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


Animarathon 2023

“Is this the line for the dealer’s room?”
“No, we’re just hanging out here for a moment… the line is over there. Follow the dinosaur. “

Even for me, it’s not really one of those things you get to say all that often.
This year, Maddie was still wanting to focus more on anime conventions. We’d looked at and considered Animarathon last year, but they were still enforcing masking, so we passed. This year those particular regulations were gone, and we were eager to give this one a shot. I was actually a little worried about attendance. Both Horrorhound and fan expo were going on the same weekend, and I had friends at both. I needn’t have worried. Animarathon at Bowling Green University was overflowing with people. It’s a respectable size convention, taking up 2 floors of the student union, three if you consider the registration table on the 1st floor to be it’s own thing. Maddie had convinced one of her friends to go with her, but since it was the young woman’s first time at a convention, her father wanted to tag along with us as well. That was fine, I opted for something simpler than that Mazinger Z costume I planned on, and instead threw together the 9th Doctor Who out of my closet. We caravaned over to the show and found parking, ready to go.

As we were walking across the parking lot, we were intrigued to find small robots rolling around. A fleet of them were in front of the local bagel shop, and these were delivery drones. They rolled up-and-down the sidewalks to and from the dorms delivering food. It was absolutely adorable, and fascinating to see. Suddenly Maddie and Lauren looked up and pointed to another girl in a green My Hero Academia costume. The young woman dressed as froppy, ran over and both all 3 girls hugged each other.Lawrence father leaned over to me, a little confused.

“Do they know each other?”
I shook my head. “Nope, they’re just all from the same anime series. You’ll see a lot of that!”

After getting our lanyards, we headed upstairs to figure out layout. We found ourselves in a game room, with big screen televisions set up all around the room. 6 or 7 of them, each attached to a different gaming console. I traded my driver’s license for some PS4 controllers, and we settled in to a couple rounds of moral combat 11. We also tried out the Marvel versus capcom game as well, but couldn’t make it into a Mario Kart tournament for a while. That’s OK, because the original character panel was about to begin shortly and Maddie wanted to find that.

We passed a sword demonstration as we made our way downstairs and Found ourselves in one of the conference rooms where the moderator what’s describing original characters and their effect on fandom. He then handed out markers and paper and asked everyone to create their own characters. Whatever genre, whatever series,  just put something together! Afterwards, we went around the room and anybody who wished to share their character could describe what they had made. One young man had created a dragon who had been raised by pirates. He strapped 2 cannons to his arms, and because he’s a dragon, he could light them himself. Another one came up and showed a half finished drawing.

“The marker didn’t really cooperate for me, so instead, I made my character out of balloons!”

Indeed he had. He twisted balloons just like a clown at a kid’s birthday party does. He had created his own Pokemon trainer from these balloons and described his journey. Next up was Maddie’s friend Lauren showing her drawing, which had been influenced from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Oggie Boogie was always her favorite character, and this was her idea for the daughter of Oggie boogie.

“Does anybody else want to share?” the moderator asked. Lauren pointed to Maddie “SHE IS!” Maddie looks shocked.” what??”

“That’s good enough for me!” said the moderator. He and Maddie both chuckled as she got up and described her My Hero character.

The day was beginning to wear on, and we were almost ready for lunch, but not quite. We decided it was time to get in line for the dealers room.

That’s right, I said line.

The dealer’s room set up is really strange, I’ve never run into this before. well it’s easily as big as the one at wasteland or Or at zip, the entrance was strictly ratio. A bouncer stood at the door, letting small groups of people in at a time, much the way You’d see the worker at an amusement park let groups onto a ride or into a haunted attraction at Halloween. Earlier in the day, the wait had been over an hour to get into the dealer’s room. This time, it was still about 20 minutes, but that’s manageable. We talked to people in line and took photos, and finally made it in to this anime mecca. It’s an interesting variety of vendors, with artists and plushies and toys and movies. The food vendors are a perpetual favorite of ours, trying out new types of candy and chips that we don’t get in the US. I finally got to stop by my friend Dirk Manning’s table, and grab one of his new action figures while chatting about the last few conventions this month. We keep missing each other this year, like ships in the night. I plundered the 25 cent basket for buttons and magnets and croc charms (I safety pin them to my backpacks), And finally, the girls were ready for lunch. Lauren and her dad had taken my advice and packed a lunch, as had we. We retreated to the cars to eat before returning just in time for the anime physics panel.

