Sunday, September 2, 2012

The DC New 52 one year later

http://www.fanboynewsnetwork.com/the-dc-new-52-one-year-later/

Saturday, July 14, 2012

How this blog will live on

Hello,

As I have migrated to http://www.fanboynewsnetwork.com I have not been making any updates here. I have decided I will start posting links to the new updates here to help promote the new site. So here are the links to the posts I have made that were not posted here. Warning. The latest is a doozy.

http://www.fanboynewsnetwork.com/137/

http://www.fanboynewsnetwork.com/dc-new-52-things-begin-to-unravel/

http://www.fanboynewsnetwork.com/thoughts-on-san-diego-comic-con/

http://www.fanboynewsnetwork.com/misogyny-in-geek-culture/

Saturday, June 23, 2012

We've moved

Hello,

Starting today all updates can be found at www.fanboynewsnetwork.com

Please join us as we continue are online exploration of geek culture there.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Justice League Movie: Potential treat, or impending train wreak.

This week DC entertainment announced that they have hired Will Beall to write a script for a Justice League movie. There are also rumblings of trying to get a new Wonder Woman movie going again, as well as Lobo and Suicide Squad movies. This really isn’t surprising. I imagine that with the Avengers currently sitting as the third highest grossing movie of all time that there is a lot of pressure to get the DC properties steaming along.

I can only imagine what DC entertainment president Diane Nelson has to deal with right now. The success of not just the Avengers, but the entire Marvel Cinema Universe highlights how much the DC properties not about Batman have struggled. The DC characters are very powerful and prominent intellectual properties, yet they have not be able to gain any traction.
I think the problem isn’t a hard one to figure out. It’s DC entertainment’s parent company, Warner Brothers.
Last August I looked at the Green Lantern movie in comparison to Captain America. Captain America was a movie that reveled in its comic book roots and yet remembered that it had to be an enthralling action movie for the general audience. Rather than dumb down the character for mass consumption Marvel made sure to build up Steve Rogers so that the movie going public would love him as much as the longtime fans.
Green Lantern by comparison was a stock summer block buster that had a generic action movie plot and Ryan Reynolds playing a character much like he has in most movies he has been in. In other words Warner Brothers was playing it safe. I have a feeling that the production of the movie was very influenced by focus groups.
The end result was a hit of Marvel and an underperformer for DC.
The point I am getting at is that Warner Brothers isn’t playing to the strengths of the DC properties. Marvel has made six movies that know full well they are action hero fantasies and instead of trying to bring their heroes into the real world they are trying to create a believable version of their superhero universe. Disney bought Marvel part way through this and made the wise decision to leave them alone as the plan is working.
Warner Brothers on the other hand does not seem to trust that the audience will embrace a theatric version of the DC universe. The words that keep getting thrown around are “Dark”, “Gritty”, and “Mature”. That works great for Batman as Christopher Nolan has shown, but not so much for Superman, or Wonder Woman.
If you don’t believe me on that point I suggest track down a copy of the recent Wonder Woman pilot. Instead of the strong but compassionate hero she was created to be, Wonder Woman was portrayed as a grim badass who would torture a bed ridden mook for information and straight up kill a security guard who got in her way. Basically she was unsympathetic and the show was terrible.
Not to say that this approach won’t work for all heroes, for example Green Arrow. There is a new Green Arrow series coming this fall that looks pretty good. It is going the darker route, but Green Arrow being a non-powered hero like Batman can make that work. But even this one seems to be victim to focus group shenanigans. The show and the hero in it are just being called Arrow. Apparently due to the failure of Green Lantern the word green is now taboo in a superhero name.
I have an idea that I would like to suggest to Warner Brothers. Bring on Bruce Timm for your film efforts. Timm was the driving force behind the DC animated universe that gave us Batman the animated series, Superman the animated series and Justice League unlimited. These were great and comic and non-comic fans alike loved them. Let Bruce write up some script treatments and whatever you do WB, do not let a focus group anywhere near them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Seattle: The Birth of the Geek Capital of the World

My claim that Seattle is the Geek Capital of the World grows stronger all the time.

