Un-CONventional

IKN Banner_Space

The time to be a nerd is now! Well actually the time to be a nerd has been pretty much now for the last 10 years and it doesn’t seem like we will be hitting a slow down at any time in the near future. The true question for the nerd about town is what Convention, or Con for the savvy among you, should you go to?

It all depends on what you are looking for, if you are just in search of the biggest and brightest stars and entertainment, well then maybe one of the larger ones Comic Con San Diego, Dragon Con, New York City Comic Con, even Emerald City Con may be for you. There pop culture meets comics, and you get to see stars from some of your favorite shows and movies. If you are looking for comic books and merch buys there are hundreds of smaller conventions that have exactly what you need! And if you are just looking to start out and maybe work your way to the bigger Cons maybe go to Long Beach Comic Con or Wonder Con to get a taste of what it is all about. Also note I am in Southern California so you should look up smaller Conventions in your region, i.e. Wizard World, Heroes and Villains etc.

There are, in fact, those of us who are professionals at Con going. From packing to planning who you want to see, where you want to go, and how long you can be there, we can pack it all down to a science. Beware though mighty traveler things to occur and plans get broke, and after about 15 years of going to Cons you too can become jaded and burned out. Try to not go to every nerd Con out there, go to a few different ones, mix it up, try to enjoy the floor at larger Cons rather than spending every one of them waiting in a line to hear some folks talk about something you will get to see next year. Also meet people, being a nerdy person can be hard at times, maybe easier now as time goes on, I just know when I was younger it was difficult being an extrovert nerd. So talk to folks, make friends, enjoy other people perspective because meeting folks that are into some of the same stuff you are is awesome!

Water, snacks, and pace yourself. Pack the first two and remember the last one.

Last but not least keep an open mind, you won’t like every fandom, most people can’t as there are just far too many expansive ones to like them all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t merely sit back and enjoy them.

Most of all have fun! This is a vacation not a job, enjoy.

 

Advertisements

Wonder Woman Was Wonderful, Wondrous Even Spectacular?

WW3

A great movie with a good message, a great story, and solid casting is hard to come by and onder Woman did just that for me. I enjoyed the entire show, I didn’t have a “wow this is lagging” moment and most of all I didn’t stop and wonder where the plot was leading us. We kind of knew where it was going, and with the intro to Diana in BvS we knew where she would end up, but the way the told the first part of her story on how she got there and what jaded her about man’s world is what was fascinating.

Now I have openly heard and argued against some of the complaints about the movie, everyone complains about everything in this world we now live in it is a reality and it sucks. I have also clearly spoken against the “fans” of comics, not all but the loud corner of general haters, as they don’t recall a time when we didn’t have a superhero movie or three every year. It’s a sad reality when you hear people bash a show that actually tries to be unique in its own way, and introduces magic and gods in such a subtle way that it just fits the reality of what DC and Warner Bros are dealing in.

I won’t blow any plot points, or give a critical review, that’s what your mind is for. Go see it and love it or hate it on your own accord, don’t let the “critics” tell you what’s good or bad about it.

Let me know what you think below!

Soon to Come: Titans & Young Justice: Outsiders

YJ_3_Logo_1

WARNER BROS. TELEVISION AND DC ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE

ALL-NEW LIVE-ACTION SERIES “TITANS,” FROM EXECUTIVE

PRODUCERS AKIVA GOLDSMAN, GEOFF JOHNS,

GREG BERLANTI AND SARAH SCHECHTER,

TO DEBUT IN 2018

 

“YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS,” THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED THIRD

SEASON OF WARNER BROS. ANIMATION’S “YOUNG JUSTICE,”

ALSO TO BOW NEXT YEAR

 

Series Will Air Exclusively on Upcoming DC-Branded

Direct-to-Consumer Digital Service

 The New Teen Titans

(April 25, 2017 – Burbank, CA) Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment today announced that executive producers Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter are teaming up for the all-new live-action drama series “Titans,” which will debut in 2018. Additionally, Warner Bros. Animation’s “Young Justice: Outsiders,” the highly anticipated third season of the popular “Young Justice” series, is also ramping up for its first mission next year.

