Commissioned Artwork of #Voltron Force #KeithandAllura

Voltron Force Keith and Allura by Elmer Damaso

After listening to Let’s Voltron podcast #31, where podcast host Marc Morrell interviewed two Voltron comics artists N. Steven Harris and Jacob Chabot, two avid podcast listeners from Canada and Australia had a light-bulb idea.

Josette and cubbie, fangirls and shippers from completely opposite sides of the world, were blown away by Voltron’s latest completed five-part Robotech / Voltron crossover comic mini-series, where they saw ’80s Voltron and its beloved canon pair Keith and Allura make an amazing comeback with brilliant artistic precision based on the original Japanese animation or anime style. It was all thanks to the comics’ talented artist, Elmer Damaso.

Because these two shippers also fangirled the Voltron Force (VF) 2011 version of Keith and Allura, they decided to commission Mr Damaso to create a digital artwork of Keith and Allura from this specific version of Voltron.  Mr Damaso accepted the challenge, and after several exchanged emails that flew across several timezones, he sent first a rough pencil sketch, then an inked version, until finally, a fully rendered version…with a few minor… ah…changes *sheepish grin*.

Since this was Josette and cubbie’s first request for commissioned artwork,  they had a couple of hoops for Mr Damaso to jump through. First, they wanted the artwork to closely resemble Keith and Allura from the Nicktoons cartoons version; Second, there was a question about a ring. As VF KA shippers, they wanted to know whether Keith and Allura were engaged or married at the end of VF series? Since they requested the commission before the Voltron 30th Anniversary book was released, they wanted something…ambiguous perhaps? It could either be a wedding ring or an engagement ring; it would all depend on the viewer’s point of view. And finally, they had to figure out the hotly-debated and contested issue regarding eye colour.

To cut a long story short, we are happy to share that Mr Damaso was most patient with the two over-eager nutbrained fangirls-shippers (*waves hi to Elmer*). Josette and cubbie have a version of VF with coloured eyes in their private collection.  However, for the purpose of this blog where ALL versions of Voltron are loved and supported, they’ve decided to share the artwork where Keith and Allura’s eye colour remained unchanged from its inked version, hoping to appease the 80s Voltron fangirls who preferred Keith’s eyes either black or dark brown.  (yes, inside the kaex yahoogroup, among KA fans themselves, divisions exist regarding the different versions of K/A).

Anywhoooo….

Thank you Mr Elmer Damaso for an amazing commissioned artwork. Brilliant job. Two Thumbs Up.

We hope World Events Productions and Dreamworks Animation would re-hire you and the Digital Arts Chefs for Voltron’s next comics project.  We would love to see more of the Defender of the Universe and its beloved pilots, drawn faithfully from the classic 80s cartoons that we all grew up with.


Gingerbread Voltron

For this month’s blog post, let’s all welcome Voltron  #KeithandAllura fan, Josette Melanson from Canada, sharing her amazing story about Gingerbread (GB) Voltron.

GB Voltron and JM

xoxoxo

Right before Christmas, I stumbled upon a photo on Facebook and YouTube clip on how to make a gingerbread Voltron.  This blazing, edible artwork was made by cake artist Gonzuela Bastarache.

GB Voltron Gonzuela and Voltron

Ms Bastarache, whose confectionery creations were regularly featured in Cake Master magazine, was recently on Food Network’s Sugar Dome’s Halloween Wars, where she was member of a competing team called ‘Sweet Nightmares

What surprised me about the talented and popular cake artist Ms Bastarache was that she also lives in my city of Moncton, New Brunswick.  Located in east coast, Atlantic side of Canada, Moncton, known asCanada’s polite and honest city, is a small city with a population of 146,000.

After the Christmas holidays, back at work, my dear friend and fellow Voltron fan Stephen, (who shared the Voltron prize Memorabilia)  told me about GB Voltron.

GB Voltron and Voltron fan Stephen

He mentioned that, like most edible, freshly-made baked goods having short shelf lives, a close friend rescued a very special gingerbread confection from being tossed out, and had it delivered it to his house. 

Stephen generously offered to share the gingerbread robot creation.