We currently have the King Tut Exhibit at the Science Center.

Our Science Fiction Museum is about to open an Icons of Science Fiction Exhibit.

And we have a growing battle between a Real Life Superhero and a Real Life Supervillian.

And I will be writing about all of those in the future.

But today rather than the future, I would like to talk about the past. Because if you want to know why Seattle is so prone to generate geek culture you have only to look to its History.
It is a history of conflict, con-artistry, sex, booze, political intrigue, violence, legal maneuvering, and a suspicious fire. I am at a lost as to why so far I can only find two cases where Hollywood has used that history in screenplays.
There is no way I am going to cover all of Seattle’s great history in this post. But I will highly recommend three books if you are so inclined. The first is Sons of the Profits by Bill Speidel. If you want to really understand Seattle’s history for just how entertaining it is, this is the book for you. Its tone is light, and points out how the fate of the region turned on a dime….or a nickel, or however much they could make.
Speidel also wrote Doc Maynard: the man who invented Seattle which covers the history of one of the key city founders. Finally Skid Row by Murray Morgan, and yes, that term was coined in Seattle.

So what are the points of interest that make Seattle history great?

You have the feud between Arthur Denny and his party, and David “Doc” Maynard. Denny and party were Republican Methodist and teetotaler. Maynard was a Democrat and he was definitely not a teetotaler. Each settled in different parts of the area, but close enough that it was clear that Seattle would be made up of both their land.
And how did this play out. Well look at a map of downtown Seattle today.


See how parts of it seem to come together haphazardly. This is the legacy of two men building up their territory with no regard to the other, and some more than healthy stubbornness.

Maynard was not well liked by the other members of the Seattle establishment for things like being a Democrat, His friendship with Chief Sealth (also known as Chief Seattle whom the city was named for) and the fact that he made several business deals designed to boost the city rather than line his pocket. Seriously there is a movie in there.
Denny and friends also objected to a theory of Maynard’s about what was needed to help a frontier town grow. Maynard had a hand in the development of Cleveland OH. One of the lessons he learned there was one way to help an area grow was to promote prostitution. To this end he encouraged one John Pinnell to set up shop. He also worked with Mary Ann Conklin AKA Mother Damnable in setting up her brothel. Just to be clear neither Pinnell nor Conklin set up the infamous Seattle Seamstresses union. That was Madam Lou Graham who was after Maynard’s time. Graham however did use her profits from the “Seamstresses” to help finance much of Seattle’s turn of the Century development.
A counter point to all this fun and games was Asa Mercer. Mercer understood the basics of Maynard’s theory, that in a frontier town the men get lonely and female companionship helps them and in turn helps the area. Mercer had a different idea how to go about it. Between 1864 and 1866 Mercer made two trips to the east coast to recruit women to come back to Seattle to find husbands. He managed to bring 46 women to the area. If your family has roots in the Pacific Northwest going back several generations, you have over 70% odds of being descended from the Mercer girls. A 60’s TV Show Here comes the Brides was based on this story.

Oh and there was that fire.

On June 6th 1889 a fire broke out that would claim 32 city blocks. Despite the damage only one death was reported, a boy James Goin, and there is some dispute if he actually died in the fire.
No one is sure what caused the fire, the story of it starting in a paint shop were just rumors at the time. But what is sure is that it was the best thing that happened to downtown Seattle.
You see downtown Seattle was basically built at sea level. This was great for the lumber mill, but not so great for the businesses, as every high tide the toilets would flood, amongst other problems. When the city was rebuilt after the fire it was built up higher avoiding the flooding. There was also a economic boost from the jobs the reconstruction created. While there is no evidence that the fire was set deliberately, that fact that it was more blessing than curse does lead to some speculation
This also led to a Seattle having an interesting tourist attraction. The series of Underground passages and basements have come to be known as the Seattle Underground. Just think about an area like this, and then consider what must have gone on during prohibition. And do not ask my sister and I what we may or may not have done during our misspent youth. If you visit the area you can take a tour of the safer parts of this. The Seattle Underground was used as a major plot point in the TV movie The Night Strangler staring Darrin McGavin, which was a sequel to the Night Stalker.
And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at this and tell me that there is not a movie or HBO series just begging to be made.
For me this weird clash of uptight moralism, hedonism, profiteer and roguish behavior set the stage for the geek friendly city that I call home. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Avengers: The movie I have waited for my whole life

Sometimes when writing an article things just don’t come out the way you want.