Both fan-driven series are in early stages of production and will air exclusively on a DC-branded direct-to-consumer digital service in 2018. Operated by Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group, the new digital service will deliver an immersive experience designed just for DC fans.

“Titans” follows a group of young soon-to-be Super Heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In this action-packed series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven and many others. “Titans” is a dramatic, live-action adventure series that will explore and celebrate one of the most popular comic book teams ever.

“Titans” will be written by Akiva Goldsman (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Underground”), Geoff Johns (President & Chief Creative Officer, DC Entertainment; “The Flash,” “Arrow”) and Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”). Goldsman, Johns, Berlanti and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”) are executive producers of the series from Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

In “Young Justice: Outsiders,” the teenage Super Heroes of the DC Universe come of age in an animated world of super-powers, Super-Villains and super secrets. In the highly anticipated new season, the team faces its greatest challenge yet as it takes on meta-human trafficking and the terrifying threat it creates for a society caught in the crossfire of a genetic arms race spanning the globe and the galaxy. Equally praised by critics and viewers for its impressive visuals and rich storytelling, “Young Justice” reached more than 25 million unique viewers in each of its two seasons on Cartoon Network. This passionate fan support set the stage for the new third season.

Sam Register (“Teen Titans Go!,” “Justice League Action”) is executive producer of “Young Justice.” Brandon Vietti (“Batman: Under the Red Hood,” “Superman Doomsday”) and Greg Weisman (“Star Wars Rebels,” “Gargoyles”) are producers of the series, produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Emmy Award winner Phil Bourassa (“Young Justice,” “Justice League Dark,” “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract”) serves as the series’ art director.

For updates on these exciting new series and the upcoming DC digital service, visit www.DCFanUpdates.com.

First Look: CW Black Lightning Pilot Costume

Check out the below a new hopeful addition to the Arrowverse on CW!

BLACK LIGHTNING First-Look Image

BLACK LIGHTNING STRIKES IN ATLANTA

Black Lightning First Image Revealed with Production Underway in Atlanta on NewPilot for The CW from Warner Bros. Television, Based on DC Characters

New Costume Designed by Laura Jean Shannon

Please find attached the first image from The CW drama pilot BLACK LIGHTNING, from Warner Bros. Television and based on DC characters.

BLACK LIGHTNING stars Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie) as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning.

The costume for Black Lightning was designed by Laura Jean Shannon, whose many film and television credits include the upcoming Jumanji sequel, The Jungle Book, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Blade: Trinity, Good Girls Revolt and Iron Man, for which she was nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award.

Executive producer/writer/director Salim Akil said: “I knew way too much about the world as a young boy growing up in Richmond, California. I was no stranger to violence, death, hopelessness or the feeling that no one cared about what was happening in my life.

“Comics were a great way for me to escape. I was about 13 when BLACK LIGHTNING was created, and finally there was a Black Super Hero that gave a damn about our neighborhood and our lives.

“Resurrecting him at a time in our society when a sense of hope is lacking…BLACK LIGHTNING will be that hope. And in updating the suit, it will signal to a new generation that it’s time to harness and release our power, and become our own Super Heroes.”

Production is currently underway in Atlanta.

The first African-American DC Super Hero to have his own stand-alone comic title, BLACK LIGHTNING is based on the character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden in 1977. Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend — Black Lightning.

Greg Berlanti, Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil and Sarah Schechter are executive producers of BLACK LIGHTNING, from Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Salim Akil is directing the pilot from a script he wrote.

The Visage of a Hero

IKN Square Icon_BLK

By: Michael Worthan

A persons view of a hero is based upon many factors, and those factors vary upon the person, the beliefs, their interests, and so much more. Simply put no one thinks the exact same thing about a hero all the time, and even when opinions are similar it was a different train of thought that brought that person to their conclusion. Now the same can be said about literally anything, why do you like your favorite novel, color, website and so on and so forth. The internet, and Social Media to a major extent, have exacerbated these differences and turned them into hate riddled arguments all the while breaking up friendships and ruining movies and shows just because “enter opinion here” did not come about or look the way you felt it/she/he/they should have.