GB Voltron Top Closeup

It was love at first bite…er…sight. We were in complete awe! I mean, how could two people in little old Moncton be in possession to what we thought was the greatest piece of edible art?

GB Voltron Stephen with lionhead attack

GB Voltron YummyEven though I am pictured taking a huge bite of the mighty robot, I honestly could not bring myself to eat it. This is Voltron after all! Since neither of us had any room in our freezer to store the two foot gingerbread man without it falling apart, we resolved ourselves to the unevitable. But before discarding the now stale cookie, my friend gave me the head of my beloved Blue Lion as a keepsake. Best gift ever!


Happy 1st Anniversary @LetsVoltron podcast!

LetsVoltronBlogpost-Logo

I’ve never religiously followed podcasts until the Let’s Voltron podcast came along.  Hearing 80’s Voltron Commander Keith Kogane shout out Voltron’s activation sequence, together with my favourite Voltron Force soundtrack as the podcast’s intro gives me goosebumps. Every. Single. Time.

Listening to the Let’s Voltron podcast became a more wholistic experience when podcaster Marc Morrell discussed Voltron stuff that I had purchased or was keen to purchase.  Having something tangible pushed the fangirl learning into an experiential level.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-RobotechVoltronCrossover

Podcast [002] Robotech / Voltron #1 with Tommy Yune gave a fantastic insight with regards to the crossover comics series.  As a newbie Voltron fan, I was eager to complete my first ever comic collection.  I am now the proud owner of both digital version and hard-copy of the Robotech / Voltron crossover series.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-Toynami30thAnniv

I never had my own Voltron action figure.  Back in the 80s, I wasn’t allowed to play with robots as they were “boys’ toys”.  After listening to Podcast [005] George Sohn & Toynami’s 30th Anniversary Voltron Collector’s Set  I wanted to save up for this beauty.  And on my 41st birthday, I finally had my wish fulfilled.  It’s never too late to own your own Voltron robot.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-Omnibus

As a late-comer to the Voltron fandom, one of the first items that seasoned fangirls told me to purchase was this hard-to-find Voltron Omnibus by Dan Jolley.  The Omnibus was published in 2008 and comprised the compilation of Devil’s Due comics that had started in 2003. This version of Voltron had also been the backbone of some of the Voltron fanfiction writers on FanFiction.Net.    Reading the book, the fanfiction stories, and hearing Podcast [007]: Voltron DDP Comics Author Dan Jolley‘s inputs completed the fangirl experience.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-VoltronForceComicNovels

As big fans of the Voltron Force version (Nicktoons 2011), my 8yo daughter and I totally geeked out when we listened to Marc Morrell interview Brian Smith, writer the Voltron Force comic novels, in Podcast [008]This podcast episode was also a kid-friendly episode with Marc Morrell’s son Lucas as his co-host.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-GoLionLV

Podcast episodes [006], [015], [022] and [030]  were in-depth discussion and comparison of Voltron episodes 1-16 both 80s Voltron and Go-Lion versions. And each time, after listening to each podcast episode, I wanted to pull out my DVD box sets and watch the cartoons straightaway.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-Dynamite

Voltron Dynamite Comics Issue #11 (with #KeithandAllura on the cover) was my very first Voltron comic book.  I was never into comic books before.  Until Voltron Dynamite.  The comics writer for this series was Brandon Thomas (Podcast [021]), who was the first Voltron comics writer I ‘met’ on Twitter and actively replied to Voltron fans’ queries on this social media platform.   The artist for Dynamite Voltron issues 6-12 was N.Steven Harris (Podcast [031]), who gave Voltron fans amazing preview pages via Deviantart.  During that time, I was in my first school term at the local community art school and I struggled with drawing different perspectives. N Steven Harris’ Voltron artwork was my inspiration during that school term in basic drawing and painting.

