X-Strike Studios, in memorium

After eleven years, X-Strike Studios is closing its doors.

You may have heard of them recently, or you may be a longtime fan.  Or you may never have heard of them.  That’s one of the struggles with being an independent artist.  Sometimes some of the best work goes unnoticed.

I don’t hesitate to apply the term ‘best’ to X-Strike Studios’ catalog.  While their films are definitely low-budget, that hasn’t held back their excellence.  If anything, it’s helped to underscore the talent and skill at play.  These are movies for a niche audience, by that same audience.  There’s no irony, there’s no multi-audience pandering, there’s no attempt to be anything that they’re not.  These are movies for gaming fans and nerds.  And the result is that they are some of the best video game movies ever made, hands down, bar none, damn straight.

But it isn’t some goofy love of games that makes their movies good.  River City Rumble, called ‘the Citizen Kane of video game movies’, is a solid (if low-budget) action movie that straddles the line between being serious enough to be internally consistent but not taking itself too seriously so as to deprive the fans of fun antics.  Silent Horror, and its sequel Resident Horror, are genuinely creepy at points while still providing a tremendous good time in every vein, something that their big budget imitators like the Resident Evil series fail to deliver.  Project Snake is an ambitious action story that some consider more entertaining than the games that inspired it.  Their Off-Campus series, while full of inside jokes, remains some of the funniest segments on the internet to this day.  And their most off-the-wall film P. Rappa’s Nth Mile is…a thing that exists.

X-Strike Studios came along at a time when video game films of pretty much any type were novelties.  The best video game movies available were studio-made behemoths like Street Fighter and the Super Mario Brothers movie, attempts made to appeal to general audiences with the after-thought of tapping into the video game fan market.  With the exception of a handful of Star Wars or Star Trek videos here and there, fan films hadn’t yet taken hold either.  There was no Street Fighter Legacy.  There was no Mortal Kombat Legacy.  No Megaman live-action.  And the idea of a video game-inspired fan film that was feature-length?  The very idea was unfeasible, a pipe dream fanboys talked about but knew wouldn’t happen.

And then X-Strike did it.  And then did it again.

Much like Troma Films, much like Robert Rodriguez’s early work, X-Strike Studios would establish a baseline from which other studios would be able to build their success.  An early pioneer of committed and dedicated fan films, X-Strike Studios would be a harbinger of what we know as the fan film industry today, an industry that continues to inspire and influence mainstream cinema.

It isn’t a surprise that X-Strike is closing its doors.  The assorted members had stated on numerous occasions they hadn’t planned for the company to endure indefinitely.  After all, it’s hard to maintain a consistent artistic vision from your early twenties into your mid-thirties, as most of the leadership has seen.  It’s a bittersweet announcement all the same because they’ve given the fan community so much entertainment.

Thank you, X-Strike Studios.

New Article

A wonderful off-beat periodical site known infamously as Drunk Monkeys has published one of my articles today.

As a fan of professional wrestling (evidenced by the earlier post, a reference to the defeat of the Undertaker last night), I often ponder the weird universe its stories are set in, and just what a strangely bizarre and beautiful hybrid product televised wrestling is.  There have been plenty of discussions of how WWE Monday Night Raw could be a better wrestling product, but little discussion about how it could be a better television product.  In this article, I draw comparisons to Prestige Dramas (Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, etc) in an effort to demonstrate what other shows Raw might be able to take its cues from in order to improve the product it offers.

Give my article a read; I hope you enjoy!

Rhest for the Wicked and other books

In case you missed the announcement, Rhest For The Wicked is now available for the Kindle and other ebook readers, with the print version to come shortly (possibly this week).  But that’s not all!  Haven Publishing House, (aka my publisher) has also released The Pack by Dan Coglan and I Think? No, I’m Sure…God Hates Me by Manny Camacho.  The Pack is a fantasy story, while God Hates Me is a collection of various tales about conventions and the wacky world surrounding conventions.  Please check them both out…as well as Rhest For the Wicked, of course!

Again, these are all ebooks; the print editions will be available soon.

I first published Crossworld in 2001, so it’s a weird experience being a ‘new author’ a second time around.  Given the gap since my last novel came out, I feel like I’m almost starting my career over again.  I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.  In the intervening years since my first book, I’ve learned a lot about the industry.  But it was always as an independent author.  I failed more than I succeeded and I have the personal and professional scars to show for it.  But I also had a lot of fun and got to realize a dream.

Now signed with Haven, an indie company (and an upstart in its own right), it’s been interesting seeing many of the growing pains I went through when I was first published, only now on a company scale.  It’s been a hell of a ride just getting to this point.  But now that I/we are here, it’s like cresting a mountain.  It’s been long, hard, and arduous, but now we get to look out over the possibility that lies ahead.

This is an incredibly exciting time; professional, artistically, and personally.  Having the serials back online, being back in print, and now having a publishing house behind me, a new set of challenges and opportunities presents itself.  It’s exciting, to say the least.

For those of you who have been here with me through it all, thank you for sticking by me.  For those of you who are just now joining the adventure, welcome aboard.  We’re just getting started and there’s a LOT of fun stuff on the way.

And some of it will be showing up sooner than you think!  🙂

New Episode Is Live

There are a couple of new sections now available.  The Articles Page is where I’ll be linking to articles that I’ve written for other sites.  Right now, I only have my most recent, an essay I wrote for The Modest Proposal about periodicals that have influenced us.  Definitely check out all the articles in The Modest Proposal, because they’re all very awesome.

But as for local news, the first episode of my new serial New Phase has gone live.  You can check it out here, or on the Serials Page.

For the moment, I will be updating new episodes of my serials the first Friday of every month.  That will likely change as I build up a stronger backlog and confirm that I can maintain this production rate.

There’s a lot of excitement happening right now, a lot of big things in the works.  Stay turned for more updates!  🙂