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!
Pop and gaming
Whether it’s a video game, board game, role playing game, card game, dice game or LARPing, fun will be had by all! If you miss this meeting, do not pass “go” or collect $200!
David Spade is just one of those guys you know? I really like his style and his comedy, but I hate his choices in picking roles! Still, he was nice enough to snd me a photo – not the one I sent actually, but that’s okay. He swapped it out for a better one !
In Defense of Hellraiser Inferno
I’ve saved Inferno for last because it’s far more unusual for a Hellraiser film than it appears. It’s easier to defend from an objective point of view than it is as a Hellraiser fan actually.
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.
All-Americon 6, 2015
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!
AllAmericon is a fine show and it’s still one I recommend if you’re in the area. They’ll be back next year and have nowhere to go but up!
AllAmericon this weekend
Once again All American Comics brings you the Mahoning Valley’s #1 comic book and art show. Now entering it’s sixth year, we’re sure this one will be bigger and better than even last year’s show! We’re heading south for this one, but with guests like Michael Golden and Renee Witterstaetter I’m definately intrigued. It was a decent show last year and I said I was interested in seeing how they grow. Head on out and check it out with me!
Lydia cut this one out…a circular shape then she started drawing on it, creating her vision of a fishbowl!
This is another one I had to try twice on. My first attempt to Sam never came back. Still if I see other people getting responses from an address I’ve used I’ll occasionally give it a second try a year or so later. I’m glad I did because he’s really a legendary actor.
Fun fact, this arrived a couple days after I watched Sibling Rivalry with my wife for the first time and all she could talk about was how much his moustache bothered her…..
3 Dev Adam (Three Mighty Men)
In an attempt to stop the evil Spider-Man’s organization smuggling from Mexico into the US, those respective governments enlist the help of Captain America and El Santo!
This was actually my first exposure to Santo, but it makes more sense if you already know him as a folk hero. Still, this is a little nuts, and Spidey is extremely evil in this, with eyebrows as big as the day is long and a fiendish mustache under that mask.
This one has been in circulation for ages now and shouldn’t be too hard to track down, but if you don’t want to spend an hour and a half slogging through it, just hit the highlights on YouTube!
Spider-Man loves Mary Jane
I first discovered this at a Target in a tabloid edition. It was the first mini series (four issues) and cost about $5.00. I grabbed it thinking it was Spidey related and I’d save it for my daughters.
I never expected to get hooked.
See, Mary Jane is a tough sell for me. She’s far too often superficial, vacuous. Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of her in the Raimi movies is a perfect example. I hate her. I know it’s the Nerd-gets-the-girl cliché, but I just can’t stand her.
This series takes a different approach. It’s the Spidey universe through the eyes of a High School MJ. She still lapses into superficiality sometimes but you can see there’s more there and it’s a really great look at the Spider-Man story from a different angle.
The characters are all there, Flash is still a jerk, Harry is a bit of an amalagam of the comics and the movies (which, to be fair, NEEDED to happen) and Peter Parker is a bit more a nerd than usual. Makes sense from MJ’s POV. Liz is actually a lot spunkier than I recall and Gwen Stacy is portrayed as a bit of a spaz. The differences work though and somehow, Sean McKeever REALLY pulls it all together in this engaging package that I just couldn’t put down, finding myself eagerly awaiting the next month’s issue.
The initial four-issue miniseries, Mary Jane, originally intended as an ongoing series, began publication in June 2004 under the Marvel Age imprint, a line of comic books by Marvel Comics aimed at younger readers. a second four-issue miniseries, Mary Jane: Homecoming, which began publication in March 2005. Unlike the first series, Homecoming was not published under the Marvel Age imprint, but as a regular Marvel Comics title, because Marvel Age had by then been restructured into the Marvel Adventures imprint. a second four-issue miniseries, Mary Jane: Homecoming, which began publication in March 2005. Unlike the first series, Homecoming was not published under the Marvel Age imprint, but as a regular Marvel Comics title, because Marvel Age had by then been restructured into the Marvel Adventures imprint.
Unfortunately the series ended with issue #20 when McKeever left for an exclusive DC contract. An attempt was made to revive it but it never felt the same. The last series was cancelled after five issues. I jumped ship after two. A real drag for me as well, because for two years this WAS my Spider-Man title. It was the only one I was getting. Better than anything going on in the flagship title.
Still you can find the first and second series in digest form and I really recommend them. I’ve even see the first one at the Library in the Manga section. You may want to check it out first before deciding if you want to commit to hunting down the last twenty issues of that third series…(but trust me…you do!)
Ron’s Big Adventure part seven
Part seven of my favorite movie! Find your purpose in Ron’s Big Adventure!