LetsVoltronBlogpost-AnnivBook

And the pièce de résistance, the highlight of the year, is this coffee-table book “From Days of Long Ago” where a group of people have come together to make Voltron’s 30th Anniversary very special.  It took three different podcasts to cover and discuss this awesome tome,  Podcast [029] with NYCC Preview,  Podcast [031] with Jacob Chabot’s interview, and Podcast [034]: “From Days of Long Ago”

LetsVoltronBlogpost-WEPLogo

Finally, the trifecta of all the Voltron podcast episodes is from the World Events Productions (WEP) team.  To hear Voltron stuff straight from WEP is pure gold for this fangirl who lives far, far away from Voltron HQ. Listen to Mr Bob Koplar in podcast episodes [012] [013] and [035];  Ms Tiffany Ilardi in Podcast [028] and Mr Ted Koplar in Podcast [019]

Thank you Marc Morrell for a fantastic 2014 with mind-blowing thirty-five podcasts.   Voltron fans around the world are so lucky and are very grateful for all the Voltron updates.   We look forward to more podcasts and we are keen to see what’s in store for Voltron in 2015.  In the meantime, we would to share our wishlist for future podcasts:

– Interview Dreamworks Animation

– Interview voice actors of Keith and Allura from Voltron Force

– Interview Tommy Yune and Elmer Damaso during TP release date of Robotech/Voltron crossover comics


Finding KA Beyond Fanfiction & Fanart

After sifting through a wealth of Voltron fan fiction on Fanfiction.Net to build what is now the Keith and Allura Community List,  I found myself still craving more than just stories featuring our favourite canon pairing of #KeithandAllura.  Being a very visual person, I also love VF KA Fanart.  Hubby Chris occasionally indulges me with delish VF KA fanart,  but when I need my KA fix, my quiet, happy escape to get through the tough days of real life, I also turn to Cheetoy.

CHEETOY KA FANART

VF KA fanart “Hold Me Please” by Cheetoy

I was so inspired from all the stories that I began writing fanfiction myself.  And thanks to Cheetoy, she inspired me to take up art classes, so that one day, I too could draw VF KA fanart.

However, like other KA fans, I was still hungry, insatiable even.   But where else could I find KA?  Suddenly curious,  I began my first step of finding KA by researching via the Internet.  What would I look for?  Would I look for similar physical attributes, character traits or both?  But first, where do I look for KA?

KA in Anime / Manga

Since Voltron began as an anime in Japan as Beast King GoLion circa 1981,  the first stop was anime and manga land.  Do present-day animation companies still use the classic template that Toei Animation had used for GoLion’s Akira Kogane and Fala Hime more than thirty years ago?  Fortunately at this day and age, there are now (android) apps that could play/stream full episodes of animation for mobile phone devices.  There are also apps where one can read the latest manga issues in English.   It has been thirty years since Voltron and there has been a lot of anime and manga produced since then.  So, I decided to focus on what was readily available on mobile apps.

Finding KA blogpost pic1 Finding KA blogpost pic2Finding KA blogpost pic3

I was blown away with the stuff I found.  The Het pairing of (dark, brooding, loner Commander/Protector/Knight/Noble) with (bright,leading female Princess/Ruler/Fair maiden/Royalty)  was everywhere.  Some anime/manga literally were reincarnations of KA, with Knight-Princess pairing.  There were anime/manga types that had no pairings, but the lead male character looked like Keith Kogane.  I found so many manga/anime KA-lookalikes, (and most some titles were in Japanese too) I decided put the images randomly together to show you a mere glimpse of what I found.

KA in Fiction

But I wanted to read romance and outer space, just like in the Voltron universe. The hopeless romantic and KAshipper in me was still hungry and was hankering for more KA-esque characters to read.  Then, one day on Twitter, I saw a retweet about this Aussie author with a new book that had the story elements I craved: Sci-Fi / Romance, or simply SFR.  I was gobsmacked to find such a genre I never knew actually existed.  I’m such a late bloomer; I spent most of my twenties on autopilot: as a corporate drone, buried in graduate school studies reading academic journals, and in my thirties I was devouring parenting, motherhood and breastfeeding books.  Anywhooo…

I was having an author crush on Anna Hackett.  Here was a fellow Aussie, a mum of two young kiddies, and a published author writing the kind of stories I was looking for.  And yes, Anna grew up watching Voltron too! *sparkly teary eyes*  Her book Winter Fusion had KA-like characters: ex-space marine Savan and planetary negiotator Brinn.  Her latest book In the Devil’s Nebula had VF KA-esque space pilot Commander Zayn and blonde-haired Ria as her kickass couple.

