much work and care the staff puts into curating such an incredible program and I want to see all of it. I think this is just a symptom of the fest still being on the newer and smaller side, and something they could possibly remedy as the festival continues to grow. But getting the twelve guaranteed screenings, the film guest Q&As, the pre and after parties, brunch, and the screenwriting workshop that all come with my top-tier badge, at under $100, I actually feel selfish and guilty for complaining that I can’t get more.
So, this week I am faced with decisions. I haven’t figured out all my film picks yet. But these are what I know for sure. The shorts programs are always my favorite. This year there are three collections of short films- one horror, and two scifi. These take priority for me. Beyond Skyline is the only film that plays both theaters at the same time, so that is a sure bet. I think it should go without saying that I’ll be there for Event Horizon. The other films I’m leaning toward (probably?) are Flora, Tuftland, Restoration, and The Black Hole. This really is a tough one to call. I might just do blind picks and know I’ll be happy either way.
If you’re a science fiction fan in the Austin area, you’d be doing a huge disservice to yourself to miss this film festival. Badges are still on sale, and tickets for individual screenings are also available while they last. I hope I see you there. I’ll be the overly excited girl in some sort of spacey dress. Please say hello if you see me, so I can reiterate to you in person why Other Worlds Austin consistently makes me so happy.
P.S. Don’t forget to follow my new Facebook and Instagram accounts so we can discuss all your favorite festivals and films!
Austin, TX has so many wonderful interest groups and communities. My favorites are obviously the ones for creatives and entrepreneurs. These groups do everything from hosting skill-building workshops and networking meet-ups, to planning public film screenings and artist markets.
One such event is happening this weekend and I can’t wait. Nerd Cave is a free annual art and music showcase celebrating comics, gaming, and general nerdiness going on Saturday, May 13th at The Sidewinder in downtown Austin from 1-7pm.
Nerd Cave started in 2011 when Jennifer Cunningham and Matthew McCoy organized a small comic book art show at Tribe Comics in South Austin. Once Bad Barry Comp (Music Manager) and Shane Campos (Graphic Designer) got involved the group rebranded and grew into the showcase it is today. And for a dash of super hero bonus points, they also take donations at the events for local charity organizations. Tomas Fierro has stepped up as the Charity Liaison to help keep this aspect well organized.
I didn’t get involved with Nerd Cave until last year. Jennifer Cunningham, who, on top of being a super talented artist and cosplayer, is also an incredible make up artist, asked me if I’d like to join in the nerdy fun. Jen knew about my work in the different geek realms and my previous gig hosting a YouTube show, so she asked if I would come in cosplay and do interviews at the event. I went dressed in my new Super Mario Bros. fireball throwing piranha plant costume, set up a small merch table (which my fellow Frisky, Stormy L’Amour, helped me run), and filmed a handful of interviews with some of the awesome cosplayers.
I loved every minute of Nerd Cave 2016. I got to chat with fellow nerds about our shared love of fandom, geek out over clever costume construction, and meet more artists and makers and see their craft up close. The sweet and funny guys of Punching the Walls of Reality interviewed me on their podcast, and I won some great prizes in the costume contest. The live nerdcore hip hop music was new to me, but a fun and impressive surprise.
I took quite a bit of footage of the event, in addition to the interviews. And then I sat on it all. For a year. I had every intention of launching my YouTube channel last year but some things just don’t work out as planned. 2017 brings new opportunities, new goals, and another Nerd Cave Showcase. I’ll be there with new goodies on my merch table, wearing my favorite cosplay, judging the Hops & Heroes Comics sponsored cosplay contest, and filming all new footage and interviews for a real YouTube launch.
So come join us. Meet fellow nerds, talk about fandom, enter the cosplay contest, support local geek artists, enjoy the music, play games from Austin Toy Museum, chat with me on camera, donate to the Central Texas Food Bank, and have a good time.