Tag: Monster Hunters Survival Guide

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    Comic Book Reviews: Ant-Man & Wasp, Return of Bruce Wayne, Avengers Prime

    New Reviews of This Week’s Releases!

    It’s Wednesday, which must mean it’s time for more comic book reviews! This week, TFAW.com reviews Ant-Man & Wasp #1, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6, Avengers Prime #4, Chew #15, Angel Illyria #1, Scott Pilgrim Precious Little Box Set, Star Trek Khan: Ruling in Hell #2, Cowboy Ninja Viking #10, Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide #1, Elmer GN, the Ame Comi Supergirl and Steel figures, and the Cover Girls of the DCU Harley Quinn Statue.

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    TFAW Interviews Real-Life Monster Hunter John Paul Russ

    Monster Hunters' Survival GuideEnter our Twitter contest to win a signed copy of Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide #1! Click to learn more.

    Let’s face it: most people don’t believe monsters are real. We live in a world dominated by pop culture and technology, and while teenage girls may get all aflutter about the vampires in Twilight, most people do not actually believe monsters exist.

    Well, do us a favor and put your skepticism aside before reading the following Zenescope Month interview. We had an exclusive opportunity to speak with John Paul Russ, who asserts he is a real-life monster hunter, much like his father before him. And he’s used his years of experience encountering real-life goblins and ghouls to create the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide, a book chock-full of techniques and strategies to protect yourself in the event of an attack by creatures like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more! Illustrated by Anthony Spay, Shawn McCauley, and Andrew Mangum, this is a one-of-a-kind series you’ll want for your collection–whether you believe in monsters or not!

    TFAW.com: Hi John Paul, thanks for answering some questions about the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide!

    John Paul Russ: Sure.

    Monster Hunters Survival Guide #1 Greg Horn Variant CoverTFAW.com: This seems like a really unusual series. Can you tell us what to expect?

    JP: Expect a lot of interesting and relevant information on hunting monsters and surviving potential monster attacks. I’m covering everything from vampires to werewolves to zombies to the Loch Ness Monster. This will be a comprehensive and interesting guide with illustrations.

    TFAW.com: What is the purpose of this series? Is it merely to inform readers about the different types of monsters, or will it really give them strategies to defend themselves?

    JP: It’s definitely more geared toward confrontations with various types of monsters. It also will discuss popular myths versus the facts. I wanted to be informative enough where it would help out both amateur and seasoned hunters, as well as those who just have a curiosity about monsters.

    TFAW.com: What types of monsters will be featured in each comic?

    JP: The first issue deals with the undead like zombies, vampires, mummies, ghosts and more. In issue #2 we’re delving into cryptids such as Sasquatches and the mythical Krakens. Other issues will examine unnatural beasts like werewolves and giant creatures like killer catfish and anacondas.

    TFAW.com: You’re a monster hunter yourself, in real life. How did you get started down that road?

    Monster Hunters Survival Guide #2JP: My father was a hunter and taught me everything I know now. I was intrigued by it as a kid and started going on expeditions with him when I was 12 years old. So many people were skeptical of him and his encounters, but he was a modest man and never forced anything down anybody’s throat. He always said to me that people are not going to want to believe certain things and you can’t make them try and understand you. He hunted for himself and he found it extremely rewarding . . . as do I.

    TFAW.com: We’ve all seen monster hunters in movies and on TV–how close are their experiences to yours?

    JP: Not very. Once in a while there may be something out there that strikes a chord, but 99% of the time it’s BS. My niece had me watch Twilight with her last year and I didn’t realize it wasn’t supposed to be a comedy until just a couple months ago.

    TFAW.com: When did you discover, for yourself, that these monsters are real?

    JP: My father once brought home a baby chupacabra he had captured. I was only seven or eight at the time. Right then I knew there were strange and mysterious creatures in the world, creatures that few knew about. And that’s really when I knew I wanted to hunt like my father.

