The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Con Man

Columbus toy and game show

Right off the bat, can you please do me a favor? If there’s going to be a charge for parking, please let us know ahead of time! Print it on the flyers. Includ it on every post with the date and time. Seriously, because this is basically increasing your admission fee by 27%, and I need to be able to budget for that.

Indeed, it seems to me that I had this EXACT same complaint the last time I was out at the Ohio Convention Center. Perhaps I would have remembered if it hadn’t been nearly ten years ago at the sadly short lived Tricon. (Short lived as in – that first year was also their last)

At first glance, the $12 admission fee seems a little high considering this is a glorified flea market. On the other hand, it’s the biggest flea market I’ve ever seen. The Columbus toy and game show actually dwarfs toyhio in comparison, and I didn’t think that was possible. I ended up going to the early service at church Sunday morning because I wanted to arrive really responsible.Walking in just before one, it was close to 3:30 before I managed to finish going through the entire building. And it’s just so vast.

I was actually eager to come out to this one since I had to skip Toyhio last month. Zip Con was going on the same day and Maddie had really wanted to hit that show. As a result, I’d been kind of jonesing for a good toy show to dig through. Since I wasn’t going to be doing Concoction this weekend, my schedule was free. This would be the perfect place to use the money I had set aside to spend at Concoction! I spent Saturday getting hyped up by watching through the entire season of Action Figure Adventure, while considering what to wear.

Because it’s not really a cosplay sort of show, I wanted to go soft and easy. I had considered bringing out the Penguin again but decided instead on something new. Kong, my human version of the 1975 Ghostbusters hadn’t be out since the Afterlife premire.  It’s nice and simple, but not quite as spectacular as going as Tracy the gorilla. To give it more spice, I added a couple of killer tomato friends to come along for the ride. People actually recognized them a lot more than they recognized me. It’s exactly the right kind of show for that. Killer Ttomatoes are not the most easily identifiable characters but when people do recognize ’em… they love it.

I was actually surprised by how chatty some of the vendors were. Sure, you got rows of old guys sitting in there lawn chairs with a scowl on their face… basically flea market attitude. But you’ve also got plenty of them who are genuinely excited about the stuff they’re selling and the geners they’re playing in. If you see a guy selling Doctor Who… hes gonna want to talk to you about Doctor Who. I was asked who my favorite doctor was, where I thought the series was going, answer more questions about star trek. It was great. It was also really nice to bump into my buddy Marse. He’s more local to The Columbus area, and our paths only cross once every year or two. He just completed a marvelous Samurai Batman and was trying it out for the first time here.

I was picking up a bunch of stuff that had actually been on my bucket list…Back at the last Toyhio I hit, I passed on a Last Action Hero figure in favor of a transforming Terminator. But Last Action Hero looks more like Arnold, so I’m glad to have a second chance to pick him up cheap. The McDonalds I passed on was here to…still mocking me. I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have let it go this time, not at $30…..

I’ve also been skipping over cheap road rippers for EVER. I thought the MOTU Mini one would finally satisfy me, but….no. Not really. But the thing is, I’ve started to notice them just beginning to go up in price. About time for me to finally plunk down a Lincoln for a cheap loose one.

I came across a spectacular McFarline figure – I have NO idea who or what she is. She’s missing an arm, but I can 3d print a new one easily and for a buck, I’ll take that and the Borg. I’m always on the hunt for custom fodder. I raided the 3 for a dollar bins for stuff like Fred and the video game figures, as well as scoring that nice Riker for less than what’s I’ve been paying at Record Exchange. A really worthwhile haul!

All in all, a good day. I’m really impressed with the show and just how much stuff is scattered across those endless aisles. I got to spend a nice little bit of time playing video games on the free arcade alley, take photos with Gremlins, hobnob with other ‘busters, as well as really scratch that toy itch. It may well be worth a return visit in the future.


Why I won’t be returning to Cleveland Concoction.

I was very excited to see that Cleveland Concoction was returning. This has been one of my favorite conventions for a long time, and I’ve written extensively about my previous trips there. Even as recently as zip con, we were waiting for registration to open up so we could get tickets. I literally had this discussion with my friend Rose there – we’d actually both won membership to the next show back in 2019, but then covid hit and they shut down for 2020. And then again for 2021, even 2022. Honestly, you couldn’t expect them to keep rolling over the free membership for that many years and I absolutely did not want to be THAT guy. Once I finally saw that the link was active, I purchased my weekend badge. This was on March 1st.

