The plague doctor lowered her mask and began the arduous track through the crowded isles, teaming with people. She stopped short at the large, dark monster. It’s normal to flash was covered mostly in Scarlett ropes, and she evaluating the spectrum. Then, she selected a small white bag from the top of her staff, and on the sachet of lavender on one of the hooks that made up the spiraling talisman that adorned the top of the Skeksis walking stick. Next to him, a young Gelfling, chained to the monster, just looked on, puzzled and petting her Fizzgig.
That’s right, Maddie was coming with me this year – kind of a necessity since I had no hands and needed someone capapble of handing over money for admission and spaying vendors and stuff.
Akron Canton Comic con has been a regular stop now for a few years. It is one of the best of the Harper shows in the area, not just because of the costume contest that draws cosplayers from all around the area, but also the smart and interesting layout in the larger venue. The artist alley lines the upper level, and continues just by the stairs of the lower area. It means you’re going to have to pass through the artists before you hit the dealers. It’s a nice way of getting them better exposure. The venue also most cinnamon press the snack bar, selling two dollar sloppy Joe’s and hotdogs pop and ice and whatever you need. There’s tables and chairs and open spaces in the upper level for people to eat and hang out out, making this one of the more surprisingly social show.
Social can sometimes be the point. There are certain people in that area like Allie or Jason, that I’m only going to run into at these particular events. And for a lot of people, this was their first time back into the convention world in over a year. I was delighted and relieved to run into Mike, the founder of Akron Comicon, working a booth. He had his own bout with the plague, and this afternoon he actually looked in better health and more positive and spry than I’d seen him, even before the calamity. My teenage daughter was accompanying me, and he actually recognized her first. Not a big surprise, considering my features were completely buried under the full body costume.
In other corners of the show, we ran into a couple that was walking around in Robotech costumes. Never my thing when I was a kid, but my friend Johnny Em turned me onto it by slipping me the novels when I was in my 20s. It’s an amazing series, and fun to see people dressing up with it. I don’t get a chance to talk about it that often. The fellow then reached behind him, into his backpack and pulled out his problem. It was a plate, with what appeared to be a steak and potatoes on it… And I knew immediately which character he was cosplaying. There’s a scene in the middle of the Macross saga, where pilot Ben is just sitting down to dinner. Suddenly the alarm klaxon goes off and he hast to rush off to his veritech plane. He turns back to his dinner, and points at it saying, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back.”
The heartbreaking irony here, is he never does make it back. Something you don’t realize at the moment… It’s just a funny line that becomes heartbreaking a few chapters later. A little touch like this on the prop, it just takes the costume to a whole new meta level.
Maddie found an Avatar poster from one of the artists in Artist Alley, and absolutely fell in love with it. Was one of the first things that she bought, and it’s one of those things that I always enjoy seeing my kids buying art from the vendors, not just toys or books. For my part I hit the 50 Cent bins at Hazel’s Heroes pretty hard, flipping through them, even while in the Skeksis costume. Of course, that meant that when it was time for the costume contest, I had to find a way to hide the bag in my robes. I pushed it up as far as I could into the crook of my elbow and tried to keep that elbow almost past my back, with the bag then melting into the folds of the cloak. Perhaps I should’ve been focusing less on that, because once we got on stage, the sachet from the plague doctor fell off my staff. I reach down to grab it with my Skeksis hand, and a finger fell off. It was a disaster, the costume was falling apart before our very eyes! Everybody smiled and laughed and whore, and Maddie shuffled me quickly off the stage.
After I’d gotten out of the costume, it was back to the floor, where I could better see into the long boxes. I grabbed another stack of trade paperbacks and chatted with some of the people who could now recognize me. There was a Deadpool in a sailor moon costume who you may have recall seeing him at ZipCon back in 2020. (We leared he went by Dead Moon, rather than the SailorPool moniker I’d hung on him last year) He looked at me, aghast.
“THAT’S what you really look like?”
