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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Z Nation part 1 - Interview with actor, David S. Hogan.

You may have noticed that once in a while a TV programme becomes something of an obsession for me. I know, no shit Sherlock I hear you say. Sometimes it runs right up to me and then metaphorically slaps me around the face with a large slippery wet fish, sometimes it takes a little longer for the show to work whatever magic it may contain. In the case of the subject of this blog article it is a case of the latter, as slowly but surely a certain television show has been shuffling and shambling its way into into this here bloggers obsessed little mind. 

I'll be writing more about the mad as a box of frogs show that is Z Nation in a number of future articles so I'm not going to go into to much detailed musings on the various delights of the Zombie apocalypse show at this point. In fact there are one or two VERY exciting developments coming up concerning the 5D blog and the show itself, one of which is given away later on in this very piece........and if you think that's just a cunning plan to make you read the rest of this article, then like most people who know me you've seen through my not so clever facade.

For those who may not have seen it.......Z Nation is a horror/comedy that begins three years into a virus-caused Zombie Apocalypse which has already killed most humans. A group must transport Murphy, the only known survivor of a zombie bite who did not himself turn into a zombie, from New York to the world's last known functioning research lab in California. Murphy had been the unwilling subject of a government test vaccine in the days just before society fell apart, and his blood contains antibodies that are mankind's last and best hope for a vaccine. However, Murphy harbors a dark secret that threatens them all. (Wikepedia).

Now, the situation is that here in the UK we are currently meandering our way through season 1 whilst season 2 I believe is well and truly up and running across the pond so as usual we are a little way behind the States..... no change there then. So a few weeks ago I was sitting down with a much deserved glass of red wine to watch the sixth episode of Z Nation, Resurrection Z. It was all looking rather good, when who should pop up but a guest actor who is something of an old friend of 5D. The Fifth Dimension, David S. Hogan. Well, I say he's a friend, he may indeed say otherwise, but we follow each other on Twitter and get this, we've even communicated with each other. In fact his lovely wife and also follow each other........but David, mate that's been in an entirely professional manner, I promise! So in my delusional mind, David & I are actually BFF's - no matter what he tries to say.

Well, somebody's too damn good looking 
for their own good....
David's work first came to my attention last year when I was asked to watch and review a new Scifi shocker 'The Device' from Seattle based production company, The October People (yes, more friends of 5D). It's an excellent slice of Alien infiltration and abduction filmmaking (for which you see the article RIGHT HERE, and in it David plays Calvin who lets just say succumbs to all manner of Alien possession. It's good stuff. Anyhoo, "there's my buddy right there on screen in one of my favourite shows' I thought. You won't be surprised to hear that my next immediate thought was to see what could be in it for me, I mean, ahem, for my blog. So after intense negotiations between David and myself (in other words, I begged, he gave in and said yes) he generously gave me an interview.

David S. Hogan is an actor and producer known for Z Nation (2014), The Device (2014), and Grimm (2011). He was raised in Seattle, Washington by James and Susan Hogan. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Seattle University, where he also studied music, psychology, and drama. After graduation, he hit the boards, working often with Seattle Shakespeare Company, where he played roles like Puck, Caliban, Antony, and King Henry. He is a three time winner of the Seattle Times Footlight Award for Stellar Acting. He also plays an important role in the Seattle independent film scene, where he teaches acting for the camera and promotes the northwest film and television industry. (IMDB)


Q) To begin with I'll start with the inevitable 'How did you get into acting' question. did you get into acting?

A) I was in college when I auditioned for my first show. It was a musical, The Threepenny Opera. I remember peeking into the audition room and watching actors perform and sing, and it absolutely terrified me. I ducked quietly away, only to slink back to the director next day and plead for another shot. I went to the callback audition, and was eventually offered the role of Street Singer. I got to close the show singing “Mack the Knife.” It was pretty special, and I was hooked.

Q) Before I ask you about Z Nation I want to talk about a film that I reviewed last year, a marvellous Scifi shocker called The Device. I think it's safe to say that your character 'loses it just a little' - What was that filming experience like?

