Curtis Westman

The Four-Camera Flashback

Posted by on June 3, 2013

It’s been a little while for us here at Bunch of Ice and we’ve been busy — busy writing, busy working and busy giving people a hard time out back of the Yorkdale Mall just for kicks. In the meantime, though, we’ve also been publishing a podcast semi-weekly about all the old sitcoms you may remember.

Our first project is to watch Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The entire series. Six episodes at a time.

Check it out if you have a chance.

http://fourcameraflashback.podbean.com
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Curtis Westman

Wizard World Toronto 2012 Summary

Posted by on April 21, 2012

Have you ever fallen asleep on a Sunday evening only to wake up 6 days later lying in two inches of soot, with a loaded revolver and a phone full of pictures you don’t remember taking? Welcome to my world. The following is a reconstruction of what I can only assume happened at the Wizard World Toronto Comic Book Convention based on those images, a handful of fragmented memories and the lunatic ramblings of an anthropomorphic cocktail glass who’s been following me around for longer than I care to mention.

My last definite memory is of being elbow-deep in a printer on Friday night, birthing a crumpled oriental fan made from a rogue piece of 300-pound card stock that accidentally got fed into the duplexer sometime in the middle of printing the 46th copy of The Adventures of the Unlikely. If I can attribute my lack of awareness of the next 192 hours to anything, it would probably be a combination of the searing hot printer drum against my forearms and the fumes of the half-set toner that was then running wild over my hands. But it got printed. And stapled. And cut. And folded. And packed lovingly into a cardboard box I had ineptly fashioned from the butchered remains of a larger box about thirty seconds before realizing there was a box the size of exactly 50 issues of a comic book sitting right next to me on the shelf. Mine, having been made entirely from corrugated love, was better.

At that point I knew, though, that the hard part was over and the rest of the weekend would go without any problems whatsoever, and I curled up on the hard cement floor under my desk and fell asleep.

The next morning began with Owen, Anya and I getting out of a cab to the dulcet tones of a Toronto police officer, hands on his weapon, screaming at us to get our arms in the air and step away from the vehicle. The driver, who at this point was so scared that he, too, put his hands on his head, had accidentally hit his silent taxi alarm, though considering the three of us look like we sculpted our gang-tattooed bodies in a federal prison, I don’t blame him.

We set up our booth next to comic book superstar Kagan McCleod and exchanged pleasantries, pencils, and lovelorn stories of working with Conor McCreery and Anthony del Col on Kill Shakespeare. Before we could relax completely, though, we had to scope out our competition, which for this event consisted of a book called Adventures of the Likely, a cartoon character with the catchphrase, “wowzers, if this ain’t the most unlikely of adventures,” an artist who had legally changed his name to “Adventures of the Unlikely” and Bunch of Lice Productions, who left after the first 45 minutes due to poor sales and a burning, itching scalp.

Soon afterwards, we made our first two sales. We have to credit the Toronto crowd, they buy more than any of the other zero crowds we’ve ever sold to. So much more, in fact, that at the end of our first day, we had very nearly sold out of our entire first printing run of books. Not only that, but Anya had been drawing so many free sketches for keen visiters to our booth that around three o’clock, Owen and I had to amputate her hand. It was a shame that she wasn’t able to participate in the lightsaber arena. A damn shame.

We were visited frequently, like naive first-time homebuyers in an underwritten Hollywood ghost story. Our visitations, however, were fraught not with splattering blood and gratuitous nudity that upon further speculation wasn’t at all integral to the plot, but instead with friendly faces, unique people and conversations that only made us question humanity once or twice. Some highlights:

UysFaber‘s numerous booth attendants.
Panel Culture, who bought the first and second books of the weekend.
NerdBiskit, a.k.a. Lisa Bell, who has turned cute crafting and unabashed geekiness into the kind of hybrid artistic presence that defines “geek chic,” a phrase I’m confident I just made up. Also, besides Frida Kahlo, one of the only talented women I know of who is so proud to wear a mustache, even if it is plush.
Paradise Comics. Why? Why not!
Conor McCreery (and Anthony del Col who was absent) of Kill Shakespeare.

And, of course, all of the 59 people who bought our book. Who bought our book. We have a book, and they bought it. According to me, that makes us authors.

On behalf of Bunch of Ice Productions, thanks for a great weekend. At least, I think so. That is, if I actually am one of these three people.

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Bunch of Ice Productions

Live-tweeting the Toronto Wizard World Comic Convention

Posted by on April 5, 2012

Next weekend, April 14-15, Bunch of Ice Productions will be live-tweeting our experience at the comic book convention, including meeting the other guests, special appearances and any panels we attend! Visit our Twitter feed at twitter.com.bunchofice to be at the con in spirit only.

If you’re going to be at the con, share your experiences with us by tagging #theunlikely!

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Bunch of Ice Productions

Wizard World Toronto Comic Con

Posted by on March 29, 2012

Bunch of Ice Productions is back in action.

