Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series: Cody Customises Amazing Adam Driver Character Funko Toys

For the next artist in the Reylo Fan Art Series, Red Dot Diva is shining the spotlight on Cody (aka leiaporgana on Twitter), a major Star Wars fan who also customises Funko Toys with an uncanny likeness to Adam Driver and the various characters he has played in his illuminating career.

Cody is from America but she has been living in the UK for the past 7+ years. She has just quit her PhD in Victorian medical history, and then the COVID-19 pandemic struck limiting her job options. While waiting for the situation to improve, Cody began doing freelance art and creating Funko customisations.

Red Dot Diva got to know about Cody's amazing craftwork after spotting a photo of a Ben Solo Funko on her Twitter feed. She had been looking for more “good boy sweater” Ben Solo fanart after watching STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER.

(Minor RDD rant here. Seriously, Disney... how could you even miss out on the merchandising opportunities for Ben Solo? The redeemed Ben Solo character is so popular, and there is no merchandise available in the market!)

Besides Star Wars, Cody's other fandoms include The 100, and Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. When she is not holed up indoors creating something new, Cody likes collecting autographs, hiking, and rock climbing.

Adam Driver

Red Dot Diva is curious about the art of customising Funko toys, so she asked Cody a series of nosy questions!

Red Dot Diva: I see from your Esty store that you draw beautiful fan art too! How long have you been drawing these art of pop culture characters, and who are your artistic inspirations?
Cody: Thank you for the kind words! I've been drawing art from pop culture for as long as I can remember, to be honest! I used to draw art from A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter when I was a kid and that morphed into me drawing scenes that I wished happened in the books. I haven't really changed all that much. I don't have just one inspiration - it sort of changes daily. Any time someone shares their artwork online, they're an inspiration. But I used to read the webcomic The Dreamer by Lora Innes so if I had to pick one artist that really inspired me, it has to be her. 

Red Dot Diva: What first inspired you to start customising Funko dolls? Were you already a hardcore collector of Funkos then? Did you learn this craft from someone else? 
Cody: I love Funkos, but I wasn't a hardcore collector. I just really wanted to make a Funko of a book character that would 100% never get a Funko made of him. So I looked at a few guides and Facebook groups, but there's really no steadfast way to make customs and there's certainly not a Funko Making For Dummies guide so it as mostly trial and error. Once I had a rough idea, I just went for it and it actually came out half-decent so I decided to make another. 

Eli Vanto and Thrawn

Red Dot Diva: What is your creative process like when customising these figures? Where do you get the parts from? I'm not familiar with the world of Funko customisation, so this is all intriguing to me. 
Cody: I probably do it a bit differently to a lot of people, but I like using as many genuine custom parts as I can. I'm okay with using clay, but I'd rather sand down an existing part than use clay to sculpt an original part because I don't trust myself to sculpt a passable arm or a hand when I have a deadline to meet. So my custom Ben Solo Funko, for example, consists of 4 different original Funkos that I cut up and sort of Frankenstein together. So I use arms from one Funko, a lightsaber from another, a torso from another, and a head from another. I glue them together, prime it all, make sure it's smooth enough to paint over and then I begin the painting process. I buy the Funko parts off of Facebook, eBay, Pop in a box, or Amazon - whichever is cheapest. Most of the creating process is just me scouring the internet for decent deals or for parts that resemble the item of clothing I'm trying to create. 
Red Dot Diva: That's pretty amazing!

Redeemed Ben Solo

Red Dot Diva: What are the challenges that you face customising these figures? Especially for the adorable good boy sweater Ben Solo ones!
Cody: The biggest challenge for customising is finding the right Funko parts and making sure they're affordable. Like for Ben, I want to use an unmasked Kylo's head to make sure that he looks as much like Adam Driver as possible. And this way he has the right eyes, the right hair, the right eyebrows. But the problem is that all of the unmasked Kylo Ren official Funkos that I use for the head are going up in price because The Rise of Skywalker hasn't released a second wave of Funko Pops yet and everyone wants a Kylo Funko without a mask. So this part that I used to be able to get for £10-15 is now going for £20-30 minimum and I am making less and less of a profit. I don't want to raise the price because he's already expensive, but at this point I'm not left with much choice. 