Anna Hackett book cover Winter Fusion Anna Hackett book cover In The Devil's Nebula

I was smitten from the get go.  From there, the floodgates opened and found myself immersed, reading e-book after e-book of SFR.   I also found myself following both Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly and SFR Brigade on Twitter.

KA Fanfic Writers Turned Authors

At the end of the day, I went back to our fandom and continued to look for more KA-pairing stories.   But something was still missing.  I wondered about fandoms. The big fandoms / mega-fandoms have their own fanfic writers-turned authors. After reading Anne Jamison‘s FIC: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over The World,  I found myself reading all of Christina Lauren‘s books, and the (in) famous Fifty Shades by E.L. James.  By this time, I wondered if the Voltron fandom has its own fanfic-writers-now-published-authors?  And the answer is yes! One of them is Shannon Muir: one of Voltron’s first fanfic writers and is an author of several books. Surely there are others too, unbeknowst to this newbie fangirl? Amongst KA fanfic writers, even?  Was there a fanfic-writer-turned-author from KAEX yahoogroup?

And the answer is another big yes! One of the KAEX Yahoo Group’s earliest members, David A. Tatum aka Desaix on FFN, has had a few published books under his belt and his latest one, The Kitsune Strategem, had KA-lookalike characters.  I was instantly drawn to the book cover. It was like looking at KA from a different universe.  I was mesmerised from page one and couldn’t put the book down.  It was like reading Go-Lion/Voltron but in a fantasy version, with a solid, expansive, and detailed world-building universe behind his main characters Keiras and Mathis.

David A Tatum book cover Kitsune Strategem

But I do need to mention that Kitsune Strategem is not SFR genre, but rather heroic fantasy genre.  But still, I loved the way he wrote Keiras and Mathis, the friendship that appeared to grow chapter after chapter, how they look after and protect each other, it was like falling in love with KA all over again.  David A Tatum’s Mathis and Keiras reminded me of KA’s GoLion and Voltron DotU universes, where fans could logically infer something was going on between Kogane-Fala / Keith-Allura (however, unlike the Voltron Force Nicktoons version, KA was affianced by the end of the series).   By the time I finished reading The Kitsune Strategem, I wanted Book 2 straightaway.  Just like KA, I wanted to find out (and speculate?) if there would be more than friendship between Keiras and Mathis.  (Suddenly itching to write a fanfic *tee hee*)

So, who else among the KA fanfic writers have published books? I’ve asked our current and amazing fanfic writers -Drowningblonde, KathDMD, Mertz, and RedLion2-  if they’re close to publishing soon?  They got their stories under wraps.  They got me all excited, eager to cheer and promote our fandom’s next batch of upcoming authors.

KA in Voltron’s new 30th Anniversary book

At the end of my research / reading journey, I eventually went full circle.  I found KA again, inside Voltron’s 30th Anniversary book “From Days of Long Ago.”  It’s a beautiful coffee-table book and a must-have for Voltron fans from every generation.

Voltron 30th Anniv Book From Days of Long Ago

Now the only thing left is, unfortunately still stuff of science-fiction:  Is there a way to program an e-Reader to change characters’ names and attributes to match my favourite couple? *grins*

Long Live Keith and Allura!

KA from Voltron Anniversary Book

P.S.

This blogpost became live on 13th November 2014:  Cheetoy, I dedicate this blogpost to you: Happy Birthday fangirl!


Global Fangirls 2.0: A Crossover Comics Review

Not all fans are able to make their pilgrimage to major geek events such as #NYCC this weekend.   But thanks to today’s technology,  global fans are able to enjoy and share their fandom in real time.  We begin today’s blog post by first thanking Comixology for making comic books accessible to all mobile devices to readers across the globe, without the infuriating geo-blocking or zoning issues found in Amazon Kindle and Perfect Square Viz Media (through which we wanted to download digital copies of Voltron Force comic books, to no avail).