I’ve tried three times to write about the Avengers movie. In the end what stymied me was that with it’s phenomenal success. Everyone has written about it, about the effect it will have on future Marvel movies, future comic book based movies and the careers of the creative people involved.

If you are reading this blog I am going to assume you have seen the Avengers, are going to see the Avengers, or ended up here by mistake.
So this is not going to be a review of the Avengers.
This is going to be a personal examination of how I felt watching the Avengers.
As I am sure I have stated before I grew up reading comics. As far back as I can remember my dad would read me comic books at bed time. He used comics to teach me to read. So I have been literally reading comic books all my life.
And I never thought I would get to see a movie like the Avengers.
As I was growing up, any translation of comic book heroes to live action were lack luster at best. The 70’s and 80’s had several Marvel heroes on TV, Spider-man, Hulk, Captain America and Doctor Strange. Of all of them Spider-man was the closest to making the character I grew up with.
Really the first two Superman movies were the gold standard for years.
And getting multiple heroes together in one movie, forget it.
There was one attempt in the in 1979. It was Legends of the Superheroes. It started Adam West as Batman. I think right there you can guess how bad it was.
In 1997 there was an attempt to make a Justice League TV show. It was an adaptation of the Giffen and DeMatteis run, which was already humorous. They cast David Ogden Stiers as the Martian Manhunter. Here is the result.


So I pretty much gave up on a cool team up happening.

Then Marvel decided to start making movies.

The moment Nick Fury showed up post credits in Iron Man a sense of excitement started. Could they really pull it off?
And as we have seen, the answer is yes.
As Nash Bozard of Radio Dead Air (an online show you should be watching) put it, it was the best possible Avengers movie that could be made.  
Watching it I realized that I had been waiting my whole life for this movie. It was true to the characters, it had action, it had story, and it had heart.

The bar has been raised and I for one cannot wait to see where we go from here.
Oh, and this is for you Nash



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: Ninja the Mission Force

Let me introduce you to Ed Glaser. He is the owner and executive producer of Dark Maze Studios, an independent producer of films and web series which prides itself on the micro budgets of its production.

The latest offering from Dark Maze Studios is the 10 part web series Ninja the Mission Force. To explain this series I first have to provide some background.

In the 1980s there was a film maker named Godfrey Ho. Ho would obtain the rights to distribute various unreleased Asian action movies. To improve the U.S. appeal for these films he would shoot footage of caucasian actors dressed as ninjas and edited them into the films and then overdub everything to attempt to make them mesh as one story. What resulted was series of movies with a high WTF factor.
Glaser took this concept and ran with it.
The main plot of NTMF is a battle between Gordon (a ninja working for Interpol) and Bruce (leader of the Evil Ninja Empire) to gain control of the seven avian ninja warrior statues (seven rubber ducks in ninja costumes) that will grant the possessor of all seven ultimate ninja power.  
Gordon (played by Glaser) is also dealing with the mysterious disappearance of his wife (played by Sarah Lewis) years ago. This is mitigated somewhat by a virtual avatar of her he interacts with through her self-videotaping project she completed before she vanished.
Bruce (Played by Brad Jones, better known as internet reviewer The Cinema Snob) has anger management issues. Every time one of his minions disappoints him (fails to defeat Gordon, loses the formula to create a zombie horde, gets his lunch order wrong, etc.) he feeds them to his just off screen tiger.
Both have agents that are out in the world searching for the avian ninja warrior statues. These agents are represented through scenes form public domain movies that are edited into each episode. Taking it a step further than Ho, the movies used are often as far from a ninja movie as you can get, including Orson Wells’ The Stranger, John Travolta’s Boy in the Plastic Bubble, and the original Night of the Living Dead. The new dubbed dialog takes these in new directions. The scenes from Boy in the Plastic Bubble are the set up for the Zombie horde and Night of the Living Dead features dogs whose brains have been put into human bodies and set after Gordon’s agents. In keeping with the spirit of the Ho movies, every episode has the word “ninja” in the title.
The overall tone of the show is absurd camp. The ninja fights are staged to highlight the fact that none of the actors have any martial arts training, and yet are presented as master fighters. The first episode features Gordon fighting a cheese ninja and overcoming him using his knowledge of bacon fu.
Each episode is 10 to 15 minutes long. This allows them to move the story along, tell their jokes, and not wear out their welcome.
The biggest strength of the show is also its greatest weakness. The over the top campiness will endear it to some and turn off others.
Overall I find Ninja the Mission force to be an excellent example of a web series. It combines it low budget and campy nature, with some cleaver writing and total commitment by the cast to create a unique program.
Final grade for Ninja the mission for is B+
You can find Ninja the Mission Force online at http://darkmaze.com/ninjathemissionforce/