Matt the Radar Technician
Red Dot Diva: Which is your favourite customised Funko toy?
Cody: It's a tie between my Ben Solo and my Matt the Radar Technician which is still very much a work-in-progress, but he'll be available on my Etsy soon! 

Red Dot Diva: How much of a Star Wars fan are you? 
Cody: Oh, huge. I have 3 Star Wars tattoos so far and my main hobby outside of art is collecting Star Wars autographs. And if I'm not actively doing anything, there's a good chance I'm reading a Star Wars book or some Star Wars fanfic. 


Red Dot Diva: What is it about the Reylo that draws you to the ship? 
Cody: I've always been a fan of enemies to lovers. More specifically when one character is clearly on the good side and the other is on the bad side. It's a dynamic I've always enjoyed and seeing the 'good' character's morality slip a bit while the 'bad' character's world view shifts because of the good character...good stuff right there. It's a fascinating trope since it really requires a lot of development and it challenges the characters in the most interesting ways. 

Red Dot Diva: Do you think that the Reylos have been constantly misunderstood within the Star Wars fandom?
Cody: Yes x1000. I've never seen a fandom treated as poorly as the Reylo fandom. There are so many defamatory statements and generalisations made about a really large section of the Star Wars fandom. And unfortunately most of the arguments boil down to a lack of support of women in fandom, viewing them as hysterical and less intelligent when they're focusing on a romantic relationship. There's a lot to unpack there. But I hope that time will be kinder to the Reylo fandom the Star Wars fandom will evolve. 

Red Dot Diva: What are your other favourite pop-culture ships? I have many too!
Cody: My other favourite ships would have to be Bellarke (Bellamy/Clarke from The 100), Clexa (Clarke/Lexa from The 100), and Rebelcaptain (Jyn/Cassian from Rogue One). 

Charlie Barber from "Marriage Story"

Are you tempted to get your hands on one of Cody's customised Funko toys and beautiful fan art now? Head to her Etsy shop to purchase one of your own! She is also currently open for commissions. You can DM her on Twitter or email cehenault@gmail.com if you're interested! Red Dot Diva is on the bandwagon, and working on saving enough money for her own customised Ben Solo Funko toy!


Other articles from the Diva's Reylo Fan Art Series:

* Interview with Rachel Xin
* Interview with Afterblossom (Kelly)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Pennyworth Premieres on Warner TV Asia, 29 June and It's A Wierd Ride in an Alternate Bat-verse

It has taken almost a year for the TV series “PENNYWORTH” to be (legally) available to fans in this region. Finally, the show about the origin story of DC's Universe iconic and beloeved butler of Wayne Manor, Alfred Pennyworth, will premiere on Warner TV (Starhub Channel 515/ Singtel Channel 306) on 29 June at 9 PM SG Time. Season 1 has 10 episodes, with new episodes on air, every Monday at 9 PM SG Time.

The “PENNYWORTH” series is kind of a prequel for the Alfred of the DC comics. A much younger Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) in his mid-20's is back home after serving in the British SAS for 10 years. To set himself for a better future, ‘Alfie’ decided to form a security company together with his soldier buddies Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher), while also working as a bouncer at the Golden Slipper nightclub.

Red Dot Diva thinks this backstory about Alfred is such an awesome nod to the popular incarnation of Alfred played by Sir Michael Caine in Christopher Nolan's Bat-verse. Actor Jack Bannon even imbued his version of Alfred with Caine's trademark Cockney accent and easy charm.

What stands out in a striking fashion in “PENNYWORTH”, is the era in which the series is set in. It is the Swinging 60's London, but with a very violent, macabre edge. Public punishment is carried out openly in the streets, with criminals locked in stocks and pillories for all to see. Citizens eagerly tune on the telly to gawk at gruesome public executions. It is like a comic bookish Gotham-esque version of London, but with all the trademark British politeness, stiff upper lips, and of course, tea.

Not surprisingly, the threesome Alfie, Bazza and Dave Boy, suffer from varying degrees of PTSD after having been in the Queen's Service. They each have to learn how to deal with their own personal nightmares, and how violence has become an inescapable part of their lives.

As the story unfolds, Pennyworth gets to know young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) and spunky Martha Kane (Emma Paetz). The two have yet to become the famous Wayne couple of the Batman comics, and in the series, they work for a left-wing organisation called the No Name League, the rivals of another secret group called the Raven Society. Both factions are vying for control of power in the current government.