It wasn’t until March 6th, that they posted their covid guidelines. Concoction this year will be a masked event. People will either be required to mask and all areas unless actively eating or drinking… or will be required to show proof of vaccination at registration.

That is not the show I paid for.

As a general rule, I don’t attend any event that requires me to show my papers like a refugee in the movie Casablanca. I also don’t attend masked events (and skipped Great Lakes Comic Con last year for this very reason, as well as passing on several Anime events), particularly now that we find ourselves in 2023. Sure, you may be scratching your head and pointing out “I’m sure I’ve seen you at a masked comicon or two! That’s true. Back in the early days of the pandemic, when the government lock downs were finally opening up, I absolutely headed out to shows like Toyhio and Jeff Harper’s Cleveland Comic Book and Nostalgia events. The truth is, we have small shows like this to thank for the return of conventions in a lot of ways. They kept the dealers going, they kept the habit up… and somebody had to go first. I wanted to support whoever that might be.

We’re now well past that. The moment vaccines became widely available, any question of restrictions should have been moot. Moreover we are now living in the wake of the Cochran study which showed that masking did not effectively stop much in the way of transmission Still, it’s a security blanket that many people simply will not let go of. That is your prerogative. I won’t make fun of you (to your face anyhow. But my wife and I will probably chuckle to each other about it in private). If you wish to run you show like that, it’s also your prerogative. I would have just passed on it. I still plan to skip it, but had I known in advance, I wouldn’t have bought a ticket. That’s my real issue here.

I have been fully vaccinated. It’s something I did to be able to move more easily around my job which involves visiting a variety of remote locales. Not only am I vaccinated, I’ve had covid… after my vaccination. That means I’ve also developed natural antibodies which science has shown to be a much more durable form of immunity. I am done wearing a mask. And if you ask me to show my card, it better be in a professional capacity otherwise the answer will be no. Very possibly a colorful no.

We attended Hazard con last year, also a masked event that didn’t sufficiently pre-warn us. We would have turned around and left if we hadn’t just driven a couple of hours across state lines to get there, and in any event it really did kill the day. Those little shows like Harper and Toyhios? Those are a couple of hours digging through long boxes and toybins and then out. Concoction is a weekend long event With after parties that go from dusk till dawn. It’s not the sort of thing that you want to wear a mask for 20 hours at.

Ironically, those restrictions probably wouldn’t affected me anyhow. My costume choices for the event were going to be Skeletor and Pinhead. It’s actually why I chose those for my last two convention appearances at Astronomicon and Fantasticon. They were really being pulled for ConCoction. Indeed, I’ve continued to stay clean shaven and delayed growing back my beard (which I keep to hide my weak chin) SPECIFICALLY because I can’t have it with the Pinhead makeup. It would have been very simple to add a samurai mask around my nose and chin to compliment the slightly Japanese look to my armor. Skeletor himself is a completely enclosed mask. Problem is, I don’t want to support the mask porn Concoction is still promoting. Which is a shame, because I’ve already bought my ticket and there are no refunds. I received no communication back from my emails to the show… and to be fair, we’re so close to showtime I can’t imagine it would be easy to contact me even if I didn’t end up in their Spam folder. However the entire affair has left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not going this weekend, and I won’t be buying from their vendors or their artists, nor will I be roaming around the halls in big detailed cosplay to amuse people and take photos with attendees.I always hope I add value to a show by supporting the people there and being a walking bit of decoration. But I’m not expecting to be missed. I don’t wish harm or ill will on the show. I simply won’t be participating in it.

I’m not sure what the future holds for me in Concoction. Maddie and I will not be returning to Hazard Con, ever. In this case with Concoction, it’s not quite as dishonest as Hazard, nor is it on the level of negligence that led me to complain about the North Coast Comic Con, But I still very much resent the fact that my pittance of admission is non refundable and that I’m not hearing back from registration. Concoction has definitely fallen off of the A list for me. It’s not going to be one of my automatic must-goes any longer, the way Cinema Wasteland and NEO Comic-Con are. I can’t trust them that they won’t take my money, then add new rules and run away. It’ll take some years of watching the con and it’s regulations before I’ll be comfortable buying a pass from them again. You probably won’t hear too much about me promoting them any further either. I’ll stay home and put away the armor that I’d left out, staged and ready. Perhaps I’ll check out The Columbus Toy and Game show.