Most don’t recall when we did not have a new superhero/heroine movie out every year, let alone two or three of them, and as we became spoiled with our favorite heroes on the big screen, we also began to complain. We started with minor things and then started nitpicking the plot, the characters looks, their cadence, their race, their gender, and those opinions started to spark outrage, to move fan against fan, and it separated us. Our fandom has been splintered by hate and anger, by bigotry and vitriol from people who are brave behind a keyboard and cruel to boot. We have forgotten what it was like to be the unpopular mass, to be able to go to a Convention to just have fun and speak to people who get us, who understand our fandoms and don’t judge us for them, even if they don’t understand them. There’s always been divisive opinions in comics and movies, but hell we enjoyed hearing about them and were able, at one point, to discuss them as people, as fans, regardless of who we are. Being a nerd has gone from all inclusive to mocking those that are new to fandoms and making sure that they don’t explore other ones by mocking their likes and dislikes. The state of our world, the state of our nation, and the state of nerdom are starting to mirror each other and that is not a reflection I want to be a part of.

For every hero there must be a villain, a foil to rage against the just and righteous, but what happens when that villain is the very group that has made that hero? What occurs when the hero themselves are taken out of being heroic and made to be a symbol for something not so amazing? What is the visage of your hero? Maybe it’s taking someone who knows nothing about something you love and introducing them to it, maybe it’s listening and understanding each others points of view without name calling or yelling. Possibly you can simply be a hero by accepting that not everyone will like the same things, and that sometimes letting go of reality and just immersing yourself into fiction for a few hours could be worth the trip. Maybe being a hero is allowing your tattoos, art, writing, or collection tell their own story and sharing it when asked. We as nerds have always wanted to be on the top of the food chain, and now that we technically are maybe we should bring others into the fold.

I know I will, will you?

 

Lionsgate and Atom Tickets Team Up for Morphin Mondays Campaign

By: Mark Pattonimage001
ATOM TICKETS TEAMS UP WITH LIONSGATE ON EXCLUSIVE

‘MORPHIN MONDAYS’ PROGRAM FOR “SABAN’S POWER RANGERS” MOVIE

 

Fans will receive exclusive content, movie ticket deals and social giveaways each Monday prior to film’s March 24 release. Advance tickets for “Saban’s Power Rangers” on sale today

LOS ANGELES and SANTA MONICA, CA, March 6, 2017 – Advance tickets for “Saban’s Power Rangers” go on sale today and Atom Tickets, the first-of-its-kind theatrical mobile ticketing platform, has partnered with global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) to launch “Morphin Mondays” in support of the highly anticipated film, which debuts in theaters nationwide on March 24, 2017. The “Morphin Mondays” promotion includes exclusive content and deals each Monday leading up to the film’s release—March 6, March 13 and March 20.

Starting today, Atom users have the chance to purchase their ticket for “Saban’s Power Rangers” for just $5 when they invite five friends to see the movie with them via the Atom Tickets app. The program plays off the team of five Power Rangers and takes advantage of the app’s integrated social experience that allows users to invite friends to a movie without paying for them. Each person invited has the opportunity to get their own $5 ticket by inviting five other friends to join the group, further fueling the program’s virality.

“Atom is the only ticketing app that focuses on movies as a group experience,” said Matthew Bakal, executive chairman and co-founder of Atom Tickets. “Pairing the social appeal of Power Rangers with our app’s proprietary invite technology, ‘Morphin Mondays’ encourages users to plan a night out with their friends to see this entertaining new film and taps into the audience’s desire for shared experiences.”

In addition to Morphin Mondays, today Atom unveiled an exclusive Power Rangers movie poster that can only be seen on the Atom platform. A few lucky fans will receive the exclusive poster signed by the cast via social media giveaways.

Directed by Dean Israelite, the film stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin as the Power Rangers and also features Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks. The movie follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove—and the world—is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat.  Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, and band together as the Power Rangers.

Atom Tickets is a game-changing mobile app and website that is revolutionizing the movie ticketing industry to make movie experiences faster, easier and more social than ever. Atom lets users pre-order movie tickets and concessions and provides a VIP experience that includes bypassing lines at theaters. The user-friendly platform also lets moviegoers watch trailers, read reviews and coordinate movie outings with friends while allowing each person to pay separately with just a few simple taps.

