Grow as People…

"Listen to me, Morty. I know that new situations can be intimidating. You lookin’ around and it’s all scary and different, but y’know … meeting them head-on, charging into ‘em like a bull — that’s how we grow as people."

-Rick Sanchez, of the Rick and Morty show.

Picture is taken by me, from outside the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, in a special area event hosted by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim cable programming. I love Rick and Morty, and ready for the new Season 3 episodes.

Memories of an Emerald City Comic Con (2015)

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I love a good comic convention, and any geek-out gathering of a similar nature. For me, it’s all about my comic/graphic novel appreciations, and all the connecting fantasy and science fiction driven art. To be among the creatives, and to converse with them is a complex joy that never ends for me.

I also enjoy the thrill of a good hunt, to peek through the exhibit floors.Through the aisles I explore the artist alleys, company booths, dealer tables, and demo stops. I take much with me. All including (but not limited to) my personal favorite things to take home are: sketches, cheap loose figures, vintage magazines, bargain comics (including graphic novels, trade paperbacks), special edition exclusives, free swag, samples, and the occasional new thing an exhibitor successfully pitched .

I also take home some interesting memories, and fun sights. I love taking pictures of people and happenings, to treasure the shows further. Every convention over the last 20 years (lost count of how many of these now), has had something special. I often meet someone new, or see some interesting gathering. I meet an admired creator, or listen to the words of some interesting celebrity to the realms of geek. This is all great fun.

Here are some wonderful memories of this Emerald City Comic Con (my third attended) for 2015.

IMG_3905The gathering of Spider-Man and related Marvel Comics cosplayers. Among them were many Deadpools, and some Spider-Gwens (a new character to the Marvel Universe, long story), and a classic Electro (a personal fav to my childhood cartoon viewing).

IMG_3894I noticed an abundance of loose action figure toys. Much of which I feel somewhat amused, that an appreciation of plastic detailing and articulated mobility could still be a fun novelty, in my grown-up years.

IMG_3945Paul Tobin (writer) and Colleen Cloover (artist), of the Bandette comics; a personal favorite (and highly recommended) series of a whimsical super-hero thief. Both a married couple hosting their own booth, and a joy to meet.

IMG_3940Long Vo and Joe Ng, at the Udon Booth. Both, drawing two video game favorites; Mega Man and Akuma (Street Fighter). I cam back at short times a bit later to see what they were up to. Both very friendly, and put much love into their work

IMG_3951Christopher Pike, and Harry Mudd cosplay; from the Classic Star Trek series.

Photo Mar 29, 12 19 10 PMI love seeing comic book covers of different areas on display and in boxes. There is an awesome nostalgic beauty to all this.

IMG_3910-0DC Comics “Bombshell” versions of Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Harley Quinn, and Batwoman. All brought to life, from a series of variant comic covers showing the heroines with vintage pulp cover twists. Well done.

Photo Mar 29, 1 40 54 PMAlana and Marko cosplayers, from the Saga comics series. Saga (by Fiona Staple and Brian K. Vaughan) is the best sci-fantasy comic series currently released on the shelves now.

IMG_3930A vintage Batman playset still in the box. Will Batman save Robin in time, or will the Joker have the last laugh?

IMG_3947Jim Mahfood, an admired artist over my last two decades of comic reading. He is the perfect match for the new Tank Girl series coming out. He also drew me a cool Batman sketch.

IMG_3936And here, are the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Seattle is safe for now!

IMG_3880Doctor Doom vs. Judge Dredd. Place your bets!

IMG_3899They let me go, after showing them the droids they were looking for.

IMG_3924Sailor Scouts, crossplayin

Photo Mar 28, 11 15 37 AMThe Gundam Wing 1/100 Endless Waltz model kits. Not shown is my favorite, Duo Maxwell and his Deathscythe Hell Custom.

