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Archive for June, 2016

Portage Lakes Zombie Walk

events13524309_1212890542088700_7516179557747780514_n13528912_1212891278755293_8879920118125136567_nOur local group of zombie hunters, the Z.E.R.O.S. wanted to kick summer off with the new zombie march, in a new location! This walks sponsor was Johnny Jays pub – a little place near Akron. I seem to be driving out  that way a lot lately… The Z.E.R.O.S.  came out in force, with umbrella cars showing up,  the zeros own ambulance, and they were accompanied by a group of mercenaries from Columbus,rollling up in what was possibly the most amazing Zombie hingit vehicle I have ever seen – a caged baby zombie in the back, guns that actuallly fire (nerf pellets) and decked out all around!

 

Plenty of help arrived, all ready to do battle with the undedead. It’s a good thing as well, because the zombies came out in force!

With a new venue, and especially a new event – this may be one of the first summer 13532815_1212890652088689_5722281041995106056_nwalks in the Cleveland area- you expect a little bit lighter turnout. While the numbers weren’t quite reaching the heights that we see in Lakewood, there was still a surprisingly large number of monsters ready to run the streets. I pulled out my beach zombie costume – this was one I had been thinking about ever since the summer walk was announced… when I think summer, I think the beach – and what better way to do a zombie with a beach theme them to be covered and see monsters! I created some mutant starfish, along with some evil looking seahorses and wrapped myself up in the arms of a black and purple octopus that ended up being a lot more high maintenance than I  expected – I was trying new material for that head and man its l13494808_1212890208755400_5248567623244970167_night! I may have to rethink the way are used him if I’m gonna pull him out again for MonsterFestMania next month.

There are a few outbreaks of violence, one zombie is had to be put down – another zombie hunter had to keep me away from the little lake and cistern (my octopus really wanted to get that water!) , but all in all the zombie march felt a little bit more subdued than usual.  I’m chalking it up to the more rural path that we took. We passed some houses with a lot of space in between them, some nice trees and scenery in front, but not much in the way of pedestrians or passers-by – we walked by a gas station in a circle K (they told me 13529114_1212890758755345_4373163353109133124_nthey watched us march through when I stop by on my way home to grab something cold) but not a lot of people to sprea. We did find one homeowner who came out from watching us on her porch to find out about what we’re doing, and we were stopped by someone near the Save-A-Lot with a bag of canned food for us. Stuff like that really makes this kind of drives very worthwhile.

We wrapped up the walk back at Johnny Jay’s, where they had food specials ready for us – burgers or hotdogs for a dollar, things like that.  The weather cooperated and made for a beautiful sunny zombie march.

Akron’s kind of a haul though. I’m not sure that this will be one of my regular stops, but I’m really glad I was able to get out at this location and see how this particular event premiered, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

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This is how you know a conversation has gone off the rails…

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Akron-Canton comic con

Conman13509093_1213401932037561_2955553546715114208_n13507003_1213402598704161_7581239464763234921_nNot a hoax, not an imaginary story! I actually broke down and went to a Jeff Harper show. I’ve talked a lot of smack about these shows. They’re basically flea markets (no programing), and one that I am charged admission for access to. That kind of thing irritates me a little. MY first encouter with this promoter’s cons was at a show in North Olmsted – you will find that review over here (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/didnt-i-say-sketchy/). My big gripe was that it wouldn’t have taken much to transform this from a bazaar into a con. Just a couple of TVs playing movies 13510763_1213402652037489_6567869712084795803_nor trailer, a video tournament or a couple of panels – just stuff organized with the bare minimum of care could have pushed that show in to something more than just a tradeshows.  Still, over the last year or so I’d heard whispers that they were trying to do something different…(more than just the failed attempt at a VERY similar type of show I encountered here -https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/why-i-drove-out-to-north-coas-comic-con-and-didnt-go-in/ )The flyer for this year’s Akron-canton comic con, had cosplay prominently featured – they were really trying to promote it so I gritted my teeth and decided to give them another chance.

13533259_1213401902037564_8183584025384120791_n13495077_1213402855370802_1567443102861328975_nChapperells is best described as a large bingo hall. It’s a step up from the American Legion Hall is that Jeff Harper Productions seems to favor, but not by much. There’s  still a Sketchy feel to the place.  As you enter, you find yourself on an elevated platform where the registration table and a few artist tables are set up. there’s a snack bar at this venue and that’s actually a nice touch (It was invaluable at AllAmericon last year!). This space overlooks the main floor and was actually a nicely touch.