Robotech Voltron Crossover covers

#Voltron fangirls have been fangirling hard with the Robotech / Voltron crossover comics since the first issue launched on Christmas Eve 2013.  When the series concluded with its fifth issue on Voltron’s 30th Anniversary on September 10, 2014,  fangirls from Canada, Philippines and Australia had come together: we literally were counting down the days, hours and minutes til release day;  we simultaneously downloadeded our copies on September 10, 10:00 A.M. New York Time (midnight in Melbourne and evening in Manila); and we shared real time reactions (and all the fangirl squealing) over Twitter.   Today’s technology has made fangirling really fun on a global scale.

We featured the Robotech / Voltron crossover comic series on this blog earlier this year and it is fitting that we conclude with a review from fangirls from three different countries outside the USA.

Q1 – What attracted you to the crossover comics?

The preview artwork promoted on Facebook and Twitter was amazing. We were all drawn to the comics right away.

CAN :  I grew up with Voltron and Robotech, so I felt as though I was getting a real treat.  I also loved that it was set in the same 80’s Voltron type of setting.  I was immediately hooked and couldn’t wait for the comic issue be released.

PHL : The preview page teased the fans about Keith making his move on Allura.

AUS : Listening to Let’s Voltron’s podcast #2 helped a lot, letting the fans know the aim of the series in advance.

Robotech Voltron Crossover issue1

Q2 – What did you like about the crossover comics series?

CAN :  I love so many things about this crossover story. Aside from the amazing artwork, I really enjoyed the overall story line and how it combined the different elements from both the Voltron and Robotech sides, as well as how it used the Omega Comet as the catalyst and how the events unfold in the alternate universes / dimensions. I also love how the ending tied back with the beginning, where the princess reminded Keith can he can call her Allura.

PHL :  I am not a fan of comics in general, but I adored the character interpretation (drawing) and overall look, including the color, of the comic. I was also intrigued by the story.

AUS : The writers and artists kept within the already established / known universes both in story and art. In previous Voltron comics, there was a backlash from BOFQs and BOFKs against the DDP &  Dynamite versions: that they ventured too far from the 80s Voltron story, that the art didn’t look anything like the Voltron members.   Surely this crossover comics series should appease the old fans?

Q3 – Any favourite issue / part among the five comics

CAN : I truly love all five issues and not sure I could pick just one, let alone one favorite part.

PHL : I liked all issues. But if I have to choose favorites, I like the ones with chibi Keith in them.

AUS : I loved issue 1 and 6, because of the #KeithandAllura pages.  Each time an issue was released, I had to read from the very beginning of Issue 1.  IMHO, this series would look and read better as a TP version

Q4 – How was your experience buying the comics? Did you buy the digital / printed or both? Why?

CAN : I bought all my crossover comic issues online from Comixology.  I thought the experience was great overall. You can’t beat the high-definition images! Since I can access them on my iPad, I can easily zoom in any elements. Lots of detail in some the background.  Where I live, we only have one comic book store. It’s a small one and they cater to more popular and bigger selling issues. Unfortunately this crossover series (along with other Voltron comics) didn’t make the cut. So the ability to purchase printed issues locally was not possible. Therefore, I had to settle for digital version only.

PHL : I have both digital and print editions. I bought the digital because it was easy to purchase online. I also bought the print because I find it easier to read and browse through. I still like the feel of paper.

AUS : I bought both digital and print copies.  I use Comixology’s Android app to access the digital edition comics. The Robotech / Voltron series is my very first complete comic book set. I’ve never been a comic book fan until I began fangirling Voltron in 2012. I want the compiled / trade paperback version. When will Dynamite release the TP version?

Q5 – Where there any areas on the comics they could’ve improved or changed?

CAN : I really thought hard about this one, and really couldn’t think of any improvements. I am so in love with this series! The more read it over and over, the longer the love affair continues.

PHL : I wanted to have the series stretched out a bit. As a fan, I felt a little short-changed. I think there was a lot more that could have been done with the story; with the characters. It feels a bit lacking especially if the creators intended this to be a special for the anniversaries of both franchises.

