My friend Nick is a big Star Trek The Next Generation fan. So Last Year, we were noticing just how much Deadpool’s costume works with the TNG color scheme; I mean, Like ridiculously well. So I whipped up these quick sketches to capitalize on the insanity – eventually Josh, our resident Deadpool ended up making this look a reality.
I was off to Great Lakes Comic Con this weekend – I think I mentioned this last year when I went for the first time, I really wish this convention was closer to home – it’s a great mix of media and comic guests… but they keep the guest list short and inexpensive, the event doesn’t feel like it’s gouging you – especially with an admission price of only $10 on Saturday. They also go with a theme every year, last year being the 80s and this year being a celebration of Spider-Man – as a result, I decided to bring out the Doc Ock suit (at some point I have to fix that right arm so it no longer looks like I’m running around with a dislocated shoulder….)and ran around the convention center with the infamous Ock selfie stick!
I mentioned last year at Hall of Fame City Comic Con that I don’t think I can do Ock again without a handler. Even though I added some hidden windows for my fingers to come out of in the octupus arms, it still would have been a challenge… Maddie was going to come out but changed her mind. In the end, I was fortunate enough to enlist my friend Mike May to be my hands for the day, handling my money and opening doors as well as getting the phone clutched in one of my grubby little Octopus mitts to go into selfie mode.
I’ve mentioned in the past that one of the things I’m really beginning to enjoy at conventions like this is running into familiar faces. Now to be fair, Detroit is quite a ways from Cleveland so at this show I expected that those familiar faces would mostly be vendors, folks like Sean Belles and Dirk Manning. However I did also run into a gentleman who remembered me from the previous year! I remembered really liking his flash costume the previous year and was very pleased that his daughters Hawkgirl won in the kids costume contest. He was decked out in a marvelous Dr Strange suit… one that he’d really added his own flair to, using brass and gold buttons around it and giving it a more leathery look. I could see this being a Doctor Strange costume from after the movie, after he’s grown a little bit and moved on – say an alternate outfit. Included in it were several lighting effects that were activated when he gestured in certain ways, flashing, making sounds and giving the illusion of casting spells. It’s actually electronics from a think geek product that he’s ripped out, rewired and repurposed for this suit… A very good use of the technology. I love seeing stuff like this, and I’m all about using things in new and interesting ways.
Speaking of costumes, the show attendees really upped thier game this year… From what I can see, Great Lakes always brings out the best in people, but the competition was fierce this year – the decision was so difficult for the judges that they had to make two passes; with a semi-final round before they’ve finally made the decisions. The lovely Hawkgirl that I’d seen around all day placed and it was a well deserved win, along with the Mecha Godzilla that I did battle with while waiting in line for Jim Shooter. I was also taking note of the Lego Boba Fett that managed to snag one of the top prizes – I want to make my own Lego character later this year and his suit was a good example of what I’m going to need to do. I only wish he had been around longer! Fett seemed to show up about half an hour before the costume contest… That’s one of my pet peeve’s – an amazing costume like that I’d love to have seen walking the show floor all day! Perhaps he was suited up there all the time and I just missed him all day. We’ll assume the best.
Deals – Great Lakes may have just replaced Lake Effect Comicon as my go-to for deals… In fact, I should have brought a little bit more cash with me – I saw a gorgeous Super Powers Joker, complete with hammer for $15 – Mike nearly smacked me when I passed on it, and he would have been right to do so… I regret leaving that behind, kind of like I regret not picking up that Bow figure from She-Ra last year. Even stuff that was out of my price range, I could see was still going for amazing prices… A Super Powers Batman for $35, a Darth Vader that Mike had never seen before (and that’s saying something, his house has at least one Vader in every room!) for 35 which he handled down even further, 50 Cent bins, and essential trades all over the place for five bucks. Deals are one of the reasons I go to conventions, that and to find things that I won’t find anywhere else – Great Lakes Comic Con has both of those things, and in abundance.
One of the other big reasons I go to conventions is for panels and I’ve always loved that Great Lakes really goes out of its way to do genuinely good panels… They’re not over the top they’re not deep dark secrets and big reveals, but they are fun and they manage to spotlight people that I don’t get to see elsewhere. Dirk Manning did his Write or Wrong talk, which interestingly enough was preceded by Jim Shooter doing a panel on writing – Shooter was my main reason for coming to this convention, as he was the founder of Valiant comics and the editor in chief of Marvel for many many years. His panel was a great primer on story structure, pacing, perspective and storytelling. I was amused that he kept using Doc Ock in his examples.
“It’s got to be more than just Doc Ock fights Spider-Man again…”
*I raise my arms and eyebrows in mock outrage* “why you got to hate?”