A) Yeah, it’s very safe to say that Calvin loses it, but he is going through the ringer a bit, isn’t he? There are literally alien voices in his head. Which are real. I had to make it real for me, and what Calvin experienced is obsession, extreme paranoia and delusional thinking. So I employed my imagination and used that magical “as if” to put myself into right his shoes.

Q) So tell me how easy/nice/difficult/terrible it really was working opposite your real life wife, Angela DiMarco?

A) I absolutely LOVE working opposite my wife, Angela DiMarco. As partners in life and business (producing and teaching), we work together often, and it’s something I always look forward to. Not only is she a great actor, she is a hard worker and is really fun to be around on set!

Q) Do you have plans to work with John Portonova & the rest of The October People company again?

A) The October People are fantastic filmmakers, and I would leap at the chance to work with them again. Gents, if you are reading this…Hint Hint!

Q) How did you land the role of Brother Eli In the Resurrection Z episode?

Just your normal day with a few Zombies...
A) Landing the Brother Eli role on Z Nation came from the good old fashioned actor audition grind. The first read (video submission) was for the Patrick role (the character that slits his own throat in order to turn into a Z), and I was called back for the Brother Jacob role, which ended up going to my buddy Brian Sutherland. It was a great process, and I was thrilled to do the work - from the first read to my time on the set.

Q) How easy / difficult etc it really was it to fit into an ensemble cast that had probably by his point began to knit together pretty well?

A) Resurrection Z was the sixth episode of Season 1, so the cast and crew had gelled and were working very efficiently. The director, John Hyams, was very easy to work with, and great at his job, so my time on set was delightful. My character, Brother Eli was a member of a Zombie worshipping cult, so I had some co-horts (Brian Sutherland, Julian Gavilanes, and Julia Keefe) and we banded together to form a soft of “Z Family” while we were together. My friend Russell Hodgkinson is a series lead, “Doc,” so it was great to be on set with him, too. Other highlights were working with Kellita Smith and getting plugged in the head with a sniper bullet from Nat Zang. 

Q) The episode is perhaps my favourite of season 1. Do you watch your own work at all and have you seen it?

A) Yes, I have seen the episode and I do watch my own work. I usually see stuff that I wish I could have done better, but to me it’s all about learning, growing, doing my best, and moving forward.

David hobnobbing with Russell Hodgkinson (Doc)
Q) The popularity of Z Nation and the rest of the various Zombie Apocalypse TV shows & movies still seem to have little sign of slowing. Why do you think we are still so fascinated with Zombies & the like?

A) I think Zombie shows allow creatives to explore extreme gore, violence, and humor in a very exciting way. And the genre also gives the audience room to grapple with realism (the world of the characters and their challenges) and escape into fantasy (the undead come to life). 

Q) I've been fortunate to land an interview with actor Keith Allan (Murphy) form Z Nation, is there anything you'd like me to ask or say to him?

A) My question for Keith Allan: “How do you blow off steam or relax when you are off the Z Nation set?”

Q) What upcoming things are there planned for David S. Hogan?

A) I just came of an audition with Seattle Shakespeare Company (performing Shakespeare is one of my passions), and our first feature film as producers (Mighty Tripod Productions), Paralytic, is currently in post-production. I also have two web shows to plug - The Mighty Minute on the Mighty Tripod Productions YouTube channel and the David S. Hogan Show on my YouTube Channel. Thanks again for the interview!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank David for taking time out from what I know to be a very busy schedule in order to answer my questions. Thanks mate too for the photos that you sent me from the Z Nation set!

David's IMDB page can be found at

You can follow David on Twitter via @SeattleActorDSH

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Granite City Comic Con Vendor Applications

Just a quick cut & paste job for this blog article. Have yourselves a read of the latest word from the good people at Granite City Comic Con about applications for small press & Vendors at the 2016 event. If you the want to apply then go via the link at

"Due to the overwhelming demand for exhibitor spaces at Granite City Comic-Con 2016, we have instituted an application process with the aim of giving our audience a diverse and exciting range of vendors. If you would like to apply as a vendor at Granite City Comic Con, please read the following carefully and fill in the form that follows. 