How Atom Tickets Works:
Atom Tickets re-imagines the most convenient way for users to plan a night out at the movies. The free app and website provide relevant reviews, trailers and synopses to help customers make the best decision on what to see. Moviegoers may then invite friends (via Facebook or their contact lists) to purchase their own tickets to join them. Atom offers streamlined ordering of tickets and concessions from any Android or iOS phone. At the theater, users go directly to the ushers and concession counters, where they simply scan a QR code at tablet kiosks. Paper tickets and IOUs have been replaced by Atom’s innovative platform, which keeps all plans, messaging, payment and tickets in one place.

 About Atom Tickets
Atom Tickets is the first-of-its-kind theatrical mobile ticketing platform. Through its patent pending recommendation and personalization technology, Atom Tickets allows consumers to search for films instantly, invite friends, buy tickets, pre-order concessions and more. Enabled on 15,000 screens across the U.S., the platform’s innovative marketing capabilities help studios, exhibitors and brands maximize revenue opportunities. Atom Tickets is available as a free app in theApple App Store and the Google Play Store and online at atomtickets.com.

 About Lionsgate
Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) is a vertically integrated next generation global content leader with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, premium pay television networks, home entertainment, global distribution and sales, interactive ventures and games and location-based entertainment.

With the acquisition of Starz, Lionsgate adds to its portfolio of businesses the flagship STARZ premium pay network serving 24.3 million subscribers and the STARZ ENCORE platform with 31 million subscribers. The combined company will operate five over-the-top (OTT) streaming services and the STARZ app delivering content directly to consumers.

The Company’s feature film business spans eight labels and includes the blockbuster The Hunger Games franchise, the Now You See Me series, the box office blockbuster La La Land, which won six Academy Awards®, the hit franchise sequel John Wick: Chapter Two, double Oscar winner Hacksaw RidgeTyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, CBS Films/Lionsgate’s Hell or High Water, Roadside Attractions’ critically-acclaimed Manchester by the Sea, Codeblack Films’ breakout concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and Pantelion Films’ Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

One of the largest independent television businesses in the world, Lionsgate’s slate of premium quality series encompasses nearly 90 shows on more than 40 different networks. These include the ground-breaking Orange is the New Black, the fan favorite Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show, the hit drama The Royals, the acclaimed Casual, the breakout success Greenleaf and hit STARZ series including OutlanderBlack SailsSurvivor’s Remorse and Power, the second highest-rated premium pay television series of 2016.

Lionsgate’s home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of more than 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as a foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment and Starz brands are synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com

 

About Saban’s Power Rangers
Saban’s Power Rangers franchise is the brainchild of Haim Saban, creator and producer of the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers hit series that launched in 1993. Following its introduction, “Power Rangers” quickly became the most-watched children’s television program in the United States and remains one of the top-rated and longest running kids live-action series in television history. The series follows the adventures of a group of ordinary teens who morph into superheroes and save the world from evil. It is seen in more than 150 markets, translated into numerous languages and a favorite on many key international children’s programming blocks around the world. For more information, visitwww.powerrangers.com.

Too Many Rangers

By: Michael Worthan

It’s MORPHIN TIME!!!!

If you know that cry you were a child, or an adult who was a fan, when Power Rangers first came on the scene, that was 23 years ago. Now we have a ton of Power Rangers stuff coming back, making a massive resurgence and I’m here to talk about it!

mmpr0011mightymorphinpowerrangers_000_variant_1-50_greenSo if you hadn’t noticed in the last few months there has been a massive influx of Power Rangers happening in the media, and a lot of it is getting the spotlight.With the new Power Rangers movie coming out on March 24th 2017 starring well known vets Bryan Cranston as Zordon, Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, and Bill Hader as everyone’s favorite sidekick robot Alpha 5. This take on the Rangers still features five teenagers with attitude heavily, but it also seems to be a darkened version of the campy show we all grew up with, with fans being divided we will just have to wait and see how the new Power Rangers are taken when the movie opens.