Produced by Bruno Heller (Gotham, The Mentalist, Rome) and Danny Cannon (Gotham, CSI series), there is a lot to like in “PENNYWORTH”. Other than the affable Pennyworth, there are also the spirited Sykes sisters - the sadistic, psychopathic Bet (so wonderfully portrayed by Paloma Smith) and her resourceful, dominatrix sister Peggy (Polly Walker). The siblings bring such gleeful wicked villainy to the episodes.

To get a peek of what's in store for this intriguing series, here are the synopsis of the first four episodes of “PENNYWORTH”:

Episode 1: “Pilot”
Debut date: Monday, 29 June at 9pm on Warner TV

In the series premiere, security consultant/bouncer Alfred meets Thomas Wayne and Esme Winikus (Emma Corrin), an actress/dancer at the Golden Slipper nightclub that employs him. In a much darker part of London, Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng), leader of the Raven Society, is having a man tortured for a name. Courting Esme, Alfred brings her home to meet his doting mother and often-disapproving father (Dorothy Atkinson and Ian Puleston-Davies), but the night ends in disaster when Esme is brazenly kidnapped by Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith). Working for Harwood, Sykes offers to trade Esme for Thomas Wayne. When Alfred is betrayed in the exchange, he and Thomas realize that Harwood and Sykes cannot be trusted, and that they'll have to work together to rescue Esme.

Episode 2: “The Landlord's Daughter”
Debut date: Monday, 6 July at 9pm on Warner TV
After fate dragged Alfred and Esme into a plot against the government, they escape relatively unscathed and decide to get engaged, despite their ups and downs. While Lord Harwood is arrested and tortured mentally and physically in the Tower, his lethal operative Bet Sykes takes the fall for the murder of Lord Fairfax and is sentenced to execution in Tyburn. But Bet gets some help from her older sister, Peggy (Polly Walker).

Episode 3: “Martha Kane”
Debut date: Monday, 13 July at 9pm on Warner TV
After meeting Esme's wealthy family, Alfred calls off the wedding. Burying his heartbreak in smalltime work, Alfred accepts a high-paying, seemingly low-profile job from American heiress Martha Kane (Emma Paetz) to transport a scientist out of the country. But the job is complicated by Raven Society gunmen. When the dust settles, Martha reveals that she has been working for the No Names. She agrees to not deceive him again, if he agrees to work freelance only for her - that way, he's not pledging his loyalty to one side or another. Desperate to reunite with Esme and finance a better life for her, he somewhat reluctantly agrees.

Episode 4: “Lady Penelope”
Debut date: Monday, 20 July at 9pm on Warner TV
When Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) from Scotland Yard offers Alfred a job, he abruptly refuses, but feels guilty for working with Martha Kane and the No Names. Meanwhile, Thomas Wayne meets Martha for the first time as the designated leader of her No Name cell. He assigns her and Alfred a dangerous mission – to uncover the new leader of the Raven Society, who’s been betrayed by an informant. Although Martha and Alfred bond during the mission, tragedy strikes when Alfred returns to London.


WTV - Pennyworth from WarnerMediaAsiaPac on Vimeo.

PENNYWORTH” is a great expansion of the DC Universe, with some unexpected twists and turns. The series has already been renewed for Season 2, and has added new cast members including James Purefoy, Edward Hogg, Jessye Romeo, Ramon Tikaram and Harriet Slater. Production was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but hopefully, fans will get more news about the next season during the upcoming DC FanDome in August 2020!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Diva Goes Behind the Scenes with LukeForever, the Producer of Legend of Hope - A Star Wars Fan Film

LEGEND OF HOPE - A STAR WARS FAN FILM, which was released during this year's May the 4th celebration, is one of the best local fan-made creation that Red Dot Diva has seen this year. Considering that 2020 is mostly cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic,  LEGEND OF HOPE was such a joy to watch. It is a timely gift, for an unusual era when people around the world are feeling discombobulated with lockdowns and restrictions.

Set in the forests of Kashyyyk after the execution of Order 66, the short 20-minute drama featured scowling villains, cheeky humour, intense light-saber duels, a fearless female resistance fighter, and more importantly, that stirring promise of Hope to fight for another day. And when it expands the Star Wars Universe to include Singlish-speaking Jedi -- lagi best.