At present we are only opening applications for weekend tables.  The cost for a weekend table (Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May 2016) will be £140 for a trader and £100 for small press.  The closing date for applications is Thursday, October 1st 2015.

Tables are 6FT x 2FT. Table price includes one chair (extra chairs will be available at a minimal cost tbc on successful application).  Each successful application will get two vendor wristbands for accessing the venue during the weekend, 
Any further wristbands will be charged at a cost of £6 each  (limited to 2 extra per application).  The maximum number of people behind a full table is four, however we suggest two to three at any one time due to space restrictions.

Applicants can only apply for a maximum of two tables.  Backing tables will be available and will be charged at a cost of £30

Once we have confirmed your successful booking, we will ask you to send us an exhibitor image via email, along with a link to the web presence associated with that image, so that we can promote your attendance at our event, not only on our website but via social networking and any future press
releases. We will contact you before sharing any information online.

At GCCC we strive to create the best possible experience for attendees, and are focussed on a family-friendly, well-presented, tidy event. Unfortunately, we cannot supply tablecloths, but do ask that you bring your own. If you are displaying products in boxes, please ensure that they are well-maintained, and do not block aisles or fire exits.  No adult material is allowed on open display.

Due to venue requirements, all electronic items utilising mains power supply must be PAT tested, and proof of this testing must accompany the item (in either sticker or certificate form). If you require power for you display, please inform us on application where possible so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Please note: we cannot make any changes to submitted applications after October 1st 2015.
Applicants are responsible for making sure the details are correct on the form and GCCC is not
responsible for any mistakes that are made due to errors."

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Maidenstone #2 - A horror comic from La Baguette Noir Press.

Way back in the deep mists of time, well alright, it was May of this year, I wrote about a new horror comic that was seeing the light of day. Maidenstone was set to be the first in a series that takes place right here in gods own county within gods own country, the North East of Scotland.

The link for that article can be found by scrolling through the list of delights within this blog - or you can simply go to it via the link RIGHT HERE.

Maidenstone is a tale of folklore which has its roots in local legend and myth as it depicts the apparent re-emergence of an ancient and threatening force. It is a force which is once again beginning to cast its shadow upon both the remote landscape and the scattered population who inhabit it. The focus of the story is a young girl, Lucy, a child who throughout her childhood has found it hard to 'fit in' and whose emotional vulnerability has been further damaged by the recent death of her father. Lucy is unable to connect with either her 'drugged up' brother or in fact any of the people outside her family. She soon however finds herself drawn to a new arrival in the area, the charismatic Dylan. Just what are his intentions for Lucy and rest of this closeted rural community?

In short, Maidenstone was a hugely enjoyable first edition, with crisp realistic dialogue from Chris Robertson throughout. In addition the cover art from Andrew Kelly is a thing of real beauty as well as the story art by Scott Beveridge, which has a gritty surrealist style all of its own that perfectly conveys a sense of the confusion, isolation and despair of Lucy.

Now, there are some people who know me that would suggest that I'm easily encouraged by flattery, well there may be a slight element of truth in that I suppose. It has also been proposed by a few, who don't know me as well as they think they do, that I may extend that particular habit to this blog. In other words, "say something nice about me in your blog and I'll do something nice for you" Now that is something I can certainly deny, because I can say with all certainty that I only write about things that I like, that catch my eye, that float my catch my drift? There may have been some who thought that my acquaintance with Chris and the rest of the  Granite City Comic Con dudes meant that I was bound to give a favourable account of Maidenstone. Balderdash and poppycock I tell you. I may not have many personal scruples, but when it comes to this blogging lark, well it seems I do actually have a few.

So when Chris contacted me earlier this week to say that the second instalment, the cunningly titled Maidenstone #2 had recently been released, well I was genuinely happy to read it and share my legendary insightful musings on here.

