Downton Abbey: The Exhibition has landed in Boston at The Castle at Park Plaza for an extremely limited three month run. An appropriately themed afternoon tea was held on Friday, June 14th, featuring Executive Chairman of Carnival Films, Gareth Neame, and members of the press and socialites (aka social media influencers).
Today we’d like to introduce you to Clay Fernald.
Clay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been in and around the Boston music scene for many years, from all ages matinee shows at The Rat to attending concerts at Fenway Park for my day job at Do617.com. A few years ago, I became obsessed and an early adopter of social media technology, I have been on Twitter since the days of the flip phone. In 2005, The Boston Phoenix (RIP) put me on the cover for being the ‘Most Popular Man in Boston’ — according to the social networking site Myspace.
This year’s FanExpo Boston takeover of Boston Comic Con came with not only a change of venue, but an entirely different experience for BostonCon fans. The change in venue from Seaport World Trade Center to the much larger Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was a welcome to accommodate more fans. It did seem a bit odd that Fan Expo had nearly an entire room dedicated to a line queue when some vendors and artist alley tables were on top of each other with not much room for people to ‘squeak by’.
I’m familiar with well-run conventions in the same space, most notably PAX East, so I don’t think my overall iffy experience at FanExpo was a unique one. First time convention volunteers and ushers gave wrong or poor information. The Guidebook App was difficult to track down. Signage was messed at a major floor entryway that said EXIT. Instead of fixing the sign on day 2, they just posted two guards there to send people in the opposite direction.
Matt Dursin is a comic book writer as well as the founder of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen Comic Book Podcast (LeaguePodcast). Dursin has written comics before, but taking the knowledge of his Comics Experience writing classes combined with his film-making degree from Emerson College has led him to applying himself to his latest project, green lit by Kickstarter: Robin Hood: Outlaw of the 21st Century #1. Fellow League member and Earth Prime Time comic book correspondent Clay N. Ferno interviews his close friend about his experience getting the project together, Robin Hood’s modern Merry Men, and the ridiculously high cost of medical expenses these days.
DIGBOSTON: Start with the origin of Robin Hood: Outlaw of the 21st Century!
DURSIN: This goes back to the Andy Schmidt (IDW, Hasbro) Comics Experience writing class I took in 2009. The first class assignment was to write a 5-page story with a beginning, middle, and end. I had this idea in my head because I wanted to make a screenplay out of it.
I had been writing scenes for the screenplay for many years. It was a classmate that suggested that we don’t know if they are good guys until the end … page 5.
Tell us about this Robin, the setting he is in. Does he use a bow and arrow? What is he stealing?
He doesn’t steal gold! I figured, “What do people need?” Because of my own health issues through the years, I always think of the cost of medications and medical supplies. “How would you even pay for this without insurance?”
What if this Robin Hood steals medicine and gives it to people that don’t have health insurance or can’t afford it or don’t have a job. That’s what people need these days.
In the traditional Robin Hood, he was just giving money to the poor. Now, who is richer than the pharmaceutical companies these days?
If you go back to serfdom and the knight class and the royal class of the medieval period, the gap is just about the same from the 99% to the 1% in modern times.
Spoiler here: in issue 2, he does actually steal money. Without giving away too much, there is someone that needs money and Robin Hood makes the decision to steal money, but it is a decent to a darker turn as he gets deeper into it. I was kind of inspired by Breaking Bad.
Every issue isn’t going to be a robbery; different things can happen.
Are there more characters from the old stories than the familiar Robin Hood who will show up in your comic?
There’s Robin Hood, The Merry Men, Little John, Will Scarlett, of course the Sheriff is the bad guy. Maid Marian of course—the lady friend of Robin Hood. She is not a maid, obviously. She’s a nurse and one of the people who knows where the medication needs to go, she knows where the supplies are that he can steal.
She’s the inside maid.
It’s basically Sherlock—not to compare my little comic book to one of the greatest shows ever!