It wasn’t what I had expected. A little heavy on the math and the science. On the other hand, I can’t imagine where else you would get a discussion about what happens when a human suddenly transforms into a smaller animal… say a rRat, while hes running. The momentum would increase velocity and you’d shoot off like a bullet. Fun stuff like this or calculating the massive, near infinite amount of energy you would take to stop time provided a really interesting bit of entertainment for this panel.

Lauren and her dad had to be off, but Maddie and I stuck around a little while longer, finally getting into a Mario Kart tournament and playing some Donkey Kong Country on the big screen. Super NES should never be projected on a television that big! One more pass through the dealer’s room and we were finally exhausted and ready to go home. We dodged small robots as we walked out, tired but content. All in all, Animarathon was a pleasant surprise and we’re definitely planning on returning next year!


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.


I’d actually been meaning to get out to Astronomicon for several years now. I’ve heard about it mostly from my friend Dirk who was a frequent guest there. When he mentioned once again that it was coming up this weekend, I took a quick glance at the calander and noticed this weekend that I had one kid at grandma’s, and the other one out with her mother… and it was a perfect opportunity to sneak back out to Detroit.

The show had always struck me as one of those medium to small cones…. something pop culture and horror and comics. Burton Manor is a nice little facility out on the outskirts of nowhere, and after a glance at thier website and Google earth, I figured I knew what I was in for. 

I was wrong.

Burton Manor must be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, because when I arrived, I found a medium to large scale convention with the vision, scope and pricing to match a Horrorhound or Days of the Dead style show. It’s also very firmly a horror show. Not something that I had gotten from the vaguely Sci-Fi logo, but probably should have expected considering it’s run by Twizted, a jugaloo band (It IS Detroit, after all).

Still, the staff were efficient, friendly and really good people. They kept traffic flowing, and could point you to wherever you needed to go at a moment’s notice. One of them saw I was having trouble with my shoulder pads and offered to give me a hand… hooking the pads onto the clips on my vest, and then sending me on my way with a smile. These guys really do go above and beyond the call of duty.

I spent the day fielding the occasional question “Since When does Pinhead dress like that?”
“Since the Scarlet Gospels!” (Clive Barkers literary end to the Hellraiser saga, where he descripes Pinhead stealing Lucifer’s armor) I’d had this new costume sitting in my basement since just before the government lock downs.  This Hellraiser armor had originally been intended for ConCoction that year, but ConCoction was one of the 1st shows to have to close their doors due to the widespread lockdowns (They’re actually only coming back for the first time this year). I hadn’t had an appropriate horror themed show the really shown this off out since then. At Astronomicon there’s a heavy cosplay influence. They encourage it by running costume contests on Saturday, with prizes designed to encourage people to bring their “A” game. The kids and pet costume contest was so much fun, with so many terrifying and yet adorable costumes parading by. One little girl, She couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7, paraded around in a Venom costume. As I was walking by I smiled and complimented her her pointing out that she had a very scary mask. She grinned, pulled the mask down over her head, took a step towards her father and started biting on his arm!

A Warhammer cleric meandered around the show in dark red robes, techno glory and four legs .A-war hammer cleric mold around the show in dark red robes, techno glory and 6 flags. I made a point to find him so I could get photos, and he was thrilled to talk about his costume. He’d only completed it the night before, so this was absolutely its 1st time out. It was the first time out for my Hellraiser armor as well, and that’s always a struggle. Actually, struggle is putting it mildly. The words of the day were “wardrobe of malfunction”.

Before I even arrived on site, as I was driving out , my chain mail ripped off of the right shoulder, and then completely off my left arm. Fortunately, I came with a full repair kit. I pulled out the wireless hot glue gun, and welded them back into place once I was safely parked. After I had gotten in to the show, the Velcro on my belt decided to give way. I excuse myself and headed back to the car. I punched a hole through with the back of the belt, and then Connected it using the belt clip on my keys. That made heading through the metal detector interesting. “I’ve got a set of keys on me, but I can’t actually reach them or take them out!” the Security guard checked behind me with a chuckle, and waved me through.

My left boot was the next to go. The Velcro just wasn’t holding, and things felt a little too tight. I ended up grabbing a roll of duck tape, and actually increased the width of the foot itself. Then I reglued the Velcro on top of the new boot flap. That would hold for the rest of the day, only coming apart once I made it back to the car to leave. On the other hand, the left boot was giving my left thigh ideas… and the armor just would not stay connected to the garter. I finally ended up fixing this problem By grabbing a duck tape roll again, and literally taping the garter up to the armor, forcing the Velcro together and adding extra adhesion. It managed to hold until after the contest walk through, but I did attend the awards hand out with my leg strategically pressed up against my staff to hold it in place. Up on the stage, I was joined by the Warhammer Cleric I mentioned earlier. He looked over at me and lifted his helmet.