The story (again cunningly) begins shortly after the end of the first edition, it's a crazy concept that I feel may actually one day catch on. The relationship between the new charismatic and enigmatic arrival in the area, Dylan and local girl Lucy is now becoming ever more serious. But what is his true motive towards not just Lucy, but also to her druggy brother? If this burgeoning intense relationship wasn't enough for Lucy to cope with, she also has to contend with the less than favourable treatment from some of her fellow school pupils. Is Dylan her salvation or is he actually her destruction?

The front cover has the advice tag of 'Mature Readers', believe me this is well founded. If you're looking for a nicely comfortable escape from reality in this story then I'm afraid that you will be sorely disappointed. This is reality, supernatural reality maybe, but reality nonetheless. What we have here is another unrelenting slice of storytelling, the result of which is simultaneously disturbing and beautiful in its intensity. Chris Robertson's script is once again consistent in its crisp authenticity and is perfectly off-set by the intensely surreal artwork from Scott Beveridge as it captures Lucy's increasingly fragmented disengagement from reality. In fact, the intention seems to be that as Dylan's motivations become clearer, the artwork instead becomes ever more darker, intense and surreal. It all serves not only to perfectly convey the experience of the main characters (particularly Lucy), but also keeps the reader from ever feeling totally comfortable with the reading experience.....very clever. Each section of the book contains enough narrative and subtext to fill double the volume, with the segment of Lucy's tortured school experience which further feeds her sense of personal alienation being for me the most powerful part of the story.

The first Issue was good, Maidenstone #2 is even better, I assure you. I read it in one breathless session late at night then proceeded to dream about the story. Sadly, my dream was in no way as surreally psychedelic as the comic.

The Maidenstone series is only part of what is produced by Aberdeen's La Baguette. Here's a reminder of a few musings from them.

"Founded late 2011 by writer Chris Robertson and artist Greg Fisher, Baguette Noir initial focus was on our first publication – OLD WORLD ORDER. Since then we’ve produced three issues of that book, contributed work to other local publications and brought together Aberdeen’s local scene of creators. In 2013 we started to bring our madness to masses at a number of events, including MCM Glasgow Comic Con and Hero Conventions.

As an imprint our aim is to bring readers an original thrilling mix of Science Fiction, Adventure, and Horror comics, with a healthy dose of weirdness.  To that end we’re looking to get more people on board. If you have a great idea for a story; or if you’re an artist looking to hook up with a writer – get in touch. 

At the moment our back catalogue is small, but mighty. In 2015 we’re planning to continue the success of Old World Order, with issues #3 and #4 (featuring new artist Ewen Cameron!), a new title called Maidenstone (out now!), and the Silver City Comics Anthology, by local creators; as well as the debut book by writer Alex Giles, AND THEY COME! in July." 

You can buy a copy of Maidenstone #2 in the Forbidden Planet and the Plan 9 comic book stores in Aberdeen, and on their Big Cartel site at

The Facebook page for La Baguette Noir Press be found RIGHT HERE

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Love letter to Doctor Who

When I was about 12 years old my parents took me and my younger brother to Blackpool for a weeks holiday. Bastards.....horrible place. For those of you who read this blog outside of the UK and may have no understanding of this seaside town situated on the west coast of England, well, consider yourself lucky. 

The town encapsulates everything I dislike about the notion of a 'traditional' British seaside town with its 'kiss me quick' hats and endless tacky live shows featuring z-list actors who once appeared in a soap that your mom used to watch in the afternoons. If that wasn't enough, to further add to the holidaying 'pleasure' there are the endless array of cheap rides, tourist merchandise stores and slot machines all wrapped up in a nauseating aroma of candy floss and an array of cardiac arrest inducing 'food'. Yes, you may gather that I never liked the place. 

Now I don't want to sound like some ungrateful snotty nosed schmuck who made his parents lives hell for not taking him on holiday to somewhere more likely to satisfy his desires. I know that they didn't exactly have a potful of money to splash around for my desired destination that actually contained some genuine sunshine and culture, so in between my periods of perpetual sulks I did try to enjoy myself as much as I could. I know, I'm all heart. 