I had chosen my new mark 41 ironman suit for this event. Bones is about 95% done and I wanted to test it out in a small back water show. I may have underestimated the size of the event, but then again I was still nursing a trepidation that I would wander in and be the only person there in costume… That all of the “true collectors” would turn and stare at me, and collectively sighing “ugh, it’s one of THOSE kind of people…”

13532802_1213402295370858_1754643360180689883_nMy fear was unfounded though, and as soon as I arrived – before I even made it onto the floor I ran into a group of Anime  cosplayers, complete with a Naruto Akatsuki  Deadpool (who gleefully kept fistbumping me through the entire show whenever he’d run into me) We chatted and caught up – I had seen several of these people at Zip Con, and as I finally made it to the floor right now myself slept up in the Conga line made up of costumed characters!  It was one of the strange thing happened to me on the convention seen, and possibly the most fun I had that day God we danced from one end of the hall to the next, weaving our way through the dealers tables up and down the platform and making a continuous circuit – with an NCIS scientist ahead of me and a Harley Quinn ahead of her, the line streched ahead as far as my eyes could see. We beckoned a Pikachu and Black Canary to join us as we passed by, kicking out heals up and humming along.

13524540_1213402928704128_1973000971067974580_n13507225_1213401968704224_5649488698315410949_nThe venue was decked out in a very inviting way. The floor plan worked, it was logical,  not too crowded. Above where the registration table was there were large stand-ups of super heroes – Captain America, Superman, and Stormtroopers. Perfect for photo ops if anybody was interested. As I plunked down my five dollars for admission, the promoter trying to look at me was struck speechless, searching for the words and unable to find the expression to relate to me until I complimented his stark industries T-shirt that it was a good way to start.

Akron-Canton is not the deal factory that other small shows like Lake Effect are.  Still I managed to find a 25 cent bin to plunder, as well as scoring a beautiful hardback 13507003_1213402692037485_9083131833936761844_nedition of Jenny Breeden’s The Devils Panties from one of the discount boxes. It was fun to chat with some of the dealers, Scott from Comics Are Go (my preferred comic bookshop) was set up and mention that he was about halfway through his stock of the new comic he had put out for FCBD. I’m seriously hoping for a second volume of this. I spoke with another familiar face who mentioned the turnout at Lake Effect this year had actually been lower than he had expected – not quite as profitable as when it was back the old theatre. That was one of those things that had kind of worried me, that the move might not be the most successful tactic . Interesting to hear their perspective. Another dealer asked if I was a big fan of iron man – expecting the obvious “yes “. The thing is, I had to admit that I’m more a 13522061_1213402502037504_3279377786265632615_nfan of the movies – and that I hate being THAT guy, but let’s face it… We’re more of a DC family. Still, this particular suit allowed me to do what I really wanted to do, that is – revisit the Ironman form, while going absolutely crazy with details. God bless that one guy that I spoke to that day who actually recognized it as the “Bones” model. That’s one more person then I expected to know what it was…

13509001_1213402008704220_8211617944463766053_nThe costume contest is a new component to this show – it’s been sponsored by Heroic Adventures, a comic book shop out of Massillon . For the first year, there are actually some beautiful and impressive suits. Threre were perfect versions of the DCs bombshell Harley, The TV version of Arrow, along with fun interpretations of the Punisher and Black Canary . There was one young woman in a Kylo Ren costume – black robe, light saber and mask. she made her way through thecostume contest like everyone else, enthusiastic and happy to be there. Towards the end of the line, out of nowhere came this tall man, also in a Kylo Ren costume 13516648_1213402098704211_4887581353807862034_ntowering over The other contestants. The slightly more Diminutive Kylo Ren was moved forward from the crowd, and lept back up on to stage to confront her double, backed up by jubilant, raucous cries of “take him down!”, “Go get him!”. It was pandemonium and it was glorious.

This ended up being a fun afternoon.it’s still very much a five dollar show, with the dealers room being the central focus – but it feels like they’re trying to do more.  It seems like they’re seeing a benefit to adding a little bit of programming, even if it’s just running a Superman movie on the TV screens on the walls, and bringing in cosplayers. It can’t hurt,I don’t think they would have brought in that Anime group without the cosplay component and it certainly brought me – and more people means more people spending money at the dealer’s table.  I know I certainly did. I’m not quite ready to declare this a regular stop for me on the convention circuit, but it might just be enough to keep me from rolling my eyes in exasperation next time somebody tells me they’re heading to one of Jeff Harper’s shows.


