Comics Review: Voltron From The Ashes

While patiently waiting for June 10, 2016, the debut of VoltronLegendaryDefender on  Netflix,  we would like to turn your attention to a Voltron comic miniseries by Dynamite Comics.

Voltron From The Ashes is a six-issue miniseries and the story takes place two hundred years after the original Voltron.  To raise the mighty giant robot back to life, they needed a new set of five pilots.

Voltron TFA coverart 2

Cheetoy from the USA, Raiyenne from the Philippines, and C.B.Mako from Australia, fangirls across the globe, gathered together like Voltron and reviewed this comic series.

Voltron TFA coverart 1

1) What attracted you to the Voltron FTA comics?

Cheetoy (USA) –  I’ve been a comicbook fan since I was a kid. I used to steal my father’s comicbook collection, so he felt I should have my own. When I started getting my own, I was hooked.

Raiyenne (Philippines) –  After reading the Robotech/Voltron crossover, I was curious what the team will be facing in Voltron: From the Ashes, six-part issue.

C.B.Mako (Australia) – I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to buy, let alone read comics that didn’t deal with Voltron’s original team.  But after listening to the Let’s Voltron podcast  where Marc Morrell interviewed both writer Cullen Bunn and artist Blacky Shepherd, I was curious and decided to give it a go.

2) What did you like about the comics series?

Cheetoy (USA) –  I love Voltron… Big mecha robot, space soap opera story (the only drama I could stand).. what’s not to love? Good or bad… I love having Voltron stuff.

Raiyenne (Philippines) – I liked that we got to see the original team once more.

C.B.Mako (Australia) – One word:  Voltron.   Because it is Voltron, I’d collect the comics in a heartbeat.   The colour palette of the series appeared that Arus is a hot, barren planet.

3) Any favorite issue / part among the six comics?

Cheetoy (USA) – The Robeast designs were monstrous as they should be. Some even resembled Robeasts from DoTU (Voltron’s Defender of The Universe 80s cartoons)

Raiyenne (Philippines) – My favorite issue was Issue 5 because of the cover artwork. And I liked seeing the original team as well.

C.B.Mako (Australia) – I found the artwork of Voltron vs multiple robeast battles fascinating.  Also, I loved the cover art of Issue 5.  Because Keith and Allura, front and centre.  IMHO, the series has the best cover art to date.  Drawn by Alex Milne and coloured by Josh Perez, I love the consistency of this cover collection. The artwork is so gorgeous, I’m tempted to frame each one and hang them on display.

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

Cheetoy (USA) – I had no problems buying comics as I have a favorite comic book shop nearby (was one of the first things I looked for when I moved house). As for digital? I’m a solid printed gal. Like books, I love the feel of the pages.

Raiyenne (Philippines) –  I bought the comics online because comic books shops are too far from where I live. It’s very hard getting printed copies these days especially since the mall bookshops have been very selective what available titles the would stock in store. I liked reading online because I get to use the ‘guided view’ of the site, which lets me focus on what panel first and not let my attention roam everywhere on page.

C.B.Mako (Australia) – I bought both digital and printed copies.  I would wait for the release date, and the moment New York time zone reaches ten o’clock in the morning (midnight in Melbourne) I would purchase and download the digital edition on comixology straightaway.  As for printed copies of the comics, I cargobiked 12.6 km / 7.8 miles to All Star Comics to grab the latest copy of the comics series.

5) Where there any areas on the comics they could’ve improved or changed?

Cheetoy (USA) – I wanted to love this comic.. I really did. But I can’t figure where it failed exactly. I wrote a detailed answer on Live Journal 

Raiyenne (Philippines) – I was excited for issue 5 due to the cover artwork, (which I liked a lot). It led me to think, “Finally, the issue that will explain the rest of the original team’s story” and then I was disoriented once again because there wasn’t anything that resembled the cover art.  Throughout the issues, it may have been helpful if the flashbacks (the original team) were colored differently then I think the switching from their time to the present through the panels wouldn’t be too confusing. The passage of time would be visible too.

C.B.Mako (Australia) – I wanted to know what happened to Allura.  Arus was her planet, and as planetary ruler, she was the owner of Voltron.  Two of the new male pilots looked alike. Would it have helped to distinguish each one if hair colour or skin changed like blue or green? Or, not look human?

