Every Wednesday and Friday
I actually wish this one had come out just a little better. I was writing an article on the decline of the console as smartphone apps and games gain market share and whipped up this little graphic. It’s rushed and it shows, especially since I’m not as familiar with drawing Mario as perhaps I should be….
I almost wish that this had been the first con I took my kids to. It’s a great primer on con life, while being inexpensive – free admission and parking, very few vendors, while still having some real local talents like Thom Zhaler there for people to meet.
It’s very much the idea of a comicon as seen through the eyes of a Library with a lot of activites for the kids, crafts and games and handouts. Lydia was debuting her new Harley Quinn outfit and was distressed that I had forgotten her mask at home, but never fear, one of the craft stations was a mask making activity and both she and Maddie made themselves masks. Odd, I think Poison Ivy looks good in a mask….
The highlight for me was the live Doctor Who performance by the Overlord Media Group which featured 9 and 10, along wiht the War Doctor and Captian Jack, as well as a female Captian Jack (Jill) and the perkiest Dalek you’ve ever met. They are trying to fix a time paradox caused by Rose who was still trying to find the Doctor…Everyone was perfect and the entire thing was fun from start to finish. Clocking in at half an hour my daughters didn’t even get fidgety.
Geekfest is a huge cosplay event, especially with teenagers. While the kids dress up as everything under the sun and adults lean towards comics, I notice a heavy anime influence in the teen division of the costume contest (which had at least twice as many entries as either the adult or kids). It keeps things interesting and diverse -and again, it’s a very Library kind of con. Speaking of cosplay, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this AMAZING troll that entered with a head made mostly out of Great Stuff – the same stuff I made my Thing feet and Groot costume out of. It’s stuff like this that starts to give me ideas….
For a Library event, this thing is huge and always well run, this year boasting a game room, an art show and multiple panels, along with a media room showing Superhero TV shows as well as a food stand outside. They call themselves a Mini-Con, but this event is as big as quite a few of the full fledged comicons I attend and they certainly deserve the name, and I’m interested in seeing what they come up with next year!
In many ways this was breath of fresh air when I stumbled across it in 2000 or 2001. I had no idea it was even coming out when I saw it on the used video tape shelf at Blockbuster and I immediately bought it. Four had been a big let down for me (I even saw it in the theatre, and I had no inkling that the workprint existed yet) and this was actually arefreshing return to form.
I think this film is jarring to a lot of people because it’s SO different from the other Hellraiser movies. We’re back to a small personal story after the world and star spanning scope of Hellraiser Bloodlines, and man is this a head trip with a twist ending. Still, I dug the twist and the trippyness. I got it. I will admit that I was disappointed by how little Pinhead was in it (then again that would prepare me for his limited appearances in all of the DTV movies) but on the other hand we also got some very cool new cenobites with no real eyes and Lament glyphs carved into their flesh, moreover, the main bad guy the Engineer had a VERY Hellraiser look to him
Another thing that made it feel a little Hellraiser was the inclusion of Craig Schiffer. He’s definitely Barker alumni having played the main character in Clive Barker’s Night Breed. He’s even more of an anti-hero in this and it suits him. I think I believe him in this role more than I ever did as Cabal. Perhaps it’s just his age. He’s grown into his look and he plays the world weary cop type perfectly. Nicholas Tourtino is a brilliant piece of casting as his partner by the way, being as familiar with him as I already was from stuff like NYPD Blue.
There”s just enough gore hereto satisfy, probably a more satisfying type of gore in fact than what we’d seen in recent years. That was actually one of my main complaints with Bloodline, it seemed like the most inventive use of gore was during the dissection scene and even that was fairly tame. Then again, Bloodline was a fairly straightforward movie (muddled mess that it was, it didn’t aspire to anything more than by-the-numbers slasher fare. Inferno wants to get under your skin (no pun intended). It wants to unease you, to disturb you. They throw images at you that are meant to make you do a double take – “did I just see that” and it fits since at the end (Spoilers) we learn that most of the film in in Craig Schiffer’s head. He’s in his own personal hell. Those little cells we see in Helbound? He’s in one, and is experiencing this mentally. It makes sense, different tortures for different people. For Craig, the slicing and punishing of flesh isn’t torture enough, his bad choices have to be paraded in front of him. Regret is far more painful than razors through skin.
But….that’s also where the Hellraiser fan in me begins to have an issue.
You see, the Hell of Leviathan isn’t the Judeo-Christian Hell. That’s made clear…(at least back in the 80’s and 90’s it was, Clive seems to have changed his position on that in the last ten years or so) it’s a different dimension filled with extradimensional beings who crave order. We call it Hell because that’s the name we use for the worst thing we can think of and they have accepted the name, but it’s not the Hell the Bible speaks of. They don’t care if you’re good or evil, they just care about desire…and flesh. Inferno seems a little too judgemental…not that I have an issue with that in of itself, it’s just a little out of place in Hellraiser. Again, my best rationalize it is that this was determined to be the best way to torment Craig Schiffer’s character and we simply haven’t seen it before. It’s a good explanation and I’m fine with it, but I shouldn’t have to figure out how it fits in the mythology myself.
Still, that’s a small complaint, and one aimed more at appeasing Hellraiser fans who are driven nuts by this element. All in all, this is a really good supernatural detective story. It feels like something you wouldn’t be surprised to se Harry D’Amore in. If you go in not expecting to see too much Pinhead (despite his rather prominent appearance on the cover) and knowing it’s going to be a head trip, I think you will quite enjoy this one. This is back when Hellraiser still had a budget and a great cast. Definitely give this one a try on demand or borrow it from a friend.
I ran out to All Americon this weekend, in great part to try out my new Thing Costume. It’s a nice, small to mid size show with big show ambitions, and it’s growing. You can see that not only in attendance, but in the costume contest. Still, I said last year that I should wait a bit before returning. I may have been right about this…AllAmericon hasn’t quite emerged into the bigger show I see it becoming and it felt much the same as last year.
A big draw for me was Michael Golden, a wonderful fellow and comic veteran, and a great example of the quality of guest they are trying to bring in. Another pleasant surprise was to see the General Lee parked outside. This was a great attraction and exactly the kind of thing that draws people and makes passerbys stop and look. Great move guys.
The one thing that struck me however, was the lack of deals. Now this could just be me, but lets face it, I go to cons to look for cheap comics. I found no quarter bins, no .50 cent bins, just dollar ones. I spotted a He-Man Golden book video on VHS and ran over to pick it up and was shocked at the $15 price tag. At the end of the day, my only purchases were a couple of Heroclix – fun ones that I really wanted mind you, but I’m used to walking out of these things with a stack of 20-40 back issues. A little bit of a bummer. Still vendors change and you never know what you’ll find next time.
The costume contest really pulled out all the stops this year, the cosplayers were incredible. I had fun getting to know my linemate the Joker and goofing off with him a bit (that gun of his, big as it was, wasn’t going to penetrate my rocky skin…) and I got to know the Punisher and Wolverine earlier in the day, shortly after I arrived as we discussed the new Fantastic Four movie and the state of comic book films in general. We blocked a corner (and my deepest apologies to the vendors in that corner…I don’t think we blocked any customers but I always feel bad about that) for ages chatting and occasionally posing for photos. It’s exactly what I love about going to cons like this – even an introvert like me finds strangers to talk to and new friends to make!