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Archive for August, 2015

Mission Impossible : Rogue nation

Movie banner  I hit up Amherst Cinema to catch my buddy Tom’s new MI film.

I’m not really a big MI fan from way back like some folks, but I find the series to be fun and this is a solid entry in the franchise. JJ Abrahams has it firing on all cylinders with a great ensemble of fun recurring characters, each with a role to fill.

Really, that was the big problem with the first two instalments. One is a fine DePalma film and two is a great Woo film. Neither are great MI movies, nor are they ensemble pieces. They are very definitely the Tom Cruise show- his attempt to do his version of James Bond, but also showcase a different auteur director each time.

It’s an interesting idea, but it never really connected with audiences and might be a reason the numbers dropped. Even with 3 swinging back towards a more traditional MI with a greater emphasis on ensemble the series was beginning to show signs of sequel fatigue. This is a shame because 3 is really the place where the series begins In earnest and rogue nation is a great part of that series that starts with 3. But we’re in the 5th movie now, and Cruise isn’t getting any younger.

Some of those lines on his face are starting to show. And it’s getting harder to get Ving Raimes in there with Simon Pegg filling such a similar function (though they did it brilliantly in rogue nation, and it was so great to see Ving back in such a big role after only having a cameo in ghost protocol). I notice a lack of iconic set pieces that we got in the first two though, and It also doesn’t help that we keep repeating themes- were getting disavowed now in almost every film. We need something new…but how many more films does this series still have in it?




I know, the name is woefully overused, but it’s not a bok I’m working on. Here’s the character designe for the Victorian Roses enemy! Lady Shiva formerly known as Red Rival. One she work with Casino The Swami and helped send The Meddler back to kill baby Jesus but we all know how that worked out. She despise The Victorian Roses




Since so much of my job has always involved fixing devices, when you’re running a company blog or website you end up needing a lot of graphics of this breaking! Here’s a few I did for my last job.

fried laptop screen laptop laptop-keys phone screen



tricon-logo-ohWell, the convention is named correctly, though perhaps they should have named  it “try”con.  They did try.

The focus on  this  con was comic creators, especially young and indy creators. Fred Van Lente was great to meet. I’ve been a real  fan of Valiant both past and present, but the modern relaunched Valiant really has been knocking my socks off. Fred’s a veteran of Marvel, and I’ve got a number of things he’s written (which he happily signed) but what I’ve really been digging lately is his Archer and Armstrong. Seriously, this stuff is honestly better than the original run back in the 90’s  and I told him so, which he considered high praise. I bought a stack of his Timewalker comics before moving on and really can wait to dig into these. Indeed, all around Valiant was well represented, but a lot of the creators at the show were ones 11949330_1026683047376118_6841631219140173833_nI’ve already seen several times this year. Daryl Banks, Sean Forney, heck, just last week  I saw them at NEO Con. Focusing on  creators is a  great idea, but it doesn’t take a lot of  research to discover you  have the same guests as everyone  else in Ohio. Bringing in some different writers and artists would have helped. Still Daryl Banks is always a delight and was happy to sign a  couple of Green Lanterns for me.

It’s odd, I didn’t even know  about this show until about five days before it occurred. That’s a much  bigger problem. I realize this is the first year, but it was the first year for NEOcon as well, and yet those guys got the word out,  creating  a huge buzz online and in person which resulted in HUGE crowds, and a packed house in Strongsville. In fact, NEO had been on my calendar since February. Cleveland Comic Con has been on  my calendar since April  and  I’ve run into that promoter out and schmoozing at least three times this year. Look, not to sound boastful, but I’m plugged into the scene (See? no boasting. Seriously, who would brag about that???). I know what’s going on and  I still almost missed this one. I can’t imagine how many other people simply didn’t know this show was going on, but I’ll tell you this; at 11, 12, 1 O’Clock on Saturday that big convention center was a ghost town.