    TFAW.com: Have you encountered all of the monsters you cover in the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide?

    Monster Hunters Survival Guide #3JP: Not firsthand, but the community of monster hunters is larger than you would think. Most of the information in the book comes directly from my own personal experiences, but there were several times when I called on other hunters and their knowledge. They were happy to help but prefer to remain anonymous.

    TFAW.com: What’s the scariest situation you’ve found yourself in with a monster?

    JP: They’re all pretty damn scary. That’s why I’m writing this book. Believe me, you do not want to go up against a werewolf or a zombie without it. But if I had to choose one encounter over all the others, I would say it was the first time I encountered a vampire. Let me tell you this, the weakest real vampire makes those Twilight pretty boys look like Count Chocula.

    TFAW.com: Do you hope to capture any alive?

    JP: I’ve captured, and killed, plenty of monsters. but not in an effort to prove whether they exist or not. I do it to protect the general population, who more times than not scoff at their existence. There are many creatures, like Sasquatches, who are mainly docile and just want to be left alone. But there have been times when even a Sasquatch has gone rogue, and that’s why every aspiring monster hunter needs to know how to take one down. Unfortunately, encounters like that generally happen because humans are encroaching on their natural habitats.

    Monster Hunters Survival Guide ZombieTFAW.com: Where do you think monsters come from? Have they always been here?

    JP: Some of these species inhabited this planet well before humans. Look at it this way, dinosaurs could be considered monsters, but they just happened to go extinct prior to us (at least most of them did, see issue #3 for the ones that didn’t). There are various reasons monsters walk the earth. I have yet to uncover all of them, but I’m trying.

    TFAW.com: Which monsters are the most dangerous, in your opinion?

    JP: A Kraken can take take down a battle ship, but they rarely come to the surface, so attacks are few and far between. Vampires are extremely dangerous beings, as are werewolves. Zombies may be the most deadly. If left unchecked, a zombie outbreak could wipe out the entire human population, and that’s no bull. I heard Kirkman actually got his idea for The Walking Dead because he’s related to a monster hunter who told him how real and deadly they are. But I don’t know if that’s true or not. What I do know is that as long as there are monsters out there, us hunters will hold vigil for our fellow man.

    TFAW.com: Why do monsters attack humans? Is there anything we can do to avoid such attacks?

    Monster Hunters Survival Guide PoltergeistJP: There are so many reasons, and I’ll cover those in my issues. Some are very aggressive and some are much less so. Some want to eat you, some want to turn you, and some just want to be left alone. Each type has its own agenda and intelligence level, that’s for sure.

    TFAW.com: What do you say to people who are skeptical that monsters really do exist?

    JP: I say to each their own, but don’t come crying to me if you’re attacked and unprepared . . . although at that point you’re likely not breathing anymore.

    TFAW.com: Did you advise any of the artists for the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide?

    JP: [I told them] don’t turn this into a damn cartoon.

    TFAW.com: How many issues will the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide be?

    Monster Hunters Survival Guide Zombie HeadJP: It’s five issues. And it’s very informative. I have to say, the artists (Anthony Spay, Shawn McCauley, and Andrew Mangum) did a really nice job on this book and I’m happy with their choices.

    TFAW.com: What made you choose Zenescope as your publisher?

    JP: They’re the best for what I wanted to do. Joe and Ralph understood my vision and supported me from day one. In my humble opinion these guys have set the tone for horror and supernatural comics over just the four or five years they’ve been publishing. Zenescope is one of those companies that feels like it’s been around forever, but hasn’t. That’s because they are so good at setting themselves apart from all the others, and that’s how I am. It’s why I knew we’d be a good fit.

    TFAW.com: What other projects do you have coming down the road?

    JP: A couple of networks have approached me about doing some reality stuff. I’m not completely against it, but it would need to be done right. I’m not a fraud like most of the other “reality” people out there now. I’m just not sure the world is ready to witness what I do just yet.