I’ve also noticed Dynamite Comics released the Trade Paperback (TPB) rather quickly. Surprised that both sixth issue and the TPB cover were both the same.  The TPB was unremarkable. Apart from the usually compiled cover art, there were no bonus pages.

6) What would you like to see in future Voltron comics?

Cheetoy (USA) – I wish I could have a graphic novel (or two) that dealt with the “hanging chads” of the many Voltron story arcs left in both comic and TV series. I don’t want it to be rushed either. That was how some of these story lines might have costed readers/viewers (IMO). Even the 30th anniversary book’s Epilogue comics didn’t feel like it offered a neat closer. I would like something that really said…”This arc is done.”

Raiyenne (Philippines) –  I would like to read / see a story of the original team battling mirror versions of themselves and Hagar’s behind it all. I don’t know if that was done in episodes, I hope.not yet. I think it would be cool to see how that will turn out.

C.B.Mako (Australia) – I would like a well-thought-out, well-written comics by  women writers.  All of Voltron’s comics were written by men. They’ve already changed the look of VLD Allura to that of a woman of colour, how about having women writers in future comics?

Also, if Robotech was able to give Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes their wedding and even an offspring, why not Keith and Allura?  Surely, it’s not much to ask from Voltron’s devoted fans? We’d like to see a stand-alone comic novel or mini-series that could see #KeithandAllura fanshippers sated. After waiting for more than thirty years, surely we could give Voltron’s favourite canon couple their happy-ever-after ?

xoxoxoxo

xoxoxoxo

xoxoxoxo

VOLTRON TFA pic

Voltron From The Ashes
Comics and Trade Paperback 
via Voltron estore
Writer  : Cullen Bunn
Artist  : Blacky Shepherd
Colorist: Adriano Augusto
Cover art by : Alex Milne
Cover colors by : Josh Perez
Publisher : Dynamite Comics 
Publication run : September 2015 - February 2016
Trade Paperback : March 2016

 

 


International Fanworks Day

While patiently waiting for the new Voltron series  by Dreamworks Animation to be aired on Netflix in 2016, whether you’re having a fandom high or low moment,  wherever you are in the world, fans come together like Voltron to celebrate International Fanworks Day.

VOLTRON Mousemania

It’s 2016, and it’s the best time to be a fan.

In Australia,  in a span of a few weeks, there was a flurry of discussion about FanFiction. Anne Jamison, author of  Fic: Why Fanficiton is Taking Over The World,  was interviewed at ABC Radio’s RN Drive.  The Conversation followed with an explainer about FanFiction. HuffingtonPost Australia also jumped aboard the bandwagon of FanFiction discussion.

If you’re new to the world of fandom (or keen to broaden your fandom knowledge), I’d like to share my personal list, a few resources to kickstart your journey down the rabbit hole.

Academic Fans

This is my favourite first stop.  To admonish that lifted brow from stuffy literary types, let me introduce you to Fan Studies Network.  All the way from the UK, they hold annual conferences where scholars from around the world share and present their research studies.

Platforms

Apart from FanFiction.Net, Archive of Our Own, and Wattpad, there are other platforms to share your stories.   Kindle Worlds, Inkitt, and Penned to name a few. I’m particularly fond of Kindle Worlds, stories are complete, well-written, and even have book covers.

Podcasts

As a Voltron fan, it is imperative to listen to Let’s Voltron.  Hosted by Marc Morrell of Toonbarn, every Voltron fan who is keen to rekindle their love for the giant robot must listen to the fandom podcast.

Screenshot_2014-01-01-11-46-43-1

On a broader discussion, Fansplaining is my personal favourite.  Hosted by  Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel,  I have never missed a podcast.

Fansplaining logo

Online Magazine

While we have Daily Dot and Medium for regular articles about fanfiction,  we welcome newcomer Fan/Fic Magazine  to the fray.

fanslashfic

Books

In 2015, I acquired two books that helped enrich my fangirl life.

Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over The World by Anne Jamison 

FIC BOOK COVER

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

FangirlsGuideToTheGalaxy

 

Fangirl Therapy

Confused having all the fandom feeling wreaking havoc on your sanity? Devastated about your fandom? Fangirls need not fret anymore. We now have Fangirl Therapy to help sort out our feels.

fangirltherapy

 

 

Finally, if you’re still not convinced that FanFiction  is now mainstream with that literary high brow still arched,  I’d like to share this piece by Elizabeth Monier-Williams  to help you ditch your disdain for FanFiction.