Nicholas Hammond was fun to listen to as well. His experiences in The Sound of Music should have been the focus, but let’s face it. This is ComicCon. We want to hear about his short run on Spider-Man. For me one of the most interesting things to hear him speak on was the potential of a crossover with Bill Bixby’s the Incredible Hulk on television – years before such a thing was fashionable. It was on the schedule for the second season, except there wasn’t a second season. Spider-Man was one of the casualties of the management shake up where CBS decided to get rid of all the super shows like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and the Hulk. It was interesting for him to Skype watching Toby McGuire and Andrew Garfield in the role as if it were him watching his children.
Shooter and Hammond were also both very gracious and fun to meet in person – the line to meet Jim Shooter was actually longer than the one for Hammond, but then again he was a bigger deal to me in the first place! Mike, Jim and I chatted about the rise and fall of Valiant, as he signed our books and took a photo with me! Taking photos with the actors who portrayed Spider-Man was one of the highlights of my day – Hammond had a hard time figuring out where to stand and just hung up behind me into a relaxed stance. The most fun though, was Paul Soles; the voice of the animated Spider-Man. Soles was so excited to see my Doc Ock and you can see him grinning with unbridled delight as we post for a photo. he signed his autograph “To Matt and his friend Doc Ock!”
The other great thing was how much all the kids at the con loved me. I found myself in battles with little superheros everywhere I ventured at the con. Little Spidey’s would shoot imaginary webs at me. Little Flash wanted a race. I’d snap at kids with my claws and they would throw stage punches and I’d knock back. It was great. I don’t get that nearly as much at other shows, but the Spider-man theme of this convention seemed to encourage it.
I left with a handful of comics – a lot of 90’s spidey I didn’t have as well as a Punisher essentials (I’ve got about a third of that book in floppies, but it’s still worth it – those issues I have are all signed. I can frame them and keep them as collectors items). I even found some criterion DVDs for two bits that I pulled the trigger on.
Other swag I came home with were a couple of posters. The CW had a booth there as well, one very much like the one we see regularly at Akron Comicon. There was a wheel to spin where you could win a prize…posters, shirts hats and various other junky swag. Doc Ock walked up, grabbed a hold of the wheels pegs (Why? Because I CAN) and spun, and won a new flash drive.
Literally. A FLASH drive. I was dying when I saw these! it’s tiny, a mere 2 GB, but that’s enough to hold my work tools on it and make me the envy of all my friends. (Mike got sunglasses). It may just be my favorite thing I brought home.
The arcade was still a blast as well. This year Big Toys brought in a SHADOW pinball set! Man, I could stare at that thing all day…I couldn’t play it with my arms though. I did however get a quick arcade game in. The claw could hold the joystick while the other claw mashed buttons. It was over quick though. Ock arms aren’t very dexterous.
I’m seriously considering making this a regular stop, no matter who is appearing. It’s a great show and I just really dig the vibe here. Ock himself was a big hit taking tons of selfies (you should have seen Jake the Snake crack up when I was taking pictures with these guys!) and generally wrecking havok…and heres the pics to prove it!
Every Wednesday and Friday
To Survive is the story of an ex cop in a surprisingly green post apocalyptic world – doing just with the title says trying to survive. Early in the film he gets on the wrong side of some bad guys and takes refuge in a church. There he finds a family who he sort of adopts and takes responsibility for protecting. As the film progresses a few more people join the group.
To Survive is really the Walking Dead, just without the zombies. It’s the breakdown of society and the interpersonal relationships that spring from this ragtag band of survivors. Generally with an apocalypse like this we see more desolation, more Desert Mad Max style landscapes. This is a little strange to have so much woodland and such an intact looking world. Again, it’s very reminiscent of the walking dead – the main character even looks more than a little bit like Rick Grimes. It’s obvious that’s what they’re going for, and it fits perfectly in this box set with the cover being so walking dead inspired. It’s a good film, competently made, but the comparisons to the walking dead are inevitable and they kind of taint the film for me. It makes me realize just how important this zombies are to this story as a McGuffin… as a storytelling device. I miss them here.
Still, all in all it’s a good film – and I wish we could see more of these kind of movies on the sci-fi channel rather than the dregs they constantly spew on the screen. It’s definitely worth a watch, and a great inclusion in a box set like this.
Every Wednesday and Friday
I’m shocked to say that I really love this film. It’s got a great look to it, and a really competent direction. It needs to be a series though, rather than a film. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of direct to video deal and I can see how this would get completely lost in the video market.