    Do you believe in monsters? Order the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide today and judge for yourself! Plus, you can still save 20% if you order now.

    What’s better than owning the whole series? Winning a copy of the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide #1 signed by John Paul Russ himself! Enter our Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide Twitter Contest now through 10/27 to enter to win one of 25 copies.

    ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF MONSTER HUNTERS’ SURVIVAL GUIDE

    Have you ever encountered a real-life monster? Post your comments below!

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    Ralph Tedesco Shares the Past and Future of Zenescope

    Grimm Fairy Tales Ralph TedescoEditor-in-chief Ralph Tedesco kicks off Zenescope Month here at TFAW.com, with an in-depth interview about the evolution of this independent publisher and where they’re planning to go next! Of course, in addition to his editorial duties, Tedesco is also one of Zenescope’s most prolific writers, penning spellbinding stories for Grimm Fairy Tales, Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno, Tales From Wonderland, Stingers, and more, so we pressed him for the inside scoop.

    Read on to learn about how Tedesco founded Zenescope, where he gets his inspiration for those dark and sexy tales, and what’s coming up next!

    TFAW.com: Hi Ralph, thanks for talking with us about Zenescope!

    Ralph Tedesco: Thanks for having me.

    TFAW.com: What made you decide to co-found a comic book publisher?

    RT: I was living in Los Angeles working as a bartender and I was also an aspiring actor getting some work here and there . . . not cliche at all, right? I also was a screenwriter, but thinking anyone wanted to read my spec screenplay was pretty much a joke. So one night while I was visiting back home in Philly, Joe (my writing partner and now business partner) and I brainstormed some ideas and one of them was to publish our own comic book series. We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into at the time, but it sort of took on a life of its own and we expanded from there.

    Grimm Fairy Tales #52 Page 3TFAW.com: What were your thoughts on what Zenescope should be, as a company?

    RT: We definitely wanted to be that dark, edgy, provocative company that distinguished itself in a new and refreshing way. We simply didn’t want to be like any other publisher out there at the time. Now we weren’t going out year one to try to compete with Marvel or DC or Dark Horse, but we felt we could nudge into the top 10 indies if we stuck to what we believed and we ran the company using our competitive nature.

    TFAW.com: What do you think makes Zenescope stand out from the other companies–besides the eye-popping covers, of course!

    RT: Definitely our ability to think outside the box and also our willingness to take risks. Joe and I feel we have a pretty good knack for coming up with intriguing storylines and also for good storytelling, but we never want to box ourselves in. We’re not afraid to swing for the fences occasionally, even if it means striking out sometimes too.

    TFAW.com: As Editor-in-Chief, what are your biggest challenges?

    RT: It’s the endless juggling act that is editing and organizing art teams and writers, etc. It’s a more than a full-time job in and of itself, but throw in the writing I do and other responsibilities Joe and I both have and it adds up to a ton of hours in the office each week. But in the end it’s certainly worth it.

    Grimm Fairy Tales #52 Page 4TFAW.com: Grimm Fairy Tales just released its 50th issue! How do you feel the series has evolved over its run?

    RT: It’s night and day in some ways, but then it’s also kept elements of what we loved about it in the beginning. It went from a series of morality tales and stand-alones with Sela, our main character, acting as sort of the “cryptkeeper,” and then it began to evolve into this huge universe with multiple subplots and an ever-expanding laundry list of new and interesting characters, both good and evil.

    We always planned it as an epic series from which we’d spin off into other series, but it definitely took on a life of its own as we went ahead, and the pieces just seemed to fit. We’re proud of how the series has matured and continues to evolve. You need that in order to keep readers on their toes, or otherwise it would get stale.

    TFAW.com: Sela seemed to have a crisis of faith in issue 50, not sure if she wants to be involved in the fight against evil, and now she’s been forced to kill Nissa. Is she going to walk away, or will this make her fight harder?