 


Medieval FanFiction

While The Powers That Be went off-tangent with a seasoned comics writer, creating another set of Voltron Force pilots,  among #KeithandAllura fanshippers, we continue our fan-ship adventure by looking for K/A in other realms of genre fiction.

When Voltron fanfiction writer Paulina Ann introduced fans to her fanfic arc Chivalry, where she sent K/A time-travelling back to medieval Arus, I was challenged to read more of knights, clad in suits of armour and wielding broadswords.  But I also wanted to read about kickass princesses / ladies of nobility wearing armour and wielding their own weapons to defend their realms and kingdoms.

While I had a blast reading sci-fi romance and regency romance through most of 2014, I decided to bravely step out of my comfort zone and read another romance sub-genre.  By the beginning of 2015, armed with my mobile Kindle app, I stumbled upon the ebooks of historical medieval romance author Kathryn Le Veque.

book cover

In Kathryn Le Veque’s medieval world, women are strong, smart, and capable of defending themselves.

Her medieval landscape was completely different to the polite society of Regency and Victorian historical romance. Her medieval world was bloody and brutal, which reminded me of Beast King GoLion, the original Japanese anime version of Voltron that was rife with blood, gore and dismemberment.   But once I got used to the medieval landscape, I was entranced, smitten even.

KA from nicktoons promotional pics

Keith and Allura from  Voltron Force 2011 animation version where their eye colour changed from the original 80s version

VF KA Elmer Damaso coloured eyes

One of Kathryn Le Veque’s novels I particularly loved was so close  to our favourite fandom couple. “Unending Love” is about a knight and his lady with physical attributes identical to Voltron Force Keith and Allura: handsome knight Maddoc du Bois had black hair and blue eyes;  And Adelind de Aston, an earl’s granddaughter with blonde hair and green eyes. The book cover had even a Black and Blue colour palette.

book cover of

Finding K/A-lookalike in medieval romance books

I loved the book so much, I even got the audiobook edition and would listen to it while doing the dishes or cooking dinner during arsenic hours. And yes, I even cried when I first read this book. (If this was a tweet I’d be hashtagging #hopelessromantic #sorrynotsorry).

Then, I realised, writing Voltron KA shippy fanfiction is indeed a mixture of sci-fi, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and even medieval.  Thus, my Voltron AU medieval KA fanfiction “Claiming His Princess Bride” was born as a reply to a KAEX Challenge raised by cheetoy called ‘Royal Twist’.  To date, the FanFic has grown to twenty-one chapters, and I will be adding the final set of chapters by the end of November 2015.

medieval KA book cover

New Cover Art by Artist Natalia Kuhta via @TheGeekiary

Coincidentally, on 29th October, Kathryn Le Veque is generously sharing her characters from one of her series The Wolfe Pack. She has opened the doors to writers who are keen to write and continue her characters’ journey through fanfiction on Kindle Worlds.


Wear Your Fandom

I have been following HerUniverse, GoldBubbleClothing, and FanAlley  on social media and I felt very envious of how much of their merchandise catered to geekgirls and fangirls.

Because of the ridiculously low number of Voltron merch for fangirls, since my last blog post I have been busy finding ways to use my creativity in order to express and show off my Voltron geekgirl / fangirl mode.

First, I had all my Voltron tees altered with shorter sleeves & tapered sides.  This was one of the tees I have had altered:
blogpost - Voltron keepcalm tee

Next, I bought a vintage bedsheet on etsy and had a seamstress turn it into a summer dress.
blogpost - Voltron summer dress

Finally, since I’m from Melbourne, Australia, I approached two Aussie custom crafters / upcyclers.