But I won’t be back at concoction anytime soon.

Fantasticon 2023

The Joker walked up to Skeletor with an outstretched hand. Skeletor shook hands.
“What’s your name?” The Joker asked.
“So,” The Joker paused.” What’s your deal?”
“I’m here to take over the world!” Skeletor cackled.
The Joker shook his head.
“No, that’s my deal. You’re going to have to get a new deal.”
“What if I take over a DIFFRENT word?” Skeletor asked.

A few steps away, the the UA high teacher just laughed at them both.

I’ve got to say, it’s probably not a great idea for me to do Masters of the Universe characters two years in a row for this convention, but Skeletor had been itching to get back out since October and this is one of those sort of shows that really appreciates those kind of characters. The 40 times that I got stopped (across three hours) for photos is a good testament to that.

Fantasticon  is a frequent if not regular stop for us. But I couldn’t help but notice that the place was packed this year. Last year it was manageable. In prior years, there’s been more than enough room for me to move around… to the point where I’ve actually brought out Lego costumes for the show. Not this year! Skeletor is bulky enough that he still presents a problem though… and like Pinhead last week, wardrobe malfunction seems to be the word of the day. Those huge shoulder pads are always difficult to manage. You have to get the elastic all the way under your armpit for them to set correctly, and even then… there’s a certain sweet spot that you have to get where they’re resting on top of the vest, and where the fringe parts in just the right place To really balance on your forearm. If that’s not difficult enough, as soon as I put on the harness, the lower right hand strap broke. There we are, on the sidewalk by our parked car in downtown Toledo. The temperature has plummeted and the wind is blowing, and this thing has completely broken apart. I ran to the car, grab duct tape and patched it up as best I could. It was just too cold for Maddie and me to really gear up outside, so we stacked up my armor and ran to the convention center. The harness held until we got inside, where it promptly came apart again. now separated from my emergency repair kit, I snatched a safety pin from my mask, and pinned the foam together. I also noticed that my belt felt loose for most of the day. It wasn’t until I did my final check before the costume contest that I discovered the back of the belt where the clips connect had torn. Not all the way through, it was still connected, but it created a gap that left everything terribly loose. At least Skeletor can swagger around with one hand on his belt buckle and still look natural… and it will hold long enough for me to shake a fist in the air…  but still. One problem after another. I’m glad I left the stiff monster feet at home (I’d tangled with those stage stairs before!).

We headed down the comic creators isle. The few actors that they had brought in didn’t really interest me, and are charging too much to meet anyhow. Then again, it seems like the comic creators are also trying to price me out of this game now. Sam De La Rosa is all business, and as I handed over a single issue of Venom he proudly warned me “I charge you know!” I nodded. “That’s why I don’t have any money left over to buy stuff from your table!”

At least Ron Marz was interested in talking a little bit about his time on Green Lantern and how the run came about. The real treat of the day was Geof Isherwood. Not only was he signing for free, he was really happy to talk about his time on Suicide Squad. It’s one of my favorite books, and he was generally engaged.

“It was such an interesting time,” he told me. “The book has shifted into this espionage, spy sort of thing. It was really different.”
He flipped over the next book in the stack which is the cover of Superman Batman and Aquaman searching for the Atom.
“A lot of people actually tell me this is their favorite cover,” he said.
“Really?” I replied, intrigued. It’s a good one, and I definitely wanted a signature on because of the mainstream characters, but he produced so much more interesting work, that I was surprised.
“For me it was one of those moments… I finally get to draw Superman!”

I tried my best to get into a couple of the panels, but it was standing room only, with the crowd spilling out past the panel area and into the aisle. Like I said, it was a crowded day. No less crowded when it came time for the costume contest. Fantasticon brings out really great cosplayers. I saw an amazing Venom that I just had to chat with about his foam method. It had been his first contest, and he ended up placing. I love it when first timers win!