    RT: My thought is she’ll pack up and take a long vacation in Cabo, but I don’t think Joe would agree . . . hahah. Actually, you need to wait and see, because there will be some very cool twists coming.

    Grimm Fairy Tales #51 Page 10TFAW.com: So many of the stories in Grimm Fairy Tales are morality tales–it reminds me of old Creepy and Eerie stories. Are you a fan of older horror? What are your other inspirations?

    RT: For this series it definitely and without a doubt was the Twilight Zone. That was one of my favorite shows growing up. I would watch the old black-and-white episodes with my mom when I was little and was obssessed with them. I was also hooked on Amazing Stories, which didn’t last that long, and then of course Tales from the Crypt.

    TFAW.com: You’re also writing Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno, described as “Jacob’s Ladder meets The Long Kiss Goodnight,”–which is a concept I love. It’s a little rougher and has more of a traditional action feel–what made you want to write it?

    RT: The idea of a character who yearns for redemption and gets a second chance by having to literally fight through hell just intrigued me. Add in the fact that she’s a badass, sexy contract killer who is ready to kick demon ass, and I’m all in. I just loved the character and her strength and really wanted to explore her vulnerability and her reason for doing the horrible things she did.

    TFAW.com: A lot of your tales involve good struggling against evil and people getting their just desserts–why do these motifs resonate so strongly with you?

    Grimm Fairy Tales #51 Page 11RT: I really like the idea of karma. I’m not so sure I believe in karma very strongly, but the idea is intriguing to me. People getting what they deserve is a cool premise. But I also do like the idea of people getting second chances as well, so that’s why I like redemption tales so much.

    TFAW.com: Your supernatural-alien adventure series, Stingers, is being collected in November. What was your favorite part about working on this project?

    RT: It was so much fun to create the world. I really loved the idea of this character who despises humanity being thrust into the role of saving the human race before an alien takeover occurs. I simply love anti-heroes, they’re the best characters to write . . . there I go with the redemption stories again.

    TFAW.com: You often collaborate with writer Joe Brusha. What does your working relationship look like?

    RT: He yells alot, then cries, then sulks then lets me write what I want . . .. hahah no, we’ve been friends for 20 years and we’ve been writing together for 15. We have a very symbiotic relationship when it comes to writing, and we know each other’s styles so well that we are able to help each other out, and we both are good at helping the other break through the occasional (or not so occasional) writer’s block.

    Grimm Fairy Tales #51 Page 12TFAW.com: What other types of projects do you want to be working on?

    RT: I definitely want to do some comedy series. It’s what we wrote a lot of when Joe and I were first writing screenplays, and I know we both have a knack for it. Comedy is a tougher sell in comics, so it has to make sense and it needs to be done right, but I know we’ll be doing something comedic in nature in the near future.

    TFAW.com: What’s coming up for Zenescope that you’re most excited about?

    RT: The Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide is something I’m so looking forward to. It’s a four-issue mini-series guide with illustrations teaching people how to survive various monster attacks as well as how to hunt monsters while also debunking some common monster myths. It’s really got everything.

    Working with the writer of the series and self-proclaimed expert monster hunter, JP Russ, has made this project worth doing even prior to its release. Issue #1 is going to hook a lot of people into this series. If you’re into vampires, zombies, werewolves, unnatural beasts, cryptids, or any other type of monsters, then this is the book to read.

    TFAW.com: Where do you see Zenescope in five or ten years?

    RT: A consistent top-five publisher with all of the same loyal fans that started with us from the beginning, and a bunch of new ones that just caught on a little late but who we’ll love unconditionally nonetheless. How’s that?

    Thanks again, Ralph! Like what you read? Make sure to visit our Zenescope Month page and save 10-20% off all Zenescope comics and graphic. We’ll also be running some contests later this month, so stay tuned!

    Are you a fan of Zenescope? What’s your favorite title? Post your comments below!

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