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Noelle Stevenson is the artist and writer of Nimona, a fantasy/superhero webcomic set to be published as a young adult graphic novel by HarperCollins. Known online as “Gingerhaze,” Noelle is also the artist behind The Broship of the Ring and other witty pop-culture comics. Noelle lives in Baltimore where she attends art school, and likes pirates, bad TV, and making fun of things she loves.

Could you tell us five random facts about yourself?

1. I compulsively chew on objects. My pens are covered in teeth marks and I’ve destroyed many pairs of earphones by biting through the cords.

2. When I was fifteen I wrote a 600-page novel about pirates. Nothing ever came of it, and it’s unlikely to ever reach the public eye, but it taught me loads about writing and storytelling.

3. I have very bad road rage – it’s almost a Jekyll and Hyde situation between regular me and highway me.

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Noelle Stevenson is the artist and writer of Nimona, a fantasy/superhero webcomic set to be published as a young adult graphic novel by HarperCollins. Known online as “Gingerhaze,” Noelle is also the artist behind The Broship of the Ring and other witty pop-culture comics. Noelle lives in Baltimore where she attends art school, and likes pirates, bad TV, and making fun of things she loves.

Could you tell us five random facts about yourself?

1. I compulsively chew on objects. My pens are covered in teeth marks and I’ve destroyed many pairs of earphones by biting through the cords.

2. When I was fifteen I wrote a 600-page novel about pirates. Nothing ever came of it, and it’s unlikely to ever reach the public eye, but it taught me loads about writing and storytelling.

3. I have very bad road rage – it’s almost a Jekyll and Hyde situation between regular me and highway me.

4. The only video game I’ve ever played is Crash Team Racing, but I’m VERY good at it.

5. When I was nine I took an acting workshop, and somewhere there is a character on a CD-ROM educational game who is voiced by me.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a graphic novelist.

It began at art school when I ended up in a Sequential Art class my sophomore year, and I was very skeptical about it – I considered comics a sort of exclusive club that I wasn’t allowed in. I didn’t really grow up with comics, besides Calvin and Hobbes and Tintin. I didn’t know the big names. I hadn’t read the must-read graphic novels like Watchmen and Maus and Blankets, which my friends wouldn’t shut up about. But then, unexpectedly, I quickly realized that I LOVED COMICS. I found that I had a voice in comics that I hadn’t had before – that I could say more with some simple words and a few pictures than I could in just writing or images alone. During this class, I read comics more actively, attended MoCCA for the first time, and just generally got excited about comics. Mostly I was interested in webcomics and independent comics – the idea of creating a story entirely on your own terms was very appealing to me, and the possibilities seemed endless.

Then of course during the summer of 2011, a little thing called The Broship of the Ring happened and my Tumblr blog suddenly gained a whole mess of attention. That was also the summer of X-Men: First Class, Thor, and Captain America, which meant that I was a lot more invested in Marvel and superheroes in general than I’d ever been before. I found that I’d been inducted into the world of comics and there was no going back.

Nimona came into existence during my junior year. We were given a 30-minute exercise where we were required to make up a character, and this chubby little pink-haired shapeshifter was what came out of it. I liked her, and so when I enrolled in Advanced Sequential Art next semester, I already knew that I wanted to tell stories with her in them. By the end of junior year, I’d used three separate class assignments to make Nimona comics, and had 16 pages altogether. At the encouragement of my Advanced Sequential teacher, Joan Hilty (a former editor at DC), I decided to expand Nimona into a webcomic.

The webcomic went online in the summer of 2012 – incidentally, I had already fully devoted myself to the world of comics at this point and was interning with BOOM! Studios in Los Angeles, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the comic publishing. Around the time that Nimona went online, I got some attention for my Avengers and Hunger Games fan comics, which brought a literary agent to my blog – Charlie Olsen from Inkwell Management, who, upon reading Nimona, contacted me about representing me. I signed with him at the end of the summer and returned to Baltimore for my final year of school. Charlie was very proactive, getting my comic in front of all sorts of editors while I continued to update the webcomic, and long story short, I ended up striking a deal with Andrew Harwell at HarperCollins for a two-book deal.

What has surprised you so far about the publishing process?

I suppose I’m most surprised that I’m actually going to be published! It’s been such an extreme and unbelievable journey to this point that I’m still having trouble getting my head around it.