As things turned out, after spending a few of days in this hellhole there was indeed one thing that had peeked my 12 year old geeky interest. This thing was a particular exhibition on the ironically named 'Golden mile' which runs along the Blackpool seafront. The Golden Mile, in essence, is a mile of unrelenting 'fun houses', slot machines, fortune tellers, tasteless tourist shops and a plethora of other brain numbing enticements designed to part the eager tourist from their money. In other words, it's not very golden, No, it's bloody horrible.

However, there was one exhibition concerned a particular obsession of mine that by this date in 1980 had also well and truly become not just a British institution, but also had morphed into a genuine worldwide phenomena. This meant that without doubt visiting The Doctor Who Exhibition Blackpool was the one and only thing that I wanted to do on that visit......the only thing at all......the one thing that was going to keep me sane for the week in that holiday hellhole.

Let's face it, the home grown scifi landscape in 1970s and early 1980's Britain was pretty grey and drab relying on the likes of the good doctor, Blake's 7 and, er, well that's about it really. Even the few other shows that did make it to national television quickly floundered, often due to the reluctance of the organisations to spend more than £2.75 on pesky little additions like sets, authentic aliens and special effects. By the early 1980's Doctor Who was too suffering under the BBC's unwillingness to invest in what had become a potential worldwide syndication goldmine. Instead of showing TV based scifi the respect that it deserved the budgets for each series became steadily less, and as a consequence so did the audience figures. 

Yet the core audience continued to stick with the series through thick and thin until that same core found itself (me included) fighting the short-sightedness of the BBC for 16 long years until the triumphant return in 2005. By now the TV and technological landscape had changed immeasurably beyond recognition. Scifi was now no longer being treated by the powers-that-be as some sort of embarrassment to be hidden away on the late night schedules. Finally, the Doctor Who universe was given the financial respect that it had always deserved.

In my time I have experienced ten Doctors, beginning with Jon Pertwee and god knows how many Doctor's companions (though only Janet Fielding is important....). I know, I know, any serious blogger worth his salt would do a little research to count the number of companions and then list each and every one in alphabetical order in an effort to make his/her articles truly authentic and accurate. Well I've been in this blogging lark for a few years and I'm not about to start to get my facts completely correct now - in fact sort of nearish the mark on a clear day is good enough for me. The point that I'm trying to make is that the good doctor, apart from a number of years when the BBC made one of its many customary shamefully idiotic decisions in cancelling the series, has been a constant companion since my earliest of childhood memories. It's been special, very special.

For some reason it is rather nice to know that we will all have our particular favourite Doctor, often being the one of the first that we first encountered and grew up with. Though the redoubtable Pertwee was my first and also featured in my favourite ever story to well and truly scare the living breath out of me (see below), it must be said that the one I think of as 'my own' has to be Tom good, so very good. Whether it was Bakers' charm, knowing smile or the 'I know something that you don't ' look in his eye that immediately drew him to me, well I'm not sure. All I know that he for me is synonymous in the part and nobody has ever come quite close to matching his own particular portrayal  - though I have to admit that Peter Capaldi is getting close......very close indeed.

If I had to nail down my top five Time Lord related things, well they would look something like this;

1) Favourite Doctor - Tom Baker

2) Favourite Doctor's companion - Tegan (Janet Fielding) by a country mile.

3) Favourite bad guys - apologies for being unimaginative, but it's always been the Cybermen......scary little buggers.

4) Favourite story - The Planet of the Spiders

5) Favourite Doctor's companion - Tegan (Janet Fielding) by a country mile.

Yes I know I mentioned Janet Fielding as Tegan twice, but I really had no choice. The early 1980's were a strange time for me for a number of reasons, often magnified by the fact that I was about to enter my teens and, well, we all know what that means.........ahem. While it is fair to say that Peter Davidson was always going to struggle in following in Tom Baker's magnificent footsteps, for me he never quite achieved a level that would put him in the upper pantheon of 'great Doctors'. However Davidson's tenure, in particular between the years 1981 & 1984), included one factor that will forever keep in in the forefront of my own personal favourite Time Lord lore......