Despite being a reasonably short day – we were probably there for only about 3 hours, it was a pretty exhausting one and Maddie and I were pretty quick to head out after the contest. I made a quick sideline to grab a beautiful Hellraiser print, and check out the lego figures now that I had my mask off! But before too long we were back in the car, And headed to Burger King for ice cream.

Fantastic con remains a good solid show and I almost wonder if they’ve outgrown this venue. Time will tell. We’ll see you next year. I’m almost certain we’ll be back.

Maddie’s review is below, and the scroll further for photos!

Great Lakes Comic Con

Great Lakes Comic Con has The distinction of being one of those shows that I say confidently, I consistently have fun at. I enjoyed this one, despite the massively long drive. I was grateful to see that they survived the government lock down, however we still skipped last year because because of the lingering mask mandate. We nearly missed this year as well. My Saturday had gotten booked with a funeral, and the associated events that go with such a thing. There was no way we were going to be able to sneak off to Detroit on Saturday. We still wanted to go though, and there were people there I wanted to meet. We resolved to hit the show on Friday instead.

The problem with going on Friday is the hours are significantly shortened, and there’s little or no programming. That was the case here, but I figured I’d be spending most of my night standing in lines waiting for autographs. Maddie too, was eager to hit as many conventions as possible this year. It’s been a while since she’s been to this one. She broke out her Todoroki while I looked for something soft and flexible. Since I wasn’t competing in the costume contest Saturday, I wanted something I could move around in, that would leave my hands free and my vision unobscured. It’d been a while since I’d worn the Penguin, and this seem like an ideal fit. We bundled our outfits into the car, and began the 2 and a 1/2 hour trip West.

I always forget how long a line for this show it is. We usually show up a little bit late to try and avoid some of it, but today, time was of the essence. We arrived just as the doors opened, to find the line wrapped around the antechamber. It always bottle necks right at the door, and it’s the one drawback from what is otherwise an excellent venue over at Macomb Community College. Once we finally got inside I made a beeline for the guest aisle. Dan DiDio had no line! I walked right up, and he greeted me with a grin.

“I was just watching Batman returns a couple of days ago on the plane! The movie really holds up.” 

I nodded in agreement and mentioned that I had just screened it for Maddie this Christmas. I then pulled out my copy of ambush bug issue 7 of 6. DiDio Broke out and laughter. You see, this is not a book that he wrote…. he is the editor on it. The more important thing, is how heavily hes featured in it. Ambush bug has always enjoyed making fun Of the management at DC Comics, and DE deo is all over this book.

“Have you ever heard the story of why this book is 7 of 6?”
I’d heard bits and pieces of it, and DiDio proceeded to spend the next ten minutes giving me the entire story of how some pages needed changes, got turned in, and then got lost and buried on his desk for months. By the time they found that they need to make further changes, and a ended up feeling actually the only way they could release it was with the new number in, doing a total gag with the whole thing.

It was wonderful fun to listen to him, and this is exactly the sort of thing that I hit conventions for. We moved on, stopping briefly over at Bill Morrison’s table. He’s charging way too much for a signature on a book, especially when you’ve got a legendary silver age artist like Mike Royer across The aisle, charging half that, and giving all of his proceeds to cancel research charities.

Royer’s line wasn’t long, but it was slow. Part of that is because he likes to talk with the people that are coming up and that’s fun. Part of it’s also because there were several chickenheads in line bringing him huge stacks of books and having him sign them all. Just a gentle reminder, if you roll up to an artist’s table with half a long box full of comics And you intend to get them all signed, just know, everyone in line hates you. Show some class, do a few of the time, get out of line and go back through. Royer looked up at me and gestured towards the fake cigarette in the long stemmed holder I was clutching between my teeth.

“If you were really smoking that! You would have gone through an entire pack by now!” he chuckled apologizing for the long wait. By the time I finally got up to him, he was Interested in chatting about the old Gotham TV show, and the version of the Penguin there appeared
“I didn’t really like the girl on that show… Fish. But that young man playing the Penguin, I can immediately tell who he was. Who he was trying to play… he did something with that character…”

“I think it’s the first time that somebody had really made the Penguin… cool,” I agreed. We went on to talk a little bit about the Marvel television shows, with Daredevil still being his favorite.