Friday, May 4, 2012

Site update

Sorry I missed last Saturday's posting. A combination of illness and the article I was working on not coming out the way I hoped led to that happening. I am working on a post for tomorrow.

I'm still working on the move to the www.fanboynewsnetwork.com domain. I am waiting on one last element to be finished before I make the move. Once the move is completed I will get to work on setting up the Podcast.

Starting with tomorrow's post I will be adding a rating system to any reviews. I will be using an A through F grading system with A+ being an all time classic, C being enjoyable, but flawed, and F being please do not waste your time with the tripe.

Finally I will not be getting a chance to see Avengers until tomorrow night. I will review it, but it will be a special mid-week post.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dinner at the movies

I think we can all agree on one simple fact, the vast majority of geeks love films. That almost all of the top ten grossing films of all time are geek focused, or at least geek friendly attest to that.
And going to see films in the theater is still a big deal. My friends and I are already making our plans to go see the Avengers.
Unfortunately there is a sad truth we have to face. Movie theaters are an at risk industry. First off you have the competition for entertainment dollars with Streaming movies, rental, and gaming. Add to that that theaters don’t see much profit on sales. The truth is that in most cases the theater only gets 10% on the ticket sales.  It’s considered a general truth that movie theaters are in danger and you see more and more closing due to this. Theater owners are left trying to find ways to keep in business.
One model that is seeing some success is combining movie theaters with full service restaurants.
If you are not familiar with this concept it works something like this. You come to the theater, buy your ticket and go sit down as normal. There is often a cabaret style table in front of your seat and a menu. After you are seated a server will come and take your meal order. Food will be delivered directly to your seat. Many also have a way to order during the movie using slips that does not interfere with the viewing experience. About a half hour before the movie is over they will bring you the bill.

No, really.