My Room

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This is cool ,because it REALLY IS a good description of Maddie and Lydia’s room, including the bunk beds and costume closet…

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Modify the registry to deactivate Windows

techtipsWhen I’m not writing comics or watching terrible films I also work as an IT consultant. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the last 17 years.

Problem:

The windows activation windows keeps poping up even  though windows says it’s been activated. This is frequently caused by someone using an activation crack, or by the wpa.dbl and wpa.bak files courrupting. Sometimes also happens after a repair installation of windows.

Before we can legitimatly (re)activate windows we first must de-activate it.

Solution:

In Registry Editor, expand My Computer, and then expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Expand SOFTWARE, and then expand Microsoft.
Expand Windows NT, and then expand CurrentVersion.
Under CurrentVersion, click WPAEvents.
In the right pane (topic area) of Registry Editor, right-click OOBETimer, and then click Modify.
Click to put the pointer in the Value data box. Then, modify any character that appears in the Value data box.
Click OK.


My bloody Valentine 3-D

remakes220px-Bloodyvalentine3dfinalThe first time that I saw my bloody Valentine I really didn’t enjoy it. But the big problem was I was watching it on television with no 3-D effects. That sounds silly doesn’t it? But for this film you really have to get into the 3-D version. The theatrical experience helps as well but the big selling point here was 3-D. This film was designed written and shot to showcase all of the 3-D effects that they could do. The problem here is that this is not really an original film. It still claims to be a remake of my bloody Valentine which for years has been one of those cherished Griundhouse films that a small rabid fan base hold sacred. That means it comes with baggage, but even if it were freed of that stigma, it can’t really stand on it’s own. it’s just not a very good film and it’s a very poor remake but that comes back to this being a vehicle strictly for 3-D effects. if you’re were going to redo this and try to make it better, I think Id like to see a plot that was closer to the original and perhaps a little more attention paid to character development and even some more twists. The 3-D effects are nice but if that’s what your film is based on, then it’s never going to survive in the secondary market and that’s a shame because this film really deserves to survive.


Cow goes Moo

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The Cow goes “moo!”.

And has an ovapositor.

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The conjuring two

Movie bannerMy wife and I did an advance screening of the original conjuring, and we absolutely loved the movie. So it’s no wonder that I was highly anticipating this sequel when I hit the theater with a bunch of my friends.

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The folks at Ihop were in for a surprise…..

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creepy dolls everywhere!

Even so, there was a question of whether or not they could recapture the magic of the first film – particulars after the lackluster reception of last years Annabelle.  However James Wan is back in the directory seat this time round, and we know exactly what to expect. He brought the series back to formula – pulling what works from the first film and emphasizing it. We  have hunted house shenanigans, a place haunted by a Demon or is it a ghost? Same underlying questions that helped make the conjuring so unique are back at work. Ed and Lorraine Warren are also back, investigating this hunting while dealing with a very personal threat to their own well-being. The film really works for me, James Wan understands better than anybody how to create tension and dread. It’s not just the creepy imagery and spooky tones that we saw in Annabelle – it’s the dark anticipation that keeps you squirming in your seats… James Wan is just a master of this. The fiendish creatures are wonderful as well, I had worried that perhaps we had seen too much in the trailers… It seems to be happening more and more, but truthfully the wicked nun’s presence and impact wasn’t lessened one bit by her

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If Grumpy Cat were a nun….

appearances in the trailer – if anything they kept the scariest moment to themselves. I actually found the conjuring 2 to be scarier than the first one – and that’s no mean feat. there were more than a few jump moments in the first, but I was constantly on edge in this one, even in a theatre with a lot of people talking and chatting away, the film still managed to haunt me done.

My only real complaint on these movies is the fictionalization. I could go on forever about how Lorraine Warren not only looks wrong, but isn’t even the same ethnicity (but I digress), however their version of the Amitiville and Perron haunting have so little in common with the documented events it does bother me (ask me about 13346565_10154883474975744_4844297885882790757_nDePalma’s Untouchables movie sometime and watch me pull out my hair). Nevertheless, if you know going in that this is a mostly fictional tale simply using the names and of real places and people, it’s still an impressively scary flick.

