Friday, January 16, 2015

ARTICLE: Hilary Swank's Nov. 12 HOLLYWOOD MASTERS convo at LMU


Million dollar appearance

Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank closes out The Hollywood Masters series for 2014 at LMU

by Michael Aushenker


Of meeting her “Million Dollar Baby” director for the first time at his Warner Bros. office, Hilary Swank described the filmmaker this way: “He was a tall glass of water. He was refreshing and so handsome. He is Clint Eastwood.”
The actress could have used a tall glass of water on Nov. 12, when the Hollywood Reporter’s Special Features editor Stephen Galloway interviewed Swank in a conversation closing the exclusive The Hollywood Masters series for 2014 at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Swank’s voice was hoarse from promoting “The Homesman,” which co-stars director Tommy Lee Jones and came out last Friday. She asked for some cough drops and received them from a screenwriting student in the audience.
This, on top of running late because she was trapped within her own home.
“The power went out and my gates are electric,” said Swank, who nevertheless scaled said walls. “My next job is Spider-Woman!”

Prone to positivity, effusively espousing lines such as “There’s no biggest obstacle than ourselves,” Swank handily won over her teen audience of aspiring entertainment professionals with her upbeat nature as she recalled the classicism she experienced growing up in a Lincoln, Nebraska trailer park and how she and her mom lived in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme for three weeks upon arriving in Hollywood.
But it was worthwhile. Swank landed a plum part on “Beverly Hills 90210.”
Too bad the Aaron Spelling soap had jumped the shark by this—its eighth season— and was quickly canceled. Swank was depressed.  
Then, two months later, she landed the role of real-life tragic transgender figure Brandon Teena for which she won her first Academy Award.
“There are no negatives,” Swank said. “I think it is how we choose to look at it. It would not have happened if I were still on ’90210.’”
What Swank deemed “the little movie that could,” “Boys Don’t Cry” became the breakthrough film making it possible for her to work with “Interstellar” director Christopher Nolan on 2002’s “Insomnia” (“I feel like he’s not just a director, he’s a visionary”) and Eastwood on 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby,” which landed her a second Oscar.
“I felt like I was shot out of a cannon with that movie,” she said of the unlikely success of micro-budgeted indie “Boys,” for which she only received $3,000 (not even qualifying her for SAG health coverage, then a minimum $5,000).
Swank has since portrayed uber-teacher Erin Gruwell (“Freedom Writers”) and doomed aviator Amelia Earhart (“Amelia”).
“I’ve pretty much made a living out of playing real-life characters,” she said, laughing.
Proud of her “Boys,” acting opposite then-rising actors ChloĆ« Sevigny and Peter Sarsgaard, “I didn’t know it was going to be a catalyst for a bigger talk about gay, lesbian and transgender people,” Swank said.
In fact, following her talk, she could not stick around long to chat with students because that very evening, Swank was receiving an award at Outfest, thanks to this little movie she made 15 years ago.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays 2014-15 from Michael Aushenker & Cartoon Flophouse Humor Comics!

Yeah, so I hijacked the Halloween Kidder himself, my pal Rhode Montijo, to help wish all you dedicated Flophousers a funtesticle Chanukah, Christmas & New Year's Eve 2015!

Listen, it's been a good year for Cartoon Flophouse, with two new releases -- GO, GENIUS, GO! # 1 & 2--and a side project --HELL'S KITTY: LOST IN LOS ANGELES, written by Nicholas Tana--available through my website CartoonFlophouseComics.com and via Amazon.

However, 2015 is gonna be a GREAT year because Aushenker's at it again with the SLAYER comic debuting at Wonder Con in April, a top secret new funny book debuting at San Diego Comic-Con 2015 (think in the spirit of THOSE UNSTOPPABLE ROGUES) and another project aimed for third quarter 2015.

Plus: visit and join RadioSilenceComic.blogspot.com to keep updated on a special charity project in development for late 2016 based on the life of blues rock guitar virtuoso Mike Bloomfield.

Happy holidays, Flophousers! Warm wishes for a facetious, fun-filled '15!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Please join CARTOON FLOPHOUSE humor comics online!

Join up, you Flophousers!

The new website URL is cartoonflophousecomics.com

I'm also now on Twitter @CartoonFlophous

....and, of course, my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/CartoonFlophouse

Plus this blog for updates on upcoming conventions where through year's end I'll be promoting the following brand new books:






Thursday, August 14, 2014

THANK YOUUUU, STOCKTONNNN!

GO, GENIUS, GO! writer and cover artist MICHAEL AUSHENKER and artist Marcus Collar flank Awkward Mayhem as Mario.
I'd like to thank everyone -- new friends and old comrades -- who swung by my table at Stocktoncon to pick up the new books, GO, GENIUS, GO issues #1 and #2 as well as the SLAYER comic preview. We met some amazing new people this year including many new readers.

