Be Seduced by the World of Masque

Critics call it a “superb” and “a tragic masterpiece … Rarely does a work make feeling devastated also feel so satisfying.”

Conceived and realized by the award-winning co-creator of Elfquest, this intensely emotional adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe classic will delight fans of gothic romance, science-fiction horror and all-is-allowed erotica.

Seven glowing chambers await…

Masque songs at The Rockwell

Via Facebook

I have amazing news. Things are happening for the Masque Musical very fast. You know about the industry-only reading on Oct. 27th. On the following week, Monday Nov. 3rd, Gregory Nabours will be performing a program of Masque songs at The Rockwell Table and Stage!!!! The Rockwell is featuring choice excerpts from four new musicals and “Masque” is one of them! The public is welcome. So, if you’re a Masque fan and want to hear songs performed by the composer and some of the cast from the reading, follow this link to your tickets! See you there!

First assembled cast rehearsal

Today is another milestone kind of day: the first assembled cast rehearsal of “Masque of the Red Death – a Musical Thriller.” For the first time I the writer, Gregory Nabours the composer and Calvin Remsberg the director will hear the songs and dialogue straight through. For the first time we’ll see what the story, all put together, might look like on stage. I’m anticipating thrills, chills and not a few tears. [via Facebook]

Two weeks and one day until the first official industry reading of “Masque of the Red Death – a Musical Thriller!” [via Facebook]

Masque in Playbill

We made Playbill today! That’s as high as you can go in the theater news world! [via Facebook]

An irreverent take

BoingBoing has a, shall we say, irreverent way of putting things. But this take on the Masque Musical press release is essentially accurate (shmeat?!?). Except for one thing: it’s cibongs, not ebongs (unless you’re trying to sell them on Ebay, I guess).

On Audiences

No one can predict how audiences will react to a show. Shows that have “legs” tend to be the kind that people come back to see more than once – plus they tell their friends. “Jekyll & Hyde,” one of Masque’s inspirations, has followers called “Jekkies.” Young teenage girls are the predominate audience for “Wicked” which consistently does top box office. Ideally, the Masque Musical will gain a loyal following of “Masquers” who love dark, gothic romance, horror and yaoi. Of course we’ve got our sights set on a long-running Broadway success. But let me tell you something. If Masque is only ever mounted and performed once in some big theater, we will be able to say we DID it – we had the dream and we put it out there to manifest in the world.

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Sonny Strait on Masque

So what, as the artist and writer of Masque the graphic novel, do I think of the work that came to be the source of “Masque of the Red Death – a Musical Thriller?” It’s weird, but I don’t really know what to say. So I will give you the words of my fellow artist/writer and dear friend Sonny Strait…

“A cartoonist can only take a story and present it in a way that pleases them. Some will like it, some won’t. But if you try to please everyone then no one is pleased. In my opinion there are NO standards in art. I also believe, if you are an artist and you notice some glaring ideal posing itself as The Standard in art it is your duty to challenge it.

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We have gone national! First reading of Masque

This just happened – WE HAVE GONE NATIONAL! (Caveat: this is an industry only, invitation only reading. Unfortunately it is not open to the public, so please don’t inquire.) This press release, which is being promoted by every theatrical news service as I type, is so crazy-wonderful, I just had to share it.

From Broadway World:

Warp Graphics has announced a world premiere industry reading of MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH: A MUSICAL THRILLER with book and lyrics by Wendy Pini, music and additional lyrics by Gregory Nabours, and directed by Calvin Remsberg, on Monday, October 27 at 7:30pm at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood, CA.

Epic in sweep and scope, Wendy Pini and Greg Nabours’ musical thriller Masque of the Red Death is based on Pini’s graphic novel of the same name (based on The Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe) which employs a Japanese anime style of art, and this new musical expands on this adaptation.