Something I found curious about this film – a positive curiosity mind you, is the order of lack of profanity, sex, nudity – all of those things that we have been told over the years have to be in essential part of one of these kind of films. This movie has none of it. There is no gore to speak of, not a single F bomb, nobody gets naked or seductive– and yet the film is still sheer terror from beginning to end. I really, really love this. It still well earns it’s R rating from the horrors on the screen, and it does it with out such typically transgressive imagery – this is so impressive. I want more of these, and I want James Wan to stay at the helm.I know there is an Annabelle 2 slated for next year, and I think that series could be a nice shared universe component but I’m really more interested in seeing more conjuring.

Not the actual Ed and Lorraine Warren. Net eve the actual actors....

Not the actual Ed and Lorraine Warren. Net eve the actual actors….


Fastino trilogy

forgotten bannerFasanoThat I tried something different this weekend with the John Fastino films. We start off with  zombie nightmare, which he really only assistant director, rock ‘n’ roll nightmare, and black roses, both of which are his very much films. They have a similar theme and feeling  and these are all very much heavy-metal movies with demonic zombie-like-but-not-quite zombie creatures (much like Evil Dead)

The first two star Jon Mikl Thor, in fact he was supposed to be in all three but by the time black roses rolled around his wife is getting tired of Thor working for other people and decided it was time to start  making their own MV5BMjE3NjQzNTY1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc2MjE5Mw@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_movies.(and they did)

Zombie Nightmare is particularly obscure because of the limited release and very poor production values, on the other hand I’m still trying to wrap around my head around the idea that Adam West and Tia Carree made a zombie movie with the music of motorhead. It’s just bizarre.

The best possible way of watching this film by the way, is the MST3K version. You’ll never make it through the normal one.

It’s a standard revenge film with the monster motif thrown on for set dressing that’s about all. Adam West doesn’t appear until halfway through as a detective with a porn moustache and kind of sleepwalks indexhis way through the role, but then again who wouldn’t?

Rock N Roll nightmare is marginally better and we feel the Metal connection far better here. It’s about a metal band heading out to a woodland home with a barn to create a new album. It just so happens that the house is cursed and zombie-like monsters arrive on schedule. There’s an interesting twist here, and I really do like the last 20 minutes of this film. It’s really worth it just for that.

Finally there is Black Roses which has a great deal more recognition MV5BMTIxNzY5MjMwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjk2MTQ1MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_especially considering it was one of the big VHS seller with a nifty box and also Vinny Pastori’s first role that I know off. It’s a great flick about a daemonic rock ‘n’ roll band that comes for your children, really black roses is every metal cliche that we have heard about in the 80s and they are just as evil as the church suspected rock ‘n’ roll was! Good monster effects, possibly the best of a lot, bathed in interesting lighting with a passable premise it makes for fun watch.

John died earlier in 2014 and I’m saddened by this. he’s not necessarily the kind of guy that everyone would recognize in the word of shlock Cinema, but he really knew stuff and this trilogy is a great little bit of trash to watch together especially if you get have it on in the background of the party. I recommend seeing all these at least once


Retro Tuesdays presents Spaceballs and Caddyshack!

13138813_10154209565359721_5633711160755625287_nOur local drive-in, the Aut-O-Rama starts it’s retro tuesday lineup tonight with a double feature of Spaceballs and Caddyshack!

I think I may have actually been here to see Spaceballs on it’s original run….

Hope to see you all here tonight!

Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In Theatre
33395 Lorain Road
North Ridgeville, Ohio  44039

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Lake Effect Comic Con 2016

Conman13322109_1198730286838059_1078068479469314497_nI almost didn’t make it. It seemed like everything was working against us. First thing in the morning my bald cap went missing (How does that even happen? I deliberately dug it up and put in the helmet the night before!). Church went long, and I had to help tear down for next week. We had to stop at a costume shop to replace my bald cap We had to stop for a potty brake for Maddie, one of my boots cracked down the side (the wife went above and beyond the call of duty by running me out some wooden skewers to pull it together), and finally, the GPS took ups to the old address (Change you facebook location guys!), we added an extra five minuets to find Lake Effect’s new home at the Mentor Holiday in.

We arrived about 45 minuets later than I intended, but I’m so glad we made it in.

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Lady Deadpool haunts the screening corner

Lake Effect has become a tradition for us, and it’s still a good show. They continue to try hard to be more than just a bazaar and junk show. Despite the move from the theater they’ve been holding the show at, there were still panals and movie screenings. I’ll admit, I’d love to see a dedicated movie room though – they had a clever set up in an alcove with a table and chairs, but it lacks the proper screening room feel. That’s something I’m going to miss about the old theater location.