For those of you who missed out (cue violins...), like Axl sang, "Don't you cryyyy-yyy-yyy toniiiight!" You can order GO, GENIUS, GO! via my website CartoonFlophouseComics.com

STOCKTONCON 2014 was even better than last year's by a long shot, thanks to terrific organization by Mike Millerick and the hospitality of Tina DeZuniga, her family, and her Filipino restaurant RED ORCHIDS, in the heart of downtown Stockton.

Bet your last dollar that I intend to come back to Stockton, Calif. for STOCKTONCON 2015 on Aug. 8 and 9, 2015. I love the people of Stockton and to be honest, I had more fun this year at Stocktoncon than even San Diego Comic-con.

So Stocktoncon, it's ON!!








Saturday, August 2, 2014

my new series GO, GENIUS, GO! #1 and 2 premiers at STOCKTONCON in Stockton, CA THIS WEEKEND!

TOMORROW, AUG. 9 & THIS SUNDAY, AUG. 10: my new comic book series, GO, GENIUS, GO!, with art by Marcus Collar, debuts at Stocktoncon in Stockton, CA, where we will be special guests. OUR TABLE: AA-63



We'll be signing issue #1 and 2 (of 3 issues). I'll be on a panel Sat. at 1 PM

You won't want to miss out on this hilarious new comic, a workplace comedy with teeth set in sterile Irvine, California's tech world.

Only from CARTOONFLOPHOUSECOMICS.COM

Sunday, July 27, 2014

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2014: A few words for my publisher, ACME's MEL SMITH


I'd like to thank my SLAYER and "Gumby's Gang Starring Pokey" comics publisher Mel Smith for making things happen again this year.
The SLAYER bio comic I wrote for ACME publisher Mel Smith

I don't see this guy often enough so any time we get to hang out is always quality time. This weekend was no different: a great mix of mirth and quality conversations/insights about the comics biz. I always walk away from my time with Mel knowing way more than when we get together.
SLAYER comic writer Michael Aushenker and ACME publisher Mel Smith at the ACME booth N-15 Small Press at San Diego Comic-Con, July 25, 2014
Back in March 2008, I got a very boorish and ham-fisted warning from a supposed professional 'cartoonist' (more like an illustrator because cartoonists usually create the characters they draw. OOF!). He warned me not to work with Mel, who had just offered me the chance to write some Gumby & Pokey comics. At the time, Mel had the keys to the Gumby & Pokey universe on paper and this mercenary buffoon didn't want to get involved because of money. He proceeded to bad-mouth Mel, painting him as some kind of crook, even poisoning the well between me and a couple of mutual acquaintances in the comics society I belong to.
That's what short-termers do: short-termers only see the immediate monetary value in something while long-termers can see the larger picture, the value of the journey and the experience itself, the colorful horizon further down the road ahead.
This artist was short-terming Gumby but I'm a long-termer. I saw the long-term value in getting to write Gumby & Pokey, a terrific property that I had enjoyed immensely growing up and, most of all, that had not been done to death in comics. I would have the rare opportunity to help define the Gumby & Pokey experience in comics. How could I NOT want to take that ride?
I'm also a good judge of character and I instantly recognized the good qualities in Mel: he's sharp, very quick, experienced, extremely knowledgable about the industry, confident without being arrogant, a doer, a mover and shaker who gets things done, and, as I have found out more and more in the passing years, a very altruistic and fiercely loyal friend. Mel looks out for and takes care of the interests of his friends ahead of merely making money. He's got a lot of heart. If he gets into scraps, it's because he's very sensitive, and his biggest disappointment in the comics industry is when people think short-term and put money over friendship and the journey.
At the end of the day, Mel's not in it for the money either, he's in it for the glory, whether it's the glory of keeping Gumby & Pokey, your favorite band, or a great still-underrated artist such as Alex Nino alive through comics.
Mel Smith at the ACME Comics booth at San Diego Comic-Con, July 26, 2014
The jaded short-termers who lack character will never understand a guy like Mel, and justly, their careers will not be defined by projects with integrity but by whatever pays their bills the quickest.
But after a long weekend of witnessing the way Mel interacted with his table partner Lazy Bones and quietly --without fuss -- helped give a leg up to my L.A. buds Luis Calderon and Johnny Parker II,

The NoCal/SoCal crew includes Ken "Lazy Bones" Thomas of Livermore, CA and Johnny Parker II and Luis Calderon of L.A.
....it was terrific to witness the karmic payback when no less than Slayer guitarist Kerry King himself took interest in what Mel was doing and gave him props; a very auspicious debut for Mel's brand new line of metal comics.
Slayer's Kerry King with Mel Smith after Comic-Con on Thurs., July 24, 2014
Working on "Gumby's Gang Starring Pokey," released in 2010, has opened some doors for me in comics. But that, in itself, was NOT one of the great rides of my life. That would have to be actually working with Mel and the many benefits of our friendship and collaboration, and, six years later, that adventure continues with the comics we are currently putting together about Slayer, Judas Priest, Testament, Exodus and so on.
So thanks, Mel, for the continuing great ride that is your friendship and your ambitions. Looking forward to the next episode. See you in Stockton in a couple weeks.