Then we have not one, not two, but three different Power Ranger comic books that are up and running right, my favorite of the three is Kyle Higgins take on the Rangers right after Tommy the Green Ranger joined the fold. You see in fighting, temperaments flare, as well as distrust and angst, y’know like real teenagers. It is great storytelling and even though it rides on Power Rangers old tropes of wearing the color of the Ranger you are all the time, Putty Patrollers not being all that useful, and yelling when you morph, it has heart and a great inside story that the show never would have been able to do. The ending of the first arch makes you take a step back and wonder.

The second book, which currently is running, is all about Kimberly the pink Ranger. She is retired, away from home, and some bad things start to go down. Luckily she has Zordon and Alpha 5 in her corner as they re-up the retired Rangers powers and she once again morphs into action. This story brings in some different themes, and rides well with the Pink Ranger being the main character. In general I think this would have made a good TV show if given the proper budget and done well, but it’s just as well it is comic book form.

The third comic book, and one that just started not too long ago, is Justice League vs Power Rangers. The base story is that the Rangers are thrown into the DC Universe and are met by the one and only Justice League. How things go and what truly occurs is not for me to spoil, but youninjasteellogo do get the Versus part almost right away and it is pretty phenomenal.

While all of this is going on we still have the Saban branded show running at full steam with its 23rd season having started on Nickelodeon already, Ninja Steel in America. For twenty three years people have donned the colorful costumes and defended the world against a plethora of different villains. The names and zords may change, but the message always stays the same, Good vs. Evil, with evil sometimes turning good. Its not exactly riveting storytelling but for those of us that like to have some campy fun the shows are always a great watch.

And last but not least, beyond the plethora of merchandise either coming out or soon to be coming out, we have a video game on PS4 and XBox One, that is a side scrolling adventure in the vein of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, as well as a few other great arcade games. This fun little game can be purchased digitally and it seems like they’ll have some cool DLC content with it so enjoy!

As always share, comment, and never hate.

‘InJustice 2: The Lines Are Redrawn’

By: Michael Worthan

Injustice 2_Announce Art

Well after a ton of teasing, some videos of new characters, and of course the unknown drop date of Injustice 2 we finally received more teasing, but we do have a drop date of May 16th 2017! So in four short long months we will get to play DC and NetherRealm Studios beautiful and fun brain child once more. For the trailer look below! And for a short blurb here you go: Injustice 2 is NetherRealm Studios’ super-powered sequel to the hit game Injustice: Gods Among Us that allows players to build and power up the ultimate version of their favorite DC characters. Featuring a massive selection of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains,  Injustice 2 continues the epic cinematic story introduced in Injustice: Gods Among Us as Batman and his allies work towards putting the pieces of society back together while struggling against those who want to restore Superman’s regime.  In the midst of the chaos, a new threat appears that will put Earth’s existence at risk. 

A Review…A Plea…A Game

By: Michael Worthan
5md

I was given the task of reviewing 5 Minute Dungeon, a game that has not only reached its goal on its Kickstarter page, it has DEMOLISHED it!. Now I was supposed to do this a LONG, LONG time ago, but unfortunately life did what it does and go in the way of doing the fun stuff for some not so fun stuff. So for the tardiness of this article I am sorry to those I let down, but as things go I am following through on what I am supposed to do no matter how late.

5-Minute Dungeon is fun for those that love imagination, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or just generally love competition. It is quick, the rules are relatively easy, and the game itself is amazingly fun, especially when you’re with good friends that also have a healthy competitive nature. As I said before the Kickstarter has smashed its goals, but it is still up and running, and I have been told there is a possible extension in it! So you can still go and help make this the best possible release of all time for a game by going straight to their Kickstarter and helping them even more HERE!

The innovation is great, even the mock up review copy that I received was really impressive, and to create a game for generations of young and old nerds, those that play D&D in the long for or those that have always wanted to but couldn’t let a whole day get away from them 5-Minute Dungeon has everything you need. A co-operative game with a 5 minute time limit, hence the name, to beat the boss and move on to the next difficulty level!

The colors! The characters! The game itself! Have I added enough exclamation points for you yet?!!!!!!!!!