It may be one full year after our last post, but it’s been one full year of fervent working. Visit us at the Wizard World Toronto Comic Con (April 14-15), where we’ll be promoting our new self-published comic of short stories entitled The Adventures of the Unlikely. We’ll have more info on the book in a short while, but in the meantime, we encourage you to check out the team’s bios on the Wizard World website.

Owen Craig and Curtis Westman, Writers
Anya Craig, Illustrator

See you at the convention!

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Bunch of Ice Productions

Beware the Ides of March!

Posted by on March 15, 2011

Happy Ides, everyone! To celebrate the death of Caesar, why not read a 5-paged backup story based on his murder?

Everybody’s talking about “Et Tu, Hecate?” It’s true. Here are some of the rave reviews the short story has received.

“[A] nice short read.”

– Glen Davies, GeekSyndicate

“The additional material involving Hecate tears down the fourth wall behind the fourth wall in a particularly intriguing way.

– Andrea F. Jones, Amazon Review

“The ‘Bonus Gallery’ includes ‘Et tu, Hecate?’ which is a small comic depicting the death of Caesar at the hands of Brutus.”

– The Masked Movie Snobs, blogcritics.org

“…a back up story (a really cool one about Julius Caesar).”

– Drew McCabe, comicattack.net

“…a brand new five-page story that further explores the mythology of the Kill Shakespeare world.”

– Giovanni Gelati, Gelati’s Scoop

You can buy Kill Shakespeare Vol. 1, which includes “Et Tu, Hecate?”, at any major bookstore, including Amazon.

Note: the views and opinions expressed therein about Caesar are not indicative of the views and opinions of bunchofice.com. Caesar was a lovely ruler with a keen eye for detail and a sharp fashion sense. Hail Caesar. Hail Caesar. Hail.

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Curtis Westman

Average Joe the Lion

Posted by on December 5, 2010

Well, gee, I feel a little vindicated.

Everyone told me that studying both English Literature and Comparative Religion would get me nowhere. They told me that outside of the classroom, I would never use both disciplines simultaneously. People told me how dumb I looked reading Portrait of a Lady in a kurta. Dear doubters: everyone looks dumb reading Henry James. That’s what Henry James is.

I admit, I believed some of the jibes and jeers, some of the rude spitting and cursing. I think I truly started to doubt myself the day some of the faceless goons that punctuate the tale of woe that is my schooling began screaming a repetitive swell of “stop ruminating upon yourself” while hitting me with my books. It was tragic, really. I told them that technically they were using a mantra and subsequently blacked out for three days. I woke up tied to a flag pole with my underpants missing and discovered, written in lipstick, the words “ATHEIST APOSTACY” on my chest and “I <3 CHUCK PALAHNIUK” on my back. Palahniuk! It was humiliating.

But it’s my turn to shine. You see, Liam Neeson has made a claim that a lot of people are taking issue with. The Daily Mail, out of the UK, is reporting that fans of Narnia are furious after he said, “Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.”

I haven’t read Narnia in years, since I was its pre-teen target audience and the whole concept of religion was off my radar. When I read the books, I was completely unaware of any allegory. I hadn’t been raised Christian and even the basics were lost on me. In a way, I envy that younger me, because I got to enjoy the Narnia books for something simpler – a wild adventure in a fantasy world. To be honest, I think Narnia kindled in me a love for fantasy in general, which, of course, was soon murdered by discovering that my beloved twenty-six Xanth novels were written by a pederast and that even at the age of 10, I was a bit of a pederast for having read them.

Here’s the problem: C.S Lewis, the author of the Narnia series had, in his lifetime, specifically said that the series was about Christ. Lewis, of course, must be rolling in his grave at Neeson’s remarks, right?

Well, here’s my honest opinion as a literary scholar: Who cares what C.S. Lewis would think? He’s dead! All that remains of him are his novels, his writings about his novels, and his billionaire estate that can get offended when somebody uses the I-word in juxtaposition with their meal ticket. The very fact of the matter is that if you’ve written a work of fiction and published it, its interpretation no longer belongs to you. Everyone is free to interpret it as they like. That’s the whole fun of literary criticism.

Even though, in this case, we’re surprisingly privy to the author’s intention, that doesn’t mean a thing. The author’s intention is moot. A body of work whether it is written for children (C.S. Lewis) or adults (Virginia Woolf), about Christians (C.S. Lewis) or Muslims (Salman Rushdie) or for the intended consumption by human beings (C.S. Lewis) or large rocks (Stephanie Meyer), it is published into the world to be read and interpreted by that world. The only thing that belongs to the author is accreditation and accolade.

What’s worse is that all the outrage really ignores an important part of Neeson’s quotation: that sticky little situation where he says, “…he also symbolises for me…”

Neeson isn’t claiming ownership of anything. He’s not taking your cross out from around your neck and replacing it with a crescent moon. He’s talking about his own interpretation of a character. To argue otherwise is pointless.