Why do you feel drawn to the stories you create?

I’ve always been attracted to moral ambiguity in characters – which often sees me taking a special interest in the villain, and why they feel they have to do what they do. Especially in superhero stories, where traditionally the villain is very archetypal and the line between good and evil is clear. I guess I wanted to mess with that a bit.

Take us through the process of creating a chapter of Nimona.

It starts with scripting. Scripting is actually one of the most fun parts to me, because the jokes are still fresh and since no one sees the script but me, I don’t have to worry about making it look nice, or writing careful descriptions or anything – I just let it flow. Then, I sketch the page out very roughly on Photoshop. The characters are little more than stick figures, just to sort of visualize how everything is going to work together.

After that I tighten up the sketches a bit – it’s still pretty rough at this point, since a lot is still going to change between the sketches and the final lines. This is where I make a lot of story decisions. Maybe something that I wrote in the script turns out to not be working, and so I figure that out. Or a character who was meant to be in the background comes out looking so cool that I write them into a future scene. Or, to spice up a conversation, I’ll draw something wacky to keep the viewer entertained.

After that it’s pretty straightforward – I finalize the panels, digitally “ink” the sketches, color everything in, and then draw the word bubbles and hand-letter the text. It probably takes about 5-10 hours to make one page of Nimona. Because it’s a draw-as-I-go comic, pages get drawn in chunks of 2-4 a week, staying just ahead of the update schedule.

Does writing or drawing take more time to develop? Which requires more editing?

Writing takes much less time. Like I said, the writing tends to flow a lot more quickly, while I don’t solve a lot of my problems until I actually get to the sketch phase. The script is constantly being edited, right down to the moment when I write in the dialogue – because the script is so loose, it allows for a lot of leeway. It’s really more of a guideline for the story than something that’s set in stone.

Do you tend to plan out all the background details and small references in your panels, or do those elements come as you finalize the art?

I usually only plan out the characters, their props, and the parts of the setting that they interact with directly, like chairs and tables – unless the background is very important in that scene, of course. A lot of the details don’t come until I finalize the inks – background characters, for example, exist as only vague shapes in the sketch.

Where’s your favorite place to cook up stories and/or designs?

I LOVE driving and thinking about stories. I also love lying in bed before falling asleep and planning my stories, which is something that I’ve always done as far as I can remember. Also sometimes if I’m in a movie theater and I get bored, I’ll drift off and daydream plot elements as well – something about being in front of a big screen makes me feel very inspired.

How do you approach writing your very shades-of-gray characters?

Like I said, I’ve always gravitated towards villains, especially ambiguous ones. For me the most interesting villains are always the ones that make you think, “Wait, you’re actually kind of right, even if you’re going about it in the wrong way.” I take archetypes that I’ve seen in stories, like Lex Luthor and Superman for example, and think, well, why does Lex Luthor do these evil things, why does he feel he has to do this? Was there a chance for him in the past to do the right thing, to be a good person? Can he be redeemed? And the same for Superman – what are his reasons for doing good, and are his intentions always pure?

What is your favorite panel, scene, or arc you’ve written or drawn recently?

I’m getting a kick out of drawing Nimona’s burly male form, I have to say.

Is there a novel or piece of art which has inspired you particularly?

I get inspired by movies a lot, and most recently I’ve been inspired by a lot of animated movies like ParaNorman, Wreck-It Ralph, and Rise of the Guardians.

Do you have things you need in order to write/draw (i.e. coffee, cupcakes, music)?

Netflix, music or This American Life! I always need something to entertain me while I draw, because drawing comics can get very tedious.

What are you working on now?

I’m still hard at work on Nimona, along with my school and other projects.

For more about Noelle Stevenson:

You can keep up with Noelle and her projects on her Tumblr, Gingerhaze. Follow her on Twitter as @Gingerhazing, and find more information – as well as archives and updates for her comic Nimona – at her website.

Legion M president Jeff Annison introduces the first fan-owned entertainment company

"Opening the gates to Hollywood" with fandom-powered entertainment production.

2:12 pm EDT, August 24, 2016

Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

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Hypable speaks to co-founder Jeff Annison about Legion M’s goals, fan engagement, and potential impact on the entertainment industry.