Speaking of that huge venue, the Ohio Convention center was 11905794_1026593130718443_2132300164577993792_nabsolutely the wrong space for this show. It’s just so much bigger than they needed (I could have sworn their website said tables were sold out, yet I saw several empty tables), but not only is  it too much space, it’s also hard to get into. Not only for guests, but vendors as well. I spoke with one who tried several diffrent entrances and got attitude from the venue workers. There was some expectation that locals at least might be familiar from attending the Ohio State Fair. I, standing in my Voltron outfit exclaimed “Do I LOOK like the kind of person who attends the Ohio State Fair???”.  After a number of complaints, they parked a car with a sign out at the proper entrance, backing it into place around the time I  was making my thrid pass trying to find  the entrance (only the second pass for the guy in front of me – I  know. I saw him miss  it the first time). The $5 parking fee that the lot charges stacked on top of the $10 admission is a big problem as well. The cost is definitely too  high for this kind of  show, and part of that is reflective of the high cost of the venue. A hotel (with  free parking) would have been better.

Cosplayers were in short supply, but the ones that were there were excellent. I was deligted to actually see a 11899860_550879205050680_4806614291330249576_nDaredevil and the Samus costume was spot on, complete with a light up laser. We discussed foam techniques for a while and I must say, the folks in Columbus are quite observant.  Several noticed the coffee cans on my shoulders and the soda bottles on my wrists. Most of the time that escapes the people who admire Voltron. I’m glad I  chose this one for this week, it was a big hit and  I like think that if I  hadn’t had to leave early I would have placed in the costume  contest. In fact the person signing people up joked “If you have to go, can you just leave the costume here?”

As the day passed they did begin to trickle in a bit more and then…hmmm. This guy (the dragon11953160_10207690570288107_2753875512979764340_n rider – He usually wears Frankinberry)showed up again, pulling his  old tricks of arriving just before the contest. This is beginning to bother me. Just as well I had to leave early.

There were some good looking panels going on. I say good looking because I  didn’t make it to any of them. The website had no schedule of events or list of panels so I didn’t knwo if there would be any or when they would be. I complained about this with NEO con  and I’m complaing about it here too. Programming is the lifeblood of a con. Without it, the show is just a bazaar (I’m looking at YOU Jeff Harper). If you  advertise the programming in  advance I will plan around it. I will figure out when is best to break out the costume (what’s optimal, bit for me and the convention), when to shop and when to hang out. I’m WAY more likely to stay longer, and in the long run, staying long means shopping more. It benefits both the convention and the attendees, not to mention the vendors.


11952987_1026597204051369_4490294107455105734_nBy the way, vendors? I have to give serious complements to Tricon for assembling one of the best groups of vendors at any convention I’ve been to this year. Great deals, exciting finds, just great dealers. Over at the Hyve of Villainy I found these Buck Rogers ships that blew my mind. They had no idea where they came from (a little research turned up this :, but knew that at $5 each, I’d regret it if I walked away without them. This booth is also the first and only place I’ve ever seen that cardboard ZorCom space ship/station (Take a good look at that photo above. The ship is up there in the upper left hand corner) outside of a comic book ad. It took me aback for a moment, but I immediately recognized  it. Just astonishingly cool. Seriously, check these guys out on thier website. 11953279_1026683050709451_6894969229332722958_n

Hyve wasn’t the only great vendor there though. Almost as soon as I came in I found a worn, played-with Catra for $2! Even in costume I snatched that up and slipped it in the hidden pocket of the Voltron suit. After I got out of costume I decimated the 5 for $1 bin, not to mention the great deals over at Gem City (i saw them at Indiana Comicon too – these guys have a nice set up and great prices)I found myseld picking up dent and scratch discounted editions of the Walking Dead Omnibus vol 1 and 2 for $15 (normally $60 each). I got Lydia a Barbie book for $1 and Maddie recieved the Graphic Novel adaption of Treasure Island by Roy Thomas (Picked up for $2). Shopping just as  good as Lake Effect ComicCon. Maybe better. Makes me feel all the worse that the turnout was so light (that’s according to one of the vendors themself, and they’d really being  the position to know), but I spent twice as much as I budgeted for this con so I did my part to try and make up for it.