Their dealers room setup however, is something else. Most conventions will grab a large open space, with rows of dealer tables lined up side by side (sometimes spilling out into the hallways), creating a maze of retailers, a labyrinth of con swag you can lose yourself in. Lake Effect occupies three medium size ballrooms, each leading into the next like russian nesting dolls. It contributes to a feeling of discovery, like exploring one of those odd shops where something new and interesting is laying around every corner I really like this set up — it makes the con feel bigger than it is, while still maintaining the intimate feel we’ve come to expect from Lake Effect.

The one thing I was worried about though – deals. There are still some to be found, but with the move to the hotel, Lake Effect does not feel like the bargain mecca it used to be. I found a very good price on a Doctor Who trade as well as a better number (than amazon) on the Art of He-Man book that I accidentally passed up last y13321606_1198730696838018_5427060886683469836_near. But nothing mind blowing like that Teela or Frosta I’ve discovered there before. No Quarter or Fifty Cent bins. A lot of familiar vendors, and some new ones, but they’re bringing a higher priced selection these days.

We wandered around looking for Marvel Zombies for Maddie, but no luck. Nevertheless, she did find a darling Flamingo charm as well as picking up a flower one for her sister with her own convention allowance ( I was extrememly proud of her for doing that). She also spied a Minecraft gravity feed and absolutely had to go after one of those.

She also stopped by Artist Dan Gorman’s table and picked up a beautiful Supergirl print. I love when the kids buy art. This is one of the great things to see them learning about at cons. They’ve grown to expect it – they look for it.  And a great shout out to artists like Gorman and RAK! who create economical prints – even trading card size ones that kids can totally afford.

Another familiar face this time around was Pixel Bits. The kids are fascinated with this vendor – Lydia’s bought from 13315615_1198730713504683_6401520572262178658_nthem in the past. This time around, it was the Nintendo piece with a Pikachu in it that caught Maddie’s eye. They’ve added soaps and other oddities to thier booth and I think I really need to start dropping some more cash there- I expect I’ll see them again over at All-AmeriCON in a month or so.

Even in the new location, Lake Effect still managed to pack the crowds in. I think that the show has been around long enough that it’s really become trusted and well known, particularly in the East Cleveland area. What’s been really wonderful to see is how this show has and continues to grow. Not just in size but also in programing…and in cosplay.

Every year I see the Cosplayers come out in greater and greater force. More and more, you really see people bringing their A game and it’s really becoming a serious show as far as it costume contest goes. They’ve upped their game with the prizes as well, and it really just impresses me all around how this show just gets better every year. What started out as a small, local show for dealers to dump excess wares has really blossomed into a full fledged convention and has nowhere to go but up. We can’t wait until next year.

By the way, don’t just take my word for it – Maddie herself has a lot to say about this particular show!

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Lake effect comic con this Sunday!

lake effectHeading to Lake Effect Comiccon at its new home in the Holiday Inn at 7701 Reynolds Rd Mentor, Ohio 44060!

Lake Effect is the first convention I ever took my children to and has been one of our favourites. In the past, this has been a free convention and that means the dealers brought all of their overflow and overstock – and you could frequently find great deals and liquidation stuff at this show. The move from there space at the theatre to the new space at the hotel has necessitated an admission charge, and I’m interested in seeing how that affects the dynamic of the show. I’m hoping the deals that I’ve come to expect from like the fact are still going to be there – it was time though, this convention had outgrown the cramped spaces of the theatre lobby a year or two ago.

I’ve done some upgrades to Mr freeze, and I’m breaking this suit out for Sunday – we’ve upgraded Maddys star Sapphire as well. She had outgrown that old leotard, so we’ve made some changes – it will also be the premiere of her new iron Sapphire armour! We are so excited. Will be rolling in after church, probably around 130 although the con begins much earlier – we’re going to miss about half of the hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy film that they are screening but should be around for shopping, costume contests, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Hope to see you there!


Spider-Man

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My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

Spidey’s got to be skinny. I mean he’s got muscles, but they shouldn’t show.

I always liked how Erik Larson drew him, skinny, with the flexibility of Tod McFarline but not so cartoony. Spidy’s suit seemed darker during Larson’s run and I like the idea that the blue part is so dark it’s almost black.

spidy pencils spidy inked spidy color