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Bachan

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Name: Sebastian Carrillo (BACHAN)

Website: I’m all over the place. Probably best to just go hereYou’ll see there my two active webcomics and my Patreon. Other than that, my Instagram is here.

Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: Asterix the Gaul. (Followed by Valerian and Lucky Luke. My mom was into French comics.)

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Never really had one. I’m a fan of artists and authors – characters never were that important to me.

Latest Work: 2018 was really active. I did two comics for Marvel: Monsters Unleashed #10 and Hulk #11 with Mariko Tamaki. And I did the backup ‘light’ story in Boom’s Power Rangers. Plus, my two webcomics.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Bachan: Too European to be American, too American to be European. Nuveau-Mexican? Whimsical?

Not totally cartoony, not totally realistic. Whenever I try to do “serious” stuff it looks sort of “light.” I’ve given up trying to define my work.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Bachan: VERY important, even before I knew exactly what they were. I was fortunate in that both my parents were into comics. My mom was into French Bande Dessinée and my dad into Charlie Brown (Peanuts) and OLD MAD Magazine. (Kurtzman) I grew up watching all those things and trying to draw what I saw. And I say “watching” instead of “reading” because back then I didn’t understand either French or English. It was just a totally visual experience.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Bachan: Really early on I was both creeped out and fascinated by the old Harvey Kurtzman MAD, particularly the Wally Wood stories. Then, as a kid, I got Spanish language translations of French comics, and loved those. I spent a lot of time drawing but I didn’t think I would DO comics. I always thought I would end up as an architect or engineer.

When I was 15, I came across superhero comics for the first time – DC mostly – and got really impressed, particularly with the work of John Byrne, Alan Davis and later, with Arthur Adams and his old stuff like Longshot. That’s when I decided I wanted to do this for a living.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Bachan: Not really. I didn’t think I would get to enter the American industry. Back then there was no internet and no real contact with the business outside of my country… Mexico, by the way. So all I wanted was to do comics here. I got my first job when I was 18 drawing in Novedades publishers here. I was nowhere near competent, but they produced so many comics back then, that they had really low quality standards, so I got in relatively quickly.

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Bachan: I’m not sure I’ve had a big break as such. It’s been more like a very long list of better opportunities that start and then stop. But the next time I start again, I somehow end up in a better place. It’s been extremely gradual for me. And it still feels like a struggle sometimes.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Bachan: I think the big thing for me was coming to the realization that I don’t need to convince anybody for me to do comics. Comics are just printed paper joined together with staples. I stopped trying to convince people that I was good, and just did fanzines. Those fanzines then became my portfolio and that work ended up opening doors, sometimes without me even trying. It’s the same thing today, only it’s webcomics instead of fanzines. I never spent a lot of time in the public relations part of this.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when youre sketching or doing warm-ups?
Bachan: Yeah. Bulbo. He’s just too easy to draw.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that youd like to work on in the future and why?
Bachan: I’d love to do Judge Dredd some day. I love the tone of that universe. Again, not quite so realistic or serious, but not that cartoony either. I’m really attracted to that in comics.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Bachan: Basically, I’d love to just do comics and live off of that instead of splitting my time doing storyboards or animatics for advertising. (That takes about 75 percent of my time drawing.) If I could do that with my own characters, and stories to boot… that would be THE DREAM!

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Bachan: The two things that kept me working all this years are speed and adaptability. And I think I can make my characters ‘act’ convincingly.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Bachan: Not really. I went full digital back in 2006, and haven’t looked back since. I even still draw on an Intuos Wacom tablet. I developed the skill to draw looking at the screen while my hand is drawing out of my sight. I don’t think that’s needed anymore, but I still do it.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Bachan: Based on my experience, to just start. Do a webcomic, produce a LOT. Don’t worry all that much about getting permission from anybody to do what you love. Let the work develop and then let it find a place for you.