In all seriousness though it is very rare in this day and age that folks get a chance to make something great, something they fully thought up, something that rails against convention and embraces ones imagination. This game does everything you want it to, it’s an ingenious creation that, if you get it from them on their Kickstarter here, you won’t be disappointed. It’s fun, it allows you and your friends to come together as a team and defeat the enemies, and it creates a heart wrenching thrill that very few games do nowadays.

So go, give, enjoy, and as always never hate.

 

Mysterious Authors

20150903173413-books-shop-fair-library-used-bookshelf-literature-study-textbooks.jpeg

By: Michael Worthan

If you Google the words “Authors Mystique” you will get a list of different posts about how Social Media has had an effect on authors. Some range from how Social Media has blatantly ruined the “lone author” persona. You know the one where they go into a cabin, alone, and away from all distractions and pound out a 800 page novel on a type writer, others feel it has helped them reconnect with authors they met years ago, but do admit some of the mystery of certain authors has been phased out by knowing too much about them. And lastly there are others who feel Social Media has helped them discover authors, and even some authors who feel that without Social Media platforms their voice would have never been heard, drowned out by the incessant ‘No’s’ of book moguls controlling the industry.

So a little backstory to that introduction, something around six months ago I read one of those articles, it just was crossing my Facebook pages path and so I clicked and read, a slight bit of irony I guess as this was a smaller site talking about how Social Media was ruining authors for them, an article that may have never been read if it weren’t for Social Media. I read the article, and then Googled and read more, I read opinion after opinion, and some even had a few authors’ quotes, but none had the full author’s thoughts. So being the fanboy that I am I have interviewed a number of amazing authors over the years, some more than others, and I decided to ask them what their opinion was, because sometimes when the crowd is too loud you don’t get to hear from the people that are effected the most.

Below are five authors, all very different, but all popular and successful in what they do. I asked them the same questions and through e-mail they answered. The question was “Is the author’s mystique dead? And if so how?” I wish I could have had all these authors over at my place, sitting around my table and just record them discussing this, but alas time and travel arrangements that cost a lot of money are something I don’t have a lot of so the second best thing was to ask them each individually so no one was influenced by another. I have all of their answers below. All different, all great answers, all raising more questions.

“Has the Mystique of the Author died? If so how?”

small_size_brent_author_photo_400x400.jpgBrent Weeks: The mystique is only as dead as each of us want it to be. Some authors believe that the mystique sells books and shun social media and interviews except for those that they control closely. (China Miéville, I’m looking at you.) Most authors believe that greater contact with fans leads to greater fan excitement. And, to be blunt, most authors don’t want to sacrifice a possible paycheck to an ephemeral concept like mystique. The truth is authors are closer to readers now than ever before — just like everyone is closer now to everyone else than ever before. I can tweet Barack Obama or the Pope. That wasn’t really an option 15 years ago. 

 How authors, a notoriously introverted and crappy-at-fame group deal with this new exposure and immediacy is another question. Some entertainers can’t stand being watched; others adopt personae; others fold. But this is the new reality. The world has changed; writers, like everyone else, are dealing with it. 

peter-clines-photo-credit-colleen-cooper-300x264.jpg Peter Clines: Yeah, I think you can safely say there was a mystique around authors for a long time. Around all creative people, really. Let’s face it. Writers are odd.  When you squeeze them, weird stuff comes out. What’s the joke, most of our internet searches would get us on watch lists or bump us to the top of a list of suspects.  Normal people don’t think of stuff like that.  They don’t sit down and say “Hmmm, I think tonight I’ll write about a scientist sewing corpse parts together and bringing them back to life with electricity.”  People are fascinated by it, and by the minds it came out of.

So for centuries writers were people nobody ever knew anything about.  You didn’t know what they looked like or sounded like or where they lived.  We didn’t know their daily routines.  If you were lucky there may be an interview or an occasional picture, but so many of them lived in happy obscurity.  The ones you did hear about were the louder than life ones, the Hemingways and the Jack Londons and the Oscar Wildes.

That’s probably worth mentioning, too.  Let’s not forget that sometimes writers had good reason to be a bit mysterious.  Oscar Wilde was very out, but dozens of queer writers had to hide.  Most female authors had to hide in the past, and a lot feel like they still do today.  I know several who make the deliberate choice to hide behind initials or a masculine version of their name.  Hell, I grew up as a huge sci-fi geek and I thought D.C. Fontana was a man until I ended up working with her on a film set years ago (and becoming friends with her).