Go for it!
That’s Sherlock Holmes in modern times.
Although when did Sherlock actually debut? I think I predate it with my 5 pages in 2009!
It’s the same idea. The character is one you know, and a story you can identify with. This Robin Hood uses a gun; it’s not bows and arrows.
[READ MORE at DIGBOSTON.COM]
Comic book fans and enthusiasts of any niche pop culture genre can be secular at times, closed minded, and exclusionary. It is the nature of the thing, I suppose, to be deeply invested and engaged by taking ownership of what appeals to you and what may become the building blocks of your identity. I’ve ignored the last ten Anime Boston conventions on this narrow-minded reasoning. After the Marathon bombings postponing Boston Comic Con this year, I put on my black costume karate gi to embrace the sense of pride and engagement with the nerd fan community that one can only get at a large convention in your hometown. This is how I, as a superhero comic fan, learned to stop worrying and love Anime Boston 2013.
My photographer Stacey and I headed for our passes early in the day, eager to take in the wonders of Anime Boston on Saturday. Lines were manageable with bag checks and plenty of volunteers to assist directing traffic. In light of the terrorist attacks, no weapons were allowed at the con this year.
There were plenty of foam swords, accessories, and larger than life costumes this year, so the restriction was certainly not affecting anyone’s creativity.
It should be noted, cosplay at Anime Boston is intricate and omnipresent. Well over 80 percent of the crowd is dressed up or decorated in some way.
Nerds of all fashions are here, Doctor Who fans, Vorlons (Babylon 5), superheroes, kitty cats with mechanical ears, all manner of tails and white masks swarm around you in a sea of paper mache, facepaint, leather, and vinyl. Cosplayers range in age from young to old and costume materials range from $2 to $2,000.
Cosplay at Comic Con is huge, don’t get me wrong, but as Stacey pointed out, “You’d be out of place if you didn’t dress up here.”
My thirst for nerd knowledge makes me a panel junkie. Anime Boston uses Guidebook, a live updating smartphone app that makes it easy to look at a complicated schedule such as this that includes screenings, martial arts demos, panels, kid’s activities, signings, and contests. We had set up our schedule in advance the night before and backed this up with the hard copy on the convention floor. Getting the lay of the land took some getting used to, Anime Boston uses most spaces in the gigantic Hynes Convention Center.
[READ MORE at DIGBOSTON.COM]
May as well be called “Friendship-fest ‘11”
STARLABFEST: Recording studio/rehearsal space hosts outdoor event
SATURDAY, AUGUST 6TH
12PM EVENT START TIME, 9PM END
BBQ/YARD SALE THROUGHOUT
STARLAB (PARKING LOT)
32 PROSPECT ST. SOMERVILLE, MA
$5-10 SUGGESTED DONATION
FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES
SOMERVILLE, MA – Starlab is a rehearsal space/recording studio run by the members of local bands MOVERS & SHAKERS and SLEEPY VERY SLEEPY.
Last summer Starlab was in need of a total overhaul due to water damage so an outdoor concert/BBQ was held to offset the cost. The fundraiser was a huge success; In the same spirit, this time just for fun, Starlab will be throwing another outdoor summer event.
On the cusp of releasing their second album (recorded at Starlab), MOVERS & SHAKERS will co-headline the event with SLEEPY VERY SLEEPY. They will be joined by an array of local buzz bands including SPIRIT KID, GIRLFRIENDS, RAMMING SPEED, FEDAVEES, EARTHQUAKE PARTY! and TRABANTS.
As well as grilling burgers and dogs (veggie and otherwise), local restaurants will be representing with tasty treats.
FOR MORE INFORMATION , LINKS TO ALL PERFORMERS, AND PHOTOS/REVIEWS OF LAST YEAR’S EVENT VISIT STARLABFEST.COM
Here’s a picture of me flipping burgers at Starlabfest ‘10!
Pic by Maggie Cassidy