There are two national chains that I know of that are doing this right now. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Cinebarre. There is a theater called Gold Class Cinema which is a subset of Village Cinema that does this, with a twist. More on that later.
Right now Alamo Drafthouse has theaters in Texas and Virginia; it is looking to expand shortly to New York, California, and Colorado. Cinebarre has locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.
Before going forward I want to point out that I have been a regular at the Puget Sound Cinebarre for the last two years, but I have never been to an Alamo Drafthouse. Cinebarre was formed by a former Alamo Drafthouse co-owner so I imagine that the experiences are similar, which my research backs up..
So will this model help keep theaters alive. Right now the potential is certainly there. The big thing here is the revenue source. Having a full restaurant and a bar that can serve beer and wine provides a good profit margin. The other thing a theater like this can provide is customer loyalty.
Both chains are very proactive about in theater etiquette. Alamo Drafthouse has made national news about the ways they have dealt customers who will not stop talking or texting. I have personally witnessed Cinebarre ejecting a rowdy group that would not shut up. I don’t know about you, but right there you have my vote.
Another advantage is there is no need to sell commercial space. Nether chain has commercials on screen other than previews and the occasional promo for things like local film festivals. Instead you get shorts, often themed to match the movie.
And let’s be honest here, we have all had that experience were you go out and get dinner before the movie and due to slow service you start worrying you will miss show time. Obviously not an issue if dinner is served at the theater.
Speaking of dinner, let’s talk about the food. Again, I have not been to Alamo Drafthouse so I have no personal experience, but my understanding is that it is very similar to what I have had at Cinebarre. The food I have had is good quality diner food. It is burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and chicken strips. I have always stated that it is the exact quality I expect for what I pay. I took a friend there once and he was expecting to just tolerate his burger. The quote when he took his first bite was “holy crap, this is a good burger.”
Also this model can take advantage of another sad trend. Multiplexes are closing down. Well that leaves open buildings perfect for a remake. The Cinebarre near me use to be a Lowes multiplex. They just took out one theater and made it the kitchen, and remodeled the rest to include the tables and space for the servers to walk. Every time I hear about a theater closing I think here is a chance for a new theater/restaurant.
I mentioned earlier about Gold Class Cinema and that there was a twist to how they do it. In their case they are prompting themselves as a luxury movie experience, with recliners in place of theater seats, state of the art technology and high end food. But this comes with a price. At Cinebarre I pay the same for a ticket as I do at most other theaters in the area. At Gold Class I would need to pay $30.00 to get in.

I feel I have been spoiled by the Cinebarre in my area and in the two years since I discovered it I have seen all of three movies elsewhere and two of those were IMAX. And in the third case I found myself becoming annoyed by the commercials and the crowd.
So in the end I am going to admit I like this trend. It is a way to keep the theater going experience alive and thriving. I fully expect that in about five years we will see this trend expanded and much more common. I have yet to take someone that has not loved the experience and now have several friends where it is our default theater.
Of course I really want to get a chance to go to an Alamo Drafthouse at some point to compare the two.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Food of the Geeks

One dream everyone of any sub culture has is the dream of a hangout, a place where you can just be yourself and be surrounded by people who share your interests.  A lot of sub cultures have these kinds of places. My sister, the queen of all Goths (no really, I have evidence) has introduced me to many clubs that cater to her scene.  There are also country/western bars, sports bars, punk bars, and new age coffee houses.
What all of these places have in common is a source of revenue that is not directly tied to the sub culture they are catering to. The reason you need to have that revenue source is simple. You need to pay the bills to keep the space open so that we can have our great hang out.
Well, what about geek culture? Where do we get to hang out?
Conventions don’t count. There are events that happen at specific times and then are over.
For a lot of us the hang out of choice has been the local comic book shop. It has the prerequisite source of income and some of them even have places to sit.  But it is missing something that all my other examples had; a product that can be consumed by someone that has dragged there by a friend.
I’m not a Goth, but thanks to my sister I have found myself in more than one Goth club. Even though I am not Goth, I can still get a drink.
If I drag someone not into geek culture to a comic book shop what are they going to do? Hang out and listen to me argue the merits of the DC new 52 with the other guys there?
It’s not like there are geek themed bars and restaurants out there.
Or are there?
Remember in my Power of the Geek post, where I said that the geek vote is a powerful thing and gaining its good will can bring great success.  Well of late some enterprising nerds have realized this, and have created themed establishments meant to cater to the geek crowd.
In New York you have The Way Station, a bar where you have steam punk weapons over the bar and the door to the restrooms is a replica of the TARDIS.
Here in the shadow of Seattle, the geek capital of the world (apparently there is now a study backing me up on that) we have the AFKtavern.  It is a geek friendly restaurant and bar. It is heavily gaming themed, but they have a broad appeal to the geek spectrum. It is well lit, has good food, and you can order games from a menu that they will bring to your table.
I’ve never been to the Way Station so I cannot speak from experience, but they have good reviews so I will say give them a glance if you are in the area.
The AFK I can say does hit the nail on the head as far as being a geek hangout. As I said earlier, they have a source of revenue separate from the geek culture, that being their food, which is pretty good.
But you also have to play to your culture. As I stated earlier in addition to food and drink they have games on the menu. Everything from Apples to Apples to Munchkin, to D&D. They have a vending machine that has dice and Magic: the Gathering cards.  A couple of the tables are big enough for food and gaming books and maps.  They also have banks of console games. Lately when I have gone in there is usually someone playing Skyrim. Then menu itself is a lot of fun as they give a geek spin to everything on the menu. Garlic Cheese bread is called Dwarven Battle Bread and the chili cheese fries are fries +2. One of the popular drinks is called the Arrow to the Knee.
Theme nights are big there too. Cosplay is also encouraged. I have yet to go in there and not see at least a few people in costume. I think it was brave on one soul to come in dressed as a ninja on pirate night. The week of Norwescon when half the staff was at the convention it was meat on a stick night.
The one drawback I see is the curse of a successful idea. It is often packed on the weekends and unless you call ahead you can wait well over an hour for a table. I know that doesn’t sound like a problem but if walk-ins can’t get in they will just leave and then warn their friends away. It’s a fine line that a business like this has to walk and while it is going well so far I do hope they are looking at ways to deal with this for the future.
Overall my hope is that this trend will continue and we will see geek themed clubs and restaurants becoming more common.
There is another offshoot of this that needs to be looked at. The movie theaters with full service restaurants, but that will have to wait until next week.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Upcoming Fanboy changes