So then, who are the brains behind this special fan video? Popular local YouTuber LukeForever (who has over 2,300 subscribers) heads this passion project with the help of his team of loyal, hard-working mates. The thrilling action scenes were choreographed by another local actor and producer, Jonathan Cheong, who incidentally also plays the major baddie in the fan film. Amongst the actors is all-round stunt guy Kasimir Poh Cieslak as Darth Vader.

The project took about a year to complete from drawing board to its completed version. For a locally-made fan film on a tiny budget of SGD 4,000, Red Dot Diva thought the production values was remarkable. The fan film has since chalked up over 12,000 views.

After the video was released on YouTube, Red Dot Diva reached out to LukeForever with a list of nosy questions on the making of LEGEND OF HOPE. Despite his busy schedule, LukeForever has managed to record and post a video sharing about what his feelings and headspace when he put this project into motion. And... YAAASS! He also answered Red Dot Diva's 8 Nosy Questions in the video!

Amongst other behind the scenes information that LukeForever talked about, he revealed the meaning behind the fan film's title, and warned about the most gruelling aspect of producing the film, which by the way, was the labourious, under-appreciated skill of film editing. He also shared about which Star Wars movie he would love to have been involved in, and the time when his set was ambushed by a marauding band of monkeys!

WARNING: The video is Moderately NSFW.
There is a fair amount of profanity in this video as LukeForever is being his charming enthusiastic self. So, do not turn up the volume if you are watching this in front of young children or within a conservative office space!

LukeForever also mentioned that he intends to produce a separate LEGEND OF HOPE Behind The Scenes video for his Youtube channel in the near future. Red Dot Diva thinks this is a great way to show the work involved in making a short film, as well as to inspire fledging movie-makers out there. Oh, and please do add in funny bloopers!

With young, dedicated, talented creatives like LukeForever and his crew producing films like these, more locally-made movies will be doing a hyperspace jump onto the international stage sooner than you think.

May the Force Be With Us!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

DC FanDome Is A 24-Hour Global Virtual Event Specially For The Fans!

Set your calendars for DC FanDome!

This mega, immersive, 24-hour virtual global fan event by Warner Bros. is set to kick-off on August 22 (that is, Sunday August 23, starting at 1 AM Singapore time).  It will cost nothing for the fans to step into the multiverse of DC's Super Heroes and Super-Villains from past, present and futures shows. There will be no queues, no badges required, and best of all, no heartattack-inducing hotelapocalypse!

Everything will happen at www.dcfandome.com, with exciting announcements on WB's game, film and TV properties, plus a chance to watch the cast, creators and those from behind the scenes who have worked in various comics, movies and TV series share about their experiences.

Some of the titles that will be featured at DC FanDome are:

Man of Steel
Birds of Prey

The Flash
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Black Lightning
DC's Stargirl
Doom Patrol
DC Super Hero Girls
Teen Titans GO!
Harley Quinn
Young Justice: Outsiders

Highly anticipated shows which have been slated for future releases like WONDER WOMAN 1984, THE BATMAN, THE SUICIDE SQUAD (aka Suicide Squad 2), the SYNDERCUT OF JUSTICE LEAGUE, BLACK ADAM as well as upcoming series SUPERMAN AND LOIS are also included in DC FanDome, so it will be interesting to find out what tidbits, exclusive footage and teasers the creators and cast members have for the fans.

The virtual world of DC FanDome also offers these events in different languages including English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, Japanese, French and Italian, so that fans around the world is able to access the special presentations in their local language.


As you can see from the DC FanDome map above, The Hall of Heroes is the epicentre. It is here where fans will experience special programming, surprise reveals, and intriguing panels.

From there, fans can explore the 5 different multiverses:

* DC WatchVerse
Imagine. Hours and hours of content for you to watch! Panels, exclusive screenings, never-before-seen footage featuring cast, crew and creators will be shown in this section during the virtual event.

* DC YouVerse
In this section, the fans are the stars of the show. Here is where you can ogle at the sheer creativity of fan-made content that include fan art, cosplay, videos and more.

* DC KidsVerse
For the young ones, they can step directly into a special universe at DCKidsFanDome.com. Entertaining family-friendly content will be housed here so that the kids can be part of the adventure too.