Finally, and I’m sure this is going too far in some peoples’ eyes, but being outraged over comparisons of the Christ to the Buddha to Mohammed is a waste of breath. The amount of similar iconography in all the world’s religious traditions is astounding, but of course people focus solely on their differences. That Neeson was inspired by the character as an analog of every religious tradition isn’t just some P.C. blather, it’s pretty strong stuff, contextually. Just because the Christ is the only one who was sacrificed and resurrected doesn’t mean that the values embodied by Aslan aren’t universal in the interwoven history of religious thought.

I mean, heck, I sure embody them. (Taking donations to build a church.)

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Owen Craig

MONDOcomics Changes its Format!

Posted by on November 28, 2010

After eighty-something weeks, MONDOcomics is switching it up. Gone are the many short reviews, and in their place are a few longer reviews. Now Miles, Isaac and I will each pick one book (or sometimes a couple of books) that we really want to write about. Check it out! My first book is Justice League: Generation Lost, a comic that I found quite surprising.

http://mondomagazine.net/2010/mondocomics-82-november-24-2010/

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Curtis Westman

Off-brand or Cattle Brand

Posted by on November 25, 2010

Hey, look! Here’s an article I’ve written for Big Orange Slide on the extent to which a company’s image affects the behavior of its employees.

Off-brand or Cattle Brand?

by Curtis Westman, 25 November, 2010
Illustration by Brian Ross

I’m a big fan of meat.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy vegetables; a well-cooked vegetarian meal will always outdo a mediocre steak, especially if you find it hard to silence the bovine screams that haunt your nightmares. But basically, nothing beats a 32 oz piece of meat and an impacted colon.

One company in Montreal doesn’t agree. Matt and Nat manufacture vegan designer accessories – promising that handbags and wallets alike are virginal of animal product or byproduct. They also have a company policy to uphold their brand image: namely, that no employee shall partake in the sweet, sweet flesh of another living creature.

More at: http://bigorangeslide.com/2010/11/off-brand-or-cattle-brand/

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Bunch of Ice Productions

Interview with MONDOMagazine

Posted by on November 16, 2010

In case some of you didn’t already know, Owen is a perpetual writer for an online publication called MONDOMagazine, and a few years ago, Curtis was also a contributing writer. Recently, we were able to sit down and talk with Isaac Mills from MONDO about our Kill Shakespeare backup story.

Owen and Curtis Kill Shakespeare

by Isaac Mills, MONDOMagazine, 16 November, 2010

MONDO: Your story is set in Julius Caesar’s era. Is there anything you would feel comfortable talking about with the story?

Owen: Our goal with this story was to sort of tangentially link one of the Shakespeare plays that Kill Shakespeare couldn’t really fit in because of the time difference. And so I won’t say exactly how, but we’ve sort of found a way to tie it in to that mythology and show how there are some common threads between the story of Julius Caesar and the other stories in Kill Shakespeare.

Curtis: Yeah, and in a way the Julius Caesar story itself is a pretty good allegory for what’s going on in their book because it’s a conspiracy to kill someone that they believe is a tyrant. And it’s kind of ambiguous as to whether or not he is a tyrant, or whether or not he’s a good person.

Owen: Right. It was really challenging in five pages to basically retell a significant chunk of Julius Caesar AND tie it in to their book AND make it a character piece. We had to be very economical.

Curtis: Five pages is really hard.

More at: http://mondomagazine.net/2010/owen-and-curtis-kill-shakespeare/

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Bunch of Ice Productions

Interview with Living Between Wednesdays

Posted by on November 11, 2010

This past Wednesday, Owen had a chance to talk with Jonathan from Living Between Wednesdays about the backup story “Et tu, Hecate?” written by Owen and Curtis, and published in Kill Shakespeare‘s first trade paperback. Thanks to Jonathan and to Owen for having such a kickass conversation.

Wednesday Interview: Owen Craig

by Jonathan, Living Between Wednesdays, 10 November, 2010

So: your story is appearing in an upcoming trade of Kill Shakespeare. Give us the one-sentence plot hook that will make everyone completely unable to pass it up. And maybe throw in a couple of other sentences if you feel the need.

Yeah, our story is in the first trade paperback of Kill Shakespeare. Curtis (my writing partner, I don’t remember if I established that I work with a writing partner) and I approached this story with the goal of building on the Kill Shakespeare world. When looking at their concept it occurred to us that one Shakespearean play which would be difficult for Conor and Anthony to bring in would be Julius Caesar, so we’ve taken the moment of Brutus making his decision about whether or not to participate in the conspiracy to murder Caesar and shown how that particular moment plays out in the context of the Kill Shakespeare comic. It’s basically a fun Easter egg for fans of both Shakespeare and fans of Kill Shakespeare, with some pretty cool ties into the main book.

More at: http://livingbetweenwednesdays.com/?p=4009

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