Sunday, April 26, 2015

Comics and movies in Ottawa this May!

May 2015 promises to be a busy month as Ronn Sutton and I get ready for two fun events:

  • Ottawa Comiccon: May 8-10 at the EY Centre in our hometown of Ottawa; and
  • JESSE JAMES: LAWMAN - May 28 - Movie premiere at the Mayfair Theatre in our hometown of Ottawa.

Ronn and I will be in artists alley for Ottawa Comiccon, with comics, art and stories to stare. We will be doing art commissions at the show. Looking for that special gift from Mother's Day for that motorcycle momma in your life? A great chance to get a copy of Lucifers Sword MC from Ronn, and he'll sign it too!

If you want to be part of the premiere of Jesse James: Lawman (with script by yours truly)be sure to pick up your tickets at the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street. ($10 each). the movie stars loads of local talent such as Andrew Galligan, John N. E. Hill and Lawrence Evenchick along with Kevin (Hercules, Andromeda) Sorbo and Peter (Easy Rider) Fonda! Directed by Brett Kelly.

See you on the red cape... I mean, carpet! -- Janet Hetherington

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Janet and Ronn - Rhymes with Comic-Con (Toronto and Ottawa)

After a successful Lucifers Sword MC:  The Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club.graphic novel signing at Ottawa's Comic Book Shoppe on February 28, Ronn Sutton is packing his bags to bring more books to Toronto Comicon, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 20-22, 2015.

Ronn and I (Janet Hetherington) are both guests at the convention, so look for us in artists' alley. Show hours are Friday: 4-8 pm; Saturday 10-7 pm; Sunday 10-5 pm. Ronn will have copies of Lucifers Sword available for purchase and signing, For whatever reason, the books have been hard to find in Ottawa, so this is a chance to get a copy from the artist himself if you don't have one.

I, alas, do not have any copies to bring of The Last Outlaw DVD, but if you have a copy and bring it, I will be happy to sign it.

Both Ronn and I will be taking commissions at the show, so see us for our availability and rates. Also stop by just to chat!

Then, on Mother's Day weekend, Ronn and I will be appearing at a show that's closer to home - Ottawa Comiccon. This comic-con is at the EY Centre in Ottawa (in Ottawa South, near the airport), The show runs May 8-10, 2015 on Friday from 2-8 pm; Saturday from 9:30-7 pm; and Sunday from 10:30-5 pm.

We always look forward to seeing old friends and new faces at the different comic-cons. And with spring finally in the air, it will be fun venturing out from the studio to get into the convention vibe.

See you there!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Artist Ronn Sutton signing Lucifers Sword at Ottawa's Comic Book Shoppe and Toronto Comicon

Get your motor running!

Artist Ronn Sutton will be signing copies of his newest graphic novel Lucifers Sword MC at The Comic Book Shoppe at 228 Bank Street, Ottawa, on Sat. February 28, from 1 to 4 pm.

Ronn will also be appearing with Janet Hetherington at Toronto Comicon 2015, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 20 to 22. The couple will both be showcasing comics and art.

Looking for adventure?

Lucifers Sword MC: The Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club is the new 96-page high-octane graphic novel now available from Motorbooks.

Lucifers Sword MC is a gritty, fictionalized, insider look at life as a 1960s U.S. biker club member. Written by Hells Angel member Phil Cross and illustrated by former Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Starbikers comic book artist Ronn Sutton, the graphic novel takes readers on a wild ride from the late 1940s through to the 1970s.

The characters in Lucifers Sword MC are fictionalized, but based on real bikers – including Cross, who appears as the club’s prospect, Frenchie. As fans of the TV show Sons of Anarchy know, a prospect is a rookie member. Readers experience rough-and-tumble club life first-hand through Frenchie’s eyes.

Artist Ronn Sutton did an enormous amount of research before taking pencil to paper. He watched Sons of Anarchy as well as classic movies such as The Wild One, Easy Rider and Angels Die Hard. He also read magazines like In the Wind and books like From Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel (Cross’s autobiography) and Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson.