All of this was good stuff. I got to surprise Randy Zimmerman with a fairly full run of tails from the Aniverse, as well as chatting up Chris Scalf, the cover artist for Realm Comics long forgotten Battlestar Galactica run. Grabbed a couple of great cover autographs from from Tom Nguyen and Angel Medina, as well as grabbing Tom Orzechowski to sign the last of my X-Men collections. I had pulled a couple of Spider-Man issues for Kieth Pollard to sign, but passed when I saw he was charging $20. He wasn’t interested in me being there either an barely looked up from the sketch he was drawing. (it’s sad that I’ve been priced out of the game so much – and I certainly wasn’t going to pay forty or sixty dollars for the Disney Star Wars actors in attendance). Maddie had since taken off to do her own thing, so I figured it’s about time that I found her and we did the dealer’s room proper.

I must say, for such a vast dealer’s room, I wasn’t finding a whole lot of stuff I was interested in. A single lego figure, and only a handful of books. No quarter bins, no fifty cent bins, dollar or more. Still, it gave me a chance to fill some holes in my star trek collection. I’m already regretting passing on some of those cheap figures I was looking at as well There was a nice looking like solution in a suit, but the scale was one that I don’t usually collect. I probably should have any help. In another bed I found little John from Robin hood Prince of thieves. I’ve actually started collecting these figures loose, just for the lunacy of the reused superpowers sculpts. The problem is, you get into some of these ones like little John, and it looks More mad Max than Robin hood. They’re practically unrecognizable without the soft goods covering them. Still, I could have taken him home and made him a leather jerkin or something. Next time.

The real find of the day was the hauntingly bizarre plushy captain Kirk from star trek the motion picture. Sitting in a $5 bin, I’ve never seen one of these before and immediately had to have it. The vendor told me that they made spark as welcome but he hasn’t ever seen 1. Looks like I’ve got something to look out for on my next trip.

We actually stayed the entire time, leaving a mere 15 minutes before the door is closed. You definitely try to make the most out of the day, although I’ll admit, The shortened Friday with no panels just wasn’t worth the long drive both ways. I think in the future, it’s gonna be Saturday or nothing. Still, I’m glad we went, and I’m happy to see the show is back And good as our. Maddie did her own review, but you’ll find below, and then pass that tons of pictures!




ZipCon 2023

So I gotta say, the last time Maddie and I hit Zipcon, I was not impressed. I really like the Zipcon of old… a student run anime con, and a free one day event… that always worked for me. Then the management flipped, and there was more pressure to put in guests. More pressure to bring in names and with that comes expense. And that expense gets passed on to the attendees. Last year in particular, the show was just not worth the $10 admission. There were a bunch of problems, with lackluster panels… when those panels actually occurred. People blowing stuff off and just not showing up, Not enough help, not enough ratio of staff to visitors… it was just a mess. I really wasn’t interested in going back.

Of course, this was one of the last shows right before the government locked its citizens down, and Zipcon would not return for 2021 or 2022. When it came back on the schedule this year, Maddie in particular was really eager to go again. It’s not just that she wanted to do more conventions, she wanted to do more anime conventions, so off we went.

I will admit, it’s actually helped that we’ve had two years to watch a bunch of anime and get me caught up on modern series. I was in my Gran Torino costume, accompanying Maddie’s Eraser. The Gran Torino made a big enough splash that we hadn’t even made it into the show before the gentleman at the register desk looked at me in amazement. “Gran Torino! That’s a first for me!”

It might be fair to say that the two year break also did the panelists some good. Talks and skits and demonstrations that had been prepared two years ago had time to be refined and revisited before presenting them this year. We actually ended up hitting three different ones, all really good talks. I especially enjoyed seeing previews of upcoming stuff, as well as look back at some older anime that’s not necessary Studio Ghibli.

For whatever reason, the dealer’s room felt bigger too. I don’t think that it was physically, but I certainly felt like there was more to browse through, as we dug through booth after booth of brightly colored kawaii.

One of the stranger things that happened, we were walking down the promenade, And after stopping for some pictures, the photographer ran up to us and asked if we could come back with her and be in a group picture of My Hero Academia cosplayers. We happily followed her. It was a nice big group, not quite a dozen people. The thing is, the group kept growing. People would walk by and getting pulled in. We kept adding to this group, one my hero cosplayers after another… until it turned into this massive photo. I’ve looked on with envy over the years, friends joining these huge planned photo shoots. Batman family, Justice League, Mandalorians, that’s sort of thing. This was the biggest one I’ve ever gotten to be a part of and it was just amazing. It absolutely made Maddie’s convention.