First was GlamComix, who used comic book covers and pages, repurposing them into useful fangirl items. Since we love #KeithandAllura, @Deensey hunted down old Voltron books and used pages from both Voltron DDP and Dynamite comics.
blogpost - GlamComix

Headband, Bangle, Notebook and Flask by GlamComix

Then, there’s @dspdavey from Two Cheeky Monkeys Jewellery. As a upcycler, crafter and jeweller, she has literature jewellery (lockets, pendants etc) on her etsy and madeit stores.
Using our commissioned artworks by Elmer Damaso, artist of the Voltron Robotech crossover comics, we now have these new gorgeous creations below:
blogpost - TwoCheekyMonkeys custom necklace

necklace watch with 80s Voltron Keith and Allura

blogpost - TwoCheekyMonkeys VF custom necklace

necklace locket with Voltron Force Keith and Allura

blogpost - TwoCheekyMonkeys custom magnets

magnets

Also, she featured the custom Voltron items on her blog.

And recently, for the first time ever, there is now a Voltron ladies t-shirt over at the official Voltron estore. They also have a new Blazing Sword pendant by Han Cholo, which IHMO would go well with the ladies tee.

blogpost - Voltron ladies tee

Voltron ladies t-shirt

blogpost - Voltron Blazing Sword

Voltron Blazing Sword by Han Cholo

But because our blog is mainly about the beloved canon couple, like Voltron, we’ve combined both pendant and locket to form one gorgeous fanship necklace.

Blogpost - Voltron fanship necklace1Blogpost - Voltron fanship necklace2

Perhaps one day, when DreamWorks Animation comes up with either a new Voltron series or the much-awaited Voltron movie,  Voltron will eventually have that ‘mega-fandom’ status with devoted fans and followers to rival fandoms like Harry Potter and Star Wars, and there would be more merchandise for Voltron fangirls.

For now, we want to show the world that there are devoted fangirls and shippers, who love our favourite giant robot, who would not only write FanFiction, or draw fanart, or cosplay Voltron and its characters, we want to wear our fandom for the world to see.

blogpost - Voltron summer dress with Tagabike

@cubbieberry with her Tagabike


Fandom’s Fastest FanFiction Writer

updated on March 20, 2015 (Australian EST)

Writing Voltron FanFiction doesn’t just fall under the sci-fi genre, where Voltron comics are normally classified. When writing about the canon pairing of #KeithandAllura, it’s usually Sci-Fi Romance or SFR.  But then again, the Voltron universe includes magic, and an Arusian princess’s ability to speak to her dead family, so we can also add fantasy and the paranormal into the mix.   In the Voltron comic miniseries “A Legend Forged”, the Voltron Force even went back in time, with sorcery involved.  That comic series in itself covered sci-fi, time travel, fantasy, the paranormal and historical royalty

Keith and Allura from Voltron: A Legend Forged,

Keith and Allura from Voltron: A Legend Forged by Blaylock. DDP Comics (2009)

Similarly, Voltron FanFiction writer Paulina Ann has written stories so different and diverse, some of which include inter-dimensional travel, time travel and historical romance. Since writing her first KA pairing fanfiction in January 2014, Paulina Ann has written 38 stories in the space of a year, cementing herself as the Voltron KA fandom’s fastest FanFiction writer. For this month’s blog post, we celebrate not only the blog’s 2nd year anniversary, but also Paulina Ann’s birthday month.  For each of March’s thirty-one days, we will share Paulina Ann’s best FanFiction stories. To Paulina Ann, Happy Birthday and thank you for feeding us insatiable KA fans with (almost) daily uploads of fresh FanFiction stories and chapters with Keith and Allura pairing! *cheers*

1)    Mistletoe and Valentines

2)    Hidden Hearts

3)    Retaliation

4)    Unbroken 

5)    Ready to Engage? 

6)    Duchess 

7)    Mistletoe Revisited

8)    Finding Love in a Lion

9)    Part of Your World

10)  Breaking the Rules, Dradin Style

11)  A Mother’s Gift

12)  Longing

13)  Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar

14)  Between a Rock and a Hard Place

15)  Unexpected Rescuer

16)  A Shower Might be Safer 

17)  If You Have a Lane, You Have a Chance 

18)  Remembrance 

19)  Open Wounds

20)  Cold Shower 

21)  Out in the Cold

22)  Still in the Dark

23)  Tannenbaum

24)  Role Reversal

25)  Unexpected Twist

26)  Just a Kiss

27)  Shirts vs Skins

28)  Chivalry

29)  Lion House Restored

30)  Doomed Quest

31)  Alternate Choices


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!


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