This last weekend I attended Norwescon for the first time in 12 years.  I think this is what a high school reunion must feel like. Catching up with people I have not seen in years. It was a blast.

While at the convention I attended every new media panel they had. It was highly informative. I was looking for ideas to use in the upcoming video series. Instead what I got was a whole new battle plan.

So here is what you can expect in the near future for Fanboy News Network.

I will continue the blog as is with updates on Saturday. However I will soon be migrating the blog to www.fanboynewsnetwork.com using Wordpress. The blog posts will continue to be the editorial format, but will no longer cover recent news or recent movies.
This leads us to the big change. Once the blog is moved to the new site I am going to start doing a weekly podcast that will cover geek news from the previous weeks and reviews of recent movies. Eventually I hope to do interviews as well.
I will also do video updates but they are going to be less frequent at first as they are more labor intensive. Videos will be for things where there is a need for visuals, such as reviews of older movies and events such as taking a trip through EMP to cover their Science Fiction and Horror exhibits, or a tour of Seattle to prove we are the geek capital of the world.
My hope is that this more multimedia approach will allow me to not only create more content for the site but to help build Fanboy News Network as a brand. If nothing else it will give me additional creative outlets.

Now I just need to work on getting a logo and a theme song.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Emerald City Comicon the final 2012 update


After a few days rest and the prep for another convention I am ready to look back on Emerald City Comicon.
For any convention after it is over there are two central questions to you need to ask to gauge it’s success: Did I enjoy myself and will I be back next year. For me the answer to both is a clear yes. I had a good time and I look forward to attending again.

With that covered there are a few things I would like to go over.
First is the size of the crowd. As I covered in the day two update attendance was so high on Saturday that the fire marshal shut down registration.  One rumor I heard was that Saturday’s numbers were greater than all of last year’s. I can’t say for sure as I have not seen any officially numbers yet.  ECCC has been a steadily growing convention, and has slowly been using more and more of the Washington State Convention center. Based on this year’s event they will probably need to use even more of the facility next year.
Due to some of the behavior’s I witnessed at the show, after I finish with Norwescon this upcoming weekend I will need to write more on con attending etiquette. Someone suggested I need to write a book on the subject, but let’s start with a couple more articles and see where we go.
The panels still tend to be centered on the comic book industry. Yes you have the media guests and they do get the biggest room, but the majority of the other rooms are used for panels based on the comic book industry. This has certainly given the show a good reputation in the industry and I hope they stay the course on this.
Cosplay was in fine form during the show. The one down side was that the area set aside for cosplay photo ops was right outside the main dealer floor. When the crowding happened on Saturday you could barely move.

And for those who were following my cosplay tally, here are the final numbers for the show.