* DC InsiderVerse
Enter into this creative-based zone, with creatives and artists from comics, theme parks, games, movies, consumer products, and more. There will also be a welcome video with DC CCO/Publisher Jim Lee, President of DC-Based Film Production Walter Hamada, and creator of the DC TV Arrowverse, Executive Producer Greg Berlanti, giving an introduction to the DC Multiverse.

* DC FunVerse
Need to buy some DC merchandise?? Hop into this universe for limited edition exclusives, digital giveaways, shareables, and other goodies, like a DIY WW84 Golden Armour and Batmobile kits.


In partnership with Talenthouse, DC FanDome is giving DC Superfans a chance to show off their creations - fan art, cosplay, tattoos, makeup, whatever that shows off your fan love loud and proud.

Submit your fan creations at create.DCFanDome.com, and you may get the chance to be featured in this worldwide virtual event. The selected artist of the day will be voted by the community in two competitions. After which, the judges will pick the winners for the competitions, and they will each  stand to win part of a cash prize pool from DC and Talenthouse. (Note: official rules are available at create.DCFanDome.com, so please head there to read them carefully.)

With about two months to go, Red Dot Diva is sure that there will be a stream of news and announcements leading up to DC FanDome. Keep an eye out for them at the official website, DCFanDome.com. You can also read the newly launched blog called The Daily Star, where updates will be posted. For the first blog entry, Jim Lee, Publisher & Chief Creator for DC, sends out an invite for all DC fans to gather for this super-mega event.

As most of you may already know, Red Dot Diva is an hardcore DC Girl. Her longtime favourite comic book characters are all from DC, so she is more than ready to get sucked into the DC FanDome multiverse on August 23. So Super Excites!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Red Dot Diva Kicks Off Facebook Livestream - Launch Party of Unstable Directions with Joelyn Alexandra!

Red Dot Diva is excited to kick off her first livestream, which will be hosted on her Facebook page on 27 June, at 1 PM Singapore time.

The “Uncovering Unstable Universes” livestream event is a launch party for a new zine called UNSTABLE DIRECTIONS by local writer Joelyn Alexandra.

Joelyn writes mainly urban fiction, and her stories have been published by Two Trees, Math Paper Press, Ethos Books, and Buku Fixi. She also managed her own self-published indie zine, Pulp Toast, with saw a run of 4 issues that contained "snackable stories" about gaming, non-heroes, and the human condition. She has also participated in talks and writing workshops at various events, including Singapore Writers Festival, Read! Fest 2018, All In! Young Writers Festival, and Singapore Comic Con.

UNSTABLE DIRECTIONS expands the universe created by Joelyn Alexandra and artist Elvin Ching in the graphic novel, UNSTABLE FOUNDATIONS published by COSH Studios in 2019. You can purchase UNSTABLE DIRECTIONS at an Early Bird price from here!

Don't miss out on the virtual launch party where you will find out more about the new zine as well as Joelyn's writing process and personal experiences. It will be casual, it will chatty, and it's free of charge! 

DATE: 27 June 2020, Saturday

TIME: 1 PM, Singapore Time (GMT +8)
TO RSVP: www.facebook.com/events/548755272433782

LIVESTREAM: www.facebook.com/reddotdiva/live


If this livestream is well received, Red Dot Diva plans to go live either on a fortnightly or monthly basis, with a primary aim to focus on local and regional creators and artists.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

New Teaser Posters For Korean Zombie Sequel, Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula

At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Red Dot Diva highlighted a few zombie shows which would entertaining to watch as a form of escapism. When you are stuck in a lockdown, it can be really cathartic to expect the worse. Really.

One of the shows listed is the frenetic, visceral yet heartfelt Korean zombie movie called “TRAIN TO BUSAN” (2016) by Yeon Sang-ho. If you are a zombie or horror fan and have yet to watch this movie, put it on your viewing list now!

TRAIN TO BUSAN” puts a different spin to the genre, showcasing rapid zombies that spurred a 120-minute heart-thumping race for humanity's survival. The movie became a worldwide hit, becoming the highest grossing Korean film at the box office in Red Dot Island, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Fans have been clamouring for the release of its sequel ever since.

Two new posters (included in this article) for the highly anticipated sequel “TRAIN TO BUSAN PRESENTS: PENINSULA” (or just “Peninsula” in some markets) have just been released by Well Go America, the distributor for North America, after the announcement of its selection for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. Even though the film festival has cancelled due to the coronavirus, a list of 56 movies was still announced for its official selection.

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