AUS : Dynamite Comics‘ printed centrefold was a shocker (scantilly clad illustrations of Vampirella and Dejah Thoris? Seriously?) Voltron is a kid-friendly brand. I had to supervise my kid, making sure she didn’t see the adult-oriented centrefold and ads at the back of the comics.

Q6 – What would you like to happen next in Voltron comics?

CAN : I would like a #KeithandAllura centric story line or thread, (one where they actually kiss), done in the same 80’s Voltron DotU styling and also drawn by Elmer Damaso.  I’ve never read Voltron DDP series, but heard it was rather dark as well as a departure from DotU. I’ve read Voltron Dynamite comics, which are also a departure to the 80’s classic cartoon.  Which is why, IMHO this Robotech / Voltron crossover series is so special.

PHL : As a #KeithAndAllura shipper, I would really want to see something a little more concrete between them; an actual story-line.  Keith and Allura have been declared officially as canon, we need to see their relationship move on the next level on the comics series.

AUS :Please re-hire Elmer Damaso and the Digital Arts Chef to make 80s Voltron comics style again, to continue the adventures, focusing on #KeithandAllura.

Robotech Voltron Crossover issue6


Happy 30th Anniversary #Voltron!

blogpost updated on September 11, 2014 (Australian EST)

From Days of Long Ago…   

(30 years ago, to be precise, September 10, 1984)

From Uncharted Regions Of The Universe…  

(That started from WEP‘s office in St. Louis, Missouri USA)

Comes a Legend…

The Legend of VOLTRON !

And here we are, thirty years later,  September 10, 2014, we continue to cheer, swoon, tweet,  blog, write fanfiction and fangirl Voltron.

To celebrate #Voltron30, #KeithandAllura fans have dedicated their works months before the anniversary.  A big shoutout to Mertz (our most prolific KA fanfiction writer) and Paulina Ann (our fastest KA fanfiction writer) who dedicated their fanfics “Happily Ever After: Sodalis Vitae”  and “Part of Your World” respectively.  And a special mention to  Arus, for her special blogpost.

On behalf of fans who couldn’t make it to the 30th Anniversary’s Google hangout / event,  who are not on any social media platform, who continue to express their love for Voltron in their own way, we would like to say a big THANK YOU to World Events Productions (WEP) for Voltron!

Sending you virtual cake slice for this special day

 

Cake 1 watermark unboxing

Unboxing

Cake 2 watermark

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Fondant

Cake 3 watermark

(egg-free, dairy-free) chocolate cake

 

And finally, for the entire month of September, KA fans from KAEX Yahoogroup have raised a KAEX Challenge with the theme “Anniversary”.  Here are the replies from the challenge

 

Fanart

voltronmylari – Kiss

Fanfiction

cubbieBlueMako – A Casual Conversation Among Friends

Paulina Ann – Remembrance

Nerdmom1701 – Waiting for Now *new*

Cpt Kallan Beyda – To Love and Be Loved *new*

xoxo

xoxo

xoxo

xoxo


#Voltron30 : Memorabilia : 1985 #Voltron Prize Pack

To celebrate #Voltron30 : Voltron’s 30th Anniversary,  fans around the globe joined hands to share the love for our favourite giant robot.

We would like to thank the Voltron fans from Canada, Josette and her friend Stephen, for sharing this memorabilia to this blogger from Australia:

Voltron Prize Pack 1985

Voltron Prize Pack from 1985

 

Stephen won this fantastic Voltron prize pack back in 1985  when he was 12 years old.   He submitted an artwork of Voltron to their local TV station’s drawing contest in New Brunswick, Canada.  He was among forty winners who were sent a prize pack and their names were broadcasted on television.

Thank you Josette and Stephen for sharing this amazing Voltron pack to showcase to the world during Voltron’s 30th Anniversary!

We can’t help ourselves (giggleswoon) but, we would like highlight the gorgeous #KeithandAllura bits from the Voltron prize pack:

VoltronContest_MembershipCard2-back

Voltron Force membership card (back)

 

KeithAndAlluraInMemorabiliaItem

One side of the 14-sided game piece


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