Photo Mar 30, 7 32 42 AMA new Mega Man figure coming from Bluefin toys. Multi-articulated with LED lights, and pop-out compartments. This was originally promoted as a Kickstarter campaign for fans, now with all goals met.

Photo Mar 30, 7 29 13 AMThe Image Comics booth, once again standing tall as my favorite current comics publisher.

Photo Mar 28, 8 19 50 PMSome of the later stage cosplayers showcased that Saturday weekend night. There were many groups, with incredible detail and craftsmanship. The Troll from World of Warcraft (fifth from the left) I think won best in show.

IMG_3871On the last day and outside the convention, lucky fans got an up close performance from the D20 Brass Band. Many cheered to the Legend of Zelda theme, and other classic tunes.

IMG_3903Gotta love the some of the really geeky merch. I was seriously considering buying that Chewbacca robe in the top right corner.

Photo Mar 28, 10 36 48 AMRob McDaniel at work, sculpting with clay one of this amazing creatures. For the show, his work is inside the fantasy anthology series, Monsterpedia.

21923_10153111978863159_1712772259610341081_nMy obtained sketches on small trading card sized boards, from the show. From the top and left…Leonardo by Albert Nguyen, Batman by Jim Mahfood, Miniature Man by Steven Butler, random lady sketch by Enfu (local Seattle Artist), from the upcoming Faster Than Light augmented reality comics by Brian Haberlin (Anomaly) Inspector Belgique by Colleen Cloover (from Bandette), and Gyro Gearloose by Don Rosa!

IMG_3939Well, that’s all for now, with Gender Bender taking us out.

Until the next Con (probably San Diego in the summer)..

– Orion T

The Commentary of Comic Cons – Part 1

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I love convention gatherings, especially those catering to alternative pop culture or as others may refer to these as gatherings of “geek.”

This con life is my best time to enjoy among others my odd taste in the strange realms of drama, fantasy, science fiction, a good story, etc. Such things I have no preference for in delivery whether by print or digital, motion, still, active or interactive. However, I love the comic serialized format, the constant in my life since childhood.

A good “geek” convention covers as much as possible of these realms, breaking boundaries between. From there, personal experiences are gained where I could deep involve myself in all related joys and obsessions. One could make many new friends, mine inspiration, renew nostalgia, or best of all; involve oneself by becoming a creator, a become a part of something larger in creation.

So now, I would like to share some experiences I recently (last month) had at the great San Diego Comic Con, 2013 year. The Comic Con International, as this is currently known, is special and now arguably the largest geek gathering of its kind. Over 130,000 now attend, not counting the estimated extra 50,000 without badges checking out the expanded festivities throughout the Gaslamp District and beyond. Now, the great San Diego Comic Con is more than comics, including all the relatives crossing into the wonderful, “geek” territories of film, games, books, toys, etc.

One product of my related joys and obsessions, is my growing passion for concept art and world building. Below is an inspiring example from a small press booth at Comic Con, featuring the work of the Aen Chronicles by Robert Carter (shades-of-shadow.com)

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So for me, the Con caters to my bizarre tastes from the familiar superheroes and mainstream counter cultures to the obscure oddities and curious collaborations. From vintage comics of generations past to the latest trash movies to the multi-articulate action figures to the odd video game, and so so much more in between. All of it, and more is here.  Also, this is my 19th consecutive year attending this great show. So, I am remain excited for every year as my experiences with goofy things expand.

For this San Diego Comic Con 2013, I spend much of this time in the grand Exhibit Hall. For which, I will focus on for the remainder of this segment.

The Exhibit Hall, or Showroom Floor, or “the downstairs,” of any convention is the heart of any “geek” convention. Here, a myriad of dealers, creators, artists, writers, producers, exhibitions, distributors, and companies representing product await. All from the mega-companies/publishers/studios/distributors to the little indie creative soul standing before a small table with a stack of books to sign and sell. For Comic Con, there are subjects divided from drama, humor, fantasy, Sci-fi and related including but not limited to literature, motion pictures, animation, collectibles, etc.