“Look who’s talking!” I laughed. And it was nice being able to chat with people, friends old and new face-to-face.
It had been a long day, and a crowded one. From a purely spectator standpoint, the show seemed like it was more crowded than usual, a phenomenon I’m in countering at every convention I go to this year. We ended up having to park two lots away and walked down to before we got into the show. That’s OK, I’m happy to see that the scene is making some sort of a comeback. We ended the day tired, but happy. And can’t wait to go out and do it again.
If you’re interested in seeing Maddie’s video diary of the event, you can check that out below. Otherwise jump to the pictures!
I was standing there, minding my own business, chatting with Anubis, and all of a sudden the Vulcan threw a care bear at us.
These sort of things just don’t happen to other people.
I attended Lorain Comic and Toy Expo this weekend. This is a small show in its first year, but I really wanted to support it because I want to see conventions coming back… and I admire the sheer chutzpah of trying to launch a convention even at the tail end of the pandemic. It also has a great advantage of being one town over from where I live, as well as trying to draw in cosplayers with a low key costume contest. It was a perfect opportunity for me to test the waters with my new McMandalorian costume, and Maddie was dying to break out her Clementine costume (From The Walking Dead game she’s been playing).
The Lorain show is starting off its first year with a bunch of familiar faces, filling the ball room with a lot of the usual suspects from the LoCo sellers (think the Comicpalooza comic crawl I did last year), as well as vendors from the North East Ohio Toy and Collectibles Club and my home comic shop Comics are Go. While there were bargains to be found (I managed to hit up a bunch of dollar and 50 Cent bins), The emphasis on these particular vendors slightly skewed more towards collectors pricing then bargain hunting. The upside of that is it creates a dense marketplace. You could probably do the dealers room in 15 to 20 minutes, but it was worth your while to go around a few times and spend a couple hours. Every pass we made, Maddie and I spotted new things we missed on our previous trips. It’s also necessary to make a couple of passes when you’re getting stopped from time to time. We’d barely gotten down the first isle when I got pulled away to show up on Captain Crappy and Ms. Fever Blister’s livestream! ( I show up about two and a half hours in)
All in all, it made for a fun day. Maddie did a video on her experiences at the con for her youtube channel and you can find it below.
We found some fun stuff (Maddie was over the moon to find a Glacion Mimikyu plushie!) and had a good day, and definitely plan on coming back for the next one. The promoter has big ambitions, already planning out the next show, expanding it with outdoor activities for kids and at least one wrestling guest for the autograph hounds. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, because I’d really love to have a con so close to home.
I’ve done both Pinhead and skinless Frank, and loved compositing the two together. I’m my own hellraiser movie all by myself….
A god vs a devil….
You never know who’s going to show up at those Avengers meetings!
I found a bald spot at the worst time, too far from home to fix properly. I parked and grabbed my Thing pants from the back seat, ripping a rock from the cuff. The legs usually bunch up at the bottom and I hoped it wouldn’t be noticeable as I applied latex and affixed the rock to the bald cap. Ben Grimm tightened his belt and got ready to head into Akron Canton Comic Con.
As far as Jeff Harper shows go, this one in interesting. It’s a smaller show, but I dig that they have a snack bar at the venue – it provides a little more community and something to do. I’m grateful to Heroic Adventures comic shop for stepping up and sponsoring a costume contest (I’m going to miss these guy’s shop BTW, they’re going strictly online and con vending) as well as some cool trailers and movies running on the TV screens around the hall. All of this makes it feel like just a bit more than the swap meet atmosphere that a lot of Harper shows have.
Air conditioning doesn’t hurt either.
My buddy Vito mentioned that it looked like a nicer show this year than last – I’m not sure. Harper shows never really change that much, but I’ll admit I had a better time myself this year because I knew way more people. Sure, I see Eric and Sean all the time at cons when they set up their booths, but It was really cool running into Alli and hanging out with Jason and Mike. I’m on their side of town and it’s good to have friends in mideast Ohio.