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Bachan: Used to love it, now I’m a bit tired of it. But I love the opportunity conventions give me to meet peers and learn different ways to do stuff. Nowadays it’s the social element of conventions that keep me going to them.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing youve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Bachan: Two of my characters (male demons) kissing each other. (In my mind they had always been brothers – it never crossed my mind that readers would see them as lovers!)

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in 2019?
Bachan: I’m finishing the third part – and final – of Nirta Omirli. A science fiction series I’ve been working for AGES for Humanoids Publishing in France, written by the amazing JD Morvan. That should come out before the year ends.

Oh! And the second Bill & Ted book is about to come out in less than a week… I think!

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Wingman Wednesday

Michael Maize

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With a new season underway and Dr. Jonathan Crane bringing terror to all of those he faces, the inhabitants of “Gotham’s” fantastical world are finding themselves once again wondering why they have yet to relocate to a less chaotic city. Smack dab in the middle of the mayhem is new cast member Michael Maize, whose interaction with Crane’s Scarecrow in the first episode of the season helped set the stage for the frights and fights to come.

We recently sat down with Maize to discuss how much he enjoys playing in the comic book sandbox, the fun of exaggerated performance, and why he still talks about his demon-horned past.

TrunkSpace: Generally anything comic book related comes with a rabid fandom. Are you prepared for whatever the “Gotham” fandom will throw at you now that you’re a part of the universe?
Maize: Yes, I love it. I’m ready for that. I wasn’t into comic books per se growing up, but I was a huge comic book film fan growing up. I loved the whole Superman series, and then I loved the original Batman trilogy from “Batman,” “Batman Returns,” and “Batman Forever.” I was a huge fan of that, and I always had a great love for the high concept that went into those films, which then started to get carried over into the television stratosphere within the last decade. So, it’s really exciting, and after doing “Iron Fist” last year, I was always hoping I would somehow get involved in “Gotham.”

TrunkSpace: You mentioned some of the earlier films from the super hero genre and what’s so great about “Gotham” is that it is a bit of a throwback and feels more like those than the grittier, hyper-realistic adaptations of today.
Maize: Yes, I completely agree, and I actually feel that, in general, that has been the atmosphere of where the films have been going with the last Batman movies and some of the newer Marvel movies. And, in my heart, I really love the high concept comic book entertainment that really pushes the edge of reality, and pushes the edge visually and takes you to a whole other realm. Like, for instance, “Iron Fist” was very grounded, cool, real, and it was great to jump into that realm, but from the first second that I stepped onto the “Gotham” set, there was an immediate difference with, just, the colors and the energy. You’ll see where my first scene is and where that takes place, and you just feel all of a sudden that you’re inside of this crazy universe. And it was really easy as an actor to tap into that energy and then use it for my performance.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned the colors and energy you felt stepping onto the “Gotham” set, but we have to imagine that Scarecrow costume helped set the stage as well. We’ve seen lots of iterations of the character on screen over the years, but this one in particular seems to hit the terrifying mark.
Maize: It does. The first second that he walked on set, I was definitely terrified. That’s a super-cool scene. I was so happy they used that in the trailer because you’ll see in the episode that everything goes off into very exaggerated realities, as we’ve been talking about, and then when you finally get to that scene, it’s just really grounded in the truth of, “Oh my God, what is really happening here? This villain is greater than I thought he was!”

Maize in Gotham with Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned the exaggerated reality of “Gotham.” Does that allow you as an actor to take a different approach to performance than you would in something like “Iron Fist” or “Mr. Robot,” which are both more grounded in reality?
Maize: For sure, and I would say the extreme of that would be “Mr. Robot” where I walked onto that set and there was a very obvious mood and energy going on, which was extremely understated and, yes, based in reality. I had watched season 1, and I was in love with season 1. I thought that it was one of the best pilots I had ever seen, and I loved that mood. I loved the tone. It was almost flaccid, then there was this energetic heartbeat under it all that kept it going. So, I really tried, with that role, to stay completely understated, but always have this drive underneath me that was bigger than what was on the surface.