For me, the highlights of this sort of thing is always seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a while. There are some people here that I haven’t seen since the lockdown.  Others may have popped up here and there, but a really nice day to catch everybody all at once. I got to apologize to my friend Allie for not recognizing her at a Hall of Fame City Comic-Con. That always bothered me, but then again, it’s a occupational hazard of cosplay. Also good to catch up with Chris, now 3 months newlywed.

Maddie and I rounded out of the day playing video games in the game room… Mario Kart projected on a giant screen which was absolutely amazing . We also had to catch up with The Confused Greenies Patchwork Players. This improv troop is one of Maddie’s favorite things about specialized. I’ve always enjoyed them, but they’ve always seem a little weird part of con programming, but always welcome and fun.

By the time 6 o’clock was rolling around, we were too tired to even look for the cosplay masquerade. It had been a long day, but a genuinely excellent way of kicking off convention season. Maddie’s done her own video review, which you’ll find down here, then jump past it for way too many pictures!

Hall of Fame City Comicon videos

One of my favorite things is discovering videos of events that I pop up in. You may remember that Maddie and I hit hall of Fame City Comic Con a couple weeks ago. Just this morning, these two vids popped up on my feed and I wanted to share them here!




Bay Con 2022

Look, there’s worse things to do on a Sunday afternoon, and much like Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival, it’s just a quick two exit hop down the highway after Church. I recall it being really small, but nice enough from the last time I went, so I packed up the kiddo and off we went. We wanted simple costumes so I brought Venom (With a Star Lord jacket because it’s starting to turn cold. Venom has spent time with the guardians. It works) and Maddie brought Todroki. My buddy Josh met us up there in his Cobra Commander costume and in we went.

I have to wonder if Bay-Con is a another casualty of the lockdowns. Last time I went it was WAY bigger (despite being a tiny library style show). The Ghostbusters were parked out front. Stuff was going out in the back, events and vendors. This time around it was limited to a single room, and music playing by the picnic benches out back. 

Still we were determined to have some fun. We took photos all over, doing pics and videos of Maddie with the gauntlet, and Josh with his RC Optimus Prime. I thumbed through the comics from Carol and John’s and Maddie found a new book she wanted. I drew some artwork in their artist alley and we grabbed cookies for Maddie’s sister and Mom back home. Maddie ran into friends from school which was especially cool, an the promoters kept trying to get us to sign up fro the costume contest. Sadly it was scheduled for three thirty, and even squeezing a full hour out of this show, we were still ready to go by two.

All in all, not a big day, but not a bad one either. I’m sad though, to see this show shrink rather than grow. Maybe a few years will help. I’m not sure I’ll be back any time soon though.



Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival Fall 2022

“And now, it’s time for you to die!“ I heard the high-pitched voice exclaim from behind me. I creamed my head a little bit and noticed the katana blade at my neck! Two teenage Demon slayer girls had come to take down venom.

I have to say, it was actually the highlight of the Jeff Harper show on Sunday. This one’s not really a cosplay show, but I thought I’d throw on venom anyhow. He’s easy to see through and move around in as I go through long boxes in the large flea market going on at the Westlake double tree. Despite not being a costume show, I usually like to wear something anyhow, because parents bring their kids… And this time around, they were a bunch of middle school age teenagers running around, trying to get the most out of their anime costumes, and it gives the young people something to see. I’ve gotta say, the Harper show is pretty chill about it as well, there are times when it feels like vendors don’t want the cosplayers around, but these guys were all chipper greeting me with a “hey Eddie!“ And I never felt unwanted. Of course, I’m also there’s a shop. That’s really what the Harper shows are all about, and this one in particular you can usually find weird offbeat stuff, like the skyscrapers of Oz manga I scored, or the Star Trek manga that I didn’t even know existed! I found another book that plays with next generation concepts in the style of famous writers who never got to do Star Trek… People like and Rice or Stephen King. All of it proves to be an interesting read… And I finally capped it off buying a stack of buckaroo banzai. I’m still trying and failing to understand and appreciate the appeal of the character in the series. It just doesn’t vibe with me, but maybe the comics will help.

