TOASTY! Talking about Mortal Kombat X and the Mortal Kombat franchise with Shawn Kittelsen

Ever since it debuted in game arcades over twenty years ago, Mortal Kombat has become more than a video game franchise. It has spawned numerous sequels – including a series of motion pictures, a television series and comic books – all feeding a ravenous fandom.

No stranger to this franchise – or fandom – is Shawn Kittelsen, a video game producer turned comic book writer. He makes his debut in the four-color pages as the writer of “Mortal Kombat X”, a comic-book prequel to the like-named video game which hits store shelves today.

Kittlesen took a quick break from his writing (and gaming) endeavors to answer some questions about Mortal Kombat X; how he got involved with the comic; his favorite “kombatants”; who he’d like to see the MK Universe collide with next; and which MK console he’d like to have in his home:

Elliott: Hey Shawn! Congrats on making your debut in DC Comics with Mortal Kombat! Can you tell us about how you got involved with the project?

Shawn Kittelsen: Thanks for the congrats, Elliott! A few years back, I was a creative executive at DC working on their video games. One of my favorite projects was Injustice: Gods Among Us because I’ve been a fan of Mortal Kombat for over 20 years and suddenly I got to collaborate with NetherRealm Studios. Fast forward to last year, I’m working at an ad agency and writing by night, and I get a call asking if I’d like to pitch for this series. I put my heart and soul into that pitch, and now here we are.

E: I’ve written comics myself, but have always wondered how different it is to write for video games. Are there any differences that you feel are most remarkable?

SK: Writing a game itself is tedious. You don’t just write scenes, you also write long spreadsheets of dialogue and text, and when you do write scenes, there are a variety of game design and technical concerns to address over and over again.

Writing a comic based on a game, on the other hand, is a lot more fun, because it’s like someone handing you the controller and saying, “Play on!” All the backstories and side quests that you daydream about while you’re playing a game can take on new life on the comic book page. And with a game as iconic as Mortal Kombat, that world comes alive in such vivid detail that it’s fun just to turn over stones and discover every secret corner of someone else’s universe.

I’ve seen your work on Army of Darkness, so I know you appreciate that process!

Read more and check out artwork from the Mortal Kombat X Comic book after the jump!

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Gotham star Robin Lord Taylor talks about becoming The Penguin

Via YouTube comes this interview with Robin Lord Taylor of the television series “Gotham.” The “Young Penguin” actor visits with Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrrare of the “Home & Family” Show to talk about auditioning for the role, carrying on the tradition of The Penguin (from Burgess Meredith & Danny DeVito) and working with co-star Carol Kane.

Talking Moneyball and revisiting “The Economics of Digital Comics” with Todd Allen

When we last spoke, Todd Allen was in the middle of making revisions to his book “The Economics of Digital Comics.” First published in 2007, Allen set out to explore the developing landscape of the “webcomics” field and help fans (and creators) understand where and how money was being made.

A lot has changed since then and Allen set out to address those changes when he completed the newest revision in 2014. The book has been met with praise, winning the endorsement of Thrillbent.com founder Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Insufferable) who also wrote the forward.

I caught up with Allen as he was preparing to send out some Kickstarter editions and returning to his duties as comics market analyst – and all around gadfly – at The Beat:

Geek To Me: What compelled you to revisit “The Economics of Digital Comics“?

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“The Economics of Digital Comics” Author Todd Allen

Todd Allen: Too much has changed since I wrote the last edition of the book in early ’07.  I’d actually started the background research for an update in the summer of 2010, but every time I’d start to make progress, something would come up and pull me away for 6 months.  Eventually, I had a break in the schedule and decided I was just going to hole up and finish the update.  I’d been away from the book for about a year at that point and it was almost like starting from scratch.  There was a LOT of change from 2013-2014.

In general, I think it’s important for people who want to work in the comics field to know where the money flows from.  How do publishers make the money that they give to you?  How do comics work if you want to go it alone?

When I started documenting these models back in ’02-’04, comics were in very shaky shape and I wanted to make sure people knew what their professional options are.  It’s not nearly as dire a landscape right now, but it’s still important to know the different markets, what your options are and whether you’re being treated fairly.

Geek To Me: What changes did you see in the market from when you did the first version of the book to this current one?

Todd Allen: The eBook/digital download format like you see with Amazon/Comixology and iVerse didn’t exist back then.  Crowdfunding didn’t exist back then.  The first edition came out in 2005, so I don’t think xkcd had quite launched yet. The Oatmeal was four years away and PAX hadn’t started up.

The fundamentals of day to day webcomics are similar (advertising is a little easier to get), but everything else has evolved.

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Army of Darkness VS THE GEEK SHOW!

A few weeks ago I was invited by fellow fanboy Aaron J. Amendola to be a guest on his variety/comedy/talk show called “THE GEEK SHOW”.

As this was my first time at the show, I found it to be a wonderfully charming and funny production, that’s put on by some of the most talented people you’ll meet in Chicago.

In my segment, Aaron and I talk about my contribution to the “Army of Darkness 1992.1” anthology, live-tweeting a date, and who would win in a fight between Darth Vader and Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Check it out!:

(Now after seeing myself on video I’m feeling a bit like I need to get back into the gym and work on my geekfit some more. WHO AM I KIDDING? I NEED IT BIG TIME!)

Check back for my next segment on THE GEEK SHOW where I play a game with a member of the audience!

Thanks to Aaron for the invite and kudos to him and the VS THE UNIVERSE CREW for putting on a fun show!

Creating a WWE phenomenon – The Bray Wyatt Interview

Before he took the WWE Universe by storm as Bray Wyatt, Windham Lawrence Rotunda was known by other aliases. As the son of former “WWF” Superstar Mike Rotunda (AKA Irwin R. Schyster) he started his career as “Alex Rotundo”, working his way up through the ranks of the WWE’s developmental league. He would later change to “Husky Harris” and arrive in the “big leagues”, wrestling in the WWE as a member of the faction known as “The Nexus.”  That stint would end with Rotunda returning to the developmental league and ultimately creating a new character.

Enter Bray Wyatt, the persona Rotunda created to serve as the leader of the “Wyatt Family”, a trio of scary “swamp people” that would be embraced by WWE fans with a fervor that took many in the industry by surprise.

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Prior to his visit to Chicago for the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con last month, the man WWE fans have come to know and fear – and in many cases love and admire – spoke with me via telephone about his current success; what the difference is between Bray Wyatt and Husky Harris; what it’s like coming from a wrestling family; and why he thinks WWE fans have embraced The Wyatt Family:

Geek To Me: How has it been for you for you in the WWE, with your current stint, as opposed to your last one through?

Bray Wyatt: Um, well of course this one has been more lucrative, you know? And the real reason behind that is because I am myself. It’s different when you’re asked to be something you’re not. As opposed to be able to create and be what you want to be. You know what I’m saying?

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