One of the reviews on TriCon’s facebook page calls it “The convention Columbus deserves”. With Mid-Ohio con being taken over by Wizard world and not a whole lot of smaller shows in the area, the reviewer has a point. Columbus needs a nice mid-size comic focused con. They deserve one, and TriCon could be it. They really  could be, but they’re not. At least, not yet. Great vendors and a really good focus on creators ( the dealers room was evenly divided between the two and I really respect that), TriCon has the right idea, but they are in dire need of a better venue and MUCH better advertisement. Unless I see some big changes for next year (if there IS a next year – vendors springing for $500 tables with little foot traffic can absolutely kill a show) both in planning and on the website I can’t see myself going back. The thing is, I WANT them to succeed. I can see what this could be,  and I really hope it grows into just that – the convention Columbus deserves.

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Pop Meeting 105


We take a break from the tights and capes as we explore the science fiction elements and not quite human characters of our favorite books.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!

Nyan Kite

art showBannerMaddie made this one at school. She was asked to design a kite….and she created a Nyan Cat.

It’s just so adorable I can’t stand it…..


In Defense of Vampires : Los Muertos


untitledThere’s a sort of conventional wisdom that says sequels are bad, and musicians can’t act and vampires are romantic. It’s that very kind of stereotype that makes me do these kind of columns.

John Carpenter’s “Vampires” was a breath of fresh air in an era dominated by the Anne Rice kind of “tragic immortal” vampire.  His vampires weren’t quite the animals of “From Dusk Till Dawn” or “30 days of Night” but they were monsters. Devolved humans. Predatory and evil, not people anymore.

It was enough to make me really want to spend some more time in this world, great premises with the Vatican strike forces and the rules and basically this underground world they created. That’s exactly what you get here. It’s more of the same. Perhaps some diminishing returns -Jon Bon Jovi isn’t James Woods, but then again who is? Bon imagesCAKKJLSGJovi gets a lot of flack for this and I think a lot of people go into the movie intending to dislike him, and when he doesn’t do anything special they feel justified. To be clear, he’s adequate in this film. He’s perfectly fine. Actually that really defines the movie as a whole. It’s very average. Nothing special, just nice vampire and action. If you hated John Carpenter’s Vampires, I’m going to give you a pass on this one. It’s just more of the same. But if you like your vampires the way Carpenter envisioned them, then give this a try. It may not stand up to repeated viewings but is worth at least one more watch!

NEO Comic Con

ConmanNEO banner11880465_10207427621193111_5227363148579864774_n

I’d really love to tell you all about NEO Comicon. The problem is, I wasn’t paying attention. I spent much of the con with friends and didn’t snap a single picture – so some of the details are more background….but let’s rewind a  bit.

I got there late, and was shocked to find the place was packed. I mean, PACKED – they got over 1700 visitors, nearly twice the amount they were expecting and even halfway into the show the joint was jumping. I found this surprising because as I was driving in, I saw just as many cars leaving the con as I saw coming into it.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The promoters did an amazing job of getting online buzz  and word-of-mouth going. Even that first year at Akron Comicon (a bigger show than this mind you) I don’t think I saw this same level of awareness. It sure did seem like everyone I knew was going to this.

I was coming directly from Church, so there was no way I’d be doing a long, involved makeup like the Thing (which I feel a little bad about considering my Thing costume was actually 11863293_1021250464586043_2562674986638811197_nfeatured in Scene Magazine’s promo for the show….) but I still wanted something a little more interesting than my standard go-to of the Shadow. I decided to pull out my old Doctor Octopus costume – an outfit I haven’t worn in over four years – not since my first time out at Lake Effect Comicon. I made a couple of upgrades this time around as well, extending the upper arms and adding claws to them – claws that really snap and grab. Nothing was more fun that noticing someone looking at the arms then suddenly snapping the claws at them and watching people jump.

As soon as I entered the dealers room I found my friends in the nearest corner and ended up hanging out with them for most of the rest of the show (and then swiping a bunch of thier photos for the blog). They immediately put me to use using me as a battering ram through the throngs of people – you remember that scene in Spider-Man 2 with Doc Ock parting the crowd in the train? Yeah, that was the idea.