Is that mystique dead? Probably not. Has it been horribly wounded?  Yes.  Look, the simple truth is that we live in a very access-friendly world right now, with all the pluses and minuses that brings.  We can get live feeds from inside the House of Representatives and we can know who Taylor Swift is dating, probably before her family does.  It’s very hard to keep a low profile if someone goes looking for you, especially once you have any small level of fame.  There are a lot of people who feel entitled to that access, and angry or cheated if they can’t get it.  Hell, there are some messed-up people out there who take a perverse pride in doxing folks, sharing their personal information with the world.

And with all that access comes interaction and questions and analysis.  We know people’s schedules, preferences. and personal histories.  We have a better sense of why he writes about pop culture and she writes about horror and everything he writes ends with sex. And it’s all out there forever, for future review and inspection and potential Wikipedia pages.

So, yeah, a lot of the mystique has been stripped away from writers.  At this point, it takes some serious effort to keep it.  At this point, the only big secret left is who Chuck Tingle really is. (I have theories, most of which are based on nothing and I’m 99% sure are wrong).

 At this point it sort of has become obvious that there is not one answer, but a number of thoughts that bring about more questions, let’s see what else some of these fantastic authors have to say.

 1486959.jpgAJ Scudiere: I think, yes, in part, the mystique of the author is dead. There are still fans out there who see authors the way we used to. I still meet fans who gush about the work of finishing a book, getting published, and more. But I also see those who devalue my work. I think the overall shift is because of the e-book revolution–which includes the self-publishing revolution. Amazon made it possible for anyone to write and publish a book. And people did–without giving thought to the steps necessary or the consequences of just posting/publishing a work that hadn’t been professionally vetted. On the one hand, I think it’s wonderful. There are so many books that never would have been published, and they are great! On the other hand, there are books that never should have been published. Not until they were edited and professionally formatted and more.

 Personally, I think the ‘mystique of the author’ is just as harmful as the ‘ordinariness of the author.’ If we were talking about Rocket Science, our kids might say “I could never do that!” and we would say, “Yes, you can!” I think the same needs to be true of writing. If you have the will to pursue it and the talent for writing, you can do it, and you should be encouraged. But I see so many people now at the other end of the spectrum. They tell me they would do what I do if they had a free weekend. Or as a hobby when they retire. I would never say to the rocket scientist, “If I just had more free time on the weekends, I would be a rocket scientist, too.” But I’ve had exactly that said to me about writing 19 full length novels in eight years. 

 Both attitudes are wrong. Writing a book is not an unattainable goal if you are willing to put in the work. But it’s not for everyone. People shouldn’t self-publish work without professional editing. All the free books on the market are devaluing the rest of it. We get readers angrily demanding our $1.99 books should be free. Dude, it took me a year to write that! It took a pack of hard cider to get through the editing process–which is hard! It took me thirty years of practice writing before I wrote that book. You can do it, too! But you can’t do it this weekend!

austingrossman_credit_marka_knight_wide-7c9f3b9daf0d6fe4d28e388dac7ce26d08d65421.jpg Austin Grossman: It’s still an interesting topic – is the mystique of the author no longer a thing? I’m curious to read the original article, but I expect it was talking about social media, and writers being more accessible to the public and so forth, and maybe familiarity kills that sense of mystery or awe.  And with all the pressure of personal self-marketing and branding, it feels like there’s pressure on authors to *generate* that mystique, to project the idea of themselves as preternaturally witty, profound, leading more elevated or passionate lives. So it can seem artificial.

 But personally, I probably know more authors than most – I grew up with them in the family, and of course one of the perks of being an author is meeting them. And for me there are the rare people for whom I feel that mystique persists, and it depends on the work and the person.

There are plenty of stories and books which I read and can imagine having written, and then there are the other ones – rare cases – where I look at the individual words and even type them out for myself but I still can’t imagine the moment of inspiration that put them together. There are writers who accomplish feats of daring or imagination which genuinely seem extraordinary, and even when I meet such a person (I won’t name names) and exchange pleasantries with them, get drunk with them, whatever – I still can’t quite grasp how their inborn genius works, how their wit functions, and I know that given the same tools – brain, fingers, keyboard – I could never in a thousand years have done what they did on the page. So that seems like the part of it that never goes away.