·         Doctor who: 29
·         Captain America: 18
·         Joker: 14
·         Batman: 14
·         Superman: 14
·         Harley Quinn: 13
·         Poison Ivy: 11
·         Batgirl: 11
·         Robin: 11
·         Wonder Woman: 9
·         The TARDIS:9
·         Supergirl: 7
·         Spider-man: 7
·         Green Lantern: 7
·         Catwoman: 7
·         Riddler: 7
·         Zatanna: 6
·         Black Canary: 4
·         Phoenix: 4
·         Iron Man: 3
·         Nightwing: 3
·         Rogue: 3
·         Death (from Sandman): 3
·         Doctor Octopus: 2
·         Powergirl: 2
·         Hulk: 2
·         Batwoman: 2
·         Green Hornet: 2
·         Dalek: 2
·         Red Ranger: 2
·         Doctor Horrible: 2
·         Captain Hammer: 2

An Honorable mention goes to Hawkman. Only one person went as him, but his wings moved.

That wraps up this show. I will have a new post mid next week after I recover from Norwescon detailing how that show goes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Emerald City Comicon Day Three

The final day of a convention can be a bitter sweet affair. You have had a great team, you will miss all the experiences, and you are exhausted and just want to get home and soak your poor abused feet.

I only attended two panels, the Summer Glau and Adam Baldwin panels. The Browncoat in me required it. They were fun panels. Summer is obviously a sweet girl and was adorable on stage. Adam is an old veteran who knows how to connect to the crowd.

I spent the rest of the day checking out booths I had not gotten to previously and catching up with old WotC colleagues I had not seen in a while. Towards the end of the day I ended up helping out at the booth my wife was vending at. This led to my awesome moment of the day.
One of the items my wife makes is a bracelet with a heat sensitive stone like an old mood ring at the center. A little girl about 4 or 5 years old was with her parents at the table and I encouraged her to touch the stone. As the stone turned color I could see the gears in her head start working. She was trying to figure out how I was making the color change. She keep looking at her had expecting ink. And she was not going to take this nonsense I was telling her about science and body heat. Somehow I was making the green stone turn blue and she was going to work it out.
And before I give you the tally of today’s cosplay I want to share a revelation I had. My identifying and recording the various costumes I saw was basically the fannish equivalent of trainspotting.
And with that thought firmly in place here are the results for Sunday.

·         Superman: 7 finally knocking Doctor Who out of the top spot.
·         Doctor Who: 6
·         Captain America: 4
·         The TARDIS: 3
·         Supergirl: 3
·         Spider-man: 3
·         Riddler: 3
·         Power Girl: 2
·         Green Lantern: 2
·         Robin: 2
·         Harley Quinn: 2
·         Joker: 2
·         Poison Ivy: 2
·         Wonder Woman: 2

Tomorrow I will do the final review of the convention, after I get a good night's sleep.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Emerald City Comicon Day Two


Second day of the convention.

The big news was the show hitting capacity. Someone told me it was 10,000 people. It seemed like more. It was bad enough that the fire marshal had registration shut down and was not letting people who stepped outside to come back in until the crowd thinned. This crowding was most evident in the area outside of the dealer floor. It has been where cosplayers have gone for photo ops. It was so crowded that you could barely move. I think some expansion of space may need to happen next year. An upside of this is that everyone I know that is running a booth had very good sales.

Panels I attended.

Will Wheaton’s 90 minute awesome hour. It’s pretty much what it says on the tin. I have never seen anyone able to work a crowd as well as Will Wheaton. He knows his audience and knows how to play to them to perfection.
Marvel: pint of O’ C.B., which is basically Marvels big news panel. It was a good show case for what Marvel is up to. There were two highlights for me. One was a very honest answer to the question of the lack of female creators. They are aware of it and looking for ways to address it, but right now it is a continuing issue that plagues the whole industry and will probably take years to turn around. The other highlight was when Matt Fraction was asked about his writing of Dr. Strange as very creepy. Fraction countered that Strange is creepy and used that fact that he entered into a romantic relationship with his student Clea. Fraction felt that crossing that line informed a lot about the character.
DC Comics: The New 52. This was a lot better than the DC panel from the previous day. Tough questions were not ignored. A big one was how DC addresses old readers leaving in wake of the New 52 does. Gail Simone led the way in answering that stating that change can be hard but the writers are dedicated to doing their best by the characters. This led the rest of the panel to give their opinions as well. Overall a much more satisfying experience than the day before.
Next were back to back panels featuring Christopher Judge of Stargate SG-1 and George Takei. I will save fuller write-ups on these for the post con report. But let’s just say both were great speakers.