“We made it,” He smiled at me.

“Oh I knew when I first saw you this afternoon, that you’d take first place,” I nodded back, pleased. He tilted his head to me and whispered confidentially.

“And I knew you’d be right up here with me.”

You know, I hear so many of my friends complain about the backstabbing and gossiping and trash talking that goes on in the cosplay community. I just don’t hang with people like  that and instead try to be positive. So when I get a really touching moment like this – it’s EXACTLY what I always talk about when I say the best part of the con is hanging out with people in the contest lineup – talking with them and socializing. Weather it’s gushing over the TMNT in the trenchcoat or chatting with the other pinhead about how her makeup was so much cleaner than mine…or even discussing 3d printing with the emcee and how I made my box. This is the stuff that keeps me going to these things.

Unfortunately, Detroit got hit with a bad snowstorm the week before and it delayed the delivery of the trophies for the winners of the contest. The judge asked us to hang back so she could get our addresses, promising to mail them out to us. She pulled out her note cards and copied each one down, then came to me. As I finished she looked up at me in mock horror.

“We let someone from OHIO place in our costume contest???”

I love it.

The costume contest isn’t the only programming though, I watched an interesting presentation of speed painting. An artist in a shirt riddled with flashing Christmas lights proceeded to create 3 distinct pieces relating to the guests that day. Each Painting is beautiful and recognizable, despite being done within 15 minutes. It’s amusing to watch him dancing paint as music pulses in the background. I also made it out to the Clerks panel. I’m really only at best, a casual fan of pre #KevinSmithLied work, but I always enjoy listening to tales from the film set. My particular favorite of this panel was Jeff Anderson telling the story of a young PA. You see, Jason Mews, who plays Jay, had a tendency to wander off. He sees something interesting going on, or flirts with a girl, or sneaks off to get high… and he just was never around when they needed come. By the 2nd week, the film hired a PA whose sole job was to keep track of Jason and know where he was at all times. Jason of course, didn’t take kindly to this. At one point, he ran to the bathroom. The PA waited outside, until grabbing Anderson and asking “could you check In there to see what’s going on?” Jason had snuck out the window to ditch her.

The dealer’s room is vast, and I spent a lot of time circuitously moving through it. It’s the best way to get people a chance to check out the costume and take photos with it.  Interestingly enough, one thing I noticed was babies love Pinhead! I don’t know what it was, if it was the stark white skin or the gold armor… if it’s just that hes highly visible and easy for them to see, but more than one kid being carried by his mom would just stare and grin at me, reaching out to touch the pins. I would offer up the box and watch them grab at it. One Mom laughing hysterically told me, “This was the best part of our day!”

That’s one of the things I love about horror conventions. You meet the nicest, friendliest people… I know that’s counterintuitive, but it’s just the way it is. Even more so than Comic-Con’s, horror conventions have a sort of camaraderie that you don’t find anywhere else. At one point, I was staring through The dig bins of cheap action figures and spotted the perfect He-man… but I couldn’t reach it in my armor. I tapped the shoulder of the guy next to me, and asked “could you do me a favor? I can’t actually bend over in this. could you grab that He-man with the blue boots and that bin there, so I could buy it?” he laughed and scooped up the figure for me. The dealer accepted some slightly sweaty dollar bills from the inside of my glove and I ran off with my prize. We always want to shop the dealer’s room, it’s what makes these conventions happen and I definitely want to make sure that it’s worth their while. Especially if I’m going to be clogging up the aisles with a bulky costume like this!

All in all, I’m very glad I headed out to Astronomicon however, I don’t think I’ll be back. It’s a little too expensive for my taste, and quite frankly, it’s already outgrown this venue. I arrived early in the morning so that I could do the difficult parts of my makeup application in the parking lot. I was fortunate to be able to find a spot pretty close to the building. Apparently I was the only one with that sort of good fortune, as all day people complained about the parking situation. I believe it too, because I constantly heard announcements over the loudspeaker about this car getting toad and that car being illegally parked.

Still, despite it all, it was a good day, and if you’re in the area – there’s worse things you could do on a Saturday!


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.