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Gregory Nabours to perform songs from Masque

This is in the “it just keeps getting better and better” category. My brilliant, young, handsome, visionary composer Gregory Nabours is on the verge of super-stardom. This November, he’s been invited to perform an evening of his own compositions INCLUDING TWO SONGS FROM “MASQUE” at a li’l ol’ place called the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (note: this will be broadcast live via the Kennedy center’s own channel!). Will Richard and I be there? Do wolves **** in the woods? [via Facebook]

Wendy Pini interviewed by Sequential Tart

Reproduced with permission from sequentialtart.com

ST: How does your take on Masque of the Red Death compare to Poe’s original? What elements are the same, and how does it differ?

W: Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death is a very, very short story…a mood piece, really. Its well-deserved fame is due to the haunting, almost hallucinatory images of horror and beauty the author evokes. It has only one named character, Prince Prospero. The tale does have a moral of sorts: those who retreat to their private castles thinking themselves superior to the rest of humanity are doomed to learn that even they cannot escape the world…or their fate.

I believe that Poe took influences from Shakespeare’s The Tempest in the creation of his Prince Prospero. More than that, the concept of a nobleman in exile on an island whose inhabitants he dominates by means of sorcery is echoed strongly in Poe’s short story.

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Requiem for Madame Kabala

Posted by Atomic Fungus

Been mulling this over for a while, as I’m not used to writing necrologs of any kind. But figured I couldn’t let go without saying a few farewell words about the most outrageously cool and devious bitch queen of the entire Masque universe. I know she wasn’t everyone’s favorite character, but she was mine, and so I’d like to share some of my reflections on her. There’s little I can say that hasn’t been said already among Masquers at some point, but at least I can sum it up in one place. If I go it wrong somewhere, feel free to chime in.

Any necrolog should start with a biography of sorts, but very little was ever revealed about her life, background, personalia, not even a first name (although I’ve thought up a whole lot of exotic names to suit her).

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Comics Bulletin Review

Reproduced with permission from comicsbulletin.com

Best known for her original SF-Fantasy Elfquest, Wendy Pini changes gears here and takes on a classic, re-imagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death as futuristic yaoi. Envisioned as a three-year project, this volume collects the first four chapters of the webcomic as well as sketchbook pages detailing the evolution of the characters.

This gothic-styled romance focuses on the rich and reclusive Anton Prosper. For six years, the young man has directed the world’s top scientists on a secret project of his own devising. Not one of them knows how all the pieces fit together or what Prosper’s ultimate goal is. However, the latest addition to the staff, beautiful young Steffan Kabala, has unlocked Prosper’s secret. Now he wants to unlock the other man’s heart.

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The Now of Masque

Posted by Loa Shelley

Edgar Allen Poe’s work is a cornerstone of American literature, taking us into the depths of our own inhuman horrors. Known during his lifetime mainly as a literary critic, it was only long after his death in 1849 that his works of fiction grew in popularity. In May of 1842, he published the short story “The Mask of The Red Death” in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine. The story was republished three years later in another journal as “The Masque of the Red Death,” the title change emphasizing the masquerade ball in which its main character appears.

It is from that ball as well that Wendy Pini’s epic webcomic based on the Poe piece seems to draw inspiration. She takes us to Sivarsi Nine, a mega-city on a world not so unfamiliar in its inhabitants’ lust for glamour and riches.

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One on One with comics legend Wendy Pini

Reproduced with permission from Giant Fire Breathing Robot, as published June 1, 2010

The first day of Fanime 2010 held many wondrous things – Cosplay, Gaming, Dweeb as Kule, Comics, Cthulhu themed tshirts and a million-and-one references to Fooly Cooly. But the most wondrous thing was yet to come! While wandering Artist Alley, we moseyed up to a booth with banners for Elfquest and Masque of the Red Death, as well as a lovely woman sitting in front of them. Well, hell, I like the idea of a graphic version of Poe’s short story. And a beautiful woman to boot?!? I’m not passing THAT combo up! I mean, really?!?