After the research, the real work began. “This is the biggest project I’ve worked on in my 40-plus year career as a comics artist,” Sutton says. “For five months I drew 15 hours per day, 7 days a week, trying to do my best work ever.”

Sutton illustrated Lucifers Sword MC in the traditional comic book method, drawing in pencil first and then inking with black India ink. The graphic novel has a full color cover and black-and white interior. Sutton made dramatic use of black and white so action jumps off the page.

Motorbooks’ Lucifers Sword MC: The Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club has world-wide distribution and is available in bookstores, comic book shops and via Amazon online.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phil Cross has been an active member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club for over 43 years. His autobiography From Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel (2013) is also available from Motorbooks. This is Cross’s first graphic novel, co-authored and edited by long-time motorcycle enthusiast Darwin Holmstrom.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Ronn Sutton ( is based in Ottawa, Canada. He has been drawing comic books for decades, including a nine-year run illustrating Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. The over 200 comic stories Ronn has drawn include Fear Agent, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Honey West, The Phantom, his creator-owned Starbikers as well as horror, humor, adventure, historical and romance comics.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ronn Sutton & Janet Hetherington on the Outlaw Trail to Fan Expo 2014

I'm happy to report that Ronn Sutton and I are slated to appear again at Fan Expo Canada 2014 in artists' alley.

The show is taking place from August 28 to 31, 2014 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We'll have comics and original art, and will be doing commissions. We hope to see friendly faces there!

This year, Ronn and I are on the trail as "outlaw creators." We both have projects with an outlaw theme. Ronn is illustrating a new graphic novel called Lucifers Sword MC for Motor Books, about the fictional life of an outlaw motorcycle club. The graphic novel has all the drama and excitement you'd expect from a story written by Hells Angel member Phil Cross. The graphic novel is due out in January 2015.

My outlaw connection is the release on DVD of The Last Outlaw, a western movie that I co-wrote (as The Hunt for Johnny Ringo) on September 9, 2014. The Last Outlaw stars Michael Paré and was directed and produced in the Ottawa area by filmmaker Brett Kelly. I've scripted another western feature for Brett and I'm working on a horror feature for him as well.

Earlier this year, my short horror promo video took first place in the Cellar Door Film Festival's promo video competition. It can be seen on the Cellar Door Film Festival's website, YouTube and on BlackFlagTV.

In other news, I appeared on CBC's All in a Day radio program on August 6 (thanks Alan!) to talk about teaching kids the creative process of writing comics at Carleton University's Creative Writing Camps this summer. I'm teaching two sessions.. with the help of the Caped Cod, my creation Bat-Fish.

Ronn plans to talk about Lucifers Sword on All in a Day sometime in the future. But you can you talk to him about it at Fan Expo. Be sure to drop by.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Canada Post offers Haunted Canada stamps on Friday the 13th

Hey, hey horror fans!

Canada Post is releasing new Haunted Canada stamps for domestic mail on Friday the 13th this June.

From Canada Post's online description: Swap ghost stories with your friends across Canada! Include these spine-tingling stamps on all your domestic mail. A unique foil treatment gives each stamp special ghostly effects.

The first in a multi-year series, this collection of 5 Haunted Canada stamps tells some popular ghostly tales:
  • Alberta’s Ghost Bride: The ghost of a 1920s bride who died in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is said to inhabit the hotel to this day.
  • Saskatchewan’s St. Louis Ghost Train: Believers say a ghostly glowing light is a CNR conductor who lost his head to a passing train in the 1920s.
  • Ontario’s Fort George: Phantom footsteps and ghosts make this one of the most haunted places in Canada.
  • Quebec’s Château Frontenac: The hotel’s namesake is said to wander hotel halls in his 17th century garb.
  • PEI’s Northumberland Strait: A burning ship is often spotted between NB and PEI. As would-be rescuers approach, the ship disappears into the mist.
Could a Bonesetter stamp be far behind?