Seriously, I must be out of my mind to try and pack three conventions and one weekend. It’s not the same as hanging out at wasteland or concoction for three days… Different venues, different costumes, different style of conventions, it’s exhausting. But the Harper show is a nice way to ease my way out of the weekend, and I came home with a bunch of really interesting stuff. The Sunday show is literally 10 minutes away from my church, which makes it an easy hop over to the hotel, and definitely worth the extra hour or two spent digging.

Hall of Fame City Comic Con 2022

Besides the fact that it got canceled for a while because of the plague, I have missed a lot of Hall of Fame city comic cons simply because it’s settled into always being scheduled the week of cinema wasteland. However, lately, wasteland hasn’t really been a three day thing for me, and my daughter really wanted to squeeze in as many conventions this year as possible, considering that she had to sit out a year and a half of canceled conventions just as she had started getting into that sort of life. So, I carved up a Skeletor costume, and glued together a Batgirl suit for her and awfully went to Canton.

I will admit, I’ve kind of missed the show. It’s a genuinely good convention with a lot of heart. There’s some smart ideas here, bringing in a couple of big names… Usually one or two big name creators and one or two celebrities. It’s a formula that works both for them and for Youngstown Comicon. I was actually excited to see Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, but even more so… I was here for Al Snow. Now you may not know this about me, but I’m not a wrestling guy. I’m really not interested in wrestlers at all… But back in the early 2000s, MTV ran a wrestling show called “Tough Enough“ and like all MTV shows, they ran it constantly, and something about Al’s character on the show really spoke to me. I’ve always wanted to meet him, and was really happy when he started on the autograph circuit recently.
Much to my delight he instantly recognized the costume and was actually quite excited for it. “Somebody finally shows up cosplaying the Shadow!“. That’s actually a fun response, and it was enjoyable to chat with him for a little while. 

I’ve actually chosen the Shadow so that I could spend about half of the show in a lighter costume that I could move around in… something I could see well in and still have access to both hands. But I was genuinely surprised at how many people recognized the character. The Shadow was getting a lot of love at Hall of fame city, con, with people constantly coming up to me and declaring “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?“. I did have one young man come up to me and ask “Phantom Stranger?”. I explained to him who he was and described him as a character that Batman had been based largely on. He asked me an interesting question, “is he crazier than Batman? Because at this point, Batman is kind of gone insane…“ I had to think about this for a moment. I replied “I’m not sure, the thing is, with a shadow, there’s not much that human left in there anymore.“ That’s actually kind of cool thing not to just get to talk about your favorite character, but to explore it with somebody who’s new to the hero.

Right around the halfway point, we snuck back out to the car so I can change into my Skeletor costume. I’d been laser focused on this suit for about six weeks, carving the armor from scratch, spray painting the bodysuit to give it an airbrushed look, and installing lights in electronics specifically near the jeweled areas so they would sparkle more. I’d run out of time though, and was going to end up wearing a mask rather than doing a make up. This was a disappointment to me, but in the end, the mask looked just as striking… Perhaps even more so. Much to my surprise, I had noticed earlier that Acheww Cosplay, one of the costume contest judges, had actually shown up also in a Skeletor costume. I wasn’t sure if that was good luck or bad. My friend Micheal from far far away cosplay actually stopped me shortly after I got in, just wanting to take in the whole thing. “How did you know it was me?“ I asked. “The foamwork.“ He replied, nodding slowly. The foam shoes made it difficult to walk in, but I managed to

I’m not sure how long it was before I noticed my belt was slipping. The Velcro hadn’t separated yet, but it was certainly getting loose and causing me problems. I fidgeted and adjusted, while trying to keep my giant shoulder pads above the harness. The first time out in a new costume means that’s when you’re gonna find all the flaws. Still, I managed to shift and push the belt up enough to wedge it against my belly and keep it in place as I tried to chat with the people backstage. In her group, Maddie was having a fine time getting to know the other teenagers in the lineup. She was making friends and reassuring the ones who were nervous about going up for the first time. This is fun stuff that she’s been growing further and further into. She walks into the convention and just breathe it all in, “I am home!”.