Most awesome moment of the day came early on when I met up with an old friend of mine, Ryan K. Johnson. Ryan is a film maker and it the late eighties and early nineties I worked with him on several fannish films, including Star Trek the Pepsi generation. While talking he told me that he really likes the blog. As a creative person I really respect his praise meant a lot to me.

As for my little cosplay contest, here are the scores for Saturday. Please note that these are new people in the costumes. If it was someone from the day before wearing the same costume I did not count them.
·         Doctor Who: 15 our winner the second day in a row.
·         Joker: 10
·         Batman:9
·         Captain America: 8
·         Batgirl: 7
·         Wonder Woman: 6
·         Robin: 6
·         Harley Quinn: 6
·         Poison Ivy: 5
·         Superman: 4
·         Thor: 4
·         Catwoman: 4
·         Zatanna: 4
·         Green Lantern: 3
·         Deadpool: 3
·         Phoenix: 3
·         Rogue: 3
·         Batwoman: 2
·         Hulk 2
·         Doctor Octopus: 2
·         Nightwing: 2
·         Iron Man: 2
·         Supergirl: 2
·         Spider-man:2
·         TARDIS: 2
·         Riddler: 2
See everyone tomorrow for the last day of the Con.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Emerald City Comicon Day One


Quick overview of Day one of Emerald City Comicon.
First up, the panels.
I attended the Women of Webseries panel. It was definitely what the title suggested, local women working on producing, writing, directing, and staring in webseries. I got some good ideas for the projects I want to work on and a lot of inspiration.
DC All Access panel was next. You would think that a panel at a comic convention that is the news panel for one of the big two it would be kick ass. No such luck. The pros on the panel did some quick shilling of their upcoming projects. When it got to question and answer time that was a lot of deflection. One question asked about the status of Wally West and Donna Troy in the new 52 DCU, the answer was to make a joke and then ask the audience if they would like to win a prize for answering a trivia question.
The next panel was about the history of Wonder Woman for an academic and psychological perspective. The speaker was a tenured professor at Oregon State University for teaches minors program on comic book studies. He was awesome. And as much as I have researched at lot of the same history he covered I still learned some new stuff.
I wanted to get into a panel featuring noted voice actors but it was too full a room.

Next is the dealer floor.
This year has a good mix of comic shops, convention dealers, comic companies, artists and everything else you would expect. Due to the show still growing, this year the gaming based dealers were moved to a new area. It’s a bit of a walk to get there, but it is nice to see the growth.
My wife is a vendor this year and that fact lead to my most awesome moment of the day. She makes gaming dice shaped soap. I took a set to Randy Milholland, the creator of Something Positive. When I gave them to him his face lit up, and he had to show his booth mate Danielle Corsetto, creator of Girls with Slingshots. Mission accomplished and he gave me a sketch and print in return.

Cosplay
So I have decided to keep score of the characters people cosplay as this year. Basically if I see at least two people as a character I start keeping track. I will declare a daily winner and an overall convention winner. Here are today’s scores.

·         Doctor Who: 8 Today’s winner
·         Captain America: 6
·         Harley Quinn: 5
·         Batman: 4
·         Poison Ivy: 4
·         The TARDIS: 4
·         Robin: 3
·         Black Canary: 3
·         Superman: 3
·         Batgirl: 3
·         Green Lantern: 2
·         Catwoman: 2
·         Supergirl: 2
·         Spider Man:2
·         Doctor Horrible:2
·         Captain Hammer: 2
·         Death from Sandman: 2
·         Dalek: 2
·         Red Power Ranger: 2
·         Riddler: 2
·         Green Hornet: 2

See you tomorrow for the next update.