I dove into the quarter bins. I was glad to actually see some good deals here – 5-for-a-dollar, fifty cent bins, quarter bins, three-for-a-dollar….and not just long boxes stuffed with cast off Image books from the 90’s either. I found Blackhawks, House of Mystery (the Elviria one!), as well as fairly modern Spider-man and Superman. Good stuff. I ended up bringing home about seventy books as well as a couple for the kids (maddie LOVES Art Baltazar’s Tiny Titans).
The costumes weren’t everywhere the way they are at some shows, but I really enjoyed what I did see.
I’ve run into this giggling group of teenagers a couple times now. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Link won first place in the costume contest and absolutely deserved it. She totally brought the character to life.
This kid was doing an original character he called the executioner – a vigilante who collects prizes from his vanquished foes. He ran around the con picking fights with all the cosplayers!
That’s not leather. That’s actually foam! Seriously, the paint job on here was so good I couldn’t even tell.
This one is another original character – it’s off a minecraft skin though it has an anime look to me. What was really cool was seeing her place in the costume contest! This original character got third!
I’m going to have to do some edits on this – Batman, Wolverine and the Thing? Yes please!
Speaking of Wolverine, I was so loving all the X-Men.
Storm especially was just stunning.
It’s a short show and I was only there for about three hours, so I’m short on pictures, but don’t worry, we’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of Monster Bash….and there’s TONS of photos to come!
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…
I’ve finally given into peer pressure and set up an official cosplay page! Feel free to like, share and harass convention promoters with it….
You can find me and the girls here!
Kicked con season off with a new show this year- new to me anyhow. ZipCon is an Anime Convention put on by the University of Akron’s Animation Association . usually, I like to check out a show before I take the kids, make sure it’s appropriate and that there is enough action. However an Anime convention is something entirely new to them anyhow. Lydia had asked me recently when the next comic book convention was, and at the time I didn’t have any scheduled. It also just turns out that Maddie had a sleepover and birthday party schedule this weekend so she wouldn’t be home. This was a perfect opportunity for Olivia and me to do a quick daddy daughter day.
I like the fact that this convention was being put on by a college Anime club. This sort of thing tells me that their heart is in the right place, and that they’re not just out to make a quick buck like so many other conventions around. Passion driven conventions always end up being more fun than profit driven ones (not that there’s anything inherantly wrong with proifit driven ones but they have a greater tendancy to devolve into pop culture cash grabs. I’m looking directly at you Wizard World). Still, I should’ve checked it out. I thoroughly underestimated how big a show this was . I could see a respectable amount of programming, and Anime conventions always bring out the cosplayers. Nevertheless, I didn’t expect the kind of crowds we saw. Lydia and I arrived about three hours after the show had begun, Lydia has dancing she’s not going to mess that just for an Anime con. Upon arrival, we found a line that stretched out the doors and took at least 15 minutes for us to make it inside the building to attend registration. It was a fairly rigorous one at that, complete with rules about masks and greasepaint and a release form stating our permission for people to take photos of us (And man, I’m glad we had our forms filled out and in hand already, we skipped ahead in the line a bit because of it). I suppose I understand heightened security, the college has a greater deal more liability then I Convention Centre. I noticed they did a remarkably smart thing with little Lydias admission wristband, they wrote my phone number on it. I like this kind of detail, it’s a really clever way of keeping kids safe. Despite the long wait, I had a good feeling about this place and I wasn’t wrong .
The University of Akron student union is also where the very first Akron Comecon was held, but that show actually seemed to have a lower attendance than what we encountered at ZipCon. This place was packed wall-to-wall, with everybody wearing costumes and excitement and hustle and bustle were all around. We hit the dealers room first- it’s a good way to get Lydia into the con spirit. there were a few photos along the way, including a great photo up with a quite friendly mega man . Why do I always get into battles with video game characters at these things?
The dealers room for this particular show was quite small, understandable for a second year and a small school run convention. Still, I think they need to get the word out. There is plenty of foot traffic to support easily twice the number of vendors they had.