3723431-0774789316-spideAs we passed through the con I noticed that there actually was a panel  going on. This was something unexpected. No schedule was posted and I had no idea  that there was going to be  ANY programming. I did know there was no costume contest, but the con did let cosplayers in free which shows they really do value us  and the walking, talking atmosphere we provide far more than the extra $3.00 they might make from thier admission fee. I would have liked to see more 11870799_10206146137111227_6927026301227771022_nprogramming (I spend two weekends a year at this hotel for Cinema Wasteland. There’s another room on the ground floor that wasn’t being used and could easily have been turned into a screening room of some sort) and for the existing programming to be better advertised, but the fact that they had anything at all really does show that they want a quality con.

It was bigger than I expected, with every inch of the dealer’s room packed. Very good vendors, not to mention fun tables  as well – the cast of from “TRACE : A Doctor Who Fan Film” along with the Tardis and 2 Weeping Angels were there in the center of it all, providing the best photo op anywhere in the show. Prop makers, not to mention a full size RC R2D2 in one booth, Jango Fett in  carbonite, and some great Comic creators. I stuffed a bag full of back issues, grabbing more of that Gambit series I’ve always meant to get to, as well as more Guides to the Marvel universe (I’ve got a thing for reference books). Look in the background – you’ll see me digging through long boxes with all four arms…..

11891211_877703205611520_2929705278904078324_nCrowded aisles, and some logistical errors, but all in all a very strong first year. A great deal that the promoters can learn from this  first turn out. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a different venue next year (they’ve mentioned either this or expanding to more areas of the Holiday inn) and add some more events. They’ve already mentioned adding a costume contest . There’s certainly big ambitions here and with such an impressive beginning I can see them improving on the model for next year.

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Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda : Turkish Star Trek


vlcsnap-222413This used to be rare, but thanks to the Internet, I noticed it made it up to YouTube a while back.

It’s interesting, you can tell someone making this really loves Star trek and was trying to create something good. They’ve even changed Spock into command gold!

I’ve seen worse bridge sets, though this still looks like cardboard and Christmas lights in someone’s basement. They’ve stolen some ship shots from the original series so we aren’t hampered with home made effects.

It seems like there’s an attempt to do the man Trap on the planet from “City on the Edge of Forever”, but that’s my best guess as to what’s going on with the plot. This is a curiosity. Nothing more.

Happy Days!


You know, I watch Pawn Stars every week and always see that autograpoh of the Fonz in the background. One week they mentioned it was fake – the old man just masde it up to make Rick happy.

I find that so strange considering Henry Winkler signs through the mail. I’ve been seeing successes from him on the fan mail forums for years.

Well I thought it was finally time to get one myself!

fonz1 fonz2

He was also kind enough to not only sign my photo, but send me a nicer one!  But things don’t stop there…I know someone else who signs through the mail!

ross1 ross2

This was cool because I wasn’t sure wether to send a picture from the Happy Days era or a current one. I settled on a Happy Days picture and she included a newer one!

hanks so much to both Marion Ross and Henry Winkler!

Ron’s Big Adventure part eight


The last part of my favorite movie! Find your purpose in Ron’s Big Adventure!

The Muppet Show

bestimagesCASFY8A1One of the initial offerings from Boom! Comics, this comic really captured everything about the show that made it great. It didn’t ignore subsequent generations of Muppets (the way the more recent Disney films have) but it focused on the familiar, set it back at the theatre and really pushed to recreate the sense of fun and friends that we had wit the Muppets.

Boom really took advantage of this license, putting out side projects like Muppet King Arthur or Sherlock Homes alongside of the core title. They obviously got the characters and had great love of  the source material.

Then Disney bought Marvel.

The Disney Licenses were yanked from Boom! which would have made sense…except neither Disney nor Marvel did anything with them. I would have understood if Disney was to start releasing it’s own muppet comics, but the closes they ever came to that was reprinting THESE untitledmstories in tabloid size editions.

If you’re a fan of the Muppets, hunt these down. They collected some into tades and those Disney collections are still around here and there. This is the best the Muppets have looked since the original TV show.