Issue date: June 13, 2014
Stamp designer: Lionel Gadoury, Context Creative
Stamp value: Permanent, always worth the going rate
Number of stamps included: 10
Product # 413910111 - $8.50

Friday, May 9, 2014

Call for Ottawa 2014 Film Festival entries

Call for entries – OIAF, Digi60, OIFF, OWFF, and CDFF

Five local film festivals are currently (or soon will be) accepting submissions for festivals taking place in 2014. And in case you didn't hear, I won first place in the Cellar Door Film Festival promo video challenge.

Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)
Festival dates: September 17-21, 2014
Submissions deadline: May 16 (entry forms) and May 30 (preview DVDs)

Digi60 Filmmakers Festival (Spring Edition)
Temporary registration page here
Festival date: June 22, 2014
Submissions deadline: June 14 (the “catch” will be released on May 15)

Ottawa International Film Festival (OIFF)
Festival dates: October 15-19, 2014
Submissions deadline: June 30 (earlybird deadline ends May 10)

One World Film Festival (OWFF)
Festival dates: September 25-26 and October 2-3, 2014
Submissions deadline: June 30

Cellar Door Film Festival (CDFF)
Festival dates: TBD (Fall 2014)
Submissions deadline: August 15 (earlybird deadline ends July 15)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Lone Ranger vs. Sharknado

I went to see Disney's The Lone Ranger at the SilverCity Cineplex movie theatre last night, wanting to catch it before it closes. It was a good-looking production featuring interesting portrayals of the iconic characters of my youth, and it provided some strong moments typical of the western genre. Still, my overall reaction was: "It's trying too hard to be a hit."

Contrast this to the crazy-wild interest and success of Sharknado, which played on TV last week (SyFy and Space). This was utter B-movie fare: sharks swept up by a tornado and dumped into flooded California. According to this movie, your best defense against a tornado waterspout is to have a chainsaw handy in case sharks rain down on you.

It may seem like I'm comparing apples to oranges here, but I believe these two movies speak to why audiences embraced low-budget Sharknado and have had underperforming response to high-budget The Lone Ranger.

The key word here is underperforming. While there was a lot riding on Silver, there was less sink or swim for Sharknado. Sharknado was intended to be over-the-top and silly. The producers made a movie they wanted to see. Based on the Facebook and Twitter response, others wanted to see it too.

(To The Lone Ranger's credit, the  ticket-seller said the film had sold out the night before and the theatre was pretty packed when I was there.)

The Lone Ranger had its over-the-top moments too, with a horse that defied gravity and a Saloon Madam's leg that doubled as a firearm (think Cherry in Planet Terror). But rebooting a treasured icon for modern viewers is a tricky business, and while it has worked for some films like Star Trek (2009), The Lone Ranger suffers upfront from an audience disconnect to the "western experience." What interest is there for today's kids in the need to build a physical cross-nation connection (the railway) when they can pick up their phone and reach anyone anywhere around the world? The Twitter generation is also more of a collective mindset, more Borg than John Wayne, so the notion of a "Lone Ranger" who will right wrongs may not have the same appeal or impact as it did for young audiences in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

So, why would Sharknado, which also had a 1950s vibe, fare so well? As absurd as its premise may be, Sharknado likely resonated with viewers who recently experienced mass flooding in the US midwest, Canada and other disasters. The best science fiction and horror movies exploit the fears of the time. The price was right too: free to watch or PVR. In addition, while movie theatres politely lecture  patrons to turn off their cell phones during screenings, the home-viewing audience can partake of alcoholic beverages, tweet and FB post to their heart's delight during the broadcast. This can be seen as equivalent to watching flicks from the comfy seats of big-finned cars at the drive-ins of the 1950s.

Going back to Star Trek, it's interesting to note that Gene Roddenberry pitched and sold the original TV concept as "Wagon Train to the stars." The western was in its heyday. People were connected to that genre's theme. The Lone Ranger may yet ride again, when the time is right for a white-hat hero rather than a  chainsaw-wielding one.