The vendors and artisans they had were quality, I found a marvelous minions and Doctor Who mash-up shirt in one booth, and all sorts of handmade crafts and art . Over at the booth for vendor Kopes Kreations, they had a plushie Pinkie Pie that was dressed like Deadpool . Pinky Pool may be my new favorite thing, although it’s a close tie with the plushy bacon that squeaks and smells just like real bacon!
Retrocade Erie had a marvelous video game booth full of vintage systems and cartridges was fascinating to look through . I saw people leaving with a bunch of Super NES cartridges as we were coming into the con, so I hope he was doing good business . I found a Starfleet Academy game that I never even knew was ported for the Genesis, granted with the 32X attachment but still… I was certain that had only ever come out for super nes!
Lydia found a knit panda plushie and dropped her entire con allowance on that along with some help from me. She named it Pandora. I’m such a proud father.
We hit the make up a panel where the resident artist worked on transforming his willing victim into the Dark Knight Heath Ledger Joker. Lydia sat down in the middle of the aisle in the middle of the room, and he was so nice paying attention to her. He’d come up and show her the materials he was using, scar wax, liquid latex… and trust me, Lydia knows liquid latex already!
I think Lydia’s favourite part of the show may have been the video game room. As soon as we arrived in it, she sat down in front of a classic NES and dove into a game of Metroid. there were turning into going on, but plenty of free play all around. They had made maximum use of this room with probably 20 systems up and running, set up and supplied by Retrocade Erie . In the back of the room, people played Super Smash Bros on a gigantic projected screen . This game in particular fascinated my little Pikachu Lydia and she sat, captivated by the spectacle for ages . I managed to get in a little bit of Shadow the Hedgehog, but the real fun ways playing Batman and Robin with Lydia on a Sega Genesis. The other real treat about checking out the video game room, was the chance to see a PC engine up close and personal. Lydia pick up the controller and started playing a Castlevania clone, and I realized what system it was playing on as she went through the levels . I had a TurboGrafx when I was a teenager, and I loved it . it’s a criminally under rated system that didn’t get the kind of support in the US that it did back in Japan . In Japan it was this tan brown monstrosity we call the PC engine. I read about them but never seen one of close . the controller is pretty much the same as the German graphics other then the colour in the gameplay is real similar.
As we wandered around the convention, we happened upon the tabletop gaming room . Now usually I will pass right by this, because it’s kind of creepy for me to watch over somebody’s shoulder is the play . I’m frequently alone at cons and board games are just not what I’m there for. But Lydia was interested and immediately found a Pokémon version of Sorry! We sat down and played through the board game . It must’ve been quite the sight, to see the little Pikachu playing a Pokémon game with the giant robot . It’s such a Lydia thing to do though, I think it may have been my favourite part of the day .
I insisted on us getting downstairs to catch at last part of the bands set. music at the conventions generally tend to be fun. I find it especially fun at shows like this where J-pop and techno and music in general are part of the genre that is being celebrated . after a great performance from Pete Mako and The Boogiemen we were getting a bit wiped and ready to go. The convention goes on for quite a while after our departure time, but I had a film to get to and Lydia had managed to squeeze in a birthday party at the end of the day. Still, I’m really glad we made it out to Zipcon. It’s on my radar now and may well become one of my regular stops on the convention circuit . We took lots of pictures (and also stole a ton from facebook), more than usual in fact. cosplay is a big deal at Anime conventions and even all these photos barely scratched the surface. Take a look below to see for yourself how much fun this show is!
The movie itself was pretty much what I expected it to be – well perhaps a bit more male nudity than I expected, but I am assume Ryan Reynolds decided that if his face were going to be covered for so much of the movie he better show off his second most recognizable asset.
I’m really not trying to make puns– it just keeps happening, sorry.
