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AICN COMICS SDCC REPORT: Bug Moderates the HALO-8 panel with Ben Templesmith, Tim Seeley & more! Plus a review of GODKILLER!

Bug Moderates HALO-8 Panel at SDCC!

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here with a very special SDCC Report. So two weeks ago, a day after moderating my horror panel at SDCC, I had a chance to play moderator again for Matt Pizzolo’s Halo-8 panel. This is the second time Matt passed the mic to me for one of these conventions. Last spring at C2E2, I did a panel with Pizzolo and crew regarding his new Illustrated Films division of HALO-8 and their ambitious plans for the future.
I met Matt Pizzolo last year at my first horror panel at SDCC. He was promoting his new illustrated film GODKILLER at the time. I had a chance to see GODKILLER on the big screen at C2E2 and then rewatched the film when I returned from SD this year in preparation for this panel report. Later in the report, I’ll review the first two segments of GODKILLER (available for purchase at the Halo-8 website).
Unfortunately, the panel was not filmed, but I’ll do my best to recap what went on. Pizzolo has a knack for gathering very talented folks. The panel consisted of some of the coolest cats in the biz. First was Ben Templesmith (known for distinctive art style on 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, DEAD SPACE, WELCOME TO HOXFORD, and WORMWOOD GENTLEMAN CORPSE). Ben, as always, was dressed to the nines in a suit and the reason a lot of our audience was filled with ladies. Ben was as cool as they come and even let me have a snort from his Wormwood flask before the panel.
Templesmith was there to promote his new illustrated film, BLACK SKY, which he described as a post-apocalyptic military story with humanity battling giant squid-like aliens. Templesmith debuted some concept art at the panel which showed the dark tone of the project. When asked how his distinctive art style was going to be animated, Ben said that the folks on the production team said that his art is going to be relatively easy to animate.
Next on the panel was Tim Seeley, who is best known for his book HACK/SLASH which recently moved to Image. Seeley’s other amazing property, LOADED BIBLE, has been optioned by HALO-8 to be developed into an illustrated film as well. LOADED BIBLE is set in a future where the world has been taken over by vampires and humanity’s last hope is to clone and resurrect Jesus to do battle with the toothy bastards. I absolutely loved Seeley’s LOADED BIBLE comic, which despite the trite concept turned out to be a pretty smart and hard hitting story about faith, ethics, and tragedy. I expect HALO-8’s illustrated film version of the property to be more of the same.
Producer F.J. Desanto was also on hand to talk about the production end of the projects HALO-8 were promoting and is set to do some of his own stuff through HALO-8 in the future. DeSanto, producer Brian Giberson, and Pizzolo talked about how HALO-8 came to be and what went into the production of GODKILLER, which basically seems to be a labor of love for these guys, recorded and animated out of their garage in a rigged up recording studio. Pizzolo also talked about upcoming projects THE LONG KNIVES (a Giallo horror story), ZOMBIEGIRLS (from the twisted mind of the beautiful Joanna Angel) and future GODKILLER spin-offs. Other announcements included Danielle (HALLOWEEN 1-2) Harris (who was unable to make it to the panel due because she was called away to start a film with Michael Beihn…dammit!) and Tiffany (NIGHT OF THE DEMONS) Shepis have agreed to do voice work on future GODKILLER projects and as we were headed to the panel, we happened to run into Troma’s Lloyd Kauffman, who on the spot agreed to do some voice work on the LOADED BIBLE project. That’s just the kind of lucky, random shit that happens when you hang around Pizzolo.
As a whole, HALO-8 seems to have big plans and with the line up of talent Matt Pizzolo has gathered to both create and voice these projects, the company seems to be on the verge of greatness. You may not know about HALO-8 yet, but as soon as these new projects start coming out over the next year, I guarantee you will. And most of you can say you heard about them first here on AICN.

GODKILLER Episodes 1-2

Written & directed by Matt Pizzolo Illustrated by Anna Muckcracker Can be picked up at Halo-8 Reviewer: Ambush Bug

GODKILLER is set in a post apocalyptic future where things like morality and decency are going extinct fast. It’s a dirty world writer/director Pizzolo lays out for the viewer, one filled with prostitution, drugs, sex, murder, and any other type of corruption you can think of or are too afraid to. It’s a story of organ thievery, orgasmic vampires, urban terrorism, techno-mysticism, and of course, what’s a post-apocalypse without some zombies? Pizzolo sprinkles a little of everything naughty and twisted into this story and the result is an unpredictable adventure/horror/sci fi/porno mash up that is definitely not for kids, but its damn cool nonetheless. The terrors and debauchery in GODKILLER have to be seen to be believed.
The story follows Tommy, a young kid in search of a new heart for his ailing sister. Along the way, he runs into all sorts of monsters and maniacs in the Outer City, a realm with no laws or rules, only danger around every corner. Looked at from a distance, this is a fairy tale about a boy on a quest to save someone he cares about, but as one becomes invested in this film, it drags you through the gutter that is Outer City and relishes in the filth that goes on in its winding streets and wretched alleyways. Pizzolo’s story really pulls the reader through the shit and on the side of Tommy so we care about this adventure and root for the innocent kid to make it out of this hell alive.
What truly amazed me about this film was the voice talent Pizzolo wrangled together to make this project. Leading the charge is Lance Henrikson, whose gruff voice should be in all cartoons, playing a guru style mystic with a shady past. Bill (DEVIL’S REJECTS) Mosely, Danielle (HALLOWEEN 1-2) Harris, Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack, Nicki (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) Clyne, Tiffany (NIGHT OF THE DEMONS) Shepis, and AFI’s Davey Havok also appear. I was most impressed by the appearance of Lydia Lunch, who if you know her, she’s one of the most twisted and coolest chicks ever to grace the stage or screen. I hadn’t heard about her in years and it was good to see her included in this film. The range of talent behind the mic on this one alone should be enticement enough to pick these films up.
Anna Muckcracker supplies the art for GODKILLER. Her style really compliments the sordid activities going on in the story. Panels are gritty and dirty. Figures are skewed and warped only slightly -- just enough to unsettle the viewer. Some frames are ultra detailed and rich in color allowing the viewer a chance to be engulfed by this twisted world. Other frames look to be quickly sketched suggesting action and movement even when there is none. Muckcracker shows a talent for both design and dramatic angles resulting in a film that sucks you in and makes you feel filthy for being there.
GODKILLER is one of those stories which sticks with you long after seeing it. It’s filled with sordid fun and cracked horror. Pizzolo has a talent for both quick and heady dialogue as well as creative and fresh concepts that make this devious world of GODKILLER a place you’d want to dive into despite how dark it is.
Be sure to check out Halo-8’s website to find out more about GODKILLER and their other illustrated films coming soon. I’ll leave you with a pretty damn sweet preview clip from GODKILLER. Enjoy!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Check out his ComicSpace page for his entries the MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 & MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 anthologies. Bug was interviewed here & here (about AICN Comics) & here & here (on VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #21: WITCHFINDER GENERAL (available in June’s Previews Order # JUN10 0825) on sale in late August. Bug was also interviewed here & here about his upcoming original vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK (available in June's Previews Order #JUN10 0824) due out in late August. Bug also has a 10 pg story in Zenescope’s upcoming WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 (in July Previews Order # JUL10 1200). Support a Bug by checking out his comics!

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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