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(For a future segment, I will focus on the history and my changing observations of the Exhibit Hall, of which I have much).

The grand Exhibit Hall is the fantasy come true for the imaginative mind to be exposed to new things, concepts, passions. New comics, especially from lesser known publishers can be easily obtained with a personal touch by the creators. It was here some years ago, I turned on to a favorite comic series, Locke and Key (by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez), simply from browsing at the impressive cover display at the IDW company booth. I purchased the first hardcover at a discount.and a some years later, I met writer, Joe Hill  at the same booth, same room.

I love the Exhibit Hall.

This year, I obtained much on the free previews of comics and graphic novels of interest. A few looking forward to but not limited to are: the new upcoming The Star Wars (comic basing itself on the earliest film script by George Lucas), the new Sandman series by original writer/creator, Neil Gaiman / artist, J.H. Williams III (a dream combo come true), Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction (loved his Hawkeye series), Spera: Volume 3 (great ongoing fantasy story by changing artists).  Also, I have interest in some more recent award winning series including Bandette by Paul Tobin, Sabertooth Swordsman by Damon Gentry. And there, is so much more..

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Overall, the Exhibit Hall is great for exposure to the expansion of your tastes. If you close yourself to the unfamiliar around here, your not getting the most of your Exhibit Hall experience.

The Exhibit Hall is complement to gathering new experiences, meeting interesting creative souls or perhaps becoming one yourself with the right timing or inspiring motivation. Experiences also include the gaining of new collectibles, or the exchange of currency for some special treasure.

Could you spot the potential for new experiences below?

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Here pictured above, is one tiny portion of the SDCC Exhibit Hall. On average is this crowded the large room becomes in prime hours. The space is over 460,000 square feet. The estimated walk time when crowded between both far ends is around 20-30 minutes. The areas most claustrophobic-inducing are the movie or television studios booths, where often free swag is given or presenting the occasional celebrity for photo-ops and signings. Some fancy their booth with set props, or previews of related merch, sometimes a giant HD screen.

During one stroll, suddenly the entire cast of the Game of Thrones HBO TV series.

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Included with these surrounding crowds, massive lines coil around the popular booths. Many involve the sale of convention exclusives or pre-sale items (mostly toys). Popular 2013 exclusives include a glow-in-the-dark Jason figure from the vintage Nintendo game based on the Friday the 13th films, a Breaking Bad Walter White figure in Hazmat gear, a 1966 style Batman figure doing the classic Batsui dance pose. The typical line for Hasbro on the opening days could cost one 2-3 hours of precious con time, but could be worthwhile for the early release of the largest Transformers toy to date (Titan Class Metroplex about 2 feet, transforms into a city).

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Honestly, many present are for the flipping of such items to others for much larger prices elsewhere (like eBay). For example, the Power Ranger Gold Morpher (whatever that is) will cost you $100 and a likely three-hour wait at the Bandai Entertainment Booth. The eBay sold average is a sure $400.00. Now for those in line for the collecting thrill, such an insane wait can be still worthwhile, because of saved money and the experience of a more direct contact with the producing company.

For a different example of direct experiences, not related to money…

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This is the giant head of the Ice King of the popular Adventure Time cartoon. I will be honest, of my ignorance of this strange cartoon. I have never watched a full episode. Yet seeing this, and the fans in line, cheering with their Adventure Time apparel and hats (worn by the popular main character, Finn), I could only feel a sort of empathetic joy with them, to have their love given back with such a tribute in the clever form of this booth, and others like it.

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Above, is my favorite display of the Comic Con 2013; the Nickelodeon Studios booth known for kid-friendly cable programming.  It seemed no matter what angle, the crazy aesthetics of Nickelodeons whimsical appeal called to the child in us all. Such a display is refreshing as these presenters are seemingly having as much fun as the attendees.