From IMDB : “Hunted by an alien tyrant intent on inter-planetary domination, the young prince of a far away space kingdom seeks refuge on Earth. There, he meets Brian, a troubled boy who is more in touch with science fiction than reality. The two of them form a fast friendship and fight for the freedom of the galaxy — together. ”
I will admit, too much of it looks like power rangers, but then maybe my cynical bacwards look at it taints my perspective – at the time I imagine his FX were passable – and considering just how hard a time Clark had getting the FX house to finish this stuff…. you can understand just how amazing they really are. Again I’m not sure what to make of it, it’s predictable but well done. More polish to it then most of Clark’s work, and that’s a big plus. The actors are all family – Clark’s wife and his sons all perform in this film to keep the costs down. His sons, not really in the business, acquit themselves remarkably well. This is another one that man, I’m not sure how you’re going to get your hands on it. Copies of this are rare, but definitely pick it up if you come across it at the flea market or dump bin. It’s still a lot of fun.
Remember the moodboards I was doing last week? Well, Bat Mite threw a fit so I made him one too…though with him it’s more just a collage.
My unique Iron Man is probably the other suit I’m best known for…even as it evolves.
Every Wednesday and Friday
Eugene is now my hero.
Every Wednesday and Friday
The first set of commissions from last year were an army themed group for Angel Lite Comics. This first guy was done up kind of like Deadshot in the army – with some Roadblock influences.
I saw a bunch of these “moodboards” go up last week and really wanted to try a couple for myself. I started out with The Thing and Mr. Freeze – with citiscapes I photographed and altered myself as well as video game still and a bunch of different composites and filters.
I tried hard to give Freeze and Thing different looks. While they both have a blue tinge to them, I tried to make the Thing brighter, with sunny skies and a good infusion of orange, while I kept Freeze’s world gray and snowy, with a glowing blue and little other color.
I actually ended up creating four new composites for these. I’m particuarly pleased at how well Freeze just looks like he belongs in those gamescreencaps. This was fun. I think I just may do a couple more next week. Bat-Mite’s going to be mad if he doesn’t get one…
Every Wednesday and Friday
Of course the problem is, it’s another anthology. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate anthologies? I know some people really dig them – like you’re getting three films for the price of one… But for me I have this strange problem where I’m always way more interested in what’s going on in this framing sequences that I ever am in any of the film segments – indeed, I had the same problem with most horror host shows… But I digress.
Cheny plays the devil in this film, and as he is judging peoplehe comes across a suicide victim and decides to give her another chance – “you’re only sinwas against yourself, that’s a different matter”. He offers to take care of her and maybe try and get her into heaven if she agrees to be his messenger on earth for a couple of tasks. As such this leads us into our stories.
I’ll admit, I only later discovered that there are actually three separate episodes of an anthology horror television show. It makes sense, and it definately feels like one. The first involved a cavewoman, preserved in an iceberg – something like the film iceman, but with a chick and a scientist who is obsessed with her. It’s actually very good and I was a little disappointed that it ended as quickly as it did. We move on to the story of an artist – photographer who sees a woman at the house, smaps a photo of her and yet no one else ever sees her in the photo. It’s a charming ghost story that really ends up feeling spooky. We move on, finally ending up in a tale of infidelity that features the very man our messenger fell in love with and committed suicide over. Indeed he appears in Hell with Cheny and his messenger at the very end of the film… Great way of tying everything together. This one is an extremely high recommend. More than any of the others, it passess the watch test and Cheney’s presence is totally worth it. Oh he’s chewing the scenery, but his name lends it a certain degree of horror cred. This one is worth the buy even outside of a collection like this.
Every Wednesday and Friday
I admit curiosity about seeing this very early work from Clark. He insists his later film “Skinheads” is partially based on this one. I can see where the similarities lie – we have a couple bad guys chasing our hero and ingenue into the desert to keep them from going to the police about a murder. I can see how it crept in there if Graydon Clark was still in the mindset of this movie.
A hitchhiker encounter a husband and wife and he taken them just picked up at a cafe and everything goes bad – with the husband and wife dead, and the hitchhiker escaping the cafe with the waitress (Clark’s future wife) and trying to avoid the gang in the mountains (as opposed to the forest from skinheads). Our hero is a lot more proactive than the male lead in skinheads, where as our Ingenue is a classic damsel in distress. The movie has a very grind house feel to it, that gritty 70’s look overlaid on an old print. I like it, it’s fun – but you can also see there is no money here, and the action is stripped bare. The amount of rape is a another issue for me – I know, it’s a trigger for me… And it seems like it’s only included for the sake of getting some nudity into this film. That’s an insufficient reason in my opinion. I can see this is only a maybe – if you come across it on YouTube or at a film festival and have time to kill… I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid it, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to try and find it. It’s merely okay, and that only if you’re a fan of a certain kind of film.
Been meaning to get to these but just haven’t had time – new edits of my favorite photos from Zip Con!