 4543060.jpgSue London: I’ve often said that Glenn Cook was lucky that we didn’t have the immediate access of the Internet and social media when I was waiting for the Black Company books to come out. Back then you were lucky if you could contact an author by sending a letter through their publisher. Rabid as I was, even I didn’t go that far and only pestered my local bookstore as though they had any influence over the process.

Now here we are with author websites, social media, and direct email addresses. Are authors, on average, more accessible than they were 20 years ago? Heck yeah. Did that peel back the layers of “author mystique”? I don’t think so.

First of all, most authors have always been desperate for you to know who they are. There is only so much room at the table for the giants, so everyone else is at the edges and hoping for attention. The dream is to make your living writing, and that is far harder to do than most realize. We can’t all be Stephen King. So that’s the first piece that is, from the author side, both frustrating and entertaining. You show up at events and signings hoping to become better known and it… mostly doesn’t work. But from time to time you see someone have a little meltdown, either because it’s you (rare) or because to them authors are ROCKSTARS. They have only slightly less squee over Random Published Author than actual Stephen King. If you were to ask them, authors have mystique in spades.

That first point leads into my second one. Almost invariably the people who are fans of all authors say that it’s because they admire how an author’s mind works. There can be no greater mystique than wondering how someone else’s mind works. It happens in both the most distant and most intimate relationships, wondering what another is thinking, but one can assume it happens to writers twice on Sundays. Because writers, more than most, are creating whole worlds out of their thoughts. We are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas? How did you come up with that?” And when we’re honest most of us sheepishly admit, “I don’t really know. It just came to me.” That, in and of itself, is mystical to those who don’t hear the whisper of a muse. They can’t imagine how I receive this flood of ideas. I can’t imagine how they don’t.

So do authors still have mystique? Absolutely. You can email me, talk to me, meet me at a convention – but will you ever understand how my mind works? Of course not. None of us ever really understands that about another. Most of the time we accept that as part of life. But with authors sometimes we really wish we could understand, because then we would have the keys to their kingdom. And it would be really awesome if you didn’t have to wait for the next book in the series because you could just write it yourself. I’m looking at you, Jim Butcher. I need more Dresden.

So there you have a look into the minds of authors, now they obviously speak for themselves, but I’m guessing somewhere along the lines they have peers who agree with their sentiments. I did this piece because (A) I love hearing from authors I know and what their thoughts are on certain things and (B) because I wanted to see if anyone’s thoughts matched up with mine. So if you have stuck with me thus far here are my thoughts.

20160611_162539.jpgMichael Worthan (ME): I don’t believe the authors mystique will ever truly go away, for as much as we know about our favorite authors we don’t know everything about them. They are allowed to be as open or as closed as they see fit and no one can make them change that. If Stephen King and Neil Gaiman can still hold and air of mystery around them, regardless of all of press they get, I feel any author can.

Has it been changed? Yes, yes it most certainly has, but I feel that it has changed in a good way. There are a number of author’s works I love to read that I would never have read, let alone met, interviewed, got books signed by, or befriended without Twitter or Facebook (I am looking at every author who answered this question for me). Change is an inevitability is this day and age, but do I still wonder what Brent Weeks is thinking when he writes his books? Yes. Do I wonder how Peter Clines comes up with such creative storylines that draw me in and I lose six hours of my day? Very much so. The authors talent is a part of their mystique, and even though you see that they tweeted, unless you really become friends with them and sometimes not even then, can you really see who they truly are.

I feel that authors will always carry that air of unfamiliarity with them because they are such unique beings. Not everyone has the tenacity to be a writer nor the creativity. So for me they will always remain a special breed of person that I will always have an interest in.

That’s just my take though, what’s yours? Answer in the comments!

 Special thanks to Peter Clines, AJ Scudiere, Brent Weeks, Austin Grossman, and of course Sue London for their insight and time. Visit their websites, read their books, support these amazing people!!!