I managed to get across the stage and through pre-judging without anything coming apart. I did however get lost on stage and I had to be turned around to hit the proper exit! That was embarrassing enough, but it got even worse when the belt gave way after I was back down in the hall. Dream, the Sandman came to my aid and help me get the thing re-fastened. It held long enough for me to get called back on the stage… And that’s when it popped for good. I took up a place right behind the green goblin, and posed in such a way where it looked like my head was resting on the belt buckle… What was really happening was my elbow was pulled in tight to keep the belt flat against my hip on one side while I angled my staff to press against it on the other side. With photos over, and us getting ready to leave, I finally gave up on trying to keep the suit together and let the ball belt come loose once I got outside. I think in the future I will be securing that thing with hooks rather than Velcro.

I may also need to rig up some sort of a spike or hook to help stabilize the shoulder pads,And remove the chain mail from around them. It’s not doing anything for the look and just getting in the way. Still, this is all the sort of thing that you go through and learn as you’re trying out a new suit. I’m very happy with the way that Skeletor was received at the convention. One person even stopped dead, pointed and said “That’s the movie Skeletor!”, taking in the jewels and the detail. It was a nice discussion about the Masters of the Universe film, and how Frank Langella steals every scenehes in. While the suit isn’t strictly meant to be the movie version, it’s certainly influenced by it. Likewise, Maddie was having a good day in her new Batgirl costume. We had settled on Stephanie Brown from the current Batgirls comic that I’ve been constantly raving about here. It ended up being a good look for her, and really well received. Like Steph, Maddie is also Distraction Incarnate!  It was a nice comfortable suit, something that’s important when you’re putting her in a costume! In fact, Maddie liked the jacket so much she wants a plain version for every day wear. I’m also really proud of that belt. I 3d printed a Batman ’66  Batgirl buckle for her, as well as little black bat accents that I pasted on my standard design foam pouches. We cinched that purple bet at the back with a hook (LIKE WE’RE GOING TO DO WITH SKELETOR DAGNABBIT!) and tossed an old Covid mask and a lovely purple cloak she got from her grandmother on her. It’s just perfect.

We walked away with stacks of comics, new Lego figures and the autograph I’ve been seeking as well as fun memories. Hall of Fame is a good show, and I’m eager to return to it. We’ll see what happens next year!



Cinema Wasteland fall 2022

The two Dracula‘s faced off, grim and ashen. It was a battle of wills, to see which one was more powerful… And which one had bigger hair!

I must say, I’ve been looking forward to meeting Zandor Vorkov ever since he was announced as a guest for cinema wasteland a couple of years ago. Over the craziness of the past few years and events, Wasteland has had to reschedule a number of guests and rethink some of its reunions. I was stoked though for both the star of Al Adamson’s Dracula versus Frankenstein, but also that we were finally getting that Motel Hell reunion off the ground. That poster has been sitting rolled up in a tube in my house for at least 18 months. Also in attendance would be Toby Radlof… Appearing with Wayne Alan Harold,  the man who directed him in such films as killer nerd, bride of killer nerd, and the recent documentary genuine nerd. You may also know Tony from his role in American splendor, he’s one of Harvey Pekar‘s contemporaries as well as managing to parlay that into becoming an MTV personality. Still, he’s a Cleveland denizen, all these years and his cadence and Tanner is unmistakable. Filmmaker JR book water is working on a remaster of the killer nerd movies, and had put together a artwork for a new poster that Tony was giving out over the course of the weekend. He and the Director we’re both signing for free, which I hate to take too much advantage of… But I was not walking out of there without a poster! I grabbed one of their DVDs as well, and it came up in conversation that I actually had the original VHS releases that trauma had distributed. They insisted on signing those as well! The directors a nice chatty guy and makes up for Tony who is very focused and less are going. He’s actually just about at retirement age, and is getting ready to jump ship before the administration changes. This wasn’t his first visit to wasteland But for whatever reason, I missed in the last time, and was really happy to get to meet him this time around.

Alex Vincent had ended up canceling on the show, he was stuck in Florida, hunker down against the hurricane. I got admit, I wasn’t terribly bothered… Of all the people who were coming to the show… He was the most main stream and probably the one I was least interested in! Then again, that’s kind of the whole thing about wasteland. Will you bring in this weird selection of really interesting guests that nobody else wants to post… And I am absolutely here for it. It’s one of those things that keeps me coming back here after year, even as the show begins to slow down and shrink a little. I can’t wait until I return in April!