It's probably something of a good thing (both for Janet's state of mind and for my legal team) that the Internet, and with it the delights of social networking, didn't exist in those heady days of the early 80's. I'm far too much of a gentleman (no, really) to go into details, however all I will say here is that the very very lovely Tegan was responsible for an endless array of teenage fantasies in this here blogger......sorry about that, Janet. Well at least I couldn't ply you with endless emails and requests for signed photos beginning with " My dearest, Stuey....."

Hmmm, that reminds me to find Jenna Coleman's contact details...........................

The resurrection and subsequent renaissance of the series, has resulted in a very different feel in the shows featuring recent regenerations of the good doctor. Gone are the days of shaky cardboard filming sets and less than convincing polystyrene aliens with the BBC seeing the error if their stupidity and actually spending some meaningful money to make an authentic science fiction series. Eccleston was fine, Tennant at times was brilliant, Smith though I found difficult to warm to whilst Capaldi's casting has proved to be nothing short of genius.

Anyhoo, getting back to that less then enjoyable holiday experience. After seeing the outside of the exhibition on the first day there immediately became nothing more important in my little world than for me to visit it. Yes, even back in those day it was all me, me , egocentric behaviour has often been a little wayward to say the least. So, "what was this exhibition thing?" I hear you ask. Well, according to The description is as follows;

"The Doctor Who Exhibition Blackpool was located at 111 Central Promenade, on the busy Golden Mile, a prime location for visitors. It ran for 11 years until the lease on the building it resided in expired. Through a TARDIS-shaped entrance visitors followed the exhibition through a range of various displays of props, costumes, and models towards a working prop of the console room with console, before reaching the shop at the end. Displays were regularly updated with new exhibits as new stories were aired and also included a display of small scale models of landscapes and spacecrafts. Davros, Daleks, Cybermen and K9 were among regular exhibits."

Sounds good, eh? The problem was that it wasn't until the the 4th day of the holiday that I even knew the exhibition was there and by that point I had spent the whole of my weeks allowance. Well what can I say? I was young, single ....... and had spent my time attempting to eat the equivalent of my own body weight in burgers, hot dogs & Cherry Coke. I knew how to live. It was going to take every ounce of my charismatic winning charm to persuade my parents to lend 'sulky boy' money for the Doctor Who experience. I know, I was in deep trouble.

As it turned out, my task to get the necessary funds (I can't for the life of me remember just how much it was) was far easier than I thought it would be. My dad simply responded to my whining request by stating that there were two conditions; Firstly, that I immediately changed my sulky ways and stopped wandering around with a face like I'd been slapped with a wet fish while muttering " I wanted to go to Spain" under my breath. Secondly, that I take my younger brother along with me. If I agreed to this then he would like me go to the exhibition on the the morning of the day we returned home. Even though my brother had never bothered to watch an episode in his life and was something of a cry-baby if truth be told, I said It was a done deal and discussions were sealed with a bag of fish & chips.

The day of the visit finally arrived with my dad walking (marching) me along the golden (sic) mile, while my mum was left to do the packing back at the holiday apartment - which seemed a good deal to the both of us. The day before I had managed to purloin a brochure of the exhibition and had planned with meticulous military precision just where and how much time I would spend in each area. At the same time providing an inciteful and entertaining commentary in order to educate my younger brother. This also nicely fitted in with my parents instructions "not to spend the whole bloody morning in there!" as we were on a strict timetable and my dad could only drink so much coffee while waiting for me - there was no chance he would want to come in to see the exhibition, lets just say that it wasn't his scene.

So in I went in trough the Tardis-like entrance and paid my money with a feeling of almost overwhelming excitement. We rounded the very first corner to be met with a room full of life-sized and VERY loud Daleks threatening to all sorts of exterminating to ourselves. My brother screamed, I almost wet myself in fear and we both ran at lightening speed through the corridors of the exhibition until we reached the exit...... and a very surprised father who hadn't even had the chance to light his first cigarette. 

"How was it?" he asked.

"Rubbish and not worth the money" I replied, at the same time silently agreeing with my brother that we would never tell the world that we had been too scared shitless to stay. Well until now that is.

This article can also be found with a great deal of other goodies on the 5D. The Fifth Dimension website at