With “Gotham,” I’m a fan of the show, so I know the contents of the show and I know that it is more outside-the-box. Like I said, when I walked on the set there was that energy and you could immediately see the conceptual style in front of you, and it did really drive me. It was so much fun because, although I love playing many different characters, and I love diving into the skin of very reality-based characters and how they think and feel and not having to show too much but just be in that moment, I very rarely get to push the realms toward big, or bigger than life. With “Gotham” I really felt like it was no-holds-barred and I could just go and be a little more exaggerated and play with the tone, and play with the beat, and play with the people in my scene. I really enjoyed it.

TrunkSpace: Without giving too much away, can you tell people about where your character Grady falls into things?
Maize: He is part of Merton’s gang. Merton is the leader of the gang and I’m his right-hand man. Grady has a past connection to Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. the Scarecrow, and that connection is what propels us forward into the next episode. It’s the encounter with the Scarecrow that moves me forward as a character more than anything else.

TrunkSpace: You have appeared on many shows that have pretty incredible fandoms, but what people may not know is that you were a part of one of the original modern day television fandoms, the Buffyverse.
Maize: I was. I was in “Angel,” which I still talk about today because I wore this crazy prosthetic piece that covered from my forehead up, and I had two horns. That character was named Artode and he was a crazy lizard man of sorts. That was a super-fun and exciting show to do.

And I was in “True Blood” for a bit and that also had a wonderful, big fan base. And actually, “Power Rangers in Space.” We’re going way back in my resume now.

Maize can be seen next in Syfy’s “Happy” with Christopher Meloni.

Gotham” airs Thursdays on FOX.

Featured image by: Michael Becker

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Wingman Wednesday

Tim Jo

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Welcome to the second installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Tim Jo to discuss serendipitous locker room run-ins, costume tightness, and how he experiences fearlessness during a performance.

TrunkSpace: “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a comedic take on popular shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman.” Within those shows, the human hero characters are often based on specific archetypes. Does your red patrol member fall into a specific archetype?
Jo: There are definitely some strong personalities within our cast of patrolmen. While our characters do adhere to some archetypes, they are definitely not the archetypes you see in traditional ranger shows! I think one of the funniest parts of the show is seeing how this crazy crew of patrolman come together to save the world.

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Jo: I have always been a huge fan of toku, especially “Kamen” Rider and Sentai ranger shows. My friend mentioned that he knew a group of people working on a ranger comedy series and I remember thinking, “OMG, I GOTTA get in on that!!!” He passed my name along and one day, I was in the locker room at the gym when someone tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you Tim Jo?” “Uhh yes?” “Sorry, I’m Gavin. I created Mystic Cosmic Patrol, I heard you were interested?” “Hell yeah!!!” A possibly awkward moment turned into a glorious one!

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on a lot of comedy projects over the years. From a performance standpoint, how did “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” differ tonally in what you have done in the past?
Jo: I actually think that tonally it is very similar to “The Neighbors.” I really feel like fans of that show will just love this one. There are lots of fun gags but the humor is really smart and there is a lot of heart. I hope that people who tune in to watch MCP will be able to feel the genuine love we have for the source material that inspired it.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Jo: The patrolman suits! I wasn’t lying when I said I was a big fan of this genre. I was SO excited to wear the costume each and every time. The skin-tight grasp on my groins did not bother me for a second – I felt like a real hero wearing that suit!

TrunkSpace: Those Mystic Cosmic Patrol suits did not appear particularly forgiving given their tightness and brightness. Does one need to avoid the crafty table on the days when one knows the suits will be a part of the wardrobe?
Jo: Very tight and very bright. The colors were actually quite beautiful in person. Our costume designer found perfect shades of each color for our spandex suits. As for the tightness – we actually took training pretty seriously. Even though this is a comedic series, it needed to be balanced with the belief that we could really defeat some nasty monsters. We took some personal lessons from Noah Fleder, who played our big robot Gigantus-6. He is a world class martial artist,  taught us how to fight and really made that robot kick some serious ass.

