Kevin Shinick, creator and main voice talent for MAD, the hit Warner Bros. comedy series airing on Cartoon Network, will be inducted into the legendary 501st Legion tonight, February 27, at Meltdown Comics at 7:00 PM.
Shinick earned an Emmy Award and three Annie Awards for his work as a writer/producer and voice talent on ROBOT CHICKEN, including a third this month for 2012's ROBOT CHICKEN: DC COMICS SPECIAL. Shinick has written comics for both Marvel and DC, and is also an actor with recent appearances on GRIMM and David E. Kelley's MONDAY MORNINGS.
Shinick will be inducted into the legendary 501st Legion for his work on the ROBOT CHICKEN: STAR WARS specials and for his numerous MAD: STAR WARS parodies, including STAR WARS EARNED STRIPES, the reality series spoof that's part of MAD's upcoming season three finale airing Monday, March 4th at 8 pm on Cartoon Network.
The Legion seeks to promote interest in STAR WARS through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for STAR WARS-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work. Meltdown Comics is located at 7522 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, Calif., (323) 851-7223.
Shinick proudly proclaims, "My happy place was definitely sitting in my room with a pile of comic books or in a darkened movie theatre watching films like STAR WARS," and his early ambition led him to become a talented actor, writer/producer and showrunner who also creates his own projects and writes comic books. He starred in a slew of Broadway shows (thanks to his mentor, the late Tony Randall). He wrote the first SPIDER-MAN stage production that was a hit at Radio City Music Hall and subsequent sold-out 40-city tour.
In 2012, he was Emmy -nominated in the same category he'd previously won but this time, for his own show, MAD. Shinick competed against himself at this month's Annie Awards for both MAD and the RCDC, winning for the latter. Last fall, Shinick penned a two-issue arc of Avenging Spider-Man for Marvel comics. His humorous spin on the super hero featured Deadpool and the Hypno Hustler was a hit with both critics and fans. Shinick also spent two season as the host of PBS' Emmy-winning series, WHERE IN TIME IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?, a time traveling sci-fi quiz show that landed Shinick in teen magazines, onto trading cards and into his own action figure.
Now, the legendary 501st Legion inducts Shinick into their ranks. According to the 501st, "In appreciation of your contributions to the STAR WARS legacy, Kevin Shinick is welcomed as a honorary friend of 501st Legion fan organization. The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate.
The 501st Legion began in 1997 as a simple fan website called Detention Block 2551. Today, the term "501st" yields nearly one million results in a Google search. Among the 501st's most notable events are annual appearances at Dragon*Con, San Diego Comic-Con, and Disney's Star Wars Weekends. All 501st members operate on a volunteer basis, donating countless hours of their time to charity fundraisers throughout the world. The 501st Legion's extensive list of Honorary Members includes the likes of Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Seth Green and George Lucas himself. In 2002, the 501st Legion appeared on stage during a No Doubt concert as the band played their own striking rendition of the "Imperial March." Among the biggest collectors of 501st t-shirts are Star Wars actors Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). Every 501st member is assigned a unique Legion ID number for life. Some members even have their number tattooed to show their passion for the Legion. Although Stormtroopers make up the majority of 501st members, other acceptable costumes types include villains such as Tusken Raiders, Bounty Hunters and Sith Lords. The 501st Legion's worldwide ranks are organized into distinct units called Garrisons, Squads, and Outposts. An independent documentary film called "Heart of an Empire" premiered in 2007 chronicling the life and times of the Fighting 501st Legion. The 501st's ongoing charity work includes such notable beneficiaries as the Ronald McDonald House, the Special Olympics, Toys for Tots, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The 501st Legion takes great pride in making dozens of hospital visits each year to brighten the lives of sick children. In 2005, LucasArts paid tribute to the 501st Legion by making them the central characters of the video game Star Wars: Battlefront II. In October 2005, starwars.com added the 501st Legion to its growing databank of officially-recognized characters with behind-the-scenes details recognizing the original fan organization. In 2006, Toy manufacturer Hasbro immortalized the 501st in plastic by producing an exclusive 501st Legion Stormtrooper action figure whose packaging was designed around the group's popular trading card series. As early as 1998, the 501st Legion's ranks included several female members dispelling the notion that a Star Wars costuming club would have a predominately male base. Today's Legion boasts a 24% female membership. In July 2007, Lucasfilm and Hasbro produced an action figure of R2-KT, a pink Imperial droid honoring the memory of Katie Johnson, daughter of Legion Founder Albin Johnson. Subsequently, $100,000 was donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make dreams come true for sick children. Emphasizing the fact that the 501st is a global organization, the Legion had an active member on each of the Earth's seven continents in 2007---including a trooper stationed in Antarctica.