An exciting new project launched over the summer: Legion M, the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Hype Podcast sat down with co-founder and company president Jeff Annison, in order to learn more about the ambitious startup that promises to give fans more creative control of entertainment production.

The full interview is available to download here or via iTunes, or you can stream it below:

In the interview, Annison explains the mission of Legion M, which is to bring fans directly into the production process. Says Annison, “For the first time in history, we are architected to be built from the ground up to be owned by fans.”

With a ‘Legion’ of fan investors behind them, Annison believes that Legion M’s approach to selecting and developing projects will be very different from anything else we’ve seen in Hollywood.

Where usually creators will struggle to make their content stand out from the crowd, “bringing the audience into the process [of creating entertainment], we’ve already got a built-in audience,” Annison explains. “If you can have the audience of content be invested in content, it gives that content a competitive advantage.”

One of the key ways in which Legion M hopes to influence the creative industry is by opening the door for more diverse projects.

As Hollywood is so revenue-driven, oftentimes the ‘risk’ of letting a movie’s lead character be a woman, a person of color and/or a member of the LGBT community is simply considered too great. But Legion M, being owned by fans, has the opportunity to tip the scales. Because if the investors want more diversity and new kinds of stories, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

“The reason that there are so many superhero movies and reboots and remakes… Hollywood’s figured out the formula. You pick something with an established fanbase, and if you make the movie you know it’s less risky because you know those people are gonna come see the next Superman movie,” says Annison. “Whereas if it’s an unknown story, you just don’t know. So we believe when you make the audience part of the process, these fans that are part of our studio … if you’ve got an audience that’s baked into it, that gives you so much more creative leeway.”

In practice, this means that Legion M, “could come up with a completely new and novel story that’s never been tried before, and know that it’s gonna have some success” — which means that it’d actually get produced, unlike many original ideas that come to Hollywood to die.

Further, fan owners of Legion M can experience unprecedented involvement with the creative process. Not only are they involved with selecting and developing projects, but, “our promise to our investors is that we’re gonna take you along for the ride. When we film a movie, we wanna live-stream from the set. When we have project opportunities, we wanna put them in front of you. We give the Legion a voice.”

To start with, Legion M is partnering with Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which created Robot Chicken. Annison explains that they still have “dozens” of projects that networks have rejected, and Legion M is working on bringing some of them to life.

In terms of representation, Legion M doesn’t necessarily want to commit to a quota of diversity. Instead, where they expect to be able to influence Hollywood is at the “table” where these decisions are made — and, “because we’re owned by such a broad, diverse group of people, we’ve got a better shot than anybody else at being able to affect that change.”

As Annison explains: “Fans have the ultimate power. Our money is what makes this whole thing spin around. When we combine and come together, we’ve got all the power.”

Read more about Legion M and how to get involved on their website.

As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

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As we approach the Captain America: Civil War Blu-Ray release date, a new deleted scene from the film has been released.

And it’s a Civil War deleted scene that is sure to please Stucky fans.

In the clip, Bucky quickly comes to the defense of bae (a.k.a. Cap) when War Machine briefly takes him down. Bucky gets back at Rhodey by throwing Cap’s iconic shield at him, and as the shield boomerangs back, Steve Rogers catches it. Take THAT, War Machine! #TeamCap

Watch below:

The movie’s airport scene was easily one of the most delightful moments of the film, so we’re loving this extra dose of Stucky brilliance.

Need more? The Captain America Blu-ray, with a release date set for September 13, includes the following special features:

  1. United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of Captain America: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
  2. Captain America: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
  3. Iron Man: The Road to Civil War – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  4. Gag Reel – Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
  5. Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
  7. Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.

The Digital HD version of Civil War will be released on September 2.

Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

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Director James Gunn confirms the name of a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 creature with the release of some concept art from the film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have been pretty busy lately while they gear up for Vol. 2. On Friday we learned that they’ll be showing up in Avengers: Infinity War, and tonight we got a sneak peek of a creature the team will be taking on in the GotG sequel.

Taking to Twitter, Gunn showed off a piece of concept art created by Andy Park.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-concept-art

In his replies, he names the creature and states that, no, they aren’t fighting in space.

Then taking to Facebook, Gunn replied to fans who had questions about the image.

An updated synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reads:

“Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.”

So it looks like for those who were lucky enough to see GotG 2 footage at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you’ve already seen this guy in action.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ lands in theatres on May 5, 2017