Jo in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Jo: Watching live theater usually gets me fired up and super inspired. I love the intimacy and intensity from live performances that you don’t quite get from watching things on screens.

As an introvert, acting is the only time I feel fearlessness. I get a free pass to explore myself and others without the fear of judgment or consequence. That’s why I love acting.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Jo: I’m always hard on myself and never walk away from a scene feeling like I got it. But I think that is what is also what keeps me going. I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I would pick up new hobbies every other week and once I got good enough, I would move on to another. With acting, I don’t think I ever got good enough. That’s why 10 years later, I’m still trying to get better.

TrunkSpace: We loved your character Reggie Jackson’s innocence in the series “The Neighbors.” How did you approach playing that character? Did you view him as an emotional fish out of water?

THE NEIGHBORS – (ABC/PETER “HOPPER” STONE) IAN PATRICK, TIM JO

Jo: I had such a strong connection to Reggie because with that character, I was basically wearing my heart on the outside. I played him with every ounce of optimism, purity and love in my being. My personal life at the time was a bit of a wreck, so playing such a bright character was quite therapeutic. He was totally an emotional fish out of water because he had yet to be tainted by the world. He had no emotional guards or walls because he never had a need for them prior to meeting the human neighbors.

TrunkSpace: Life is weird. You played a character named Reggie Jackson and then starred in “Pitch,” a show about baseball. Are there any other coincidences or strange career occurrences that you have experienced?
Jo: Meeting the creator of a dream project in the gym locker room is right up there. But honestly, every step in my career has felt like divine intervention, so I am extremely grateful for all my opportunities.

TrunkSpace: We believe you spent more time with Reggie Jackson (the character) than you have with any other role. Could you see yourself spending just as much time as a member of the Mystic Cosmic Patrol and what would be the most exciting aspect about playing a spandex-wearing hero for that long?
Jo: I would love nothing more! They say the real success of a project comes down to casting and I think we hit it out of the park with ours. Everyone that worked on this project has become a dear friend and I would love nothing more than to continue making episodes of MCP for years to come. And really – I love spandex. It just hugs you in all the right places.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Gavin Hignight

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Welcome to the first installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” creator and star Gavin Hignight to discuss the inspiration for the series, fighting rubber monsters in cardboard cities, and the power of the word “kaiju.”

TrunkSpace: Is “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” for young adults who watch shows like “Power Rangers” or is it for the parents who are now forced to watch those shows with their kids?
Hignight: Well you know, I think for me, the idea of the show really came from seeing stuff like “Big Bang Theory.” The characters in that were labeled nerds, and there was this expectation that, “Oh, this is a show for nerds.” I never felt like that. I was like, “No, this is what the mainstream thinks nerd culture is like.”

I wanted to make a show that really was like a sitcom for the Comic-Con crowd and I’ve always loved stuff like “Ultraman,” “Power Rangers,” and “Kamen Rider.” All the good Tokusatsu stuff.

TrunkSpace: So it comes from a genuine place of love for the source material?
Hignight: I’m an especially big fan of “Ultraman.” I thought, let’s make something for all these people who are our age now who grew up on two plus decades of “Power Rangers” kind of stuff. Let’s make something that’s funny to them now when they’re in their thirties and forties, but at the same time, let’s not alienate the kids. I wanted to be clever with our humor so Mom and Dad can enjoy the sitcom of it, while kids can enjoy robots beating up monsters and vomiting on each other.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned the monsters. We would have to imagine creating those for the show would be one of the more genuinely exciting parts of the gig?
Hignight: Oh, totally. Laura Monaco, my co-producer and I, there was a point when we were just kind of day dreaming when I was starting to write this. We looked around and we said, “You know, there’s people in this town that have fun and get paid for it. Let’s be those people.”