For me, I most look forward to the DC Comics booth, a consistent to every San Diego Comic Con. Here, a familiar roster of super-heroes are official represented: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other Justice Leaguers. For them, new stories and introductions across multiple formats of digital, print, collectibles are displayed.   Here and often, cool freebies including pins and comics are given out. This year for the DC booth, featured props of Superman costumes worn from past movies and TV shows were displayed. Also, much meet and greet happened with the writers, artists, and creators of current DC reads.

A favorite was witnessing fan favorite artist Dustin Nguyen (Lil Gotham) live-drawing.

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(To be continued in Part 2 for another day, when I discuss and focus more on the creative talent of the great Comic Con)

More San Diego Comic Con snaps…

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This week, I have more pics taken by me with a point and shoot camera,  of my 19th annual visit to the San Diego Comic Con posted on the site I contribute to, All Day Comics. For part 2 click here and for part 3 click here. Part 1 is here.

So, all that and more there. I’ll soon share further details, fun of my observations and involvement with the greatest comics, alternative pop-culture, geek gathering in the world. Much will be in my next post, right here. I also have a planned write-up on the place of comics in a convention growing with influence from the big Hollywood, big gaming, and big collectibles industries.

I have much to share soon.

Comics convention fun in Seattle part II: The Rise of Cosplay

photo by Orion Tippens

In continuation of yesterday’s posting, the rest of my 2013 Emerald City Comic Con pictures are now posted on my friend’s blog, All Day Comics!

For this second half, it’s all for the love of cosplay, or the act of dressing up in some costume, usually based on a fictional property. Often at these conventions, many attendees will dress up as their favorite characters from books, comics, movies, games, etc. They usually do this for fun, and to express their current or nostalgic “geek” obsessions. Here are a few extra notes and observations on the nature of this wonderful culture:

  • Often, the costumes are hand-made. Some are sewn together, and/or made from gathered materials. The more work and details that go into a costume, the more appreciation is given. Also, using body or face paint accentuates a certain boldness in presentation of character choice.
  • Crossplay is a rising trend in cosplay convention visibility. This is the style of taking a familiar character and flipping the gender. This is usually done by females, in using their natural body shape and costume alteration to make that provacative switch. 
  • Often, a measure of popularity can be attributed to the frequency of cosplay choice. For example, Doctor Who exploded in popularity since its revival eight years ago, so expect to find many Doctors running around, wielding their Sonic Screwdrivers.(an easy costume). Star Wars is still very strong, so expect to find many Jedis, Stormtroopers at these gatherings. The recent Avengers movie (and related individual character movies) raised the presence of Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury at recent conventions. Rising the fastest are characters from the popular animated Cartoon Network series, Adventure Time.
  • The best-loved and most memorable costumes (for me, at least) are those of obscurity and lesser known. Sure, we all know our Batmans, Jokers, Spideys, Vaders, Spartans, Mario Brothers, etc. But who among us can spot the Ambush Bug, Castle Crasher, Trap Jaw, Radia, Duffman, and others not well-known? To identify, often puts a smile on the face of those making the obscure effort. And if not, ask who is that character. This could be your next obsession, or perhaps opening the mind to something new and exciting. For example, a conversation I had with a lady dressed up as a character exclusive to an obscure Tron video game. She had me far more curious about the expanded Tron world, beyond the otherwise limited movies. My later online searches also stretched my love for hardcore science fiction, just a little more.
  • Some costumes are recognizable by their style. Some are adorned in steampunk fashion, others in medieval garb, a few in heavy military gear. Often, the participants are part of a club or a scheduled gathering of similar attire. Many are also into live action role-playing or LARPing.

I could go on with these notes, but another day or perhaps the next convention to share on. For now, I leave behind a couple more enticing samples of my larger picture set for the All Day Comics blog. For the rest of my wonderful ECCC pics (and footnotes), please click here..

photo by Orion Tippens

Photo by Orion Tippens