I seriously liked the very firm connection to the X-Men films the movie had, it’s not just dropping a character like Colossus in there, it’s the X mansion, the blackbird, the little X symbols that we frequently see. Stuff like that reminds us that we are in a greater universe, and that’s a nice thing. Hardly essential, but nice.
The action was well done, lots of impact shots and gore – that’s also nice to see in an action movie again, particularly in an error when “action” frequently mean to bloodless. This is a nice change. It’s actually more of a throwback to the 80s action films then The Expendables was. Let’s face it after all, the action films in the 80s really were what super hero films are nowadays – just at a much higher rating.
That “R” rating is completely appropriate here by the way, there is a ton of nudity and constant foul language. You could possibly clean up some of it, but never enough to get it on television – it’s Tarantino and Rob Zombie levels of blasphemy. A good deal of it is warranted – some of it is excessive and gratuitous but I get what they were going for. Still, I’m not taking my kids to see it – I really don’t want the first wang they see to be Deadpools, looking like a hot dog that was left in the microwave too long.
Really, the biggest problem with this film – and I was worried about this going in- is that we’ve already seen most of it in the trailers. In fact, the trailers are pretty much your PG-13 edit of the film. There is very little outside of the F-bombs that we didn’t see previewed, and that’s a shame because this is a good film – the action starts right off. He is immediately in the red suit, and the origin is told in pieces throughout the first act via flashbacks. It’s somewhat the same technique that Man of Steel used, but far more in your face with a ton more costumed antics during that first act.
The jokes here are genuinely funny. This movie is as much a comedy as it is an action film. That’s a hard balance to maintain too, horror generally does it better. It was given a valiant try in the Rush Hour films – and completely failed in others like Hollywood Homicide. Deadpool is designed for this kind of blend of comedy and action. The fourth wall references, especially the ones to the other X films are just so spot-on that you can’t help but appreciate them.
All in all, it’s a recommended – and very gratifying to see it getting the love that it is, as specially considering how few people showed up for the R rated dread film just a few years back. It’ll make it onto my DVD shelf not too long from now and maybe for dead Paul to I’ll dress will look more appropriately – scroll down for some photos from our screening this weekend!
Akron always impresses me with the caliber of it’s guests. Mike Zeck and John Beatty are pretty great catches. I had comics for Tom Scioli, Rob Davis and Craig Boldman to sign, but the real treat of con for me was Ron Fortier who wrote my favorite version of the Green Hornet and sat and chatted with me for half an hour about the character, the series as well as his run on Terminator the Burning Earth. IT was fascinating to discover he was hesitant about returning to the title after NOW went through a bankruptcy but got wooed back during a particularly pleasant convention. Great to her his opinions on the current run and how glad we both are to see Kato is a girl again. He patiently signed my entire stack of books – most of his run. That’s not something I’d normally do, but the Green Hornet is one of my absolute favorite characters ever. A quick shout out to all of your artists and writers out there; I REALLY appreciate those of you who sign for free. That’s HUGE to me.
I hit the indy comic panel (and discovered I was pretty much doing everything they recommended – though I’ll have to creep around IndyLink a bit) as well as the cosplay panel right before the costume contest. Akron is a HUGE cosplay show and the contest gets bigger every year. Thank God for Jeff Stover who helped me find my place in line after I got the girls through their category.
We of course were the Fantastic Four, and I was so glad that people looked at my Mr. Fantastic backpack and got the joke. Every time someone would ask where Torch was, I’d tell them he had something to do with Captain America and he won;t tell me anything more than that.
I did stop back on Sunday without the girls so I could actually shop…I’ve found better deal in the past. Quarter bins are getting much harder to find. Still, there were a few fifty cent ones hidden amoung the depths of the booths, as well as a booth for the CW where you spun the wheel and got a prize. I got an iZombie brain. I wanted a Flash hat but I can live with this. The Flash hat wouldn’t have gone with my Shadow costume anyhow.
Akron is always a fun time, I saw more people that I know here than anywhere else. Some folks like Riley and Bobbie, I barely ever run into outside of this show. Things like that just make it better.