And that evolved into us thinking that the best kind of day would involve fighting rubber monsters in a cardboard city and calling it work, so we started putting it together. Resources are always slim when you’re starting something out and I didn’t know where to go for our monsters. Through a friend we found Cig Neutron, who had just come off of his first run on “Face Off.” And I was just thinking, we can’t afford this guy. He’s on this show, he’s really talented, and he’s working. And I just said the word, “Kaiju,” and that was it. He was like, “I’m on board.”

So he sculpted the head of our robot hero and he sculpted and worked on arguably our favorite monster, which is Potty Mouth. And it was exactly what you’re talking about. It was hard to call it work because we were having so much fun.

TrunkSpace: When you see Potty Mouth come together, are you all fighting over who gets to give the suit a test run?
Hignight: (Laughter) Well, I wanted to find somebody who could actually fight in the monster costume, so that costume was very custom tailored to my friend, Stewart. I have known him for years through the martial arts community. We want to make more, but we also want to have Potty Mouth make a return, so I was like, “Stewart, don’t put on any more muscle, dude. I don’t know if the costume will still fit!”

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) So what can people expect from the episode run that they’ll find on Funny or Die?
Hignight: What we’ve done is, we’ve crafted them as webisodes. With the resources we had, we were able to make four of them. And then we have another two or three down the line, which are a probably a few months off. We hope to maybe release them as a Thanksgiving Special or something really stupid that doesn’t match. So the initial rollout is just four weeks of episodes and each storyline is two episodes long. The first one is “Potty Mouth” and then “Potty Mouth Part 2”, and then “Time Crisis.” And we did that for a reason, because in an online Funny or Die type platform, people just want to get in and have some laughs and move on four or five minutes later.

TrunkSpace: So is the relationship with Funny or Die a permanent home for “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” or are you hoping it is a springboard to another platform?
Hignight: We’ll see. Their format is really cool. Sometimes they embrace stuff, and you know, take it under their wing. It all comes down to the rights, which you still own.

TrunkSpace: And that’s extremely rare.
Hignight: Yeah, which is super rare and very cool because if it’s not for them, it doesn’t exclude you if it’s for somebody else. And our hope with doing this little micro-season is to find someone who’s excited and wants to see us make more monsters and fight in more cardboard cities.

TrunkSpace: You can’t beat a cardboard city!
Hignight: Totally! We made a very conscious effort to emulate the quality of those kids shows. Technology has changed and we very easily could have gone the extra mile on some of it, but we made a very conscious decision to say, “No, let’s emulate the kind of effects that we saw in those.” It’s purposely low budget in some ways. There’s a scene in one episode where they’re fighting Time Bats and when you see those fishing lines, it was not an accident that those were left in. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: That gives it a great nostalgic look and helps the audience feel like they’re in on the joke.
Hignight: I hope so. And it saves a little money while we’re at it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: One of the most difficult things in the world to create is a hella catchy opening theme song. You guys nailed it. That song is gold.
Hignight: Thank you! I wish I could take credit for it. I guess I can take credit for finding and sweet talking Wordburglar, who performed it. He is interesting. He’s, as you can tell, just an insanely talented musician. I discovered him because he made an entire concept album and the whole album is about G.I. Joe. He’s known as The Rap Viper. Every song on the EP are just these incredible rap songs and then if you dig in and really start listening to the lyrics, it’s like, “Oh, wait, he’s talking about Cobra Commander and G.I. Joe!” I knew he was the one for us. I swear I said the magic word “Kaiju” and he was like, “Japanese monsters? I’m in!”

TrunkSpace: It sounds like “Kaiju” can open any doors in Hollywood.
Hignight: It’s like our secret handshake.

TrunkSpace: Well, we can say one thing is for certain and that is that we hope to one day have a Potty Mouth figure sitting on our desks here at TrunkSpace.
Hignight: You and me both, my friend! If I can hold a Potty Mouth vinyl figure or action figure, I think that would be a true measure of success.

Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

 

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