So, we approach the woman and it turned out that she was Wendy Pini, the creator and artist herself. We got to talking to Ms.

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Review by El Santo

Reproduced with persmission from WebcomicOverlook.com, as published on June 29, 2010

I became a comic fan in the early 90′s during the debut of Jim Lee’s X-Men. Thanks to my nerdy, obsessive nature, I ended up taking a strong interest in the history of comics. I used to hope up at the Detroit Public Library, head up the stairs to the second floor (which had some fantastic Diego Rivera murals that I didn’t appreciate at the time), and pored through various books about comic book history. I learned about obscure, now-forgotten heroes, reveled in pages devoted to Will Eisner’s The Spirit, and took a passing interest in the Kitchen Sink Comix movement of the 1970′s.

When the book got to the 80′s, a couple of names stood out prominently: the husband and wife team Wendy and Richard Pini.

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A Newbie’s Perspective

Sent in by Kristen Olsen:

I was asked by the wondrous Madame Masque to post my views as a newbie reader who read the backlog to the current (Masque web comic episode) in one sitting. I went into a bit of an emotional overload at this. Reading all at once was at once both neat and taxing.

There is just so much emotion in the characters and their interactions. I have to say, to start out, I was a huge Steffan fan but that’s changed. I can’t say it was a particular event just a combining of all the events. The story itself is full of emotion and is brought to great light by Madam Masque. There is great character development. The story flows. The art is amazing.

It does make me wonder what Edgar Allan Poe would have to say if he saw his story rendered so wonderfully.

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Absolutely marvelous!

Sonny Strait writes:

Wow! You know you’ve hit on something as an artist when you’re able to stir up controversy. If a story is to be considered erotic, then one must be turned on by it. A cartoonist can only take a story and present it in a way that pleases them. Some will like it, some won’t. But if you try to please everyone, then no one is pleased. I believe if you are an artist and you notice some glaring ideal posing itself as “The Standard” in art, it is your duty to challenge it.
Wendy is breaking new ground here. Believe it!

I have never seen an artist create something in a format so perfect for two different genres of presentation. Wendy has put on a brilliant Internet Flash show that is equally brilliant in print form.

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About Masque

On a futuristic earth-type world, in the vast, technologically overrun megalopolis of SIVARSI 9, citizens live what seems to be a utopian existence.

But Anton “Prince” Prosper, last scion of a fabulously wealthy, morally bankrupt dynasty, lusts for more. A scientific genius secluded from the world on his own, private island, Prosper dedicates his gifted young mind to perfecting the science of nanotechnology. His goal: eternal youth and immortality.

Aiding Prosper in his quest is his stunning assistant Steffan Kabala. Their intensely erotic, volatile relationship, seething with obsessive passion, finally explodes in an act of bitter revenge. Thus a hideous bio-technical plague, the Red Death, is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.

The drama of jealousy, seduction, betrayal and conflicting ideals builds to a horrific climax amid the decadent delights of the most glamorous, most sinister masked ball ever held.

About Masque

On a futuristic earth-type world, in the vast, technologically overrun megalopolis of SIVARSI 9, citizens live what seems to be a utopian existence.

But Anton “Prince” Prosper, last scion of a fabulously wealthy, morally bankrupt dynasty, lusts for more. A scientific genius secluded from the world on his own, private island, Prosper dedicates his gifted young mind to perfecting the science of nanotechnology. His goal: eternal youth and immortality.

Aiding Prosper in his quest is his stunning assistant Steffan Kabala. Their intensely erotic, volatile relationship, seething with obsessive passion, finally explodes in an act of bitter revenge. Thus a hideous bio-technical plague, the Red Death, is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world.

The drama of jealousy, seduction, betrayal and conflicting ideals builds to a horrific climax amid the decadent delights of the most glamorous, most sinister masked ball ever held.